“Antisemitism Tsar”

John Mann when criticised by a local member during ‘unequivocal vote of confidence’

JVL Introduction

We need John Mann as ‘Antisemitism Tsar’ like a hole in the head!

Mike Rosen on Facebook: “John Mann the ‘antisemitism Tsar’ ? Most Tsars from Peter the Great onwards were ‘antisemitism tsars’ because they allowed, encouraged, sanctioned and legitimated antisemitism.”

Mann’s record is not great. See Skwawkbox and Koser Saaed below.

This article was originally published by Skwawkbox (SW) on Sun 8 Sep 2019. Read the original here.

Mann resigns for role as Tories’ ‘tsar’. In 2016 police interviewed him over anti-Gypsy ‘hate incident’

John Mann said he has resigned to focus on role as antisemitism ‘tsar’ for Tory government – but in 2016 he was accused of racism against another people group targeted by nazis

Analysis

Surely if John Mann Mp believes in equality, he wouldn’t write such things about my community

Gypsy Traveller Ben Bennett, then aged 13

John Mann has announced his resignation as MP for Bassetlaw, claiming it was because he “can have a bigger impact” in his role for the Tories.

Mann has a track record that might make him a prime target for deselection and has often angered Bassetlaw Labour members. A year ago, he claimed on social media that those members had given him an ‘unequivocal vote of confidence’ – until the SKWAWKBOX revealed video showing that many members had walked out of the meeting in disgusted protest.

This article is the first in a series looking at Mann’s documented record – and it begins with a deadly serious topic.

Because ironically, given the role he has resigned to pursue, he was interviewed by police over his publication of a leaflet that targeted a people group that the nazis tried to eliminate – the Gypsy Traveller community – and the police made clear that they considered that the interview constituted an investigation into a ‘hate incident’.

Anti-gypsy ‘hate leaflet’

The booklet discontinued by Mann after police interview

In 2016 Mann was interviewed by the local police concerning an ‘anti-social behaviour handbook’ that specifically targeted Gypsy Travellers – listing them among various types of social evil:

When challenged by the SKWAWKBOX about the interview and document, Mann claimed that the police liked his handbook – but an email from the police said otherwise, saying they had investigated it as a ‘hate incident’ – and that they had raised with Mann his categorisation of a people group as a problem:

Also as I informed you, lnsp Bellamy and I did offer. advice to Mr Mann concerning the section entitled ‘{Travellers”, including any further publication of the booklet, on the basis that it should identify the problem (i.e. unauthorised encampment) and not single out a group of people as responsible for the problem (i.e. Travellers), which is in keeping with the rest of the booklet…

With regard to further contact with you in response to your complaint, as I explained to you on Friday, Mr Mann gave no indication that he would take part in any dialogue with you.

Mr Mann is aware that I am feeding back to you on our conversation with him.

Finally, to confirm that from my perspective this concludes my investigation into this hate incident. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need any further from me in respect of this.

Young Gypsy Traveller activist Ben Bennett, whose family complained to the police about Mann’s ‘handbook’, wrote a heart-rending letter to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn about how Mann’s behaviour had affected him (emphases added):

My name is Benjamin David Bennett, I am a 13 year old English Romany Gypsy and I live in Bassetlaw. I am writing to you about our local Mp John Mann who has written a booklet that myself and my community consider highly offensive and racist. I have experienced being bullied at all nine of my previous schools, because of my ethnicity, although I have recently started my 10th school and I am really enjoying it, pupils and teachers are treating me very kindly.

I care deeply about campaigning for my communities equality and human rights. I was searching online to see what local authorities are doing to combat bullying and racism in my area for Gypsies and Travellers, I stumbled across a booklet produced by John Mann Mp, entitled the Bassetlaw anti social behaviour handbook, your guide to law by John Mann Mp, in this booklet there are the following headlines, Fireworks, Graffiti, Rubbish, Vehicles, Loitering, Youths, Alcohol, Neighbours from hell, then Travellers.

This made me feel very upset, I can’t understand why John Mann Mp, would choose to talk solely about my community in such a derogatory manner, with statements such as, The police have powers to remove any Gypsies or Travellers and have powers to direct people to leave the land and remove any vehicles or property they have with them, if they believe, Trespass is occurring.

John Mann’s statement absolutely devastated me

Gypsy Traveller Ben Bennett, aged 13

The letter went on:

This makes me feel like my community are being blamed for all acts of trespass and it is also giving the wider settled community the impression that Gypsies and Travellers are the only people that commit trespass. John Mann Mp’s booklet does not talk about any other ethnic minority or any group of people. By singling out Gypsies and Travellers, I feel that it takes away my dignity and that my community are being labelled as law breakers and criminals, this booklet makes me feel hurt and discriminated against. I am one of John Mann Mp’s constituents, I have seen on the news on many occasions John Mann Mp, talking about racial equality and is against Anti-semitism. Surely if John Mann Mp believes in equality, he wouldn’t write such things about my community. If the same statement was made using the headline Jews then I know that many authority figures would say that it was Anti-Semitic and they would be right. but somehow the headline saying Travellers is seen as acceptable. This is Anti-Gypsyism, and my community feel that racism towards Gypsies and Travellers is seen as the last acceptable form of racism.

John Mann Mp said in May earlier this year “if labour cannot combat racism, we are nothing” I don’t understand why John Mann Mp would talk publicly about how he wants to combat racism and yet write such racist comments in his booklet to single out my community. As a 13 year old boy growing up in Bassetlaw, I have met John Mann Mp on several occasions, firstly when my father ran a successful campaign to to save our local high school from closure (Serlby Park) when John Mann Mp became involved in the campaign, he visited my families home on many occasions during this campaign. I thought John Mann Mp was a family friend, unfortunately it has become very clear that John Mann Mp is not a friend of my family at all.

I was so upset at this booklet, I sent a copy of the link to Travellers Times magazine, who published an article on it.

The editor of TT contacted my mother, (Nathalie Bennett) because he had received an email from John Mann Mp accusing my father of being one of the sources exposing the offensive booklet, when it was actually me. John Mann Mp, claims that he helped my parents and provided advocacy on occasions, which is not true. Mr Mann also claims that he helped my mothers parents. My Granny and Grandad have never met John Mann Mp and also have never lived in Bassetlaw ever, my mothers father (Grandad Billy) passed away in 2001, in very tragic circumstances which is still very difficult for my family to talk about. John Mann’s statement absolutely devastated me, I do not understand why John Mann Mp would lie, about helping my mothers parents and I am sure that he was aware that my Grandfather had passed away, so to make reference to my Grandfather is deeply offensive and hurtful. To talk about my families personal information to a third party is truly devastating especially making references to my Grandad Billy when our family are very private people and Mr Mann has no right to share our private information to anyone.

I don’t feel confident enough to contact John Mann Mp directly about this, I feel that John Mann Mp is attempting to bully me, by talking about my family to a third party. To make matters worse John Mann Mp wrote a letter to my father on Parliamentary headed paper, talking about the article saying the same things he said in the email to Travellers Times, where he again talks about how he has helped my family on various occasions, and he again falsely says he helped my Grandfather, this is so upsetting for me, as I never met my Grandfather and nor did John Mann Mp, he also states that he distributed his booklet, 100,000 times. This makes me wonder if there is any connection between the booklet distribution and the persistent racist attacks on our house, my home was under constant racial attacks. When we lived in our house we had various animals including chickens and a shetland pony, our shetland pony had it’s main cut off and became very timid around anyone who wasn’t part of our immediate family. Some of our chickens were killed on Christmas eve and hammered onto our swing, waking up on Christmas morning to this was heart breaking and devastating for me and my brother and sister. Other occasions our family car had Gyppo etched into it. There was also another incident where my fathers, father my Grandad John was attacked in our house whilst house sitting, and he was called “Pikey scum”, my Grandad John was in his 70’s and he suffered a heart attack after this racial attack.

The final incident that occurred was when we woke to find petrol at the bottom of the stairs which had been poured through the letter box, alongside an unlit box of matches, the police where not helpful at the time either. My family felt so let down by everyone that we left our house and moved back into caravans to travel again. Finally we bought our own land and we have planning permission to live here, living here we have experienced several racist attacks also, we have had a caravan set fire to whilst me and my brother and sister were sleeping in it. Our family car has been set alight too. We have had death threats, voodoo dolls left at our gate, and one of our goats was viscously attack having its throat slit. I am 13 years old and I have seen a lot of hatred towards my community and my own family and this is why I am so keen to campaign against acts of racism.

Mp’s are seen as authority figures and someone to look up to, I have seen photo’s of John Mann Mp displayed at all of the schools I have been to. Therefore when he is publishing information like this and distributing it 100,000 times, I can’t help but think that some members of the public will take the stance that it is ok to racially abuse members of my community, as they do in Bassetlaw.

I have seen John Mann Mp often publicly challenge racism, yet he seems to forget Anti-Gypsyism is racist as well. I feel that John Mann Mp should resign and leave the labour party, then Bassetlaw could be better served by someone who is against racism for everyone, instead of someone spreading hate.

Could you please write back to me with your thoughts and solutions.

Thank you for listening to me.

Yours sincerely Benjamin David Bennett
English Romany Gypsy age 13

Corbyn, whom the family reported as being very kind in his response to them, referred the matter to the Chief Whip, responsible for party discipline. The Whip, surprisingly, decided no action was appropriate and told the family to refer the matter to the police, which they did.

When the Travellers Times contacted Mann about the booklet and its impact on Ben and his family, he did not apologise or offer sympathy. Instead, he sent emails, in a threatening tone, to both accusing the family of defaming him:

The Travellers Times wrote to the family about the email they had received from him:

From: TT Team <redacted>
Date: 5 October 2016 at 12:29:08 BST
To: “redacted”
Cc: Yvonne [redacted], Patrick [redacted]
Subject: FW: Article naming myself

Here is John Mann’s response to our article.

I have copied in Yvonne and Patrick from the Traveller Movement after speaking to them about this. It may be that the JM email is in breach of data protection laws. It was unsolicited and at no point did we identify anyone as the “constituent” making a minor claim in the article. This appears to be an assumption he has made all by himself.

For the full 2017 SKWAWKBOX story, including John Mann’s full response to a press enquiry about his publication and the Bennetts’ complaint, click here.

The unrepentant John Mann’s history regarding the Gypsy Traveller community – a people group that also suffered hideously under the nazis and still, as the Bennetts’ experiences have shown, continues to be viciously targeted by racists today – makes him no loss to the anti-racist Labour Party.

In the next article, the SKWAWKBOX will examine some of the experiences of John Mann’s local Labour members – many of whom are said to be celebrating his departure and the opportunity to replace him.

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See also Koser Saeed on mann’s record here.

Comments (5)

  • Alasdair MacVarish says:

    Few in the Labour Party will regret John Mann’s departure

  • Tessa Gray says:

    It is frightening how people can have a hierarchy of racism. I am grateful but not surprised by this account. Thank you for publishing it. Unfortunately Mann is not alone in seeking to make his career off the back of anti semitism without any concept of the real importance of defending all victims of this type of fascism.

  • S H says:

    Mann has been the most pathetic disgusting disloyal anti Labour anti socialist anti peace idiot. Why was he allowed to remain in the Labour Party for so long???!!!! He was working for our enemies right to the bloody end. Farcical

  • TP says:

    Truly repulsive little man. God only knows what he was doing in the Labour Party and why horrible devious people like him are allowed to represent us.

  • Liberty says:

    Let’s hope he takes the rest of his lying nasty gang with him.

Comments are now closed.