Labour Against the Witchhunt Lobby of NEC: Lansman sneaks in through the back door
Labour Against the Witchhunt Lobby of NEC: Lansman sneaks in through the back door
Guido Fawkes and Skwawkbox Sing From the Same Hymn Sheet
Well it was a bitterly cold morning
for a lobby of Labour’s NEC. A few press were there behind barriers and we
were asked to go behind them as well but we turned down the opportunity to
For over an hour, until the last
NEC member had gone in (or sneaked in!) we maintained a vigil with the theme
End the Expulsions – End the Witchhunt. One of those who didn’t sneak in was Jeremy Corbyn, who greeted us, probably remembering when he was Secretary of Labour Against the Witchhunt in the early 1980’s!! Last time we held a picket, in January, one of our slogans was for the
removal of General Secretary ‘Crooked’ Iain McNicol. Today it was time for his replacement Jenny
Formby to be selected. This is something
we very much welcome.
The witches come out
Also McNicol’s familiars, his
fellow tricksters and fabricators, John Stolliday, Dan Simpson, Patrick
Heneghan, Tracey Allen, Julie Lawrence, Neil Fleming, Emilie Oldknow
and Simon Jackson have also departed.
This is very much to be welcomed though I did query today what is
holding back the Head of Disputes Sam Matthews, who wrote the suspension and
expulsion letters to Glyn Secker of Jewish Voice for Labour and Moshe
Machover. He must be feeling very
There were, as far as we are aware,
two reports of the lobby. Skwawkbox,
the ever so loyal Lansman blog of Steve Walker, reported the lobby with the
absurd title Momentum:
“Momentum logo at LAW protest without our ok” Apparently they held it was a crime for Brighton
and Hove Momentum’s banner to be there without permission from the Central Committee
of Momentum in the form of its ‘owner’ Jon Lansman. They quoted from unnamed ‘sources’ in Brighton
that we had no permission to use the banner, which was an outright lie, only
slightly corrected in later editions. Discussion
about taking the banner was flagged up in Brighton Momentum Committee Facebook
group last week with no objections.
Below is a report
from the Labour Against the Witchhunt site.
Jackie Walker who has been suspended over 18 months and is producing the very successful play ‘The Lynching’ on the racist treatment she receives from those who attack her as ‘anti-semitic’
Intrepid opponents of the Labour purge of pro-Corbyn supporters braved
freezing weather to be on a lobby of the party’s National Executive Committee
today. They included members of Grassroots Black Left, the Labour
Representation Committee, Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Party Marxists and
Brighton and Hove Momentum. Organised by Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW),
the high-spirited demo sighted party leader Corbyn, his political advisor Katy
Clark and Campaign for Labour Party Democracy secretary Peter Willsman, an NEC
member, going into the meeting at Labour’s Southside headquarters in central
London. But, mysteriously, despite the people on the lobby being outside the
office block an hour before the NEC meeting started, no more members of
Labour’s 39-strong ruling body, where the Corbyn-backing Left recently took
control, were seen – suggesting they may have slipped into the building from a
back entrance to avoid being questioned. The campaigners
chanted: “Stop the witch hunts”, “End the suspensions”, and
“Implement Chakrabarti now”.
Former Momentum vice-chair Jackie Walker, who has been suspended by
Labour for almost two years, said: “We welcome the resignation of general
secretary Iain McNicol and his replacement today by Jennie Formby, a
Jeremy Corbyn supporter whom LAW has critically supported. Things are
definitely changing in the party, but they are not changing fast enough for a
lot of members who remain suspended or expelled based on trumped-up or false
charges or simply because they are active supporters of Corbyn.”
Marc Wadsworth whose case is imminent before the National Kangaroo Committee
Such a nice tweet motivated by the Jewish Labour Movement’s racist witchhunt of Jackie Walker – there is much more vile stuff even than this
Grassroots Black Left’s Marc Wadsworth, the veteran anti-racist
campaigner suspended by Labour in June 2016 whose expulsion hearing
is on April 25, was on the lobby with Walker and Tony Greenstein, who, despite
being Jewish, has been expelled on a false charge of anti-semitism. Wadsworth
said: “We demand that the recommendations of the 2016 Chakrabarti report in respect
of natural justice and due process are implemented without any further delay.
The NEC’s failure to so far make the long-overdue changes has brought the
party, that prides itself on upholding justice for all, into disrepute. The
divisive purge of Jeremy Corbyn supporters has prevented and discouraged new
members from getting involved in party life, while costly Labour resources have
been wasted in persecuting some of the most energetic and effective campaigners
for social change.”
witches a plenty
In the conversation
below is an exchange between Steve Walker the editor of Skawkbox, over the abysmal post that appeared there today, Sally who is media consultant to Labour Against
the Witchhunt and myself. Brighton and
Hove Momentum has quite clear policy on the witchhunt. However one right-winger today broke cover on
Brighton Momentum Committee page to moan about how embarrassed he was. I won’t name him but he blocked me in order
that I couldn’t see the post, little realising that I was bound to see it
anyway via others!
please take down the inaccurate article on Skawkbox
or I’ll respond.
LAW did not take the B&H Momentum banner.
I am on the Steering Cttee of B&H Momentum. 2 other people from
B&H Momentum attended. This was discussed without objection on
the B&H Momentum FB group.
We do not need the approval of the dictator of
Momentum, Lansman to bring the banner.
In short the report is a lie
17:21 (6 hours ago) to
Local Momentum people drew my attention
to the banner’s use, frustrated that it was being used in that context – a
context that was almost certainly going to be exploited by the MSM
– without proper discussion and agreement. I checked with Momentum central
in case they’d ok’d it. They said no. The article is accurate in what it says –
which doesn’t include anything about the correctness or otherwise of your
17:30 (6 hours ago)
I do not know who these ‘local Momentum people’ are
since you have not named them. The banner was at the demonstration and
this was notified on the Momentum blogs without any disagreement. It is
also the policy of Momentum in BH to oppose the witch hunt.
We do not need Momentum central’s
permission. This is not a Trotskyist democratic centralist organisation
although Momentum is completely undemoxcratic. The article is not accurate
and you have a duty to amend or delete it.
What you could have done is to highlight the fact
that Cyril Chilsom, whose parents are survivors of the
extermination/concentration camps is up b4 the NCC today. Or the demands
to lift Jackie Walker or Marc Wadsworth’s suspensions.
You could have simply covered the lobby instead you
decided to focus on alleged opposition from Momentum in BH without quoting
anyone and on Lansman’s opposition, which we take for granted.
The article could be from MSM. It is
worthless and simply aids the Right in the LP. How do you differ from the
17:48 (5 hours ago)
Your headline states LAW used it we did
not. That is fact I’m afraid and I know as I see all our internal emails. 3
Momentumbh members brought it to the lobby as an independent and allegedly
autonomous local momentum group. The issue it seems is an internal branding
argument re banners/logos within momentum itself. It has nothing to do with
LAW. This has arisen because of the photos. I’ve taken them off our Twitter as
the suggestion has been offensive in itself. Clearly there is an internal
dispute within momentumbh on this between your momentum contacts and others. It
has nothing to do with LAW and we would appreciate a correction or changing
your headline and any mention that LAW used a momentum banner at all.
Happy to change the headline. Space constraints
meant the shortest shorthand to get the message across was used, but we can
In fact it is Momentum’s internal
argument that has tainted our event unfortunately which you really needn’t have
highlighted. Our last lobby produced no such similar article and we had 2 other
banners brought independently to that one. Appreciate it if you would make it
clear LAW did not bring the banner or use it.
Anything that Tony says on his personal
Twitter or in ‘real life’ is also not an official position by LAW unless signed
off by our Steering Group but I personally don’t see anything unusual about
what he said as 2,000% of the Left would no doubt be behind him.
I look forward to the corrections if
you feel there is still a story there of public interest. I think the sniping
between you two is unprofessional to say the least.
Your comments are just ad hominems. It’s the
kind of rubbish I expect from the Right not someone who is, apparently, on the
You say you are unwilling to allow my comment
because otherwise you would have to let everything go. I’m sorry that
your software is so limiting. Perhaps you should use disqus as I do on my
You also say you won’t be naming who you apparently
spoke to. If they are not willing to go on the record then you shouldn’t be
quoting them. I have no idea why they should not be willing to be named
apart from political cowardice. Your methodology smacks of the same
mainstream media you were, I thought, set up in opposition to. Quotes
from anonymous people. What does that remind you of? I had a
Momentum meeting tonite in Brighton and no one raised any objection to the use
of the banner on the lobby.
No Momentum doesn’t own its own logos, Lansman
does. The fact that Momentum is ‘owned’ rather than being a democratic
organisation should give you pause for thought. If socialist politics is
about who individually owns a logo then it doesn’t differ from capitalist
politics. The problem with Momentum is its command and control structure
and its total lack of democracy. This is of course Lansman’s doing
coupled with his imposition of a take it or leave it constitution. Why
does that matter? Because if and when Corbyn gets into power we are going
to need a powerful socialist organisation in the Labour party which can debate
its own strategy and tactics, not least to defend a government that will be
under constant attack.
Instead you seem to be subscribing to some quite
dodgy political ideas. Momentum consists of those
in it. Today the
remaining remnants of democracy resides in its local groups but you seem to
want that eradicted. You are therefore happy, it would seem to go along
with privatising everything in Momentum.
I haven’t looked at Twitter today, partly because I
have a major story on David Collier I want to get out. A story about his
fascist and far-Right links. Collier, since you probably don’t know, is
the racist Zionist who has alleged that Labour members, including Corbyn, have
gone along with anti-Semitism. It is the type of thing Skwawkbox once did
but instead you are happy to carry these nasty, bitchy, nitpicking articles
with anonymous quotes aimed to please Labour’s new hierarchy and Lansman.
I shouted out that Sam Matthews, the Witchfinder
General, who suspended two Jewish friends of mine should follow in the wake of
McNicol, Oldknow and Stolliday. I also declared that the Compliance Unit
should be shut down and we could save all that money by being rid of these
McCarthyists. Sorry if that displeased anyone.
No we didn’t hand any goal, easy or difficult to
the Right. That is your achievement. The protest today was, like
the one in January, aimed at highlighting the witchhunt that you’ve said next
to nothing about.
You refer to my ‘track record’. Yes I have a
track record of saying what I mean and meaning what I say. Clearly that’s
something that Skwawkbox has abandoned. If you want something to quote
from me then you can quote the comment I submitted
The reasons we demonstrated today are contained in
my blog article http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/all-out-for-lobby-of-labours-national.html
the reinstatement of George Galloway and myself. The lifting of all
suspensions, the implementation of Chakrabarti, the abandonment of the
Zionists’ IHRA definition of anti-semitism in favour of the one on the LAW
Facebook page and the disbandment of the Compliance Unit.
I’m sorry that Swawkbox has decided so soon to
become a part of the Labour establishment so quickly. I just hope that
Tom Watson thanks you for your services.
23:05 (34 minutes ago)
to me, Sally
sources are an integral part of journalism and have nothing to do with the
credibility of the witnesses. You attacked me on social media over things that
you’d conjured up in your own imagination, yet expect me to afford you
trust? You provided another example with the Tom Watson shite at the end
of the email below – you want to be a loose cannon, go for it. But don’t demand
everyone has to accommodate you.
seem to be mistaking me for someone who is an unalloyed fan of Momentum. It’s
not true. But it doesn’t mean your decision to protest today and hand the
establishment a gift on a day that we got a left-wing woman as general
secretary wasn’t at best naive and short-sighted and possibly worse.
write off anyone who doesn’t support your particular focus unequivocally.
Sorry, but you won’t get that from me – the big picture has more than one
Steve. You are the one that handed the
right a gift by writing your pointless article. Without that.. where would
there have been any negative press? The answer is. You were the only one who
conjured up a story that should have either been solely about a momentum row..
or the fact we had a lobby full stop. Having a lobby about the witch hunt and
reinstatement of members hunted by the right has nothing to do with the
appointment of Jenni Formby. Forgive me but years of being in PR gives me a
second sight about things and I can feel that your repeated words about gifting
the right something has been discussed with others. It’s not a lone thought you
had late at night and my question to you is. Who is or has been influencing
In this instance. It’s you that was the
loose cannon and my personal disappointment in you is that I worked hard to
open the communication window with me because of your gripes about Tony but you
actually threw us under a bus and by all accounts this is a theme.
May I remind you that we have never had
an ounce of public support from you ever.. Let alone private.
to me, Sally
won’t be naming them. They might not dispute it with you, Tony – can’t imagine
why that would be!
it or not, Momentum owns its logos – and according to people complaining on
Twitter you were saying “McNicol’s gone, now it’s time for the rest of them”.
That wasn’t quoted in the article, but did anyone there say anything like that?
If not, I’ll happily add a note to that effect. For the record, I’m in favour
of changing personnel – but the protest today was naive and that was
what handed an easy goal to the right, not the article.
see you’ve commented on the blog – I won’t be approving that, because if I
approve one comment WordPress lets all your future comments go through
unmoderated and putting it bluntly, based on your track record I’m
not willing to give you open access. But if you want to give me a usable quote
to add to the article body, I’ll do that for you.
if you want to give me something restrained and legally usable about
the other reasons you were protesting, I’ll put those in an article of their
own. But if you go over the top as you sometimes do, I won’t be able to
23:34 (18 minutes ago)
to Sally, me
the negative media was already there well before I wrote anything. And please
don’t lecture me about PR – you don’t need second sight to see that the timing
was ill-advised today. I’m sure you have your reasons why it couldn’t wait in
your assessment, but it didn’t achieve anything to protect your colleague up
before the NCC and was a propaganda gift to people who want to damage the left.
leap straight to assuming someone has ‘influenced’ me. Can’t you see the
problem with that?
was thrown under the bus today. If anyone got hit by one, you were driving it.
As for your closing comment, it demeans you – you don’t have to look very hard
to find me sticking up for people falsely accused and criticising those making
the false accusations. Just because it’s not on tap when you decide you should
have it doesn’t negate it, so why haven’t you looked to see the positions the
blog has publicly taken?
you see this kind of reaction is exactly why I haven’t wanted to engage – with
certain personalities rather than with the issues?
sorry I don’t follow the logic. ‘the negative
media was already there well before I wrote anything.’ So you thought
you’d add to the negative media? I thought the purpose of Skawkbox was to
counter that media. How silly of me.
today was the best time to make it clear that the
witchhunt has got to come to an end. It is the end, almost, of the ancien
regime yet already plotting is afoot eg the article in the Sunday Times about
Chuku’s new party. But there is unfinished business.
For 2 years there has been a wholly false and artificial ‘antisemitism’
campaign driven by Israel’s supporters whose main victims are Jews. It is
a campaign that has no end because feeding them victims only increases their
appetite. The real target is Corbyn and in particular a pro-US foreign
policy of which Israel is integral. Have you ever bothered to sit down
and analyse these things rather than acting as Lansman’s messenger boy?
All your jibes about a good news day doesn’t work. it is the kind of
trivia I expect from Jonathan Freedland or the Guardian.
I accept no one has influenced you not to support,
as Chair of Garston Labour Party the Garston 3. And likewise to oppose
any challenge to your sitting MP Maria Eagle. These are all things that
you would have done naturally.
As to throwing people under the bus. It is a
fact that Skawkbox has kept clear of the witch hunt and ‘difficult’ issues like
At least you have now come out with what you are
about. Skawkbox will no doubt entertain in the future but in terms of
what lies ahead it will have little to say by way of strategy.
Yes keep quoting anonymous sources. That’s
not journalism it is muck raking at its worst.
Was it. Could you show us where it was
other than your article. Last time our lobby actually attracted a rather
positive broadcast from the BBC..
Steve I’ve just lectured you. It’s
happened. The timing is irrelevant as the right hate Formby for her Pro Palestinian
stance.. and please note Corbyn chose not to sneak in the back of HQ but
understood our democratic right to protest.
I know more than you about Cyril’s
hearing and outcome at this point and having it on the same day actually
brought more coverage to his travesty of a hearing.
Propaganda gift how exactly? By being
alive on the planet and having an opinion? Or just standing outside HQ together
knowing Formby’s appointment was a foregone conclusion. What exactly was gifted
on this historic day?
Steve.. You leapt straight to throwing
us under a bus in a pointless and still confusing jumbled hit-piece (with
actual lies in it) without contacting either me or Tony. That’s what I see.
No.. You were driving it.
You’ve demeaned yourself Steve. Even
for me this was gutter stuff and pointless, hence my opinion on the matter.
Looking at the comments to it I haven’t seen one in agreement with you.
Nice try but whataboutery won’t work on
this. I’ve been speaking to you before LAW and You’ve never had a problem with
the help I’ve offered before and I said talk to me any time.
Again.. You’ve actually engaged with
the issues and none of the personalities on this so that’s the exact opposite
of your claim. To my knowledge I have never said anything bad about you in
public and I have been retweeting you in LAW and private account many of your
articles. Also told you I can be contacted any time. None of what you are
saying is true.
The reaction is based on the fact you
did not contact anybody in LAW to find out more details. But from what it looks
like as they have retweeted you.. the operator of momentumbh Twitter (whoever
that is). Not even a right of reply which I could have sorted out. Tony is not
always instantly available but Jackie is more often than not. But I fear there
would not have been any basis for the article that appears now if you had known
I’m done with this. To clarify once
again and with Tony as my witness. If you need information about LAW you can
contact us via LAW Twitter or my personal Twitter, or here at this e-mail if
you are too scared to contact Marc, Tony or Jackie and I will be able to get
clarification or quotes for you.
to me, Sally
did. You just didn’t like how it did.
I said, you have your reasons why you thought today was a good day. They’re
narrow, in keeping with your focus. Fair enough, just do try to be reasonable
if others see things differently and have a wider picture.
there you go with the Lansman crap again. Have you been paying attention to anything going
on outside your bubble? If you had, you wouldn’t spout such crap.
‘Garston 3’ were three similarly blinkered people – they knowingly broke a
clear party rule, did massive damage that undid gains others on the left had
worked years for and then expected the people whose work they had just undone
to self-immolate in their defence, when there was no defence. They were selfish
and then served their own heads on a platter to the right – everyone
else is still dealing with the consequences. Perhaps you’ll see why I’m not in
a rush to help others I don’t trust not to do the same.
to ‘steering clear’, again I invite you to bloody read. If you can’t be
bothered doing that, then as a next-best option refrain from flinging shit
about things you’re ignorant about.
you’re equally ignorant about journalism if you think the only sources that can
be used are those who can be named publicly.
done. I have neither time nor appetite to beat my head against a brick wall any
00:25 (0 minutes ago)
to SKWAWKBOX, Sally
Ok you accept you’ve thrown the Garston 3 under the
bus. I’m not aware they broke any rules but given that the Right break
them all the time and get away with it, with a nod and a wink from our crooked
ex-General Secretary McNicol then I would have expected you to see such
allegations in context. Rule breaking is a pretext the Right use even when they
blatantly lie about it as with Brighton & Hove’s cancelled AGM of 2 yrs
You were the one who went out on a limb defending
Lansman’s ‘ownership’ of Momentum’s logo not me. It is such a trivial
point, illuminating the undemocratic nature of Momentum but you see no problem
in the unelected Centre dictating to local groups. Fine.
I’m well aware that sometimes you have to use
anonymous sources. I do so when I expose fascists, as I said I’ve done so with
my new blog on Collier. I wouldn’t quote anonymous sources in an internal
Momentum dispute given that if they can’t be honest enough to be open about who
they are then what they say is probably not worth printing. As I’ve
already said, no one said a word to me today at the Momentum meeting about the
banner being used or at it being there at the picket of my NCC meeting.
B&H Momentum has had 6 people at least suspended or expelled. Your
article wasn’t journalism, it was sub-prime Private Eye gossip.
I suspect that if you did beat your head against a
brick wall you might come to your senses.
00:34 (1 minute ago)
to me, Sally
not sure which part of ‘we’re done’ was unclear. But since you asked – if
you’re going to raise something, for fuck’s sake (again) have some
information on it.
were going to TUSC meetings, moving motions there etc, clear participation and
support for another party. It might be a rule you don’t like but no question
it’s a rule. They broke it – and admitted breaking it. There was no way to
protect them without putting everyone else at risk – and it would be reckless
to do that for people who knew better and did it anyway. They put their neck on
the block then whined when the right swung the axe – putting everyone else’s
neck on the block would have achieved exactly nothing.
between G&H and B&H is simple: the accusations against B&H were
false. The ones against the ‘Garston 3’ were not.
a person that everyone keeps telling me is highly intelligent, you have an
enormous gap in your comprehension and seem determined not to recognise that or
let it prevent you shooting from the lip every time you feel like it. That’s
what made me not want to engage and I’m regretting more every moment that I
do please get the point of ‘we’re done’. It means we’re done.
00:38 (0 minutes ago)
to SKWAWKBOX, Sally
you don’t get to decide when something is done.
My understanding is that the Garston 3 did not have
any contact with TUSC and that it was a past association. If I’m wrong
then you’re right. That doesn’t affect though what I understand is your
support for the existing right-wing MP Maria Eagle.
My intelligence is for others to discern however I
know when someone is bullshitting.
Now I’m done!
to – but you don’t get to decide what I think or write about it, either.
understanding about the 3 is simply wrong. I have absolutely no idea why you
think I support Maria Eagle. That said, given the damage the 3 and those who
behaved idiotically in the aftermath, now is not the time to try to do anything
about our MP. Picking a fight you can’t win is pointless.
00:54 (4 minutes ago)
to me, SKWAWKBOX
As I understand it they were not TUSC
members. They had not broken any rule and if they were not members they would
have had no rights at all..
From: SKWAWKBOX Blog
Sent: Wednesday, 21 March, 00:49
00:58 (0 minutes ago)
to Sally, SKWAWKBOX
that is also my understanding of the affair.
01:16 (0 minutes ago)
to me, Sally
rule says ‘support’, not just ‘be members of’. The rest isn’t going to be
shared, for their confidentiality.
to the rules, they hadn’t a leg to stand on. Your understanding is incorrect.
If you’re using the source I suspect you are, it’s not surprising.
to me, SKWAWKBOX
Moshé Machovers expulsion was overturned for ‘supporting’ the Labour
Party Marxists etc
By that I mean..
wrote an article in their paper.
Hmm looks like half
the unions will need to go too.. strange this rule..
SKWAWKBOX Blog <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 1:16:21 AM To: Tony Greenstein; Sally E
to me, SKWAWKBOX
Can you clarify your
inference about a source?? Or not.. not really that bothered about imagined
relationships. The Garston 3 are well known. It’s known they were not members?
Seems this is a bit sensitive and there is some bad blood in Garton..