Scottish Labour attack their own councillor for quoting poetry on Facebook


Bizarre criticism of pro-Corbyn councillor from Labour party press office

SCOTTISH LABOUR have criticised one of their own elected councillors for quoting political poetry on Facebook in relation to the ‘purge’ of left-wing members. 

Mary Lockhart, a popular community campaigner in Fife and now elected councillor in the area, regularly shares her views on creating peace, solidarity and justice via her Facebook page.

In one message, criticising the ‘purge’ of removing Labour members from the party, she quoted the German poet and theologian Martin Niemöller, whose work ‘First they came…’ is a famous allegory for the need for solidarity between groups facing oppression. 

However, as the poem concerns the persecution in the Third Reich, Tory and Liberal political opponents have claimed that Lockhart was comparing Labour officials responsible for the purge to Nazis. 

Scottish Labour condemned its own councillor in a statement to The Herald: “This kind of comparison is unacceptable. All elected representatives and party members have a duty to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner,” a spokesperson claimed.

Supporters of Lockhart have to come to her defence over the spat.

Alan Wyllie, a campaigner at the heart of opposition to the hated ‘bedroom tax’, said: “Mary is one of the most wonderful people I've ever had the privilege to meet. She doesn't need this overblown crap thrown at her for this. I sincerely hope that this doesn't restrict her online musings. Her online posts are inspirational.”

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Lockhart has spent decades involved in various political movements, including the Labour Party, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and spreading the legacy of rent-strike leader Mary Barbour.

The Scottish Labour leadership’s criticism of Lockhart risks widening the already pronounced factional divisions within the party.

Lockhart, close to deputy leader Alex Rowley, are both supporters of socialist UK leader Jeremy Corbyn. Opponents, gathering around challenger Owen Smith MP, sought to unseat Corbyn by preventing him from appearing on the ballot. While hundreds of thousands of people have flooded into the party to support Corbyn, there has been a persistent attempt to ‘purge’ members for previously supporting other parties – or for remarks made on social media channels.

Although the majority of Scottish Labour branches renominated Corbyn in the ongoing leadership contest, party leader Kezia Dugdale has repeatedly condemned Corbyn.

Ex-Labour strategist Paul Sinclair has claimed that Fife MSP Alex Rowley would consider a leadership challenge to Dugdale.

Picture courtesy of Mary Lockhart

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