Mann Threatened With Libel Action After Twitter Rant
The usually shy and soft-spoken John Mann launched an extraordinary Twitter attack after being called out on certain inaccuracies in his speech at Tuesday's debate on antisemitism (which of course in no way saw him using the occasion to try and smear Jeremy Corbyn).
Mann, whose seat on the 'let's use antisemitism to undermine Corbyn' bandwagon was undoubtedly booked as soon as his name appeared on the leadership ballot, spoke about the abuse he and his family have received - including shocking rape threats to his wife and concern for the safety of his children. These things are disgraceful and unacceptable.
But he also used his speech to add his own twist to the widely recognised 'throw a dead cat on the table' technique - substituting in this case a dead bird, which was sent to his wife. For the avoidance of doubt, this is also disgraceful and unacceptable - but so is using the incident as a false example of antisemitism and how the Corbyn leadership is encouraging or enabling it....
He said, referring to his role as Chair of the APPG on antisemitism: "That is what is going on at the moment. I didn’t expect when I took on this voluntary cross-party role, for my wife to be sent by a Labour Marxist anti-Semite a dead bird through the post"
'At the moment' clearly implies 'during the Corbyn administration'. But there's a couple of problems with that.
1. It happened in 2012, years before Corbyn even thought of leadership and while Ed Miliband, himself Jewish, led the party
2. It wasn't an antisemitic act, but the action of disgruntled Labour member Roger Dyas-Elliott (right), who felt he had been unfairly barred from standing for a council seat later won by Mr Mann's wife. Whilst he was convicted and given a restraining order, the case made no mention of antisemitism.
Mr Dyas-Elliott, so far as we can determine, is not a 'Marxist antisemite', but a slightly eccentric man who has a lot of books and is a big fan of Barbara Cartland.
Certain that Mr Mann would want to confirm the timing of the incident and the fact that he had not meant to apportion blame for it to the current leadership, Twitter users asked for clarification. To say that he was 'triggered' seems scarcely sufficient, indicated by his response to a perfectly polite and indeed sympathetic enquiry from journalist Kevin Maguire - although personally, Kevin, I have zero doubt that if his unfortunate wife had been sent another avian corpse, he would've been on the rooftops of Parliament blaming Corbyn before the poor creature was cold.
And it didn't end there - broadsides came they thick and fast, the majority including threats of libel against those who presumed to question his statements or, shockingly, suggest he might have ulterior motives for making them.
Individual detractors suitably lambasted, John was on a roll, and took aim at a whole organisation and its entire 50,000 membership. But - possibly because the word 'libel' was on his mind, he chose to include some potentially defamatory content himself.
Having wholesale accused 'each and everyone' of Momentum's members of antisemitism, he can't have been surprised when a number took exception - and pointed out that in fact it was he who was at risk of legal action.
A scroll through the replies to Mr Mann's increasingly toxic tweets will show that he has declined to respond to the many Labour members who questioned him - and who, in the main, did so quite politely, with many offering sympathy for and condemning the abuse and attacks against him and his family. Our favourite so far is this from Crispian
Of course antisemitism is abhorrent, as is any form of racism. But for a group of Labour MPs to weaponise it to try and destabilise the party in the runup to what will be the most important council elections in decades - that's a whole new level of treachery.
John Mann isn't the only one doing this, of course - he's just one of the loudest and has a tendency to open his mouth without thinking first, unlike some of his more careful co-conspirators who check first whether they might damage themselves more than their target. John Woodcock, for example, might have been expected to pipe up, being Jewish himself and apparently incapable of passing up a chance to smear Corbyn.
But it's increasingly clear that he, and several of his fellow backstabbers with decreased majorities, are worried the next General Election might see them thrown off the cushy parliamentary gravy train where they have been so cosy, in favour of alternative, more loyal, candidates.
The leadership of Momentum have been made aware of Mr Mann's accusations, but at the time of writing it is not yet known whether they intend to take action, legal or otherwise, against him.
It may well be that the vast majority of their time at the moment is taken up with campaigning to ensure the best possible results for Labour in the upcoming elections. It would be great if the current bunch of coup-plotters could follow their excellent example and do the same........