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John Mann Is Not A Hero. He’s A Bully.

On Thursday, Ken Livingstone made some remarks during a BBC radio London interview, which, unless you’ve been trekking in the Antarctic, you will have read or heard by now.

The perspectives on his comments are as many and varied as the people who hold them, from those who are deeply offended, to those who are adamant he said nothing wrong.

Many in the latter category, are honing in on the fact that some of what he said turned out to be factually correct. Others agree, but make the case that his impromptu – and some would argue uncalled for – history lesson was sparse on detail and lacking in context.

But whilst many hang their heads in despair as yet another bad news story for Labour dominates the headlines, there are those with an anti-Labour agenda who can barely conceal their glee. The fact that many in this camp are Labour MP’s will sadly come as no surprise.

The MPs who are queuing up to give their despairing assessment of Labour’s alleged antisemitism problem, are often the same MPs who have been gunning for Jeremy since he stood for leader. No wonder people don’t trust their proffessions of concern.

That’s not to say there are not genuine instances of anti-semism within the Labour Party, or that these should not be taken seriously. It should be taken VERY seriously, and in every case that’s been reported, the appropriate action has been taken. But that does not mean anti Corbyn MPs should be left unchallenged if suspected of exaggerating the scale of the problem in order to cost votes, which is the understandable suspicion of many Labour members, as well as two Jewish organistions ‘The Jewish Socialist Group‘ and Facebook group ‘Jews for Jeremy,’ which have both released statements on Labour’s alleged anti-semitism problem.

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My own take on the Ken affair is quite simple. If anyone, particularly anyone Jewish, was offended by Ken’s comments, I take that seriously, and am glad Jeremy Corbyn acted swiftly to suspend Ken. That doesn’t mean I now view Ken as an anti-Semite. I don’t. But Labour must take any allegations of racism seriously. I trust that a resulting investigation will look into the matter more fairly and thoroughly than a corporate news media, more fond of anti-Labour headlines and sound bites, than hard facts.

But I don’t just want there to be an investigation into Ken Livingstone’s conduct. I also want the Labour Party to conduct an investigation into John Mann’s response to Ken’s comments.

Having watched the video footage several times now, I find myself getting angrier and angrier.

What did Mann think he was doing, acting as a lone vigilante in that way? And not only that, why did he choose to attack Ken in front of TV cameras that were so ‘conveniently’ there?

For the answer to those questions you need to watch the video very closely. There is a split second shot, on the stairs, when Mann looks into the camera lens. What I see in that brief but telling moment, is a man excited by the thought of his moment of fame. He believes he will go down in history as the man who stood up to ‘racist, nazi apologist’ Ken Livingstone. What he fails to see, is how this scene might look to a large percentage of the ordinary voting public, and more importantly, those too young to vote.

What they might see is a middle aged man chasing a much older man up some stairs, bellowing insults at the top of his voice, while the man he is shouting at tries to speak on the phone, at risk of losing his footing due to the distraction. If you, like me, have ever been the victim of aggressive bullying, this scene will have brought a familiar knot to your stomach. Sometimes, when things look and feel wrong, it’s because they are wrong.

Even if Mann was genuinely outraged by Ken’s remarks, he should have complained through the official channels, the way my fifteen year old daughter did when she was witness to racially motivated bullying of a Turkish friend at school. Her friend did not want to report it, but my daughter, so disgusted by it, took it upon herself to tell the Head teacher. What she didn’t do, was follow the bully all the way up the school corridor aggressively screaming ‘racist’ into her face. And believe me, it wasn’t because she wasn’t angry. She was furious. But despite this anger, she conducted herself with more decorum than a 53 year old Labour MP, who knew full well that the TV cameras were trained upon him.

Many of the MP’s who are clapping Mann on the back for his tirade, are sending the message to my daughter, and other young people, that it’s not only perfectly acceptable to shout abuse and harass anyone we profoundly disagree with, it’s actually commendable.

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Is that really the message they want to send to young people? Isn’t it better to commend them for keeping control, despite angry feelings, which is not the same as condoning racism or any other form of poor behaviour.

At the end of the day, Mann’s behaviour was inexcusable even if he was genuinely outraged. ┬áMany believe, and I am inclined to think this way myself, that Mann was hamming it up for the cameras to inflict maximum damage on a Corbyn led Labour party. But in many ways, getting drawn into a discussion over how angry he really was, distracts from the ugly truth of the matter, which is that Mann’s aggressive behaviour toward Ken Livingstone was nothing short of bullying.

It was ugly, loud, intimidating and scary. If I had been in Ken’s shoes, I would have felt qenuinely anxious. There is no excuse for it. None whatsoever. And a ticking off from the Whip’s office is an inadequate response. I’m not alone in these feelings. Thousands of people have signed a petition calling on Mann to be disciplined for his conduct.

If Ken had been a woman – Naz Shah for instance – would Mann’s allies have been quite so vocal in their support of his loud, bellowing, bullying, aggression?

I doubt it somehow.

 

Chelley Ryan

 

Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad

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Open Letter To Stephen Kinnock – The Saboteur

Stephen Kinnock

So you think Angela Eagle will be a good leader? You are of course entitled to that view….however, the timing of your statement is deeply disappointing.

On May 5th the country goes to the polls.

Labour, as you well know, has to contend with a hostile press; a press that either skews our message, or ignores it; magnifies our mistakes and downplay our triumphs. This means we always have an Everest to climb to sell ourselves to the public.

When Labour MPs, such as yourself, sows seeds in the publics’ mind about their faith in our current leader, that climb becomes even steeper.

Even more disappointing is the fact these comments about Angela Eagle – alongside the veiled threat of a coup – came from the son of a man who presided over a seismic shift in the Labour Party. Two elections were lost under your father, but he was hailed as the man who set the Labour party on the right path.

What is so different now? Why was it right for your father to be given nine years to steer the party in a new direction, but Corbyn gets 7 months? Is it the fact the seismic shift is to the left not the right? Are the left not to be afforded a grace period when trying to transform the party? Especially when it’s proving to be such a battle, with extreme ‘centrists’ like yourself trying to sabotage the project on an almost daily basis.

What is your excuse for such blatant, arrogant, eye watering hypocrisy? Why do the right get nine long years to prove themselves, but the left get 7 months? And whatever you say, don’t say it’s because the left are unelectable? How can we possibly know that? And don’t say it’s because the left lost in 83. The left lost in 83 because the SDP had gone off in a strop, thereby splitting the left vote, and the Falklands War boosted Thatcher’s popularity. A special set of circumstances for a special time.

The same goes for Blair’s win in 97. Facing a deeply unpopular 18 year long Tory government, mired in sleaze and torn apart over Europe, an easy landslide was secured. That does not make Blair an election winning Demi-God; it simply makes him a very lucky leader in the right place at the right time.

The fact he squandered that majority by pandering to big business and George Bush, resulting in ever dwindling majorities, and lower and lower General election turnouts, makes him one of the most deeply disappointing Labour leaders in the history of our movement. Still he did well out of it, with an estimated fortune of approximately 60 million. If your hero manages somehow to wriggle off the ‘war criminal’ hook, he should have a very pleasant and luxurious old age. The same can’t be said for all the people who were killed in Iraq.

Blair left many who voted for him with a vile taste in their mouths. The taste of betrayal. Jeremy Corbyn is the antidote to that. This is a man with values, principles, someone who cares about equality. Someone who will stand up to vested interest. Someone who views war as the very last resort, not a chance to flex muscle on the world stage.

I can imagine what you are thinking now. Tutting and shaking your head, you mutter about idealistic dreamers with their heads in the clouds. Has it crossed your mind that without ‘idealistic dreamers’ like the Chartists, Suffragettes, and the early civil and gay rights campaigners, the world would be a poorer place? Or do you think they were wrong to campaign for change at a time when their views were unpopular? Maybe they should have consulted with a focus group first? Stuck their fingers in the wind and realising it was blowing the wrong way, left their halls, rally’s and meeting places and headed home for a nice cup of warm cocoa instead?

Well I for one am glad they had the courage to fight for what was right despite powerful opposition. They were on the right side of history. Just like Jeremy Corbyn, and everyone rallying behind him is now.

We know our fight is a hard one, but we won’t shy from it. Poor election results in May, which saboteurs like yourself are working toward and praying for, won’t deter us. Our project is going to be a long one.

Just like your father’s.

Signed

Michelle (Chelley) Ryan

 

Happy Birthday your Maj – but I wish your party was over

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Today is the Queen’s birthday. Is it her real one or her official one? I have no idea. I do not care enough to find out. It’s not that I don’t wish the queen a Happy Birthday. She’s a human being, and I wish all human beings happiness on their birthdays. But l have avoided all TV news because they will be in raptures about it. Yes, you’ve guessed it; I’m a republican, along with 20% of the population. Maybe you are too?

Like most republicans, I don’t buy into the idea of anyone being my better, and the thought of someone being my better solely by virtue of the family they were born into, strikes me as ridiculous.

In the UK we are brainwashed from birth by our sycophantic media, and our ‘tug your forelock’ culture, to revere the monarchy. My dad was a royalist so I know how it works. But once your eyes are open to the intrinsic unfairness at the heart of this system, you can never close them again. You officially become the salmon swimming against the tide. From that point on you dread any royal events because of the amount of fawning attention that goes with them. You’ll find yourself screaming at the tv, ‘they shit and piss like the rest of us.’ I can assure you it’s no fun being a republican, unless you enjoy being perpetually wound up and irritated.

If you do get into a discussion about republicanism with a royalist you will be stared at in horror, as if you’ve just suggested all old ladies should be round up and gassed just because you feel like it. Then you get all the old chestnuts about tourism. ‘What about Paris or New York!’ you exclaim exasperated. ‘They don’t seem to do too badly without a monarchy.’ That’s when you’ll get the look, the ‘shit, this person is a frigging nut case’ look. I once told someone that no royal attractions appeared on the list of reasons tourists come to visit Britain, until you get to number 20. They gave me such a look of horror, I half expected them to thrust a crucifix in my face and wave some garlic under my nose.

Other arguments I’ve had with royalists revolve around which is best, queen or president. My answer…’do you vote for the queen?’ ‘No.’ ‘Ok, do you vote for a president?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Well there you have it; I’d rather have the most democratic power structure possible, flawed or otherwise, than put power into the hands of an unelected family whose relatives just happened to be more psychopathic or narcissistic than ours. To me that is fundamentally wrong, and perpetuates the idea of inherited privilege that should be an anathema to all modern democracies.

Have I converted anyone to republicanism yet? No. I can’t say I have. The conditioning runs too deep for my powers of persuasion. Still, I’ll keep trying. After all, I was once a neutral on the subject, like 20% of the population, and my opinion changed. I can even remember excitedly decorating my Diana/Charles paper wedding plate for a school competition. I was once swimming with the tide.

It’s hard to swim the other way, but it’s nice to know you are on the right side of history. Years from now us republicans will have turned that tide, and we will be proud of that.