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After 92-Year-Old Grandmother Is Suspended From Labour, Why Is Margaret Hodge Treated Differently?

Michael East, Red Revolution

A 92-Year-old Labour veteran has been suspended from the party for supporting her daughter as a Green Party candidate, treatment that shows the vast difference between how grassroots party members are treated and the near immunity offered to centrist members of the PLP.

Joining Labour after leaving the ATS in 1948, Margot Packwood signed nomination papers for her daughter Lesley to stand for the Green Party in this month’s council elections in Ipswich. Days before the election Margot received a letter from Labour informing her that she had been suspended.

Despite her treatment, Margot still stands behind Labour.

“It used all kinds of official language. I know now that I should have read the small print of the membership rules, but I’ve been in the party so long you don’t think about those kind of things. I’m still a strong Labour supporter. I wouldn’t vote for anyone else. I always used to put up a Labour poster in the garden at election time. I still would if I could!”

Margot Packwood, Speaking to The Ipswich Star

The treatment offered to Margot Packwood stands in sharp contrast to members of the Labour Party who have regularly suggested that voters back other parties, including conspiracy theorist Margaret Hodge.

At an event hosted by Blairite Think Tank Progress, Hodge was caught on camera telling Labour Party members to vote for other parties in the forthcoming European Elections, a clear breach of Labour Party rules. Hodge stated her disagreement with a panellist who had said that tactical voting should be avoided and votes should be given to Labour.

“I think taking whatever action you need, within your locality, that gives you the best likelihood of electing somebody who will be a pro-European MEP, I think is the way you should go, I really do. I know that’s controversial but sometimes we allow the tribalism of politics to override the values and judgement we need to take on particular issues.”

Margaret Hodge

As of yet, no action has been taken to suspend Hodge from the party despite increasing criticism of her comments. Speaking on the BBC’s Piennar Politics, Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman said Labour members “deserved better” than Hodge.

“Well, I thought it was very disappointing that Margaret should say such a thing. If you are a member of a party, if you are the member of the Labour Party, you are there to support your candidates in elections. I just think our members and the candidates that are standing in the European elections deserve better than a Labour Member of Parliament saying people should vote for someone other than them.”

Sue Hayman, Piennar Politics

Margaret Hodge has been a key figure in perpetuating the debunked “Labour antisemitism crisis” smears, even going as far as to secretly record conversations with Jeremy Corbyn and publicly accuse the Labour Leader of being an antisemite.

Beyond Hodge, the latest incident is merely the latest in a string of vile attacks by members of Tony Blair’s former inner circle and supporting centrists, these attacks coming against both socialist members of the Labour Party and the Party itself. This centrist clique has undermined the Labour Party at every opportunity over the past four years, clearly with a view that they would rather watch the entire left burn than see a return to socialism.

In no other business or industry would somebody be allowed to publicly call their boss an antisemite, record his conversations and suggest to the public that they take their business to a rival. When Hodge and her supporters claim they are the victims in this affair, the concept descends into the pure absurdity. It is time to put an end to this fifth column once and for all, starting with the suspension of Margaret Hodge.

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By Richard Seymour

Richard Seymour tells the story of how Corbyn’s rise was made possible by the long decline of Labour and by a deep crisis in British democracy. He shows how Corbyn began the task of rebuilding Labour as a grassroots party, with a coalition of trade unionists, young and precarious workers, students and ‘Old Labour’ pugilists, who then became the biggest campaigning army in British politics. Utilizing social media, activists turned the media’s Project Fear on its head and broke the ideological monopoly of the tabloids. After the election, with all the artillery still ranged against Corbyn, and with all the weaknesses of the Left’s revival, Seymour asks what Corbyn can do with his newfound success.


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