Mudcat Café message #4077433 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #168430   Message #4077433
Posted By: DMcG
30-Oct-20 - 08:29 AM
Thread Name: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
Subject: RE: BS: Brexit & other UK political topics
OK, I have eventually got round to finishing the document - it did have to fit in with other things I had to do, you know!

One of the things that I got out of it which doesn't seem to be coming across as much in the media it is rather less about what the level of anti-Semitism in the Labour party is, as the lack of a clear mechanism to decide and then deal with it. The media is very much about how much anti-Semitism there is or is not in the Labour party, the rows between Starmer and Corbyn, Hodge, Abbott and others. On my reading, that is not really what the report is about at all.   It is much more what are the procedures in place to identify anti-Semitism in the first place (including how clear is the definition, and why, for example, no definition is in the Labour Rule book so all members can know it.) Once a possible anti-Semitic case is identified, how well-defined is the process to handle it, and whether this process is truly independent, or is it subject to political interference.

So for example, they point out the training given to people to identify anti-Semitism is 'academic, not practical.' I presume that means there insufficient case studies where the real world complexities can be seen.   Another example that worries the authors are comments from the Leaders office whether they think an act serious enough to investigate which may override the formal process (and there are examples where it expressed a view both against and in favour of proceeding.) Other Leader's Office comments referred to the timing of the investigations.

In the political world, the temptation to interfere in that way will inevitably be huge. The report is quite clear it is always unacceptable - the procedures must be followed rigorously and independently. It is interesting to notice yesterday Starmer has clearly taken this on board. When the press pressured him to say Corbyn must be suspected, he followed the report to not express a view. Later, when Corbyn had been suspended he stressed that it was the formal processes that suspended Corbyn and he supported both their right to make the decision and the decision itself. Their remains some doubt about the exact rules under which Corbyn was suspended, but it is not Starmer's responsibility to say.
Yet another thing they were concerned about was the appointment of Thomas Gardiner from the Labour leader's office into the body responsible for initial investigations. The at the very least ran the risk of political interference and in their words "undermined confidence in the complaint handling process and, in particular, its independence."

In my opinion, it is a well written report and the recommendations it makes are both sensible and can be implemented in practice in a comparatively short time.   Labour has a legal responsibility to state its plans for addressing the points within a few weeks, and I have little doubt that it will confirm its intentions to fully adopt them.

I also have little doubt the Tories will keep poking at this particular hornets nest, as will some of Corbyn's backers.