Racist Blairite smears Scottish Jewish Labour woman

Rhea Wolfson

By Rhea Wolfson in Scotland:

How a party faction is preventing party members voting for me for Labour’s NEC

1 June 2016

Over the past few weeks, I have been delighted to receive support for my candidacy for Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) from a broad spectrum of opinion within the party, including nominations from dozens of Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs). It is clear that many members want to see me elected to the NEC.

However, I am now concerned that a faction of the party are trying to take that option away from the membership. To appear on the ballot I needed to secure, amongst other things, the nomination of my home CLP.

Last night Eastwood CLP, where my family home is, met to nominate candidates for the NEC. It was proposed that, given I am currently a member of the CLP, there would be a straight vote for or against my nomination. I made my case and answered questions from the room. I was then asked to leave the room while they discussed my nomination further. Once I had left, the ex-leader of Scottish Labour, Jim Murphy,

Blairite Murphy lost not only his own seat at the elections, but also the seats of all other Scottish Labour MPs save one. With a little help from some other Blairites, but mainly single-handedly, Murphy managed to make Labour from the biggest party for decades into the third party in Scotland now.

Jim Murphy cartoon

appealed to the CLP to not nominate me. He argued that it would not be appropriate to nominate me due to my endorsement by Momentum, which he claimed has a problem with antisemitism.

Jim Murphy is a member of the extreme right Henry Jackson Society.

In the twentieth century, there was the late United States senator and failed presidential candidate Henry ‘Scoop’ Jackson. Mr Jackson was corrupt, Jackson’s nickname was “the gentleman from Boeing“. Boeing being a military contractor getting lots of taxpayers’ money for killing and torturing people. Jackson was also a major supporter of wars, like in Vietnam.

Jackson was a strong supporter of the racist internment of US citizens of Japanese ancestry into concentration camps because of their ethnicity during World War II.

The 21st century ‘Henry Jackson Society‘ seems to have substituted Muslims for Japanese-Americans in their racism. This society includes hard-line politicians from the USA. And from Britain: right-wing Conservatives, like David Cameron’s minister Michael Gove. And right-wing ‘new’ Labour Blairites. Like Denis MacShane, convicted for, and kicked out of the Labour party for, corruption. So, really similar to Henry Jackson. Also similar in being a warmonger, supporting war in Iraq, Afghanistan, wherever.

So is Jim Murphy, an enthusiastic lover of nuclear weapons.

Murphy’s Henry Jackson Society makes propaganda for CIA torture.

And now this Murphy smears candidate Rhea Wolfson behind her back, spuriously linking her to anti-Semitism by association with the non-anti-Semitic Momentum movement, one of many organisations endorsing her. Who is the anti-Semite here: non-Jewish hatemonger Murphy or Jewish woman Ms Wolfson?

The constituency has a large Jewish population. The CLP then voted to not endorse me, before re-inviting me back into the room.

Needless to say, this is hugely disappointing. It is disappointing because I am the only Jewish candidate in this election, because the wide range of organisations endorsing me includes the Jewish Labour Movement, and because I have a long record of challenging antisemitism and have in fact faced it on a daily basis since my candidacy was announced. But above all, it is disappointing because I know there are many members who want to vote for me, who could now have lost that opportunity. I am considering my options going forward.

13 thoughts on “Racist Blairite smears Scottish Jewish Labour woman

  1. Thursday 2nd
    posted by Conrad Landin in Britain

    Murphy accused of campaigning to block leftwinger from Livingstone seat

    BLAIRITES were accused of a “blatant dirty tricks campaign” yesterday after defeated ex-Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy intervened to block a left-wing candidate on a technicality.

    Rhea Wolfson was chosen last month to replace Ken Livingstone as a left candidate for Labour’s national executive committee.

    She required the nomination of her home constituency — the Glasgow suburb of Eastwood — in order to reach the ballot paper.

    She had already secured around 30 constituency nominations in spite of her late entry into the race.

    GMB union member Ms Wolfson said she was asked to leave the room after making her case to be nominated by the Eastwood Constituency Labour Party (CLP) at a meeting on Tuesday night.

    “Once I had left, the ex-leader of Scottish Labour, Jim Murphy, appealed to the CLP to not nominate me,” she revealed.

    “He argued that it would not be appropriate to nominate me due to my endorsement by Momentum, which he claimed has a problem with anti-semitism.

    “The constituency has a large Jewish population. The CLP then voted to not endorse me.”

    Ms Wolfson, who is Jewish, said the decision was “hugely disappointing” in light of her “long record of challenging anti-semitism.”

    She said members who wanted to vote for her were being deprived of the option by “a faction.”

    Mr Murphy, who represented Eastwood’s equivalent Westminster seat until 2010, was forced to resign after he led Scottish Labour to its worst Westminster defeat in history.

    A source close to Labour machinations told the Star that Mr Murphy was “ringing people up” before the meeting.

    Outraged supporters of Ms Wolfson vented their fury at Mr Murphy on social media yesterday. One told the ex-MP to “get in the sea.”

    It is not the first time that candidates have been blocked through factional shenanigans in their home CLPs.

    In 2014 Christine Shawcroft, another leftwinger, was refused nomination in Nottingham — only for the decision to be reversed at a subsequent meeting.

    In 2010 members in Erith and Thamesmead voted against nominating left candidate Peter Willsman — but he subsequently moved to Oxford and secured the nomination there. It has been suggested that Ms Wolfson, who splits her time between her family home in Eastwood and another nearby address, could switch her membership to the other address.

    The source added: “The left could easily have blocked [Progress-backed candidates] Luke Akehurst or Peter Wheeler from getting nominated in Oxford or Salford, but they didn’t. This is a blatant dirty tricks campaign.”

    Mr Murphy did not respond to a request for comment.



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  6. Tuesday 20th September 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    VINCE MILLS writes on the failure of the Scottish Labour Party leader to accept the socialist changes that are happening in the party

    THE Scottish Labour Party is slipping irrevocably into a serious leadership crisis following Kezia Dugdale’s decision to back Owen Smith in what increasingly looks like a vain (in both senses of the word) attempt to unseat Jeremy Corbyn.

    For all his protestations of socialist authenticity, it is difficult to interpret Smith’s leadership challenge as anything other than an effort to stop the advance of the left in the party, hence widespread support for him from every shade of Blairite apologist and their unceasing wail about the electoral death of the Labour Party — the most recent from the loquacious Lord Kinnock.

    In relation to Scotland, the deepening of divisions between those who support the renewal of the party based on Corbyn’s socialist revolution and those who oppose it appears to have been consciously encouraged by the leader Kezia Dugdale and those around her. It should be noted here that the deputy leader Alex Rowley has been steadfast in his support for Corbyn.

    Despite serious misgivings by many on the left about the leadership and direction of the party under Kezia Dugdale, conference delegates overwhelmingly supported opposition to Trident, TTIP, and the Trade Union Bill and voted to build a significant number of council houses. This was followed up with commitments to increase taxation in order to combat Tory and SNP austerity.

    It was Kezia Dugdale who ensured the space for this shift to the left to take place. In a press release on behalf of the Campaign for Socialism MSP Elaine Smith said: “Kezia Dugdale has made good her promise on making the Scottish Labour Party more open and democratic. Scotland will reap great benefits from this. Under the SNP Scotland has become a centralised, economically stunted country, with struggling social services. Thanks to this exercise in democratic change, Scottish Labour is now united, enthused and committed to using the existing and new powers of the Scottish Parliament to take Scotland away from the SNP’s dead end and towards what Keir Hardie called ‘the sunshine of socialism,’ a shift in the balance of wealth and power in favour of working people.”

    It seemed that Corbynism had washed into Scotland’s politics — even if it were in the shape of gentle autumn waves rather than the tsunami transforming Labour politics in England. There was, as Elaine Smith’s comments indicate, a new found sense of unity and purpose.

    However, it was not long before Dugdale’s capacity to accept change in a socialist direction was being questioned. The issue was the list of Labour candidates wishing to become MSPs to be elected by proportional representation (as opposed to first past the post seats) to the Scottish Parliament. It was generally understood and predicted in polling that Labour’s MSPs would come almost entirely from list seats and that first past the post Labour MSPs in the May 2016 elections for the Scottish Parliament would be reduced to one or two. In order for any significant rise in the number of left-wing Labour MSPs to make it to Holyrood, new members who had joined the party in the wake of Corbyn’s campaign would have had to be allowed to vote because the position of candidates on the list is decided by the party membership in regional ballots.

    Although the Scottish Labour Party membership is difficult to ascertain with certainty, The Scotsman claims that it was around 13,500 in November 2014, a membership, remember, which voted by a clear majority that year in favour of the ultra Blairite Jim Murphy as leader. In a BBC Good Morning Scotland interview in August, Kezia Dugdale suggested membership was now “under 23,000.” In other words around 10,000 new members — almost certainly largely on the left — have joined the Scottish Labour Party in the last two years, more than enough to shift the balance of power to the left. There was an attempt to give these new members a vote on the Scottish executive of the Scottish Labour Party with senior trade union figures arguing that new members be allowed to vote, but this was rejected by Kezia and her supporters on the committee.

    The consequence was that many of the successful list candidates were not only on the right of the party, but some prominent candidates had already been rejected by the electorate and so lost their first past the post seats in previous Scottish Parliament and Westminster elections.

    Scottish Labour was pouring its new left policies into very old bottles as far as the electorate was concerned, an electorate that had already recently expressed its very negative opinion on the party in the Westminster elections.

    There were other signs that Dugdale’s support for a shift to the left is best understood as a short-term electoral feint rather than a fundamental commitment to political renewal. In January Dugdale announced that her plan to help those young people in private rented homes was to give first time buyers up to £3,000 towards their deposit. This bore no relation to what had been agreed at conference, which heavily emphasised expanding public-sector build, nor was it approved by the Scottish parliamentary group or shadow cabinet. It came straight from Kezia’s office.

    The Scottish Labour Young Socialists roundly condemned it. It seems that Dugdale has not understood the meaning of the shift in British and Scottish politics to the left. The politics of austerity has been rejected. There is an increasing desire for a more profound political solution to fundamental issues like housing that depended on moving away from private market-led solutions, not offering yet more triangulation — the idea heavily associated with Blair and New Labour of politics being above or between the left and right but in reality offering cover for a corporate takeover of the social domain.
    This situation is not sustainable. If Jeremy Corbyn is re-elected on Saturday, as seems likely, then Scottish Labour needs to stand squarely behind their new leader, and not just out of a sense of loyalty. The only way to return to electoral relevance in Scotland is to take the road forward to a society that has gone beyond the inhumanity and greed of neoliberal dogma that besmirched New Labour and led to Labour’s electoral demise in Scotland. For a while it seemed that Dugdale was at least willing to accept that direction of travel, but it has become abundantly clear that she wants to put a road block in the way.

    And as Bob Dylan put it: “Your old road is rapidly agin’. Please get out of the new one? if you can’t lend your hand, for the times they are a-changin.”



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