WeeklyWorker

07.06.2018
Stan Keable: facts are facts, but history should be freely debated

Sacked for daring to tell the truth

Contribute to the fight to reinstate Stan Keable, urges David Shearer of Labour Party Marxists

The implications of Stan Keable’s victimisation by Hammersmith and Fulham council is a matter of grave concern for all democrats, defenders of free speech and, indeed, those of us who simply believe it is legitimate to reference historical facts to make points about contemporary politics.

Comrade Keable is the secretary of Labour Against the Witchhunt, a leading supporter of Labour Party Marxists and was a housing enforcer for the west London council for 17 unblemished years. He attended a counter-demonstration organised by Jewish Voice for Labour to challenge the March 26 ‘Enough is enough’ anti-Corbyn provocation staged in Parliament Square by a coalition of rightwing Zionist organisations and a bevy of rightwing parliamentarians (including the Democratic Unionist Party, Norman Tebbit, John Mann and Lucia Berger). The comrade mingled with the anti-Corbyn crowd, distributing leaflets and engaging individuals in conversation.

One of our comrade’s encounters was secretly recorded by the BBC Newsnight editor, David Grossman. In this, comrade Keable can be seen alluding to the well-documented collaboration between the early Nazi regime and the Zionist movement (the same episode that Ken Livingstone has been crucified for citing).

This snippet of a conversation was spread on social media, and local Tory MP Greg Hands demanded action be taken against Stan, appealing to Stephen Cowan, Hammersmith and Fulham’s Labour leader. The next day the council suspended our comrade from work for the nebulous crime of having “brought the council into disrepute” - a charge that was upheld when comrade Keable was dismissed on April 21 after a disciplinary hearing.. “Disrepute” in whose eyes? Howdoes this verifiable 1930s episode bring shame on Hammersmith and Fulham council?

To make matters worse, he was also let down by Unison, which advised him to apologise instead of fighting the charges. When he refused that advice, the union informed him that it would not represent him.

The council’s justifications for its actions state that comrade Keable “failed to avoid” the situation, not only by “making the comments”, but also by “attending [the] counter-demonstration”! This is made explicit later in a letter where - incredibly - we are told that “in attending a counter-demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament on March 26 2018, Stan Keable knowingly increased the possibility of being challenged about his views and subsequently proceeded to express views that were in breach of the council’s equality, diversity and inclusion policy and the council’s code of conduct.”

There is some slippery use of language here. Comrade Keable certainly aired his views on March 26, but the issue of Nazi-Zionist collaboration, no matter how sensitive it now is, remains an historical fact that people can have different interpretations of - but it did happen. Apparently, however, referring to any of this equates to “offensive comments”, according to Hammersmith and Fulham council. And anything deemed to be “offensive” is - literally - unsayable.

Comrade Keable is campaigning for reinstatement and intends to challenge this political victimisation at an employment tribunal. He needs £20,000 to mount a legal defence and to cover potential costs. Please contribute here: www.gofundme.com/ReinstateStanKeable.