Now most people are aware that he’s deputy leader of the LP, and I will admit I voted for him. I did this on the basis of
- my writing to all the candidates with certain policy questions of import to me- and only received replies from him and Ben Bradshaw, and while Bradshaw’s replies were friendlier and took a lot more time and care over his responses, Watson’s were no-nonsense and less slick.
- I also checked out Watson’s and Bradshaw’s voting records and parliamentary speeches, and Watson just edged it. Not going to deny it was a very close run thing. His work on the historic child abuse cases also needed to be borne in mind.
- The others never even bothered to reply (and one of them was my OWN MP!), and in my view had worse voting records. So my choice essentially was going for the ‘Least Sh*t Option’ at the time. I’m not a fan of doing an ‘LSO’ but I’ve never backed out on a vote in my life and wasn’t about to start now.
They did, however, seem much of a muchness, unlike the choices for Labour leader. That was a no-brainer and I do not regret my choice there.
What a blaring disappointment Watson has turned out to be.
Though not as bad as ‘mad as a box of frogs’ Luke Akehurst, about whom I have already blogged, Watson has more power and what he says causes more damage to the LP. Akehurst is far more easily dismissed as a possible ‘lunatic fringe’ than the Deputy Leader 😉 despite the increasing similarity in Watson’s positing.
The voice of the traditional Right – Labour First – has been revitalised under the chairmanship of Luke Akehurst. And crucially it has allied itself with Progress – the home still of the Blairite wing of the party.
Now while I cannot see Watson on the Progress member lists (if he is there, please message me with a link and I’ll edit this bit), Caroline Flint, Ben Bradshaw and Stella Creasy are all Progress members according to Nic Outterside, and he cites this as a reason for them not getting many votes in the deputy election, as the votes by the ‘right’ side of the party were too split between them, so Watson ended up romping it. Angela Eagle had a lot of Progress support and exposure too, in her leadership push in 2016, which some commenters opine was to her detriment and indeed her public abandonment at her press conference, trumped in the eyes of the media by Leadsom withdrawing from the Conservative leader contest! She too told one lie too many, and watched her support haemorrhage. There appear to be lines that even Progress will not cross.
- This is despite him resigning from the Shadow Cabinet in 2013 under Ed Miliband, after accusations of dodgy dealings over a Unite candidate abounded. (Something I wished I’d known about before I voted for him.)
- But many commenters noticed an increasing tendency of Watson to crib information, not least about the alleged ‘hard left’, from the Progress website and opinions, Vox Political, in August 2016, and Skwawkbox in December 2016, after the farcical faked NHS Campaigning spin went very wrong for Progress. The latter (and in my opinion rightly) in that article describes the attitude of the ‘right’ LP affiliations towards alleged ‘hard left’ incursions as monomania, which I also proved in my Akehurst blog. Back in 2015 Watson described Momentum as a rabble, and backed up Stella Creasy’s lie that the anti war campaigners outside her office and even her home were thugs.
- Guido Fawkes, (aka Paul Staines)
They look terrifying don’t they? How dare they walk along holding signs? And note the police presence, so it was an announced and policed protest.
- Not a mob,
- not anti-Stella but anti-war,
- and Momentum support Corbyn, but are not led and ordered to take actions by Corbyn.
Creasy herself retracted her accusation when it was proven that
In fact, it showed people gathered outside a mosque prior to marching to Creasy’s Walthamstow office.
She did vote for war on Syria in the end, and so did Tom Watson. Now while I cannot condone some of the online attacks Creasy got during the tense Syria vote
this was not the work of Corbyn or a policy of Momentum to do or condone such things. And a Momentum ‘plot’ to get her deselected, in December 2015 alleged by her, is not possible. Momentum have barely 20,000 members UK wide and have no clout or inclination whatsoever (especially compared to Progress) to affect policy in this way. They would have had to landslide the CLP officers posts elections at AGMs to even try such a thing, and Walthamstow CLP is not full of ‘Momentum types’. This smacks of the accusations laid against the still gagged Wallasey CLP, as talked of in my blog about that situation, proven even by the NEC to have no foundation whatsoever. Wallasey CLP are not ‘Momentum weighted’ either, the balance is 16-10 in favour of ‘right’ Labour, or as the CLP put it before they were gagged, ‘Angela Eagle supporters’ according to the AGM report.
What on earth is Watson doing, ‘sharing a platform’ with such types as Akehurst and ‘Guido’? And backing such easily disproved lies?
During the Corbyn v Owen Smith campaign is NOT the time to be blurting out rubbish about ‘Trotskyite infiltrators’ by which he means
- Momentum (20,000 members as cited above). Perhaps their only crime is them citing Watson as an architect of the more recent ‘soft coup‘ (for which I have mislaid the youtube link, but will put in as soon as possible.)
- Militant (that many MSM outlets have tried to equate to Momentum) that seemed to have only 8000 members at its peak (according to page 315 of this book by Crick) in the 80s before all the expulsions from the LP, or
- the Socialist Workers’ Party, who have 6000 declared members or
- the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), who have it seems 40 members, or
- the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) possibly 1000 members
and rightly, as the numbers simply don’t add up to over 140,000 alleged ‘hard left’ entryists, as ably demonstrated by Adam Barnett at Left Foot Forward, Corbyn’s office released the following statement.
Oh, Tom, Tom, you can’t be both an entryist and come back to an organisation!
The rest of that article is here. By the end of 2016 my own confidence in Watson was at a low, but not being the knee-jerk type, I wanted to do my own research as to his possible motives for saying and doing the things he is alleged to have said and did. But I kept coming up with dig after dig, grains of sand enough to fill a beach on what Watson may be trying to do to the LP. Outright accusations of him being involved in the original coup abounded. Others, calling out on his anti-Momentum crusade as tin-foil hat conspiracy theories began to emerge as far back as August 2016. He seemed to be acquiring a habit of sounding off, Akehurst style, just before important events for the Labour Party. Here is his full speech at the LP conference in September 2016, which is hindsight reads a little oddly. He talks of media bias against the LP:
Now Conference, it will take time. The press barons will be on her side – for now. But if we stay focused and disciplined and determined, then gradually the country will start to see what we can already see: that she just isn’t up to the job.
Yet also seems to use that media bias to ‘prove’ over and again an (above-mentioned) lack of LP unity.
I’m sure there’ll be a general election soon. The more often Theresa May says it won’t happen, the more certain I am that it will. And, comrades, we need to be ready.
We need to stand together as one Labour movement, millions-strong and utterly united. Let’s get behind Jon Trickett [now Andrew Gwynne] as he masterminds our election campaign, let’s put our differences aside, link arms with our brothers and sisters in Labour, turn and face the Tories, and fight.
In the Guardian in December 2016, they note:
As deputy leader, Tom Watson was unable to fully join the coup, but his failure to back Corbyn was supposed to help ease the leader out of office. What was extraordinary was that the architect of the 2006 plot to unseat Tony Blair [my highlighting] used his 2016 Labour conference speech to urge the party to stop “trashing the record” of the former prime minister. Watson was later given the extra job of shadow culture secretary by Corbyn. Now he is taking on an old foe even more immovable than the Labour leader: Rupert Murdoch, and his attempted takeover of Sky.
So what happened to this attack on Murdoch? All I can find are old articles from 2011 and 2012, and more recently, a week after his death, suggesting that Gerald Kaufman MP for Manchester Gorton
As concern grows over Rupert Murdoch’s £11.7bn bid to buy out Sky, Tom Watson has suggested Labour grandee Gerald Kaufman, who died last week, might have been responsible for turning the media mogul from a youthful left-winger “to the dark side”.
So is it coincidental that just before the Gorton by election and the Unite election (March 2017, coming after Len McCluskey resigned in December 2016 but is standing again) comes out with risible rubbish that Unite are colluding with Momentum (see below) something it is impossible to do because Momentum do not set Labour policy (and should not) and do not yet have fully affiliated status, and has already been rebutted by Unite (again see below.)
- Now he doesn’t seem to be a stupid man, so why try and destroy your own party? (I asked the same of Akehurst in my blog about him.)
- He even wrote this article for Labour Uncut about Progress and appears to be critical of them and ‘New Labour’. This appears to be from 2011 if the comments on it are any indication. This is the site that this month describes Len McCluskey (who as I said, resigned to trigger a re-election process) as ‘conservative’ with a small c, and describing Corbyn’s attempts to have candidates that support him in by elections (Stoke, Copeland) as ‘blatant’. As ‘blatant’ as the NEC kicking out apparently pro-Corbyn Long-Bailey and replacing her with Keith Vaz on the selection committee for the upcoming Manchester Gorton by election? Long-Bailey was linked by *AltFacts* to the non-existent ‘secret coup’ of Clive Lewis for leader, based on somebody (not Clive) buying a website with that title (!) It is obvious even to the most casual observer that Sam Wheeler, the Momentum candidate’ or Julie Reid, councillor and allegedly pro Corbyn, never stood a chance against Khan. (More on this by election in my Gorton blog.) Evidence about the MO or ethos of Labour Uncut is hard to find- nothing on their home page, very little on them on the net in general, though LeftFutures allege it was set up by so-called Blairite Simon Sion.
So what the bloody hell is going on?
Why, yesterday and today (20/03/17) is the MSM full of an alleged plot by Unite to ‘ally’ with Momentum, spread by Watson himself? The Guardian for example, leads with this article, based on a ‘secretly recorded speech’ of Momentum’s Jon Lansman at a meeting in Richmond, south-west London. This recording also has been spun by the Guardian to suggest Momentum are planning to oust Corbyn. Listen to it, it says no such thing. Watson tweeted him publicly with this somewhat sinister ‘promise’ re Momentum and Unite:
and Unite have released this statement in response:
Now as I noted above Watson does have ‘form’ when it comes to Unite, despite being cleared of all charges of ‘dodgy dealings’ back in 2013. I also saw, whilst preparing my Akehurst blog, constant Tweets by the man against McCluskey and pro his rival for the post, Gerard Coyne, described as a ‘centrist’ by the New Statesman, a right leaning publication, in their article about all the Unite candidates.
Is this what it’s about? The ‘moderate’ Left v the ‘hard’ Left and ‘entryism’? AGAIN? I know I, as a LP member, is getting sick of such jaded and fake rhetoric. The irony of a New Labour MP being so obsessed with this idea is supreme- as they did the same themselves in the late 1990s- parachuting ‘Blairite’ candidates into areas, insisting pro-Blair MPs and Councillors were considered first on selection committees and so on.
Perhaps this email from Coyne today (20/03/17) sent to people in light of the upcoming Unite elections sheds some light on it. For how long has this email been prepared, ready to send to potential voters?
Your union should focus on the day job – protecting you at work and fighting for better pay and conditions for our members. (The highlighting in red is my own.)
But Len McCluskey has been obsessed with playing Westminster politics. That’s why he gave £225,000 of your money to Jeremy Corbyn to get him elected as Labour leader. [And who reported this? The SUN but even they said £75,000 not £225,000. And who used to write for The Sun? See above.]
Now this weekend we have learned of plans to link your union Unite with far-left political faction Momentum if Len McCluskey is re-elected. [Another lie debunked and again my highlighting in red.]
If you support me for General Secretary, I won’t let Unite become a political football. I won’t spend your money on political games.
All my focus is on you, the members.
I was shocked when I read the newspaper reports this weekend about Unite‘s plans to give your money to Momentum. [my italics]
But far from coming out and defending his plans, Len McCluskey has gone into hiding. [ No he hasn’t, and this is lazy accusation, how could the man respond to an email sent out to all and sundry, especially when he’s busy out campaigning, which suggests he actually has a plan of campaign, if all the VT and photos all over the net are any indication. UPDATE: And today (21/03/17) he spoke to the HuffPost, where he said the following (excerpt), backing up my impressions of Watson from my own research:
‘That is where you will find Tom Watson. When Labour has needed loyalty he has been sharpening his knife looking for a back to stab. When unity is required, he manufactures division.It is small surprise that he has then worked to split the Party again this week. He has form as long as his arm. And now his sights are set on abusing the internal democracy of Unite’. He also notes the bizarre nature of Watson’s speech at the September LP conference, calling it a ‘divisive ‘bring back new Labour’ speech‘. He too makes the connection with The Sun newspaper and notes their role in damaging the LP and trade unions:
The truth is [the email continues], he’s happy to play politics with your union and with your money. But he doesn’t want to answer hard questions when he has to get re-elected. Now the power is in your hands: you the members will vote next week to decide who leads Unite.
I want to change our union. If you support me for General Secretary, I will put the focus back on members. I will freeze your subscriptions and stop playing politics with your money.
You can read more about my plans here:
Read my manifesto
Let’s take Unite back for its members.
Thank you for your consideration and support,
[Then the email gives voting choice buttons]
I’m voting for Gerard Coyne
I’m not sure who I’m voting for
I’m voting for Len McCluskey
I’m voting for Ian Allinson
I’m not voting
Now it is up to the individual which people they support for an election, as that is democracy, but to use it to try and initiate a not very clever pincer movement against alleged ‘hard left’ ‘targets’, Corbyn and McCluskey, even at the risk of doing the very destabilising that Watson is accusing Lansman of? (Yes I know- bad grammar, sorry.) Something that is so easily disproved?
******Unfortunately for Mr Coyne (as if it isn’t bad enough writing an article for THE SUN – see above) these emails went out to people who weren’t Unite members too, (myself included, as there is from where I block quoted the email in the first place) so how did he get access to those emails? This is a breach of the DPA and has been rightly reported to the ICO (the office responsible for the enforcement of the Data Protection Act 1998, and also responsible for Freedom of Information.) (EDIT:) And after Watson was possibly seen in open conference with the head of Coyne’s team yesterday (22/03/17- see below) I think the chickens, if not quite home to roost, could definitely be circling…******
What also worries me is that this scrapping also has the aim of splitting the leftist vote in the Unite elections for General Secretary. Ian Allinson seems to be a most worthy candidate and so far appears to be flak free despite him being on record as being most definitely socialist and a Corbyn supporter, and it would not be Allinson splitting the vote, but the Progress led attacks from the right that could push people into voting for new blood. Ian himself addresses the split vote issue here. Perhaps the right of the LP deem him to be beneath notice and are content to let others attack him as a ‘vanity project‘ or vote splitter. Here we can only blame the voting system and not the man.
So I am finding it more and more difficult to believe that Watson has no agenda here.
But Tom, you are no Pelopidas. You’ve ‘escaped’ before because of those who back you, members and affiliations (including Labour Friends of Israel, gone into some detail in my Akehurst blog). And here you are at one of their events, so at the least you are an affiliate if not a full member.
I am one of an increasing number of members who are withdrawing their supportand this petition calling for a vote of no confidence in you at time of writing already has 13,000 signatories . If you become too hot a party potato, then others may well do likewise.
Are you going to become political Lego underfoot like Akehurst?
Are you too so steeped in conspiracy that you see a ‘leftist’ Gunpowder Plot behind every bush, like Akehurst?
Is this an attempt to counter the very good work Andrew Gwynne, the man now in charge of the LP’s election campaign, did on the Sunday Politics regarding Labour and a possible GE to come? Gwynne approved of my Tweet to him commending his interview- clearly Gwynne is very much au fait with the Fixed Term Parliaments Act and made Andrew Neil look like a posturing child, with calm dignity.
Is this an attempt to distract people™ from what I perceive as a climbdown on the LP website (hosted by NEC leader Iain McNicol *cough*) as it finally lists Corbyn’s 10 pledges in great detail (here they are in brief)
(oh ok, he’s only been leader since 2015; why were they consigned to Corbyn’s own website and youtube channel/other social media till now?) now called election pledges, items that are not released in that context unless there is some indication that a GE is on the cards? Something you yourself predicted back in Conference in September 2016?
I guess you’re banking on PLP support, as only they can trigger a vote of no-confidence in you as deputy leader. Yet your CLP DID NOT VOTE for any candidate in the 2016 leadership contest (one of the 5% that did not offer any data) and did not vote for or against Corbyn in the ‘no confidence’ vote. That’s gotta smart… Unless of course they were gagged too.
If anyone has information on the West Bromwich East CLP and how/why they voted in 2016 I’d be glad to add it here. I do have an exit poll *cough* which tends to suggest Corbyn had considerable voter support during the leadership in the 2016 election in the Midlands (where his seat is) and countrywide, Corbyn had up to 84% of the CLP nominations and 65% of the CLP popular votes (according to The Mirror). The CLP Nomination’s Twitter provided this handy Google doc on which CLP voted for whom, and there’s a large blank by his CLP’s name.
However, even Guido Fawkes reported today (20/03/17) as an ‘exclusive’ of your ‘roasting’ by the Shadow Cabinet on an ‘away day’ for this ludicrous and as they say, unilateral action. Oddly enough they used the same picture as I have in my header! ( I will say at this point I do not support, write for or condone this website or the creator of this website.) So, ‘Guido’, who despite their leanings do seem to get a lot of the ‘inside gen’ on events, is reporting that you got reamed about this, how much PLP support do you have remaining? Is this a step too far, even for Progress?
On top of that, I and many other LP members have received an email asking us to contribute our policy ideas for the party, on 17th March 2017. And Corbyn has backed this up, as well as calling again for unity, in this Facebook video today.
Do you really think we’re not going to suggest a member vote on ALL party leaders and MPs, not just leaving it to CLPs and Selection Committees any more? (Two CLPs already backed Corbyn’s suggestion that all MPs are regularly re-selected last December. And something Watson is on record as being very much against, such LP reform,as far back as 2009, as Progress admit, calling it an “inherently intolerant mechanism” in 2015 too.)
Why is your timing so bad on this? You have been so (relatively) savvy in the past.
Has the power gone to your head or is it that you’d do anything to keep the LP so-called ‘centre left’?
Or are you so sure ‘Project Anaconda‘ will succeed you think you are untouchable? How many people are you prepared to sacrifice (below) to try and ensure the isolating and weakening of Corbyn comes to pass? The NHS debâcle (above) didn’t go so well, did it?
You even advised Corbyn to resign last year after the coup!
“I made my position clear, gave private counsel, based on the fact it was difficult to lead without the confidence of a majority of MPs, but he took a different view, the membership backed him and we have to respect that”
you said in an interview with Tony Blair’s former media chief Alastair Campbell for GQ in January 2017. Wisely perhaps, Corbyn no longer includes you in strategy meetings.
Your seat is described as safe with a majority of 25% but your voter turnout is down to 58% at GE and you did not recover all of the 7.7% swing you lost in 2010 (3.9% swing back). And that ‘New Labour’ establishment you sought to overthrow back in 2006 worked so well for Blair and Brown didn’t it? Note the 1997-2010 figures especially below. Labour List have some decent analysis on the shrinking LP vote after its initial fillip, written in 2015 here. Note also the increase in non-voters; the rise of UKIP and that 2015 was before Corbyn was leader.
This graph is from here. I will attempt to find a governmental one.
Perhaps your crusader underpants are too old and holey now to wear, and you have no intention of replacing them despite of or perhaps because of your up to £500,000 donation from Max Mosley, F1 boss and very much involved in his father’s far-right politics, when he was young, as reported in almost all the MSM outlets..
Yep, that Mosley- as learned by many GCSE History students- Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, 6th Baronet who was a British politician best remembered as leader of the pro-German British Union of Fascists (BUF), and who came off worst in the Battle of Cable St.
What were you thinking, man? How is accepting donations from this man acceptable?
Your risible accusations and questionable actions are going to be fresh in our minds when we think of policy suggestions. Your record will be looked into, and excuses for you
have to be stopped.
(Excuse me if I quote you there.)
Some commenters have been more outspoken than I, picking up more ‘dirt’ than I had thus far found (notably the 1993 and 2009 information, for which so far I have found this from the Telegraph for the latter, but I am going to fact check further), it’s not looking good, it is Tom? If the 1993 citation is true, it puts your above remarks about Kaufman into a somewhat different relief, for a start. As for expenses scandals, it is no secret that ‘new Labour’ was rife with such abuses. I talked of and proved Blears’ dodgy doings in the Akehurst blog ‘What now for Luke Akehurst’?, just for starters.
And now we have the Ken Livingstone furore:
This is the closest I can find for what Livingston is meant to have said, and have to note it was in context of (initially anyway) him defending Naz Shah after being suspended for reposting something from a Jewish historian, Dr Norman Finkelstein, from before she became an MP, accused of anti-semitism and forced to apologise, as talked of in my Akehurst blog. What did she post? This, according to Nye Bevan News:
- On 5th April, in the same week as the Labour campaigning for local election seats gathers pace, Watson instead released this statement about the suspension of Ken Livingstone (and I have noted above his ‘ties’ to Israel):
Apart from the fact that Livingstone’s assertions were correct and backed up by Jewish historians of a pact between Zionist German Jews and Nazi Germany, this is NOT anti-semitism, Livingston’s stance is anti-Zionist, which many Jews also assert is not the same issue. Neither has Livingstone been disciplined for anti-semitism.
Corbyn, in his statement released today (05/04/17), rightly focuses on
- due party process for what Livingstone said,
- acknowledges Livingstone’s past stance on racism,
- that the context his remarks, (while based on historical fact) were of a nature as to cause upset and it is this for which Livingstone has been disciplined;
- and notes correctly that there may be further proceedings initiated by the NEC and individual party members on this suspension decision.
Of course, this measured approach has been blasted by the usual foamers™ and couch-biters™, accusing him of everything from
- being ‘got at’ by the Zionist cabals
- to appeasing Progress (which may well have some merit considering the skulduggery that seems to be taking place within the Labour Party)
- to not going far enough and that he should have demanded Ken resign, in utter ignorance of how the Labour Party works.
Yet Watson is ‘allowed’ to go much further, albeit to some online derision, than the Labour leader? Why? (Rhetorical question alert.)
In my view, expelling Ken would in the long run could do much good. For he has already said he’d take the NEC to court if they did and such scrutiny would shine lights into shadowy right-of-party cadres and links. Corbyn is known for his adherence to the law and due process. Then, finally, maybe, he could act against what seem to be the real entryists- the Blairites.
What is Zionism (note I am using Jewish sources for all citations)?
a movement for (originally) the re-establishment and (now) the development and protection of a Jewish nation [my italics] in what is now Israel. It was established as a political organisation in 1897 under Theodor Herzl, and was later led by Chaim Weizmann.
And this does not even take into account what Semite means- as espoused by Jewish religious scholars where they assert Semites are all the descendants of Noah-
‘Ham was the ancestor of the dark‑skinned peoples of Africa, Shem of the Hebrews and their various cognates, and Japheth the ancestor of the Medes, Persians, Greeks, and other peoples who, many centuries later, came to be known as Aryans’
Now while this does not stand up to scientific and linguistic scrutiny, it cannot be denied that on the basis of DNA and language development, Semites are
a member of any of various ancient and modern peoples originating in southwestern Asia, including the Akkadians, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Arabs. [my italics]
This refusal by Labour Friends of Israel in the face of scientific fact to differentiate between anti-semitism and anti-Zionism is damaging, silencing and also part of the reasoning behind attacks on Corbyn, a known firm supporter of Palestine. Throwing in the terrible events of the Holocaust as a silencing tool is also something I cannot condone. Here is a copy of the Haavara Agreement (I will try and find a clearer version) to which Livingston was referring.
This allusion got him suspended and yesterday (04/04/17) a total of two years’ suspension from the Labour Party. Even the Jewish Labour Party condemn his further suspension but Young Labour (noted above as founded by Tom Watson, and spearheaded by Sadiq Khan the London mayor) do not- they want him gone from the party entirely.
Unsurprisingly the obviously right-leaning MSM such as The Telegraph are now screaming that the Labour Party and Corbyn especially are facing ‘mutiny’ over this ‘lenient’ decision.
And yes, the bobbing head of Luke Akehurst has come down firmly on the side of
- Wes Streeting (a Progress member),
- John Woodcock (one time Progress Chair),
- Sadiq Khan (a patron of Progress)
et al if his Twitter, in this issue (and of the issue of his support for Coyne for Unite leader- see above), that has been a lot quieter than usual till today, is any indication.
While I am no tin foil hat wearer it is hard to disregard
- the links between LFI, Progress and voting on supporting conflict and thus destabilisation in the Middle East, noting the long standing conflict between Israel and Syria and the development of ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia in relation to their joint stance against Iran though officially there are no diplomatic relations between the two countries.
- the links between this Livingstone issue and support of conflict and destabilisation within the Labour Party, as Livingstone is an outspoken Corbyn supporter.
UPDATE 1: (21/03/17): Twitter is abuzz with rumours that Emily Thornberry is thinking of challenging Tom for the Deuptyship but can find nothing to substantiate this. The Skwawkbox have picked up on it however too, while emphasising this is just a rumour. What I did find is this in the Guardian, putting quite a different spin on the Guido Fawkes ‘exclusive’ above. The fact remains that Tom got torn a new one. But this is turned into an attack on Corbyn. (They don’t give up, do they?) This is a nicer extract from that article:
Hours after appearing on radio, Watson was criticised at a shadow cabinet meeting in Euston. Corbyn’s allies, including the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, shadow defence minister Emily Thornberry and shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, rounded on Watson for speaking out.
Watson’s intervention was defended by others, including the health spokesman, Jon Ashworth, and the housing spokesman, John Healey. One attendee said Thornberry “lost it” while criticising Watson during a lunch break, “but he gave as good as he got”.
In the hours after the meeting, sources briefed the media saying Watson had ignited a “war” when the party should be concentrating on the local elections. “The irony of Watson’s careless behaviour is that with antics like this, he risks the outcome of local elections and mayoral elections. He is on an ego trip,” one said. [My italics.]
Politics home also in general follow the Guardian line, but note the following:
At a Shadow Cabinet away day at the headquarters of Unison, Mr Watson was rounded on by John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, Jon Trickett and Emily Thornberry. However, John Healey, Jon Ashworth, Angela Smith, Barbara Keeley and Keir Starmer all criticised Mr Lansman.
A clumsy attempt to show how ‘battlelines’ will be drawn? Both articles note that Kezia Dugdale, leader of the SLP, seemed to not lean towards one faction or the other, but contented herself with sniping from the wings. But for now, the PLP are still on Watson’s side. BUT the PLP are still following the line that Watson’s accusation of Momentum and Unite are true, when they have successfully been debunked (above) and in many MSM outlets. As the Skwawkbox said:
The ‘hissy-fit’ by part of the PLP (parliamentary Labour party) last night only served to reinforce the impression that Watson is in trouble – when the bankrupt likes of John Spellar, John Cryer, Wes Streeting and Neil Coyle are the best he’s got to defend him, his situation is dire.
They have elucidated further here but it’s still very much at a ‘sources say’ level.
It appears that at least 35 Labour MPs have already confirmed their willingness to back Ms Thornberry should she decide to stand. If Watson were to trigger a contest in a similar way to Len McCluskey with the Unite General Secretary’s position, this number would be enough to guarantee Thornberry a place on the ballot.
However, to force a contest, Ms Thornberry would need 50 or so nominations (depending on the total number of Labour MPs at the time). Her supporters are confident of reaching this number before Labour’s annual Conference.
UPDATE 2: On Twitter this month there appeared an anonymous EmilyForDeputy page, that appears to have only started posting yesterday (21/03/17) and has gathered 200 followers already. And the hashtag #emilyfordeputy has generated 5800 references in just one day according to TrendMaps. It’s far too early to tell if this is showing any momentum (pun intended, but no slur on the organisation of that name) for the start of the downfall for Watson.
UPDATE 3: The Skwawkbox has just broken with this, though the sources do not appear yet to be susbtantiated:
Andy McSmith – the head of media for Gerard Coyne’s campaign for the Unite General Secretary position – has been seen meeting with James Robinson, who is head of media for Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson and husband of Progress MP Gloria De Piero.
The meeting took place in Porcullis House, just opposite the main Parliament building.
McSmith then went directly to the office of Jack Dromey, another Midlands MP, ally of Watson and Coyne supporter, on the 2nd floor of Portcullis House, where he proceeded to discuss with Dromey the role that ‘Nick’ (presumably Nick Buckley, media for Coyne and close friend of Watson) would play in the 5 days remaining until ballots for the Unite election are sent out.
UPDATE 4: Coyne has just admitted on John Pienaar’s politics programme on 5 Live that he had access to LP members data- people who had not given permission and many of whom where not even Unite members. Jon Trickett, Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office & Shadow Lord President of the Council, is a prominent example of someone who also stated his confusion at being texted with an extortion to vote for Coyne when he isn’t in Unite either.
I just received a text from Mr Coyne asking me to vote for him. How did he get my phone number? I am not a member of Unite @UniteforLen
And he isn’t the only one. So WHO gave Coyne’s team this information? Illegally no less in terms of the Data Protection Act 1998 as I noted when I received the email from ‘Coyne’- a serious offence. Is this Watson and MacBride throwing Coyne under the bus or is the man just that stupid? And was it Owen Smith’s data list that was used? If so, that puts a very different complexion on this and could back up assertions that Watson quietly supported the ‘coup’. I got texts from ‘Smith’ during the leadership campaign (though have had none from ‘Coyne’ after the email above anyway) when I did not register my support with him or his team.
They can and should respond, as, quite rightly, this is against party rules too.
Time for the ICO to properly step in.
It looks like the Skwawkbox, as has often been the case, is bang on the money.
UPDATE 5: More past context needs to be added here on Watson’s ‘foreign policy’ decisions, as it did not fit well into the body of the blog and in light of a chemical bomb attack in Syria today (04/04/17), especially pertinent.
Watson was, for example, one of 66 LP MPs as stated above that voted for airstrikes in Syria in December 2015 and one of the 126 LP MPs who did not vote (2 LP MP tellers, Clive Lewis ill, which tbh makes me go hmmm but to register as ill you do have to have medical proof…) back in September 2016 on arms sales to the Saudis. Then in October was not present for the vote in October 2016 that called for the Government to suspend its support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces in Yemen until it has been determined whether they have been responsible for any human rights violations.
Jeremy Corbyn has been pushing for a political solution in Yemen since at least 1998. And MPs from all opposition parties have voiced concerns for the situation in both Syria and Yemen, for example:
- the SNP led discussion in June 2016 in Parliament abut human rights and arms sales to Saudi.
- the SNP Early Day Motion where their objections were
…most repressive regimes in the world which does not allow freedom of expression or association; notes with concern the systematic human rights abuses that occur within Saudi Arabia, including the extensive use of the death penalty, the sentencing to death of individuals arrested as juveniles, the flogging of those who question the ruling regime, the lack of basic rights for women and immigrant workers, the repression of homosexuals and those who do not adhere to the state religion…
- and the 1st March the Early Day Motion by the Lib Dems to have an embargo on arms sales to the Saudis on the basis of a correlation between that and the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Their issues raised ran as follows:
alleged international humanitarian law violations relating to the conflict in Yemen; acknowledges that on 25 February 2016 the European Parliament voted for a European Union-wide embargo on the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia, citing the disastrous humanitarian situation as a result of Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen as a reason for this resolution being passed; condemns the use of cluster munitions for indiscriminate bombing in Yemen by the Saudi Arabian military; is concerned that the Government is abetting violations of international humanitarian law…
If you search on parliament.uk there are over ten PAGES of entries on selling arms to Saudi Arabia, and a further ten plus pages on Yemen– many done by opposition parties and many of them cautionary and showing concern for doing such a thing, quite rightly too.
- And on 28th March 2017 the following backbencher Labour/Conservative/SNP select committee motion was approved, so it could be discussed in Parliament
Motion debated and approved:
“That this House notes the worsening humanitarian crisis in Yemen; and calls upon the Government to take a lead in passing a resolution at the UN Security Council that would give effect to an immediate ceasefire in Yemen.”
Now we have already seen that Watson’s ‘foreign policy’ stance is more than a tad aggressive (also see his vote above on bombing Syria and this graphic taken from his entire voting record below, noting especially his stance on the Iraq War)
See what I mean about an ‘LSO’? (‘Least Sh*t Option’?)
However, the list of those who did not vote in September 2016 has a remarkable similarity between those that supported the coup against Corbyn AND the Labour Friends of Israel membership lists (as mentioned above) in the first place.
I guess it’s ok to play games with Yemeni lives if its endgame is to destabilise Corbyn’s ministry, eh.
- Where is our Poundland Thatcher Prime Minister this week (03/04/17)? In Saudi Arabia, doing who knows what deals…well of course we know, and it has been backed up by the Financial Times (05/04/17)
- And what does she do to try and move media attention away from the conflict in the Middle East? A pathetic attempt to distractify by perpetuating the lie started by the Daily Telegraph that the National Trust’s egg hunt in association with Cadbury’s is not using the word ‘Easter’, something that has already been debunked.
While we do not expect her to have
- any compassion for the Yemenis,
- or to stop crawling up the butt of the Saudis whilst insisting she wants to be a role model for Saudi women
- or to care about the workers laid off at Cadbury’s after the takeover by an unethical US processed cheese company, reducing the sizes of the products but not the price and turning a once-globally-lauded recipe into slimy brown goop
- or to stop Lord Howard from doing his best Dracula impression on BBC News as he forebodingly talked of war against Spain for Gibraltar,
we DO expect LP MPs to back a LP motion to end the arms sales on humanitarian grounds- a motion that has long term and cross-opposition party support.
Shame on you, Watson, and ALL the MPs that decided a ‘strong’ foreign policy at best and factionalism at worst was worth the price of Yemeni (and Iraqi, Libyan and Syrian) lives.
While Watson was absent for the Libya vote it is not too far fetched to suppose he would have been content to support the order to blow seven shades of sh*t out of them too.
Also, in the light of today’s (04/04/17) suspected chemical bomb attack on Syria– which has been condemned globally– allegedly done by the Syrian government themselves, such actions by UK MPs not voting to block arms sales and thus quashing this motion is doubly reprehensible, as we (the UK) have been found to have sold chemical weapons to the Syrians many times in the past. Our PM’s condemnation of the attack somehow rings hollow, and would sound so coming from ANY MP who voted for strikes on Syria or who voted against or did not vote at all to stop selling arms to the Saudis. Tim Farron, leader of the Lib Dems does not have the best of records in this area either, and Nicola Sturgeon’s voting record is elusive (if I find it, I will edit) so the only leaders that have any credibility left in this area is Caroline Lucas (Greens) and (unsurprisingly) Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn had this to say on arms sales to Saudi :
and in November 2015 demanded that steps be taken to obtain a political solution in Syria, which did not include selling weapons to them.
What was Watson saying (04/04/17)?
- Gloating about attacking the PM on the easter eggs debâcle first thing, and then spent the rest of the day sticking carefully to local/ campaigning issues. While nobody can deny his current projects of supporting the scrapping of GP fees for letters given to domestic violence victims, and supporting the GMB on increasing educational funding, are most worthy, maybe even he realises it would be the height of hypocrisy to make a comment on Yemen or Syria right now.
NOTE: There will be edits and updates of this blog as more facts become available.