Innocent until proved guilty

Having been to see “If Only” and reflected on triangulation and careerism in the Labour Party, the ramifications of the Falkirk selection affair became clearer. Last Wednesday week ago, at a Prime Minister’s Question time that Cameron actually turned up to,  Ed Miliband let Cameron accuse him of being in the pocket of Len McClusky and Unite. This is from a man who ‘let go’ his Party Treasurer for being accused by the Sunday Times of selling access, the leader of a Party where parliamentary committee members are selling their time and actions to lobbyists and the man who offered Andy Coulson, the man whom, it would seem, authorised the original Hackgate, a job in Downing St. It’s arguable that Ed Miliband has been trying to catch up since and he has taken the Falkirk selection as his trigger for action.

Falkirk High St by Kevin Rae CC BY_SA


Unite have been encouraging their members to join the Labour Party and vote for candidates that support the policy of the Union. In the Falkirk selection, it is alleged that Unite’s campaign crossed the line by possibly breaking the law. The Labour Party have ‘investigated’ the affair, written a secret report and sent it to the Police. They have also suspended Karie Murphy, allegedly Unite’s preferred candidate in Falkirk and the CLP Chairman (sic) and in de-facto terms, suspended the Falkirk Labour Party.

Both Owen Jones, in the Independent, and Seamus Milne, in the Guardian in their articles, talk about a fuller understanding of the events in Falkirk. It would seem both sides are recruiting new members, which let’s face it is a good thing. It is alleged that there are consent irregularities on both sides; furthermore, Labour Uncut when publishing their false start on this story referred to this article in the Herald ; Uncut accused Unite of both illegally signing up members, and acting in breach of the Data Protection Act. The Herald article makes it clear that the allegation is that Murphy’s opponents may have had non-authorised access to the CLP membership list, although they claim they have built up the list over time. The Herald states,

Poynton said he had accumulated the email addresses over years

What is important here is that the Labour Party acts quickly and honestly. If a crime has been committed, or looks to have been committed, then they must bring in the police. If the rules have been broken then things need to be put right.  I suspect we won’t know what’s happened until later. It’s important however that only the guilty are punished and this needs to be done according to the standards of natural justice;  beyond reasonable doubt, in an open court.

When I say that it’s important that only the guilty be punished, the corollary is that the innocent are not; it’s possible that the beneficiaries of rule breaches or illegal acts are innocent of any wrong doing.

ooOOOoo

Deciding the publication date of this sort of article is always difficult, this was written before the ‘If Only’ article was thus originally much more contemporaneous with the news and events. I decided I needed to publish the ‘If Only’ article first and that took me a longer time than I’d hoped. I think the point in the penultimate sentence still needs to be made about being fair, open and running our processes in accordance with the principles of natural justice. So here’s my article, back dated to the day I started it.  Dave 

1 Comments.

  1. In my Storify about the Falkirk Affair, I say, “This is not pretty, but the investigation was clearly aimed at finding rule breaking by Karie Murphy’s supporters. It would read no better if the detailed fact finding had been equally aimed at the 11 members paid for by her opponents. Some of this is incompetence (missing signatures), some of this is due to the complexity of the rules but this still leaves some of it unexplained.”