Jeremy Corbyn’s comments
The media silence on the Forde Report is absolutely deafening.
The Forde Report calls into question the behaviour of senior officials of the party in particular during the 2017 general election, when, completely unbeknown to me, the general secretary diverted a substantial tranche of our much needed funds towards what he called the Ergon House project which was to protect the majorities of MPs all of whom had one thing in common, being undermining and critical of my leadership of the party.
And I find that utterly appalling.
We achieved 41% in that election; we could and should have achieved more had the party had been united.
A leaked report came out two years later on the behaviour of very senior officials in WhatsApp groups who seemed to be in constant touch with each other which was disparaging towards the manifesto, and individually abusive towards senior people in our group, in racist and misogynistic terms.
Our manifesto offered hope on public ownership, on education, on mental health…
This gave so much hope to people. Little did they know that the party they were funding, a significant number of very senior officials were working against everything that was being said and done.
It’s never happened before in Labour election campaigns.
The attacks so well documented in the Forde report were attacks on democracy and an attack on those people who wanted to live in a world of hope.
The Forde report completely vindicates the position that I took [regarding] antisemitism.
Jewish Voice for Labour comments on the Forde report:
… the final Report goes to extraordinary lengths to be balanced, “even-handed”, pitting the party machine (HQ) on the one hand against the Corbyn team (LOTO) on the other, two factional sides equally to blame for whatever nefarious deeds took place. The report is filled with formulations blaming both sides equally.
We find this equal blame judgment, deployed time and time again, bizarre in principle. It implies that anyone defending themselves from attack is as guilty as the attacker. It further assumes that the small Corbyn team, coming into office in 2015 against the wishes of a majority of the parliamentary party and the entire party bureaucracy, had equal power, organisational skill, resources, media connections and contacts as the established Labour machine. In reality, the only power it had was a democratic mandate and the enthusiasm of a large majority of grassroots supporters.
[…] [the Report] is very largely a vindication of what was in the Leaked Report: “there are relatively few examples,” says Forde, “where we think the Leaked Report’s framing is found to be substantially misleading” (Section C: p.26). “In the main, our view is that the messages quoted in the Leaked Report fairly represent the tone and contents of the discussions about Jeremy Corbyn, his staff, and the Party’s Left in the SMT [Senior Management Team] WhatsApp groups and across the selected instant message chats. (p.26) The Report also confirms that the tone and contents were deeply shocking.
1. Allegations that the Party machine tried to sabotage the 2017 election campaign.
The Report is unambiguous here:
“Some senior HQ staff had the ability to implement resourcing decisions covertly. A handful of staff in Ergon House created an additional fund for printing costs under code GEL001 (spending some £135,000 in total on campaigns supportive of sitting, largely anti-Corbyn MPs and not on campaigns for pro-Corbyn candidates in potentially Tory winnable seats). (p.62)
“We find that the decision to set up the Ergon House operation covertly and divert money and personnel there without authority of the Campaign Committee, whilst not illegal, departed from the approved strategy; it was as such wrong.” (p.62)
Finally Forde concludes:
“Hence we are disappointed that there has been a refusal to engage at all with Jewish Voice for Labour’s proposals for antisemitism education and that CLPs are, we are told, not even allowed to enlist their help.”