NEIL Fletcher, the man who refused to meet a demand to apologise for calling local Labour members ‘quislings’, is planning a counter complaint. After the deadline passed last month, he has asked the party why he has heard nothing since to say that the matter has been resolved.
Fletcher, a critic of Labour’s development policies in West Hampstead, now warns his next step will be to make a formal complaint to the party against Labour councillor Theo Blackwell, citing a letter to the Hampstead and Highgate Express in which Camden’s finance chief used the term ‘crank hard left’.
The original complainants, including Labour whip Richard Olszewski, say quisling amounts to Nazi analogy, used without any sensitivity to the family histories of people living locally, including his own.
“The current edition of the London Review of Books (p38) uses the word ‘quisling’ in an appropriate and pointed manner – similar to the way I chose to use it,” Fletcher is understood to have told party organisers in a letter this week. “Maybe Richard Olszewski might like to take a more progressive line on linguistic as well as political matters. An apology for wasting all our time would also be useful.”
He goes on: “Unless you immediately advise me that all complaints against me have been utterly cleared from the books (and I do not regard being asked to ‘apologise’ to Richard as a clearance) I shall also submit a formal complaint against Councillor Theo Blackwell for his despicable insults against me personally in the Hampstead and Highgate Express. I shall take the matter all the way to the NEC unless the full and unreserved apology is forthcoming.” As if not to have made his position clear, he has also vowed to keep using the word quisling.
Blackwell seemed unbothered earlier today by the threat of the complaints procedure heading to him next. “I’d imagine most people want Labour to focus on building homes rather than debate Neil’s hurt feelings,” he said. Others were yesterday calling Fletcher a “self publicist”. There’s clearly little love between the two sides.