Reinstate MP Chris Williamson
07 March, 2019
Chris Williamson MP
An open letter to Momentum National Co-ordinating Group
• IN Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, the innocent Giles Corey is pressed to death by a large stone.
As the stone is placed upon his chest, it is reported that Corey heroically calls for “more weight” in order to make abundantly clear that he won’t admit any guilt in the face of spurious accusations that he had aided and abetted witchcraft.
Miller’s play is an allegory about McCarthyism. David Hearst, The Guardian former chief foreign leader writer, is surely right to say that the new McCarthyism is being mobilised to undermine Jeremy Corbyn (www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/truth-about-seumas-milne-jeremy-corbyn-and-new-mccarthyism). And now the witch-hunt has claimed its latest victim in Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North.
This represents a clear and unprecedented escalation in the campaign of vilification and smears against Labour’s leadership and left-wing members.
In truly Orwellian fashion, this latest ratcheting up of the smear campaign was set on foot because someone in Williamson’s office had booked a room for a parliamentary screening of Jon Pullman’s documentary film WitchHunt (endorsed by Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Peter Kosminsky and Professor Avi Shlaim). None of those MPs and others who complained against the screening can yet have seen the film, and yet they are willing to censor it.
The confected complaint made against Williamson concerns a speech he made at a meeting of Sheffield Momentum. Nothing about that speech deserves the suspension of the Labour whip, let alone suspension from the party.
Jewish Voice for Labour have rightly pointed out that Williamson’s suspension is unjust and have called for it to be rescinded (www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/blog/chris-williamson). Camden Momentum adds its voice to that call. We also call upon Momentum’s National Co-ordinating Group to release a statement arguing for Williamson’s immediate reinstatement.
If it is not yet clear to Momentum’s leadership (and associated “left” commentators) that the attacks on Chris Williamson are part of a long-running and co-ordinated attempt to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, then we fear it never will be. We simply say: more weight.