October 31, 2020

My Voice Shakes

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again … and again.

The position that the Labour Left finds itself in today is a logical consequence of all the things the Labour leadership and membership have accepted in the past. The removal of Rebecca Long-Bailey from her front bench position and the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn are the logical consequences of premises and principles adopted by the leadership of the Labour Party and acquiesced to by its membership:

“The only acceptable response to any accusation of racist prejudice is self-scrutiny, self-criticism and self-improvement.”

~ Rebecca Long Bailey 12 Jan 2020

Do people really not appreciate what this statement implies? How dangerous it is, and how humiliating, because it deprives the potentially innocent the right to speak in their own defence? Do people not realise that its effect is potentially racist because those who are most subject to having their voices silenced, to being accused of speaking out of turn and to be presumed to have nothing of value to say are the black and the poor? It is most often power that accuses and the powerless that stand accused.

“Any MPs, Peers, councillors, members or CLPs who support,campaign or provide a platform for people who have been suspended or expelled in the wake of antisemitic incidents should themselves be suspended from membership.”

~ The Ten Pledges

This is the fifth article of the Ten Pledges made by the leadership of the Labour Party in January of this year. What it means is so clear and its wrongness so clear that I feel foolish attempting to make it more clear, but a logical consequence of the acceptance of this principle is that any member now supporting Jeremy Corbyn should now be suspended themselves.

Premises and principles have corollories and that if you accept the premises you implicitly accept its corollories?

“When an expert looks into a problem you have – whether it’s a doctor, a mechanic, or a plumber – you take their advice and follow it without thinking twice.

So when the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), and imminently the Equalities and Human Rights Commission give the Labour Party specific recommendations about how we need to root out the poison of antisemitism from our movement, our starting point must not be to dispute their proposals but ensure every single one is implemented unless we can rationally explain why not.”

~ Emily Thornberry 8 Jan 2020

“Without thinking twice” says Thorberry. Think about that if you will. How can you rationally explain why anything might be wrong unless you accept the possibility that it might be wrong, unless you are prepared to think again and to question both yourself and those who are ‘advising’ you.

“Without thinking” the Labour Party has abandoned the obligation to think, it has become explicitly hostile to reasoned discourse and to human decency. Starmer’s endorsement of the of the Overseas Operations Bill and of the Covert Intelligence Sources Bill is an implicit endorsment of torture and murder that has been acquiesced to by the great majority of Labour MPs.

The endorsement of savagery is the ultimate consequence of the abandonment of reason. I note with respect that a small number of Labour MPs including Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott have oppossed these bills:

See: https://labourlist.org/…/commons-abstentions-are…/

It is not the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn, but the suspension or expulsion, of decency, compassion and reason from the Labour Party and from our public consciousness that most concerns me most and that should concern all of us.