Has the RMT acted inadequately over allegations of domestic violence?

Today, Caroline Leneghan, who is a member of the RMT and assistant Branch Secretary of her RMT branch, posted onto the internet allegations that a senior elected official of the union had physically and mentally abused her while they were in a relationship. The individual she is accusing is also a member of the Socialist Party. [UPDATE: HE HAS SINCE RESIGNED FROM THE SOCIALIST PARTY]

It must be acknowledged that the accused man denies the allegations, and I understand that a few months ago posted on Facebook, that he would take action for defamation against anyone who repeated the allegations. Because of this possible threat of legal action, and because this website is not an appropriate forum to decide questions of fact, I don’t repeat the allegations: but instead I refer you to Caroline’s website .. You can then make  your own mind up. I feel that there is a danger that this becoming a trial by Internet, but Caroline has already herself put this information into the public domain, and in the small world of the RMT officials and activists, there is no putting the Genie back in the bottle.

This of course raises a whole number of difficult issues about how allegations made on the Internet can gain currency without any proper process to judge what is true and what is not. These are difficult issues, because the Internet has also allowed people without voice to share their stories, and we don’t want to collude with silencing them. That is why it is important that there are proper processes for victims to gain justice through.

It has to be said that there are not only legal but also common sense problems in reporting accusations such as these. We have no way of knowing the truth, which is why the appropriate mechanisms are through the criminal justice system, and through properly constituted investigations by any interested organisations. However, there is a further danger that these considerations and our justifiable concerns about the reputations of accused men, can lead to a culture where women reporting abuse feel themselves surrounded by a suffocating scepticism, and because men are more likely to have positions of power in institutions, it can seem like barriers coming down to protect organisations. I don’t think it appropriate for us to discuss whether abuse happened or not, but it is reasonable to discuss how institutional biases make victims feel voiceless; and how societal pressure means that popular and successful men are more likely to be believed.

It is also worth recognising that while men (and women) who are violent often have mitigating circumstances, and may indeed also be victims, it does not make it either right, nor acceptable. Perhaps however we do need a more mature discussion about how violence arises in society, and how those who are violent in later life have often grown up in environments where violence is normal, and is seen as a value-neutral way of expressing anger. The problem of violence cannot be addressed simply by blaming perpetrators as individuals.

When it comes to dealing with accusations, we have to recognise that while there may be occasional instances of falsehood, generally women do not come forwards to report abuse lightly. The question of burden of proof is therefore an important one.

For criminal prosecutions guilt must be established beyond reasonable doubt, and there is a presumption of innocence.

For most civil cases, which would include investigations by trade unions and political groups, not only is the burden of proof only to establish what is more likely to have happened; but also there is no presumption of innocence, or indeed any presumption of guilt. In cases there there is an imbalance of power, and domestic violence allegations might arguably fall into this category, then given the societal pressure to silence victims it is reasonable and proportionate to presume that the alleged victim is telling the truth, and the burden of proof should lie upon on the accused. This would be a controversial presumption, that I offer here for discussion.

So even without knowing the truth about what happened in this case, we can see that she felt that the RMT’s investigation was inadequate. This is what Caroline has to say about what she saw as institutional biases within the RMT:

Additionally, as I am a member of the RMT I felt that it was important to raise my assault with the RMT. I believe that he will continue to perpetrate abuse and is a threat to female members. I want to continue my activism within the union but I do not feel safe to do so unless this matter is dealt with properly.

When I raised the assault with the union, I was subjected to what is known as as ‘victim blaming’. I was distressed and astonished at the questions I was asked and the investigating officer displayed a total lack of respect and sensitivity, and a lack of understanding of domestic violence. The investigator tried to make a link between my mental health and the assault and deemed it appropriate to inquire about my personal history, but has not deemed it necessary to look into [his], despite the fact that it is his behaviour that is being called into question and not mine. The investigator attempted to focus his attention on anything about me which could exonerate or mitigate [his] behaviour.

I was also shocked that the investigator asked to explain how someone of [his] build and proficient at boxing did not cause me more injuries. The investigator also accused me of causing the injuries myself. It is outrageous that when a woman reports an assault it would be considered feasible that she severely beat up her own face and further to also attempt to make a link with her mental health is collusion with the tactics of manipulation that abusers use to silence their victims. I felt degraded and that I had done something ‘wrong’ in reporting the attack.

Caroline is reporting her own perception and recollection of her experience. It is likely the investigator will recall this all very differently, and will have sought to carry out a professional and impartial investigation, and Caroline will not necessarily be aware of the full circumstances of the investigation, and her own recollection may be coloured by trauma. Caroline’s own view is that:

These actions contribute to a culture where perpetrators of violence are never punished for their behaviour. It is a well known fact that women do not come forward when they have faced abuse because they fear the treatment they will get. Since receiving help from Victim Support I have learnt that it is common for perpetrators of domestic abuse to deflect blame for their actions onto their victims and attempting to discredit their claims and to shame them into remaining silent.

I think it is important to say that I am a proud member of the RMT because I thought it was committed to fighting for justice and equality for all workers. I had hoped that it would take seriously a claim against a senior elected representative and treat me with respect when I have made such a serious allegation. I am shocked and saddened that instead I have had to undergo a character assassination. No aspect of my life has been spared from scrutiny, using any detail, no matter how sensitive, used in a horrible and insensitive manner to undermine my claim.

I am writing this because I feel it is imperative that all organisations on the left take a look at themselves and question whether they are doing all they can to support their female members and fight sexism and abuse, in all its guises. I believe that we need strong unions and organisations like the RMT to fight all forms of inequality in society. It cannot do this if it allows sexism to go unchallenged and it fails to investigate its elective representatives seriously.

Women do not have equality in the labour movement or the left. This is a struggle and a fight that goes on everyday at work/ in our unions/ at home/ in meetings, etc. To women; we are what militant trade unionists look like. The labour movement continues to heroise a macho, aggressive archetype of what a good trade unionist looks like.

Recently highlighted problems on the left (e.g. the SWP rape case handling) have demonstrated the need for radical change. A support group made up of women from the left and labour movement to support women and challenging abuse and sexism should be set up.

Caroline also explains why her experience of the police shows a lack of seriousness in dealing with domestic violence cases. (Again it is necessary to exhibit care here, as both the reputations of the accused and the alleged victim have been put into the balance. With regard to any criminality, the accused  is entitled to a presumption of innocence, and the burden of proof would lie upon the prosecution to establish the facts beyond reasonable doubt ):

In the past week my case against him was dropped by the police due to falling foul of their timescale for submitting a complaint.

Caroline further says:

[He] has made an official statement to the RMT that the case was dropped and he was found innocent and exonerated.

It is important to recognise that where the CPS and police decide not to prosecute, then the person accused is innocent of any criminality; however that does not mean that the issue is necessarily closed. Proceedings under civil law could still be commenced, and in the case of a union official, then the union could investigate, and should they do so, then recognition of the prevalence of domestic violence, and how imbalances of power operate means that the woman making the accusation should be given the presumption that she is telling the truth.

Whatever happens in this case, Caroline Leneghan, clearly feels let down, and seemingly the RMT has failed her.

 

174 comments on “Has the RMT acted inadequately over allegations of domestic violence?

  1. The police and CPS have not done very well here. There is no statute of limitations on assault and there is photographic evidence of ABH rather than common assault. I would say they have let Caroline Leneghan down.

    Cannot say much more until more emerges except has the investigator not heard of the expression ‘pulling your punches’ nor do the said questions asked seem appropriate.

  2. Manzil on said:

    The pictures/story are absolutely sickening.

    As SA says, I’ve never heard of a statute of limitations for criminal offences in the UK. It’s not like a bloody personal injury claim, is it. And is that “90% chance of conviction” thing the formal policy of the CPS, or more like when GPs weren’t taking appointments more than two days in advance…?

    All looks like a (series of massive) fuck-up(s).

  3. Socialist feminist on said:

    What will the Socialist Party do? So far seems like nothing… They must have known about this for a while.

  4. does this current case provide the explanation for the strange case of the dog that didn’t bark, relating to the SP’s silence on the “Delta affair”

  5. Manzil: And is that “90% chance of conviction” thing the formal policy of the CPS, or more like when GPs weren’t taking appointments more than two days in advance…?

    Its made up Manzil or local policy if you want to be polite certainly it would not stand scrutiny. The last time I looked at this 60% was the threshold ie more likely to suceed than not.

    In fact prime facie this is just the sort of case the CPS always say they need in relation to DV.

  6. Irish Mark P on said:

    Let me get this straight: If a left wing group takes it on itself to investigate serious criminal allegations it’s organising a Kangaroo Court. If, on the other hand, it leaves the matter in the hands of competent authorities (in this case the police and the RMT), it’s failing to act.

    Would this be an accurate summary?

  7. Simon on said:

    I think that Caroline publishing the photos is a tremendous response. Now we all have facebook, is it time for more victims to name, shame and show the evidence?

  8. Manzil on said:

    SA: Its made up Manzil or local policy if you want to be polite certainly it would not stand scrutiny. The last time I looked at this 60% was the threshold ie more likely to suceed than not.

    In fact prime facie this is just the sort of case the CPS always say they need in relation to DV.

    As I was saying, before we were so rudely interrupted… (And fair ’nuff, #8!)

    So if she makes enough of a public commotion about it, would they reconsider? As in, how final are these decisions not to prosecute? Because damn. Those pictures are brutal.

  9. Let us look at the facts. on said:

    So lets get this straight. She reported this to the police and the case was dropped. She reported it to the RMT and an investigation is ongoing. There is no evidence to back up this allegation, other than photographs that have appeared more than a year after the alleged event. This is a woman with a well known reputation for being abusive in relationships, this is a fact among circles in the union movement. I am suprised Andy that you have published this without investigating the validity of these claims particulartly as this could result in a writ against SU as I believe these very serious and unfounded allegations are currently in the hands of solicitors.

  10. Manzil on said:

    Let us look at the facts.: So lets get this straight. She reported this to the police and the case was dropped. She reported it to the RMT and an investigation is ongoing. There is no evidence to back up this allegation, other than photographs that have appeared more than a year after the alleged event. This is a woman with a well known reputation for being abusive in relationships, this is a fact among circles in the union movement. I am suprised Andy that you have published this without investigating the validity of these claims particulartly as this could result in a writ against SU as I believe these very serious and unfounded allegations are currently in the hands of solicitors.

    You are utterly contemptible.

  11. Let us look at the facts.: This is a woman with a well known reputation for being abusive in relationships, this is a fact among circles in the union movement.

    That is clearly an actionable comment. I’d watch it if I were you, before issuing warnings to other people…

  12. @11

    This is beyond contempt! Her words are evidence. Do you think it’s easy for a woman to come forward regarding domestic violence? Do you think it easy at all? And also what is this based on regards to, “this is a woman with a well known reputation for being abusive in relationships, this is a fact among circles in the union movement.”… Rumour? Blaming the victim?

    Even better when you comment anonymously. Very brave. Not!

  13. @11

    Her words are evidence. It is beyond contempt. Do you think it is easy to come forward and speak out against domestic violence, do you? And this about her alleged abuse in relationships, what’s that based on rumour? Victim blaming?

    It’s beyond contempt…

  14. Jellytot on said:

    @4does this current case provide the explanation for the strange case of the dog that didn’t bark, relating to the SP’s silence on the “Delta affair”

    I thought is was just schadenfreude but this case may, indeed, be the real reason.

  15. “It is important to recognise that where the CPS and police decide not to prosecute, then the person accused is innocent of any criminality…”

    Right, but there is a difference between a case being dropped (due to statute of limitations) and being “found innocent” and “exonerated” by the authorities.

    In any case, it seems RMT engaged in similar victim-blaming as the SWP did and I’m glad more women are coming with their stories forward because abuse will never stop so long as it is hushed up. Not every claim will be true and not all of those accused are guilty but incidents that remain hidden can never be investigated.

  16. The person who posted as “let us look at the facts” has now posted the same stuff 3 times. It’s got to mean something that an anonymous person feels the need to keep doing this, despite us deleting it.

    What’s more shocking is that the person posting this is known to us at SU. I’m not going to say any more, other than: Do you think we are that stupid?

    Consider yourself banned.

  17. Jota on said:

    Every organisation on the left will face instances where there members are accused of vile behaviour. The only question is whether the organisation then seeks to protect their member or not. In this case the SP seems to have left their member to face the police and their TU. Unless there is evidence that the SP pressured the alleged victim, the TU or the police, their conduct is in no way comparable to the SWP Delta case.

    The need for a popular campaign to push the police / CPS into a less dismissive approach to domestic violence is, on the other hand, clear.

  18. Jota: In this case the SP seems to have left their member to face the police and their TU.

    We don’t know that and we don’t know if the SP for example instructed its members in the RMT to disqualify themselves on the basis of declaring an interest from an active role in any RMT investigation arising from this.

    A wise leadership would do that, and they may have, but it cannot just be assumed.

    That’s truly some shameful shit at .11.

  19. Manzil: So if she makes enough of a public commotion about it, would they reconsider?

    Yeah a couple of MP letters and some media embarassing to the CPS and they will look at it again.

    If its justice you want deep pockets and/or lots of influence will do the trick.

    The winning move is often a question in the House. Senior civil servants hate that, its a status thing and shit as you know runs down hill.

  20. Manzil on said:

    #18. Now begins the waiting game to see what names don’t pop up any more…

  21. RMT should suspend him while an investigation is taking place. There must be something in the constitution/union rule book when it comes to this. I would also encourage Caroline to go to Women’s Aid for support and solidarity.

  22. What Binh says!

    And what the hell is the relevance of this

    “The investigator tried to make a link between my mental health and the assault and deemed it appropriate to inquire about my personal history”

    What has her mental health got to do with the assault. I imagine the experience of violence has possibly worsened her mental health but this line of questioning is appalling.

    “I was also shocked that the investigator asked to explain how someone of [his] build and proficient at boxing did not cause me more injuries. ”

    Well, the photos show the result of physical assault. How much more violence did he have to show for the investigator to take it seriously? FFS!!

    “The investigator also accused me of causing the injuries myself”

    Based on what? How do you beat yourself up…

    The investigator should explain themselves re this shoddy and sexist questioning, disciplined or fired. Shocking.

  23. HarpyMarx: The investigator should explain themselves re this shoddy and sexist questioning, disciplined or fired. Shocking.

    Do we have corroboration that these claims are true? You seem to be confusing allegations with truth. Surely any notion of justice requires more than assertion, no?

  24. John: Do we have corroboration that these claims are true? You seem to be confusing allegations with truth. Surely any notion of justice requires more than assertion, no?

    I don’t think anyone is making a ‘judgement’ about innocence or guilt. There does need to be an appropriate, thorough, and transparent process though. And I believe that socialists should start from the assumption that no woman is likely to complain of this kind of assault without very good reason. Have you seen the photos, for heaven’s sake???

  25. EasternHemisphere on said:

    Just to be clear on this, he only announced his intention to join the Socialist Party after Socialism 2012. I was very surprised that there was very little publicity about this in the Socialist Party’s publications. I’d have expected “RMT ******* Joins the Socialist Party.” Instead there was hardly anything, I only heard about it from Dave Nellist’s twitter feed. If the allegations are confirmed then I believe the Socialist Party should expel him, but I don’t think the Socialist Party can just presume he is guilty either. Would this be a case for their control commission Andy, or don’t you think a socialist organisation has no right to investigate such serious criminal charges?

    There are real political issues here about how issues of domestic violence are handled both by the police and the labour movement. However, your pretty obvious attempt, once more, to use this as an attack on Trotskyists doesn’t really help in promoting the discussion of those issues.

  26. EasternHemisphere:
    Would this be a case for their control commission Andy, or don’t you think a socialist organisation has no right to investigate such serious criminal charges?

    There are real political issues here about how issues of domestic violence are handled both by the police and the labour movement. However, your pretty obvious attempt, once more, to use this as an attack on Trotskyists doesn’t really help in promoting the discussion of those issues.

    Should the SP be investigating this as part of their Control Commission? No I certainly don’t. Because revo left is not equipped to deal with serious criminal allegations.

    I have many disagreements with Andy regards to Trotskyism but on this occasion he’s right to bring this to our attention. EasternH. there are echoes of the SWP, distraction and “shoot the messenger” as opposed to confronting the realities of domestic violence.

  27. EasternHemisphere,

    You ask whether the SP should investigate, but then make some snide point about me thinking a socialist party doesn have the competence to investigate.

    This shows you have understood nothing about the swp delta affair. The swp acted as a substitute for police with a bizarre kangaroo court.

    As both the police and rmt have investigated, sp are not in a position of making the same mistake. However the sp should act, judging whether on probability the accused has acted improperly.

  28. HarpyMarx,

    Harpy, this falls into a similar category as the john terry case where the FA as a professional association had their own hearing AFTER the police action, where the police had to prove beyond reasonable doubt, and with presumption of innocence.

    The FA had a different sort of hearing with no presumption and based upon deciding on a balance of probability.

    The SP cannot decide whether someone committed a crime, but they could and should take the woman accusations seriously.

  29. Winston Smith on said:

    The accused only joined the SP 5 months ago. Why is there an assumption that they know about it?

  30. Winston Smith on said:

    Andy Newman:
    HarpyMarx,

    Harpy, this falls into a similar category as the john terry case where the FA as a professional association had their own hearing AFTER the police action, where the police had to prove beyond reasonable doubt, and with presumption of innocence.

    The FA had a different sort of hearing with no presumption and based upon deciding on a balance of probability.

    The SP cannot decide whether someone committed a crime, but they could and should take the woman accusations seriously.

    Speaking as an SP member I totally agree.

  31. Andy, yes I believe the Control Commission should have a response but what worries me is that they will react in a similar way to the SWP’s way of investigation. I worry there will be a whitewash. That is why I said no initially. But obviously I don’t know the internal mechanisms of the SP.

  32. EasternHemisphere on said:

    Andy Newman: You ask whether the SP should investigate, but then make some snide point about me thinking a socialist party doesn have the competence to investigate.

    Not a snide point but a rhetorical question. How do you act “judging whether on probability the accused has acted improperly”, without some kind of investigation? Probably their control commission would not be the appropriate body since neither the accused nor the accuser was a member of the SP at the time, and unlike the Delta affair, it is not a question of an individual member being mistreated by a party body, or member of a higher body. But if you want the SP to take any quick action before the issues are probably fought out in civil court then somebody in the Socialist Party has to evaluate the evidence. Personally, I think they should do that, so they do have to investigate in some way, irrespective of and in addition to anything done by the CPS and the RMT. In the case of the SWP the person making the accusations did make a complaint to their disputes committee. They had to investigated the case, to refuse to would have been to deny the legitimate rights of the person making the accusation, a party member. Of course, in no way should that have precluded the rights of the accuser to go to the police. The problem is that the investigation was, in the opinion of many people in and outside the party, including myself, a complete white-wash.

    HarpyMarxEasternH. there are echoes of the SWP, distraction and “shoot the messenger” as opposed to confronting the realities of domestic violence.

    Not at all. It is the manner in which it was initially raised, and Andy’s attempt to link this to the SP’s lack of public comment on the Delta affair in the comments section, that I am referring to here. Plenty of other people haven’t commented publicly either, the Morning Star comes to mind. Add to this his attempt to explain away the SWP affair as a result of “cult-like” Leninist Parties, when pretty much similar processes are at work with the Liberal Democrats, a cover up in order not to damage the party, and the apologetics for Galloway’s comments on Assange, where the most appallingly misogynistic comments were posted on these forums about those accusing him, without any kind of censure, I have a pretty deep distrust of Andy’s sincerity in addressing the issue of violence against women an issue that certainly does need addressing.

  33. EasternHemisphere on said:

    Well, I don’t disagree with Andy’s subsequent comment about the Terry affair, and its relevance to the present situation.

  34. EasternHemisphere on said:

    Winston Smith: The accused only joined the SP 5 months ago. Why is there an assumption that they know about it?

    I suspect they did know about it, otherwise I believe his decision to join the party would have been advertised more widely. However, before the allegations were even made public, it would have been difficult for them to reject his membership outright.

  35. EasternHemisphere on said:

    Citizen Smith,
    I don’t really like the idea of some area full-timer convening some kind of local investigation, but at least they didn’t blame the victim. I’m not opposed to left-wing and labour movement organisations holding their own investigations. I actually think they should. If the victim/accuser wants to pursue the matter further, and make a criminal complaint then they should cooperate with that too. I don’t agree with Andy that this should necessarily only be AFTER a police investigation. A difficult problem is when the organisation concerned believes that the accusation is true, but the accuser does not want to pursue the matter with the police. In that case the reality is a very difficult call when the victim’s wishes have to be balanced against the danger of future assaults. The bottom line though has to be no tolerance for slurs against the accuser. That is true of this case, the Assange case and the Delta case. I completely agree with Andy’s point above that accusations of this nature need to be taken seriously.

  36. Manzil on said:

    EasternHemisphere,

    I don’t think it matters whether they were SP members at the time. Say I happen to keep people’s heads in my fridge. So long as I do this before arranging my subs, does this mean we’re A-OK?

    Hedley should be suspended from the party while the issue remains unresolved. There is a difference between investigating an allegation, and responding to the information publicly available.

    It would be unreasonable not to take Caroline Leneghan’s complaint seriously.

    Hell, if Jane Aitchison could be kicked out by the SP for sending her kids to private school, I doubt it would have any serious compunction about responding to what may constitute assault OABH.

  37. Winston Smith on said:

    EasternHemisphere: I suspect they did know about it, otherwise I believe his decision to join the party would have been advertised more widely. However, before the allegations were even made public, it would have been difficult for them to reject his membership outright.

    No it wouldn’t. When Steve announced that he’d joined he openly acknowledged (here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqJZpQij32g) that he “has massive, massive differences with the Socialist Party” and is “not a Trotskyist” (8:39). That would have been grounds to reject a membership application. This is part of the reason I don’t think the SP knew about these allegations.

  38. John Lake on said:

    The account given of the RMT investigation raises some very serious concerns about how the matter was handled. Its not clear to me whether the investigation has been concluded or not. Presumably the findings of the investigating officer will have be go back to the union leadership, the Council of Executives, to consider what action to take.

    Should they decide an assault has occurred,it is within their remit, under Rule 2 of the union’s Rules, to expel a member from the union.

    The Council of Executives may expel from the Union any member or members who in its opinion has or have:

    (a) conducted themselves in a manner deemed to be inconsistent with membership of the Union;

    (b) injured or discredited the Union or otherwise acted contrary to the interest of the Union and its members;

  39. EasternHemisphere on said:

    Manzil: I don’t think it matters whether they were SP members at the time. Say I happen to keep people’s heads in my fridge. So long as I do this before arranging my subs, does this mean we’re A-OK?

    Ah reductio ad absurdum, tiresome really, most of us grew out of making debating points like this in our teens. If you are in fact a member of the SP, and in the unlikely event that you are keeping heads in your fridge then I’m sure the Socialist Party would return your subs and disown you. I speak with experience on this as something similar did happen in the past with a CPSA Broad-Left leaflet having to be withdrawn because a local union official called Jeffrey Dahmer had backed the Broad-Left candidate. Of course had the right-wing attempted to use this against the Broad-Left most of the activists would have treated the attack with the contempt it would have deserved. It wasn’t as though the Broad Left were soft on serial killers or anything like that.

    Manzil:
    Hedley should be suspended from the party while the issue remains unresolved. There is a difference between investigating an allegation, and responding to the information publicly available.

    It would be unreasonable not to take Caroline Leneghan’s complaint seriously.

    I think a temporary suspension seems like a reasonable solution. However, even with a step like that it is not unreasonable to expect a certain amount of internal discussion first. As I know nothing about the individuals concerned, or the circumstances, I really don’t have much more to say on the matter other than to echo your point about taking Caroline Leneghan’s complaint seriously.

  40. Manzil on said:

    EasternHemisphere,

    That was quite a long-winded and ill-tempered way of saying “I agree with you”.

    But really: what does it matter whether they were members at the time?

  41. EasternHemisphere on said:

    Sorry, I got the name of the serial killer wrong. It wasn’t Jeffrey Dahmer. It was Dennis Nilsen.

  42. Manzil on said:

    EasternHemisphere:
    Sorry, I got the name of the serial killer wrong. It wasn’t Jeffrey Dahmer. It was Dennis Nilsen.

    :D

    That actually happened?

    Poor guy. I can see solicitors having a field day filing change-of-name deeds every time a particularly notorious killer is apprehended.

  43. An sionnach on said:

    Revolutionary parties are not equipped to deal with issues of this nature between members…nor are PTAs , golf cubs, women’s institutes etc etc.
    HOWEVER
    If the matter was tried in the civil courts …..where the bar of proof is lower….balance of probability vs beyond reasonable doubt, a question might be posed to RMT as to legal assistance

  44. EasternHemisphere on said:

    Manzil: That was quite a long-winded and ill-tempered way of saying “I agree with you”.

    Long-winded, maybe. But to take a more positive view it was an ill-tempered way of saying that while we don’t agree on too much, I don’t disagree with everything you say.

    Why does this matter? Well for a start it matters a lot on whether it is a case for a control commission to get involved, since the main purpose of having a control commission in a Leninist organisation is to ensure the rights of party members against the abuse of power by party bodies. Had Caroline Leneghan been a member of the SP she would have had the right to make a complaint to the control commission. Now if the Central Commission was to suspend the accused in this case, he would have the right of appeal the the control commission. Now if it is to function as such a check it must be independent from the CC. That is why having two CC members on the Disputes Committee in the case of the SWP is a significant violation of Leninist norms.

  45. EasternHemisphere on said:

    Manzil: Poor guy. I can see solicitors having a field day filing change-of-name deeds every time a particularly notorious killer is apprehended.

    No. He wasn’t a poor guy. He was an actual serial killer who backed a Broad-Left candidate. And it is a true story. The leaflets had already been printed and were trashed. Of course when we asked for support from branch officials we had no way of knowing what this guy had been up to in his spare time, and that he quite literally did have heads in his fridge. I hope you see my point and that I wasn’t just being long-winded.

  46. Manzil on said:

    EasternHemisphere: He was an actual serial killer who backed a Broad-Left candidate.

    Wait, you were actually talking about THE killer? I thought you meant someone with the same name!

    Comrade Nilsen? That is crazy. Dayumn.

    Anyway, maybe we’re coming at it from different perspectives. I don’t have an interest in whether it accords with “Leninist norms”. If the control commission is exclusively concerned with defending members from party bodies, then obviously it isn’t the appropriate forum for dealing with it.

    However, that has nothing to do with the date he joined, because from the sounds of it, a ‘control commission’ wouldn’t be the appropriate avenue even if had been a member at the time. In any case, you were the one who actually brought up the control commission! :)

    Evidently HardpyMarx wasn’t addressing whether the SP should react under the auspices of the control commission, but whether it should react at all. So to clarify, you don’t think it matters whether someone is a member, if the act would otherwise merit disciplinary action?

  47. EasternHemisphere on said:

    Manzil: So to clarify, you don’t think it matters whether someone is a member, if the act would otherwise merit disciplinary action?

    Of course not. My point related to the appropriate body/procedure for dealing with the case. Maybe if it were an incident that had happened years before and the person accused had shown evidence of remorse or change, but that does not apply in this case.

  48. Lawrence Shaw on said:

    It seems to be accepted that the accused joined the SP 5 months ago to very little fanfare, having spent some time previous to this as a non-aligned TUSC supporter.

    This is surprising. Given the SP’s lionisation of senior TU officials who agree with it on areas like a new workers party, you would have thought his joining the party would be front page news.

    Unless, of course, something was holding them back from making too much of a noise.

    Could it just possibly be that the SP knew of the allegations?

    If this is so, why on earth did they admit the accused to membership?

    Is it because they seek legitimacy for their position amongst trade unionists and decided the accused’s status as a militant rep outweighed his alleged crimes?

    Mind you, if I was accused of something quite serious, I too would seek the support and comradeship of thousands of others who would be prepared to unquestioningly defend me. After all, the party can never be wrong.

  49. Manzil on said:

    EasternHemisphere: To a certain extent though it is also relevant to the degree to which you can really hold the SP responsible. I mean had it been Peter Taaffe then an attack on the political culture of the SP would have more justification than in this case someone who joined only five months before.

    Well if the leadership was aware of the allegation against him, then I can see why that might have added to the radio silence over the SWP. The only response was mention of the 2008 ‘Left Unity’ pamphlet.

    But that’s complete speculation. I’ve not seen/heard anything to suggest they knew anything about it. No one I personally know did. And the SP’s dismissal of others on the left, as not worth consideration, is hardly a new phenomenon and needn’t have been motivated by the Hedley allegations.

  50. EasternHemisphere on said:

    Lawrence Shaw: Mind you, if I was accused of something quite serious, I too would seek the support and comradeship of thousands of others who would be prepared to unquestioningly defend me. After all, the party can never be wrong.

    Except there is no evidence yet of the willingness of the SP to unquestioningly defend anyone. I previously made a similar point, but Winston Smith did make a reasonable case that there were other reasons that the SP might not have been too keen to loudly trumpet their new recruit.

  51. Lawrence Shaw on said:

    EasternHemisphere: Except there is no evidence yet of the willingness of the SP to unquestioningly defend anyone.

    Yes that’s true. I hope this remains true.

  52. EasternHemisphere on said:

    Manzil: Hell, if Jane Aitchison could be kicked out by the SP for sending her kids to private school,

    I admit to actually thinking this was awesome that they would expel her and her partner, two prominent union officials, for this reason. I’m almost disappointed to find that it was also a result of disagreements about the way forward for a dispute in the DWP. Still, it’s not exactly the actions of a completely unprincipled group who will defend any supporter in a prominent union position, regardless of what they do.

  53. Duncan on said:

    It seems to be accepted that the accused joined the SP 5 months ago to very little fanfare

    Steve Hedley announced that he had joined the SP during a speech he gave at the main rally during Socialism 2012, the party’s annual national event. The people attending this event possibly constitute a majority of the SP’s active membership and periphery so I don’t think this can be seen as ‘very little fanfare’.

    The decision of Steve Hedley to join the SP certainly got a bigger mention than when Brian Caton (former longstanding general secretary of the POA) joined the party in 2010/2011.

  54. EasternHemisphere on said:

    Duncan: The decision of Steve Hedley to join the SP certainly got a bigger mention than when Brian Caton (former longstanding general secretary of the POA) joined the party in 2010/2011.

    However, I didn’t see it in any reports of the event, other than Dave Nellist’s twitter feed. Maybe I missed it, but certainly there was more coverage about Brian Caton joining in SP publications. That is a little odd. However, I’ve since been made aware of a number of other plausible reasons for the SP’s lack of enthusiasm for their new recruit. All this is basically speculation.

  55. Lawrence Shaw on said:

    Duncan:
    It seems to be accepted that the accused joined the SP 5 months ago to very little fanfare

    Steve Hedley announced that he had joined the SP during a speech he gave at the main rally during Socialism 2012, the party’s annual national event. The people attending this event possibly constitute a majority of the SP’s active membership and periphery so I don’t think this can be seen as ‘very little fanfare’.

    The decision of Steve Hedley to join the SP certainly got a bigger mention than when Brian Caton (former longstanding general secretary of the POA) joined the party in 2010/2011.

    Trainspotters like me actually look at the party newspapers. When Brian Caton decided to join the SP it was not only reported in The Socialist but positively and rightly trumpeted in an interview with him.

    From searching The Socialist website today there are only a handful stories where the accused is mentioned, and none of them mention that he has chosen to join the party.

    Given the importance of winning over successful militant trade unionists to the new workers party platform as it is formulated and explained in party literature, it is unfathomable the party’s own newspaper chose not to report the fact that the accused had taken the decision to join the party at the annual showpiece rally.

    Not a word of it mentioned here: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/15629/07-11-2012/socialism-2012

  56. Lawrence Shaw on said:

    Lawrence Shaw,

    Although – to be fair, the full video of his speech on the website does include the big moment when he announces his decision to join as he agrees with 90% of the party platform…it’s just not highlighted anywhere in party literature.

  57. Howard Fuller on said:

    EasternHemisphere: I admit to actually thinking this was awesome that they would expel her and her partner, two prominent union officials, for this reason. I’m almost disappointed to find that it was also a result of disagreements about the way forward for a dispute in the DWP.

    This dispute is far from over as Jane issued an e-mail last week attacking the Socialist Party’s handling of the Facility time crisis.

    Far be it for me to defend a political opponent but I published this:

    http://howiescorner.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/hell-hath-no-fury-like-scorned-comrad.html

  58. Manzil on said:

    EasternHemisphere: I admit to actually thinking this was awesome that they would expel her and her partner, two prominent union officials, for this reason. I’m almost disappointed to find that it was also a result of disagreements about the way forward for a dispute in the DWP. Still, it’s not exactly the actions of a completely unprincipled group who will defend any supporter in a prominent union position, regardless of what they do.

    Exactly. Didn’t mean to suggest I was criticising it.

    And likewise – didn’t know there was more to it than that until reading your comment.

    EasternHemisphere: However, I’ve since been made aware of a number of other plausible reasons for the SP’s lack of enthusiasm for their new recruit.

    Simply from other members’ anecdotes I’ve heard since Caroline Leneghan’s blog post, there are numerous reasons the party may not have rolled out the red carpet. All more to do with their personal experiences of Hedley before he joined (summary: he’s an arsehole), than to do with Leneghan’s allegation. But then, that’s all hearsay. I don’t know. I’d like to think it wasn’t known, anyway.

    That’s all inconsequential now that these details have come out publicly. I’d hope a suspension is on the way, following whatever formal process has to be gone through.

  59. andy ford on said:

    “In cases where there is an imbalance of power, and domestic violence allegations would fall into this category, then given the societal pressure to silence victims it is reasonable and proportionate to presume that the alleged victim is telling the truth, and the burden of proof should lie upon on the accused.”

    This is incredibly dangerous stuff. All over the world the bourgeois are attacking democratic rights, especially the presumption of innocence. And now socialists are joining in!?

  60. Vanya on said:

    #65 I agree.

    There are specific circumstances where an allegation of domestic violence by a woman with no corroborating evidence WILL (not even may) lead to the authorities taking action against the accused, particularly in the case of convicted offenders on licence, who will be returned to custody if such an allegation is made. It’s a very effective and known way of controlling your partner.

    It’s also a fair bet (based on experience, including within my own family) that in an alleged DV situation that a black male accused will be arrested if a white female victim makes an allegation, even if there is evidence of wrong-doing on the part of the alleged victim.

    I am more than conscious of the high levels of male on female domestic violence and the need for the issue to be tackled, including by building on the gains that have been won by campaigns to get the authorities (Police, local authorities, courts, housing associations etc) to take it more seriously.

    However I will not give an inch to the idea that the stick should be bent to facilitate a situation where it becomes easy for innocent men to be falsely convicted and/or stigmatised because every alleged victim is automatically believed.

    As for the specific case referred to in this thread, the accuser could question the decision of the CPS not to prosecute, and should take advice on challenging it. This can in certain circumstances form the basis of judicial review, although there are strict time limits.

    Perhaps she could also look at a civil case for assault.

  61. John on said:

    Vanya: However I will not give an inch to the idea that the stick should be bent to facilitate a situation where it becomes easy for innocent men to be falsely convicted and/or stigmatised because every alleged victim is automatically believed.

    Well said and thanks for injecting a desperately needed note of common sense and reason into this discussion.

  62. “However I will not give an inch to the idea that the stick should be bent to facilitate a situation where it becomes easy for innocent men to be falsely convicted and/or stigmatised because every alleged victim is automatically believed.”

    You could equally say this about theft, make an allegation that someone has stolen something when they haven’t. Nobody really says it about theft or false allegations, or any other form of crime YET when it comes to violence against women this line is trotted out time and time and time and time again. It’s gets unbelievably tedious. Do you want to go back the ‘corroboration rule’ where the judge would tell a jury that because women are prone to making things up they should consider the evidence carefully! It was only got rid of back in the early 1990s… when it was thrown into the misogynistic dustbin of history………!!

  63. Vanya on said:

    HarpyMarx,

    I should avoid wasting your time. I will not be moralised into backing down on this question. My black nephew was sent to jail by a magistates bench of 3 middle class white women because he defended himself against his white ex-girlfriend.

    Watching himbeing cuffed and led away in tears was more than fucking tedious I can tell you.

  64. Readers may be interested in this recent attempt to take ‘traditional’ Marxists to task for refusing to treat rape as a political issue. The author looks at events in the SWP, RMT and across the British left in the light of what Marx and Engels wrote about sex and its connection with class:

    ‘Feminism is a Dirty Word’. What Would Marx and Engels Think Today? – Camilla Power:

    http://libcom.org/history/‘feminism-dirty-word’-what-would-marx-engels-think-today-camilla-power-radical-anthropol

  65. Manzil on said:

    For criminal prosecutions guilt must be established beyond reasonable doubt, and there is a presumption of innocence. For most civil cases, which would include investigations by trade unions and political groups, not only is the burden of proof only to establish what is more likely to have happened; but also there is no presumption of innocence, or indeed any presumption of guilt.

    In cases there there is an imbalance of power, and domestic violence allegations would fall into this category, then given the societal pressure to silence victims it is reasonable and proportionate to presume that the alleged victim is telling the truth, and the burden of proof should lie upon on the accused.

    From this I don’t think it’s clear whether Andy Newman is referring to criminal cases or not – I assumed (although everyone else seems to have taken the opposite view) that he was referring how to the RMT (in this case) should deal with such a complaint, as opposed to a criminal court.

    And if we are talking about how civil society reacts to such complaints, then presumably voluntary associations could be more relaxed about how they respond. I think the RMT for instance should begin from the assumption that something serious has happened, and then investigate. I don’t think the damage to the accused’s reputation would be any more intolerable than that faced by women in even serious criminal complaints, which is just accepted as a fact of life.

    If we are talking about a criminal trial though, I sympathise with Harpy’s reaction, but given that most cases like this lack hard evidence one way or another, wouldn’t it be nigh-on impossible for someone to prove their innocence beyond a reasonable doubt? How do you prove a negative?

    Which is not to suggest that anything but a statically insignificant number of complainants are making false allegations. But the principle of a high burden of proof is predicated on the idea it’s better a guilty person goes free, than an innocent one is wrongly convicted. It’s not about slandering the average complainant, merely of basing the legal system on the ‘worst case scenario’.

  66. jack ford on said:

    Some feminists take an instrumentalist view of the law and would be quite happy to undermine the presumption of innocence in order to increase rape convictions on the grounds that statistically chances are the man is guilty. There is a moralistic authoritarian streak in parts of the left that needs to be kept in check.

  67. jack ford: ome feminists take an instrumentalist view of the law and would be quite happy to undermine the presumption of innocence in order to increase rape convictions on the grounds that statistically chances are the man is guilty. There is a moralistic authoritarian streak in parts of the left that needs to be kept in check.

    This is nonsense. As a socialist feminist I believe in innocent until proven guilty BUT that doesn’t stop taking an allegation seriously, you listen to all sides of the story and tell them seriously and an appropriate body that makes the decision. The above quote by jack ford just looks like feminist bashing!

  68. #74 I think Jack is right about some feminists. The fact that you have made it clear that you are not one of them doesn’t invalidate his point.

    The rest of what you have said here I entirely agree with btw.

  69. Genuine question, some people say one of the reasons for the appalling low conviction rate for rape is partly due to the number of false accusations with some girls proven to be vindictively crying wolf over the issue, is there any truth in this?

  70. Calvin on said:

    HarpyMarx,

    That’s because rape is a uniquely difficult crime to prosecute because the usual defence is consent. With most other crimes, it is the act itself which is being denied. Prove the act and you will generally get a conviction. “I admit I beat him up in a dark alley and took his wallet, your Honour, but he asked me to”, probably won’t get a defendant very far.

    That’s why convictions for ‘stranger-rape’ are very high, but most reported rapes do not end up in court because in the absence of any witnesses or corroborative evidence of violence or coercion, it’s her word against his. And no jury, properly directed, is going to convict on that alone, and rightly so.

    Which does, I agree, leave us with the problem that many rapists are getting away with it, and their victims are not getting justice. But there is a limit to what the police and courts can do about that because under the existing law, convictions require proof.

    Changing the standard of proof from ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ to a ‘presumption of guilt’ would mean that any man could be jailed on the basis of an accusation alone.

    This would be a fundamental change to the foundations of the criminal justice system and would lead not only to a sharp increase in the number of rapists jailed, but also to numerous miscarriages of justice as well as blackmail attempts.

    You may not be too bothered by that, but I’ve had enough experience of life to know that there ARE people out there, men and women, who do make false allegations in relationships for all kinds of reasons, e.g. revenge for affairs, custody cases etc.

    As the recent slew of rape and abuse scandals show, there IS a problem in many organisations and within wider society. This needs to be addressed, but undermining the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is not the way to do it.

  71. Manzil on said:

    George W:
    Genuine question, some people say one of the reasons for the appalling low conviction rate for rape is partly due to the number of false accusations with some girls proven to be vindictively crying wolf over the issue, is there any truth in this?

    Nah.

    The Home Office study, ‘A gap or a chasm? Attrition in reported rape cases’ says:

    Summary
    ● There is a small group of cases, initially treated as rape where there is no evidence of an assault: primarily where a third party makes the report and the victim subsequently denies; or where the victim suspects being assaulted while asleep, unconscious or affected by alcohol/drugs but the medical/forensic examination suggests no sex has taken place. How the police should designate such cases is problematic.
    Eight per cent of reported cases in the sample were designated false by the police.
    ● Cases were most commonly designated false on the grounds of: the complainant admitting it; retractions; evidential issues; and non co-operation by the complainant.
    ● The pro formas and the interviews with police officers suggested inconsistencies in the complainant’s account could be interpreted as ‘lying’.
    ● The authors’ analysis suggests that the designation of false allegations in a number of cases was uncertain according to Home Office counting rules, and if these were excluded, would reduce the proportion of false complaints to three per cent of reported cases.
    ● This is considerably lower than the estimates of police officers interviewed”

    Which would put it broadly in line with the Rape Crisis conclusion:

    “There is a commonly held belief that the figure for false allegations is high. In fact there is no evidence to suggest that it is any higher than false reporting of any other crime – around 2%.”

    I think it’s more that there is a pervasive fear of false accusations, disproportionate to the actual threat. And that probably does have an effect on the conviction rate; the Home Office report demonstrates that it seriously affects how the police perform when investigating rape, for instance.

  72. Andy Newman on said:

    Manzil,

    Of course. As is blindingly obvious from context as it follows discussion of the fact there is already no presumption of innocence in civil cases, I was referring to how such a case should be dealt with by an investigation by a private body such as the RMT, where that organization also provides the context of unequal power.

    In such cases there is already an institutional bias to protect the accused.furthermore in cases like this both the reputation of the accuser and the accused are thrown into the balance.

    Of course there is a danger of reputations damaged by false accusation, but there is also a danger of abused people being further traumatised and stigmatised.

    My experience is that there are often different perceptions of what happened, and both those who have inflicted violence and those who have rewrite their own memories partly to minimise trauma, but also to rationalise away things they did or said which they feel are inconsistent with how they felt about it later.

    That is why investigation and questioning needs to be skilled and thoroughly prepared. This is no place for well meaning amateurs.

  73. Andy Newman on said:

    Calvin,

    I really struggle to see how the presumption of innocence which already does not exist on civil cases and disciplinary cases is undermined by acknowledgeding the bias in favour of the powerful.

  74. Andy Newman on said:

    Vanya,

    It is surely a straw man to suggest that arguing for internal investigations to be judged on balance of probability means that women are automatically believed?

    Even my more controversial statement that in circumstances of unequal power, the presumption should be upon the person with power to demonstrate they did not abuse it does not mean the accuser is automatically believed.

    I see nothing in principle wrong with arguing in an internal investigation that the onus should be on the 50 yr old national secretary to establish that the relationship with a schiolgirl he had authority over was not improper

  75. Anon SW on said:

    Manzil: “… false reporting of any other crime – around 2%.”

    In some circumstances there can be a perceived personal or economic interest, or other agenda that could be promoted, by deliberately falsely reporting a crime, or exaggerating the extent of a crime. There is in addition the possibility of honest mistakes or misinterpretation of an event, and also, eg, confusion or mental illness on the part of a complainant resulting in ‘crimes’ which did not actually occur, being reported.

    The idea that such misreporting only generates a 2% falsehood of crime reports doesn’t seem credible to me at all, and I would wonder how that statistic was arrived at.

    I am a social worker with over 20 years post-qualified experience, and I have been involved in numerous cases where reports of abuse or violence were made, to social services & / or the police, by eg neighbours, partners, sometimes young people, and even now and then by professionals (eg teachers or support workers) which turn out to have been mistaken or malicious etc.

    NB there are also a high proportion of some crimes (including obviously rape and domestic violence) which do occur but which don’t get reported, and without any doubt these by far outnumber the false reports which are made.

  76. andy ford: “In cases where there is an imbalance of power, and domestic violence allegations would fall into this category, then given the societal pressure to silence victims it is reasonable and proportionate to presume that the alleged victim is telling the truth, and the burden of proof should lie upon on the accused.”

    This is incredibly dangerous stuff. All over the world the bourgeois are attacking democratic rights, especially the presumption of innocence. And now socialists are joining in!?

    So to clarify. You want to change the law to make it more unfavourable for people complaining of abuse?

    You oppose the current situation in civil cases, and internal disciplinary cases where there is no burden of proof upon the complainant ? Currently such a tribunal should only decide on balance of probability what happened. You seemingly want the standard of the criminal law applied instead?

    And what is the problem in asking that in a civil case, or disciplinary investigation that- where issues of imbalance of power are involved- the burden of proof that they did not abuse that power should lie with the more powerful?

  77. Anon SW on said:

    Manzil: any higher than false reporting of any other crime – around 2%

    In many circumstances there can be a perceived personal or economic interest, or other agenda that could be promoted, by deliberately falsely reporting a crime, or exaggerating the extent of a crime. There is in addition the possibility of honest mistakes or misinterpretation of an event, and also, eg, confusion or mental illness on the part of a complainant resulting in ‘crimes’ which did not actually occur, being reported.

    The idea that such misreporting only generates a 2% falsehood of crime reports doesn’t seem credible to me at all, and I would wonder how that statistic was arrived at.

    I have been involved in numerous cases where reports of abuse or violence were made, to social services & / or the police, by eg neighbours, partners, sometimes young people, and even now and then by professionals (eg teachers or support workers) which turn out to have been mistaken or malicious etc.

    NB there are also a high proportion of some crimes (including obviously rape and domestic violence) which do occur but which don’t get reported, and without any doubt these by far outnumber the false reports which are made.

  78. Howard Kirk on said:

    HarpyMarx: This is nonsense. As a socialist feminist I believe in innocent until proven guilty BUT that doesn’t stop taking an allegation seriously, you listen to all sides of the story and tell them seriously and an appropriate body that makes the decision. The above quote by jack ford just looks like feminist bashing!

    I agree with Vanya’s comment on this – because, Harpy Marx you do not see it that way, does not invalidate his point. I have had arguments with a feminists on two occasions who saw it that way, and in both cases it became very heated – any false convictions were seen by them as collateral damage for getting more convictions.

  79. Andy Newman: Even my more controversial statement that in circumstances of unequal power, the presumption should be upon the person with power to demonstrate they did not abuse it does not mean the accuser is automatically believed.

    This is highly problematic. Who’s to say who has power in any relationship or sexual encounter? Just because the man may have status within an organisation, and the woman involved does not, or has less status within said organisation, this does not automatically confer power in a relationship, which operate to their own dynamic.

    This is why justice, for it to be justice, has to be impartial.

    Abuse of power can also be evident in who gets to decide which allegations of domestic violence or abuse get aired on a blog, and which do not?

    For the sake of argument, would you have been so eager to post this if it has been Paul Kenny’s partner alleging domestic violence or abuse?

    This is the problem with the power conferred on people who run blogs. It is unaccountable and can easily lead to abuse in of itself.

    This stuff belongs in the courts. It is far too serious to be picked over on a blog.

  80. andy ford on said:

    #87 Excellent post. Especially that personal relationships “operate to their own dynamics” – they do not automatically follow the dynamic of the organisation the incident takes place in.
    For Andy Newman #83, in a civil case, or a disciplinary case, there is no burden of proof on either party. You submitted that “the burden of proof should be on the accused”. Now imagine if that was the case in workplace disciplinaries.

  81. andy ford: You submitted that “the burden of proof should be on the accused”.

    In cases where there is an imbalance of power.

    I am offering a suggestion for discussion, as I say above:

    Andy Newman: I see nothing in principle wrong with arguing in an internal investigation that the onus should be on the 50 yr old national secretary to establish that the relationship with a schiolgirl he had authority over was not improper

  82. Lawrence Shaw on said:

    andy ford: You submitted that “the burden of proof should be on the accused”. Now imagine if that was the case in workplace disciplinaries.

    As I understand employment law Andy, all the employer has to prove is that they acted reasonably over something that happened on the balance of probabilities.

    The bar is far lower than the criminal test of proving beyond reasonable doubt.

    So the employer can say “I am pretty sure you did this because a few other people say you probably did” and sack you and get away with it unless you have utterly compelling watertight evidence to the contrary. Provided they can show that you probably did something then they have passed the very low test they need to within the Employment Law framework.

    Under that framework I would suggest the accused would be finished in this instance.

  83. These are both highly presumptious and problematic assertions

    Binh: Fire whoever asked her these questions.

    HarpyMarx: The investigator should explain themselves re this shoddy and sexist questioning, disciplined or fired. Shocking.

    JOhn responds to them correctly here:

    John: Do we have corroboration that these claims are true? You seem to be confusing allegations with truth. Surely any notion of justice requires more than assertion, no?

    What we have is caroline’s own account of her own recollection of the investigation.

    It is common for both perpetratoors and victims of traumatic situations to rewrite their own memories to recontextualise what happened, particularly if this can then remove things they said and did that they feel are inconsistent with how they felt about it later in hindsight. This is not lying, this is how our minds work.

    The questioning of people who have been or present themselves as being the victims of vioelnce and abuse is therefore very difficlt, and victims may feel that questioning that was actually approropriate, was inappropriate; and the questioning may itself bring back trauma and therefore be itself misremembered.

    Because it is difficult does not mean that organisation should not do it, but they need to move on from the “Life on mars” mentality that many organisation on the left and in the labour movement still have,

    Equally, and I stress this in my original article, we cannot find the solution to ending violence in blaming individual perpetrators; and those who are perpetrators have often been victims themselves; or grown up in, or experienced circumstances where violence is normalised; and we also have to reject the idea that this is all men against women; the perpetuation of cultures of violence in famillies also includes mothers and female relatives, as well as men.

  84. Manzil on said:

    Anon SW,

    Their methodology is explained within the report.

    Additionally, it addresses some of the points you make. For instance, the relatively higher police statistics (typically 12%) are based on the “no crime” appellation, which traditionally does not differentiate between insufficient evidence, mistaken reports, and false accusations.

    The point is that false reporting of rape is in line with what one would expect. As far as I know, there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. Do you disagree with that?

    It is the perception of disproportionately large numbers of malicious accusations which is the problem – affecting how people behave from the very get-go, whether police, the actual victim etc.

  85. Andy Newman:
    and we also have to reject the idea that this is all men against women; the perpetuation of cultures of violence in famillies also includes mothers and female relatives, as well as men.

    Beyond the “perpetuation of cultures of violence” women may also be the perpetrators of violence, against both men and other women. I don’t know if this is what you were intending to convey, but I thing it shouldn’t be forgotten.

    I am a bit confused about how you are interpreting power imbalances when adjusting the burden of proof. Are you talking about power in the organisations? Or are you suggesting that the context of a sexist society means there is a presumption against a man?

    My understanding is that male victims of domestic violence are reluctant to report to the authorities or share experiences with friends, which suggests there is more to this than sexism.

  86. John: For the sake of argument, would you have been so eager to post this if it has been Paul Kenny’s partner alleging domestic violence or abuse?
    This is the problem with the power conferred on people who run blogs. It is unaccountable and can easily lead to abuse in of itself.
    This stuff belongs in the courts. It is far too serious to be picked over on a blog.

    John, I can assure you i was far from “eager” to further publicise this, and I am far from being certain about what is the best way to respond to these issues., on the blog or in real life.

    Caroline had already published her story, and it was already in fairly wide circulation on facebook, and in the small world of the RMT it was already a rock thrown into the pond.

    I really hate the idea of trial by Internet; and I certainly don’t rule out the idea that I can be guilty of errors of judgement. But the nature of the Internet means that once Caroline had decided to publish, the story was going to spread.

    I don’t think that there is any particularly greater problem with articles being on a blog compared to articles in a newspaper. The recent media attention on Cardinal ‘o Brien and Lord Rennard spring to mind. Both have faced carrer damaging allegations, and in Lord Rennard’s case some of the allegations might be of possibly unlawful activity.

    In both of their cases, newspaper editors have, I think rightly, judged that there is a public interest in examining how institutions have dealt with accusations, especially in the light of the Jimmy saville fallout.

    None of us know the facts in the case in question, but the public interest is in how a trade union has dealt with a complaint to them; and the woman’s perception of that investigation.

    What i hope we have done, on SU at least, is steer the discussion away from any prurient interest, or attempt to make judgement, and instead try to discuss how such allegations should be treated.

    What is particularly difficult in these cases, the reputation of both the accuser and the accused are thrown into the public arena. Let us put to one side the question of the criminal law; and let us just look at complaints to an organisation, where the burden is only balance of probability, then there is possible damage to the reputation of the man accused; but equally the reputation of the person making the accusation also suffers if a tribunal or investigation hearing finds on balance of probablities that the behaviour complained of did not happen.

    Your point about other union leaders is a good one. To a degree that is right at the heart of the problem.

    As Hopi Sen pointed out somewhere (was it twitter?), any Schadenfreude about the Lib Dems discomfort over Lord Rennard should be tempered by realism that the Labour Party might not handle such issues any better.

    Furthermore, the left and the trade unions live within our society and are comprised by flawed human beings, who have experienced all sorts of traumas themselves. It is unrealistic to expect that becasue people are on the left that they are not subject to the same compulsions and weaknesses as everyone else. It is also unreasonable to assume that bad things are only done by bad people.

    I would not be at all surprised to find that given the slightly mafia culture in most trade unions, that similar allegations might be handled ineptly or worse.

  87. John: Who’s to say who has power in any relationship or sexual encounter? Just because the man may have status within an organisation, and the woman involved does not, or has less status within said organisation, this does not automatically confer power in a relationship, which operate to their own dynamic.

    That is a very good point, and one I had not factored enough into my original argument.

    I hold to my point that where there is an imbalance of power within any organisation, then within the context of that organistaion, it would be appropriate for there to be presumption of beleif towards the less powerful person coming forwards; not only because of the institutional pressures to silnce victims in such circumstances, but because there would be bias to beleive the person important within an orgsanisation, the more powerful person would find it easier to collate and present evidence, and because the onus of maintaining professional behaviour and avoiding impropriety should lie with the person with more responsibility and power.

    Within private relationships there is a much more tangled knot of factors, and abused and abusers often reprise and repeat the same patterns over and over again.

    I still think that domestic violence situations exhibit unequal power (and of course it is not always the woman who is the victim of this) where violence used as a mechanism of control, often to assert control through frustration where other dynamics are causing that person to feel status is threatened.

    Personally, and I am not speaking entirely without experience here, I would give more weight to the explantion of the person who had received violence of how that happened.

    But as I have said before, the problem of violence cannot be solved by focussing on individuals who are violent, unless we address and acknowledge that violnce is contextualised and socially conditioned;

    Victims become perpetrators, repeating patterns they have themselves witnesssed or experienced; and the social conditions are not the creation of men alone; but of women as well.

    As Elie Godsi argues in the fantastic book, “Violence in Society”, brutalising social influences, often in childhood, lead to expresions of powerlessness and loss of control

  88. Matt: Beyond the “perpetuation of cultures of violence” women may also be the perpetrators of violence, against both men and other women. I don’t know if this is what you were intending to convey, but I thing it shouldn’t be forgotten.

    Yes, but statistically less likely to be so.

    Matt: I am a bit confused about how you are interpreting power imbalances when adjusting the burden of proof. Are you talking about power in the organisations? Or are you suggesting that the context of a sexist society means there is a presumption against a man?

    within an organisation, I did not make myself clear as i hadn’t though it through enough.

    Matt: My understanding is that male victims of domestic violence are reluctant to report to the authorities or share experiences with friends, which suggests there is more to this than sexism.

    absolutely, I know all about that. BUt I don’t think that this can be excepted from a discussion of sexism. Look at the example of Ross Kemp, when he complained of domestic abuse, the press ridiculed him for not being manly enough.

    Usually, women perpetrators of violence are less physically strong than their male partners, which does change the scope of it; and whereas the same aspects of rage and frsutration, and repeating patterns they have expereinced or witnessed as children apply; there are less likely to be issues of anger being exhibited over preceived threatened status within the relationship.

  89. Matt: male victims of domestic violence are reluctant to report to the authorities or share experiences with friends, which suggests there is more to this than sexism.

    Most victims of domestic violence, whether men or women, are unwilling to report it for a number of related reasons. Often they still love the person being violent to them, they may have children with that person, there is shame attached to being a victim, it is seen as a private matter, and in some cases people either beleive that involving the police will make it worse, or know that it will.

    While we are discussing the expereince of women being violent to their male partners though, remember that men rarely end up dead.

    Women are routinely killed by their partner or ex-partners, but we are so habituated to this, that our society has lost the capacity to be shocked by it.

  90. Andy Newman: Women are routinely killed by their partner or ex-partners, but we are so habituated to this, that our society has lost the capacity to be shocked by it.

    Indeed.

  91. andy ford on said:

    #98 No, the level of violence and murder against women by their partners and ex-partners (at about 25% of all murders)is shocking, and the cases continue to shock. One of the first socialist organisations to raise this was the Militant/Socialist Party, with the Campaign Against Domestic Violence (CADV) in the 1990s.

  92. Andy Newman:

    Women are routinely killed by their partner or ex-partners, but we are so habituated to this, that our society has lost the capacity to be shocked by it.

    Another statistic but a personal one for me is my friend Aileen. Lovely, beautiful, funny and intelligent. I first knew her when we ended up in Psychology research classes.. She had a great sense of humour and we would end up doing experiments and research. Her interest was in child psychology, she had this infectious laugh and would visit me at work in the library to either get extra books or sweet talk me into dropping the fines for over due books. She met this bloke who she talked all the time about, she seemed happy. I lost contact with her as I dropped out of the course and a couple of years later I bumped into a mutual friend who told what happened to Aileen. The bloke she was seeing was controlling and possessive and violent. She left him. She went out to a party and came back home he had broken in and waited for her. He attacked her he murdered her. He tried to use provocation and manslaughter. Instead he was found guilty of murder and doing a life stretch. Aileen is buried in Ireland.
    I thought about Aileen as I lit a candle at the Billion Women Rise demo in Bristol and wondered what she would be doing now if she lived, a child psychologist no doubt.

  93. Right. While Caroline only made her public statement this week, this issue has been on her Facebook profile and thus semi-public since about 20 January and widely known about in the RMT not long after that. That SP members in London Underground RMT did not know about it seems very unlikely to me.

    Let’s see what they do now, anyway. Doesn’t take that long to discuss and get a preliminary statement out: let’s see.

  94. Alan Ji on said:

    I have a number of experiences I could contribute, not having met either of the two people concerned.
    1) a vivid memory of a debate about Domestic Violence at a Nalgo annual Conference. I was staggered by the number of confident, strong-minded women I knew slightly who went to the rostrum and told 2,000 delegates that they had been in relationships with violent men and how difficult it was to get out of that situation.
    2)Telling colleagues about that debate afterwards. One reminded me that she and I had already had that discussion, and that she had told me it had happended to her. I didn’t make that mistake again.
    3) getting a phrase into an employer’s disciplinary procedure that suspension is not in itself a punishment, and unless there is a punishment all reference to it will be removed from the individual’s file.

    If a person who hold’s a voluntary elected position in a Union has made an allegation of violence against a full-time official, why is he at work whilst the allegation is being investigated?

  95. Anon SW on said:

    Manzil: The point is that false reporting of rape is in line with what one would expect. As far as I know, there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. Do you disagree with that?

    I’ve no reason to believe that false reporting of rape is any higher than that of other offences. What I think is highly unlikely is that the rate of false reports of crime is only 2%.

    However, if Rape Crisis is accurately quoting the police on this, it could be that the police are using the phrase ‘false reporting’ to mean something quite different from everyday / common sense usage.

    So in that case, the police stating that 2% of crime reports are false (by their definition) does not at all imply that 98% of crime reports are true.

  96. Pingback: A courageous post about domestic violence committed by a prominent trade unionist and Socialist Party member. | Loony Lefty

  97. caroline leneghan on said:

    ” This is a woman with a well known reputation for being abusive in relationships”

    What the hell? I’ve just seen this. I don’t know who you are and I don’t think you must know me as I have absolutely no reputation of anything (even if I did…) whoever you are you are vile.

  98. caroline leneghan on said:

    And I hate that I’m justifying myself because I know I shouldn’t have to, but I haven’t even had any relationships on the left, or any that anyone knows about, so I just can’t believe this was written. Though of course I see it for what it is.

  99. As i have said i dont know they details beyond the fact he is not a currently a member. So i would request the original article is edited to reflect that fact. As for the issue at hand im jot gonna get involved in it. It does need to be investigated hy the appopriat3 bodies (the rmt & police) until then personally i think everyone should reserve judgement

  100. GR: i would request the original article is edited to reflect that fact.

    I am happy to amend that if the Socialist Party approach me and confirm what you are saying.

  101. Well i just did confirm it! So let me get this right you happy yo publish something without evidence but wont retract it unless evidence is provided and you expect people to take you seriously

  102. GR: Well i just did confirm it!

    Steve Hadley says he joined the SP, others I know in RMT have confirmed he is an SP member.

    There are a number of SP full timers who know me, and some who comment here. If they contact me I will correct it. You however “GR”, I do not know from Eve.

    So the most reliable info I have places him as an SP member.

  103. Im not asking you to say he definativ3ly isnt a member just to remove the refernce which explictly states he is. even if you dont believe me it has brought the issue into doubt so even the most basic of journalistic ethixs would suggest you reomve the refernce until yo- can clarify it

  104. Sorry GR, but none of us know who you are – we can’t just say “oh an anonymous person has told us something, we must act on it”. Unless you’re prepared to put your name and some kind of credentials in with your posts, you can’t expect us to act.

  105. Clearly it’s something you couldn’t even be bothered to find a few moments to read then, given that the person making the accusations has put her name and photo on her blog post, and has commented here against yet another anonymous poster.

  106. Oh hang on “anon”, no you can fuck off, you’re the anonymous poster who tried to smear the woman concerned earlier. Get off this site, your kind of scummy anoymous trolling isn’t welcome here.

  107. [deleted] on said:

    [anonymous smear-troll trying once again to smear the woman who came forward with the accusations. big and brave aren’t you, posting anonymously?]

  108. EFComrade on said:

    I am also of the understanding that Steve Hedley is no longer a member of the Socialist Party. I say this as a member who was informed of this by reliable sources from within the party itself. Might be worth checking how up to date your information is

  109. Might be worth the membership secretary dropping Tony Collins a email then. The tendency of the official SP machinery to ignore blogs such as this is daft. Asking a talented, articulate comrade to keep an eye on what is discussed and comment for the SP would be welcome. Irish Mark P, for example. Possibly not Jimmy H.

  110. John R on said:

    A web-site/petition which may be of interest (via jim jepps site) –

    Our movement must be a safe space for women

    “We the undersigned labour movement activists stand in solidarity with all women opposing all forms of male violence against women. We recognise that male violence against women is endemic in society, and that our movement is obviously and unfortunately not exempt.”

    https://womeninthelabourmovement.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/our-movement-must-be-a-safe-space-for-women/

    The statement was written by Marshajane Thompson and Cath Elliott (who moved the Unison anti-rape denial motion). Among the signatories –

    Ann Henderson Assistant Secretary STUC
    Laurie Penny
    Caroline Leneghan
    Beatrix Campbell

  111. John R on said:

    EFComrade:
    I am also of the understanding that Steve Hedley is no longer a member of the Socialist Party. I say this as a member who was informed of this by reliable sources from within the party itself. Might be worth checking how up to date your information is

    If Steve Hedley is no longer a member of the Socialist Party then it might be worthwhile for the SP to amend their web-site.

    He is listed as one of their public figures.

    http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/keyword/Socialist_Party_and_CWI_public_figures/Steve_Hedley

  112. Rinka on said:

    Jota – I wasn’t aware that the Socialist Party was answerable to Socialist Unity and the assorted sectarians and chancers filling up the comments.

    Still, glad Neil was able to confirm the news, rather pisses on Newman’s raspberries, how will he launch sectarian attacks on the Socialist Party now?

  113. Vanya on said:

    #129 How does it make any difference to this post?

    He resigned over the allegations but still denies them and still intends to work politically with the SP.

    And presumably it wasn’t known when the post was put up that he’d resigned.

  114. Rinka on said:

    No, but the likes of Newman and Lawrence Shaw were clearly trying to use the situation to knife the Socialist Party.

  115. Good grief – the sense of victimhood of these people knows no end does it? “knife the Socialist Party”? Get a grip please.

    I accept Neil’s information cos of who he is and the link he has provided. If Andy wants to update the post, that’s up to him – but also, bear in mind that the whole movement thought Steve was still a member, so it’s not a peculiar little mistake made by SU.

  116. Vanya on said:

    Tony Collins,

    Tony it wasn’t even a mistake ffs! He was a member, hence the fact that he was able to resign, and he resigned because of this issue.

  117. also a member of Militant Labour in 1994 on said:

    Andy Newman: post rewritten, I hope you appreciate the editorial reasons.

    Comment 40 is untrue and libelous. For starters, there was no expulsion. This comment should at least be edited, if not removed, or you could face action as the publisher.

  118. Rinka on said:

    The Socialist Party has received a message from Steve Hedley, assistant general secretary of the RMT, resigning from the Socialist Party.

    Steve feels it is necessary to resign in order to concentrate on dealing with an allegation of domestic violence which has been made against him. Steve refutes this allegation, which is currently being investigated by the RMT.

    Steve wrote:

    “Regarding our conversation earlier the police have dropped the case and I’m currently awaiting the outcome of the RMT investigation.

    “I am not in control of when the decision will be made and have been strongly advised against issuing a public statement whilst investigations are ongoing.

    “I know this puts the Socialist Party in a difficult position and am therefore resigning my membership.

    “I will continue to support TUSC and the NSSN and work constructively with SP comrades.”

  119. Vanya on said:

    #138 Repeating what was in the piece that Neil linked to doesn’t make your earlier comment any more pertinent.

    Some SP members /sympathisers should reflect on how silly they may be making themselves look here, and completely pointlessly.

  120. EasternHemisphere on said:

    daggi:
    also a member of Militant Labour in 1994,

    What would any apology be? “The publishers of this websiteapologise for a commenting suggesting that a rapist was expelled from your political organisation. We now accept that no expulsion took place and are pleased to clear this up”?

    Well, I suspect this could well be the individual concerned, who incidentally these days seems to reserve more poison and vitriol for the SP than any poster on this site. If I can figure out who he is from this post, although I don’t know any of the details of the incident, then others can too.

  121. @Rinka

    To be fair I think the post is reasonable, SH has only just resigned (something I’m intensely relieved about as an SP member) and was still a member when the post went up. Even if the possibility of using this issue as a Stick to beat the SP with, I don’t think the post reflects that. That said I thought the original post was a bit rash and I’m glad it was edited to give a more measured view. Any chance of a footnote at the bottom just to make it clear he has since resigned? Not everyone reads the comments.

  122. also a member of Militant Labour in 1994: Comment 40 is untrue and libelous. For starters, there was no expulsion. This comment should at least be edited, if not removed, or you could face action as the publisher.

    Well organizations cannot be libelled. And I do not believe any individual is identified . So there is no libel.

    It is also far from decided whether s blog is the publisher, or whether we provide a bulletin board upon which people self publish- see the Betfair case.

  123. also a member of Militant Labour in 1994 on said:

    Andy Newman: Well organizations cannot be libelled. And I do not believe any individual is identified . So there is no libel.It is also far from decided whether s blog is the publisher, or whether we provide a bulletin board upon which people self publish- see the Betfair case.

    The individual is clearly identifiable to anyone with any knowledge and the comment is worded in a way that is designed to achive exactly that. The fact that comment no. 40 lies about the expulsion that never happened is key. If truth were on his side, why would he need to do that? Pretty much everything else he says is a lie too. Apart from the fact that he was a member of Militant Labour back then.

  124. Irish Mark P on said:

    It is not in any way objectionable that the original post mentioned that someone who actually was a Socialist Party member at the time when the post was written was in the SP.

    The issue with the later comment, Andy, is not what it claims about Militant Labour 20 years ago, something of which I have absolutely no knowledge. The issue is that the person it makes extremely serious allegations against is easy for a large number of people to identify. If you are happy for anonymous posters to use your site to make those sort of allegations, that’s your business. Personally, I would suggest editing out the last (identifying) sentence.

  125. EasternHemisphere: It wasn’t Jeffrey Dahmer. It was Dennis Nilsen.

    Nilson was also listed as a “contact” with the SWP, and young comrades used to deliver the paper to his house.

    No criticism of either SWP or SP, just a warning that there are dangerous people out there, and because someone has ostensibly left politics doesn’t mean they arene’t fucked up

  126. Irish Mark P: The issue is that the person it makes extremely serious allegations against is easy for a large number of people to identify. … … I would suggest editing out the last (identifying) sentence.

    I wasn’t aware he could be identified from that comment, this is also now done.

  127. Look, generally SP members have responded sensibly and proportinately on this thread.

    But I have to object to this sort of nonsense:

    also a member of Militant Labour in 1994: Comment 40 is untrue and libelous. For starters, there was no expulsion. This comment should at least be edited, if not removed, Or you could face action as the publisher .

    SU does not now, nor will we ever, respond by rolling over to threats of libel; and we have had the lot, from proper solicitors letters following the proper pre-action protocol, to half baked emails from the SWP,and verbal threats of legal action from John Rees.

    And guess what, through all the abuse and threats, what we have been saying about the SWP has been vindicated; and I am convinced that the whole story would not have come out without SU.

    I think this sort of passive-aggressive threat displayed here: “or you could face action as the publisher” just reveals whoever wrote it as the most snivelling inadequate bully.

    And the peopple who wrote this sort of nonsense need to think themselves on, unless they are trying to project the image of the SP as a cult:

    Rinka: the likes of Newman and Lawrence Shaw were clearly trying to use the situation to knife the Socialist Party.

    Rinka: I wasn’t aware that the Socialist Party was answerable to Socialist Unity and the assorted sectarians and chancers filling up the comments.
    Still, glad Neil was able to confirm the news, rather pisses on Newman’s raspberries, how will he launch sectarian attacks on the Socialist Party now?

    GR: even if you dont believe me it has brought the issue into doubt so even the most basic of journalistic ethixs would suggest you reomve the refernce until yo- can clarify it

    GR: Well i just did confirm it! So let me get this right you happy yo publish something without evidence but wont retract it unless evidence is provided and you expect people to take you seriously

  128. EasternHemisphere on said:

    Andy Newman: Look, generally SP members have responded sensibly and proportinately on this thread.

    But I have to object to this sort of nonsense:

    Andy, there is no evidence that “also a member of Militant Labour in 1994″ is actually an SP member. Personally I think it is far more likely that it is the individual concerned, who these days, as might be expected, hates the SP with a passion. I doubt any SP member would have much interest in defending this guy’s reputation. Check the IP and if it is from a a major city outside Dublin in the Republic of Ireland I’m probably right. If not, my point still stands and the guy has friends who are probably not in the SP.

  129. Kate the Red on said:

    Comment 40 seems to be a hot potato I was in the SP at the time, the allegation was domestic violence and not rape the comrade was expelled

  130. EasternHemisphere: there is no evidence that “also a member of Militant Labour in 1994″ is actually an SP member.

    Fair point.

    I repeat that in my view, generally SP members have responded sensibly and proportionately on this thread.

  131. also a member of Militant Labour in 1994 on said:

    So now the most serious allegation – made in comment 40- is changed by ‘Kate the Red’. What then does ‘Kate the Red’ then think of her former comrade – the author of comment number 40 – spreading false allegations in this way about such a serious matter? In relation to the expulsion, there was no expulsion. That’s an outright lie.

  132. also a member of Militant Labour in 1994: So now the most serious allegation – made in comment 40- is changed by ‘Kate the Red’. What then does ‘Kate the Red’ then think of her former comrade – the author of comment number 40 – spreading false allegations in this way about such a serious matter? In relation to the expulsion, there was no expulsion. That’s an outright lie.

    You can’t be serious. One pseudonymous poster makes a claim about events 20 years ago, which most of us had no idea about. Another pseudonymous commenter challenges the facts. Then a third pseudonymous commenter asks the second pseudonymous commented what they think of the first pseudonymous commenter.

    None of you have any credibility with me. And I would have edited #40 straight away had I realised a real person could be identified.

  133. Kate the Red on said:

    My name is Kate McCaffety nee Tyrrell was a socialist party member have no axe to grind but do remember the incident very well.I am not hiding behind fuck all and have no reason to lie about comment 40

  134. Kate the Red on said:

    Bit fucking annoyed at you Andy Newman didn’t have a dig at you and you called my credibility into question

  135. Kate the Red on said:

    BTW before anybody else out’s me and ya do love a bit of gossip on here. I am an ex partner of Steve Hedley and I never experienced any agression or violence from him I can on state my own facts and not anything on anybody else’s case. I have remained in touch with Steve for the last 17 years

  136. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    Kate the Red:
    Bit fucking annoyed at you Andy Newman didn’t have a dig at you and you called my credibility into question

    Possibly you have no credibility with him since you used a pseudonym.

  137. Kate the Red: Bit fucking annoyed at you Andy Newman didn’t have a dig at you and you called my credibility into question

    Ridiculous. I made it quite clear from the context:

    Andy Newman: One pseudonymous poster makes a claim about events 20 years ago, which most of us had no idea about. Another pseudonymous commenter challenges the facts. Then a third pseudonymous commenter asks the second pseudonymous commented what they think of the first pseudonymous commenter.
    None of you have any credibility with me.

    the lack of credibility, relates to competing claims from lots of people using pseudonyms.

  138. EasternHemisphere on said:

    Kate the Red: Eastern Hemisphere is the IP address Galway

    I’ve no idea. I have absolutely nothing to do with the admin of Socialist Unity. The only reason I suggested checking the IP address was so that Andy could see who he might potentially be dealing with here. While I disagree with him on many things I wouldn’t like to see Socialist Unity get hit by this guy just because no one noticed that comment #40 did identify him. I met the guy a few years before the incident, and always wondered what had happened to make him turn so bitter towards his former comrades. But quite frankly it’s impossible for those of us who weren’t involved to evaluate the claim and counter-claim twenty years on. For once I find my self sympathising with Andy.

  139. andy ford on said:

    The mark of a witch hunt is that even to be accused of the crime is an indication of guilt.

  140. Kate the Red on said:

    Sorry Eastern HemisPhere i re read your post I thought u had said you check the ip address I see now it was a suggestion and a good one sorry again

  141. “the burden of proof should lie upon the accused” — and, behold, with this pearl of schwineish wisdom, Newman proves beyond all reasonable doubt that he is perfectly insane. All that remains is that this budding Socialist Inquisitor also claims the privilege of torturing confessions from the less convincing prisoners.

    Weitermachen, Obersturmbannführer!

  142. Jimmy Wilson on said:

    red snapper: FYI.
    Steve Hedley has finally been cleared of DV allegations.
    http://stevenhedley.wordpress.com/

    It seems that trial by internet has failed on this occasion. Some of the posters here seem to go by “guilty until proven innocent”. Will they now issue an apology to Mr Hedley for any distress caused to him? I think not.

    Incidently I am a former RMT member and activist and I always found their equal opportunities gender policies and practices to be excellent. In my area and industry women were treated equal to men (who formed the bulk of the workforce). Gender was never an issue when electing staff reps and I wasn’t aware of any Domestic Violence claims or investigations within the union.

  143. Howard Kirk on said:

    Maybe, now the RMT investigation is over and Mr Hedley has made a statement, it should be printed, and given the same prominence as the viewpoint of his accuser.

  144. red snapper on said:

    Damn right. They should hang their heads in shame after putting a good man and his family through sheer hell.

  145. I would find it worrying if steve’s statement is not published. This kind of personal stuff is messy enough, if you insist on getting involved you should at least represent both sides equally.

    My old man is a labour man. But he got so embittered by Blairite politics that he ended up sounding more like a Tory Mp than a socialist. We have got to struggle against ultra leftism, just as much as we have got to be aware of right opportunism. The full story needs to be printed here.

  146. red snapper: Steve Hedley has finally been cleared of DV allegations.
    http://stevenhedley.wordpress.com/

    Jimmy Wilson: Some of the posters here seem to go by “guilty until proven innocent”. Will they now issue an apology to Mr Hedley for any distress caused to him? I think not.

    Howard Kirk: now the RMT investigation is over and Mr Hedley has made a statement, it should be printed, and given the same prominence as the viewpoint of his accuser.

    George W: would find it worrying if steve’s statement is not published. This kind of personal stuff is messy enough, if you insist on getting involved you should at least represent both sides equally.

    FFS.

    Someone posts Steve Hedley’s statement on here at 9:00 pm at night, and then before anyone has had a chance to read it, let alone respond, a whole bunch of you start blathering on about why we haven’t responded.

  147. Manzil on said:

    You stand exposed before the class, Andy Newman. If that even is your real name.

    Terribly sad situation, and good that it has been resolved. At least the police and the RMT (not to mention Steve Hedley himself) dealt with it responsibly.

  148. Sorry my post was intended to be slightly tongue in cheek, but I did say I would find it worrying IF it was not published I wasn’t making a judgement on the fact it hadn’t yet been published. But I see your point.

  149. Pingback: MORE ON THE RMT'S DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INVESTIGATION | Socialist Unity