Who are my accusers?
Some of my family are Jewish, Uncle Hymie, a Holocaust surviver, buried in the Jewish section of Edinburgh’s Piershill Cemetery. My entertainment lawyer is Jewish, producer colleagues are all Jewish save one Irishman, writer friends are Jewish.
I worked with Israeli Educational Television. I teach Jewish graduates. In youth the rabbi thought me potential rabbi material. (The priest thought me good Catholic material.) I have a David, Michael, Beverly, Esther, Adam, Audrey, Aaron, Samuel, Benyamin, almost everyone except a Shlomo in my family. I count Eva Menuhin as close friend.
Who calls me anti-Semitic? The enemies of Scotland do. Sadly, a few are SNP officials. And how did they do it? They did it via guilt by accusation.
SNP officials Angus MacLeod and Fiona Robertson are unfit for the important post they currently hold. I shall return to them later. Humza Yousef did not cover himself in glory either, pronouncing his love of false accusation before knowing who I was and what the case was about. But then, who looks to unqualified justice secretary Yousef for sound judgment?
It transpires, after many months of demanding reasons, the SNP Disciplinary Committee via SNP HQ admit the SNP did not think me anti-Semitic in the least. They thought a single sentence in a 2,000 word essay might be construed as anti-Semitic, in other words, an unconscious thought crime. And yet they allowed the press and public to think I was a jew hater. That’s the repression of the new SNP. From Mike Russell, SNP President in an email, SNP HQ’s staffer’s name redacted: Quote “The Disciplinary Committee had the evidence in front of them and made a decision. They did not label him an anti-semite, but did consider that the words were, even if that was not the intention. Unquote.
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 Rhea Wolfson – the woman the GMB used as frontman – expressed only mere annoyance at being questioning over her speech to the exploited women in the GMB’s fraudulant rally.
In fact, Wolfson – sent the critique first for right of reply – is not even the subject of the essay, a two part essay, the second entitled, ‘Fascism – Us and Them’, an analysis of how intolerance has crept into political speeches. The GMB’s misogynist ugliness was the springboard and the substance for my polemic.
The GMB is the subject of the first essay. Wolfson appears late in the article. 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?
The essay deconstructs the GMB’s antipathy to Scotland
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? (I had let my membership lapse many months earlier.) Who in that committee is qualified in law? Angus MacLeod appears qualified in vindictiveness. He took no notice of my letter of protest, making plain the Jewish members of my family. He wanted his bosses to see him a loyal officer.
In essence, my essay stated a few obvious truths, namely that a union exists to uphold the civil rights of its members, there to spread wealth among the workers, 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 writ on a union banner. The GMB exploited the women they claimed to be defending, in good misgynist style.
The women taking time off to protest lost pay and losing pay for the effort – a seriously bizarre method of attaining pay equality – were 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 and operating in England, and if so, why? The subtext of my article was the sexism of the GMB, and 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 executive of Glasgow’s Council to repeat impotently their avowed support for pay equality, a mess left by the previous Labour administration supported by none other than the GMB. We saw media glee at the sight of a group of women protesting their situation the entire fault of the SNP.
Was a two-day loss of pay rally the only way the GMB could show impatience? 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, let’s not be self-reliant.
The essay in question concentrated on the blatant undemocratic stance of the GMB denouncing the rights of Scotland to decide on its future, and the misogyny employed to exploit the low-paid woman.
Post Script: Months after my essay was published, the GMB was sanctioned by an English QC-led official Inquiry for “rampant misogyny, hiding cases of sexual harrassment, and denying women their rights”. The boss, Tim Roache, a man who condemned my essay though admitted he had not read it, resigned in disgrace. The squit who tried to divert attention from the GMB’s failings, his Scottish branch manager, Gary Smith, is still living in the land of GMB colonial delusion.
The principle under attack is this: if every individual named and smeared by our opponents is to be taken out by the SNP and summarily executed for the sake of political expediency, who can blame the enemies of Scotland for keeping a list of prime targets until each is eliminated?
The brutal tactics of the British State know no limit. Why does the SNP emulate them?
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. Her blog inflamed the issue. Her preposterous psychobabble was quoted and argued extensively in the Twitter sphere causing countless people to stray into defamation.
Her deconstruction of my essay is the work of a chronic fabulist. It attempts to seek out and prove the impossible by conjuring unconscious thoughts and prejudices out of thin air, and portray them as inherently evil – thought crimes. She promotes herself as an expert in Freudian psychology. She has no qualifications in the discipline.
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 exclusively as a boilermaker’s union. Any number of boilermakers working there were not Jewish. Indeed, what has Robertson to say to the author of Wikipedia’s page on the GMB which states the same historic record?
As for the alarmist Angus MacLeod, a disastrous national secretary, his letter instructing the conduct committee is full of inaccuracies and tendentious assumptions instead of asking me questions. This is a boy scout trying to earn a badge for lighting a fire without matches. Either he acted upon instruction or indulged in self-aggrandisement. He too, should resign.
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.
Those who proclaim themselves supporters of human rights violate mine.
Post Script: Both Angus MacLeod and Fiona Roberston were voted off the SNP National Executive Committee late in 2020, but Robertson was invited back unelected and continued making peoples’ lives miserable.
And the rest…..
I predicted what the SNP’s decision would be and alas was proved correct. They endorsed the falsehood. 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. Mark MacDonald was hounded for a pre-Jurassic tweet of no great significance. Michelle Thomson was crucified and yet had done nothing wrong. More recently Neal Hanvey, and SNP candidate got it in the jugular only to be elected as an independent MP. And lately Denise Findlay was fitted up to block her election as chairperson of the clod-hopping Discipline Committee, some of her views at odds with SNP disaster prone policies.
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 do not know, I do not think the SNP is in any mind to admit it has made a serious error of judgment.
Post script: Michael Russell, an old colleague, reviewed documents and acknowledged the serious miscarriage of SNP rules – he avoided saying, a quasi-judicial court gave no thought to the presumption of innocence – but then he stepped back from doing more by asking I go through SNP HQ. This offers double jeopardy. In a carbon copy of a classic Kafkaesque nightmare, SNP HQ demands the impossible, that I “reapply for membership”. Three emails to the new National Secretary, Stewart Stevenson, lie unanswered. This is an organisation that does not give a damn.
I reprint the letter below from those shocked at the SNP’s unconscionable reaction to assassination attempts by our common enemy. The SNP ignored the pleas of its rank and file who actually knew me. What are we to make of the SNP now?
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, 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.
Pste Script:The SNP executive ignored the voice of their own rank and file.