UPDATED - GMB Scotland Statement
GMB Responds To Developments In Anti-Semitism Attack Against Union Organiser
In response to developments this afternoon (Tuesday 30 October) that the SNP has suspended the membership of Mr Gareth Wardell, author of the ‘Grousebeater’ blog which directed an anti-semitic attack on GMB Organiser Rhea Wolfson, and also to the apology now issued by West Lothian Councillor Frank Anderson and published in The Herald, GMB Scotland Secretary Gary Smith said:
“The SNP’s suspension of Mr Wardell was the only logical course of action to take. GMB will also be contacting Police Scotland to establish what further action can be taken.
“However, the apology from Councillor Anderson is insufficient in light of the earlier defence of his comments. We believe this is contrived and insincere. He should be sacked from his elected position and his political membership should be suspended.
“As we said earlier, no political party has clean hands on the issue of anti-semitism but nobody should need any reminders that anti-semitism is on the rise and we in GMB are clear that it is absolutely intolerable.
“The Councillor’s position is untenable and if he cannot do the right thing himself then the SNP must take that decision for him.”
Contact: GMB Scotland Communications on 07976 447077.
GMB Scotland Press Release
For immediate distribution: Tuesday 30 October 2018, 10.30AM
GMB calls for West Lothian Councillor to be sacked over defence of anti-semitic attack
GMB Scotland has today (Tuesday 30 October) called on the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon to sack a West Lothian Councillor after he defended an anti-semitic attack on the union’s organiser, Rhea Wolfson.
When pushed to apologise for sharing a blog which cites Ms Wolfson’s Jewish religion and Mein Kampf on local SNP social media platforms, East Livingston and East Calder Councillor Frank Anderson instead defended his actions.
Published in this morning’s edition of The National, Councillor Anderson said: “I don’t accept that it was an anti-Semitic article, nor was I aware of any of Miss Wolfson’s Jewish heritage. The article was, in context, about the self-serving attitude of Labour.”
GMB Scotland Secretary Gary Smith said: “The action of this elected representative over the last forty-eight hours demonstrates beyond any doubt that he is not fit to hold public office.
Given the opportunity to apologise for sharing a calculated anti-semitic and hate-filled attack on a young trade union organiser, Councillor Anderson has instead tried to justify his action by indulging in political ‘whataboutery’.
Let’s park aside any suggestion of party politics here because no political party has clean hands on this issue – but nobody should need any reminders that anti-semitism is once again on the rise and we in GMB are clear that it is absolutely intolerable.
Anyone with a sense of what is decent and right would not argue against the removal of this individual and Ms Sturgeon needs to send a clear message that anti-semitism will not be tolerated.”