Regarding Michael Foster’s article in the Mail On Sunday

The below is an email I sent to the Labour Party in response to Michael Foster’s opinion piece, titled Why I despise Jeremy Corbyn and his Nazi stormtroopers, published in the Mail On Sunday on 14th of August, 2016.

 

Dear Madam or Sir,

I am a new member of the Labour Party and have also registered as a supporter and recently received confirmation that I will be eligible to vote in the upcoming leadership election. Together with that confirmation, I received the advice that the Labour Party “will not tolerate abusive or threatening behaviour by supporters or members” and that anyone engaging in abusive behaviour “will not get a vote in this leadership election”.

Before turning to my main reason to contact you today, I would like to enquire if the rumour has any credibility that the CLP of Croydon has in fact banned the use of the term ‘Blairite’ for being abusive and that its use would lead to one’s right to vote being revoked. While I don’t usually use that term, I understood it to simply describe people whose views correspond with those of former Prime Minister Tony Blair and who are in support of policies he implemented and decisions he made, much in the same way that supporters of current party leader Jeremy Corbyn often refer to themselves as ‘Corbynites’. I am asking this because regardless of one’s personal opinion, I was quite stunned, especially given the current volatile climate in the Labour Party, that deputy leader Tom Watson felt the need to describe some of the new members as “Trotsky entryists” and alleged they were “twisting arms” of young members and aimed to eventually “destroy” the party. Surely, if ‘Blairite’ was indeed considered an abusive term whose use would lead to losing one’s right to vote in the leadership election, labelling party members ‘Trotsky entryists’ and making allegations of that sort should be investigated or else the impression would arise that high-ranking party officials are not subject to the same rules as ordinary members.

However stunned I was about Mr Watson’s allegations, they paled in comparison to the opinion piece penned by Michael Foster in yesterday’s Mail On Sunday, which I assume you have already taken note of. As a German national, I cannot adequately put into words and will therefore not even attempt to describe how deeply offended I am by Mr Fosters comparison of Mr Corbyn, his team and his supporters with the NSDAP’s paramilitary Sturmabteilung (stormtroopers), going as far as using an image of the ‘Brown shirts’ in the article, or at the very least agreeing to or not opposing its use – and I refuse to delve deeper into the abyss that is Mr Foster’s staggeringly hateful article.

I have since noticed that a petition was launched to call for the expulsion of Mr Foster from the Labour Party, and although I quite agree that this could well be an appropriate course of action, being a new member myself, it would feel somewhat inappropriate if I demanded to expel a long-standing supporter of the Labour Party, even one who has caused as great an offence as Mr Foster with his article. That said, I hereby request for the Labour Party to investigate this matter and urge for Mr Foster’s right to vote in the leadership election to be revoked. As Mr Foster stated himself, “respect for the rule of law is fundamental to a democracy” and I believe without a shred of doubt that he has not just disrespected but shown utter contempt for the rules set out by the Labour Party where members’ conduct is concerned.

I would appreciate if you could acknowledge receipt of this email and inform me of any steps the Labour Party intends to take to address this matter.

Matthias Lehmann


Photo: Thomas Wolter. Public Domain.

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