In an interview with Sky News, the prominent anti Corbyn Labour MP Margaret Hodge compared being under investigation by the Labour Party to the conditions her Jewish father experienced in 1930s Nazi Germany. Not only is this utterly ridiculous and disrespectful to those who lived and died during the Holocaust but it has broken the Labour Party’s rules.
The Labour Party Rule Book 2018 is extremely comprehensive and covers every scenario and area you can think of.
In this case you only have to get to page 16 of 112 to find where Dame Hodge first falls foul of the party’s rules.
Chapter 2, Clause I, Section 8 as shown below, covers conduct that may be prejudicial to the party and or minorities. This can include racism, anti-semitism and many many more scenarios.
Firstly I want to draw attention to the beginning of section 8.
“No member of the Party shall engage in conduct which in the opinion of the NEC is prejudicial, or in any act which in the opinion of the NEC is grossly detrimental to the Party.”
Even if you’re being generous it’s hard not to find Dame Hodges comments to Sky News; “grossly detrimental to the Party.”
Let’s look at a few examples of what she said.
“When I heard about the disciplinary (action), my emotional response resonated with that feeling of fear, that clearly was at the heart of what my father felt when he came to Britain.”
She is trying to say that she fears her own party’s investigation so much it feels like her father felt fleeing 1930s Nazi Germany. That in my opinion is tarnishing her own party thus making this “detrimental” to the Labour Party.
Cult of Corbynism
She then went onto to directly attack not only twice elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, but also his supporters branding them a “cult.”
“We’ve got the growth of populism, whether it’s Trump, whether it’s Boris Johnson, and now whether it’s the cult of Corbynism which allows these attitudes to emerge. That’s what scares me.
I wasn’t alive in the 1930s… but it sort of makes you feel that if you don’t stand up against it then what are you allowing to occur?”
She is trying to say that supporting a twice democratically elected leader is now comparable with Boris Johnson and Donald Trump, both of whom have made Islamophobic comments in the past.
This again is detrimental to the party as she is slamming her own leader which could cause a backlash against him and thus the party.
Community Activism Matters – Not to Hodge
She also goes against the NEC Statement at the very beginning of Appendix 1 of the Rule book which states;
“We value the role of our members and our affiliated members as progressive campaigners, community activists and social entrepreneurs who forge positive change in their own neighbourhoods as well as shaping and promoting national policy. It is our members who can inspire and engage local people and communities.”
Apparently in Dame Hodge’s mind, you can only be involved in shaping national policy if you agree with her. Otherwise you’re a racist and an anti-semite. She seems to forget that Mr Corbyn has twice been elected leader of the Labour Party by it’s members, despite the PLP attempting to overthrow him.
He is constantly under attack from the centre of the party but still he carries on trying to make everyone, not only those on the left, feel included.
Does he have to? No. The Party Constitution describes itself as a “democratic socialist Party which believes that social change comes from a combination of progressive government at the centre and community action.”
While the socialist part suffered throughout the late 90s and early 2000s under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, Mr Corbyn has reinvigorated the party.
When have you ever heard of a music festival spontaneously break into a chorus for a politician? Or have a political party hold a successful festival of its own?
Not only has he brought young people to the debate but he’s helped them be part of it too. While Hodge may not like this without it I doubt Labour would be where they are now and I do not mean they’d be better off either.
“Sentiments, stereotypes or actions”
You can’t even get past section 8 before finding another example where I believe she has breached Labour’s rules. It states that;
“The NEC shall take account of any codes of conduct currently in force and shall regard any incident which in their view might reasonably be seen to demonstrate hostility or prejudice based on”……….
“include but not be limited to incidents involving racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia or otherwise racist language, sentiments, stereotypes or actions, sexual harassment, bullying or any form of intimidation towards another person on the basis of a protected characteristic”
Hodge compared the Labour party investigating her for verbally attacking Jeremy Corbyn to “what it felt like to be a Jew in Germany in the 30s”. I would say, but I could be wrong, that this breaches the rules on demonstrating prejudice by using “sentiments, stereotypes or actions.”
Code of Conduct: Anti-Semitism & other forms of racism
Appendix 6, Section 2 of the rule book details the code of conduct in relation to “anti semitism and other forms of racism.”
On a side note, it may not be much but so much are the Party leadership under pressure to tackle anti-semitism it is directly named before “other forms.” While this might not seem much I ask why not use; “Code of Conduct on Racism and Religious Discrimination?” All forms of racism and discrimination are equally unacceptable but this albeit small detail, says differently.
It goes on to say;
“Any behaviour or use of language which targets or intimidates members of ethnic or religious communities, or incites racism, including antisemitism and Islamophobia, or undermines Labour’s ability to campaign against any form of racism, is unacceptable conduct within the Labour Party.”
Never mind the Sky interview, Dame Hodge has undermined how Labour can;”campaign against any form of racism,” by repeatedly stating that there are anti semites in the party and Jeremy Corbyn is content with this.
Labour Party Reaction
After the interview a Labour spokesperson said;“Jeremy is determined to tackle antisemitism in the Labour Party, so Jewish people feel it is a warm and welcoming home.
“The comparison of the Labour Party’s disciplinary process with Nazi Germany is so extreme and disconnected from reality, it diminishes the seriousness of the issue of antisemitism.
“We all need to work together to build support and confidence in the Labour Party among Jewish communities in Britain.”
All that remains to be answered now is; will the NEC follow the code of conduct and investigate Dame Hodge for Breaching the rules?
For the Party to remain free and fair everyone must be held accountable no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Investigations shouldn’t be dropped out of fear. It’s better to investigate and find nothing than not and further offence be caused.
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