Shares, Smears & Suspension - Alan Bull In His Own Words
Labour candidate Alan Bull was suspended last week amid the latest round of 'antisemitism' allegations. His own version of events has been unaccountably missing from much of the MSM coverage. So here it is.
To whom it may concern,
Before reading this letter please consider the fact that I am not being publicly demonised for anything I have said, or written. I am being condemned for sharing posts to my then Facebook friends, (not the public), that were sent to me by, now ex-Facebook friends. This was under the misconception that they were private.
The following slogan, comes from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign - "Anti-Semitism is a crime, Anti-Zionism is a duty".
In 2014/15 before I became a member of the Labour Party I discovered Facebook (FB) and through befriending interesting sounding people I began receiving articles posted by (FB) friends that gradually revealed a very different picture of Jeremy Corbyn to that appearing in most of the mainstream media (MSM). After reposting them to other (FB) friends I received comments and other articles that exposed the shocking truth that most of the (MSM) were reporting distorted and sometimes wholly incorrect ‘news’ items about the leader of the Labour Party.
I am dyslexic which makes reading quite hard work for me, so I was very pleased when I had developed a group of (FB) friends who were willing to share articles, make comments and debate not just this, but many subjects that seemed to be missing in the (MSM). It was information that I read in this way that prompted me to join the Labour Party to do what little I can to help address the appalling misinformation being peddled against it not just by the media, but also from members of the Shadow Cabinet. I found this shocking and did not understand as it often allowed the press to divert away from Tory bad news days. I did this, inspired by the idea of Machloket – which means Torah debate. I rarely received complaints from friends but recall receiving several after posting a pro-Israel article, and I explained my reasoning then in exactly the same way.
The habit I adopted then, as now, is as follows: (FB) friends send me posts they think may be of interest. I repost mostly without comment to discover what other friends have to say. Often when a (FB) friend comments, I would cut and paste this comment complete with their name above the article before reposting, which stimulated more comments and we all benefited from the diverse opinions we shared. Being dyslexic, I found this a very fast way to acquire a broader view of these subjects, many of which I would not previously had time to look at.
The most controversial article that I re-posted privately to my (FB) friends, not the public, was in 2015, before I became active in the Labour Party. It was an article with a documentary, with the controversial title, “Red cross confirm holocaust is a hoax”. This article was not reposted with intent to offend anybody and I regret that others have made this public, thus giving it coverage I do not think it deserves. I re-posted it to (FB) friends only, without comment, with the sole purpose of gaining insight from more knowledgeable FB friends, hoping they would confirm my suspicion that it was not genuine. I have not re-posted it since I received guidance that this article had been widely discredited, and would not post anything like it again. In hindsight I fully accept that I was naive to assume that our right to free speech could, or should, include such a controversial and unacceptable article, even if only to a closed group, and I will not do so again.
For some reason the sub-heading claiming that official Red Cross records had been released with reference to an ‘IRC document’ was omitted from the screen shot, as were ALL of the 46 comments listed below the image. These were selectively removed by the person taking the screenshot, unlike other screenshots also included in the complaint, and which included ALL comments, leaving the image with maximum shock value to use when complaining that he found it offensive. This process is particularly misleading when you take into account that the missing comments included a rare exchange I had with a FB friend who asked, “Can I ask the intent of this article, are you denying the holocaust”? To which I replied, “Not at all, just posting for discussion and debate, as usual, best wishes, Alan”. These comments were seen by at least two independent witnesses before the post disappeared from my inbox last November. I had assumed that my account was secure until this post disappeared and the other shock discovery that my FB settings had been changed from, ‘Friends’, to ‘Public’ without my knowledge or consent at about the same time. Until this shocking discovery I had forgotten that the same settings change had happened once before in spring 2016.
I think most people would agree that viewing the above doctored screenshot without these key comments, gives the impression that I in some way agree with the article, which I certainly do not. It also occurs to me that this person, who I have not even spoken to, who made this screen shot, has not only trawled through thousands of my private postings, but has also completely misrepresented my intention for posting when making his complaint.
After sharing on FB in the above mentioned way, on just two occasions, I learned that the documentary had been discredited and I have not shared it since. I have only recently received information that the site the article had been posted on is not considered to be reputable. This is something I regret not having checked out before posting, even to the closed group of FB friends who were the only intended audience. Other articles included in this same complaint included four nearly identical posts of a petition asking to lift the ban on Ken Livingstone, and another ‘offensive’ article entitled “Israel Lobby manufactured UK Labour Party’s anti-Semitism crisis”? This was actually written by a member of Jewish Voice for Labour!
At the time that I made these postings to a closed FB group, I was a new and inactive member of the Labour Party. I did not became actively involved for Labour until a shock mass resignation of CLP officers prompted me to do something to help restore the local party - something I have done with enthusiasm and dedication. What kind of Labour Party comrade would chose not to join me and others out campaigning for a fairer society, but rather trawl through 18 months’ worth of old posts, comprising thousands of items in my FB inbox, before finding something that they could misrepresent and try to discredit me?
The smear campaign against me has continued with these old trawled and doctored screenshots of my private posts being constantly leaked to the press, without any serious analysis being made of them, no context being provided and without any attempt to contact me to discover the truth. Not content with the false and malicious complaints that had already been made against me, Cllr’s Ferris and Mahabadi have since arrived at a full council meeting in Peterborough wearing red T shirts with the slogan “Labour against anti-Semitism” at the moment when I arrived. The two Labour councillors have since been posting on a new social media site which is almost entirely devoted to defaming me and where I have been referred to publicly as an anti-Semite and a bigot. As a result I have become the subject of quite vicious and nasty abuse from the trolls, many of whom aren’t even in the Labour Party.
It seems that by misrepresenting me, a lifelong anti-racist, as a racist anti-Semite, these councillors have received a lot of attention. But it is so sad that their selfish malicious actions have provided the right wing media a perfect distraction from the appalling state of Britain under the Tories. They have also publicly advertised their disregard for party unity in the run up to an election. The consequences of their actions puts into question the current thinking that Labour are on track to finally win enough seats in this campaign to take control of Peterborough city council after 17 years of miserable Tory mismanagement - a result that is my personal goal.
So I was shocked to discover that the party has decided to suspend me in mid- campaign, effectively preventing me from winning this ward for Labour, whilst to date the misdeeds of the above mentioned councillors have continued unchecked.
If the actions of these right wingers was to prevent a Corbyn supporting candidate standing for election, then the suspension will have served their purpose. But at what cost to the party?
So I sincerely hope that these individuals will be disciplined as a matter of urgency before they cause any more damage. I would like to thank the many members, residents and friends who have written so many supporting letters revealing my true nature and I promise to continue to work hard for Labour in whatever function the party will allow.
Footnote: Without the settings being changed to my (FB) account without my consent, the screenshotter would not have been able to trawl my private posts, which smacks to me of the Murdoch hacking case re the Daily mail. I wonder if our rights to privacy are now a thing of the past?