Tony Greenstein | 04 December 2015 | Post Views:

Pro-War Labour MPs Whine About ‘Intimidation’

Brighton Anti-war vigil 2nd December

Brighton  anti-war vigil

Brighton  anti-war vigil

Brighton  anti-war vigil


Brighton  anti-war vigil

On behalf of this blog I wish to express my
heart-felt sympathy for those 67 Labour MPs who voted to bomb the Syrian
civilians of Raqqa, men, women and children.  It is a terrible thing to bring home to those who vote in favour of death and destruction, from the comfort of Parliament,
the implications of their vote. 

Brighton  anti-war vigil
I imagine that readers of this blog will
wish to join me in expressing their revulsion at the idea that Stella Creasy,
one of the New Labour reptiles,should
be held to account for her vote to murder 
innocent civilians.
Apparently some wicked people even posted
photos of dead babies through the doors of war-mongering MPs.  This is disgraceful and should be stopped at
once.  It is difficult to imagine what
goes through the mind of someone who seeks to connect someone’s vote to the consequences
of their vote.  One can only hope that the
Police do their duty and arrest such people forthwith.  At the very minimum they should be sentenced
to life in prison.  
Unfortunately it’s
not possible to bomb such people and their homes, as this is not Israel.
As that floating voter Andy Burnham MP
said, ‘we need a code of conduct to curb such abuse’.  Quite. 
It should be a criminal offence to acquaint MPs with the possible
results of their votes. 

Another sensitive soul, Labour MP Neil Coyle told the Daily Mail (who else!)
that he
had reported
a threatening tweet to the police.  Again one cannot but condemn this in the
strongest terms.
And not only threatening tweets.  Some
had pictures of severed heads pushed through their home letterboxes or had
their offices barricaded by protesters.’ 
 Don’t they know this is a democracy?  It is barely possible to believe what one reads.  Severed heads.  One can only hope they weren’t severed by
our   democratic ally, Saudi Arabia!

Ben Bradshaw however has found a way to
deal with this disgraceful intimidation. 
He does this ‘by not reading the messages’ which begs the question, how
does he know they are intimidating?  No
doubt our Ben possesses some telepathic quality which enables him to discern
the flavour of a message without actually reading it.  This is the kind of stuff of which leaders
are made.
Brighton  anti-war vigil
Stella Creasy – warmongering MP for Walthamstow – doesn’t like being held to account

Hull North MP Diana Johnson, who voted against air strikes, said she had
received an email before the vote warning she would face a no-confidence vote
in her local party followed by a move to de-select her “if I didn’t vote
the right way”.  
I’m sure people will join me in deprecating this kind of  behaviour.  MPs are there to represent their own consciences and Labour MPs are there to support David Cameron in his hour of need.  How dare mere members think they have the right to interfere with their delicate consciences?  I guess it’s fortunate that she did vote the right way.

The Daily ‘hate’ Mail expresses all our feelings over this intimidation of MPs.  Intimidation is something the Mail has made into a fine art.

Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, son of Neil, demonstrated the Kinnock devotion to democracy when he called for Momentum to be
disbanded” if found to be co-ordinating attacks, describing the
group as a “sort of organised mob”.  Presumably he would prefer that it was a disorganised mob.  

Another example of intimidation – a call for the deselection of Labour warmongers – This blog is calling for calls for deselection to be made a criminal offence and the position of MP made into a lifetime job

Another Labour MP, Ann Coffey, says she was sent messages from an email
account previously used by Momentum, before Wednesday’s vote, branding her a
warmonger” and saying she would have “blood on her hands”
if she supported bombing.  Yes I know.  It’s almost beyond belief.

How one might ask can someone who votes for bombing civilians be said to have blood on their hands?  As Coffey said, those who say unkind things like this “create(s) a threatening atmosphere and other people come behind that with physical threats of assaults”.  Coffey, who voted for the air strikes, obviously believes that bombs dropping on peoples’ heads are just cartoon images with no physical consequences.  Something like Tom & Jerry.

They Actually Believe This

It is difficult to believe that those who vote for war can then whine and
complain about receiving a little abuse for their actions.  They believe that you can vote for the death
of others and not be brought to account for the consequences of one’s own

There is no doubt that the threat of deselection acted as a spur to those
who would otherwise have voted with the Tories. 
A week ago people were talking about 100 Labour MPs voting for bombing.  The fact that, despite a free vote, only 67
Labour MPs, less than a third of the total, voted for war, is a tribute to the
pressure put upon them.  However this is
still unsatisfactory.

We want MPs to vote against war, not because they are pressurised to do so,
but because they genuinely oppose such action.

The obvious and immediate answer to this is mandatory deselection.  MPs are not representatives of their own
consciences but delegates of the Party whose MP they are.  They should be recallable and accountable.

The first MP who should be deselected
is Peter Kyle, the Labour/Tory MP for Hove. 
This New Labour war criminal voted for bombing the Syrians who are under
the thumb of Isis despite the overwhelming view of posters on his Facebook page
and constituents that it was wrong to vote to support Cameron.  Kyle is someone who would be happy
standing for the Tory party and he should be enabled to do so.

That said there were real weaknesses in the case that Jeremy Corbyn promoted.  It was not an anti-imperialist but
essentially a pacifist case.  What didn’t
get mentioned was the fact that it is the United States, Saudi Arabia and the
Gulf states have deliberately promoted sectarianism and Salafi/Wahabi
Islam.  Isis was a product of western
imperialism’s divide and rule strategy in Afghanistan and then Iraq.  The idea that Western bombing is the answer
to the monster they created is an absurdity.
The fact that NATO member and ally in the ‘war against terror’ Turkey is the
main proponent of terror against one of the few remaining bastions of
secularism in the Middle East, the Kurds and which provides Isis with a rear
supply base and oil trading base demonstrates the nonsense of the idea that
bombing Isis will somehow be a solution.

Isis is a consequence of the sectarian nature of the Iraqi state which has
driven Sunni Muslims into their hands.  
The answer to them is not merely military but political and without a
fundamental reform of the Iraqi and Syrian state of Assad there will be no

Tony Benn,  currently spinning in his grave at the antics of his son.  Alongside Tam Dalyell, a vigorous opponent of militarism and Jeremy Corbyn at the back, with Alice  Mahon besides him.  

As for the new ‘hero’ of the Labour Right, one Hilary Benn.  It’s not enough to say that his father, Tony
Benn, would turn in his grave.  Benn was
thoroughly dishonest.  If Isis is fascist
(and  superficially it has similarities
to fascist groups) then is he seriously suggesting that western imperialism
including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are also anti-fascist?  His summoning of the heroes of the fight of
theose who fought for the Spanish Republic was a disgrace.  As if the Tories of today, anymore than the
Tories of yesterday, would have supported the Spanish Republicans.

It was a dishonest speech from a dishonest politician made possible only by
the weakness of the Corbyn left.

Jeremy Corbyn warns Labour members over ‘abuse’

Image copyright Reuters  Jeremy Corbyn and deputy leader Tom Watson said abuse would not be tolerated

Labour will not accept abuse and intimidation
from whatever quarter it comes”, Jeremy Corbyn has warned.

His comments came in an email to members after a fresh row erupted over
alleged bullying of MPs who voted to bomb so-called Islamic State in Syria.

Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham, who opposed air strikes, has called for
a new code of conduct to curb abuse.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed it was assessing a number of online
threats relating to MPs.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “The assessment of these threats is

Labour MP Neil Coyle told MailOnline he
had reported
a threatening tweet to the police.

Corbyn and Watson warn members

At the end of a joint email to Labour members on Thursday evening, Mr Corbyn
and his deputy, Tom Watson, said they backed the right to “protest and
and said MPs had to be “open to hearing the views of their
constituents and others”.

They added: “But, as we have both said many times, abuse and intimidation
have no place in politics. And the party as a whole will not accept such
behaviour, from whatever quarter it comes.”

What Andy Burnham said

called on Mr Corbyn to take a “firm line” with the alleged
perpetrators, saying: “There cannot be abuse by members of the Labour
Party or supporters of the Labour Party. That isn’t the kind of party I want to
be in.”

He told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme social media was “in
danger of poisoning our politics”.

“I think it’s because if you are just sitting with a keyboard you can
be more offensive than if you are speaking to somebody face-to-face. It’s a bad
culture and we need to draw a line under it,” he added. He said talks were
under way in the party about a code of conduct.

Some of the tweets

Some MPs were sent pictures of dead children by anti-war protesters and
faced foul-mouthed abuse – others allegedly had pictures of severed heads
pushed through their home letterboxes or had their offices barricaded by
Here are some of the messages and the MPs’ replies.

Former minister Ben Bradshaw, who voted for air strikes, said the party
leadership needed to do more to combat online abuse, which “wouldn’t be
tolerated in any other walk of life”
and which seemed to be
worse” for women in the party. He said he dealt with it by not
reading the messages.

He added: “Jeremy Corbyn has made it clear he doesn’t want this
retribution… We can’t start having threats of retribution based on what
someone has done on a free vote.”

Hull North MP Diana Johnson received an email before the vote warning she
would face a no-confidence vote in her local party followed by a move to
de-select her “if I didn’t vote the right way”.
Labour MP Stephen Kinnock called for Momentum to be
“disbanded”.  It was a “sort
of organised mob”.

And it gets worse.  Labour MP, Ann
Coffey was sent messages from an email account previously used by Momentum
(where else?) branding her a “warmonger” and saying she would have
“blood on her hands” if she supported bombing.

What Corbyn-supporting groups say

Momentum, a successor organisation to Mr Corbyn’s Labour leadership
campaign, said it was “proud” to have helped 30,000 people email
their MP asking them not to vote for bombing.
A spokesman said: “It can never be a threat to express your views to
your elected representative.

“Momentum strongly disapproves of anyone who engages in abusive
behaviour towards MPs or anyone else, and threatening or bullying, whether they
are outside the Labour Party (as most are) or inside it.

“We specifically asked our supporters to emulate Jeremy Corbyn, and to
keep their messages about the issues and to refrain from any personal

Campaign group Stop the War, which until recently was chaired by Mr Corbyn,
said: “Stop the War condemns the whining complaints from those MPs who
apparently do not like being lobbied.

“If an MP is not robust enough to withstand emails and tweets, they
should really not be voting for bombing other people – those who wish to be
alone with their consciences would do better to consider a life of religious

“Stop the War will continue to hold to democratic account all those MPs
who vote for war.”

The de-selection threat

A number of groups, including Left Unity, have called for MPs who voted for
military action to be sacked by their local Labour parties.

Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy,whose office was targeted by
anti-war protesters, is facing an attempt to de-select her by a member of the
Socialist Party over her pro-air strikes vote.

The disgraceful Nancy Taafe threatening Stella Creasy with deselection

Nancy Taaffe, who stood unsuccessfully against Ms Creasy in May’s general
election for the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, told the BBC’s Daily
Politics she wanted to see “a conference to make mandatory re-selection the
heart of the new Labour project, if you like, the Corbyn project”.
She said Labour was “essentially two parties in one” and
“peaceful co-existence is impossible” between the Corbyn-supporting
membership and “right wing” MPs and councillors.

The disgraceful ex-MP and London Mayor Ken Livingstone calls for deslection (‘shock horror’)

Ken Livingstone weighs in

Momentum said candidate selection was “entirely a matter for local
party members and rightly so” but Ken Livingstone said party members had a
right to get rid of MPs and candidates that did not back the party leader.

The former left-wing London mayor, who has come back under Jeremy Corbyn’s
leadership to be co-chair of the party’s defence review, told BBC News:
Nobody should be doing abusive tweets or anything else like that, but
people expressing their genuine belief that they would rather have an MP who
supports the Labour leader rather than undermines them should be free to say

Andy Burnham said Mr Livingstone’s comments were “disgraceful” as
Labour MPs had been given a free vote on Syria and “to then say they
should be subject to a witch-hunt or a campaign against them is wrong”.

Liz Kendall, defies ‘intimidation’  

How can Labour MPs be de-selected?

reselection of Labour MPs as candidates by their local parties was introduced
by supporters of the late Tony Benn in the 1980s. They were frustrated by the
leadership ignoring the views of party members and also wanted a chance to get
rid of MPs seen as lazy or complacent.

But opponents saw it as an attempt by the hard left to tighten its grip on
Labour by getting rid of those on the right of the party.

The system was abolished by then leader Neil Kinnock as part of his war on
the “party within a party” Militant.

Labour now uses a “trigger-ballot” system to decide before each
election whether it wishes to carry out the full selection procedure – very few
MPs are thrown out in this way.

Mr Corbyn has assured MPs mandatory reselection will not be brought back –
but MPs out of step with his brand of politics could be ousted anyway, without
an official “purge” from the top, as left wing campaigners increase
their influence.

Analysis by BBC Parliamentary Correspondent Mark D’Arcy

There will be
recriminations and, possibly, attempts at constituency level to deselect the
recusants (there does not have to be a return to the ’80s era of mandatoryreselection; the coming Commons boundary changes will ensure most sitting MPs
will not face a simple rubber-stamping to become their party’s candidate

If they succeed, some MPs may quit immediately, forcing uncomfortable
by-elections, or simply go rogue in the Commons and vote as they please.

The shy and self-effacing Labour MP John Mann

John Mann on Abuse

Syria air strikes: MPs were sent dead baby pictures

3 December 2015
received photos of dead babies and severed heads in the build up to the vote on
Syrian air strikes, shadow Commons leader Chris Bryant has said.
Rhondda MP said politicians’ offices had been barricaded, and one MP’s house
had been surrounded.
Chris Bryant – previously famous for appearing in his underpants in a Sunday newspaper in some long forgotten scandal over texting images on his phone
Bryant said such abuse was “beyond the pale” and that security at
MPs’ homes and offices should be reviewed.
MP Wayne David said he was called a “murderer” and
warmonger” for backing wider military action.
David and Mr Bryant were among the four Labour MPs to join 11 Welsh
Conservatives in supporting David Cameron’s proposals, the measure was passed by
a large majority of 174
on Wednesday night.

‘Broad shoulders’
Bryant told the Commons on Thursday that many people had “hurled a great
deal of abuse”
at MPs on both sides of the debate.
said some had been called “murderers, peacenik, terrorist sympathisers,
but insisted “no MP should ever be intimidated”.

the abuse for all members of this house has been beyond the pale,”
Bryant said.
members have had their offices barricaded, one member had her house surrounded,
many had photos of dead babies pushed through their front door at home.
gather today some members have received photos of severed heads.”

have broad shoulders, of course we do, but can I ask members to review the
security of members homes and offices,”
Mr Bryant added.
A shocked Stephen Doughty MP
Media caption Welsh MP
called ‘murderer’ over Syria views
David, a frontbench justice spokesman and former minister, told BBC Radio Wales
that as well as being called “a warmonger” he had been told he would
have “blood on my hands”, had received anonymous calls to his office
and was threatened with de-selection.
David, Mr Bryant and Stephen Doughty were the most prominent
Welsh Labour MPs calling for military action
Another victim of hateful bloggers – all he did was to vote for killing Syrians
were joined by Susan Elan Jones, the Clwyd South MP.
of Wales’ 25 Labour and three Plaid Cymru MPs rejected the plan.
the Welsh Labour MPs who voted against air strikes were shadow cabinet members
Nia Griffith and Owen Smith.
were joined by Kevin Brennan, Geraint Davies, Chris Evans, David Hanson, Paul
Flynn, Carolyn Harris, Huw Irranca-Davies, Gerald Jones, Stephen Kinnock, Ian
Lucas, Madeleine Moon, Christina Rees, Jo Stevens, Nick Smith, Mark Tami and
Nick Thomas-Symonds, Jessica Morden and Albert Owen.
Clwyd was absent from the vote due to illness.

Media caption Cardiff South and Penarth MP Stephen
Doughty was one of four Welsh Labour MPs to vote in favour of air strikes
the Liberal Democrats said they were in favour of air strikes, the party’s only
Welsh MP, Mark Williams, voted against.
Davies, Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire, who voted in favour of the action,
said most MPs accepted there was no certainty the strikes would work to combat
so-called Islamic State targets.
there was certainty then there would be no difficulty securing the vote of
everyone. It’s a big problem we’re confronted with – a massive problem,”
he said.
prime minister said carrying out UK air strikes in Syria would keep the British
people safe”
, as MPs debated the issue on Wednesday.
Corbyn had claimed David Cameron’s case “doesn’t stack up”, but he
allowed his MPs a free
on the issue. 

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Tony Greenstein

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