13th October 2016
Fantastic Story number #1 –
Angela Eagle, Wallasey MP, has been ‘fighting the corner’ of 17 ‘whistleblowers’
Except she hasn’t. But through possession of a dedicated media team, with contacts at the powerful Westminster press lobby, she has the power to manipulate the message and to get her nodding dog journalists to present elaborate, outlandish claims as somehow ‘factual’.
As regards ‘whistleblowing’, here are two carefully timed and positioned mainstream (National) and local (Merseyside) media stories, laced with inaccuracies:
On 20th July 2016, Wallasey Constituency Labour Party was controversially suspended, and members found themselves unable to speak and prevented from engaging in democratic processes such as submitting motions to the party conference – which was held soon after in September.
The suspension was connected to alleged ‘bullying, intimidation and homophobia’ at the Wallasey CLP Annual General Meeting held on Friday 24th June.
Prior to this date there had been no allegations of bullying, intimidation, entryism or homophobia.
For background and context, here is an excerpt taken from the CLP’s timeline of events
- Total Unity in the Wallasey Labour Party until June 27th 2016
- June 2015 Wallasey CLP nominate Jeremy Corbyn as Leader and Angela Eagle as Deputy
- CLP run by Angela Eagle’s closest supporters until June 24th 2016 [date of AGM]
- No complaints about intimidation, entryism or homophobia before June 24th 2016
- Friday 24th June AGM; Angela Eagle sends her apologies to her CLP Annual General Meeting which is the first meeting of her CLP since the EU Referendum and 3 days before she decides to resign and contemplate a leadership bid
- The AGM attendance is 44 delegates from a total membership of 1300. The vast majority are long-standing members and most were delegates the previous year
- The meeting elects new Chair and Vice Chair to fill seats that had been vacant all year
- There is a tie for the position of Secretary and incumbent, Bernie Mooney, a long time close supporter of Angela Eagle is replaced by long standing member Kathy Miller after the vote is tied twice and the result decided by drawing lots
- Most other positions are filled by the current incumbents who are long time supporters of Angela Eagle including the post of Treasurer with Bridget Frear, who works for Angela Eagle, elected unopposed. Helen Osgood who also works for Angela Eagle is elected unopposed to the position of Campaign Co-ordinator
- The meeting agrees to send a letter to Angela Eagle congratulating her on her continued support for Jeremy Corbyn and asking her to continue this support
- Angela Eagle’s closest supporters oppose the sending of the letter on the basis that it is not appropriate to discuss it at an AGM. Around 5 of them vote against it
See the CLP’s timeline of events for further developments
Here’s an excerpt from 1st July – reading about it in the Liverpool Echo was the first time Wallasey CLP members became aware of any allegations:
The next excerpt indicates confusion or dishonesty on the part of Tessa Jowell, who went on television to speak about the issue:
Check out Tessa Jowell’s contribution 4:25 onwards
The remote from reality side of all this is covered in detail here – including the fanciful notion that there are a total of 17 “whistleblowers” involved, all with one common grievance –
The impression we’re receiving is that those bringing the charges (which doesn’t include the person with the most to lose, Angela Eagle) have really gone for it, leaving no stone unturned. It’s almost as though they’ve decided,
“Let’s throw the kitchen sink at them and some of it’s bound to stick”.
As usual, this speaks of naiveté, and little awareness of the true consequences of bringing such serious claims. Not only do you harm your own colleagues and your own party, but workers in the wider world beyond with genuine grievances such as real whistleblowers, who are damaged by association and have their good faith campaigns unfairly belittled and tarnished.
Genuine claimants will be fully aware of this aspect, but those armed to the teeth with falsehoods tend to be not so tuned in.
There’s an internal Labour Party investigation this week examining the broad, sweeping range of claims against Wallasey CLP members. We would never pre-empt the decision they will reach – but if all the evidence is scrutinised fairly, it shouldn’t prove to be too difficult a task.