Monday, 25 July 2016

Seema Malhotra submits her entry for the Most Ludicrous Corbyn Criticism award


The abject desperation of the Anyone But Corbyn camp has already plumbed some appalling depths.

There was the ineptly conducted and spectacularly ill-timed initial coup attempt to try to bully Jeremy Corbyn into resigning. There was the deliberate misrepresentation of the notorious broken window of Wallasey. There was Tessa Jowell's lie about Angela Eagle suffering homophobic abuse at an event that neither woman actually attended. There was the lie from Angela Eagle's campaign team that an event had to be cancelled because of abuse (when in reality the venue owner pulled the plug when he found out what the booking was because he didn't want a political event in his hotel). Then there was the deliberate disenfranchisement of 130,000+ Labour Party members in order to try to rig the leadership election against Jeremy Corbyn. Then there was the complete lockdown on local party democracy and the shutdown of several local Labour Party groups (like Brighton and Wallasey) for the "crime" of doing stuff like holding votes of confidence in favour of Jeremy Corbyn and against their own coup-plotter MPs.

The former Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Seema Malhotra has just launched her entry for the the Most Ludicrous Corbyn Criticism award. Her widely reported complaint is that Labour Party staff members have been trying to access "her" office.

The mainstream coverage of these accusations was absolutely farcical, without a single journalist willing to ask the simple question of why Seema Malhotra and her staff members are still occupying an office they should have moved out of almost a month previously when she quit her job as part of the pre-planned effort to bully Jeremy Corbyn out of his job by inflicting as much damage as possible in a stage managed 24 hour "blitz" (the coup-plotters were so confident of success that they briefed the Daily Telegraph about their plot two weeks before the EU referendum result was even known!).

Outside of the cosseted Westminster bubble everyone knows that if ordinary people like us quit our jobs, we don't get to keep squatting in our office for a month afterwards. We also know that if you're looking for favours from your ex-boss (like keeping access to your office for a month after quitting) it's a very very bad move indeed to not bother giving any notice at all before you stuff your job in.

Seema, and whoever put her up to briefing the press about this ludicrous story, clearly didn't even think about how it might look to the public. They just saw it as more ammunition to sling at Jeremy Corbyn, regardless of the fact that turning a squabble over office space into mainstream media headlines is extremely damaging to the reputation of the Labour Party, and to Seema Malhotra herself.

They also didn't seem to consider that most people with experience of working in the real world would have very little sympathy with someone guilty of squatting in their office for a month after quitting their job when they set about whingeing that the office manager used her key to enter the room that should have been vacated weeks before.

The office Seema Malhotra has been squatting in is intended for the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, who is now Rebecca Long-Bailey. Rather than being a sign that Jeremy Corbyn is some kind of tyrant, the fact that he's allowed Seema Malhotra to squat in an office intended for someone else for a month is actually a sign that he's been incredibly patient with someone who so blatantly stabbed him in the back.

Another factor that makes this story a real contender for the the Most Ludicrous Corbyn Criticism award is the fact that Seema has tried to
 frame the dispute in terms of "intimidation" whilst simultaneously bullying the Office manager by naming and shaming her in the press. For all of the whinging about bullying emanating from the Anyone But Corbyn camp, the fact that Seema joined in the anti-democratic effort to bully Jeremy Corbyn out of his job last month, then this month named and shamed a low-profile office manager in the national press in order to try to score political points against Corbyn is an appalling exercise in hypocrisy.

It's clear that Seema Malhotra is intent on obstructing the functioning of the shadow cabinet as much as possible by squatting in an office that should be being used by her successor. What makes Seema's behaviour so much worse is that rather than just sticking to her crude obstruction tactics, she actually used the dispute that she has manufactured herself as an excuse to run to the press about it in the full knowledge that they would take her side and turn her ludicrous complaints into yet another staggeringly biased hatchet job on Jeremy Corbyn and his team.

UPDATE: Seema Malhotra's complaint about people trying to access the office she had been squatting in for weeks after quitting her job was dismissed by the Commons Speaker John Bercow. He replied to her complaint saying "Having taken advice, I am satisfied that there is nothing in your letter or in the information subsequently elicited by the deputy serjeant at arms which would justify regarding these events as a possible breach".

Unbelievably, even after having her complaint dismissed, Malhotra is persisting in damaging her own reputation, and the reputation of the Labour Party by refusing to accept that there was nothing wrong with Labour staff members attempting to access an office that she should have vacated weeks ago.


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