Reply To: Elections aftermath

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Kim Sanders-Fisher

I would strongly encourage all those who believe in honest and civilised debate, with an end to the incessant lies and slurs that warped all public dialog during recent crucial votes, to sign the Principals for 2020 AVAAZ Pledge. This pledge includes resisting the “triggers” that allow emotion to override sensible thinking and it has this as its forth commitment:
“Stop the Gossip, seek the truth – Fake news, half-truths, smears, and disinformation motivated by emotion and agenda bring out the worst in all of us. People are fundamentally decent, but we are quick to embrace simple demonizations that justify the worst we do to each other. Let’s strive to see the human not the villain, and understand the often complex truth.”

Back in November of 2010, when it was a Labour PM under attack for lying about a political opponent in order to retain his seat, there was a successful petition challenge to deprive him of his victory which ultimately also barred him from standing for public office for three years. An article in the Guardian predicted the impact this would have on politics.
“The former immigration minister Phil Woolas was ejected from parliament today after two high court judges ruled that he lied about his Liberal Democrat opponent during the general election, in a judgment that is likely to have profound implications for all future campaigns.”

But that was then, with a Labour candidate under attack and a genuine commitment to accountability and political integrity. The picture is so very different now, after a relentless Tory campaign of disgraceful, unverified fact-free lies, smears and deformation has managed to depict Jeremy Corbyn, a dignified man of peace, as a hateful, vilified racist! What was the turning point for the decision made in this 2010 case?
“The specially convened election court upheld those arguments after it saw confidential emails between Woolas’s team, which included the line: “If we don’t get the white folk angry he [Woolas]’s gone.””

The Labour Party at that time took full responsibility and acted appropriately in accordance with the court judgement by refusing to support any appeal in defence of their candidate. “The deputy leader Harriet Harman said it was “no part of Labour’s politics to try to win elections by telling lies” and the party would not support any appeal.” Wow! Let that statement sink in a bit… Sp where do we stand now? Surely the Woolas case set an important precedent with regard to the use of false information to incite anger and stoke a fabricated ethnic divide. Because the UK lacks a written constitution, our law is primarily governed by precedent.

We know that the hard data categorically does not support an increase in anti-Semitism in the Labour Party; in reality the opposite is true. Sadly, Labour’s policy of appeasement and engagement with this confected “major problem,” an issue that at most potentially implicated a miniscule 0.1% of their half million membership, really did not help. If following treatment your doctor declared you 99.9% cancer free you would be ecstatic; why is 0.1% so difficult to comprehend? Demonizing loyal Labour Party members to remove high profile figures that were innocent of any anti-Semitic views did not satiate the destructive Tory beast which had the right wing media and even the supposedly neutral BBC on side.

This divisive Tory wrecking ball was aided and abetted by a few rogue centrist members of the Labour Party whose primary loyalty was not to their struggling working class constituents but, to a foreign power, namely, the Israeli Government via their powerful Jewish Lobby groups in the UK. A 2009 BBC Dispatches documentary investigated the undue influence of these Jewish Lobby groups and their increasing control over political decisions in both major parties, but we did not heed the strong warning signs. The anti-Semitism furore is not about protecting British Jews from prejudice it demands unquestionably loyalty and support of the Zionist agenda of the State of Israel in their persecution on the Palestinian people.

The brazen crowing of Joe Glasman in his YouTube rant following the triumph of the Tory “landslide victory” is both chilling and utterly disgusting. With Glasman as Head of Political and Government Investigations for the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, CAA, a Zionist bigot who has freely expressed his anti Corbyn bias, is inappropriately positioned to pass judgement on the Labour Party over the handling of a problem that statistics show barely exists. This grossly disproportionate highlighting of anti-Semitism does not make Jewish people in this country any safer; instead it stirs up trouble where there is none and emboldens dangerous, racially bigoted, far right extremists.

In many instances Labour are their own worst enemy, as valid law suits for libel could have easily shut down many spurious attacks in an instant. There was never enough evidence to conclusively prove any of the totally unfounded cases of anti-Semitism in a court of law. Unfortunately, these cases never came to court; Labour and Jeremy Corbyn were unfairly tried in the media based on the lies promulgated by MPs and supporters of the Tory Party. Corbyn was declared guilty and demonized utilizing the unique reach of the state’s most powerful propaganda juggernaut the BBC.

That said it does not make the demonization justified and it certainly was not in the best interests of conducting a free and fair election; British voters were cruelly duped by MPs whose integrity and public statements they should have been able to trust. Amplified by blatant media bias, MPs who deceitfully perpetrated those lies have “stolen” the seats they now occupy in parliament: this injustice cannot be allowed to remain unchallenged. This was not just a solitary MP targeted through unjustified smears, it was an entire political party and the leader of that party wrongfully discredited and demonized throughout the UK.

The BBC is massively at fault in this deformation case: during the mandated neutral period of Purdah their political interviews were saturated with the fake news attacks over anti-Semitism that disproportionately drowned out all of the important information on Labour manifesto policies. No wonder people were so clueless about Labour policies, their MPs and candidates were unable to present the facts while under such unrelenting toxic assault. Despite the BBC’s frequent use of a fact check feature on their broadcasts they never once sought to use this tool to determine the actual incidents of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party; instead they just ploughed ahead with fake news assumptions and right wing opinions that discredited Corbyn and the left.

Back in a time when a genuine commitment to accountability and political integrity was the norm on both sides of the House, an MP who lied about his political opponent during the general election was “ejected from parliament.” There is a strong case that this decision set a real precedent. Since so much of UK law is governed by precedent, the overwhelming evidence of industrial scale lying by MPs intent on demonizing the Labour leadership to steal the election, should be sufficient to warrant voiding the corrupted result. Did the 2010 Woolas judgment really have profound implications for all future campaigns? Perhaps not.

Does the UK electorate honestly prefer the current chaotic political landscape where the best financed candidate is able to fund dirty tricks? Can we ignore the use of slander and liable, to relentlessly discredit an opponent with a campaign of lies and smears, as an acceptable path to victory for any MP? Do we allow libellous false accusations and brutal unfounded character assassination to encourage the most unscrupulous, power hungry politicians to break the law with impunity, funded by dodgy money from supportive billionaires? Can we afford to let the selfish interests of the wealthy, and the malevolent intervention of foreign powers, override the needs of ordinary UK voters?

Overturning this rigged election result would send a very clear message that no one, MP, Lord or PM, is above the law. It would abundantly demonstrate the vital need for proper, credible standards of media oversight and accurate fact check accountability especially from, our “not so neutral” state broadcaster, the BBC. If deceitful politicians knew they would face serious consequences in future, it could finally eliminate the use of lies, fake news, deformation and shallow undeliverable promises repeated with impunity. A clear precedent was set in 2010; there is an urgent priority to pursue this eminently winnable case which is so obviously in the public interest.