H&K campaigns officer warns: Stop smearing us!

I GUESS that escalated quickly.

What was reported in the Camden New Journal and on these pages as mumbling and muttering has now become full-scale heckling. This after the Peeps story about five or so people at a recent Labour Party meeting in the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency being unwilling to take part in a minute’s silence for Dame Tessa Jowell leapt onto the websites of the Daily Mail, The Sun and so on. The resistance did happen, but it seems to get louder with each re-telling.

Meanwhile, former council leader Sarah Hayward has called, says, via Twitter, natch, there is a case for the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency to be suspended, while the left-wing of the party have been roundly blamed in a thousand tweets all day.

Rather than just lift lines from us, the Evening Standard has made its own calls to some local Labour figures, and the party’s constituency secretary Helen Brown tells the paper: “The serious incident will not be ignored and shall be dealt with accordingly.”

The coverage has led to a complaint from Rebecca Shirazi, the party’s campaigns officer who it is understood has e-mailed the constituency chairman, the recently elected Leao Neto, and other organisers demanding that they do more to crack down on leaks… hang on, maybe, I shouldn’t be blogging this. 

“The above article in the Evening Standard has been brought to my attention,” Ms Shirazi, who stood in Frognal and Fitzjohns at the council elections earlier this month, has said in a private email this afternoon, which has already been shared beyond its initial list of addressees. “Please, can we add this to the agenda to discuss at EC [Executive Committee]  – it is completely unacceptable to be briefing the press in this way, especially when the allegations in the article are false/exaggerated and deeply damaging for the party not only locally but also nationally.”

It added: “A small minority of our membership in Hampstead & Kilburn are repeatedly briefing against us to the press after GC [General Committee] meetings, with false and exaggerated versions of the meeting. These smears are intentional and directed at members on the left of the party, specifically targetted to undermine public confidence in us.”

The message goes on to complain that it is “inappropriate” for former councillor Phil Rosenberg to comment because he was not at the meeting. It also alludes to some internal pushback around his decision to write about the details of private constituency meetings in blogs and articles before; you’ll remember he did so the name of exposing local anti-semitism.

As it goes, we’ve also had people virtually live-tweet from meetings before, so from the outside it’s not immediately clear what the rules or disciplinary code is on all of this, but given Labour’s domination of local politics in Camden you can’t blame a journalist for trying to piece together what goes on behind its closed doors doors.

Ms Shirazi’s email adds: “Helen, you’re quoted too, if complaints have been made you need to follow the proper process and the complaints should be brought in front of the whole EC and not sensationalised in the national tabloids.”

10 Comments on H&K campaigns officer warns: Stop smearing us!

  1. thought that was a good bit of journalism Richard – have long since ceased to be shocked by Hampstead and Kilburn Labour

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  2. Anonymous // May 29, 2018 at 5:19 pm // Reply

    Just to note this is not a “Camden Labour Party” it is a Camden AND BRENT Labour Party

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  3. Ian Brown // May 30, 2018 at 5:18 am // Reply

    The fuss over the minute silence for Tessa Jowell should be an internal party matter. Disagreements between members should be kept out of gutter press. Conditions of membership should include a confidentiality clause. You cannot remain a member if you insist on briefing against it in anti-labour tabloids.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Democratic Socialist // May 30, 2018 at 10:54 am // Reply

    Those who were not present continue to report on alleged incidents at meetings and share it as factual, Ms Shirazi has described it’s yet more mistruths & exaggerations from a right wing minority of people who are bringing the party into a bad light by leaking to the press. For context, they do not leak details of uncomradley behaviour & breach of LP rules & values when a minority on the right abuse pro Corbyn left wing members. Is it appropriate for members of a democratic socialists to brief to some right wing & far right, anti Labour, pro Tory: racist xenophobic, mysognistic, islamaphobic tabloids? Speaking about this so called serious incident? whilst simultaneously &
    blatantly ignoring verbal abuse & physically, insulting, intimidating behaviour with frequent innappropropate & contemplatable behaviour towards left women, children & men & bame.& elderly people, at branch and GC meetings in Hampstead/Kilburn & Holborn St Pancras.

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  5. Terence Flanagan // May 30, 2018 at 4:45 pm // Reply

    Years ago the Press was invited to attend and report on all GC meetings i would be well pleased to see Richard or other reporters from the local press present myself !

    Naturally certain issues would be and were discussed without them present but there’s not many of them and the coverage was would be helpful i believe.

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  6. tomlondra // June 3, 2018 at 4:59 pm // Reply

    Terence makes an excellent point. Rather than relying on leaks from a few malcontents trying to hold back the tide of history, we might as well invite the press to attend and report.

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  7. Rupert Jones // June 15, 2018 at 1:44 pm // Reply

    Rebecca is not being honest. There were people who disputed that there should be a minute’s silence for a former council member and MP. It was disgusting.

    Rebecca has a habit of dividing members of the Labour Party into right and left wing. And she gets to be the arbiter of who is which. Rebecca is not left wing. She is a bully.

    She declares that we should have our discussions in private and yet writes to the CNJ so frequently she might as well be given a column.

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    • Rupert is not being honest about the minute’s silence.

      While there may have been people who disputed there should be a minute’s silence for someone who amongst various other questionable and inhumane actions supported the Iraq war and voted against any investigation into that episode of industrialised mass murder, the minute’s silence went ahead all the same. And it did so without interruption.

      Rupert is not being honest about the owners of the habit of dividing members of the Labour Party into right and left wing.

      The divsion arises of its own accord owing to political differences. Members of the Labour Party who support Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party’s progressive policies are democratic socialists. Those who don’t aren’t.

      Even Rupert in his superior ivory tower must be able to figure out the political allegiances of those who leak to the press their factory produced attacks on Corbynistas / Momentumites / Insert Pejoriative of the Day Here. And if Rupert pretends he can’t figure out the politics of those who constantly attack active Labour Party members enthused by the Labour Party and its policies under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, then Rupert would not be being honest about that either.

      Rupert is not being honest about the reasons for which Rebecca writes to the press. The reason Rebecca writes is to defend her Labour Party comrades. This is known affectionately as ‘solidarity’. Rebecca’s letters are in direct response to the leaked fabrications of those members who are neither democratic nor socialist and who would rather see a return to the Blairite glory days of a dwindling Labour Party membership which allows various neo-conservative careerist politicians to go about feathering their sordid nests without any pesky trouble from actual democratic socialists, much less half-a-million of them.

      Rupert declares that Rebecca declares that the Labour Party should have its discussions in private and yet writes on this blog so frequently he might as well be given a column.

      Like

  8. Er… Rupert, I think it’s you who have just “divided members of the Labour Party into right and left wing”. If you don’t like anyone’s letters in the CNJ you’re free to write replies to the paper.

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  9. Democratic Socialist // June 15, 2018 at 9:05 pm // Reply

    Rupert,
    Polite questions- are you in Hampstead and Kilburn CLP, do you cone to meetings and is this your real name?
    I think calling Rebecca a bully is outrageous and you should consider retracting

    Like

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