Tag Archives: IHRA

Rothschild and irrationality

Carla Roberts looks forward to the May 4 members meeting of Labour Against the Witchhunt

Any event that Labour Against the Witchhunt is putting on these days is likely to be – correctly – described as timely. The witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn and his leftwing supporters has now become daily and normalised. In the run-up to the local and European Union elections rightwingers in and outside the Labour Party have been busy scrolling through the Facebook and Twitter accounts of Labour candidates in particular. Naturally, they have been hugely successful in discovering ‘problematic’, often historic, posts (that were not considered problematic at all a few short years back).Liverpool council candidate Sam Gorst, for example, is now under investigation for alleged “anti-Semitism”, because it appears he tweeted something “in defence of former London mayor Ken Livingstone”. His accounts have been deleted, so we cannot tell you more about it – but if that is all, then clearly the compliance unit is going berserk. Remember, Livingstone resigned from Labour after the national executive committee decided to readmit him after a one-year-suspension. The right wing cried ‘foul’ and the Corbyn leadership was in agony over what to do with Ken. He resigned to spare Corbyn any more blushes – to no avail, of course. Because Corbyn and his allies have continuously given in to the witch-hunters rather than standing up to them, Livingstone is now ‘known’ to be an anti-Semite (as is Corbyn himself, of course).

Corbyn has also – again – been put on the defensive after somebody found that in 2011 he wrote a forward to a new edition of John A Hobson’s hugely influential 1902 book Imperialism – a study. Corbyn praised it as “a great tome”, which is “brilliant, and very controversial at the time”. Hobson was a liberal anti-war journalist who later joined the Independent Labour Party and developed a theory of underconsumption to explain capitalism’s vicious repeating cycles of bust and boom. He was also (probably) the first person to explain that the development of imperialism was the direct result of capital’s need for constant expansion. His book had an influence on Lenin, Trotsky and many socialists to this day. In 2014, The Guardian described it as the “definitive book on imperialism”.

For the Daily Mail, however, this 400-page seminal work is nothing but a “century-old book, which argued that banks and newspapers were controlled by Jews”; and Daniel Finkelstein in The Times describes it as a “deeply anti-Semitic book”.

In fact, it is a single paragraph that riled up Finkelstein (who kicked off the whole business) and it does not come “a few pages in”, as he claims – but at the end of chapter 4, where he states that, “while the new imperialism has been bad business for the nation, it has been good business for certain classes and certain trades within the nation” and goes on to describe those who “benefit from aggressive imperialism and militarism”.

He starts by listing the most obvious companies – those who produce weapons. Then there is “the shipping trade” and those from the ruling class who take up “the numerous official and semi-official posts in our colonies and protectorates”. Not to mention “the investor, who cannot find at home the profitable use he seeks for his capital, and insists that his government should help him to profitable and secure investments abroad”.

This is the context in which Hobson writes: “… still more dangerous is the special interest of the financier, the general dealer in investments”, who “use stocks and shares not so much as investments to yield them interest, but as material for speculation”. These “great businesses” were “controlled, so far as Europe is concerned, chiefly by men of a single and peculiar race, who have behind them many centuries of financial experience”. He asks: “Does anyone seriously suppose that a great war could be undertaken by any European state, or a great state loan subscribed, if the house of Rothschild and its connections set their face against it?” (my emphasis)

Of course, 120 years ago, Hobson would have used the word “peculiar” in its original meaning of “distinctive” or “characteristic of a particular group” – not in its modern sense of “odd” or “eccentric”. But no doubt he did mean the ‘Jewish race’. The point is, however, he was writing at a time when anti-Semitism was prevalent and acceptable within the ruling class. As a Labour press officer is quoted as saying, “Similarly to other books of its era, Hobson’s work contains outdated and offensive references and observations.”

But do these phrases mean that the book as a whole has no value? It is quite likely that Corbyn did not even read the whole book, but, like many others, knew of its historical importance – and, of course, as Labour’s press officer said, “Jeremy completely rejects the anti-Semitic elements of his analysis.” But there is a real danger that the current hysteria sparked by the witch-hunt is robbing people of any sense of proportion, history and rationality. Will the likes of the Daily Mail and Finkelstein start demanding the suppression of the writings of William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Winston Churchill and John Buchan – all redolent with anti-Semitism?

Clearly, there is tons of work to do for a campaign like Labour Against the Witchhunt.


The members’ report produced by LAW’s steering committee for the May 4 meeting in central London makes for impressive reading. Since January 1, the campaign has produced dozens of model motions, petitions and campaigns in defence of Labour members who have been investigated, suspended, expelled and/or falsely accused of anti-Semitism – among them Chris Williamson MP, Jackie Walker, Asa Winstanley, Liverpool councillor Jo Bird and Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt, who the NEC refused to endorse as parliamentary candidate in South Thanet.

No doubt, most prominent and effective has been LAW’s campaign for the reinstatement of Chris Williamson, who is unfortunately the only MP who has dared to stand up to the witch-hunters (and the only one who has campaigned for the democratisation of the party). LAW has managed to debunk as “fake news” the so-called ‘ban’ on Labour Party branches and CLPs discussing and passing motions in solidarity with Chris and has produced detailed advice on the issue on its website. At least 27 CLPs, eight Momentum branches and “dozens of left Labour and trade union organisations” have since come out in public support with Chris and are listed on LAW’s website, alongside supportive statements that the group has collected from Ken Loach, Alexei Sayle, Lowkey, Mike Leigh and many others.

The campaign, which has “close to 400 members”, has also managed to extract a rare apology from the Mail on Sunday over its malicious reporting of the March 25 ‘Defend the left’ meeting, where it reported Livingstone as saying: “It is not anti-Semitic to hate the Jews of Israel” – even though he was merely quoting one of the ridiculously false charges made against him! After hundreds of people complained, the paper had to print an apology. Ken Livingstone has since become honorary president of LAW, alongside founding member Moshé Machover.

LAW has also campaigned against the Labour Party’s adoption of the ‘definition’ of anti-Semitism published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, publishing a detailed position paper outlining its opposition and a number of model motions on the issue, while also highlighting a number of cases where the IHRA definition has been misused to discipline and expel union members and even sack people from work. So far, it has not been used in disciplinary cases in the Labour Party, but that is probably only a matter of time.

Slightly more controversial has been LAW’s petition fighting for the overdue implementation of the reformed trigger ballots, about which we previously reported. Not all LAW supporters seem happy with what they see as the campaign going beyond its original remit of fighting the witch-hunt.

We disagree. The Parliamentary Labour Party is stuffed with careerists, Blairites and witch-hunters, who are openly hostile to Jeremy Corbyn and have been busy sabotaging his leadership from day one. Given the chance, members in most localities would have chucked out rightwing MPs years ago. But now the NEC – in an attempt to stop more rightwingers from defecting to Change UK – is dragging its heels when it comes to implementing a timetable for trigger ballots (which is the only way a sitting MP can be deselected). Should there be another snap election without re-selections, the PLP’s political composition will probably remain unchanged. Almost 1,500 people have signed the petition, so there is clearly some appetite for this important issue.

Similarly, some LAW supporters have criticised the fact that the May 4 meeting will discuss a motion on ‘George Galloway and EU elections’. The motion objects to Galloway’s call for a vote for “Nigel Farage’s Brexit party”, because it is “a vote for rightwing chauvinism and an anti-migrant stance”. It also emphasises that LAW – of course, given the name and its campaigning priorities – calls for a vote for the Labour Party.

Judging by the number of those, including some LAW supporters, who have expressed sympathy for Galloway’s call, I think it will be useful to discuss the issue. There are plenty of illusions on the left that Corbyn can introduce ‘socialism’, once Britain has finally been able to free itself from the ‘shackles of the EU’. This is not just mistaken about the way global capitalism works, but also a serious misunderstanding of Corbyn’s rather reformist and tame politics.

The meeting will also discuss if Peter Gregson should be expelled from LAW. In the past, the campaign has published a number of statements in Gregson’s defence – for example, protesting against his expulsion from the GMB union – while also criticising his often slapdash use of language. In March, Gregson posted an update to one of his petitions, which he also sent to a number of LAW members and supporters, in which he urged people to read the article, ‘UK’s Labour anti-Semitism split’, by Ian Fantom (founder of the Keep Talking campaign).

As LAW’s Tony Greenstein then pointed out in a long email exchange with Gregson, in this article Fantom makes reference to “my colleague, Nick Kollerstrom”, who “had been targeted in a witch-hunt” for a positive review he wrote of a book about Auschwitz and the “gas chamber illusion”. Tony advised Gregson to take down the reference to Fantom’s article, arguing:

The title of Kollerstrom’s article – ‘The Auschwitz “gas chamber” illusion’ – speaks for itself. But anyone with any doubts needs simply read the first sentence: “This essay will argue that well-designed cyanide gas chambers were indeed present at Auschwitz, and did work efficiently, but that they were operated for purposes of hygiene and disinfection, in order to save lives and not take them.”

Tony goes on to explain why this is not a question merely of ‘freedom of speech’: “It is incredibly damaging for LAW or anyone else to have the slightest contact with you if you maintain these links and I would ask for an immediate assurance that you will cut these links.”

To cut a long email exchange short, Gregson refused Tony’s request and as a result Tony deleted him from the ‘Unofficial LAW Facebook group’, where he is the main administrator. Gregson then stupidly published the whole exchange on his website (including bad-tempered comments by LAW members who wanted to be deleted from the exchange), where it was picked up by the Jewish Chronicle, which gleefully reported the whole disagreement.

As the steering committee’s motion proposing Gregson’s expulsion points out, “We do not believe that Peter Gregson should be expelled from either the GMB union or the Labour Party. These are broad organisations of the working class that contain many different viewpoints.” But LAW, however, is a campaign with a rather narrower political focus and therefore needs to “confront any hint or trace of genuine anti-Semitism in our ranks. We do not wish to be associated and tainted with holocaust denial”.


In its lead motion, LAW quite rightly calls out the Corbyn leadership’s “short-sighted and futile attempt to appease the right”, which “can only undermine the Corbyn leadership and often plays into the false ‘Anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ narrative”. Momentum is described as “unfit for purpose”.

Therefore, LAW will support efforts to

build an alternative Labour left that organises democratically and transparently; both supports Corbyn against attacks by the right, and is independent and able to criticise the leadership when necessary; and is consistently anti-racist and internationalist – a stance which by definition includes anti-Zionism and supporting the Palestinians.

The steering committee proposes a campaign for the “disaffiliation of the Jewish Labour Movement from the Labour Party and for Labour CLPs and trade union branches to affiliate to LAW and Jewish Voice for Labour”. I understand that there will be at least one amendment opposing the first part of the sentence.

We welcome the fact that LAW proposes to campaign for “the scrapping of all bans and proscriptions” within Labour, because “if the mass of socialists in Britain joined the party, it would put us in a much stronger position in the ongoing civil war within the party”.

We are looking forward to what is shaping up to be an interesting meeting, though it could well get rather heated at various times. But that is not a problem. Meetings within the labour movement should feature open discussion around controversial issues. Instead of burying our disagreements thanks to compromise formulations, we need to debate them out honestly.

Heading towards a split

There are signs that Corbyn and his allies are finally starting to fight back, reports Carla Roberts

Amazingly, there are still people ostensibly on the Labour left appealing for ‘party unity’. But the last few weeks will have done wonders to convince most Jeremy Corbyn supporters that, in fact, there can be no unity with the right in the party. Corbyn and his allies have certainly launched plenty of appeals for ‘unity’ in the past three and a half years – trying to appease the right by bending over backwards to accept most of their demands. But we are seeing signs that, perhaps, the policy of appeasement pursued by Corbyn’s office might finally be coming to an end.

Crucial to this was the news that the national executive committee has commissioned general secretary Jennie Formby to urgently produce an outline of how and when the newly reformed trigger ballots can be applied in local Constituency Labour Parties to allow for a democratic contest between different parliamentary candidates even if a snap election is called – apparently, this is to be produced this month, well before the next meeting of the NEC. This announcement seems to have massively upped the tempo and the temperature of the civil war within the party. Many career members of the PLP had probably hoped that the rule change agreed at the September 2018 conference in Liverpool would be quietly buried – or its implementation postponed and then overtaken by yet another snap election. And, judging by Corbyn’s ‘softly softly’ approach to the right since his election in 2015, that would not have been so surprising.

The fact that local party members will now get a realistic chance to get shot of their unpopular MPs will have put the fear of god into many of them – and they are hitting back with everything they have. Tom Watson’s demand (backed up by Tony Blair) that Wavertree CLP should be suspended simply for organising a discussion of two no-confidence motions against its MP, Luciana Berger, should be seen in this context. It is to be welcomed that Jennie Formby has let it be known publicly that the CLP has no case to answer. Yes, we have seen Corbyn and John McDonnell apparently leaning on the movers to withdraw their motions – but at the same time they have also rather loudly let it be known that Berger should indeed be challenged for refusing to rule out the possibility of leaving Labour to join a new centrist formation. Local comrades have been nudged towards calling a trigger ballot as a more ‘tidy’ way to deal with her.

Writing in The Guardian, Owen Jones went to great lengths to try and ‘intellectualise’ this strategy. In an article entitled ‘Whatever Luciana Berger’s politics, Labour members must stand with her against anti- Semitism’, he tries to paint her with two identities. There is the Luciana Berger who is refusing to deny that she is involved in forming a new ‘centrist’ party – that is the one party activists are allowed to challenge. But there is also the Luciana Berger who has been doing her best to combat anti- Semitism: “If any Labour member did want to expel Berger because she has spoken out about the anti-Semitic abuse directed against her, that would be despicable.”

That is extraordinarily naive – or worse. Perhaps to Owen Jones it really is surprising that all those ‘speaking up about anti-Semitism’ also happen to be the ones who have been involved in attempting to get rid of Corbyn and are now talking about setting up a new Blairite centrist party. Coincidence? Hardly. Only the most ignorant of commentators – or those who subscribe to the pro-imperialist world view of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty – would believe that the two have nothing to do with each other.

But the campaign to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism is very much part and parcel of the slow coup against Jeremy Corbyn and the left. This campaign is not restricted to Britain, although it has been fought particularly viciously here because Corbyn is known as an outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights. And when Corbyn started to go along with those who claim that there is indeed a huge anti-Semitism problem in the party, the mud started to stick. The right in the Labour Party gladly jumped onto the bandwagon and reinvented themselves as brave fighters against racism. But we are seeing the first signs that the party leadership is starting to fight back. We welcome, for example, John McDonnell’s (admittedly not elaborated) “support” for Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt at the February 9 conference of the Labour Representation Committee.

In December, a three-member NEC panel (which worryingly included Momentum’s Claudia Webbe) voted against endorsing her as the democratically selected candidate in Thanet South. The charge was, naturally, one of anti-Semitism – another that deserves the label “smear”. 
We understand
that this decision could
be revisited by the NEC as a whole, but there are clearly deep political divisions on that body – a majority might broadly be described as pro-Corbyn, but that does include Momentum owner Jon Lansman, some of his close allies and most union representatives who have jumped onto the ‘anti-Semitism’ bandwagon (clearly, the unions are as ripe as the Labour Party for radical democratic reform).

Facts and figures

Then there was the latest attempt by the Parliamentary Labour Party, with its overwhelming majority of Blairite MPs, to further embarrass Corbyn. They demanded that the leadership prove it is serious about anti-Semitism by publishing relevant disciplinary statistics. Clearly, this was never meant to be anything but a cheap PR stunt to show that Corbyn and his general secretary were failing. When Jennie Formby initially refused to publish the figures, quoting NEC policy of not giving details of disciplinary matters, she was publicly charged with being obstructive and covering up for the anti-Semites running wild in the party. And so, a week later (February 4) she caved and sent a letter to the PLP (available as PDF here and here), which has been widely quoted in the press – but very selectively, we should stress. She writes that she feared the information might get “misinterpreted or misused for other purposes by the party’s political rivals”. And she was right, as the reports in the mainstream media prove.

“Labour kicks out just 12 members after 673 anti-Semitism claims,” screams the Daily Mail – a sentiment echoed by much of the bourgeois press, including the BBC and The Guardian, despite the fact that this is seriously misleading. In fact, there were 1,106 complaints received between April 2018 and January 2019. But, as it turns out, 433 of them had nothing to do with the Labour Party. And we learn that a number of “complaint dossiers” have been submitted – in those cases, over 60% were about people who are not members.

Furthermore, it is enough for someone to state that anti-Semitism is involved in order for the complaint to be logged as such. In other words, anybodycan make the most outrageous claim and that is included. Clearly, this is open to abuse – especially when there is a blatant campaign of falsification going on. We read, for instance, that the reactionaries of ‘Labour Against Anti-Semitism’ are about to submit “4,000 examples of anti-Semitism” to the party.

According to The Times, the Jewish Labour Movement has “submitted hundreds of complaints against members since last April”. All in the best interest of the party, naturally. We would not be surprised if a large proportion of the ‘evidence’ submitted by the JLM and the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism actually relates to remarks made by rightwingers posing as Labour members. Asa Winstanley has exposed 10 such Twitter accounts in an excellent investigation for the Electronic Intifada. It is very doubtful whether these people are simply lone trolls. As comrade Winstanley writes, “It is well established that Israel has been running both covert and overt efforts against Jeremy Corbyn since he became leader.” The vile Zionist, David Collier, has boasted about infiltrating Facebook groups under a false name, so that he can take screenshots of posts and publish them online before sending them to Labour’s compliance unit. Any complaints submitted by these people and groups should be dismissed or at least checked before going into any Labour Party statistics.

As could be expected, the right has been feigning outrage that ‘only’ 12 members have been expelled for anti- Semitism. (By the way, this includes at least one case where the accused was expelled for refusing to respond to the accusations and to accept that the hearing should not be recorded. None of the evidence we have seen in this case is even vaguely anti-Semitic, but it was stated that the charge was “proven” simply through the lack of engagement with the official process. Even bourgeois justice does better than that.) We wonder whether the right would have reacted more positively if the party had expelled all 673 of the accused members. Of course not. This is a battle that Corbyn and his allies simply cannot win.

Margaret Hodge MP, for example, claims that the figure of 673 was an outright lie. She has proudly stated that she alone has “put in over 200 examples … where the evidence suggests they come from Labour” (my emphasis). Leaving aside the obvious question of how a busy MP is supposed to have the time to sift the internet without any outside help, she got nicely slapped down by Jennie Formby almost immediately.

In a second letter to the PLP dated February 11, Formby says:

“I am pleased that our improved procedures allow me to be able to correct an account of a submission made at yesterday’s PLP meeting regarding a dossier submitted with 200 examples. The 200 examples do not relate to 200 separate individuals. They relate to 111 individuals reported, of whom only 20 were members.”

Take that, Hodge!

What makes Formby’s letter even more interesting is that she starts it: “In response to a letter dated 11th February to Jeremy Corbyn from Louise Ellman, Margaret Hodge, Luciana Berger, John Mann, Catherine McKinnell, Ruth Smeeth and Wes Streeting”. These MP have been, of course, among the main plotters against Corbyn. But the fact that Formby (and Corbyn) are now making not just their response to their demands public, but also include the names of these MPs is more than a two-finger salute. It is an invitation, (maybe even a request) to their local CLPs to do something about these saboteurs.

And high time too. Having given in to the lie that the Labour Party has a huge anti-Semitism problem, Corbyn handed the right wing a potent weapon. Adopting the much-criticised ‘working definition on anti-Semitism’ published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, suspending and expelling members, launching investigation after investigation – nothing he can do will stop the right in this campaign. Quite the opposite: for every step back Corbyn has made, the right has made two steps forward. He has helped them become stronger and more emboldened.

Go ahead and split

Funnily enough though, this campaign by the right might actually have unintended positive consequences. The original plan was, of course, simply to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn by forcing another leadership election (this time having properly exposed what a terrible red he really is). But the chicken coup against Corbyn backfired and he was re-elected leader with an even bigger majority. If there were another challenge, the result would probably be the same.

As an aside, the lame ‘biography’, Dangerous hero: Corbyn’s ruthless plot for power, produced by Daily Mail hack Tom Bower, is obviously part of the increasingly floundering campaign. We are told that Corbyn wasn’t great at school, that his two ex- wives don’t like him much and that he “does not like to talk about emotions or sex”. Contrary to the “ruthless” tag, the book explains how he ran up £30,000 of debt by financing a local community centre and paying for the rent of his constituency office and staff out of his MP salary, rather than charging it to the taxpayer as expenses.

Seriously, who is going to turn against Corbyn when they read this? Surely it is more likely to have the opposite effect, especially when so many are fed up with career politicians who charge nail clippers as expenses and cannot wait to join the board of this or that company after they are done with their ‘public service’. This book paints Corbyn as a politician by conviction – a rare beast indeed.

But there is also Plan B, which could be called ‘The taming of Jeremy Corbyn’. This has had more success – for example, he gave up on his refusal to renew Trident, in addition to the various appeasements over ‘anti-Semitism’. However, Corbyn is not willing to stop criticising Israel, as his attempt to add a ‘disclaimer’ to the NEC’s adoption of the IHRA definition showed. His recent refusal to back a CIA-led coup in Venezuela will have served even more of a reminder that Corbyn was and, crucially, remains a highly unreliable ally when it comes to running capitalism – especially concerning the strategic alliance between the UK, USA and Israel.

This campaign has certainly succeeded in cleaving the party into two camps – not neatly, it has to be said. Momentum especially has been on the wrong side consistently, when it comes to the ‘anti-Semitism’ smear campaign and the need to radically transform Labour. While it will certainly play a part come election time, politically this organisation has lost all credibility, thanks to the misleadership of its owner, Jon Lansman. The number of functioning local Momentum groups has substantially decreased.

Labour, of course, remains a bourgeois workers’ party. Historically – in terms of membership, finances and electoral base – the Labour Party has largely relied on the working class, mainly in the form of the unions. Politically, however, the party and its MPs tend to act in the spirit of the bourgeoisie and the interests of capital. The election of Corbyn has led to an unprecedented situation, where both the mass of the members and the leadership are to the left not just of the PLP, but also of much of the party apparatus.

This situation cannot continue for much longer, clearly. We would certainly encourage members to hold trigger ballots in as many constituencies as possible: that should certainly help drive out the hard-line opponents of Jeremy Corbyn, while ‘convincing’ many other MPs to act more in line with the wishes of their local membership.

And it seems that the combination of Corbyn’s continued unreliability for the establishment, the threat of trigger ballots and the mainstream media support for a new centrist party might now actually lead to such a breakaway – despite the obvious problems that the British electoral system would pose for it (see adjacent article, ‘Lessons of the SDP’). We read that 50 rightwingers have met “in secret” to discuss the formation of a new “pro-European Blairite party”.1)The Times, February 11

Despite the fact that the headlines have been dominated by ‘non- political’ celebrities like Rachel Riley (Countdown), Tracy Ann Oberman (EastEnders) and JK Rowling (Harry Potter), the plotters also include Jonathan Powell (Tony Blair’s former chief of staff) and, presumably, the seven MPs listed in Jennie Formby’s letter (there are probably a couple of dozen more who are seriously considering joining such a split).

It is true that this might cost the party a few seats in parliament, although the vast majority of these saboteurs would surely not be re-elected if they broke with Labour. And undoubtedly it would be presented as a huge political defeat for the Corbyn project. But the opposite is true, actually. A split would bring us a step closer to radically transforming Labour into a united front of the working class and thereby enhance its role in the fight for socialism. And that is a much bigger prize than immediate electoral success.

‘Anti-Semitism’ statistics: really a crisis?

It is worthwhile looking at the figures from Jennie Formby’s letter in more detail (available as PDF here and here) because they show just how few cases are being upheld – and not because the investigators are soft on anti-Semitism, but because the cases are so weak. We also learn a bit more about Labour’s disciplinary process.

  • The number of staff in the governance and legal unit (GLU) dealing with all disciplinary investigations “will increase from five to 11”. This is the first point of contact once a complaint has been received.
  • Since April 2018, complaints have been recorded as anti-Semitic, “irrespective of the evidence, in line with the Macpherson principle”. Formby states that before then no such records were kept. To our knowledge, while many members were certainly charged with anti- Semitism, and often publicly so, very few were disciplined for that offence – instead being suspended and expelled under the catch-all rule of “bringing the party into disrepute” (eg, Marc Wadsworth and Tony Greenstein).
  • The GLU whittled down the 1,106 complaints to 673 that were actually concerning members – and then dismissed another 220 cases outright, where there was “no sufficient evidence of a breach of party rules”. In other words, they were vexatious and false complaints. That took the total down to 453.
  • These 453 cases were passed on to the ‘NEC anti-Semitism panel’, made up of three out of the “10 or so specifically trained” NEC members. The names of the 10 are not publicly available – but we know that Darren Williams, a leftwinger on the NEC, tried to get onto this panel, but was outvoted. We can therefore deduce that this is not a group of people who could be charged with being too leftwing.
  • This NEC anti-Semitism panel then decides if the person should merely receive a ‘reminder of conduct’ (146 cases), be put under investigation (211) or be immediately suspended before the investigation begins (96 cases – we believe that this practice, like automatic expulsions, has now almost ceased). So we are now down to 307 complaints that might have something to them.
  • Of these 307, the NEC anti- Semitism panel ruled on 96 members’ cases: 48 members had their cases closed at this stage, receiving a “formal NEC warning” or a “reminder of conduct”. That leaves 259 members.
  • 42 of those have been referred to the national constitutional committee (dominated by the right), which has so far expelled 12 members and sanctioned six, while five others have left the party. The remaining 19 cases are still ongoing, including that against Jackie Walker, whose NCC hearing takes place on March 26-27.
  • What about the remaining 217 members? We learn that 44 members accused have left the party, about 90 are “recent complaints” and have not yet been investigated. Which leaves about 83 members “where the investigation revealed evidence that meant the case could not be pursued further”. In other words, they were found innocent of the charge of anti-Semitism.


1 The Times, February 11

Rule changes at Labour conference 2018: The good, the bad and a huge betrayal

This article looks at the most important rule changes that were adopted – or defeated – at Labour Party conference 2018. Please note that it deals with rule changes only. For a political assessment of conference, please click here. We also recommend this article about the conference session on Palestine: Rhea Wolfson and Emily Thornberry – pro-Zionist sisters in arms.

Most rule changes were pushed through at conference in eight ‘packages’ coming out of the Party Democracy Review. The original recommendations from Katy Clark to the party’s ruling NEC – while far from radical – actually contained a number of very sensible proposals. Unfortunately, meeting the night before party conference, the NEC decided to reject most of those, which means conference did not get to vote on them:

– that a CLP/union should be able to submit both a motion and a rule change in any one year;
– that the 3-year rule for rule changes be abolished (if a proposed rule change touches on a subject that has been discussed in the last three years, it is automatically ruled out of order)
– that policymaking in the party should no longer be outsourced to the National Policy Forum (which has been established by Tony Blair)
– that the Local Campaign Forums should revert back to the more accountable Local Government Committees;
– that there should be a number of democratic changes in the local government area – for example, that members would vote for the local Labour group leader on the council and the election manifesto;


Leadership Elections: Just like before, any candidate will still need the support of at least 10% of MPs/MEPs. But in addition, they will now also require nominations from 5% of individual party members, or 5% of union and other affiliates. Marxists demand the scrapping of all hurdles – surely it should be up to the members to decide who their leader should be, not the right-wingers in the PLP.

The national constitutional committee (which deals with disciplinary cases that the NEC does not want to deal with itself) will more than double in size from 11 to 25. However, the right is likely to retain an inbuilt majority, because it is mainly made up of delegates from affiliates rather than CLPs: it is an outrage that union delegates can decide on disciplinary matters affect Labour members. Also, adding 14 members might indeed “speed things up”, but this does not mean that the proceedings will become any more just or fair – especially now that the NEC has adopted the ‘working definition’ on Anti-Semitism published by the International Holocaus Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

Witch-hunters’ charter: In order for Labour to become the umbrella organisation for all trade unions, socialist groups and pro-working class partisans, all undemocratic bans and proscriptions must be abolished. Unfortunately, a constitutional amendment from Mid Worcestershire, Rugby, Truro & Falmouth, Bexhill & Battle was defeated, which wanted to remove the first part of the infamous rule 2.1.4.B (‘membership conditions’) from the rulebook: This bars from membership anybody who “joins and/or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the party”.
This rule has been applied in an entirely one-sided way against leftwingers only – among them supporters of Socialist Appeal, the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty and Labour Party Marxists. Groups such as Progress and Labour First remain untouched and can continue to operate freely and in a highly organised fashion. And what about members of Stop the War Coalition or Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament? Surely they are also examples of a “political organisation”? This rule should go. A small consolation: 24 % voted for it to go.

Membership fees: The fact that the NEC’s decision to “review membership rates and discounts” had been categorised as a rule change (which will “expire” at the 2019 conference!) means that the motion from Tewkesbury, calling for 50% of members’ dues to be returned to CLPs, automatically fell. CLPs will continue to be seriously underfunded – they receive only £2.50 per member per year from party HQ.

Online Omov: The NEC will now run “pilots” to allow “electronic attendance” and “online voting” locally to look into ways of “maximising participation”. We think this is a retrograde step. Decisions should be taken by members who are fully informed and aware of the issues at stake. Online Omov atomises comrades and makes serious political engagement very difficult. For example, how do you question a candidate when all you have is a short statement and s/he does not reply to emails? In terms of making policy, how can you effectively move an amendment when you do not have the possibility of talking to people and explaining some of the nuances? Online voting also marginalises the role of the unions in the party. Yes, the representatives of rightwing unions have played an entirely negative role on the NEC and when it comes to trigger ballots. But in general, the affiliation of unions is an enormous strength of the Labour Party. While they should not be allowed to stop the democratic selection of parliamentary candidates, unions have clearly played an important role in preserving the character of the Labour Party as aworkers’ party, even under Tony Blair. In fact, we should fight for a serious commitment to a vigorous national campaign to affiliate all unions to the party.


The category of “contemporary motions” at annual conference has been abolished. Previously the word “contemporary” has been used to automatically reject motions which were considered to overlap with reports from the NEC or National Policy Forum. Instead, CLPs will be able to submit motions to conference on any issue they choose and they do not have to continue to scramble around for ‘recent’ studies or articles to justify their submission.

Rule changes will be heard at conference in the same year they have been submitted by CLPs – getting rid of the undemocratic ‘tradition’ of delaying them for one year (which was never part of the rule book).

No second deputy leader: Wirral West withdrew this rule change when it transpired that Tom Watson was backing it, prompting fears that a right-winger was being groomed for the role. From Marxists’ point of view, the position of leader and deputy leader should actually be abolished altogether – it is very difficult to hold them to account or to get rid of them.

Trigger ballot: The NEC proposal has replaced the current trigger ballot with two separate ones: the first for local affiliated bodies like unions; and the second for the local Labour Party branches. The threshold in both has been reduced from the current 50% to 33% and it would be enough for one of the two sections to vote ‘no’ to start a full selection process – ie, a contest between the different candidates. This should make it easier to get rid of some right-wingers.

Quorum reduced: At the same time, the NEC has reduced the quorum for meetings with an all member structure to 5% of eligible members or 75 eligible members, whichever is lower. For meetings with a delegate structure, quorum remains 25% of eligible members.


Much better of course if the undemocratic trigger ballot had been abolished altogether. This was a proposal moved by International Labour, which wanted to introduce open selection (aka mandatory reselection) of parliamentary candidates. And conference came within a whisker of adopting this important democratic principle. But it was defeated by Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey (who went against his own organisation’s position) and Momentum’s inept owner Jon Lansman. Click here to see a full report.

On the positive side, comrades in the Open Selection campaign have to decided to establish a permanent, national campaign that will bring back the rule change again – and again, if necessary, until we have won this important democratic principle.

IHRA: NEC left capitulates

But there might yet be light at the end of the tunnel, says Carla Roberts

As expected, Labour’s national executive committee decided on September 4 to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance ‘working definition’ of anti-Semitism – including, crucially, all its 11 examples. So now, for instance, to describe Israel as “racist” will be officially anti-Semitic in the Labour Party – even though the new ‘nation state’ law enshrines racism to an even greater extent in Israel’s constitution.

What is only transpiring now, however, is the fact that Jeremy Corbyn was royally shafted by his allies on the NEC. He had prepared a 500-word “personal statement” to be read out at the beginning of the meeting, which he wanted adopted alongside the whole IHRA document. According to The Times, it was this sentence that raised particular concern: “Nor should it be regarded as anti-Semitic to describe Israel, its policies or the circumstances around its foundation as racist because of their discriminatory impact, or to support another settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict.”

Apparently, it “was made clear” to Corbyn that the majority of the NEC would vote against his document, and so in order to save face he withdrew it. That is a real shame: it would have been very interesting to see exactly which of his so-called allies were prepared to stab him in the back. After all, there is now a slim majority of pro-Corbyn forces on the executive. We know that Momentum owner Jon Lansman has been at the front of the queue, but unfortunately Unite also declared in the run-up to the meeting that it would back the full IHRA document. We can only speculate as to who else might have helped humiliate Corbyn, including the soft Zionist Rhea Wolfson (a fellow traveller of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty and member of the Jewish Labour Movement). Fortunately, she is about to end her term on the NEC.

Instead, the NEC adopted a short statement alongside the IHRA wording, which says: “We recommend that we adopt the IHRA in full, with all examples. This does not in any way undermine the freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of Palestinians. We re-invite organisations to engage in consultation on the code of conduct.”1)The Times September 5.

To make matters more complicated, the usually well-informed Skwawkbox reports that “senior Labour sources have confirmed that the protections of the existing code of conduct still apply and govern the application of the additional IHRA examples that were adopted yesterday.”

We do not have to go into much detail about why the full IHRA definition is so dangerous, as most readers will have become experts on the matter over the last few weeks. A short paragraph from Labour Against the Witchhunt’s recent leaflet, distributed at the September 4 lobby outside Labour’s HQ, will suffice:

The intent of this document is notto define anti-Semitism – after all, the Oxford English Dictionary manages that in six words: “Hostility to or prejudice against Jews”. No, its sole purpose is to conflate criticism of Zionism and Israel with anti-Semitism. In effect, the IHRA definition is labeling criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic.

Legal experts have also come out to give their opinion on the document: Geoffrey Robertson QC describes it as “not fit for purpose”; professor David Feldman, director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism, criticises it as “bewilderingly imprecise”; former appeals court judge Stephen Sedley believes that the document would place “Israel’s occupation and colonisation of Palestine beyond permissible criticism” and Hugh Tomlinson QC has warned that it will have “a chilling effect on freedom of speech”.

Not about Jews

In their identical front pages of July 25, the Jewish Chronicle, Jewish Telegraph and Jewish News openly stated that, “Had the full IHRA definition with examples relating to Israel been approved [by the NEC], hundreds, if not thousands, of Labour and Momentum members would need to be expelled.”

Jeremy Corbyn would be the prime target, needless to say. And that is, of course, what this whole saga is really about. It has nothing to do with trying to protect anybody from anti-Semitism or abuse of any kind. It is all about getting rid of Corbyn as Labour leader. From an establishment point of view he has been and – as his personal statement shows – remains very unreliable, especially when it comes to the important issue of Middle Eastern politics. Israel’s position as US imperialism’s only remaining stable outpost in the area must be protected at all costs.

But even without his personal statement, the right is still not satisfied. In an interview that was published a day before the vote, Margaret Hodge MP was asked whether, if Labour passed the IHRA definition in full, with no caveats, the anti-Semitism issue would be over. She replied: “I think the moment has passed. The problem is that Jeremy Corbyn is the problem.” Spot on, Margaret. The September 5 vote by the Parliamentary Labour Party further confirmed that adopting the full IHRA definition will make no difference.

Now, this all seems pretty clear. In the last few months, dozens of leftwing organisations and thousands of Labour Party members have signed letters, attended meetings and, yes, sometimes raved and shouted online, pantomime-like, to the Labour leader: “Don’t do it – it’s a trap!”

But Corbyn has stepped into one trap after another. After all, the full IHRA definition makes Corbyn officially, and even according to Labour Party rules, an anti-Semite – at long last.

It is, of course, very unlikely that Corbyn would be charged under the new rule. However, the damage has already been done: Corbyn has been declared an anti-Semite by pretty much all the mainstream press. Nobody raises an eyebrow now when another “Jewish community leader” declares that Corbyn “hates Jews”. John Mann MP can get away with claiming, “We are now seeing the first British Jewish people leaving – that is the state we are in. That is the responsibility of the Labour Party.” Utter bullshit, of course. But where there’s smoke …

In that sense, the whole debate over the IHRA has already achieved one of its main objectives. Whatever Corbyn and the NEC do now or in the future, it makes no difference. His ill-fated strategy of trying to appease the right wing in the Labour Party has backfired spectacularly. Clearly, it has gone so far that some of his ‘allies’ have utterly internalised this approach, with Jon Lansman playing the part of Brutus – stabbing Corbyn in the back while assuring him of his enduring love.

NEC elections

The capitulation of some on the NEC left also somewhat puts into perspective the fact that all nine ‘pro-Corbyn’ candidates have again swept the board in the NEC elections. After all, it really depends what these NEC members actually dowith their votes.

We have commented at length about the undemocratic way in which the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance has been choosing ‘worthy’ candidates in backroom deals – cobbled together by a handful of self-selected Labour lefts, who, “convinced of the left’s unelectability, continued to support centrist candidates and rejected any moves to present a leftwing platform or support openly left candidates”.

In this context, it is excellent that Ann Black – for the first time without the support of CLGA – has been convincingly booted off the NEC. She picked up just over 45,000 votes, as opposed to the 101,000 she got in 2016. She had supported the move to stop tens of thousands of pro-Corbyn members from voting in the second leadership election and, as chair of the NEC disciplinary panel, gave her backing to much of the witch-hunt against the left – for instance, by voting for the suspension of Brighton  and Hove District Labour Party.

It is also welcome news that Pete Willsman has been re-elected, despite being disowned by Momentum and his former comrade in the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, Jon Lansman. Now he seems to be observing some vow of silence. Despite that, his re-election to the NEC is important, because it shows that a good proportion of the membership is putting two fingers up to both the witch-hunters in the bourgeois media and those facilitating and aiding the witch-hunt inside the party – on the right and the left.

The results, however, also show that despite rising membership figures, fewer people voted this year compared to 2016. The highest vote this year – 88,176 – was achieved by Yasmine Dar: almost 13,000 fewer votes than those for Ann Black in 2016, when she came first. If we ignore comrade Willsman’s skewed result (a small minority of left voters obviously followed Momentum’s advice as he picked up only 70,321 votes – only 2,500 more than the highest-placed unsuccessful candidate, Eddie Izzard), the distance between the worst left candidate and the best rightwinger remained roughly the same, compared to 2016 – about 9,000 votes.

Izzard in fact seems to have benefited from presenting himself as independent and unaligned to either side: he got almost 18,000 votes more than the next ‘moderate’, Johanna Baxter (50,185). In 2016, five rightwingers achieved over 50,000 votes. The elections were a mixed bag, in other words, which perhaps shows a lot of members on both sides getting fed up with the current state of the party.

This is an unfortunate but understandable reaction to the ongoing civil war. Many joined in the mistaken belief that all it would take was to ‘vote Corbyn’ so that he could deliver, messiah-like, some form of socialism. The reality of boring meetings, nasty underhand tactics by the right and the never-ending attacks in the media show that transforming the Labour Party into a real party of labour is a serious job, however, that requires hard and dedicated work at all levels.

But Corbyn, from the start, has denied that there is a need to defeat the right. He continues to insist that there could be some kind of ‘unity’ with them. We note John McDonnell’s most recent attempt to placate the right by inviting the despicable Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, “to come and talk to us and sit down with Jeremy”, when the man deserves to be told where to go, having compared Jeremy Corbyn to Enoch Powell. It is highly unlikely that Corbyn – and especially McDonnell – actually believe in the possibility of such unity; they have been around long enough to know better. Nevertheless, it is the agreed strategy that is supposed to hand Corbyn the keys to No10 Downing Street.

But even if the Labour Party won the next general election and Corbyn became prime minister, there can be no doubt that the right would still continue to sabotage and undermine him – chiefly and most efficiently orchestrated by the rightwing majority in the PLP. They will not give up until Corbyn is gone – or until they have been forced out themselves, of course.

This is where we might yet see some light at the end of the IHRA tunnel. In our view, the saboteurs and the plotters should have been expelled from the party long ago, but Corbyn is clearly not going down that road. There are, however, some encouraging developments when it comes to the method with which the party selects its parliamentary candidates. This is of the utmost importance, considering the role that the PLP majority has been playing in Labour’s civil war.


Mandatory reselection has a reputation as a rather scary, vicious tool of the militant left. In reality it is a very basic, democratic procedure that Labour already employs, for example, to select council candidates. The left in the party has fought for it for decades and it was the main demand of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, which managed to get a variant of it into the Labour Party rulebook for a few years, between 1980-89.

However, since Corbyn’s election in 2015, the CLDP (under Pete Willsman) and Momentum (run by former CLPD stalwart Jon Lansman) have followed his political trajectory and dropped the demand in order not to spook the right. In January this year, Jon Lansman gave a long interview to The Independent, in which he said: “Momentum nationally is not going to campaign to deselect any MP and we will stick by that.” He defended the current rules: “… the existing process was already in place, should local parties wish to ditch their candidate at an election, known as the trigger ballot.”

So, instead of doing away with the undemocratic trigger ballot altogether, Jon Lansman’s Momentum merely drew up a lame proposal to raise the threshold from 50% to 66% – ie, two-thirds of the local branches and affiliates would have to vote ‘yes’ to a sitting MP, otherwise a full selection process would begin. He even had this proposal sanctioned by the membership in one of Momentum’s tortuous and clearly biased online ‘consultations’.

Such a ‘reform’ would still disproportionately favour the sitting MP, of course: rather than allowing for a full and democratic automatic reselection process before every election, a sitting MP would still have to be challenged. Lansman’s tinkering would merely restore the trigger ballot to what it was when introduced by Neil Kinnock in 1990 in order to curb the power of the unions, before Tony Blair reduced it to today’s 50%.

A pathetic proposal by the so-called Labour left. No wonder then that others in the Labour Party have taken up the gauntlet. There are eight rule changes going forward to this year’s conference that propose reforms to the way parliamentary candidates are selected – from the most radical one, proposed by International Labour, which would simply do away with the trigger ballot altogether (our preference) to the lamest, based on Momentum’s tinkering with the trigger ballot, which is proposed by three CLPs. (We intend to look at all the motions in next week’s issue of the Weekly Worker.)

The new campaign for mandatory reselection was first driven by International Labour, which did an excellent job in publicising its motion (under the title ‘Open selection’, which is presumably meant to make it sound less scary). Like all rule changes, this was tabled last year so that it could be voted on in 2018 – an anti-democratic relic of a rule, which another proposal to this year’s conference quite rightly wants to do away with.

Then in March 2018, in the face of the increasingly vicious anti-Semitism smear campaign, Unite leader Len McCluskey confirmed that a motion calling for mandatory reselection, which was adopted at the union’s conference in 2017, would not follow many other good motions into obscurity, but that he and his fellow Unite colleagues would actually campaign for it in the Labour Party. That was followed in August this year by a similar motion agreed by the Fire Brigades Union – newly reaffiliated to Labour under Matt Wrack.

Last but not least is the incredibly successful ‘Democracy Roadshow’ organised by Chris Williamson MP, who, together with Tosh McDonald of the Aslef union, has been touring the whole country with the demand for more democracy in the party, crucially on the question of mandatory reselection. Comrade Williamson is fast becoming the most popular Labour politician on the left – and deservedly so. Incredibly, he has been the only MP who has openly spoken out against the witch-hunt in the party. Having clearly opposed mandatory reselection when he was elected leader in 2015, Jeremy Corbyn has in recent months been more ‘flexible’ on the issue, calling for “more democratic accountability” for the members.

And now, it seems, this pressure has rubbed off on Jon Lansman. In the ‘Comment is free’ section of The Guardian on September 3, we read with great interest an article penned by Momentum’s unelected national coordinator, Laura Parker, who was appointed to the position by Lansman. In a rather strained comparison, she tries to link the success of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez in the US with the current method of selecting Labour’s parliamentary candidates:

Instead of being able to run in an open contest on a positive and propositional platform, as Ocasio-Cortez did, Labour has a built-in mechanism that forces local party members to mount a negative campaign against their sitting MP just to instigate a race. We want to see a process that gives a fair chance to all candidates and improves the atmosphere in local parties by doing away with the negative, divisive stage of campaigning and making it an open contest from the start. This means, in all constituencies, local members and the sitting MP would be free to compete for the Labour Party’s backing at the general election – and able to run positive, vibrant campaigns, talking about the issues voters actually care about, in order to become the Labour candidate.

That this is indeed Momentum’s new position has since been confirmed with an email to all members on September 4. In other words, having explicitly rejected mandatory reselection (aka “open contest”, aka “open selection”) just a few months ago, Lansman suddenly declares it to be Momentum policy. Not that we oppose it – quite the opposite. But it clearly shows how undemocratically this organisation is run.

What Momentum has not yet told its members is which of the eight rule changes – if any – it is about to support. It is safe to presume that it definitely will notbe the one containing Lansman’s original proposal, which would have kept in place the “built-in mechanism that forces local party members to mount a negative campaign against their sitting MP just to instigate a race”.

But there is a myriad of possibilities on how the current selection process could be reformed to make it more “open”.

Corbyn review

Of course, this development also begs the question as to why Lansman has suddenly changed his mind. Nobody can accuse him of moving to the left. But we know that Momentum have received a large number of protest emails and phone calls about their decision to dump Pete Willsman from the left slate and, of course, for Lansman’s public lobbying for the full IHRA (against Corbyn’s wishes). We even hear from within Momentum HQ that the decision was made to take the phones off the hook, because they were so inundated with angry calls. Maybe Lansman is trying to protect his and Momentum’s last remnants of ‘street cred’.

Or maybe he just simply fears being outflanked – and, perhaps, outvoted at conference. And if there is one thing Lansman does not like it is losing: just remember how he bullshitted his way through his resignation from the race to become Labour’s general secretary when he realised that he would lose to Jennie Formby. Funnily enough, in a September 4 email to members, Momentum claims that “Corbyn, when asked about our proposals”, expressed support for “greater democratic accountability”.

Of course, it is possible that none of the eight proposals will see the light of day at conference, as they may well be superseded by the outcome of the so-called Corbyn review. Although the issue of selection was not originally part of its remit, the first strategically placed leaks to the bourgeois media from Katy Clark’s draft recommendations already contained suggestions that “when MPs forfeit their seat in boundary changes” the party was considering the use of mandatory reselection Considering how the civil war has spun out of all proportion in recent months, it is entirely feasible that the final recommendations will contain something more wide-ranging on this question. This would also explain Jon Lansman’s sudden change of heart – maybe he got to see an early draft? We can only speculate.

No doubt the right would have gone ballistic if it had a sniff of any such move – it wants to avoid mandatory reselection at all costs. As it is, they are very much on the offensive against Corbyn and he knows he could not act as prime minister without majority support. Any move he made would be liable to sabotage by his own side, bringing his premiership to a very quick end. He would be the right’s prisoner, even more so than he currently is.

If mandatory reselection really isone of the proposals contained in the document produced by Corbyn’s right-hand woman, Katy Clark – especially in the way that we understand it: ie, doing away with the trigger ballot and allowing the local membership to choose their candidate without any restrictions – then we would, of course, welcome this move and congratulate Corbyn on finally having discovered his backbone. However, this would also imply that Corbyn and his allies are about to end their strategy of appeasing the right. We are not quite convinced that this is the case.

And, despite its official name of ‘Party Democracy Review’, the process has been far from democratic. Of course, there will have been hundreds, if not thousands, of contributions from members, branches and CLPs concerned about the state of the party. But it is entirely up to those running the review to decide which contributions are ‘accepted’. I would venture the guess that much of the final document will have been agreed well in advance of the ‘consultation’.

A draft of Clark’s proposals will be presented to the next meeting of the NEC on September 18 – ie, a mere four days before conference starts. Any amendments from the NEC will then have to be incorporated into the document before it is presented to delegates and the public – presumably without any chance to read through them beforehand. And anybody who has been to conference knows that it is impossible to make any amendments to such documents.

That is clearly not the way Marxists envisage a real democratic review of party structures. It stinks of the old, bureaucratic way of riding roughshod over the members. A truly democratic, root-and-branch transformation of the Labour Party would require theactiveparticipation of an empowered and educated membership. Nevertheless, we hope that delegates at this year’s conference will get the chance to put two fingers up to the rightwingers in the PLP and vote for such an overdue democratic change.



1 The Times September 5.