FBU national officer in shameful attempt to link critics of leadership to baby rape threats

ON 7 FEBRUARY, FBU national officer Riccardo La Torre tweeted the following statement in relation to the widely-reported incident which saw Sir Keir Starmer face abuse from a bunch of street protesters in Westminster:

“Starmer incident is a result of slurs – of an opponent not having an honest political argument. We’ve recently recieved [sic] threats of death & sexual violence to our children at FBU Head Office as a result of slurs. Always challege [sic], but keep it honest. Your words have consequences.”

The tweet may well have raised a few eyebrows inside the union and beyond. What precisely was Brother La Torre referring to? Who had made such appalling threats? Which “slurs” had inspired the threats? Whose “words” had had such terrible “consequences” on this occasion?

Well, this blog can answer those questions.

Some weeks ago, an abusive communication was sent anonymously to the union’s head office. We have obtained a copy of that communication. While, contrary to the statement made by La Torre, the communication did not contain any direct “threats”, the language used in it was certainly abhorrent. For example, the sender let it be known that he hoped that the “babies and children” of those reading the letter would be “raped and killed”.

No right-minded person could ever defend such vile outpourings and, for what it’s worth, this blog sincerely hopes that the sender is brought to book.

But what did La Torre mean when he claimed that the disgraceful communication had been inspired by “slurs” against the FBU leadership? Who had made such “slurs”? Who was he accusing of stirring up such hostility?

Well, it so happens that the abusive words were scrawled on a piece of paper containing the text of a public statement issued by former executive council member (and national secretary of Campaign for a Democratic FBU) Paul Embery after he had won his claim for unfair dismissal against the union last year. That statement can be read here.

Embery’s statement was straightforward and uncontroversial. It reported details of the judgement that had been handed down by the employment tribunal the previous day and contained entirely accurate extracts of the judge’s remarks. There was nothing whatsoever in the statement that was not supported by the tribunal judgement or could in any way be described as false.

To suggest, therefore, that the statement amounted to a “slur” against the FBU leadership, and to further claim that the author of the statement bore some sort of responsibility for the fact that some crank decided to print it off and scrawl a stream of abusive comments over it, is despicable in the extreme.

One person and one person alone is responsible for the abusive communication received by FBU head office: the person who sent it. To draw a straight line, as La Torre attempted to do, between an entirely legitimate and accurate statement made in the light of an employment tribunal ruling delivered by a judge and a desire to see children and babies raped and killed is beneath contempt.

La Torre should withdraw his appalling accusation immediately. It does neither him nor the union any credit. His actions demonstrate yet again how far the FBU leadership is prepared to go in an effort to demonise opponents and deflect criticism. It is a leadership that would sooner smear critics than debate with them.     

“Keep it honest,” La Torre said in the sign-off to his tweet.

He would do well to take his own advice.