Anti-Semitic? Who is the accuser?
This part of the article calls upon Fiona Robertson to resign, the SNP’s Women’s Rights and Equalities convener. I am of the opinion she is unfit for the important post she currently holds. I shall return to this issue later. The second part is a Petition to the SNP to get its house in order, a section authored by others who feel as I do.
In all the manufactured hullabaloo that emanated from the GMB union bosses and Labour’s blundering Scottish branch, calculated to deflect criticism from their anti-Scotland antics, no one appears to have noticed that Wolfson expressed mere anger at my questioning of her behaviour and comments. Her lack of a specific allegation of malice aforethought begs the question: why did the SNP react so ineptly and cowardly in assuming there was cause for concern?
On what basis did the SNP’s Disciplinary Committee suspend my membership, ultra vires, and without me present or actually a member of the SNP – and yet agree upon a verdict of guilty? Who in that committee is qualified in law?
In essence, my essay – written in two parts, the second entitled ‘Fascism, Us and Them‘ – stated a few obvious truths, namely that a union exists to uphold the civil rights of its members, there to spread wealth among the weak and the disenfranchised, and yet we have the glaring contradiction of a Unionist organisation operating in Scotland telling the populace to forego their civil and constitutional rights by voting against their own interests – self-determination. This is hypocrisy as legend writ on a union’s banner.
The women taking time off to protest lost pay – a seriously bizarre method of attaining pay equality – they mobilised to show frustration at the alleged length of time Glasgow council is taking to work out a complicated but a fair and equitable system of settlement.
Is there a similar Scots-based union manufacturing unrest operating in England and if so, why? The subtext of my article was the worrying adoption, consciously or unconsciously, of neo-fascist language seeping into our every political discourse.
The fault, dear Brutus…
To my mind the fault lies with the SNP. And that is a very sad thing to have had to say.
For one thing, the party ought to have been quicker off the mark in spotting the GMB’s tactics in regard to the women’s strike. Were the SNP street smart they would have drawn the GMB’s fire power. Instead they left the beleaguered but industrious executive of Glasgow’s council to repeat impotently their avowed support for pay equality, a mess left by the previous Labour administration supported by the GMB.
Wolfson made clear they had had ‘twenty meetings” with council officials by October, a considerable number of discussions by any count clearly intended to reach an agreeable solution. We got media glee at the sight of a group of women protesting their situation is the entire fault of the SNP.
The council, I must add, is utterly devoted to women’s rights. Was a two-day loss of pay rally the only way the GMB could show annoyance? Of course not. The more strikes seen to happen in Scotland, the more opponents can claim we are the same society beset by the same problems as England, so let’s not determine our own future.
Normally I stay back from this sort of affray for reasons of dignity and to help defuse the controversy. I’ll have no choice soon when legal counsel take over the process of action against key individuals, but there’s a serious principle at stake that needs expressed now.
The principle under attack is this: if every individual named and smeared by our opponents is to be taken out and shot by our own side for the sake of political expediency, who can blame the enemies of democracy from keeping a list of prime targets until each name is crossed out in red, their strategy deemed a success?
The brutal tactics of the British State know no limit nor decency.
I call upon Fiona Robertson to step down from her post as Women’s Rights and Equalities Convener. She does not have the acumen or the experience to command the post.
Her attack on my integrity is both scurrilous and lethal. I regard it as defamation and have reported it as such. Her blog undermined cool logic by all sides, inflaming the issue out of all proportions. She created a false validity where none exists.
Her preposterous psychobabble was quoted and argued extensively in the Twitter sphere causing countless people to stray into defamation. Her tweeted protestation that she did not report me to the SNP is disingenuous in the extreme.
Her deconstruction of my essay is the work of a fantasist. In attempting to seek out and prove the impossible by conjuring unconscious thoughts and prejudices out of thin air, and portray them as inherently evil, she promoted herself to an SNP expert in Freudian and Jungian psychology. She has no qualifications for that role.
I need cite only one example of her hubristic ineptitude. She claims my reference to the genesis of the GMB in east London is a ‘dog whistle’ – a sly all-encompassing fascistic use of language that I deplore. She is telling people what to think.
East London is where a number of boiler maker factories existed. The GMB began as a boilermaker union. Unless she can prove otherwise, any number of boilermakers working there in that trade were not Jewish. Nobody can claim my reference is anti-Semitic. Indeed, what has Robertson to say to the author of Wikipedia’s page on the GMB which supports my innocuous statement of that union’s early history?
I shall go further – those who say one should know a Jewish person by their surname are almost certainly the same who think you can tell a Jewish person by their facial features. That despicable ideology is not too far away from sewing a yellow star to their jacket.
For someone proclaiming herself a supporter of human rights Robertson violates mine.
And the rest…..
I predicted what the SNP’s decision would be and alas was proved correct. We hope to create a better society than now; in this case the SNP show us they prefer the old ways.
They have precedent for sacrificing loyal supporters. Michelle Thomson was crucified and yet had done nothing wrong. Then again, I am in good company, the SNP expelled Alex Salmond back in the days when he was an outspoken, energetic young politician.
Thus, truly humbled by the support received from people I didn’t know existed let alone followed my literary work, I do not think the SNP is in any mind to admit it has made an error of judgment. Nevertheless, I reprint the letter below from those shocked at the SNP’s unconscionable reaction to assassination attempts by our common enemy.
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE SNP AND THE WIDER SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT
In writing this joint statement we, the undersigned – bloggers and other influencers in the campaign for Scottish independence, affirm our commitment to independence and to the unity of the independence movement in its entirety.
It is not our aim to cause discord or to encourage members of the SNP to cancel their memberships. We hope only to raise our concerns and to ask that the Disciplinary Committee and the leadership of the SNP reconsider their decision, and we hope sincerely that the contents of this letter will be taken seriously and in the spirit in which they are intended.
Yesterday the decision was made by the Disciplinary Committee of the Scottish National Party to rescind the party membership of Gareth Wardell, the well-known and much respected author of The Grouse Beater blog. This decision was made as a result of an article he published addressing the issue of the GMB, a London-based trade union, acting in Scotland to deny people their democratic rights.
Owing to the author’s reference in the blog to the Nazis’ attitude to trade unions in the 1930s and 40s and his quotation of the term “the Jew” – in the context of citing Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf – the leadership of the GMB union accused him of making an antisemitic attack on Ms Rhea Wolfson, who, unbeknownst to Mr Wardell at the time of writing, is herself Jewish.
We agree without reservation that antisemitism and all forms of racism, prejudice, and discrimination are always wrong. The campaign for Scottish independence is an open and inclusive social and political movement which welcomes the participation and activism of everyone who believes independence is the best option for the future of our country. However, after much discussion and careful consideration, we do not accept Grouse Beater’s contribution was indeed anti-Semitic or racist or discriminatory in the least.
It is our firm belief that his words were deliberately and opportunistically taken out of context and weaponised against him and the entire movement in a concerted attack by the union, members of the Scottish Labour Party – to which the GMB is affiliated, and elements of the anti-independence tabloid press.
Frustratingly, this unjustified accusation was taken up by and supported by a number of high-profile people in the SNP – most notably Ms Fiona Robertson the SNP’s national women’s and equalities convener. In an article published on her own blog titled: “Holding Ourselves to Our Own Standards”, she made the claim that “most people… are not people who have enough background experience of anti-Semitism to make that judgement.” Yet she herself, without any qualifications in racism or antisemitism in particular, is – apparently.
Misquoting and wholly misrepresenting Gareth Wardell, Ms Robertson went on in her piece to offer a somewhat problematic definition of antisemitism and from this establish her case that he was sending out a “dogwhistle” to anti-Semites and racists:
The explanation is as follows: if you are writing about a union leader who is Jewish, bringing up Hitler’s view on unions – that they were dangerous because Jewish people controlled them – and then specifically talking about the Jewish union leader implies a link. Otherwise there is no reason whatsoever to start quoting Hitler. It essentially says ‘Hitler believed that Jewish people controlling unions was bad, and this person is Jewish and is controlling a union in a way I don’t like.’ The link between those two dots is ‘so maybe he had a point’.
“Bringing up Hitler’s view on unions,” even when speaking to a Jewish person, is not in and of itself anti-Semitic. This is at best a tenuous grasp. Gareth Wardell at no point claimed unions were dangerous “because Jewish people controlled them.”
This much is a serious misrepresentation of the point he was making. On this Mr Wardell was clear; that this was Hitler’s view, and that the Nazis used this pernicious belief in order to undermine and attack trade unions – which he describes as one of the “cornerstones of democracy.”
Ms Robertson concludes this argument by suggesting that Mr Wardell’s conclusion is that “maybe [Hitler] had a point.” This assessment, sadly, suggests only one of two things; either Ms Robertson has failed to understand the article she is critiquing or is guilty of malicious intent. The Grouse Beater article implies no such thing.
It is reasonable to conclude, given the position of Fiona Robertson in the SNP, that her opinion has become the uncritically accepted opinion of the party’s leadership and has therefore informed the judgement of the Disciplinary Committee and its decision to expel him from the party.
We, the undersigned, hold that both this judgement and the decision to cancel Mr Wardell’s membership of the party are unwarranted and utterly unacceptable. This decision undermines freedom of expression within the party and the movement, and seriously damages the trust that we depend on, that the party will not dispose of us in order to satisfy a perceived need in the political leadership in the movement to appear above reproach.
Craig Murray, David Hooks (PoliticsScot), Jason Michael (Jeggit) MacAlba, Mr Malky, Tommy Sheridan, Tradasro, WeeDetour, Ken McDonald (Managing Editor iScot), Peter Bell, Indy Witch – Margaret Lindsay, Eddie Macdonald, Andy Ellis, Alicia Murray, Deryck Rossborough, Bernadette S., Ken Scott, Nevyn, Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh, Janie (Dissolve the Union), Caroline (Freedom Woman), Professor John Robertson, Matt Vallance (Socrates MacSporran), Margaret McGill, Karen Fisher, Ann Christie, Piers Doughty Brown, Stuart Teadley, Lynn Middleton, Iain MacGillivary, Ian Brotherhood, Hugh Wallace, Valerie Rettie (TenaciousV), Fearghas McKay, Ramona McMahon, Arthur Stramash, Danyal Khan, Graham Turner, Terry Ferguson, Bill (ScotsSolomon), Professor John W.Robertson, David Mooney, EU.Linda, Tomas O’Braonian, Marion Scott, Suzanne Robertson, James A. Mcvean, X.Stick, M. Cooper, Brian Robert Joyce, Jammy Dodger, Fiona Kabuki, Patsy Millar, Gordon Bain, A.B. Allan, Helen Yates, Jim Dewar, Gordon Doyle, Tracy Cairns, Highlander Patriot, Gordon Adam, Elaine Mackenzie, Morag Kerr, George Trist, Rab Paterson, Chas Anderson, Dubh Stiubhart, Dave Llewllyn, Anthony Little, Ian Foulds.