In December 2021, Portsmouth political blogger Pariah Garrie was one of perhaps up to a thousand people across the UK to be expelled from the Labour Party as part of the Starmer leadership’s clampdown on members expressing support for Palestinian liberation, the restoration of the whip to Jeremy Corbyn and/or other left-wing causes.
Shortly after I was expelled, I received an email from our local Labour MP. It was addressed to constituents so it was, I suppose, appropriate to send it to me, but it did feel like a slap in the face, especially when I read the friendly-tone contents. It began: ‘As Parliament was brought to a close for the final time this year, I wanted to update you on how I have been continuing to act on your behalf, both down here in Portsmouth and up in Westminster.’
I and five others who have been excluded from the party worked hard, amongst others, to help this MP get elected. But, seeing the phrase ‘continuing to act on your behalf’ made the cry rise in me: ‘When? When has he acted on our behalf?’ Never, that’s when, at least for us. Not once has he stood up and offered his thoughts on how the socialists who put him into power have been treated. Not once has he acknowledged there’s a problem here.
In fact, distancing has been his stance for some time – down to the point of strategically leaving the room when potentially controversial issues came up and even blatantly ignoring some of us when we were standing within feet of him. And yet still we came to stuff envelopes, to deliver to blocks of flats where no-one else would go, to stand on windy street corners persuading to the cause. Well, it’s a shame! We showed willing, but the party has not!
I have not previously openly criticised our MP, and I won’t name him now. I see this as a matter of personal integrity, although one and all will know who he is. To be honest, I’ve always thought there are better people locally for the job – but that’s not my call. He should be careful, though. His leader, Starmer, (no longer mine) has alienated the youth and it was they, in this university city, who brought our MP to power – and on the members’ radical manifesto delivered by Corbyn. He turns his back on that with some peril.
Maybe he’ll be lucky. Maybe all those photo ops will still be paying dividends and maybe his climbing of the shadowy cabinet ladder will continue. But he shouldn’t count on it. Perhaps, instead, he should think about the toxic environment that has begun in Portsmouth Labour where a mixing of old and new has facilitated old grievances through brand new bravado. With Party meetings struggling to be quorate, with officer roles stutteringly unfilled at the AGM and campaigners now ‘terminated’, I’m sorry to say there may be no happy returns.
Soon after the above, many of us also received a bonhomie seasonal ‘letter’ from the disingenuous leader of our hijacked Labour Party, whom I shall call Riek Remrats, including those of us who are ‘terminated’ – his word, not mine! The communication, however, makes no differentiation between those of us roasted on the spit for being socialists and those doing the skewering. It lazily treats me and my comrade expellees to the same uplift of lies sent to those diminishing few who adore him. Therein is the letter’s failure, making it of no significance to anyone who received it. If we’re all one – members and those now cast aside – why the disunity? A letter not recognising its audience is clearly below par, so I thought I’d show Remrats how it should have been done, changing a few phrases and making additions for clarity on his stance.
This year, like last, has been so difficult for so many. But time and again communities came together to help each other out. Others of us, as you know to your cost, chose to make it more difficult and ripped it asunder. Never mind, we’re more content in our cocoon of non-challenge and can sleep peacefully knowing we’ll never have the awful chance of being in power. After all, just look what it’s done to my chums on the other benches.
Even in the darkest of times, the values of kindness, compassion and hope have shone through, although we’ve done our absolute best to quash them – whether it’s key activists saving our last-minute bacon by their campaigning, or being out in the community showing what socialism could provide, we’ve been putting a stop to it – to you!
So many of you, our birthright of ex-Labour members and supporters, have done your bit for the people around you against all our new and non-existent policies. So, it was time for you to go. And we’re the reason your party as you knew it doesn’t exist anymore, and why we haven’t won some important elections this year or held the Government to account for its own failures.
As we look ahead to 2022, I believe that if we continue to stick it to you, support our paymasters and kick each other around a bit more, we can find a path between the bodies we’ve been scattering – even though your efforts threaten to undermine the self-destruct mission we have chosen and for which we’ve made promises behind closed doors. No, we must just peg our noses a little longer – it’s not difficult under a mask. We’re good at wearing masks and posing alongside patri-idiotic flags as part of this our uncivil war.
I know a better future is possible for some of us. Of course, that won’t include you as, like your commie chums and those young people who want to talk about climate change, you’re far too open and honest. But it will include me and my mates who signed a pact to ensure a leg up the ladder. It won’t be within any kind of Labour Party, not one ‘of the people’, as I’ve sold that down the stinking Styx along with supporting the Tory contracts for turd floating. You chose not to follow me, at your own peril. Hah!
So, from my cosy little family to you on your barricades – a very unmerry ‘termination’ and some happy new peers.
Yours truly unfaithfully,
Leader of the very undemocratic, antisocial(ist) Labour Party
cc Divad Snave (Mein Herr Generalsekretἅr)
bcc Sir Ob ed Le Ffefp Nos Nhoj (Jolly Jape Chum et de Factum Granden Diktatorium) Shhh!
I’m sure having that more truthful version out there must take a weight from his mind. After all, he has promised clarity and plain speaking when addressing the nation. I can offer lessons, for less than a barrister’s fee, if there are enough funds left in the coffins (er, coffers) to cover it. I have to say, though, I’d prefer not to cheapen things.
Anyway, as if being ‘terminated’ wasn’t enough, I am one of that ‘significant quantity’ who has been informed by the Labour Party that my data has been compromised. Since then, I’ve received about 8 scam or phishing emails a day. On one occasion, I discovered the phone number in my phone settings had been changed to one with which I have no association. Very odd. I changed it back. Later, I was prompted by a friend to check for a missing email in my spam. What I found shocked me. Among all the usual dross (and it’s not picking up the new scams etc outlined above) was a phishing email that knew of that spurious change in my number. How was that?
But, also, within my spam were emails from addresses known to me – friends from a particular area of my life but also from known professional bodies to whom I subscribe. The one thing in common with these contacts and/or the articles pushed into spam is the subject of Palestine. There were emails from Jewish Voice for Peace, articles on Palestine from The Guardian and emails from comrades in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. These are all email addresses that have previously gone into my normal inbox and, in the case of The Guardian, still do on other subject matters.
Are voices being silenced and communications undermined through untoward intrusions? It looks like it. It’s hard to think of another explanation. If so, though, that level of intrusion is deeply worrying.
This all comes, of course, within days of my being expelled from the Labour Party, for liking a few socialist posts on Facebook. These were not particularly to do with Palestine although my open page on Facebook does carry such posts. I also write them, as well as polemics against Starmer (and the Tories) highlighting the fact he has reneged on all but one of the pledges he made when running for leadership. The one he holds to being a sop to a religious group that should have no sway in a secular country. Either that or other religious groups and atheists should be afforded the same privilege and authority. No, religion is a matter for our titular queen, not politics, if either has a public place at all, it’s another area of division.