Which of these merits action?

Purging the left appears to be more important than a Labour council operating slum-like conditions

What politicans do tells you more about their priorities than paper programmes which they profess to support or expressions of their views. How they treat their own members tells you a lot as well. Consider this juxtaposition of how the Labour’s increasingly autocratic apparatus treats different Labour councillors.

Example one: Pam Fitzpatrick

Pam is a Harrow councillor with a long record of activity, much respected, and a recent Parliamentary candidate. She has been expelled from the Labour Party, apparently, for giving an interview to Socialist Appeal, one of the groups recently proscribed. The fact that she did this before the organisation was proscribed does not appear to matter. Imagine what would have been the response of Keir Starmer when DPP if one of his staff came to him and suggested that they support the prosecution of an individual for being in breach of a law before it was enacted. He would have turned it down because it would have been literally laughed out of court.

Yet in his role as Labour leader he appears to find it acceptable for his party to ignore natural justice and the human rights of some members. The members suffering at the hands of what can only be described as a purge, are like Pam, from the left of the Party and generally supporters of the previous Leader Jeremy Corbyn. There appears to be no natural justice under the Starmer/Evans regime. Indeed control of this machine in the hands of the leadership is being used for factional purposes.

Example two: Croydon Labour council

Contrast that with this. ITV News did a series of reports on council and housing association tenants “living in uninhabitable conditions, in homes riddled with mould, damp, leaks and collapsing ceilings”. One of the councils included was Croydon Labour council. A report by the Regulator of Social Housing on Croydon said that “The evidence shows that some tenants’ homes were uninhabitable and apparently unsafe”. Shelter said that these were some of the worst conditions they have ever seen.

What was Labour’s response to news reports of a Labour council operating slum-like conditions? Did they organise an investigation into how working class tenants were allowed to live in these appalling conditions for so long? No. The only response that I have seen is the verbal criticism of Steve Reed, a local MP and Labour front bencher and Lucy Powell, the Shadow Secretary of State who both said that such conditions were unacceptable. Yet words are cheap. There has been no investigation of the Labour council. No action against the councillors responsible.

The contrast with the treatment of Pamela Fitzpatrick could hardly be starker. For the Labour leadership it appears to be more important to purge those on the left than to take action against Labour councils that have treated working class tenants who they expect to vote for them with utter contempt, and to ruin their lives and health. This is the same Croydon council group that bankrupted the council as a result of its ‘commercial’ adventures, about which the Labour leadership has been silent.

How do these people expect working class voters to vote for them when Labour councils behave in this way?

As to retrospective action against members under rules which did not exist at the time of their ‘misdemeanor’ perhaps this quote may offer some guidance.

“Retrospective legislation to favour or damage an individual because they are a friend or a foe is immoral and the polar opposite of the rule of law…it is the opposite of due process.”

Chris Bryant MP speaking in the House of Commons

Who could disagree with that? Doesn’t it apply to retrospective action by a political Party against it’s own members?

Martin Wicks

November 25th 2021

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