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Saturday 27 August 2016

Canary Corbyn Vote Paranoia

Voting is now underway in the latest Labour Party leadership election. It will be a straight fight between incumbent Jeremy Corbyn, and challenger Owen Smith, with Corbyn the strong favourite. The electorate is in the hundreds of thousands, so the result is more than likely going to be a majority - for whichever candidate - measured in the thousands, or even tens of thousands. Hang on to that thought.
At the same time, Labour is undertaking a process to ensure its membership actually consists of Labour Party supporters. Some applicants for membership are discovering that they have been rejected; others who had previously been members are being expelled. When your membership runs into the hundreds of thousands, and that membership is under constant media scrutiny, this is inevitable.

But for those at the staunchly Corbyn-supporting Canary, this is not a merely routine exercise, but a purge of the party faithful. It is evidence that dark forces are at work looking to disenfranchise Jezza’s fans and therefore to subvert democracy. To this end, the Canary’s Number 1 Corbyn backer Steve Topple has pennedAnother Labour purge has begun, and this time it’s massive”. Yeah, y’know, it’s big … BIG. Really big.

Countless members and potential members are being expelled or having their applications rejected … there appears to be no limit on who the party is willing to disenfranchise. Unless, of course, they are high profile members writing in right-wing newspapers … it appears many people are being denied membership on less than scrupulous grounds”. Something’s afoot, and it may not be twelve inches!

But do go on. “The Canary asked people to get in touch with their stories relating to the ‘purge’. And many came forward. Some felt angry. Others felt disappointed. Many were very upset. But the overwhelming feeling was one of confusion. Nearly 90 people got in contact, and most spoke to The Canary on condition of anonymity”. So how many specific cases can Topple muster in support of his “purge” idea?

Well, not that many. Even throwing in the case of Ronnie Draper, general secretary of a Labour-affiliated Trade Union, the number of individual cases does not get into double figures. Even if all of the “nearly 90” who got in touch were added into the mix, there would be no more than a hundred. A hundred cases in a party which numbers its current membership not in the hundreds, but the hundreds of thousands.

That does not stop Topple going into full tinfoil hat mode: “If you’re a grassroots member who says anything deemed inappropriate? Sorry. No vote allowed. But if you’re a political commentator writing in right-wing newspapers, or a senior party member? You can apparently say whatever you like … But don’t you dare support progressive ideas or stand up for what you think is right and just. If you do, you may also face the Labour purge”.

But not to worry - they’re not coming to get him, because he’s not paranoid.


willshome said...

I'm still waiting for the first Owen Smith supporter to complain that they've been excluded from voting for their man for inappropriate Tweets. No? Not one? Not even those who've been calling Corbynites "cunts" online?

Not paranoid. Just wary.

Anonymous said...

In response to #1

Mike said...

Totally get that without proper numbers and purely anecdotal evidence that it's hard to sure what is happening.

But why so disparaging? after all the party itself said that it had excluded over 40000 from voting just a couple of weeks ago. We also know that something similar happened last year and we've seen the anti-democratic lengths the party will go to exclude new (mainly Corbyn supporting) new members.

I think Labour members have a right to be very worried and the Canary article reflects this.

SteveB said...

Proper numbers? Here's one, to be prime minister whoever gets the leadership will need the support of 17-20 MILLION voters, almost all of them non-members. All very well these little groups fighting to control the party but pointless if that's all they can be in charge of. The Labour Party has always suffered from those who think it more important to win every political policy argument than to let some things go the other way and be electable. In fact I think some in the party of scared of being in government, it's easier to lose and blame someone else than to win and have to do some real work.

Unknown said...

I think the point is being missed! The large-scale gerrymandering of the leadership election has already taken place. What looks like the death throws of the current Labour elite are now simply participating in a vindictive personality war. All toppling regimes fall this way! The Tories being no different. Hence May 'correcting' or questioning all the outstanding decisions of a government she was previously a senior member of.

Unknown said...

If there's a purge going on, who or what was the emetic?

anubeon said...

Wow. Thus poor sod* get's excluded for relatively mild comment which one would be hard pressed to described as unambiguous 'support' for the Tory Party. Meanwhile, the likes of John McTernan, that walking talking perenial embarressment and electoral liability of Labours who has been consistent in his snearing, smearing, left-baiting, uncomradely antics in his various collumns, media appearances and on social media, seemingly gets away scott free. I was mildly pleased when Mrs May 'won' the the Tory crown, not brcause I support the Tories or her personal policies in any meaningful way, but because she was (to me. the best of a bad bunch) and I (rather naively, as ut turned out) that she might put an end to the cameroonian Punch and Judy show of PMQs and parlee with Corbyn's in a manner that would make PMQs relevant and not mearly some base form if infotainment for navel gazing political insiders and geeks (her performance at her first PMQs put an end to any, perhaps slightly sexist, notions of that. May soiled herself and parliament, as did many of her predicessors, with her snearing and deliquent performance intended to entertain the truly fifth-form wits of Fleet Street and the Tory back bench).

I would very much hope that such an opinion, which in no way increases the likelihood of my voting for Grant Shapps or any other Tory PPC at the next or any future parliamentary elections (a likelihood not unadjacent to zero, might I add), would NOT see me disenfranchised from a leadership election in a party whose constitution and avowed political allignment as a 'democratic socialist party' reads very much like my own personal politics codified. I feel nothing but contempt for the neo-stalinist maneuverers who have 'purged' this bloke on such a flimsy pretect, whether he's for Corbyn, Smith or neither, and whether he's one of 90 or 90,000 so disenfranchised.

As for poo-pooing the notion of a second Labour purge; as one who has yet to receive their electronic voting details (which really ought to have arrived by now, surely), who is an open supporter of Corbyn and is openly and deeply sceptical of Smith, somebody who's had their eyes opened wide and ears pricked by the past few weeks of deeply anti-democratic shenanigans played out in public and with little regard for basic ethics (which, incidentally has already seen 100,000s purged; albeit allowed to buy their way back in, if personally wealthy enough) by perhaps the most incompetent** and disgraced Labour party administrators to hold office within my life time, and as somebody who was a unwitting victim of the first Labour purge back in 2015 (I am still ignorant of the reasons for that exclusion), do forgive me and many others for giving The Canary et al the benefit of the doubt on this one.

The Labour party's senior administrators have already done much to wreck Labour's reputation amongst the public and membership alike. They (and you Tim) can hardly scoff at the anxieties of many (those behind the Canary included) who are concerned by the lengths that the NEC's various subcommittees might be willing to go to skew the leadership selection results. They've already purged and gerrymandered (that much is clear to all but the willfully blind) all that remains to be determined is how deep into this paricular myre they have or will willing to trudge. Only time and (I suspect) an aliance of interested parties (e.g. Labour democrats, any 'purged', etc) and alternative media voices, will reveal the answer to that question. I don't think (with respect) you've managed to settle the question with this peice though Tim. It just reads like snearing commentary aimed at a relatively well intentioned new media outlet (The Canary is hardly the Guido Fawks of the left now is it Tim).

* I'd count myself amongst what the patricians who litter the PLP and The Guardian like to call a 'Corbinista', so hardly this blokes greatest fan.