The Labour Files: British Democracy Under Threat

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Although “The Labour Files” have recently exposed the dark side of British politics, the supporters of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have long asserted that he and they were the targets of a planned campaign from the party’s right, which included the majority of Labour MPs as well as senior party staff. The intention was to undermine Corbyn’s chances of assuming the office of the Prime Minister.

The British media largely treated the claims as ridiculous conspiracy theories. However, a trove of internal Labour Party documents leaked in April 2020, just after Corbyn resigned as leader, provided the first independent proof.

They demonstrated that Labour officials reporting to party general secretary “Iain McNicol” rather than Corbyn conspired to bring about their leader’s downfall, prioritising his destruction over winning the tight 2017 general election.

The bizarre twists and turns in the logic of a report investigating Corbyn’s Labour Party released in late 2020 by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) added to the sense that not all was as it seemed. It was extraordinary in and of itself that this politicised, established agency consented to look into a major political party for racial discrimination.

Then in July, a report from an enquiry commissioned by Keir Starmer, Corbyn’s successor, corroborated the substance of the leaked documents. Forde Inquiry admitted that the Labour right had really fought a dirty factional battle against Corbyn and the left of the party, weaponizing antisemitism to taint them.

Now, Al Jazeera has aired a stunning three-part investigation, “The Labour Files,” during the past few days. It is based on even more hacked data and runs for about four hours online. This investigation exposes the utter sabotage of the Labour Party’s democratic processes by the Labour right, including by many of the party’s senior MPs. In most cases, false allegations, fabrications, misrepresentations, and smears were used in these processes to carry out purges of the party’s left.

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One of the victims of those purges said that there had been a “criminal conspiracy against its members” within Labour during the previous few years. His claims are accurate, as shown by the Al Jazeera video series.

When the left’s champion, Corbyn, was in charge of the Labour Party, the party’s right was able to use its authority to brutally and unfairly treat left-wing party members. With Starmer now in the driving seat, the Labour right can be completely unrestrained in its pursuit of power as their champion is now protecting them.

Despite quickly deciding that antisemitism was the best way to condemn its adversaries, the Labour right was eager to fabricate any slur that could be weaponized, according to the investigation conducted by Al Jazeera.

One of the initial demonization campaigns by the Labour right was that Labour MP Angela Eagle, who is gay, had seen a sudden flood of homophobic insults and attacks from her pro-Corbyn constituency members; as Al Jazeera illustrates, this was based on fabrications and unconfirmed hearsay. She used the allegations as an easy excuse to challenge Corbyn for the leadership position sooner rather than later.

However, the use of antisemitism as a smear was generally preferred because the left’s anti-racist politics have long been characterised by incisive criticism of Israel’s apartheid policies toward Palestinians, which is consistent with its earlier incisive criticism of South Africa’s apartheid policies toward the country’s black population.

All the Labour right needed to do was conflate criticism of Jews and criticism of Israel, which was all too simple to accomplish given that the majority of the public had long been misinformed about that distinction by Israel and its most fervent supporters.

A conspiracy from the establishment

The Labour right faced two threats to its authority, necessitating the slander campaigns.

To the dismay of the majority of Labour MPs, Corbyn was chosen leader with the overwhelming support of party members thanks to greater democratisation of party rules under the former leader, Ed Miliband.

Additionally, Corbyn’s democratic socialism sparked a wave of political participation from a sizable portion of the electorate who felt excluded by a two-party system in which Labour and the Conservative shared many right-wing fundamentals, such as neoliberal economics at home and neocolonial policies abroad.

After Corbyn’s triumph, more people became involved in politics. The Labour right thought it would be completely marginalised and its agenda swallowed as new members flowed in, quickly making Labour the largest party in Europe.

It was imperative that the Labour right mount an offensive to roll back the democratic process that led to Corbyn’s ascendancy to the highest office of the party.

In this conflict, the Labour right counted on the support of a large number of friends. In point of fact, it could count on the assistance of the entirety of the British establishment, which felt threatened by the rise of Corbyn. This includes, the ruling Conservative Party, the military and security services, big business, the state broadcaster and the rest of the corporate media, as well as establishment bodies like the EHRC.

This could be considered a conspiracy in the most literal sense of the word. Or, to put it in more direct political terminology, it was a battle between the classes.

The strategy guide had many notes underlined. For the Labour right, this would look like a hostile takeover by the “far left,” with Corbyn’s approval. The media establishment would use a tired stereotype to demonise the “far left,” or those seeking a more just, equitable, and inclusive society, claiming that they are no different from the extreme right in their crude, undemocratic, racist tendencies.

The narrative formed against Corbyn in the UK was similar to the “Bernie Bro” story in the United States, when he being a left-winger, ran for president as the Democratic Party’s candidate against Hillary Clinton, a candidate favoured by the establishment, The majority of Sanders’ backers were unfairly painted as thugs, bullies, and sexists.

Corbyn’s distinguished career as an anti-racist, his support for greater economic redistribution, and his criticism of British human rights abuses abroad drew Labour members to him in the U.K., but they were soon branded as neo-Nazis and expelled from the party. Since then, the Labour left has been reeling.

When they realised that someone like Corbyn would be challenging them openly and from within, the British establishment, as previously said, were legitimately worried. Corbyn really threatened to redistribute money, limit corporate dominance, and confront the British state’s thinly camouflaged colonialism, including its aggressive foreign policy, arming of allies that systematically violate human rights, and wars to control global resources.

The silence of the Media

The question of why it was left to a Qatari TV network to bring these findings to the public’s attention keeps coming up as Al Jazeera reports on this and a great deal more about the never-ending smear campaigns. How is it that for the past seven years, none of this has been on the radar of the British media?

The answer is made clear by the media houses’ total blackout of Al Jazeera’s most recent bombshell reports. The British media has ignored what should have been obvious throughout Corbyn’s five years as leader and the past two years of Labour purges, under Starmer.

The corporate media has refused to report on, or explore further, the evidence when it has been delivered to them on a plate by Al Jazeera, now and in 2017.

Just as media outlets ignored Masot’s involvement in subverting the Labour Party and the proof of his strong ties to organisations like the JLM five years ago, so too have they ignored evidence of malpractice, rule-breaking, and fraud by Labour Party workers in recent days.

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And there’s a very good explanation for that; they feared Corbyn and what he represents and that is why the British media shamelessly cooperated in those slander campaigns.

How can we expect the BBC to recognise the allegations made by Al Jazeera, let alone go into them further, when “Panorama”, the BBC’s premier news investigation programme, has a significant role in the identical smears Al Jazeera exposed.  In reality, the BBC should be looking into its own wrongdoing.

Same is the case with the Guardian. If the leaked documents were to be investigated, the paper would be found guilty of conspiring in the creation of a false antisemitism narrative against the Labour left. The Guardian would reveal itself as a major pillar of that very establishment which it portrays itself to be exposing.

Final thoughts

The unfortunate truth is that nobody in Britain who has a significant platform wants to advocate for a politics that is either genuinely popular or multicultural.

The system is just as corrupt as it appears to be. It is possible to sabotage the democratic processes of Labour, to subvert the wishes of its members, and to tear up the rule book; however, the only significant voice that will be raised is that of a Gulf-owned website, which can be disregarded as axe-grinding or antisemitic regardless of how much evidence it marshals or how many experts and witnesses it cites.

Even if it could have far-reaching consequences for Britain’s future, neither the BBC nor the Guardian will feel much pressure to investigate more. In a party that currently mandates its members sing a song honouring the rule of kings, Keir Starmer will continue to go uncontested as he erroneously claims that Labour is a thriving, democratic party.

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