View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
11 September 2018updated 09 Sep 2021 3:08pm

The motion to censure Rosie Duffield was a dog’s dinner – but democracy has won

In the meeting of the Canterbury MP’s local party branch, there was a near one-sided opposition to disciplining her for speaking out over anti-Semitism. 

By Stefan Vassalos

The horrifying, dog’s dinner motion to censure Canterbury’s MP Rosie Duffield caused gnashing of teeth among local members even before it made the news. 

As MPs rallied round Rosie last night, our anger and anguish at the move by a minority of members to discipline her came out at a meeting of our local Labour branch. We supported a second motion, asking them to withdraw theirs.

That debate was almost one-sided, such was the opposition to censuring Rosie. Members old and new, many with politics to the left of the 2017 manifesto, spoke with cracked voices and tears in their eyes about the inevitability of leaking, the pointlessness of censure, the right of Rosie to attend what she wants, the absolute need to stand against anti-Semitism, the destructiveness of the attempt to censure her, and the folly of the whole thing.

And above all, emotion was spilt on the desperate need for a Labour government, for the people within and without that room, for our community, for the kids we teach in austerity-battered districts.

Lots of members had been insulted by Rosie’s overheard comments about MPs “going on strike” over anti-Semitism and feel that she doesn’t engage with our CLP if she can help it. Others defend her on both counts, but almost all members asked the movers to withdraw their censure. It was defeated by an overwhelming margin.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

An hour later, in the pub, we saw the consequences of the anti-Semitism row: a Jewish bartender, who described himself as apolitical, asked me without anger how he was supposed to vote Labour given what he sees in the media. Then word came that those who moved the motion against Rosie had reflected and withdrawn their censure.

It wasn’t a collective u-turn or even really the quashing of the misinformed minority by the majority. Some people chose a dreadful avenue to criticise their MP for slights real and imagined, and the vast majority spoke out and persuaded them of their error, or at least that they had no chance of representing the rest of us.

It was a rough day but democracy won out. While other CLPs might be imploding, Canterbury Labour Party knows what it’s here for.

Stefan Vassalos is a member of the Canterbury branch of the Canterbury Constituency Labour Party. 

Content from our partners
Future proofing the NHS
Where do we get the money to fix the world's biggest problems? – with ONE
Labour's health reforms can put patients first

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU