Tony Greenstein | 23 July 2018 | Post Views:

Lee Rock has been told by Labour’s Disputes Committee that he’s under investigation for discussing
masturbation on Facebook!

You couldn’t make it up. Fresh
from the moral panic that is Labour’s false anti-Semitism campaign, we now have
the po-faced Acting Head of Disputes Committee, Nareser Osei, (does that mean
the execrable Sam Matthews has gone?) writing to Lee Rock, a well known trade
unionist and member of Sheffield Labour Party informing him that he has,
apparently, breached Labour Party rules.

I have to confess a personal interest in this.  When I was young I was solemnly informed by my father, a Jewish rabbi, that masturbation was not only a sin (naturally) but would also make me blind.  As far as I know I still have my sight!
‘These allegations relate to your
participation in an extended debate on a Facebook group in which you argued in
favour of mastburbation in workplaces.’
Is there, I wondered, a Labour
Party rule against wanking? Or maybe just one against wanking at work?  Is there a code of conduct? And then I wondered.  Perhaps it is anti-Semitic to talk about
wanking? No it’s not as strange as you think. Have you never read Portnoy’s
Complaint by Philip Roth, a book which outraged polite society? 
Gershom Scholem, Israel’s Professor of Mysticism described
Portnoy’s Complaint as “the book for which all anti-Semites have been praying”. So you
see, if the anti-Semites love this book it must be because it is anti-Semitic. Ipso facto masturbation must be anti-Semitic!!
It is also about the joys of masturbation so it really is quite reasonable to
assume that wankers are anti-Semites and even more so those who advocate it (or
tolerate it) at work.
Philip Roth’s book that outraged decent society, Zionists included
I was thinking of asking Margaret Hodge for her opinion, but
given her record in supporting child sex abuse I thought better of it.
I am surprised that the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism hasn’t
include masturbation as an illustration of anti-Semitism e.g. ‘Accusing Jews of being wankers’
It’s more reasonable than the rest of the illustrations. 
Enough of this. In the Left
Unity Members, Supporters and Friends Facebook Group
over 3 years ago,
before Lee was even a member of the Labour Party, he participated in a
discussion on wanking at work. One might have hoped that the Chakrabarti
recommendations for a 2 year moratorium on social media commens to be observed.
On the Labour Against the Witchhunt website there is a good
article by Carla Roberts entitled Has
the Labour witch-hunt climaxed?
(I think that’s a pun but I better err on
the side of caution given Margaret Hodge is active these days).
The background to the Facebook debate was the ex-MP Simon Danczuk MP having
been caught out accessing hard-core porn sites. He openly had to admit that he watches porn and of course the
media feigned outrage.
Owen Jones, who as Carla points out was then “still almost relevant”, wrote an article, in which he asked, “Why should we care?” He pointed out that we are all “flawed human beings” and that we should
criticise Danczuk’s rightwing politics not his personal habits.
This however really upset some radical feminists (who are now called Terfs
– trans-exclusionary radical feminists). All Mothers Work,
published an article
attacking Owen Jones’ description of Danczuk’s
behaviour as “normal”. It described people who access porn at work as “unstable perverts” presumably as opposed
to stable perverts!
I have to confess, being somewhat naive. I didn’t know that 30% of the population admit to wanking at work which another questionnaire put it at 39%.  I must confess it has never appealed to me but if you’re bored…
Somebody posted the article in a Facebook group and Lee argued that what
people do in private in a toilet cubicle is their business. The result was a
long debate with over 150 comments – which is still online.  It has
even produced its own satirical blog post. The exchange is also available on the Labour Party Marxists website.
Lee’s view can be summed up as: “If
the person next to me at work goes to the loo, I really don’t care if they have
a shit or a wank.”
Lee Rock did not positively “argue in favourof
masturbating in workplaces”, as Ms Osei claims in her letter.

Morality police?

The point however is a serious one. Lee is under investigation not for committing
any offence, but for arguing that what one does in the privacy of a toilet
cubicle should not be viewed as a criminal offence– especially not one
that would lead to the ‘perpetrator’ being “removed from society”, as the
terfs’ article demanded.
This reminds me of the bad old days when the Police would hang around
public toilets in plain clothes trying to entice gay men into committing an
offence of gross indecency. It seems
the prudish Osei, who is a Newham councillor, belongs to that tradition. That feminist
morality guardians would be outraged is one thing but that the Labour Party
should launch an investigation over this issue is mind-boggling.
We note that masturbating at work is, of course, not illegal. It might
be a sackable offence, but only if (a) you have been caught in the act
(lock the door?) and (b) your employer thinks you’ve broken one of their rules
– for example, by taking too much time over it!
You may have difficulty fighting a claim for unfair dismissal but unless
you’ve done something crassly indecent, there would be plenty of mitigating
circumstances: stress levels at work, family risk of prostate cancer (which,
according to medical advice, can be reduced by masturbating a few times a day) etc.
Some psychologists and doctors even argue that employees should
be positively encouraged 
to engage in auto-eroticism at work, as it
can be a very effective form of stress-relief that also increases production
Like tens of thousands of others, Lee Rock only joined Labour in July
2016, in order to support Jeremy Corbyn. In other words, his comments were
written 15 months before he even joined. On what possible basis is this ‘investigation’
being conducted?
It is difficult to take this case seriously but given the current climate
we should not assume that it will simply be dismissed. Yes, Jennie Formby and
Gordon Nardell are way to the left of those rightwing scumbags Iain McNicol, Stolliday
and co. but the witch-hunt is not over. Unfortunately Corbyn and
his allies are still trying to appease the right, despite all the evidence
showing that it does not work (Margaret Hodge’s attack
on Corbyn for being a “fucking
anti-Semite and racist
” on July 16 being a case in point).
The letter to Lee states that “the
general secretary has appointed Charlotte Walker, investigating officer, to
arrange conduct of the party’s own investigation”.
We cannot be sure if Formby
is aware of idiot Osei’s letter or has read the whole thread on Facebook. If
she has then shame on her for wasting members’ money  launching this nonsense
investigation. If she has not read it, then shame on her for not putting more
effort into preventing such ludicrous allegations being made. Not all idiotic allegations
which are made are followed up by an investigation. Some are dismissed at an
early stage as this one should have been.
Lee  Rock is only the latest case
in a long list of leftwing activists targeted by the Labour Right. Somebody
must have put in a considerable amount of time and effort to find this particular
online thread. Did they read all of Lee’s posts from the last three years and
if so why? If Labour’s disciplinary process was governed by natural justice Lee would have been told who his accuser is. It seems there is
still no real change in the disciplinary process

Left target

What is the real reason that Lee Rock has been targeted? I can only
assume that it is because he has played an important role in organising the
left across Sheffield and made plenty of enemies in the process. Together with
former Labour NEC member, Unite’s Martin Mayer, he has set up Sheffield Labour
Left List, which organises the left across all six local CLPs (this has become
even more important since Momentum Sheffield has been taken over by the Lansman
right). He was also a key figure campaigning for Jared O’Mara, the first Labour
MP ever elected in Sheffield Hallam, transforming the local CLP in the process,
which is now firmly in the hands of the left. More recently, he helped to stop
the planned transformation of the district Labour Party into a mere
cheerleading club for local councillors.
Now that Jared O’Mara has resigned from the party, potential candidates
from the left and right are falling over each other to replace him as
parliamentary candidate, with numerous rightwingers joining Momentum to look
like they are pro-Corbyn (ironically O’Mara was also subject to discipline for
inappropriate comments made on social media more than a decade ago, when he was
in his early 20s). Maybe somebody, somewhere feared that comrade Rock might
throw his hat in the ring – at least among local leftwing Labour Party members,
he would be a popular choice.
This is happening all over the country. False accusations of bullying and
harassment are launched just in time to stop somebody becoming a candidate or
to prevent members from voting at a crucial meeting. It is old-style machine
politics. For the individual concerned, however, it is deeply unpleasant and
often traumatic with their personal reputation publicly tarnished or even
destroyed. They might be cleared afterwards, but suspicions often remain.
We presume that Lee’s accuser is hoping that the NEC will find that he
has “brought the party into disrepute”, in
order that he can be expelled. This is how the Right got rid of Tony Greenstein
and Marc Wadsworth, after all it’s a beautiful catch-all phrase that can cover a
multitude of sins.
Nevertheless, Lee has been told that he is not suspended from membership.
A change from the past and maybe a sign that Formby and Nardell are reforming
the disciplinary process. However, this small step forward is almost entirely
cancelled out by the very fact that there is an investigation. It
clearly needs to be shut down, now, accompanied by a public apology and action
taken against those who have made this vexatious complaint. Wanking
at work

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