I have suspended my legal action against the owner of Momentum Jon Lansman so as to be free to criticise, politically, his current actions and place them in an historic context which I know better than almost anyone else.

I am grateful for all those who expressed their support for me in the face of his despicable attack upon me as an “anti-Semite” when nobody who knows my politics could possibly believe this to to be true. Including him. His demand that Talk Radio should end the broadcast of my radio show The Mother of All Talkshows – the only pro-Corbyn show on the mainstream media, and his call on “all responsible broadcasters” to cease giving me platforms (this was aimed at my RT show Sputnik) sought to aggravate the damage.

I am especially grateful to those who donated or pledged to do so, to the cost of the case either directly to my lawyers or to the crowdfunding appeal.

In the case of the latter, the appeal has of course been closed and no pledges will be cashed in, so no loss to any donor.

Acting upon political advice I have concluded that the depth of my knowledge about Jon Lansman, going back nearly 40 years, was more valuably employed in the political attack on him which I shall now make. This article is the first, but not the last installment in this.

I knew no good could come of Jon Lansman’s unexpected return to front-line Labour politics, and I warned all those who needed to know of my misgivings. It has come as a shock to Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell and their friends that Lansman, so soon after placing himself on a left wing slate for election to the National Executive Committee, has betrayed all of them by his conduct over the appointment of a new General Secretary of the Labour Party. It has not shocked or surprised me in the slightest.

The tin-hat (not that the author would ever wear one himself) was the attack-piece by David Aaronovitch in this week’s Jewish Chronicle. The Times journalist gave over his JC column to sing the praises of Jon Lansman and to predictably damn the Corbyn candidate for General Secretary, Jenni Formby. Aaronovitch comes from a fine Communist family but his apostasy has literally no bounds, even when writing about his own flesh and blood. Dave supported the Iraq War  which still rages and has killed a million people and counting, with a vehemence, but he did enter the caveat that if there turned out to be “no weapons of mass destruction” he would “never support the prime minister Tony Blair again”. Naturally, like most other things in his life, this was a pledge he betrayed.

Now I have no idea what Jon Lansman’s view of the Iraq war was, I have never heard nor read any statement by him about the most significant event of our era. But the support of the war-dog Aaronovitch will in any case be welcomed by Lansman. Indeed the kind of bile embodied in Aaronovitch’s attack is the only way Lansman can hope to prevail. Not only did Lansman secure the much coveted Aaronovitch endorsement, more importantly his rival Formby got the full mad-dog treatment from big Dave. Particularly over Palestine. It was on that basis that his readers in the Jewish Chronicle were told “this contest matters to you”. I have no idea what Jon Lansman’s view on Israel-Palestine is either, again I have never heard nor read anything he’s ever said on the matter. But support for his campaign against Jenni Formby will be welcomed by him from any quarter.

Not just because you can judge a woman by her enemies, the truth is Jeremy Corbyn John McDonnell and their comrades have made a good choice in Jenni Formby as their candidate to replace Ian McNichol – the Witch-finder General. A woman in the post addresses the heavily male-dominated profile of the Labour leadership. A trade union leader acknowledges the party’s most important special relationship. A Unite official acknowledges the critical importance of that union in winning and sustaining in the darkest hours the whole Corbyn project. A courageous supporter of the Palestinian people, as Formby is, speaks for itself.

No supporter of the Labour leader whether a party member or not should be deliberately causing trouble for Jeremy Corbyn. He has troubles enough; a thin notional majority on the NEC, a thinner position in the party’s apparatus, and a non-existent hold on the loyalties of the Parliamentary Labour Party which contains almost all of the 172 MPs who stabbed him in the back in the Coup of 2016. Whilst some of those plotters may have experienced a Damascene conversion the vast majority have not. They remain in wait for round three.

When that supporter causing trouble is, as Lansman is, the founder and effective owner of an organisation, Momentum, which is SUPPOSED to be Corbyn’s Praetorian Guard, words almost fail you, unless you know Jon Lansman like I do.

The conduct of the campaign against Jenni Formby, the Corbyn/McDonnell candidate, whether approved of by the intended beneficiaries or not, is also sadly predictable.

Supporters of Israel were out early smearing Formby as some kind of anti-Semite entirely because of her record of standing up for the Palestinians. For Lansman-backer David Aaronovitch this record disqualifies her from the outset.

Phone calls to Trade Union General Secretaries and other influential union figures seeking to cobble together an anti-Unite bloc, smearing Len McCluskie – who almost lost his job because of his support for Corbyn – as “a backroom-operator who is determined to fix Labour politics to the disadvantage of everyone else are now underway”. Though no-one could have predicted how the mask over the inherent enmity between the Lansman camp and the trade unions would slip.

Top Lansman supporter on the NEC, Christine Shawcroft would soon launch a vicious – unprecedented since the 1950s – purportedly “left wing” attack on the British trade union movement. In doing so she went further than anyone in left-wing history – even at the height of the Bevanite battles against right-wing controlled unions – demanding an end to trade union affiliation to the Labour Party, the final severance of the link with organised Labour which had caused the party to be born in the first place.

And thus the battle plan of the Lansman camp becomes clear: hostility to the trades unions, hostility to the Palestinian cause. Shawcroft on the one front, Aaronovitch on the second. Those salvoes having now been fired – without demur from Lansman in either case – it will be left to the minions to carry these flags into the battle for Labour’s future.

That battle had already begun to turn dirty in any event.

Leaks of internal conversations – such as Corbyn allegedly telephoning Lansman twice to persuade him to withdraw his candidature – have mysteriously appeared in the newspapers.

Momentum – or rather its hand-picked leadership – have written to ALL 37,000 of its membership encouraging them ALL to consider applying for the vacant post, when Corbyn and McDonnell have already identified the candidate they want and need. It is little short of farcical, but the letter is in the post!

The demand that the General Secretary position should be an ELECTED post – one member one vote, removing unions from any collective say in the appointment and setting up yet another rival to Corbyn with a mandate from the membership is another ploy. The GS position is a management and organisation job, a full-on 24/7 job. Lansman, in my long experience of him is unqualified on every count for such a job.

But if every cloud has a silver lining,the glimmer of hope in this shocking turn of events is that it will focus unwelcome (to Lansman) attention on what exactly Momentum is, and what it should be.

That Corbyn needed an organisation to protect and defend him, and extend the Corbyn revolution within British politics is a given. Indeed I was defending both Momentum and Lansman’s leadership of it, just hours before his attack on me, on TalkRadio (I did as I have throughout the last two years, make clear that, on a personal level I had no time for Lansman)

This I also did when endlessly retweeting social media posts in support of the Momentum slate for the NEC- including posts that specifically highlighted the danger of Lansman lagging behind his running mates.

I did this because I support Jeremy Corbyn not Jon Lansman. I even encouraged members of my own family to join Momentum!

I did this because Momentum is not Jon Lansman, It is I’m sure in its overwhelming majority composed of outstanding activists, sincere Socialists. genuine supporters of the Corbyn revolution.

When internal democracy looked like producing an ultra-left majority on Momentum’s leading committees I supported Lansman (whilst again making my caveats about him) I did that because I am not a supporter of ultra-left adventurism – as Mr Lansman well knows.

When I first met Jon Lansman an ultra-left adventurer was precisely what I considered him to be.

A journalist wrote in the Guardian last week that Jon Lansman “ran” Tony Benn’s Deputy Leadership campaign ( to be fair the journalist in question was not born at the time). Lansman was certainly a runner for the campaign, but he never ran it.

Jon Lansman was a fresh-faced youth at the time of Mr Benn’s epic campaign in 1981, albeit an energetic and enthusiastic one. I was the Scottish organiser of the campaign – at the time I was a full-time Labour Organiser, Chairman of the Labour Party in Scotland and a rising member of the Transport and General Workers Union (now Unite). I was one of those consulted by Mr Benn before he made his fateful decision to run and was asked by him to lead the Scottish end of the campaign.

Jon Lansman’s no doubt splendid education at Highgate and Clare College Cambridge had not put him in close touch with the working-class or its trade union and labour movement.

Mr Benn loved him to be sure and so my frequent reports to the potential leader, that Lansman and people like him were not the touchstones on whom he should be over-relying and that their ultra-left adventurism, as people like me saw it, could cost us victory in what was shaping up to be the tightest of contests, were not always received well. By Mr Benn or Lansman.

Every shop steward, every trade union militant, every likely conference delegate was someone who had to be fought for, house by house, committee by committee. Lansman, his public-school and Cambridge elan notwithstanding was not the man to be doing the fighting.

Our subsequent defeat by one half of one per cent was a devastating blow to the British left and I was one of those who felt that we had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, and that ultra-left adventurism had made the difference.

I have had no conversation with Jon Lansman since Mr Benn’s defeat. In the years which followed during which he drifted out of politics and into a highly lucrative business career I somehow never quite forgave him. Maybe he never quite forgave me either.

But that cannot be the reason for the attack he made upon me, at least not the main one. That main reason it is now clear to me and others was the public effort being made by Unite Chief of Staff Andrew Murray to bring to an end my expulsion from the Labour Party over the Iraq War. In a public speech and then in sundry face to face encounters with key stake-holders in the Labour Party, the former Stop the War Coalition leader (and now secondee to the Leader of the Opposition’s Office) Andrew Murray, and others close to the leader Jeremy Corbyn, were making steady progress in their efforts to bring me in from the cold. That I now believe was the reason for the toxicity and timing for Jon Lansman’s attack on me. In that sense it was the first Lansman shot at the trade union Unite. Deadlier shots are now blazing. The classless Mr Lansman has declared war on the role of the working class in Labour Politics. It is a war which can and should have only one end, the victory of the left and the end of Mr Lansman’s inglorious 15 minutes of fame.

Photos from The Independent and Sky News