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Labour Party Shadow NEC

Demand for Natural Justice and Due Process

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Are YOU prepared to tolerate the abuse ther Party metes out to members?

 

Ben Sellers: Duty of Care

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I don’t think it’s an outrageous suggestion that the Labour Party and other institutions of the Labour movement have some kind of a ‘duty of care’ for it’s members. I’m also going to suggest that, as a movement, we have a moral duty to protect, defend and support those who are picked off, bullied and witch-hunted, irrespective of the finer details of any disagreements we might have with them. Recently, one of the members of our Red Labour group has had their suspension rescinded, without an apology or explanation. We’ve seen the Labour members in Wallasey exonerated and countless examples of members who have had no information on their exclusions and suspensions, who have spent months in limbo. Some have even become notorious by their suspensions. I’m thinking of friends who have been abused in the street, shouted and spat at, have had lies told about them in the local and national press. But if they are ‘pardoned’, if things are swept under the carpet, is that all ok? Is it ‘natural justice’ to be defamed, to have been caused mental and even physical distress? Is that a situation we can tolerate and a party we can be proud of? I think not.

Recently, one of the members of our Red Labour group has had their suspension rescinded, without an apology or explanation. We’ve seen the Labour members in Wallasey exonerated and countless examples of members who have had no information on their exclusions and suspensions, who have spent months in limbo. Some have even become notorious by their suspensions. I’m thinking of friends who have been abused in the street, shouted and spat at, have had lies told about them in the local and national press. But if they are ‘pardoned’, if things are swept under the carpet, is that all ok? Is it ‘natural justice’ to be defamed, to have been caused mental and even physical distress? Is that a situation we can tolerate and a party we can be proud of? I think not.

I’m also going to suggest that, as a movement, we have a moral duty to protect, defend and support those who are picked off, bullied and witch-hunted, irrespective of the finer details of any disagreements we might have with them. Recently, one of the members of our Red Labour group has had their suspension rescinded, without an apology or explanation. We’ve seen the Labour members in Wallasey exonerated and countless examples of members who have had no information on their exclusions and suspensions, who have spent months in limbo. Some have even become notorious by their suspensions. I’m thinking of friends who have been abused in the street, shouted and spat at, have had lies told about them in the local and national press. But if they are ‘pardoned’, if things are swept under the carpet, is that all ok? Is it ‘natural justice’ to be defamed, to have been caused mental and even physical distress? Is that a situation we can tolerate and a party we can be proud of? I think not.

You see, much of this vile treatment has a political root: huge parts of it are caused by nasty, vindictive and bitter people within the party machine and local officials and “representatives” with a sense of entitlement which means that they think it’s ok to screw anyone over to preserve their power.

All this is done with impunity in “our” Labour Party, yet it has done untold damage to people’s reputation and people’s mental health. And while the blame lies firmly with these bitterites, whose goal it is to punish those responsible for taking their ball away, there’s something else going on: for what has “our side” of the party done about it? Mostly kept quiet, with some going even further – actively helping the people who are doing this to our comrades. Is this, in turn, acceptable? No, of course it isn’t – but some people, supposedly socialists, have made a Faustian pact to rid them of a temporary problem. Sod the long-term damage, there’s a scrap to win. I can’t think of a more disastrous strategy. That ‘duty of care’ extends to everyone who has taken part in this ‘revolution’. It’s not “owned by one, privileged group. It’s all of ours – and it’s not anyone’s to throw away.

Ben Sellers

 

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The disaster that is the Compliance Unit and the disciplinary (non) process carries on unabated. We have unnecessary suspensions (even where there was evidence of unsavoury words to simply suspend someone is ludicrous – at most all that was and is needed is a letter asking that the member desists – if they don`t then a warning letter).

But what is especially appalling is that the NEC knowingly allow the trust given them to use immediate suspension for an individual in extreme circumstances: of real threat to an individual or the reputation of the Party – for this mechanism to be used for thousands and thousands of members.  And this is an abuse of power, and the irony that it abuses members is not lost on us. Not to mention the irony that by this (non) process the reputation of the Party has been, and continues to be damaged. It is unbelievable that the Party for justice and fairness is guilty of meting out such treatment, and even when known, continues and cannot be stopped.

Then when the catalogue of errors comes to light the Party tries to cover its butt by LIFTING suspensions BUT issuing a Warning letter -EVEN THOUGH NO INVESTIGATION OCCURRED AND THE INDIVIDUAL DISPUTES THE ALLEGATION.  So we advised people to not accept the warning. Not only did the Party drag on the (non) investigations for month after month after month, failing to send alleged evidence to those they suspend, then not allowing a participatory investigation, then sending warning letters, then refusing to acknowledge a letter refusing the warning letter, then also refusing any appeal, they do all this to cover their own butt disregarding  the effect on members and with absolutely no respect for due process or natural justice. AND IT STILL CONTINUES.

We have laughed and cried at the same time at the manner and attitude of the NEC regarding this (non) process. The damage it has caused many individuals mentally and emotional is shocking.

Now they have stopped sending out Warning letters and have started blackmailing individuals. Same situation but not a warning letter but telling them we are lifting your suspension  but only if you sign a Pledge. The Pledge is:

Member’s Pledge:

I pledge to act within the spirit and rules of the Labour Party in my conduct both on and offline, with members and non-members and I stand against all forms of abuse. I understand that if found to be in breach of the Labour Party policy on online and offline abuse, I will be subject to the rules and procedures of the Labour Party
This is so Wooley and allows the NEC to interpret abuse how it wants. And if it does that in the manner it has to date then more damage will be done to the Party by them.  BUT what is worse is that they are sending this out as a blackmail condition, so changing the contract between some members and an unincorporated org (the party) but not for ALL members. And if anyone signs this on that basis when they are ALREADY a member (and so already in contract as per the rules like any other member) then they will be in effect allowing the Party to get away with branding them guilty – otherwise why else would the party demand they sign it? NO. Yet again Iain McNicol shows no regard for due process or natural justice. Members WILL NOT SIGN THIS!!

As for the interpretation and definition of abuse – clearly that must now be looked at – and most definitely a written definition of abuse, and it must be equitable. As it stands if a member calls an MP who took part in the attempted coup (something they did in such a disgusting manner by back room conspiring and linking with MSM rather than legitimately in an acceptable manner openly within the party) a BLAIRITE traitor then they are deemed such a threat that they are instantly suspended, BUT if you say how you could easily beat a party member physically, so long as , to the best of your knowledge you do it privately, even if it then becomes public, you are not guilty of abuse.

If the party wants to find you guilty they will manipulate and distort so called evidence to point that way, BUT if they want to find you innocent, likewise they will manipulate and distort, using different criteria, to find you innocent. WOW.  When they want to find you innocent they say `the context of how those comments were made, both her emotional state at the point the offending comments were made and who she was making the comments to, must be taken into account.` and we find ` we do not believe that Ms X is in clear breach of rule 2.I.8. As such, the Labour Party considers this matter closed. BUT if you call someone a blairite traitor then you ARE in breach of it.  How extraordinary that you can posture your physical ability to beat someone and not be in breach, BUT you can call someone a blairite traitor (after they have plotted and schemed outside of the accepted method of challenging a leader) and you ARE guilty.

ANY MEMBER WHO DOES NOT CONDEMN WHAT IS HAPPENING IS COMPLICIT. Evil flourishes when good men do nothing. The NEC cannot be entrusted with policing themselves on the disciplinary procedure. They have demonstrated that the rules are not sufficiently structured to ensure JUSTICE.

We demand that every member that is suspended or even just being subject to  investigation is notified and IMMEDIATELY sent the so called evidence to support the suspension. AND each such member must also be given the right to name an Advocate to look after their interest and to ensure that the Party uses due process, carries out any investigation in a reasonable time frame,  demonstrates respect for duty of care by responding to emails and letters and phone calls concerning the issue in a reasonable time frame. The full process must not be allowed to take months and months and months and months. If there is any situation that requires months that that should be obvious, and not  like the thousands of situations of months in this `purge` months for each person. and many STILL WAITING. WOW.

 

ajustice

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STOP DIGGING – now the NEC and McNicol are effectively blackmailing members

That feeling when you have dug a hole for yourself but instead of stopping you continue digging.  Labour Party disciplinary (non) process: Australia, here we come!

New attempt to get out of the mess they created is to demand members who were unjustly suspended to sign the social media pledge before being unsuspended – even though the original accusation is not being upheld.

Most members will have heard about the appalling abusive (non) process adopted by the NEC against members.  We have laughed and cried at the irony of them accusing members of abuse, providing no evidence after months of demanding evidence, suspending people leaving them hanging unable to participate in meetings, ostracised by the Party with the accusation hanging over their heads. Yes the Labour Party abusing its own members with complete disregard for due process and natural justice – not to mention sheer common decency.

After many months people were having their suspensions lifted (and this still continues) having had no right of input, no participatory investigation, and still no evidence BUT unbelievable a paragraph in the letter unsuspending them saying the accusation will be left on file – a WARNING letter! So there we have the Party disciplinary system assuming GUILT and crazily offering no right of appeal. NO no and no. These Warning letters issued under these circumstances are not being accepted. It is mind boggling to know that Iain McNicol and the NEC actually thought that it was OK to assume guilt in this way.

Now we have a new development.  Initially they dug a hole for themselves by suspending people when that option was never used other than for real threats of physical violence or profound damage to the Party. It was an option that was given in trust to be used with a responsible attitude. Iain McNicol and the NEC failed and continue to fail in both – they have broken trust and failed in responsibility. They suspended THOUSANDS of members at the drop of a hat. One crazy example  resulting from trawling social media with auto search apps was suspending someone for using the word `RAT` which they decided without it going through proper process was and is now a proscribed word lol BUT what is even crazier is that a member made a tweet using the word `democrat` and got suspended for it. Now even if you consider the disciplinary dept has the right to discipline someone for using the word `rat`, to use the option to SUSPEND pending an investigation is appalling. And then it gets worse, they don`t actually bother with a participatory investigation.

So they sent out Warning letters based on assumed guilt, and members said No we are not accepting the Warning letter – take it off or, having suspended me, give me the right to defend myself against the accusation.

It now seems they have stopped sending out Warning letters in such circumstances (wonder whether they actually saw how unjust that is huh?) and are trying the tac of sending out letters saying the person is unsuspended BUT before that can be fully processed they have to sign and return a letter stating that they agree to respect the new social media pledge thus:

Dear,

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I am pleased to inform you that your administrative suspension from the Labour Party will be lifted and that you will be free to resume active membership conditional upon receipt of a signed copy of the Members Pledge (attached).

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I would like to draw your attention specifically to Chapter 2 of the Labour Party Rule Book which states:

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“No member of the Party shall engage in conduct which in the opinion of the NEC is prejudicial, or in any way in the opinion of the NEC is grossly detrimental to the Party”.

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We look forward to receiving a signed copy of the Members Pledge attached to your email (please send either by post to the London address above or a scanned copy by return email). We hope that this matter is now behind you and we welcome you back to full membership of the Party.

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Yours sincerely,
Iain McNicol
General Secretary of the Labour Party Labour Party

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Member’s Pledge
I pledge to act within the spirit and rules of the Labour Party in my conduct both on and offline, with members and non-members and I stand against all forms of abuse. I understand that if found to be in breach of the Labour Party policy on online and offline abuse, I will be subject to the rules and procedures of the Labour Party

Firstly this pledge has never been discussed and adopted and agreed by conference BUT even more chilling is that they are sending this out to members who were suspended and demanding they sign it even though they have not had a proper investigation – so again assumed guilt.

NO, not acceptable. Our advice to anyone being blackmailed in this manner is to write back and say that you do not understand why you are specifically being asked to sign this pledge. Firstly the suspension is lifted and so there is no case to answer so why the pledge. 

Secondly, my membership is continuous and unless you tell me that all current members are being send the same pledge to be signed in order for their membership to be continued then I shall not be signing it. 

 

holememe

Hearing today. We will update as news comes in.

`It is scandalous that Wadsworth was suspended by the general secretary, Iain McNicol, because he dared to challenge a Labour MP who was a high-profile opponent of the democratically elected Labour leader, and raise the issue of black political under-representation at the launch of the Shami Chakrabarti report into antisemitism and racism. Fortunately, the moment when Wadsworth spoke out was captured on a video that has been widely publicised by the media. It clearly demonstrates he is not guilty of antisemitism.

We note that Wadsworth has a long record of fighting against racism and antisemitism, inside and outside the Labour party and trade union movement, and demand that he is reinstated immediately.`
Herman Ouseley Chair, Kick it Out, Linda Bellos, Peter Tatchell, Prof Paul Gilroy, Prof Gus John, Prof Pat Thane, Suresh Grover The Monitoring Group, Stafford Scott Tottenham Rights, Dr Iqbal Scram, Peter Herbert Society of Black Lawyers, Simon Woolley Operation Black Vote, Jackie Walker, Orson Nava, Gary Younge

 

We call on Labour’s general secretary to lift the unjust suspension from Labour membership of veteran anti-racist campaigner Marc Wadsworth. Guardian letter

 

amarc

 

At the launch of the Shami Chakrabarti report into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, black activist Marc Wadsworth said:

“I saw that the Telegraph handed a copy of a press release to Ruth Smeeth MP so you can see who is working hand in hand. If you look around this room, how many African Caribbean and Asian people are there? We need to get our house in order.”

You can see the video of him saying it on the Independent website here.

Sky News has been reporting this, I think gleefully is the word, in its headlines all afternoon as an “anti-Semitic attack” on Ms Smeeth. Sky have not however shown what he actually said, although they had cameras at the event, and their journalist who was present described the comments without qualification as anti-Semitic without saying what the comment actually was.

Mr Wadsworth denies knowing Ms Smeeth is Jewish. I have no idea if that is true; I didn’t know myself, nor care. But neither what Wadsworth actually said, not his denial that he knew she is Jewish, is being reported by the broadcast media. What is being reported very widely is Ms Smeeth’s subsequent statement:

“I was verbally attacked by a Momentum activist and Jeremy Corbyn supporter who used traditional anti-Semitic slurs to attack me for being part of a “media conspiracy”. It is beyond belief that someone could come to the launch of a report about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party and espouse such vile conspiracy theories against Jewish people.”

Ms Smeeth’s statement contains one stark dishonesty. She puts “media conspiracy” in inverted commas, when Mr Wadsworth did not use the phrase, or even either of those two words separately. Ms Smeeth appears to have deliberately misrepresented what Mr Wadsworth said, which I presume she checked.

Sky News has been reporting this, I think gleefully is the word, in its headlines all afternoon as an “anti-Semitic attack” on Ms Smeeth.

 

The REAL spirit of the Labour Party in action. Oh the irony!

This is from the Group set up to support those abused by the NEC and the Compliance Unit with the sickening distortion and abuse of the rule book on the disciplinary procedure. SHAME ON THEM.

Apart from the abuse meted out by the Compliance Unit and the complete and utter disregard for due process and natural justice, they have the audacity to lecture members over social media behaviour WOW. They need to get their act in order. We must demand that every single person under disciplinary so called ` investigation` is automatically allowed a participatory investigation and allowed to assign an Advocate to watch their backs from the abuse that this system has, and continues to use.

We know how members of the PLP have abused members on twitter and yet they are not challenged, yet immediately they complained about someone calling them out on their traitorous coup attempt and disrespect for members THEIR complaint resulted in immediate administrative suspension. The majority of those suspended given no right to participate in an investigation and yet sent a Warning letter! WOW. Yet the M.P.`s  were allowed to call members trots rabble dogs and nothing done – and still selectively these terms are not on the proscribed list.

Recognition of the work done by the Group set up to give support morally, emotionally and practically to those abused by the NEC:

Maria Carroll in a thread summed up the support and atmosphere of this Group:

It’s all the work of this group, all you wonderful people who despite your personal pain and despite the fact that people you believed to be colleagues stabbed you in the back, shared your experiences.

You all held your heads up high and kept fighting, kept refusing to allow such unfair processes to be used to destroy you. And you all have never judged or scorned each other, have understood that not everyone has the personal resilience in storage to be able to keep going, and so much more.

Together you have achieved better and better outcomes as the process gathered pace. Never, ever forgot what you have all achieved.

First we saw suspensions lifted even though the majority were issued warnings.

Then a few of you challenged the warnings and found that the warnings were indefinite – we would not have known that if you hadn’t challenged the warnings.

Then you brought forward evidence of the exact reasons people were being suspended for. You challenged the rhetoric of the right that the party is infested by anti semites, trots, rabble, dogs etc.

You ended that label by contesting it being brace enough to show and share the total sham the evidence being used against you was.
Then you all discovered the hard way the unfairness of the processes used against you and the abuses of those processes by the procedures committee.

Then you share your experiences so that those behind you in this rat race were better prepared, more able to counter the attacks.

But more than anything you all inspired each other to keep going and despite how hard that has been you have achieved a commitment that the procedures will change, will include a commitment to natural justice.

You won the hearts and minds of many of us for whom you bore this dire persecution with honour.

Everyone on this group has made a contribution from the very visible – Caroline Tipler who really has the best organisational skills of anyone I’ve ever met – we should make her our General Secretary – Glynis Millward who has made the most boring subject in the world (for me) data protection not only understandable but helped us use it as a tool to get justice. She should be our legal and compliance director – Sarah Thomson site monitor and trend watcher who should be running campaigns for the leaders office – Craig Fraser who has steadfastly taken our messages out to CLPs and is now going to be a labour councillor – I’m sure of it – he gets the LG leader role – Duncan Shipley Dalton and Jon Grünewald who have given freely of their legal expertise and guidance for no personal gain or reward – they are our Supreme Court nominees and we need to find them a silk to carry!

Then there’s the more silent members of the group who shared our campaigns, liked everyone’s posts, took the truth out to social media.

I can’t name you all but you have all been so brave, have given so much. You are all stars. No honour can do you justice or repay you for what you have done to ensure this never happens again.

But without one person I certainly would not be here enjoying (despite the anger, the despair, the hurt) had it not been for the fact that one person gave me inspiration to stand against bullying. Who stood and carried on despite the most vile and shocking public personal attacks and smears. And that person is Jeremy Corbyn.

No matter what anyone’s personal opinion of that man and his politics is he has inspired those who have been harassed and vilified. Showing us all that we can overcome.

Sorry I’ve gone on and on but I had to get that out!

Glynis responds:

Well said Maria I agree with all that and NEVER forget what you have done too, you are one of THE most supportive people I know. You drove down to Cardiff to support me at the investigation meeting – you would not take any money for petrol, I even had to fight you at the cafe counter to pay for your coffee and muffin 😀 – what a beautiful soul you are x x x

Caroline: I would like to add the appreciation of the Group to Jeni Swift Gillett Kay Meades and Annette Harrison who helped create the wonderful supportive atmosphere and crucially were stalwarts at ensuring every person was fully vetted before joining the Group to ensure we had a safe space to share our thoughts and feelings and explore options and strategies.

In this Group I have been heartbroken on occasions to hear about the suffering caused by the callousness of the disciplinary process adopted by McNichol and the NEC – but the wonderful thrilling irony is that there is not another group on Facebook where I have experienced such a consistent non-abusive REAL best of humanity – it is without comparison.

And Glynis and Maria this is not something I would say lightly – you each hold a special place in my heart. Your compassion, your wonderful doggedness, your incisiveness, your humour … your ALL is something I have rarely come across and I admire you both deeply.

It is clear to us all that this is about more than loss of vote, this is even about more than the appalling individual pain suffered (and ongoing), it is about the exposure of the distorted and manipulative core of the Party, it is about its heart and soul, and right here in this Group we experience how the heart and the soul of the Party should be XXX

It is unbelievable and unforgiveable that the conservative party and yep haha even Inland Revenue have systems of discipline that respects natural justice and yet the Labour Party disregarded it, and even now it knows the heartache and suffering it has caused CONTINUES TO DO SO.

It is wonderful to be a part of a supportive caring compassionate intelligent group of Party members and astonishing that that is found in the very group that exists for people who the Labour Party have pushed aside and disregarded.

TIME THAT THE NEC ADMITTED THEIR COMPLICITY IN THIS AND APOLOGISED.

As it stands they are saying oh we are not going to do it this way again lololol0l – Er, hold on a min – first you need to admit to your wrongdoing. We need an objective enquiry on this – not one carried out by the very people who caused it in the first place. The police policing themselves.

The group has contacted NEC members offering to work with them and to share our experience with them to ensure this cannot happen again and that a proper process is put into effect. WE ARE WAITING.

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Not even justice delayed it is totally non existent!

WARNING LETTERS following a suspension when no proper investigation has occurred and there is no right of appeal are NOT ACCEPTABLE. And will not be accepted. What is it that the NEC doesn`t get about that huh?

Keith performing at a Labour Party fund raising gig.

Another member treated so appallingly by the disgusting disciplinary system which is abusive to members (and continues to be even after they know the injustices they meted out)

Well this is odd. In September I was auto-excluded (expelled) allegedly for supporting another political party. I’ve just had a letter saying my administrative suspension (?) for allegedly contributing to a crowdfunding website (?) has been lifted with a formal NEC warning?! Both letters are from Iain McNicol.
As others have said, this is outrageous to be told it will be kept on file when I haven’t done anything and have had no chance to defend myself! But I’m more staggered by the sheer incompetence of lifting something that was never placed on me in the first place and for a different reason than initially given. I also can’t believe I’ve been through three months of hell with no apology!

Response to the suspension lifting with a warning letter:

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Dear Mr McNicol,


Thank you for your letter dated 19th December 2016. In the letter you state ‘I am pleased to inform you that your administrative suspension from the Labour Party has been lifted and that you are now free to resume active membership.’ You also state ‘You were suspended following allegations that you contributed to a crowdfunding website which directly contravened party rules by paying for membership of others.’


This is somewhat confusing, given that it contradicts the previous correspondence I received from you on 16th September 2016. In that earlier correspondence you stated ‘It has been brought to our attention with supporting evidence that you have publicly shown support for Socialist Worker.’ You go on to say ‘You are therefore ineligible to remain a member of the Labour Party.’


So in September I was auto-excluded for one charge, of which I am innocent, and in December you unsuspended me for a different charge of which I am equally innocent.


So was I re-admitted and then suspended without being informed? If so, can you tell me when this was? Or have you, in effect, dropped the first charge, re-admitted me, suspended me for a second charge and then unsuspended me all on the same day and this is what you are now communicating to me?


You claim there is an allegation I ‘contributed to a crowdfunding website which directly contravened party rules by paying for membership of others.’ This is untrue. Who made this allegation? Do you have evidence that was not revealed to me at the time of my recent Subject Access Request under the Date Protection Act (your letter dated 26 October 2016 from Mike Creighton)?

Or are you relying on the screenshot of a Momentum page on Facebook? If you are relying on the screenshot, you will clearly see that this does not demonstrate anything of the sort. The comment immediately before mine is not complete because it is too long to be displayed. If you were able to open that you would see that the person talks about being too poor to afford groceries. In context, my offer of ten pounds is clearly meant to go towards his grocery bill. In any event, he did not take me up on the offer and no money was paid. No crowdfunding website was ever involved; nor was the money anything to do with his membership. So every single word of the allegation is untrue.

Furthermore, in your letter dated 19th December, you say you ‘have considered it necessary to issue [me] with a formal NEC warning’. The rule you quote, ‘6.1.C’, states the NEC may issue a warning, but you say ‘I… considered it necessary’ to issue the warning. So was this issued by you or the NEC? Have the NEC discussed my individual case?


Either way I wish to raise an objection to this and request that this warning be removed, on the grounds that the allegation is unproved and therefore inaccurate. Additionally, no investigation into this allegation appears to have been undertaken and as a result, I have not been able to challenge the allegation or contribute any evidence to the investigation of it.


The Data Protection Act, within the provisions of Principle 4, states that information held by an organisation in relation to an individual must be accurate.


It is incumbent upon you as a data controller to ensure that this is so.
If you will not be undertaking an investigation into this allegation which I can contribute to then I feel I must point out to you that if an individual is not satisfied that you have taken appropriate action to keep their personal data accurate, they may apply to the court for an order that you rectify, block, erase or destroy the inaccurate information.


Please let me have a response to this letter within 14 days from the date of this email.

Keith Shilson

Featured post

Martin Luther King: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Angela Mcevoy: I believe your point about advocacy is a good one. I would also suggest the evidence is examined by NEC + a representative from members CLP who can then provide a copy of the evidence immediately. I would also stress how insulting it is to be suspended, deprived of a vote without being told the reason. Then after weeks of chasing appeals, how insulting it is to have your suspension lifted with approx 2500-3000 others en masse but with a sting in tail. The formal Warning to remain on file without being allowed the right of appeal.

Eddie Clarke: I was amazed the evidence could not be provided immediately with the suspension letter and it took weeks and weeks and a formal SAR request to get the data, which in my case took the form of one tweet and two retweets over a couple of weeks. I was unsuspended with a warning letter along with most other people.

The unsuspending letter identified one retweet as being particularly bad; however it was very apparent that whoever wrote the letter completely misread the tweet as I did not do what they claimed I did. Moreover, whilst my twitter profile makes no claim of my political affiliations, other tweeters of the same tweet who are publicly LP members weren’t suspended.

The process was so drawn out and so unhelpful I just lost the will to carry on pushing this on the issue of the open-ended warning, which is deeply unfair. Complete reform of the process needs to be made, together with clear and simple user-friendly guidelines for members. What occurred this summer was a breach of free speech and I feel Orwellian scale intimidation. Certainly not the democratic values we hope to uphold. I think a system which includes advocates is a good step forward.

Marilyn Browne: I was reinstated after being excluded on the grounds of repeatedly supporting another party on twitter. This was on the basis of one retweet and one taking part in a poll. I don’t call this repeatedly but also as it was based on a trawl for the phrase green party was misconstrued and out of context. SAR did not show any discussion at NEC and who reported or decided to exclude. In fact not very much sent to me on my SAR at all. I now have this on my record which they may use against me in the future. No one spoke to me about my intentions on the tweets and no one contacted or notified my branch where they actually know me and know that I supported the Labour Party all my life.

Anon (my decision as person is very fragile due to this abuse allowed by the NEC): I have never been abusive because that simply isn’t my style. My mother brought me up to behave properly at all times and my career was built on acting appropriately and sensibly. I also don’t swear.
When I got the letter, I was in actual shock. I cried solidly for about an hour. I had never been accused of anything like this before. And then I got angry. Before being accused of anything, I always want proof – you need to show where I did this. So I sent them an email and demanded my proof.
Around 3 weeks later, I got a letter. I had apparently insulted John McTernan & grievously damaged his reputation. He had said during a Sky interview that trade unions are trying to destroy & damage the country. My reply on Twitter was that I was incredulous that a Labour party member could say that.
That was enough to warrant a slur on my reputation & character.

(my decision as person is very fragile due to this abuse allowed by the NEC): I was a complete mess. I’d really never been accused of anything like that before. All I could think of was all the work my mother had done to bring my brother & sisters up properly. She always used to say ‘whatever you do, don’t ever bring police to my door’. And that’s exactly what that letter felt like. As if I’d let her down.

Sheree Bell: I was accused of Abusive Conduct and told that my actions were detrimental to the Labour party. My crime was expressing an opinion about an MP in a private message that nobody else could see! I am a qualified Social Worker, with a 40 year career in safeguarding vulnerable adults, who fights for equality and social justice constantly, and so to be labelled an ‘Abuser’ was one of the hardest things I have ever had to read.

After complaining to Iain McNicol I was reinstated to the party but with ‘a warning’ on my file. Can you imagine how this feels for a public servant working in Health & Social Care to have it recorded on a government system somewhere that I have engaged in abusive and detrimental behaviour? And that recording has been done with no investigation and no access to appeal? I am furious and devastated at the same time.

Linda Meehan: Unequal treatment. Members and supporters are treated as scum. Whilst the poisonous ones like Jess Phillips get rewarded with media attention. And they’ll use the old ‘lessons will be learned’ crap but no actual change to benefit the members will take place. I too have been suspended then unsuspended with a warning on my file. A warning. Are they joking. We pay their undeserved salaries and yet they treat us with utter contempt. For the most part the initial suspensions was bang out of order in the first place. I joined the party to make a difference and all that’s happened is a denial of my, and others, vote. The process sucks because there isn’t a fair process. It’s guilty until proven innocent and even then, your card is marked. I believe in due process, that’s the basis of the law of our land. Yet we have been abused, accused and denied basic rights of reply.

Pat Roberts: After going 69 years without a stain on my character My beloved party put one there! I’ve stopped my membership and monthly donation until they remove a warning for something that was a retweet of someones opinion!! They can also do their own doorstepping, admin work and envelope licking in future, as well as their telephoning and running people about on voting day!!

Mal Sainsbury: I continue to be disgusted by the disgraceful and completely unwarranted accusation of ‘abusive conduct’ by nameless people I don’t know targeting members who they believe support Corbyn, including myself. I now firmly believe this was in order to remove their votes and voices as delegates in conference.

The people who orchestrated this ‘purge’ must be brought to account with an independent enquiry. I will remain in the Labour Party but will not rest until this slur on my character has been removed with full apologies and the assurance that this kind of behaviour can never be allowed to happen again, and that those responsible are stopped from bringing the party into such disrepute.

To suppress freedom of speech, an open and honest exchange of ideas and defame the character of so many Labour Party members through such underhand procedures must be stopped if we are to see Labour in power again.

 

d5058-einstein-justice-quotes

 

`The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy`  Martin Luther King 

`In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends` Martin Luther King 

`Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matterMartin Luther King 

 

What a loss to the Labour Party due to the unacceptable open ended Warning letter

Carl was accused by the LP of abuse. The case is quite pathetic and to call it abuse is an insult to people who have been abused. Carl demanded that the Warning letter was withdrawn and the abuse by the Party disciplinary procedure meant they simply ignored him.

Given his appalling treatment and the stress and pain it has caused him, and the refusal of the Party to allow a proper hearing and an appeal, he resigned from the Party.  Here is his resignation letter:

Although he resigned he continues to do good humanitarian work – but you now no longer have him as a valued member of the Party because of the abuse from the Party toward him and the sickening disregard for due process and natural justice.

Any member, no matter their station, and especially any member of the NEC who does not condemn this has ZILCH respect from me.

What Carl is up to now:

As well as advertising our events on line, we put up posters in key places around the city but have always wondered if they are effective. I found out last night when a gentleman turned up declaring that he had seen our poster in a local shop and thought he would come along to see the film. It’s always satisfying to reach new people.

The film we screened (Palestine Blues) is an incredibly powerful indictment of the abuses committed by an occupying power but also a reminder of the steadfastness of the Palestinian people desperately trying to hang onto land their families have farmed for generations.

There is something obscene about the use of giant bulldozers to destroy the citrus groves and olive trees that those families depend on them for their livelihood under the gaze of heavily armed Israeli soldiers. I am grateful to Sarah W for adding to her already packed itinerary to travel to Worcester to be with us and for taking these photos. I didn’t get around to taking any myself.

Carl`s resignation letter

The usual adage `you have to laugh or you`d cry` doesn`t work with this: you do both – that is how heartbreaking and worthy of derision the disciplinary debacle is

On Tuesday yet again there is a meeting about the appalling abusive  (non) procedures of the Disciplinary system currently used and DEFENDED by the NEC.

We demand:

a) that from now on each and every single case of discipline is automatically allowed an appeal.

b) that every person who is under `investigation` (that must be in quotes because the lack of investigation for the majority is conspicuous by its absence) is automatically notified that they can appoint an Advocate (that may seem extreme but needs must when confronted with the abusive way most members have been treated in relation to the disciplinary `procedure`).

c) that any Administrative suspension absolutely MUST be followed by a full and proper investigation where the accused is given the opportunity to fully hear and respond to every aspect of the accusation. In other words no Warning letters without a full enquiry and even then an appeal must be allowed.

It is clear from reports and responses to date that the NEC is not taking responsibility for this abusive shambles. They are making noises that it `won`t happen again`  – this is unacceptable as it HAS happened and unless they take full responsibility for the mess it can happen again. It is unacceptable that they consider it just to behave like the police policing themselves.

Now given the dismissive attitude that we and members have so far received none of that will be considered. That is the measure of just how little respect the NEC is displaying toward members.

Lets see if they even have the decency to immediately advise people that any warning is time limited (quite ludicrous that it is not already the case).

For your interest here is a cross section of the heartbreaking and ludicrous aspects of this situation, and it continues:

Clive Andrews: To be suspended for comments that are less bad than many others such as MPs etc and then have no power of appeal or indeed no appropriate process to challenge judgment is unprofessional, unethical and frankly is a disgrace. I now have on file a black mark that I am not allowed to contest given by a group I do not trust or feel have any legal right to have done so. I have written to Compliance, Legal and Ann Black and have been dismissed or sideswiped or ignored.  It’s completely disgusting.

Pamela Ann: I think the warning letters are intimidating, and threatening.

Gordon MacIver: What is missing, in my opinion, is the right to have the evidence against you with chapter and verse as to why it merits suspension as well as the right to a hearing ALL before suspension can occur: particularly when suspension denies the right to vote or hold office. I have demanded same and more before I will meet with them. One other thing is this ‘chat on the phone’. Imagine that being a procedure at work …….. that is truly laughable and I have told them I will not dignify it. It is for them to justify their accusations, before we defend ourselves. I need to know EXACTLY what I am accused of before I can respond.

Marilyn Browne: I was reinstated after being excluded on the grounds of repeatedly supporting another party on twitter. This was on the basis of one retweet and one taking part in a poll. I don`t call this repeatedly but also as it was based on a trawl for the phrase green party was misconstrued and out of context. SAR did not show any discussion at NEC and who reported or decided to exclude. In fact not very much sent to me on my SAR at all. I now have this on my record which they may set against me in the future. No one spoke to me about my intentions on the tweets and no one contacted or notified my branch where they actually know me and know that I supported the Labour Party all my life. It was clearly used as a means of taking my vote out of the system. Funny too that I am reinstated just before membership fees are due.

Sheree Bell: I was accused of Abusive Conduct and told that my actions were detrimental to the Labour party. My crime was expressing an opinion about an MP in a private message that nobody else could see! I am a qualified Social Worker, with a 40 year career in safeguarding vulnerable adults, who fights for equality and social justice constantly, and so to be labelled an ‘Abuser’ was one of the hardest things I have ever had to read. After complaining to Ian McNicol I was reinstated to the party but with ‘a warning’ on my file. Can you imagine how this feels for a public servant working in Health & Social Care to have it recorded on a government system somewhere that I have engaged in abusive and detrimental behaviour? And that recording has been done with no investigation and no access to appeal? I am furious and devastated at the same time.

Glynis Millward: I am still suspended for “breaching the rules on recruitment”. I have just undergone an “investigation” meeting and am awaiting the notes from that. My suspension letter did not state which clause/rule I had breached – so how can I know and more to the point how can I confirm that the NEC have correctly applied the admin suspension. Despite making 64 phone calls to the Labour helpline, legal queries and ERS I did not receive my ballot or indeed receive details of the alleged breach. It was not until I submitted my court claim that I finally found out what clause I was alleged to have breached. Are the NEC honestly expecting suspended members to make 64 phone calls and lodge a court claim before finding out what it is they are alleged to have done? Although I have not had a warning (yet) I do not believe for those that have, that it should lie on file indefinitely; that is a clear breach of DPA (retaining data accurately & fairly).
 
Carl Freeman: “I poured my heart and soul into correspondence with the General Secretary and spent hours composing letters in which I have desperately sought evidence of my “crimes” and attempted to have an unjustified warning on my file removed. And I got nowhere. I was therefore reluctant to spend any more time writing on this matter. The opaque, intransigent disciplinary process, lacking in any natural justice had taken such a toll on my emotional wellbeing last year that I took the decision to withdraw from the Labour Party.
I refused to be treated as a second class member and so I had only two options. To continue to try and secure justice for myself or to throw in the towel. Those close to me saw the effect that it was all having on my mental health and so urged me to give up. Which is what I have done. Taking a break from it all over Christmas gave me the space I needed to see how the fiasco was impacting on my health.

The only reason I am writing now is in the hope the the NEC is serious about wanting to learn lessons. To be honest, I am not overly confident that they really want to. I suspect they would prefer to try and brush the whole thing under the carpet. But that strategy is doomed to failure and will simply hold the Party back. Only an independent review will work and even then it requires a genuine commitment from the NEC to accept the findings.

Of course that will take great courage. I am sure that in their heart of hearts, most NEC members realise how badly the Party got things wrong and so will be reluctant to open themselves up to criticism. But owning up and apologising for mistakes can be hugely cathartic. It is not too late to try and put things right. OK – it is too late for me. I am no longer a member. But the Party itself needs to heal. And only an open, independent and transparent review will enable that to happen.”
Pat Roberts: After going 69 years without a stain on my character My beloved party put one there! I’ve stopped my membership and monthly donation until they remove a warning for something that was a retweet of someones opinion!! They can also do their own doorstepping, admin work and envelope licking in future, as well as their telephoning and running people about on voting day!!
Colin O`Driscoll: I was expelled on the the basis of a retweet from a twitter account of a joke by David Schneider about Zac goldsmith. This made me a Tory apparently. The expulsion was replaced by a suspension for a retweet from October 2015. I am still waiting to hear when I would be interviewed for this alleged crime.
Demetra Jones: The NEC carries out the purge and the same NEC discusses the purge and what can be done differently. To me this is a joke. There should be an investigation carried out by an independent body.
IF THE NEC STILL CONSIDER IT IS REASONABLE TO ISSUE A WARNING WITHOUT EVEN A RIGHT OF REPLY INVESTIGATION THEN YOU MAY THINK THAT THEY WOULD AT LEAST HAVE THE DECENCY TO MAKE THAT TIME LIMITED (you know a bit like that which happens in criminal law),  But nope. They act as judge jury and lifetime executioner.
broken-trust

This is NEC Abuse. We will NOT ACCEPT WARNING LETTERS as a `resolution`! We demand an ADVOCATE system is put in place for every single member accused of breaking Party discipline rules.

Carl John Freeman:

 

So after some serious reflection I have made my decision. My battle with Iain McNicol and the Labour Party NEC is over. I was at serious risk of further damaging my already flaky emotional wellbeing. I took the whole purging thing too personally. I love the local Party and I wish them well in the sterling work they are doing fighting for a fairer society. But whilst Iain McNicol remains as General Secretary and I have an unjustified official warning hanging over my head for which I allegedly have no right of appeal, I cannot remain a member of the Labour Party.

One thing I will credit Iain McNicol with though is that he is an absolute master of irony. He accuses Jeremy Corbyn supporters of being Marxists while ruling over a Compliance Unit that would have made the Stasi blush. Plus he has the audacity to suggest that I and countless others are bringing the Party into disrepute!

My fight is not with the Labour Party itself and certainly not with local Party members. I will still urge friends and colleagues to vote Labour for a fairer society. But while that awful man remains in post as General Secretary then I feel I have no choice but to leave. Of course in posting this comment and this photo, I admit that it would constitute grounds for my suspension or expulsion from the Party. But having today written my letter of resignation, that is academic.

Sarah, the young heroine of the film Labyrinth, escaped from the emotional maze in which she had been imprisoned by the odious Goblin King when she realised that she no longer had to tolerate his mind games. She had an epiphany and declared, “You have no power over me”. And so it is with me. 2016 was an awful year for all sorts of reasons and I refuse to take crap with me into 2017.

.
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Here is Carl`s letter to the L.P. establishment, and specifically to Iain McNicol:

Dear Sirs

My Membership of the Labour Party

I received your latest correspondence just before the Christmas break. It merely reinforced conclusions that I had already reached:

• Under your stewardship, the Labour Party has become devoid of natural justice
• Last year’s purge of members was entirely politically motivated solely targeting people who are supporters of Jeremy Corbyn as part of a futile attempt at rigging the Leadership election

You have both consistently failed to respond to my requests for detail of allegations against me or provide concrete “evidence” of wrong-doing. You have also failed to acknowledge the hurt I felt as the result of your false and unproven accusations. I am sure you are well aware that there are numerous closed and secret social media groups of purged members who are all comparing notes. You have annoyed a great many decent people who do not take such shoddy treatment lightly. If you think your template letters unsuspending people with warnings on file are going to enable you to brush all this under the carpet, then I have news for you. It is merely the latest in a line of miscalculations you have made over the past year or so.

As I have indicated in previous correspondence, last year was particularly stressful for me. I lost both of my parents within the space of three months which magnified the negative impact your false allegations had on me. My instinct is to always fight injustice. Ordinarily in the face of an unwarranted suspension based on zero evidence and the placement of a formal warning on my file with no right of appeal I would keep fighting. But I realise that the distress this has caused me and which it continues to cause me is having a detrimental effect on my emotional wellbeing.

You and I know full well why I and countless others have been given an official warning of indeterminate length with no right of appeal. Your statement that you reserve the right to “return to the matter in the future” makes it abundantly clear that next time there is an internal election you can simply invoke these warnings and once again, disenfranchise people who have publicly declared their support for Jeremy Corbyn. I am aware of hundreds of people who continue to fight this unfair and undemocratic policy. But I personally don’t have the emotional resilience to continue the fight. Last year I lost two of the dearest, kindest, most caring and compassionate people I have ever known. I still grieve for them and I do not need this additional emotional stress.

My Dad was a great observer of life. He recognised that sometimes you have to throw in the towel, no matter how much you might want to struggle on. He would say to me that “graveyards are full of dead heroes”. I knew exactly what he meant. It is clear to me that you have a strategy of battening down the hatches and ignoring reasoned argument and so I have no chance of securing justice on your watch. As you have made it perfectly clear that I have no right of appeal against my warning and your replies to letters that I have written and into which I have ploughed time and emotional energy are impersonal off-the-shelf and dismissive. I have given up any hope that you actually care anymore and the fact that hundreds if not thousands of members are all getting standard replies is indicative of the industrial scale of the clean-up operation after the mess you have created.

Of course, you have not actually read this letter and as with all my previous correspondence, whoever has been given responsibility for dealing with it will have only given it the most cursory review. But for what it is worth, I hereby formally give notice that I am no longer a member of the Labour Party. I am deeply saddened by the actions of the NEC, the PLP and of the General Secretary in particular. The country is crying out for change. People aspire to a new kind of politics and at a time when the Party could have been building on waves of enthusiasm generated by Jeremy Corbyn’s election, sections of the Party have chosen instead to fight him and the membership rather than the Tories. I find that and the way I and countless other members have been treated to be utterly disgraceful. Hence my decision to move on with my life.

Yours faithfully,

Carl Freeman

Cc: West Midlands Regional Labour Party
Officers of Worcester CLP

 carl
We demand an ADVOCATE system is put in place for every single member accused of breaking Party discipline rules.

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