The sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey – some reactions

A brief compilation of reactions to the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey, starting with an excellent Facebook post by David Rosenberg and a discussion hosted by Novara Media’s Michael Walker and Aaron Bastani.

There is a petition on calling for her reinstatement. Don’t Leave – Organise is supporting it.

[updated 26 June]

David Rosenberg on Facebook

25 June 2019

Retweeting a wide-ranging article/interview of Maxine Peake, an excellent campaigner for peace and social justice, and against racism and fascism, which had one sentence that made claims about American/Israeli co-operation on Homeland Security was a very flimsy pretext to sack Rebecca Long Bailey.

Starmer’s clash with Long-Bailey in recent days and weeks has not been over policing or Israel but over strategies for school return. On this, Long-Bailey has rightly and stubbornly stayed very close to the NEU which has prioiritised the safety of schoolworkers, pupils and their families over the drive to force people back to work in unsafe environments using unsafe public transport, to kick-start the economy again whatever the price paid by those with the least choices.

Starmer has faithfully followed the lines put out by Tony Blair’s Global Institute, which is very close to Boris Johnson’s view – the economy over everything – and according to Blair/Johnson, getting children back into school so their parents can return to the workplace is key.

There is absolutely no doubt that there is close cooperation between America and Israel on internal security methods. The respected veteran left wing Jewish, Israeli writer and activist Jeff Halper, has written extensively on this. Homeland security has become a larger and larger Israeli export in recent years. Israeli companies, with Israeli government encouragement, have played a leading role globally in this sector.

The specific tactic used with such lethal effect against George Floyd is very similar to those used by Israel’s defence forces/police against Palestinians – and many photos have been shared by Palestinians and their supporters to show this.

Peake’s claim was nothing extraordinary, though this horrible tactic has been used by American police long before the days of extensive Homeland security cooperation between Israel and America. The American police discovered, invented and finessed many brutal methods of policing long before looking to Israel for further advice.

What is undoubtedly true also is that left wing Jewish activists in USA and Israel have protested against both the brutal “restraining” tactics that killed George Floyd and those that are frequently used against Palestinians, and they have made the links. Are those American and Israeli Jews to be smeared as antisemites promoting an “antisemitic conspiracy theory”? of course not. It’s nonsense. As is the smearing and sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey on these specious grounds.

As for Maxine Peake, one place where I have often seen her is at gatherings to commemorate the Spanish Civil War, a war in which Jewish fighters were disproportionately involved – though I don’t expect those screaming loudest against Peake and Long-Bailey today to know anything about that.

Novara Media


Excl: Long-Bailey sacked after massive row over schools return – as news emerges that Starmer’s support for return has seen infection rate double


Pretext for sacking will be pro-Corbyn tweet but reality is far different

Rebecca Long-Bailey has been sacked after a massive internal row over the Labour leadership’s support for Boris Johnson’s back-to-school push – after a doubling of school infections followed even Johnson’s abortive plan to push children and teachers back into the classroom.

Howard Beckett, whose union Unite had warned both the Tories and Labour that it was too soon, tweeted the new figures:

The pretext for Long-Bailey’s sacking will be her supportive tweet about a pro-Corbyn article by actor Maxine Peake – but the SKWAWKBOX can reveal that, according to sources inside the party, a huge row over Labour’s support Johnson’s recklessness was the real trigger for the sacking.

Long-Bailey qualified her tweet not long after putting it out, but a Labour source told SKWAWKBOX, before news of the sacking, that ‘RLB is in trouble – and it’s not the tweet that’s the issue’, before outlining the major argument that was the real reason.


“Sometimes there’s truth in old clichés. There can be no real peace without justice. And without resistance there will be no justice.”

Arundhati Roy, from her speech on accepting the Sydney Peace Prize 07/11/04

Show solidarity with Rebecca Long Bailey

During the leadership election, we heard lots of warm words from Keir Starmer about bringing the party together, about uniting the different wings of the party. We now know that to be utter tosh. At least we’re now clear.

Yesterday, Starmer sacked Shadow Education Secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey from the Shadow Cabinet. The alleged reason was an Independent article, an interview with Maxine Peake, which Rebecca shared and the Board of Deputies took objection to, which (in passing) questioned the Israeli role in the training of US police forces, something that Amnesty International amongst others, has highlighted.

In sacking Rebecca Long-Bailey, Sir Keir has given us a clear choice. It’s flight or fight. We choose to fight, because this party is not the possession of one man or the dead-handed apparatchiks around him.

For too long, the left in the Labour Party has tried to placate our opponents in the party, some of whom, lest we forget, tried to sabotage our election campaign in 2017.

We know that many of you will be demoralised by Becky’s sacking, and it is no doubt another hammer blow, but we must learn the lessons. It’s time to stand up and take them on, by organising and building solidarity between socialists in the party. Don’t leave, organise.

You can sign the petition to reinstate Rebecca Long Bailey here

John McDonnell Tweet

Dear Richard,

From championing Labour’s Green Industrial Revolution to standing shoulder to shoulder with teachers who refused to work in unsafe conditions – Rebecca Long-Bailey is a star of our movement.

She should not have been sacked and we stand in full solidarity with her. In the leadership election Keir promised to end factionalism and unite our party. Today he broke that promise.

As socialists, we need to get organised and show solidarity with RLB. Here is what you can do:

Sign the open letter expressing solidarity with RLB. It’s already got thousands of signatures. Make sure you add your name.

Join Momentum and stand up for socialists in the party. With tens of thousands of activists across the country Momentum is the largest and most effective socialist force in the party. From winning radical policies at conference to getting socialists selected as councillors and MPs – we will continue to fight for socialism in Labour.

✅Stay and fight for a united left slate in the next NEC election. The next NEC election – which could come as soon as this summer – is a huge opportunity for the left to win back power in the party. The NEC makes big decisions on behalf of the party, and if the left can unite – we have the numbers to win.

We know things are tough, but we have a plan to organise and fightback. And as Jeremy said:You can cut all the flowers, but you can’t stop the spring from coming.🌹

In Solidarity,

Team Momentum


Comments (18)

  • Pete Marchetto says:

    The only anti-Semitism I see here is Starmer’s. Many Jewish people – including many Jewish Israelis – are not supportive of the actions, attitude, and behaviour of the Israeli government. To put all Jewish people into the same box as blind supporters of Israeli government initiatives IS anti-Semitism. It is treating all Jewish people as one homogenous lump, the folly that underlies all racism. Criticising Israel is NOT criticism of all Jewish people, nor even a significant proportion of them.

  • RH says:

    Starmer might have been in the clear if he had sacked RLB for opposing return to normality in schools. We know that school children are at no significant risk from normal working, and nor are the majority of teachers – especially now that infections are way below the level defined as ‘epidemic’. The Skwawkbox article is unjustified hysteria. Ironically, it’s one thing the government is doing right as the deaths from Lock-Up mount.

    No – the significant fact is the double dishonesty of sacking her on the fake grounds of ‘anti-semitism’, allying the term with criticism of the benighted State of Israel.

  • Harry Law says:

    Starmer is guilty of breaching one of the examples attached to the working definition of Anti Semitism “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel”. Maxine Peake criticized the Israeli security services [a perfectly legitimate thing to do] to which Starmer has conflated this criticism ‘ i.e, actions taken by the state of Israel with ‘Jews’, a conflation condemned by the IHRA as antisemitic. Will action be taken against Starmer? I’m not holding my breath. In my opinion telling the truth about Israel is incompatible with being a Labour party member.

  • RH says:

    A further comment : note that Jonathan Freedland – that master of fiction and untruth is piling in with approval of Starmer for his ‘strong action’ against ‘antisemitism’.

    I don’t think the case against Starmer could be better established than by this endorsement. He is now shown to be totally a captive of the Israel Lobby, and the supreme folly and weakness of ceding ground to the essentially discriminatory IHRA definition is proved beyond doubt.

    Perhaps the real headline is :

    “Pretended ‘human rights’ lawyer defends racist apartheid state.”

    We are definitely seeing the elimination of real opposition to an increasingly anti-democratic government.

    Be afraid … be very afraid … Martin Niemoller had a verse for it.

    (Disclaimer : I have never been a supporter of RLB)

  • Mary Davies says:


  • CVA says:

    The Labour Party is beyond salvation; even when we supposedly had a majority in the NEC we approved the full IHRA. At the last Labour Conference we approved a change in the rules that in order to challenge an incumbent leader we needed 20% of the PLP. It wasn’t going to protect Corbyn or any future left leader since the right of the Party can easily command over 20% of the PLP at a second notice. It is damaging our chances of been able to ever challenge Starmer from the left because we don’t have the necessary 41 MPs.
    Hence, why to stay? I am not afraid of a fight but, a fight in the Labour Party is so fruitless. What “Don’t Leave Organise” has organised so far, apart from telling us not to leave? I attended its first zoom and all every well know speakers did was talking about how bad things were, and all the personal injustices they have suffer.
    I know about the injustices and I know how bad things are, that is what I was there in the first place. Did we talk about organising? Did we talk about fighting back? No a single word.
    Please stop telling us to stay and start organising effectively, otherwise after over 25 years in the Party I would leave, I have enough of ineffective wannabes, that only want us to stay so that we can carry on voting for them.

  • Helen Richards says:

    My membership does not expire until November but I have suspended my direct debit. I made that decision this week after the disgraceful decision vis a vis RLB but also in the light of Sir KS’s hypocritical ‘take the knee’ gesture, his reasons for ‘disciplining’ black female MP’s, the make up of his shadow cabinet and his response to the leaked document. I feel unrepresented and betrayed and I’m not sure whether I’ll reinstate my direct debit. I’ll wait and see.

  • Mike Cohen says:

    Maxine Peake and Rebecca Long-Bailey stand accused not just of antisemitism but of promoting an antisemitic ‘conspiracy theory’, presumably because of the reference to Israel’s secret service. (Took me a moment or two to work that out.

    I’ve had it with the Labour Party. Israel sends an open racist to the UK as its ambassador and continues its conquest of Palestine. Where is Starmer? Too busy with his policy of appeasement to notice.

  • JanP says:

    Agree with all the comments above – apart from RH. As an ex Education Adviser for a large authority I know that the return to schools with 2 metre distancing, in many cases without PPE, when the R was between 0.7 and 0.9, was simply impossible to carry out. Further, the reason pupils might be having problems being at home is more likely fear of the virus and going back to school with such strict conditions would not alleviate that. Finally children might not be affected so much but all the adults they deal with in a school day will be affected. I fully support the education union in this and am completely disillusioned with Starmers stand – especially when I was prepared to give him a chance.

  • C Francis says:

    Democracy trashed again. I voted for Becky as Leader, my conviction increased at the Brighton Leadership Hustings. The two women candidates were excellent, both great speakers, full of verve and high intelligence. Comparatively, Starmer was a stodgy blob whose only, repetitive, policy was to bring the Labour Party together! You’ve bungled there, Keir.

  • Margaret West says:

    Apropos children getting back to school – does no-one seem to realise that
    not only do we need twice as many classrooms – we need twice as many teachers to teach in them! Not only that – but some teachers will be unable to return because of their own or family health issues.

    So when was there a recruitment drive to increase the number of teachers ? Not only that -but even before COVID LAs were struggling to fund a full teaching week – with children being sent home early and missing up to day off school per week. This was an election issue but seems to have been forgotten – Tory hypocrisy knows no bounds.

    Also – I wonder how many MPs who think that it is safe and OK to send children to school actually pick them up at the end of the day? Speaking as a mother and grandmother who did that job – in most primary schools there was very little room for parents to congregate while waiting for the children. Social distancing would have been impossible – most schools are just not built that way. Parents cannot all wait in their cars – they either do not drive or there is insufficient parking nearby.

    So in answer to Johnsons question of Starmer at PMQ: “Are schools safe?” the reply should have been – well some are – yes – but some are not and could never be.

  • Allan Howard says:

    RH, signing up to the IHRA definton of anti-semitism had NOTHING whatsoever to do with ‘folly and weakness’ AND *EVERYTHING* to do with the corporate MSM and the so-called moderates and the JLM and the CAA and BoD et al relentlessly attacking and vilifying him and the LP (the left of the LP that is) over a period of months until they did so. Hundreds and hundreds of newspaper articles and hundreds more TV and radio news items in relation to it are testament to THAT! And RH knows exactly what would have happened if Jeremy and Co had refused to! All hell would have broken loose!

    The A/S smear campaign was going on LONG before JC and the LP signed up to the IHRA definition, and would have continued if the definition had never existed (and the LP forced to accept it). In other words, signing up to the definition made not a jot of difference to the lies and falsehoods and demonisation of Jeremy and the left, and the smearers would have kept on concocting and contriving their smears irregardless of the definition. Of course they would, and anyone that somehow thinks – or claims to believe – that if the LP hadn’t signed up to the definition then everything would have been hunky dory is either deceiving themselves, or trying to deceive other people AND use it as a reason – ie a means – to falsely castigate and condemn Jeremy as weak and cowardly. The shills on skwawkbox have been doing precisely THAT ever since Jeremy was forced to adopt it.

  • Allan Howard says:

    The LP adopted the IHRA definition at the beginning of September 2018, and did so after several months of intense and sustained pressure by the corporate media et al. If I spent the time I could find hundreds of such articles published in the several months prior to them finally adopting the definition, but here’s just ONE such article from the July that I happened to click on first when I did a search re >jeremy corbyn ihra definition<, first the headline, and then some clips from it:

    Jeremy Corbyn, the anti-racist who turned Labour into the party of anti-Semitism

    But when on Tuesday evening veteran Labour MP Margaret Hodge confronted the Labour leader and called him an “anti-Semite and racist” to his face, it crystallised the story — which is that Mr Corbyn has quite deliberately turned the Labour Party into a racist party.

    Labour is now an institutionally anti-Semitic party — and this has been a conscious strategy pursued by Mr Corbyn and his acolytes.

    In turning Labour into a party that is now institutionally anti-Semitic, Jeremy Corbyn’s actions have indeed been deeply anti-Semitic.

    NB So including the headline, the author, Stephen Pollard, repeated his Big Lie FOUR times in his vile, poisonous black propagana smear piece. Repetition is what black propagandists do! And there were numerous such articles published over a period of months prior to the September.

  • RH says:

    I think JanP’s comment shows the utter mess that the Laboutr Party has got itself into with its inability to create a rational platform of opposition based on long-standing principles. The failure over ‘antisemitism’ and that over unsupportable government fictions about a virus are two sides of the same coin – a coin that is the currency of the opportunism and subservience that has created the most appalling legislature that I can remember.

    Just as a response to JanP’s point – of course a return to schooling with baseless (anti-) social distancing was nonsense. That’s why Labour (and Unions) should have been ‘opposing’ by pointing out that normality was needed, not pointless token gestures.

  • Hugh Macdonald says:

    If the technique used to kill George Floyd was one of a number that American police have been using long before any involvement by Israeli security advisors then why didn’t Long-Bailey (who many wanted to be leader of the Labour Party) spot that mentioning this – particularly as anti-Semitism in Labour is such an open sore presently – was (1) irrelevant (2) a potential source of acrimony (3) likely to damage Keith Starker if he responded to it in the desultory manner of his predecessor??

  • Laverne says:

    Mr Macdonald is mistaken when he accuses “Starker”‘s (ha ha) predecessor of desultorily dealing with unproven, purportedly serious anti-semitism in the Labour Party. It seems he has not understood that the obsessive slander spread by media was a weapon used by the ‘centrist’ right, supported by factions currently crushing Palestine, to murder the socialist left; now reignited by Mr Starker – or so it seems, I can’t personally comment.

  • RC says:

    HM has not noticed that it is not antisemitism, of which there is and has been since 2015 very little indeed in the LP, but antiZionism which is a sore point with the uncritical and often fanatical Zionists (more gentile than Jewish) who dominate the mass media, the PLP. and the GLU…Of course they feel acrimony against even the mildest criticism of Israel and its repressive practices. As for Corbyn’s allegedly desultory response to alleged AS, he assumed that complaints were genuine, rather than driven by widespread and spontaneous British admiration for Israel’s mastery over and persecution of the Arabs. When Corbyn under pressure, promised to usurp the proper disciplinary procedures of ,the LP, he and his office were criticised both for interfering and for undue attention to natural justice (failure to interfere).
    Starmer, by contrast, seems proud to declare that mere suspicion is enough to require suspension or exclusion. How this posture will serve to dissuade Israel from further aggression and breach of international through annexations, let alone devise a rational policy vis a vis the Middle East, defies comprehension.

  • Jeremy Dable says:

    You defend a blood libel by repeating it. You offer no evidence other than the fact that other sources have made the same blood libel without evidence. You are vile.

Comments are now closed.