I am an overseas member of the British Labour Party; as most people know I live in Galway on the West coast of Ireland. I was born in London in 1967 and so am entitled to membership as a member of Labour International. I am a full member of the party, having joined last July.
I hold no office in and have never claimed to represent the British Labour Party. Most people would not even be aware that I am a member of it. However, I did help organise and edit the online publication '21 Poems, 21 Reasons To Choose Jeremy Corbyn' as part of last summer's leadership election campaign, which included poems by a number of prominent UK & Irish poets.
My understanding is that the "comments made on social media" referred to in Ms Buckingham's letter are the sharing, see below, of three of my satirical poems lampooning Jeremy Corbyn's opponents in the Labour Party.
The first poem is a satire about pro-war former Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn MP, which was first published in The Morning Star newspaper last December.
The second poem is a satirical re-write of the Bruce Springsteen song 'The Ghost of Tom Joad', dedicated to right wing Labour MP for Mansfield, John Mann, who is most famous for chasing Ken Livingstone up some stairs in front of the media while shouting about Mein Kampf. 'The Ghost of Miniscule John Mann' was published last summer on Ireland's leading alternative literature website The Bogman's Cannon.'Premature Elegy for Hilary Benn' https://t.co/GIY3LHSZXt #keepcorbyn @toadmeister @NickCohen4 @KimKardashian pic.twitter.com/h0mWgy3Ryv— Kevin Higgins - poet (@KevinHIpoet1967) June 26, 2016
The third poem was also published in The Morning Star newspaper last summer, and it ridicules Jeremy Corbyn's detractors, quite reasonably comparing them to a variety of discredited characters in British history.I have just been enlightened by poetry via @KevinHIpoet1967 and thank you. Enjoy it too! https://t.co/WHnPB3BbG6 pic.twitter.com/E4feGTsNMX— Dave Russell (@daverussell) June 25, 2016
This is a clear attempt to interfere with my right to free speech, and indeed artistic freedom. Clearly those who long for the good old days when the British Labour Party could be summed up by the pictures below, don't like being laughed at.Poem for Jeremy #Corbyn today more than ever 'On Your Usuitability For High Office' pls RT https://t.co/1MoRk5CSh5 pic.twitter.com/DCbzvhzy4J— Kevin Higgins - poet (@KevinHIpoet1967) June 24, 2016
There is, of course, no prospect at all that I'm going to stop laughing at the politically ridiculous.
Some people tend to be endlessly surprised at the re-appearance of The Inquisition, for that is what this is.
However, I am always expecting them.
Those of you who are so minded can register your opposition to this smaller, and altogether less stylish, latter day inquisition by contacted Labour Party General Secretary Ian McNicol here
Social media shares of this blog post would also be appreciated.
In the meantime, my most recent satire on Jeremy Corbyn's critics was published on the UK based Socialist Unity site on Monday. It's called 'A Regressive Centrist Speaks Electability' and is dedicated to former feminist intellectual and Murdoch hackette Caitlin Moran, pictured below.
UPDATE for most recent development on this see here.