Never let it be said NFB does not respond to readers. Avid anti-fascists, concerned by the article on Hope Not Hate in NFB 10, were alarmed when it became clear Ruth Smeeth (featured p.38-39) was in the frame for a safe Labour seat in Stoke North. We listened to their concerns, and the following leaflet was distributed far and wide in the constituency. Happy to oblige. The selection meeting itself was a stitch-up, with only supportive anodyne questions allowed. Smeeth, the favoured candidate, was shoe-horned into position. At the 2015 General Election the questions raised below were still relevant: sadly Smeeth won the site. She has continued to court controversy, and an update on her career (including who pays for her private office) is contained in the latest NFB magazine (issue 11). DH 2-11-16
STOKE NORTH LABOUR PARTY: CHOOSE AN MP WITH TEETH, ANYONE BUT SMEETH! 31/3/14
In a month that has seen both Bob Crow and Tony Benn laid to rest, the importance of principles in politics has been underlined. Which brings us neatly to Ruth Smeeth. As you know, having been nominated by 8 out of 10 wards, she hopes to be selected as PPC for the above constituency on April 5th. We respectfully suggest that before you vote for her, the following ‘economies with the truth’ uttered by Ms Smeeth be considered, along with all of her political CV. If you do then vote for her, it cannot be said you did not know what you were getting. Either overleaf or (in the case of email) as an attachment we have enclosed two pages extracted from a far longer article analysing the political agenda/machinations of Hope Not Hate, the organisation she works for. While we do not doubt her personal anti-racism, if you thought this a Left-field genuinely ‘radical’ campaign, the full article will come as a shock. It can be ordered online via www.borderlandmagazine.co.uk or via our main web-site (www.borderland.co.uk). As the first reflex of the scoundrel is shoot the messenger, we recommend a quick glance to see we are indeed Left/Green anti-fascist investigative researchers who publish a magazine when we can. Anyway, forget us, what about Ruth, (hereafter RS)? Various points of interest are as follows >>
“I’ve lived in Staffordshire for the last seven years” (Stoke Sentinel on-line 12/2/14) declared RS. While she has an address in Uttoxeter, she has not lived there “for the last seven years” as a primary residence, the clear implication of the quote. Without going into too much detail, her actual home is in London SE23, bought for £145,000 in 2002 and now valued at over £350,000. It was recently still her main residence, shown by RS renewing her personal web-site domain ruthsmeeth.com in early 2013 from that address. RS is ‘local’ in the same way the Queen is a ‘local’ of Balmoral. Still, at least RS can commiserate with electors about house prices in Stoke. Or maybe not…
About that web-site: now here’s a thing. While the defunct ruthsmeeth.com is still owned and paid for by RS, her current campaign site ruthsmeeth.org.uk, set up in February 2014, traces back to Labour HQ nationally. RS wouldn’t be using a nationally-run site to cover up very non-local tracks would she? Perish the thought.
“I very much come from a trade union background” (Stoke Sentinel 12/2/14). True, and she has even worked for UNITE the union. However, RS omits to mention her work as head of PR for Sodexho, involved in the privatisation of school catering services roundly criticised by Jamie Oliver. Even worse, she subsequently became head of UK PR for Nestle, a company boycotted since 1988 for obscene practices including discouraging breast-feeding among African women in order to sell milk-powder. These two jobs put her supposed ‘trade union’ background in perspective. It’s not where you come from that matters, but where you end up and how you get there, as Tony Benn’s career showed.
Hidden Agenda (1) Foreign Affairs: let it not be said RS is a mundane character. A US embassy cable obtained by Wikileaks and referred to in the Daily Telegraph 5/2/11 refers to her as a source to “strictly protect”, about which RS said when challenged “I would not consider myself to be a source for the US government”. Yet she patently is. Truth serum anyone? Her husband Michael Smeeth (involved in the privatised health care sector General Electric Corporate: a surprise, not) can certainly advise her on this matter. For he is an Executive Committee member of the ultra-shadowy British American Project, set up during the Reagan Presidency, and long thought to be a US Trojan horse designed to manipulate UK politics in US interests, and heavily spook (spy) connected at that. Almost as exotic, RS is a fanatical Zionist, and has worked for pro-Israel group BICOM. Now, Zionism is certainly a legitimate point of view, but the question has to be asked, if RS becomes your MP do you really think she will be genuinely open-minded on important foreign policy matters such as war and peace (sending squaddies from Stoke to die abroad), or subordinate to the whims of those making policy in Washington & Tel Aviv rather than Tunstall? Think about it: the answer’s obvious.
Hidden Agenda (2) Domestic Politics: In 2012 RS stood for Labour’s NEC Elections on the slate of right wing pressure group Progress, a faction committed to bringing back the glory days of Tony Blair (no, we don’t remember them either) and privatising even more public services/slashing social expenditure. As her web-site shows, she wasn’t going to tell you about this until after her selection, if at all. At least Militant had the guts to argue for their political programme explicitly. That is not the RS way.
“a real people person and able to relate to working class folk on the doorstep”: an endorsement from the vainglorious Councillor Kyle Robinson’s blog 7/2/14. If this means RS’s superficial charm (as long as you don’t mention Palestine) then certainly true. However her beliefs, job profile, and evasiveness about a second home even before she’s elected (most MP’s wait till afterwards before doing that) means you should think very long, and very hard, before selecting RS as a candidate. Please do so.
As for the two other candidates you have to choose from, we certainly, as a collective, have a preference, but declaring or campaigning for such is not our role. Rather, we have put before you various verifiable facts concerning Ruth Smeeth that indicate, in our view, either of the other two would make a better MP. Over to you…