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.  Many 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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22 comments

  1. sdbast · April 30, 2016

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

    Like

  2. Pingback: John Mann Is Not A Hero. He’s A Bully. – castor80
  3. syzygysue · April 30, 2016

    I don’t need to imagine what it’s like as a woman to have John Mann shouting like that at you. His faux outrage was his modus operandi when he was in my CLP … and the problem is that onlookers are invited to think that you must have done something terrible to have invoked such rage.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. castor80 · April 30, 2016

    These antediluvians are exposing themselves – on the doorstep no-one cares.

    Like

  5. Sid · April 30, 2016

    Reblogged this on Sid's Blog and commented:
    A balanced view of @Ken4London daring to mention “Hitler”

    Like

  6. Pingback: John Mann Is Not A Hero. He’s A Bully. | Sid's Blog
  7. Alan Watkins-Groves · April 30, 2016

    I totally agree Chelley we must all send Jeremy and Ken tweets, texts, emails showing our support and to Austin, Mann, Dugher. Evans etc we should do the same but with a totally different message.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Terry Davies · April 30, 2016

      john Mann has clearly
      overstepped the mark with bullying tactics recognised by many cpmmentators. He has not offered his own opinion on the Israeli policies to persecute palestinians.
      Therefore is it an accurate conclusion that he supports the Israeli treatment in grabbing land from palestinians.?

      Like

  8. seachranaidhe1 · April 30, 2016

    Reblogged this on seachranaidhe1.

    Like

  9. BampotsUtd.wordpress.com · April 30, 2016

    Reblogged this on Bampots Utd.

    Like

  10. pauln2901 · April 30, 2016

    It was my first thought when I saw Manns’ disgraceful behaviour. What if some-one less battle hardened and thinner skinned than Ken Livingstone had been the victim to Manns’ bullying? What if it had been a woman? Mann needs to be severely disciplined for his atrocious behaviour, not just slapped on the hand.

    Like

  11. dinnydandles · April 30, 2016

    Reblogged this on Scholarly Scribbles.

    Like

  12. Martyn Clayton · April 30, 2016

    Ken publicly belittled a colleagues struggles with mental illness on a TV programme.

    That was creepy, unpleasant, snide bullying of the very worst kind. He said to people struggling with mental illness – you are fair game if I disagree with you.

    Ken has a history of bullying, intemperate remarks and deliberate pot stirring.

    Lots of his colleagues from across the party are sick to the back teeth of the narcissistic idiot.

    He lost London, a Labour city twice to a Tory straight from central casting.

    I’m a lifelong Labour voter from the left of the party – if his suspension isn’t permanent I’ll be spoiling my ballot.

    Like

    • marxuquera · May 1, 2016

      Yet Mann making the same accusations at Livingstone, ‘You have lost it’ and ‘you should get help for your problem’ are acceptable to you?

      Like

      • Martyn Clayton · May 8, 2016

        No, not at all. I think you’ll find I didn’t mention John Mann in my comment.

        There’s a pattern of intemperate and incendiary remarks from Livingstone which even long term allies like Jon Lansman have called out.

        He’s not doing the leadership any favours at all. I would fully expect John Mann’s comments to be investigated too.

        I suspect they were in part inspired by Livingstone’s earlier digs at a colleague who was commended by mental health charities for speaking out about his past history of depression.

        I hope we can reach a point where anti-Semitism and mental health jibes aren’t defended because the person coming out with them is ‘on our side’.

        I get the impression John McD has had more than enough of Ken and he won’t be returning to membership anytime soon. He’s a liability.

        Like

  13. roxarama · April 30, 2016

    How ironic if real anti-Jewish racists were to move onto Labour’s patch now leaving the treacherous Blairites with a toxic wasteland of their own making.

    Like

  14. Yes I think this is a thoughtful piece that says what so many of us feel. It makes me cross that those who are regarded as being on the left of the Labour Party are being branded as anti Semites. Of course there are exceptions but I personally don’t know of anyone on the left who would not directly challenge anti Semitism and other forms of racism. Quite the opposite, I think those on the left have been at the forefront of challenging racism and other forms of prejudice too. I don’t know enough about the experiences of prejudice that Jewish people experience and I would like to know more. I absolutely think that we need to listen to Jewish people, just as we have to listen to other people who are on the hard end of prejudice. But it is not for John Mann or Ian Austin to tell us what is or is not racism. That is a dialogue we need to have as a party and to do so, we need to start using respectful language and responsible debate .Views of people on the left are not identical but we are knowledgeable and well informed and we can articulate our views and our anger by being reflective rather than reactive. And in that spirit, I don’t believe that words like ‘scum’ belong on the left because that is a dehumanising term.

    The motives behind all of this may have been foul rather than fair but it has happened so lets be steadfast to our values and let’s make sure that we don’t adopt the terminology or the tactics of the far right, or for that matter the tactics or tone of those MPs in our own party who are contemptuous and ignorant of what so many ordinary Labour Party members really think or feel.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: Links on UK Labour’s Anti-Semitism Furore | Two Old Chairs
  16. Neil Harrison · May 1, 2016

    Quick, lets divert the attention from the real issue = The conceited idiot Livingstone.

    Like

  17. Pingback: John Mann Is Not A Hero. He’s A Bully. | Ivel Explorer
  18. Brian Jupp · May 1, 2016

    Ken Livingstone is old Labour you know the lot that were fighting the evil anti semitic BNP while most of you were in nappies he does not have an anti semitic bone in his body. This row has been whipped up by Tory press Blairites who do not understand they lost the election by thousands and thousands of vote because we want our peace not war respect for all races and religions and a decent life and standard of living for all people party back

    Like

  19. Andy Coombes · May 10, 2016

    All of the above *but* an awful lot of Londoners and Provincials and Minorities have a great deal of affection for Ken because he has achieved great things for them.
    Thou shalt kick the living daylights out of Mann as the ***t he is and castigate Ken for being a bit of a twerp at times. That seems to me to be proportionate.

    Oh – and Ken – if you read this – STFU. 🙂

    Like

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