Labour Party suspension of Young Labour Chair jumps the shark.

The Labour Party has truly demonstrated what an utter cesspit it has become under Keir Starmer and David Evans in the wake of so many suspension letters being sent out, often at a ridiculous hour, midnight or 1am, designed to cause maximum distress to people unable to act at that time, or to start their day with. Young Labour chair Jess Barnard was one such recipient, a fantastic advocate for the party, someone who genuinely wants to make a difference, someone who has a particular interest in mental health awareness and has spoken of her own struggles publicly. So what did Labour do? Chose to send her a suspension letter at 1am in the morning on Suicide Prevention Day for, of all things, standing AGAINST transphobia.

The Labour Party has become a regime of diktat under the current leadership, flouting the rulebook in order to impose orders to not discuss certain topics, block no confidence motions in the leadership, block solidarity motions with some of those already suspended and meting out suspensions for the most ridiculous reasons, such as those given against people who had ever had anything to do with proscribed groups at a time before they were proscribed, leaving the Party open to legal challenges as it has. You’d think given Starmer, as he always likes to remind us being the former Director of Public Prosecutions, he’d know when he’s doing something legally stupid, but perhaps he, or Evans really don’t care as long as they can keep purging socialists, keep driving more members away, so the party, in as dire a state as it is, remains in their control. Above all else, this is about control.

So it is that we come to Jess Barnard, the elected Chair of Young Labour, the representative body within the Labour Party to represent members below the age of 27 – a weird figure, but there we go – who has herself been targeted for suspension.

Jess has found herself on the wrong side of the Labour leadership, but hasn’t let that stop her from doing what she feels is right and that means highlighting causes the leadership would rather not and it has invited pile-ons from right wing supporters of the Labour leadership, most recently for inviting the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to speak at the Young Labour event at Labour Conference.

She’s also found herself on the wrong side of the right wing press with Murdoch Times scribbler Oliver Kamm going as far as to derangedly accuse Barnard of wanting a second holocaust for Young Labour’s advocacy of Palestinian rights. Thankfully, there are journalists out there who will write factually, such as the Skwawkbox, who has covered this story in detail. No support from the Labour leadership whatsoever, they’d already cancelled Young Labour’s rulebook mandated Conference of their own, so you can see how much regard the leadership have for young members – about as much as they have for members full stop. This Labour leadership would rather have rich donors.

However at 1am in the morning of Friday the 10th of September, she found herself presented with a suspension letter for challenging transphobia – I repeat, she was challenging it. Not defending it. It is indefensible to defend hate speech of any form after all, identifying as trans is a protected characteristic, but that is not what Jess Barnard was doing and was not what she’d been issued with a suspension letter for. She was challenging transphobia in a twitter exchange with a right wing Labour Councillor and had been issued with a suspension letter for it. It was on Friday. Suicide Prevention Day. Often such letters, knowing they cause significant distress, particularly to long time members are supplied with contact details for the Samaritans. I don’t know if that was the case with Jess, but my goodness, can you imagine if anyone sent suspension letters that day was?

Here are the tweets in question, where Jess makes reference to TERF’s, an acronym standing for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist, emphasis should be on the first two words since as I said before, identifying as trans is protected in law. I also fail to see what is so feminist about behaving this way towards such people either. The label fits the behaviour, Jess had done nothing wrong, in fact if its not obvious in the first tweet it is with the exchange with the councillor where she is clearly defending the rights of trans people and not attacking them.

To her credit, Jess went straight to the NEC and also got her legal team involved. Lo and behold, later that day the suspension order was rescinded. The claim from the Party is that this was sent in error, but the Communication Worker’s Union General Secretary Dave Ward hit the nail on the head when he sent a tweet saying the Labour Party disputes process is in disarray. It is not an error to hunt through somebody’s tweets, compile an investigation document, attach it and send it. This is clearly factional and wrong.

Of course he’s right, a fair amount of work goes into investigating anyone to the point a suspension is warranted, but you get the feeling they’re being doled out like sweets, especially when they’re being sent out for standing up for a protected characteristic! Are we the Transphobe Party now? It’d be good to get a statement from Starmer on this, but he’s been too busy tweeting about tennis to show interest in this or show Young Labour’s top representative an ounce of solidarity.

It had been suggested that all of this was the work of a rogue senior official with a vendetta against Barnard, but again, the work involved shows that is a risible, weaselly excuse. She was targeted for her beliefs, which are not in keeping with the current leadership even if they are in keeping with the party ethos and she’s not alone. Another example publicised in Evolve Politics this morning shows a Labour member, who shared one of that publications tweets relating to supporting a 4 day working week and championing free broadband has been suspended on the basis that they’ve shared racist content. Free broadband isn’t a protected characteristic last time I looked and I’ve yet to meet someone who self identifies as broadband who might be offended! Something has got to give and with Labour Conference just around the corner, things may well be explosive. A lot of hurt and upset is being caused by these often hilariously stupid suspensions, that sadly the people affected do not find funny at all. Exposed for being based on absolute idiocy, on factional vengefulness as they have in this and many other instances is incredibly damaging to the party’s reputation, its electability and we need a change. That change has to come from the very top.

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Sharon Graham wins!

It’s not very often these days that I get to report some good news for a change, but at last the Unite the Union General Secretary election appears to be over and seemingly from out of nowhere Sharon Graham has won it.

She’s exploded what a lot of people felt. That she had no chance, that she should’ve stepped down when Howard Beckett did, that only one left candidate should run else we risk letting the right winger, laughably referred to by the lamestream media as a centrist – centrist to them, he won’t rock the boat – win.

I’m guilty of surmising the same, I’ll admit it. I was from the start an advocate of Howard Beckett, was devastated when he stood down, but understood why, that under the appallingly bad First Past The Post system the Unite election was taking place under, the risk of Gerard Coyne winning with the left vote apparently split, was a clear and present danger. I’m a Community member, I’d be slung out under a Coyne leadership along with thousands of others. This was after all why Howard stepped down, I understood why he got behind Steve Turner, who had the most nominations and that left many wondering why Sharon wouldn’t step aside.

Of course anyone wanting to stand should be able to, that’s good for democracy, but under such an unsuitable, archaic system, the right is favoured in such circumstances and this really needs to be addressed.

However as things have turned out that has not been the case. the two left candidates have come first and second so despite a split, the right winger still came last! Rupert Murdoch’s candidate, Keir Starmer’s candidate came last, the Labour To Win candidate came last and the right is kept out of any controlling role in our Union.

Sharon Graham ran a clever campaign, she got her data together and she’s reaped the reward.

As for Steve Turner’s campaign, behaving like the heirs apparent to the crown of McCluskey has blown up in their faces. Even with the support lent by some of Beckett’s supporters it wasn’t enough. Many would not be persuaded to back another candidate after their favourite bowed out, but without them, Steve Turner, the guy who got the most nominations, would certainly have come last, only just pushing Gerard Coyne into third place. The whole, ‘Steve got the most nominations, so the left must rally around him’ myth has been busted. The nominations process has always been a poor indicator and those defending this argument were just plain dishonest, just playing to their favourites and for many big name mouthpieces as my Socialist Telly colleague Steve Walker of Skwawkbox has laid out in recent articles, some supposedly lefty commentators have been left with reputations well shredded over this. The left is strong, a surprise has been sprung, I wish Sharon Graham well and look forward to seeing what she’s got in store for us.

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

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Where’s the money gone Keir & Dave?

Fire and Rehire, the pernicious practice of firing your employees unless they accept new contracts with poorer conditions. Made illegal in many countries, the Tories won’t do it here, so its up to the Trade Unions to defend their members from being mistreated in this way. You wouldn’t expect the political arm of their movement, the Labour Party to indulge in this practice however, but sadly, such is the decline of the Party under the regime of Keir Starmer & David Evans, Fire and Rehire is exactly what they’re doing. Labour is in a financial mess entirely of the making of the two aforementioned idiots. When they took over the party, they enjoyed being debt free and had reserves of £13.5m in the bank. 18 months later, we’re told that the party is one payroll away from bankruptcy. Where’s the money Keir & Dave? What have you blown it on? Settling stupid legal fees and driving away members, losing their dues to the tune of an estimated £6m, a figure quoted this morning by Howard Beckett on The Not the Andrew Marr Show.

What has been reported by Skwawkbox and later by The Independent is that a third of Labour Party staff have been made redundant, yet the party is still taking people on, employing them on temporary contracts on much poorer conditions. Starmer made a big speech not long back condemning Fire and Rehire, but given he’s lied about pretty much everything since he got elected leader, not least of which the 10 pledges he stood for election on, it’s no surprise he’s actually gone back on this as well, made even worse by many of the staff in question finding out from the Guardian newspaper instead of the party.

You can imagine the Trade Unions are up in arms with this. Unite and the GMB, both affiliated unions, both considerable donors to Labour, but not typically from the same wing of the party are singing from the same hymn sheet now. They’ve slammed this action, done without consultation, they’re particularly scathing that they’ve gone for redundancies straight away instead of trying to cut costs in other ways first, such as reducing upper management pay – none of them are getting the axe – and have demanded a response from Labour. So far I’ve not heard that this has happened.

Beckett this morning has also said Labour would be treated like any other bad employer. The party of the workers facing strike action from the very trade unions who fund them and rightfully so as that party seeks to turn away from representing the working class, turning away from socialism and turning into the same Blue Labour, Blairite, tory-lite party that turned so many of us off before. With so many of Starmer’s recent LOTO staff appointments being essentially a Blairite reunion – I bet they got a good employment package – that’s where we are. A party both financially and morally bankrupt at the top, becoming ever more distanced from its own founding principles.

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

Thank you for your solidarity and for supporting alternative media holding power and the mainstream media to account.