Thursday 16 March 2023

Forgetting Forde

We've talked about the lies of Starmerism before, and it's fair to say dishonesty is as much a feature of the Labour leadership as its state modernisation project. But one thing that strikes me about it is the chutzpah. Keir Starmer and other shadow cabinet members can repeat the most blatant untruths about what happened during Jeremy Corbyn's leadership to the point of rewriting history. And they can do this because, as the government-in-waiting, they know the lobby hacks have to keep them sweet if they want the inside track after the election. They also know a lot of the British media establishment are on side, and would veto anything too critical anyway.

Which brings us back to the Forde Report. Commissioned by Starmer himself after the biggest unauthorised release of documents in British political history, it's true to say the Labour leader's lackeys have shown more interest in determining the leak's source than their scandalous contents. And the same is true of the media's attitude too. It was a non-event, and was treated like a local newspaper reporting a change to supermarket opening hours. When Martin Forde KC finally reported in July last year, not only did the occasion go unremarked again, the Labour leadership chose to bury it. Because it did not fit their narrative.

What happened next? As part of the Al-Jazeera Labour Files series, they spoke to Forde himself. In the report below, Forde said he has not received any communication from the party since it was published. There was only one media inquiry, which was quickly nixed. There was some interest from the BBC though - it and Panorama's John Ware got shirty over the characterisation of that episode as "misleading". Did they think a senior barrister didn't know anything about libel law?

Enough preamble from me, just watch.


Ken said...

Recently I posted an answer on Quora about Austria. The point was the fog of amnesia around the period from 1918. The example I used was the museum of Vienna which had lots on the Hapsburg palaces, a bit on Jugendstil, a 1900 arts and craft movement, and one display on the 1920’s. There we could find photos of the famous Art Deco workers’ housing, but didn’t mention it was the site of fierce fighting against a military coup, nothing about the assassination of the dictator by proper Nazis, and nothing about the Anschluss. Extraordinary.
I thought at the time about the role of amnesia in politics, and more and more I see it here.

You see it with the Tories who keep saying that things don’t work, but we are going to fix it, forgetting who broke it in the first place.

You see it with the invasion of Iraq. If ever there was a political oubliette, that is where the Iraq invasion now resides. Recently I amused myself by looking up the current MPs who had voted for this. Top of the list was a Tory, Amess. I couldn’t think why I knew the name, so when I looked him up I realised that he was the one who had been murdered. Not one bio mentioned the vote for the war, or, what he thought about it.

And now we have the Forde report. The Iraq war had better move over to make room for this. I don’t know if I’d be pointing the finger at Austria again after this.

Ken said...

Ken asks.
Michels and the Iron Law of Oligarchy.

Thinking about the current skip-fire following the FM’s resignation in Scotland and the corrupt practices in the LP, I wonder if it’s time to consider how to run a political party in a democratic fashion in line with the wishes of the members.
I’m assuming you have come across the above, and the usual comment that it’s not an Iron Law, however, I don’t think we can recreate the Typographic Union which is the textbook answer.
It’s easy enough to say what shouldn’t happen, as Starmer commented only last year, the LP central shouldn’t manipulate short lists, and we know what has happened. So, the answer is not, get the correct people in position, because there will come a time when incorrect people are in position. Votes by the membership, ten pledges down to five points, a bureaucracy running and funding its own electoral campaign.
I wonder if you have any thoughts about how to start from scratch, a sort of fantasy politics about how to structure a Democratic Party, so when I found my own, I know what to do.
PS No hurry, the house move comes first.