The Forde Report and the Labour Right 118


Nobody can accuse the authors of the Forde report of having a low opinion of themselves. Its lofty tone reflects profound disdain for the views and actions of mere mortals, and it utters judgments with an air of deep profundity. This is amusing as it is banal in the extreme.

The Forde Report is, peculiarly, a Report into a Report. The Forde panel’s terms of reference were simply to discover who commissioned the “Leaked Report”, and why, who leaked the “Leaked Report”, and whether the “allegations” in the “Leaked Report” were true.

It is often the case in official, or at least officious, documents that a simple bit of terminology betrays the entire mindset. The “Leaked Report” discovered a great many things, all of which the Forde Report finds to be essentially, and in detail, true. Yet the findings of the “Leaked Report” are described right from the terms of reference and throughout in the Forde exercise as “allegations”, while the findings of the Forde Report are, of course, “findings”.

This is a form of dishonest declension: I make findings, you make allegations.

Forde pulls well over a hundred pages of linguistic tricks to try to hide his basic “finding”, that the “allegations” of the “Leaked Report” are both accurate and fairly and honestly reached. Yet he can’t quite obscure it. He continually bangs on about the authors of the “Leaked Report” being “young and inexperienced”, as though that somehow detracts from the fact they wrote the truth. Forde is left to rest upon the very shaky ground that their truth was only a “factional” truth, so somehow doesn’t count.

There is an extended section where Forde traces the history of the party apparatus, how Labour HQ staff came to be dominated by a self-perpetuating clique of Blairites, and how this resulted in their seeking to subvert Jeremy Corbyn after the latter’s election by the new mass membership franchise. This is all good and accurate.

Forde then attempts to maintain “balance” and treat all “factions” as equally authoritative and morally valid. That is the great failing of his report, and can be described in one sentence: Forde denies democracy.

At no stage does the Forde report accept that Corbyn’s election by the mass membership gave him a democratic mandate that the paid HQ staff were obliged to follow. Rather Forde sees the HQ staff as guardians of a Blairite tradition that had an entirely equal right to determine events within the Labour Party, despite its leadership candidates being overwhelmingly rejected – several times – by the membership.

Forde’s entire report is undermined by this false equivalence – the notion that both “factions” were equally responsible for the problems, and deserved equal weight and consideration. This approach is well represented in this paragraph:

Forde throughout treats the Blairites’ attempts to cause Corbyn (LOTO = Leader of the Opposition) to fail as in some sense legitimate because they believed they were pursuing the Greater Good. Corbyn’s mandate from leadership elections is viewed by Forde only as one factor in a series of power balances; his view of the Labour Party is essentially anti-democratic.

It is worth noting that the Forde report found unequivocally that the appalling evidence of the “Leaked Report” was entirely genuine and not presented unfairly out of context (though the Forde panel says the authors of the published messages should have been given a right of reply).

It is worth reminding us – as Forde discreetly does not – what some of those messages actually said. Here are two senior members of Labour HQ staff hoping that Labour would lose Manchester Gorton to the Lib Dems

27/02/2017, 16:53 – Patrick Heneghan: Just had discussion at strategy meeting We will meet Steve and Andy next Monday – we are looking at all 3 in May but select in Gorton within 4 weeks Katy will speak to you/Iain
27/02/2017, 16:53 – Patrick Heneghan: From karie
27/02/2017, 16:54 – Patrick Heneghan: They didn’t include us in the discussion.
27/02/2017, 16:54 – Patrick Heneghan: Well let’s hope the lib dems can do it….113

Here are two senior members of Labour HQ staff hoping that Labour would decline in the opinion polls following a Corbyn speech pointing out that Western invasions in the Middle East cause terrorism at home:

Jo Greening 09:12: and I shall tell you why it is a peak and the polling was done after the Manchester attack so with a bit of luck this speech will show a clear polling decline and we shall all be able to point to how disgusting they truly are
(now obviously we know it was never real – but that isnt the point in politics!)
Francis Grove-White 09:13: Yeah I’m sure that’s right
Francis Grove-White 09:16: My fears are that: a) the speech won’t go down as badly as it deserves to thanks to the large groundswell of ill-informed opposition to all western interventions. And b) they will use that poll to claim they were on course to win and then Manchester happened. And whether or not JC goes, lots of the membership will buy that argument. Like after the referendum when they distorted the polling and claimed we had overtaken the Tories before the “coup” happpened
Jo Greening 09:17: if this speech gets cut through – as I think it may – it will harden normal people against us definitely in the face of a terror attack normal people do not blame foreign intervention they blame immigration whats more – all they will hear is we dont want to respond strongly we want peace with ISIS it all plays into a bigger picture of how they see corbyn so I have a feeling this will cut through you are right on the second point it has to be up to the MPs though to demonstrate how toxic he is on the doorstep throughout but that this speech particularly was toxic and Manchester had happened when that poll was in the field on the supporters I personally think we are going to do very badly in deed and I think it will shock a lot of them how badly we do including JC so everyone has to be ready when he is in shock it has to be clean and brutal and not involve the party at all in my opinion those crazy people who now make up our membership never want us to win in anycase they are communists and green supporters even if Manchester hadnt happened and we got smashed they would have never changed their minds
Francis Grove-White 09:23: Yeah that’s true

Senior Labour HQ staff member Jo Greening is here actually hoping that the general public blames immigrants, rather than Blair’s invasion of Iraq, for terrorist attacks. Let that sink in.

If you had not already done so, read my analysis of the “Leaked Report” here.

In the classical Establishment reaction to release of damning material, the Forde Panel are much more concerned about who leaked it than what it says (cf Assange). Forde sees this desire to damage Labour under Corbyn by its own senior staff as simply factionalism in which both sides are guilty.

However no evidence is produced anywhere of Corbyn supporters hoping that Labour will decline in the polls or will lose by-elections to the Lib Dems.

To be fair to the Forde panel, they did not pretend that utterly deplorable behaviour by the Blairite senior staff did not happen. Occasionally they are forthright:

The problem is that they did not allow the undeniable evidence, nor their accurate description of it, to affect their ultimate conclusion that it was all equally the fault of all sides; a conclusion which can only have been pre-determined.

It is also not the Forde Panel’s fault that the mainstream media completely failed to publish anything approaching a fair summation of the Forde Report, as described by the ever brilliant Peter Oborne.

One of the most stunning of the Forde Panel’s findings appears to have gone almost completely unreported – that Labour HQ staff conducted a systematic exercise to disenfranchise Corbyn supporters in the leadership elections. Here the Forde Report is unequivocal.

It is important to take fully on board what is being said here. It is not that in a ballot validation exercise, staff were biased in using it to remove Corbyn supporters. It is that the entire ballot validation exercise was initiated in the first place with the purpose of removing Corbyn supporters.

Again, let that sink in. Is that not a peculiar “finding” to go unhighlighted?

Forde found that the Blairites at HQ had indeed set up a separate operation at Ergon House in the 2017 general election to covertly channel funds and resources away from other seats to assist the defence of sitting, specifically selected Blairite MPs.

In an election in which Labour made gains, campaigns in Tory marginals were handicapped by lack of funds which had secretly been hived off to sitting Blairite MP’s. That is the long and short of it.

The Forde panel thinks it “unlikely” this significantly impacted the result of the election. They also claim to have seen no evidence the Blairite HQ staff were deliberately not winning the election (evidently in the space of twenty pages of report having forgotten the meaning of the Whatsapp messages above).

So that is apparently alright then. Just factionalism on both sides.

For me, the greatest hole in the report is its complete failure to tackle the actual issue of anti-semitism. The original report contained some appalling examples of real anti-semitism. There is no doubt it exists in society and must be actively challenged. But while noting the weaponisation of anti-semitism accusations for factional purposes, Forde has nothing to say on the fundamental issue.

Which is this. Does support for the rights of the Palestinians and criticism of the human rights record and settlement policies of the state of Israel amount to anti-semitism? With Starmer clearly set on an affirmative answer, perhaps Forde and his panel felt it unhelpful to address the question. But without at least noting it, there is a gaping hole in the report.

About a third of the mass membership that Corbyn brought into the Labour Party has now left. Starmer, having lied his way through his leadership election, has now positioned the party very squarely back as Blairite and Tory Lite. There is therefore a very real argument that the Forde Report simply does not matter.

On the surface, it is all over for the prospect of any left wing challenge to rampant neo-liberalism, at least arising from the Labour Party. However the consequences of unchecked wealth inequality, destruction of worker and popular rights, environmental destruction and of violent neo-Imperialism abroad, are likely to strike the general population with ferocity this winter. I am not sure people are prepared for the level of calamity that is unfurling.

The lessons of what was done to Corbyn – and to Bernie Sanders – may yet need to be understood in the not too distant future. We have never stood more in need of radical change.

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118 thoughts on “The Forde Report and the Labour Right

  • Taxiarch

    “There is therefore a very real argument that the Forde Report simply does not matter. “

    You’re right, and for the right reasons. Scotland has a ladder out of this hole; what can I do but hope you are able to eventually climb it? Quite what ‘the Left’ in England are supposed to do is another matter. Emigrate to independent Scotland is looking quite a good option.

    • Taxiarch

      And a second thought:

      “…one of Corbyn’s problems was that he was too soft with his internal enemies as he tried to unite the Labour Party”
      — Peter Oborne and David Hearst 2020.

      Re-reading the ‘Leaked Report’ one is constantly driven to the conclusion that they were absolutely right. Corbyn was a builder, whereas what was needed was a determined wrecker who’d push the Blair faction out (into the perhaps reluctant) arms of the Liberal Democrats. Who needs two centrist parties in a FPTP electoral system?

      • Johnny Conspiranoid

        Not necessarily a determined wrecker required but just somebody who recognised the tactics his enemies were employing. A conspiracy theorist in other words.

      • Allan Howard

        Sincere questions: What reason(s) would Jeremy have given for expelling them from the party, and would you have had him expel them all at the same time, or a few at time, or one at a time, and how do you think the MSM would have reported it?

        • Bayard

          Selection of PPCs by the constituency parties would have done the same job without anyone having to give any reasons at all.

          • Allan Howard

            I was of course addressing Taxiarch, Bayard. As for CLPs doing the same job:

            Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of launching a purge of his Labour enemies after his campaign published a “hit list” of the 13 MPs most critical of his premiership.
            Thursday 15 September 2016

            It includes current deputy leader Tom Watson who described Momentum as a “rabble”, and also highlights Jess Phillips who is accused of swearing at Mr Corbyn’s ally Diane Abbott.

            The list also contains Tristram Hunt, Stephen Kinnock, Ian Austin, Neil Coyle, Ben Bradshaw, Frank Field, Anna Turley, Karl Turner, Jamie Reed, and Tom Blenkinsop.

            Accusations were made that Mr Corbyn released the list as an attempt to ensure the deselection of MPs who oppose him – a claim that was denied.

            https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-corbyn-accused-of-launching-a-purge-of-his-enemies-owen-smith-labour-leadership-a7307821.html?r=46675

            And two years later (this from the Evening Standard – 08 September 2018):

            Chuka Umunna tells Jeremy Corbyn to ‘call off the dogs’ amid claims of attempts to oust moderate MPs

            Jeremy Corbyn is being urged to “call off the dogs” to stop centre-left MPs being driven out of Labour.

            Former frontbencher Chuka Umunna has warned “moderates” are being purged from the party as hard-line factions systematically target Mr Corbyn’s perceived enemies.

            Mr Umunna says they now face a “clear and present danger” of being run out of the party.

          • Bayard

            I wasn’t denying that Corbyn was preparing some sort of purge, merely that any purge would have been rendered unnecessary if the CLPs had been given the power to choose their own PPCs.

        • Taxiarch

          Allan, thanks for your reply. You asked three sensible questions:

          (1)  What reason(s) would Jeremy have given for expelling them from the party,

          (2)  would you have had him expel them all at the same time, or a few at time, or one at a time, and

          (3)  how do you think the MSM would have reported it?

          Party expulsions are a matter for the NEC and Corbyn’s supporters did not control that: it was fully in the hands of the rebels until January 2018. However, he had better control over the whips, and could suspend the whip without reference to the NEC (much as Starmer has done to him in recent times).

          So, in (blessed) hindsight he should have abandoned his futile attempt to accommodate them from the time of the Syria vote in the winter of 2015. He reluctantly was persuaded by Tom Watson to allow a free vote. He should have put down a three line whip and then suspended the whip from any rebels. In the event 66 Labour MPs suppported the government (using the whip, it may have been less) and he should have suspended the whip from them.

          The list of ‘dissidents’ supporting the Conservatives (widely publicised) is available here (it doesn’t include Starmer BTW):
          https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/12/02/labour-mps-who-voted-for-_n_8703190.html. They are nearly all there: Woodcock at the foot Ian Austin at the top.

          Reselection procedures should have ben started immediately (a fantasy though – he didn’t control Headquarters until McNicol was got rid). He should have called a special conference to sack McNicol at the earliest.

          How would the press have responded? With unrelenting hostility and threats of military intervention. Which is what they did anyway.

          • Taxiarch

            Craig Murray, July 3rd 2017. Just over 5 years ago.

            “the sixty MPs who defied the whip to vote for the single market correlate very closely with the MPs who voted to launch bombing and destruction on Syria. You need a warped mind to reconcile those views.

            Rather than being grateful for the very well paid job the Labour Party has landed them, Labour MPs remain convinced it is they who are important and they should have a key role in determining party policy. Years of determined Blairite/Progress activity has given them a firm grip on party machinery. Most of the party’s paid staff are very right wing indeed. Jeremy Corbyn, at the moment, is in a much more powerful position within the party than he was six months ago. But the right will be digging relentlessly to undermine him again, starting now. Corbyn and his supporters need now to show a ruthless streak in purging their party structure of the Blairites, asserting membership control of policy and executive power, and of course introducing compulsory deselection and reselection of MPs. Otherwise, I predict this Corbyn phenomenon will be looked back on as a brief spark of hope, soon snuffed out.”

            Now, there’s prophecy for us all.

      • DunGroanin

        Thank you CM, for a concise and clear summary from the obfuscation attempt by Forde.

        JC is clearly the legitimate PM , against whom a coup was conducted, by the same powers as have done across the globe for many decades and still daily work at.

      • Collie Dog

        Taxiarch:

        You ask “Who needs two centrist parties in a FPTP electoral system?” as if the question were rhetorical.

        The question is not rhetorical. When rephrased as “who gains”, the answer is pretty obvious; and it has been ever since the creation in the early 1980s of what is presently the Lib Dems. That “keeping Tories in power” could even be an unspoken purpose for that party beyond the level of mere “useful idiocy was as good as openly said in 2010, after the first post-Blair General election came down to the wire, and it was subsequently maintained in plain sight for five years. Even the small detail of that party being the first spiritual home for our likely next Prime Minister in her Oxford years is not uncharacteristic.

        Either way, that a whole series of unearned Tory majorities over the last forty-plus years was made relatively easily fixable largely due to the presence of the Lib Dems in the much-revered “system” is a sad collateral truth. We all know it while asleep at night and darkly dreaming. The trick as always for such things is to remember in light of day again when we are “awake and reading newspapers”.

        I use that last image proverbially, of course.

        • Taxiarch

          Collie Dog, I think I might owe you an apology: what I said wasn’t rhetorical. I think it would be of great benefit if Labour and the Lib Dems were to merge. I also understand why they have not, as you outlined above.

          The principal arguments in support are

          (1)  any policy differences are confected not fundamental (EU/PR)

          (2)  the division has been and will continue to be fundamental to Tory success – running against two centrist parties, both tribally toxic one to the other

          (3)  the ‘double centrist’ approach falsely signals a lack of credible cohesion in centrist political ideology; for centrists this suggests a weakness that is exploited by their opponents; in sporting parlance ‘an own goal’

          (4)  for those less interested in long term ideology and structure, the prsent reality is 90 seats where the Libdems are second placed and need to win Tory votes. Those votes are far less likely to be forthcoming if it looks like they’ll merely be used to bring in a Momentum/Corbyn-light Labour government. A merger would allow the centrist bloc to deflect the perennial allegation of them being Momentum enablers.

          Although I am not myself centrist, I can see this is a moment of opportunity to address the structural imbalance of FPTP using a Nationalist Democratic appeal – leadership in putting aside differences to serve the country at time of greatest need.

          Does it help Scotland? The proposal is neutral; except that the genuine prospect of an English centrist (if Unionist) party is mildly preferable in the long term to a genuinely independent Scotland.

          Does it help the Greens or the Left? I doubt much will help them other than PR (and then some); but PR becomes more possible if there is a new party determined to address (what will shortly become) a first grade ‘crisis of legitimacy’ parallel to that in the USA.

          Does it help the Right? No.

          Thanks to other posters for taking the time to reply; appreciated, whatever your views.

          • Taxiarch

            And to follow up the merger point:

            “The Labour Party exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full.”

            I’m fibbin’. Actually thats the Liberal Democrat constitution.

    • SA

      I really don’t know what sort of fantasy is this? Scotland being independent but within the current world neoliberal system will be no different to any of the other countries in the western hemisphere beholden to the US, Unless the system changes independence for Scotland will not change anything. We should all unite to fight the system.

      • Gordon Taggart

        Eh? Who should unite and what exactly should we unite around?
        You clearly do not understand politics. “Fighting” without a movement, using the imposed, existing systems; usually influenced from another country, has been shown to be a route to failure and defeat, as posted constantly by our host.

        Explain this “fantasy”, please?

        • SA

          Yes the country that is ruling us is the US as it is also ruling Europe. There are no independent policies within the west whether social or economic or foreign policy and there is no room for dissent. Witness how Europe is commuting group suicide at the behest of the US with the Russian sanctions. And as pointed out by our host the great hope of Scottish independence is unlikely to veer too far away from Atlanticism or be allowed to. This is the fantasy, that an independent Scotland will be able to determine its own policy. If you look at what has happened to Europe with fragmentation and independence of many Central European countries and especially the Balkans you can clearly see what will happen. Do you know that Bosnia is actually not a sovereign state but is ruled by a viceroy?
          ‘We’ are the people who want to be free of this hegemonic neoliberal and globalist system not fragmentation within the system.

      • Lapsed Agnostic

        I doubt whether the security services will feel it necessary to bother infiltrating the Northern Independence Party, Johnny, seeing as its recent electoral performance hasn’t exactly been what you might call spectacular. To wit:

        a) The Independent candidate they endorsed in the Hartlepool by-election, the likeable former Labour MP Thelma Walker, only getting 0.8% of the vote – with just two more votes than a recently-convicted sex offender Independent who claimed that he was only standing “to see how much publicity I can get”.

        b) Their candidate in the Wakefield by-election coming 14th out of 15 with 0.3% of the vote (less than half that of the Loonies) – only managing to beat former Britain First leader Jayda Fransen, who was standing against her former party and several other right/far-right parties.

        c) None of their eight candidates in the 2022 local elections managing to get elected, most of them coming last – including in Leeds’s Beeston & Holbeck ward, which in recent years has voted in significant numbers for a minor party, The Save our Beeston & Holbeck Independents, who weren’t standing this year probably since they recently seem to have succeeded in getting the ‘Managed Zone’ in Holbeck closed for business permanently, at least officially.

        Nub of the gist of the take-home point: Most Northerners seem to be canny enough to realise that if Northern England did become a sovereign country, there would no longer be any subsidies from the rest of the UK, and consequently there would need to be large tax increases or a huge drop in public spending. Anyway, the NIP’s leader, the Brighton-based Philip Proudfoot, resigned a couple days ago, so if anyone fancies flogging a dead horse…

        • Mr V

          Tax increases on the rich, no theft by 1% and less spent on wars of aggression would fund that subsidization ‘loss’ nicely (if it even exists, because south just loots every other part of the country). Of course, most of UK is brainwashed to believe above is CUMUNIZM and work of the Devil/Corbyn so they won’t vote on common sense policies, sadly.

      • Taxiarch

        In the English North most people firmly identify as English first and their county/provincial allegiance second. I don’t see any prospect of that changing in the near future.

        This is quite distinct from Scotland.

        Consequently aping the Scottish Independence path seems unlikely to succeed, and Lapsed Agnostic maps out exactly how small the acorn is at present.

        The Yorkshire Party is more successful – “2021 West Yorkshire mayoral elections, it received nearly 60,000 votes (nearly 10% of the vote share)” – but that is a centrist formation, whilst NIP is rather more left leaning.

    • tom welsh

      Actually, the Labour Party does not matter. It has nothing to do with labour, working people, or indeed anything related to real work. I have no idea what its members spend their time doing, other than chattering to each other in a woke manner and occasionally dismembering one of their number who is insufficiently woke, or woke in the wrong way. Unfortunately, there is a practical hitch: as the incumbent pathetic apology for a government is hopelessly incompetent and can’t even lie properly (a basic political skill), we may end up being ruled by Labour. Perhaps if we stick our fingers in our ears and ignore them, we will find in a few years that they have done less harm than we feared.

      Maybe.

      • T

        If they got elected and history is any guide they’ll dance to the tune of the papers, become insanely right-wing until they’re kicked out again and we get the Tories for another twenty years.

  • Robert Dyson

    I see it the other way. The Forde Report would never have come out without Forde referring to “allegations”. As you say, and I am sure he knew, the truth leaks out between the lines. The most outrageous thing is in para 2 – he and the panel were threatened immediately on appointment with legal action should they examine the data of that internal report.

  • Brian c

    Really fine dissection of the report. Don’t think anybody else has foregrounded its grotesque underlying antidemocratic assumption; namely that it was proper an unelected rightwing clique should thwart the will of the largest party membership in Europe. Says everything about the worldview of the person who penned the report and the person who appointed him to write it.

    The ludicrous both-sidesing of blame gaslights the left. Forde technocratically condemns some of the rightwing abuse but supports most of it – including the antisemitism smear – and suggests that all the abuse could have been avoided if only the left had “trusted” their rightwing abusers. He advocates “a willingness to see the good in people even with whom we disagree”. It is offensive to tell people who are subject to abuse and bullying that they have to find the good in their abusers and bullies. Forde is victim blaming.

    I suppose we should be grateful that the report does commit to official memory the deliberate thwarting by the rightwingers of victory in the 2017 General election. Iirrelevant of course to the obsessive “political animals” of the British commentariat; so too the entire report in fact, despite their maniacal coverage of factional disputes in Labour 2015‒19. This is because for all its failings the report was not a total whitewash that it was safe to headline and draw public attention to. Not like the Durham police exoneration of Sir Keir Starmer.

    • Piotr Berman

      I understood that the main misgiving of Forde is the use of intemperate language, the lack of cultured patina, that sort of thing. If only the party sent the right wingers (Tory wannabe rather than Tory light) to anger management sessions, those appalling messages would sound palatable, at least to Forde.

  • GFL

    It’s becoming increasingly obvious that we are a one-party state, Starmer parachuted in to become the next elected PM just to maintain the illusion of democracy, and nothing absolutely nothing will change. I’m glad I’m a really old but angry man

    • Cactus

      Hi GFL, I second what you say:

      “It’s becoming increasingly obvious that we are a one-party state…”

      We, the people of Scotland, need to do something to change that stasis over this Summer.

      Bring on The Hurricane.
      #keepinitcool

    • SA

      And Corbyn’s mistake is that he was too democratic. He should have got control of the party apparatus and sacked those plotters.

      • Johnny Conspiranoid

        “And Corbyn’s mistake is that he was too democratic. He should have got control of the party apparatus and sacked those plotters.”

        Since they are employees of the members their contract of employment is to do the will of the mambers, anything alse is in breach of that contract. The role of employee has no democratic rights, so Corbyn only had to see that they did their job, as party democracy required.

        • tom welsh

          “The role of employee has no democratic rights…”

          Precisely. And as the huge majority of modern life is run by corporations through their employees, democracy is – and can be – nothing more than a beautiful dream.

          People read and listen to stories denouncing “authoritarian dictators” and saying how unacceptable they are, then work for them for 8 hours a day and often all other hours when told to.

        • Taxiarch

          Johnny, the employer within Labour Party structures is the NEC rather than the Leader.

          Corbyn struggled for years to get adequate influence on the NEC and finally got McNicol to resign in favour of a seat in the Lords; but all too late.

          By then, Corbyn had run out of road.

          It’s a quirk that the Labour Leader has control not of the NEC, nor the General Secretary, nor the Labour Party staff; a quirk ruthlessly exploited by his opponents. The deficit LOTO sought indirectly to remedy with numerous High Court legal actions, all time-consuming and not uniformly successful.

  • Parchester

    I too have waded through the Forde Report, the “Leaked Report” and the EHRC Report and totally agree with your thoughts and those of Peter Oborne. With each one of these documents it is striking how the findings are continually misrepresented by politicians and the media. While some of this is undoubtedly down to lazy journalists skimming summarized reports of these reports, the clear narrative presented demonstrates how the mainstream media is dominated by the neo-liberal Right.

    Like yourself I was struck by the extent that Forde bends over backwards in his attempts to be even-handed when discussing the factionalism within the Labour Party. He repeatedly draws the analogy that HQ staff are the party’s ‘Civil Service’, but then ignores the point that the real civil service is obliged to carry out the policies of the elected government, irrespective of their personal political beliefs.

    He also bangs on at length about the waste of resources and consequent conflicts arising from the LOTO’s office hiring their own staff, in many cases duplicating HQ staff functions. But he never draws the obvious conclusion that Corbyn was effectively forced down this route because the HQ staff could not be trusted not to ignore, leak, misrepresent or deilberately obstruct what they were asked to do.

    For all its faults, I did enjoy reading this part of section E9.8 “…we are disappointed that there has been a refusal to engage at all with Jewish Voice for Labour’s proposals for antisemitism education and that CLPs are, we are told, not even allowed to enlist their help”. This has, of course, produced howls of anguish from the usual suspects! Factionalism within the Labour Party is as nothing compared to the ‘Life of Brian’ style conflicts between JLM, LFI and JVL.

    Unfortunately, as you conclude, it is highly likely that Starmer and co will simply shelve this report, blame all the problems on Corbyn and the Left and blithely carry on with their Tory-lite appeasement policies while the party continues to lose members in their thousands (a consequence which the increasingly-loathsome Rachel Reeves actually welcomed). All very sad…

  • pete

    Reading Craig’s piece and Peter Oborne’s article, you could form the opinion that the major obstacle to Labour getting into government is its central administrative body itself. By focusing on the ‘getting elected’ bit it became slavishly other-directed toward opinions expressed in the right-wing mainstream media. Craig’s observations about the dishonest declension of ‘findings’ as opposed to ‘allegations’ as being a linguistic sleight-of-hand is central to the understanding of the report. For those of us who always wondered what the precise anti-Semitism smears were and whether they were in fact uttered by actual labour party members, we were left in the dark. It made no difference to me as Labour had lost my support after they decided to join in on an attack on a country based on no evidence at all.
    So three cheers to Craig for his observations and nul points to Labour’s rightward swing toward the so-called centre ground. What would be the point of being elected if you promised never to change or reform anything. At this stage it is more important than ever to split up the so-called UK; if you wait for the present lot to do anything you will wait in vain.

    • Johnny Conspiranoid

      It is often assumed that what appears in a county’s media reflects the spread of opinions in that country, but it’a an assumption.

  • Vivian O’Blivion

    The latest sophistry wheeze is apparently “disinformation” (this is new to me anyway). Disinformation is conflated with misinformation, ie misinformation is demonstrably false. Disinformation is however not false, merely inconvenient for our State prestitutes. The casual reader assumes disinformation and misinformation are one and the same. This wheeze is apparently rife at the Guardian.

    • Steve Hayes

      It’s been around for a long time. I’m sure I heard it from the US State Department in the 80s and mentally translated it as “Information we dislike”.

  • Republicofscotland

    It would appear the Blairites within the Labour party were willing to go to extreme lengths to stop a popular socialist Labour leader from becoming PM, a PM that would undoutably have brought more socialist policies to the UK. All the Blairites succeeded in doing was to hurt the people of the UK, when they, and the Tory loving media organised one of the most concerted smear campaigns I’ve ever witnessed against a Labour leader.

    • Twirlip

      I still haven’t got over my astonishment at the (non-Tory loving!) Guardian‘s intense smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters in 2015 (and for years after). I think I’m still in a state of shock and dislocation.

      The way in which an obviously baseless lie about antisemitism gained currency – cynically cheapening such an extremely important concept, and risking stirring up actual antisemitism (and indeed being antisemitic) – was probably the most shocking and disorienting aspect of the whole affair.

      Next to that, perhaps, was the mindless, cheap, cynical, insultingly stupid ad hominem character of the endless stream of hit pieces by Guardian hacks. I was naive enough to expect better of the Guardian.

      The oft-used term “gaslighting” is indeed an appropriate one for what happened.

      Sorry, I don’t have any other kind of light (than gaslight) to shed on those events. I’m still baffled, as well as shocked and disillusioned by it all. I’m just letting off steam, and probably mixing metaphors!

      • Jimmeh

        > I was naive enough to expect better of the Guardian.

        The Guardian has been pro-Israel since its foundation (and yes, I know the Guardian was founded before the state of Israel).

        The idea that “antisemitism” should be defined to include political criticism of the state of Israel is not new, but the IHRA definition is new, and Labour’s adoption of it is still newer. Essentially the IHRA definition represents the successful culmination of the redefinition project, and gave wings to the Guardian’s Zionist editorial policy.

        What I don’t get is that redefining “antisemitism” to include perfectly proper political criticism of the state of Israel makes antisemitism a good thing, rather than a bad thing. I mean, I think the IHRA definition is a footgun for Jews.

      • Taxiarch

        Labour leadership election: MPs prepare to resist Corbynistas (Guardian Saturday 5th September 2015 – before he was elected!)

        https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/sep/05/corbyn-supporters-mps-party-members-labour-election

        The campaign to destroy him began before he’d even won. All the now familiar suspects: Barry Sheerman, Graham Stringer, Simon Danczuk, John Spellar, Lukie Akehurst, Michael Dugher, and several who preferred anonymity.

        Boffey: “The new Labour leader has also been pencilled in on the Tuesday to attend a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. If Corbyn wins, does he wear his vest and Breton cap?”.

        Costume: that was the first attack line; the emnity was from before the beginning.

    • SA

      There is so much wringing of the hands by Guardian columnists about the sleaze, lying and corruption within the Tories led by Johnson without any acknowledgement that it was media mainly led by the Guardian who have led to this ‘landslide’.

      • Niggle Noggle

        But is this correct? Would Corbyn’s party have won a majority? I fear that the ever declining number of UK voters would always have fallen for a party led by a known liar and for the disastrous promise of Brexit and sovereignty. Look at the appeal of sovereignty in Scotland.

        • Bayard

          ” Would Corbyn’s party have won a majority?”

          Very unlikely, but there is a big difference between “Labour not getting a majority, but the Tories not getting one either” and “80 seat Tory landslide”.

  • SA

    Excellent analysis of another whitewash report. Of course the neoliberal system is intolerant and ideologically fixated on following simple dogma of the market being what determines prosperity but fails to see that this pseudo ‘prosperity is purely for the sake of the few not the many. Corbyn had to be punished as he dared to expose the false dogma of neoliberalism even at the expense of Labour losing the election which it would have been within their grasp to win. Even common sense fails. It shows in how the energy price hike is being tackled passively by wringing of hands and bemoaning that governments are powerless in the face of the profiteering energy corporations. What a load of nonsense! These energy corporations should not determine whether people can afford energy, and whether they can just write themselves a blank cheque.
    I am no fan of Macron and certainly do not think he has a socialist bone in his body, but recently Macron has completely nationalised EDF that produces most of the electricity for France (and over 10% of UK), increasing the nation’s share from about 85% to 100%, and ordered the company to cap electricity rise to 4%. https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/07/20/french-politics-since-its-presidential-election/.
    It may not be that that is what Macron wished but it may have been forced on him because he has lost his majority in the French Parliament. But it can be done and should be done: energy, like air and water, should never be a commodity subject to monopoly.
    But of course ideology trumps everything and it would be ‘socialist’ to nationalize energy, and of course we all know that socialism is bad as Sunak tells us, lying through his back teeth to label Liz Truss as socialist for the extremely nonsensical idea of wanting to borrow to give away tax cuts.

  • Roger

    The Blairites are making a bad misjudgement. They think, “Blair won elections for Labour by following Tory policies, so we can do the same”.
    But Blair didn’t win elections because of his policies. He won because of a convincing personality, personal charisma, and slick presentation, against dull opposition (John Major, clearly intellectually inadequate for the job; William Hague, good speaker but obviously a loose cannon; Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard – what were the Tories thinking of – those two would put even most Tory voters off).
    Blair won elections in spite of his Tory policies, not because of them.
    With Starmer leading the Labour party, there will be no point in voting at all at the next general election. If you’re a Tory, you’ll get Tory policies even if Labour wins, so you may as well stay at home on election day.

  • Crispa

    Forde reflects the emergence of snowflake culture as the dominate one in the development of the political culture of the Labour party and its inability to handle it consequent to the upsurge of an otherwise diverse membership attracted by socialist ideas. Unfortunately he has no knowledge of anthropology and considers a bit of training in anti – this and anti that will somehow lead to cultural change as a solution. More recourse to conflict theory and the power elements that are embedded in it and less about achieving unrealistic consensus would have been more to the point.

  • Goose

    Frustration and anger has been tempered by the reality that, in truth, there was no feasible Corbyn-led govt. As much as we like to pretend he got close. Cobbling together a majority to get across the line would have been the easiest part.

    He’d have needed other parties, and all the parties within the party that make up the PLP; those ‘bad faith’ actors in the PLP, people who think anything left of Blair is far too left-wing. If Johnson, winner of an 80 seat majority, was so easily removed by Machiavellian scheming & plotting, what chance a pro-Palestine recognition, anti-war, US hegemony-sceptical Corbyn-led coalition? Every minor error in govt, would’ve been amplified to crisis point by the daily tabloid headlines. Realistically what chance of surviving a month or so before being brought down by his own side, no doubt in their words, for the ‘greater good’? You can easily guess the names of the Labour MPs who would have done exactly that.

    Corbyn’s own team drew up a PLP ‘hostiles’ list, he had many PLP enemies right from the beginning. The PLP tried the timed mass resignations shtick to remove him in 2016, after the Brexit referendum, a tactic successfully deployed recently against Boris Johnson. Corbyn only ever had a tiny rump of truly loyal leftist Labour MPs.

    The only way Corbyn could’ve succeeded is by being a ruthless bastard and leveraging the membership, à la Trump; urging deselections of prominent PLP critics and bringing in Open selection or mandatory reselection to cement his grip with like-minded MPs. His conciliatory approach to PLP enemies just encouraged them. But that reasonable, gentlemanly conduct is fundamental to his nature, his very persona. And it’s probably why so many were attracted to his leadership style in the first place.

    There is an inescapable question: if he couldn’t remove these vile rogue operators undermining him, in their HQ, with a huge membership personal mandate behind him, how on earth could he hope to run the country and manage the civil service, intel folks and openly hostile top brass in the army? And if he didn’t know what they were doing in the party’s HQ? Well, he should have made it his business to know.

    • Roger

      If Johnson, winner of an 80 seat majority, was so easily removed by Machiavellian scheming & plotting

      Where have you been for the last two years? Johnson wasn’t removed by “Machiavellian scheming”, he was removed because it became obvious that he’s so used to lying that he no longer knows the difference between true and false; nobody can work with such a person, so in the end he couldn’t form a Cabinet.

      • Goose

        The two contenders to replace him had their campaigns on standby long before there was even a vacancy, this while they were publicly pledging loyalty and sat in his cabinet. If that isn’t scheming behaviour, don’t know what is.

        Worth remembering that Johnson never did have the full support of the parliamentary Conservative party, and he won greater support (%) from MPs in the recent private confidence vote than he did in 2019’s leadership contest. As for whether he’s a worse liar than other leading UK politicians, it’s a highly subjective claim. His biggest problem by far was ‘partygate’ and that is an example of something trivial being ‘amplified to crisis point, albeit by the BBC, not by the tabloids.

        50 timed or staggered resignations doesn’t happen without some coordination behind the scenes. Most of the govt people who resigned were pledging total loyalty straight after the recent confidence vote, and stating the matter was now settled. What changed? Johnson described it as a herd mentality, clearly someone was prodding them, telling them to get a move on in removing him.

        • Jimmeh

          > something trivial being ‘amplified to crisis point

          Lying to parliament isn’t something trivial.

          Getting ambushed by a cake might be considered trivial; I certainly never cared about cakes or toasts. But misleading Parliament, and refusing to correct the record, is non-trivial.

          > clearly someone was prodding them, telling them to get a move on in removing him

          Ah, that would be the electorate. Minister after minister came onto the Today programme to lie for his/her boss, eventually reaching the point where the lying minister was contradicted by his boss within a few hours. Johnson’s lying was becoming ever more barefaced; he acquired that “smirk”, signifying that he knew everyone knew he was lying, but couldn’t remove him. He had become contemptuous of the public and of his cabinet, and the cabinet had had enough.

      • fonso

        If Johnson’s lying was intolerable then where does that leave us, because Starmer is a much more consequential liar than him. Johnson did what the Tory members elected him to do, deliver Brexit. Starmer by contrast has performed a complete 180 on all the pledges he made to get elected Labour leader. Abandoning the social democratic alternative the country needs and is crying out for, he has cleaved back to doctrinaire government for the rich, neocon, pro-apartheid, 3-cheeks-of-the-same-backside Westminster orthodoxy.

        For Johnson to match Keir Starmer levels of deception and dishonesty he would have had to brazenly rejoin the single market or just null Brexit altogether. Johnson is a liar but his lies and fraudulence were meaningless and puny in scale compared to Starmer’s.

    • Squeeth

      @ Goose

      “…that reasonable, gentlemanly conduct is fundamental to his nature, his very persona.”

      Eh? Tell that to Chris Williamson, Jackie Walker (purged from the Liarbour Partei by zionist antisemites for being Jewish), Tony Greenstein, Marc Wadsworth (purged by zionist antisemites for being black), Judased by that gutless poltroon. Liarbour is and has always been a far right counterpart to the Tories (Officials). Damn anyone for being in it and damn anyone for voting for it, even in fascist FPTP elections.

      • fonso

        Always a far right counterpart to the Tories? Labour pushed British political commonsense to what would now be considered Bolshevism in the post-war decades. Only neoliberals want to disappear that history and memory.

        • Squeeth

          Liarbour attacked the Tory poor peoples’ welfare state in 1929, sabotaged the NHS in the late 40s, legalised eugenic murder in the mid-60s, kept and passed racist migration laws in the 60s, ethnically cleansed the Chagos Islanders in the late 60s, connived with the Tories (Officials) in the early 70s to hide the £1bn Chevaline nuclear toy, conspired with the US oil companies in the early 70s to deny union rights to workers in the North Sea oil and gas industries and ended the commitment to full employment in 1979. The only socialism in the Liarbour Partei has been the national variety.

  • Johnny Conspiranoid

    “the speech won’t go down as badly as it deserves to thanks to the large groundswell of ill-informed opposition to all western interventions. “

    And there I think is the main driver of these machinations, there must be no opposition to western interventions.
    The Labour Party apparatchiks hate the corbynistas and have done their best to drive them out of the party. They will still expect the votes of those who approved of Corbyn though and will ask for them on the basis of something being better than nothing, but what is the ‘something’ that NuLab has to offer? Corbynism offered the bare minimum required to make NuLab distinguishable from the Tories, and without the corbynistas NuLab is a big fat nothing burger, like the LibDems once Charles Kennedy was got rid of. The fate of the LibDems awaits the Labour Party now.

    “The groups appear to have become an echo chamber in which at times conspiratorially hostile attitudes to the party’s left were at best tolerated and at worst amplified”

    Yes that would be how conspiracies start. No doubt the writers would say ‘I’m no conspiracy theorist but’, the way people do before they tell you their conspiracy theory. The wider bubble that these conspiritors inhabit needs a more believable phony opposition than NuLab can provide, at least under KS, if the UK’s continued support of ‘western intervention’ is to be guaranteed. Events beyond the West’s control are making ‘western intervention’ a thing of the past though.

  • fonso

    Do not forget Craig that this report dud also confirms visceral anti-Black racism and Islamophobia among Labour Centrists, now a major trait of Starmer’s Labour.

    Why is it important to remember their racism? Because now it is clear there will be no economic distinction with the Tories Starmer’s liberal apologists will increasingly claim it is anti-racism that makes new New Labour preferable. Never forget that these centrist liberals are equally racist and will be hungry to build another mountain of dead brown bodies in the Muslim world.

  • Fred Dagg

    “About a third of the mass membership that Corbyn brought into the Labour Party has now left. Starmer, having lied his way through his leadership election, has now positioned the party very squarely back as Blairite and Tory Lite. There is therefore a very real argument that the Forde Report simply does not matter.

    On the surface, it is all over for the prospect of any left wing challenge to rampant neo-liberalism, at least arising from the Labour Party. However the consequences of unchecked wealth inequality, destruction of worker and popular rights, environmental destruction and of violent neo-Imperialism abroad, are likely to strike the general population with ferocity this winter. I am not sure people are prepared for the level of calamity that is unfurling.

    The lessons of what was done to Corbyn – and to Bernie Sanders – may yet need to be understood in the not too distant future. We have never stood more in need of radical change.”

    In a now-deleted post from May 22, I noted your repeated habit of correctly outlining current politico-economic reality but then pulling back from the (unacceptable to your personal philosophy/politics) logical conclusion: that Capitalism can only be “fixed” by replacing it with an economic system that does not rely on the “legalised” theft of both the world’s natural resources and the (manual) working-class’s labour-power. I understand that this is the default position of all liberals, but I thought that, just maybe, your recent experiences (you are even now on a tour publicising one of them) might have opened a chink in your reaction. It seems not: we “still” have to reflect on the latest betrayals of the “wretched of the Earth” by political parties putatively representing them so that we can “understand” what to do in the future.

    How many times do some people have to be kicked in the head before they draw the correct conclusion? Too bad, so sad, bye bye.


    [ Mod: You say:

    “In a now-deleted post from May 22 … ”

    Yet there is no record of such a comment in the deletions table, so it would appear that the blog server never received it. For the record, you successfully posted twice on that day – @8:26 and @20:31. The latter comment was similarly critical and dismissive of Craig’s skills in political and economic analysis.

    The only comment of yours that was deleted close to that date was a link to a short clip from the TV series “The Detectorists” which was posted on May 23 without any original commentary from you, and was therefore removed under the ‘Contribute’ rule. ]

    • Fred Dagg

      Mod.: Apologies for the mix-up over deletions – the post that I thought had been deleted is the second one you link to.

      • glenn_nl

        True, but capitalism is greed codified into law and accepted practice. Instead, it should be curbed when it’s clearly not in the interests of society.

        • Bayard

          “True, but capitalism is greed codified into law and accepted practice.”

          No it isn’t, any more than any other “ism” is codified into law. People like to blame capitalism for many of the ills of Western society, because it is more comforting to have a narrowly defined enemy that can be abolished to make the new paradise than something as diffuse and apolitical as greed. Get rid of “capitalism” and greedy people will simply find another way to arrogate riches to themselves at the expense of others. You cannot legislate against greed. Any system that relies on the good guys regulating the bad guys will always fail because both regulators and regulated are drawn from the same common stock of humanity. There is no magic sieve you can pass through the population that will remove the greedy and leave the altruistic behind.

          • U Watt

            There has been legislation against greed going back to medieval times in the west, like the usury laws. Even longer in the east. Such laws still exist even in the near abroad, where it is illegal for example to privatise public ultilities. The entire movement for political democracy was an effort to legislate against greed and it still is.

      • SA

        Capitalism tends to be dogmatic and simplistic but also deceitful . The mantras of light touch government, privatization, the market self regulation and low taxation are taken as dogma without regard for facts and no flexibility. Take the fact that privatizations such as that of railways have not been a success and the railways are still heavily subsidized whilst paying dividends to shareholders at the expense of the taxpayers, the energy companies are profiteering at the expense of all of us, the water companies causing major pollutions of waterways and failing to update an ageing leaking system in preference of private profits. All these companies would fail in a truly open capitalist system and this so called capitalist system is heavily manipulated for the benefit of corporations and billionaires.

        • Bayard

          “Capitalism tends to be dogmatic and simplistic but also deceitful .”

          Capitalism tends to be none of these things. When you have a society that has become basically amoral, as ours has done, all facets of society tend to be taken over by greedy, selfish and ambitious people because, without the curb of morality, such people will always win over people less greedy, selfish and ambitious. That holds true with the structures of capitalist commerce as it does for everything else, most notably politics. Capitalism is simply a name for how commerce organises itself in the absence of some other system being imposed from outside, it is only as moral, or indeed, as dogmatic, simplistic or deceitful, as the people who end up operating it.

          • U Watt

            A selfish mindset has been deliberately inculcated in Britain by four decades of neoliberal capitalist ideologues monopolising political and cultural discourse. Compare that with the societal values encouraged in Cuba for example.

          • pete

            I can see why you might want to substitute one definition of capitalism against another, but I cannot agree that proposing to accept the Wikipedia version is at all helpful, the definition there attempts to combine so many diffuse threads that it becomes complicated to the point of insanity, the original version is as good as any other. The fact that people cannot agree with a definition that might be useful for analytical purposes says a lot about the irrational nature of the relations between what we mean by money, possessions, property, wealth, fairness, greed and a hundred other things.
            And is this all just an attempt to change the debate from being about the debasement of the Labour party from the spirit of what it used to be into a gross parody of the Tory party?

          • Bayard

            “And is this all just an attempt to change the debate from being about the debasement of the Labour party from the spirit of what it used to be into a gross parody of the Tory party?”

            Not really, just pointing out that “getting rid of capitalism” is not the answer to that particular problem.

    • Jimmeh

      I gather (from a Labour Party member) that Labour finances are now in freefall. I suspect that a lot of the people that have “left” have really simply declined to renew their subscriptions. That suggests that a lot more Corbynites have yet to fall off the membership register.

      So how is Labour to finance itself? Trades unions are increasingly reluctant to finance Labour. It seems their only option will be to solicit donations from rich men and corporations. Such donations, however, come with strings.

  • Michael K

    I think Corbyn represented the ‘last dying gasp’ of social democracy in British politics. Liberal, or bourgeois democracy, is being left high and dry by our modern version of imperialism; all the recent military adventures and destructive, aggressive wars, that have wiped entire countries virtually off the map; and now we’re at war with Russia over Ukraine and preparing for an even bigger conflict with China.

    These wars will require a vast national mobilisation and anything, for example, democracy itself, will be pushed aside in the war effort.

    Why Corbyn didn’t mobilize his supporters against the Blairites, is beyond me.

  • DunGroanin

    This is a great article by a great investigative journalist and an even greater human being who has devoted his years towards human rights and anti corruption. That he was jailed for doing that this time last year for doing the same must be noted.

    There is much that happened in that year from the chaotic retreat from Afghanistan to the failure of the Covid vaccine narrative to the crowing about the GND by the biggest funds Blackrock etc in Scotland to the further coalescence of the MPW to the last throws of the dice by the ancient autocrats of the Collective Waste in its various reaches The deification of Nazis and racism against Russia by the British government and its demented peoples – they made us cancel our Meerkat toys for gods sake !! Along with our favourite brand vodka and screwed the proms!!

    What has the Official Opposition done in the face of such madness.? What has the Great Knight Dope done?? Absolutely supported the fascist state as he has done since being put in charge of the CPS by Blair/Campbell and the international robber barons they have represented all their lives. Jailed JA with lies. That the CPS are special guests at the US Embassy citadel as they prepare to illegally rendition their greatest thorn with its staff still bleating about rape charges and totally ignore by the death of freedom and whistleblown truths.

    As Bozo goes to enjoy his billionaire lifestyle days as one of the Ubermasterrace CEO’s – to join his Bullingdon bastards bum chums, Sir Keir is happily burning the remaining NHS and genuine grassroots Labour to complete the reversal of the postwar covenant. It is destroyed and we are returned to the days of ragged trousered philanthropy which our kids have been betrayed into with massive debts they are hogtied with by time they are 21 with zero prospects.and zero hour servitude to look forward to.

    Yet the young are the many and JC is their legitimate PM – the young need to find their political cojones and rebel and join the right side of history.

    • nevermind

      Well said Dungroanin and thanks for the link to Starmer, Dom, whincing from being whipped with facts of his Tory servitude, he is shallower than an oily puddle.
      Those ‘political cojones’ are smothered by cheap screen entertainment, summer festivals and 24/7 propaganda from a media and public broadcaster that are backing this coup d’état on their future to keep their crumbling status quo alive.
      That despite their lack of prospects for a sustainable life, despite many of them risking being arrested for daring to protest the lack of action.
      This moment is right, if a general strike hastens the coming recession and much higher energy prices are implemented, before they declare a dumb-and-numb new shitshow host from Norfolk as the new by 0.3% selected establushment favourite, then no better time to kick off will appear before they organise their ‘education camps’ instead of replacing dangerous and crumbling hospitals.

  • Peter

    One thing I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere in relation to the report is that it surely vindicates Jeremy Corbyn’s comments (as if such a thing were needed) on the publication of the EHRC report for which Staliner suspended him from the party and then, when the national executive reinstated him, removed the whip from him meaning that he cannot now sit as a Labour MP and so sits in the HoC as an independent MP.

    Based on this report Corbyn should have the whip returned immediately and should once again sit as a Labour MP.

    Why has this not happened?

    • Jimmeh

      Starmer has adopted a definition of antisemitism that includes criticism of the State of Israel. He used that definition to suspend Corbyn for antisemitism. The report doesn’t comment on the controversial IHRA definition; so the report doesn’t bear directly on Corbyn’s suspension.

      • Peter

        Corbyn was suspended, then had the whip removed, because on the day of the publication of the EHRC report he backed its findings but added that the scale of antisemitism in the Labour Party had been overestimated and magnified for political reasons.

        The Forde Report shows that he was entirely correct – as many knew at the time. Obviously he should have the whip restored immediately.

        But of course former Director of Public Prosecutions (Sir) Keir Staliner doesn’t abide by the laws of justice so I won’t be surprised if he refuses to do so.

        If Staliner does refuse then Corbyn should take him/the Labour Party to court where all the evidence will be entirely in his favour. If that does happen nor will it surprise me if a judge finds some other entirely spurious reason to back Staliner.

        Now, if it were to be a jury trial … .

  • Michael K

    Though Corbyn is regarded as a ‘nice bloke’ and all that, he was an awful leader of the ‘left’ because it was a role he never really wanted or was suited for. He’s given far too much credit. It’s too easy to blame his disastrous ‘leadership’ on the ghastly right of the Labour Party, and far less attention is given to the left’s poor strategy, lack of ideas, and their seemingly total lack of offensive capabilities. This means they cannot learn from their mistakes and prepare for the next time, the future, if there is one! Pissing away a once-in-a-generation-or-century opportunity, isn’t something one can simply shrug off and blame it all on the media and the Blairites!

    For example: why didn’t Corbyn start legal proceedings for libel against his enemies in the party? Why didn’t he mobilize his tens of thousands of young supporters and occupy the party’s headquarters and throw the bastards out the window (not literally). Why did he choose to never land a punch on his enemies instead of acting like a saintly punchbag? Why didn’t he call meetings where, flanked by Jewish Labour Party supporters, he took on the anti-semitic smears head on? Why did he keep mumbling fucking apologies when he was smeared so terribly? Why wasn’t he righteously angry, or at least pretend to be? Why didn’t he employ ‘attack dogs’ if he didn’t want to get his hands dirty? Why didn’t his side have a pro-active and effective media strategy? Why were the people around him so hopeless and out of their depth? They literally had years to react, yet they never did. Why not? Have they and the left learned nothing from any of this? I really doubt it.

    • Squeeth

      @Michael K. you are right, Corbyn had no backbone and capitulated at the first opportunity. Neville Chamberlain at least wanted to back appeasement with firepower.

    • Jimmeh

      > he was an awful leader of the ‘left’ because it was a role he never really wanted or was suited for.

      I agree with you (and most of your other remarks). He stood for leader because otherwise the slate would have been all neolibs; he didn’t expect to win.

      I wish he had fought. But Corbyn wouldn’t have tried to sue the Labour Party, because he is a loyal member. I agree that he should have faced-down the smears.

      I think McDonnell would have made a *much* better leader. He came across better as a public speaker, and he’s pugnacious while staying calm and personable. Unfortunately he’s put himself out of contention for the leadership. Nobody could call Corbyn “pugnacious”.

      Rather than a purge of the party, Corbyn should have got rid of most of his front-bench, and made an example of a handful of scheming officials. Especially (Dame) Margaret Hodge, who loathed her fellow Labour representative in Islington. They’d have all joined the Libdems: lucky old Libdems! He didn’t need to purge party membership – his supporters already dominated the membership. His problem was the PLP.

      It’s terribly sad – it was, for a short while, a time of hope.

    • DiggerUK

      Corbyn talked the righteous talk, but walked the snowflake walk.
      The Labour Party has always had such prominent members in its ranks; none of them had a pair. So sadly normal, but that is the Labour Party for you…_

    • DunGroanin

      MK,
      Utter bullshit, he had no need to, the funny tinger types deported themselves from the front benches and the party to derail Corbyn – if mistake was made it was to let ANY of them rats return to the front benches to spread the plague, most of all the great knight dope Starmer who pretended to stall BrexShit to destroy the Red wall, and did stall it inadvertently by the highly skilled work of Bercow and the various intricacies of ancient Parliamentary procedures. Keith seemed as shocked by his success at that, as he did when in the last GE the secret privatisation documents were revealed at a press conference and HE did not say a SINGLE word about it, looking equally like a critter caught in the headlights as in the above scousers bark, leaving the stage before the end.
      Completely ignored it thereafter.

      Yup, there are a lot NeoLibCon artistes on the NEC and the CLP’s who are the responsibility of these members to despatch NOT the leadership. He was not a Zelensky after all, was he? The Blairite press and apparatchiks and state hoods and judiciary are controlled – we live in a fascist state.

      Advocating that the great peace-seeker and democrat act in an equally fascistic manner that would see them accused of crying, is just gaslighting. That’s why it is bullshit.

      • Squeeth

        What casuistical nonsense, Corbyn only needed to defend himself, instead he made Sturmer’s rabbit in the headlights impression look amateur. He looked the other way while a black Jewish woman was purged by zionist antisemites FFS!

      • Lapsed Agnostic

        Starmzy didn’t pretend to stall Brexit, DG – he deliberately and shamelessly tried to reverse it, as amusingly detailed by his (unofficial) biographer, Oliver Eagleton, in conversation with Aaron Bastani. Our hard(ish) Brexit had nothing to do with John Bercow, who was only standing up for the historic rights of Parliament.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7gqvdJSOBw

        (The relevant bit starts at 58:00 if you’re short on time – but the rest of it is well worth a listen, imho)

        • DunGroanin

          LA,
          Yes he deliberately did make it a policy at conference that was bullied through by the idiotic membership on a emotional button push – sidelining the collective cabinet agreement. It was deliberately designed to seemingly break the Red wall that would finally allow the blairites to wrench back control. Having failed with the chicken coups and Mays forced snap election in 2017 – after she supposedly received holy orders from her walk up a Welsh hill bullshit. And failed to dislodge JC, infact nearly bringing down the establishment upon its own heads – barely keeping enough of the corrupt in place by endless recounts – remember Rudd?

          That was why he was sent back as the GKH, having initially resigned in the coordinated chickencoups.

          Bercow along with genuine Parliamentarians did their best to stop the fascist coup at Westminster. For which he was venomously hated by the Establishment- they were forced to prorogue parliament- a very British coup.
          Starmer did not advocate setting up an alternative Parliament across the road.
          Starmer did not insist on Bercow attaining the traditional escalation to the HOL for every Speaker ever – another facet of the Coup.
          Starmer instantly knifed and then has attempted to bury alive JC the moment the US gauntleted Pompeo’s fixed postal vote mid December election was delivered, by LauraKoftheCIA breathlessly from a car on her phone…

          Starmer and his Starmtroopers have spent their time ever since in destroying and disenfranchisement of the largest social democratic grassroots membership in Europe.

          Keith is a utter and complete c***.
          He is a Nazi supporting (Ukraine), paedo protecting (Saville), police protecting (countless police murderers), jailer of journos (JA),
          Who instantly dropped what was his only raison celebre (hard BrexShit avoider) in the deluded Labour blairite kool aid slurpers ‘minds’; who have never realised or are able to admit that Bambi was a mass murdering liar just like his bestty paedo Bill and cackling harridan Hillary who are also bestties with the the Bush dynasty which goes back to grandpappy Prescott being banker to the original Nazis rise nearly a century ago.

          I do hope that is as unequivocally clear as I can make it – to you and others who stir the shit and create fog nonstop on these boards.

  • Anonymoosy

    Excellent analysis as always.

    The irony of this is that the BoD, JLM and the usual right-wing zealots have accused Forde of ignoring antisemitism.

    Laughable really.

    • Peter Mo

      Simple message… Weaponized means overstated or exaggerated. Hence Corbyn was right and Starmer wrong. I “daresay” there is an apology from Starmer somewhere.

  • mark cutts

    Corbyn is as Corbyn does.

    How on earth the media and the Labour Party PLP managed to get away with labelling Corbyn as an anti-Semite is amazing being as he has had 42 years of fighting racism of any kind like his mentor Tony Benn.

    But happen it did.

    If you remember 20017 and the near miss (frightening the powers that really be) then the effort to prevent the left from being a future government was redoubled by not only the media and those with skin in the future hiring game (see the ex-Tingers for details) but the PLP en masse joined with the fearful.

    The report into the report is a diversion from the fact that apart from the Corbynites and their sympathisers the whole bourgoisie was totally against their world being challenged.

    You could argue that Corbyn should have been tougher but that is not his style: he is not Ken LIvingstone, so he wanted to make friends/peace and attempt a collegiate Shadow Cabinet despite the differences, out of necessity rather than programmatic agreement.

    This report as a plague on both houses is not true but you will not hear (like the defence of Julian Assange) about the facts rather than the MSM interpretation of the facts – and no surprise there.

    Starmer, I’m afraid, represents the Americanisation of the UK like Johnson/Sunak want to do with the poodle-ised UK.

    The truth is that the UK economy is in deep shit and no party has any answers to the economic problems of the West as a whole – never mind the UK as the technocrats are in charge of the economies and they are still playing the Neoliberal economic game.

    It won’t work because it can’t work and the masses (including the Middle Classes) will be looking to their alleged leaders for answers.

    Perhaps a Rooseveltian plan is required – as in taxing at (98% of un invested income), or perhaps a melting down of Gated Communities railings?

    Who knows – but this inflation in energy prices etc. cannot go on and something has to give; the people cannot genuinely afford to pay their bills.

    We shall see, but strikes in the UK and in France where I live will be the order of the day.

    If they arise I’ll join them from the Gilets Jaunes to the Eco Warriors then I’ll be on the streets with them.

    The future is frightening but exciting.

    • nevermind

      Starmer might be able to stifle his MPs from supporting striking workers, but he needs minders pushing old ladies out of the way to get away from facts.
      He is on a hiding to nothing and will join his Tory chums in a grand coalition, just to be able to represent Mandelson and Blair’s interest.
      There is no more opposition.

  • Mr Lee

    A lot of comment on whether Corbyn had a suitable personality to take on the Blairites. This assumes that the leaders of the Labour party do not have to take heed of people who are senior to politicians. Corbyn is (and was) certainly aware of where the real power lies and this can be seen in his body language when photographed with these people.

  • Reza

    The ‘Labour’ Party is run by authoritarian, corrupt, careerist, racist, warmongering, anti-worker scabs. There is no chance they will ever again loosen their grip on it. So the sooner it disappears – like PASOK, the French Socialist party etc – the better.

  • Dave

    Clearly an order went out to get Corbyn, but who gives the orders and where is the HQ? Does a contrived antisemitism message mean those giving the orders are Jewish or simply that the ruling elites deem this an effective way, a smokescreen, to shield their powers and privilege from criticism, but if so is this use of antisemitism a form of antisemitism and if so are those deploying false claims committing a ‘hate crime’?

  • RogerDodger

    Excellent analysis as usual, Craig. A depressing note to end on, and more so when we consider the likelihood of such an understanding – much less radical change – coming to pass.

  • zoot

    this is surely the most appalling period in Labour’s history. complete contempt for fairness or abiding by rules. disdain for anyone that is decent. using the complaints process to harass and abuse. perpetuating racism and misogyny. protecting those who abuse women.

    • zoot

      ps there should not even be a Labour right. those types already had natural homes in the Liberal or Conservative parties.