The Labour Purge Is Underway, And They’ve Banned Me From Voting Corbyn (IMAGE)

The first wave of the UK Labour Party’s purge of registered supporters has begun, and I and many others outside of the Blairite wing of the Labour movement were disenfranchised by our own party today.

At a little after 5am today, an email arrived in my inbox from Labour HQ.

I read it once, then again. Then I just sat there.

First of all I was embarrassed, like I’d been caught out, even though I’d done nothing wrong. It’s being made out that voting Corbyn is an act of sabotage, rather than an expression of my democratic rights. Once I realised that, I got angry. Really angry. I shared the news on my Facebook page and twitter, and found that I was far from alone.

In a purge being referred to internally as ‘Operation: Ice Pick’, Labour HQ is purging the party of suspected ‘entryists’. The name is a particularly sick joke, referencing the weapon-of-choice in the 1940 assassination of Leon Trotsky by Stalinists.Supporters of Corbyn have been consistently derided as “Trots” throughout the campaign.

Comedians Mark Steel and Jeremy Hardy, along with renowned author Marcus Chown and ‘Spirit of ’45’ director Ken Loach – all have been banned from voting by the Labour Purge. Why? Marcus Chown joined the executive of the National Health Action Party in the 2015 election because his priority was saving the NHS, and he felt that was the best way to highlight the issue. Jeremy Hardy and Mark Steel have supported fundraisers for the Green party in the past. Ken Loach was once a member of the now defunct Socialist Alliance. As Mark Steel so aptly puts it: ” Labour – you can’t join as a new member unless you’re already a member.”

In the first wave of the wider purge today, many more lost their vote. In a process reminiscent of the McCarthy witch hunts of the 1960s, it appears that anyone with (or suspected of having) left-wing sympathies is being ousted from the party. Twitter user Rebecca Day reported this appeal among members of the Oxford University Labour club:

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Hundreds took to the #LabourPurge hashtag to share their stories of rejection. Peter Sinclair summed up the story of many.

In April, Sinclair donated £20 to Labour. In response, party official Iain McNicol sent him a note of thanks. McNicol told Sinclair that “The Labour Party is built on donations like the one you just made”.

B006But Iain McNicol sent him a decidedly frostier email this morning.

B007So what changed in that time?

B008In the hours I have been scrolling through the hundreds of rejections, I have yet to find a single person who had not already voted for Jeremy Corbyn, or would have once their ballot papers arrived. Matt Beresford is pulling together a database of all those hit by the purge, which will give us a better idea of numbers in coming days. But this is merely the first wave.

For what it’s worth, I have never raised funds or been a member of another political party. Like many who have been rejected in the purge, I felt Labour left me rather than the other way round. While we stayed true to the ‘aims and values’ of the Labour Party, others ran it as a neoliberal Tory-lite option.

Blairism – the curtailment of civil liberties, the illegal foreign wars, the PFI scandals, the privatisation of the NHS, Dr David Kelly, the dodgy dossier – these are not aims and values to be supported by any self-respecting social democrat.

First they lost us in government, then in opposition. After losing all but one seat in Scotland to the SNP, 4 million votes to working class populists UKIP and 1 million to the Green Party (where my vote went in 2015) – Labour responded by swinging right in hopes of picking up the 24% of the electorate who voted Tory, not the 76% who didn’t.

In their first act of the new parliament, the Conservative Party’s Welfare Bill brought forward plans for another £12bn of cuts to public services. The Labour leadership whipped their MPs to abstain. To abstain! Of the four Labour MPs running for the leadership, only Jeremy Corbyn defied that order and voted against the cuts.

This man of principle, in politics and in life, presents the kinds of policies that many of us disillusioned Labour voters had been dreaming about.

His policies are a progressive prescription, rather than the Victorian-era poison chalice on offer to date:

  • Quantitative Easing for people, as opposed to the £375bn that New Labour, the Coalition and the Tory party have printed and handed to banks since 2009. 
  • A National Investment Bank, dedicated to developing our national infrastructure and housing. This would bring the UK’s public transport networks into the 21st century, while beginning to deal with a housing crisis that is becoming the number one issue facing working and middle class families.
  • He would seek to lower the welfare bill, but by creating sustainable and worthwhile jobs, not just kicking poor people off their benefits.
  • He would bring the railways and energy sector back under public ownership, ending the debacle of exponential fare and rate rises.

On every measure, Corbyn is bringing the principles of social democracy to bear on today’s problems. He is progressive on civil liberties, a humble and collegiate worker, and an award-winning peacemaker. He is the anti-Blair. He is the 21st century Clement Attlee, bearing both a radical programme of change and the fidelity of principle to actually deliver it if we grant him mandate. I want to vote for him now, and I want to vote for him in 2020.

But Labour HQ says no. Without producing a single shred of evidence, the party has asserted that I and countless others “do not support the aims and values of the Labour party.”

So what do we do? Well, I suggest we give them the biggest fight of their lives. We appeal, we pester, we argue, and we get our damn vote.They silenced us once, let’s never let them do it again.

You can get involved now:

  • Tweet @UKLabour and tell them what you think about this.
  • Tell Labour what you think on their Facebook page.
  • Appeal your rejection by calling 0845-092-2299
  • Send your details to Matt Beresford so they can be included in his database.
  • To establish what information or investigation the Labour Party has made against you to come to its decision, you can make a subject access request. To do so, the brains at Information Law Blog say:

“you need three things:

A written request, setting out your name, address and the email address you registered with as a supporter

Proof of your ID. Send a copy of a passport or driving license and ask them to destroy it when they have validated your request. They can refuse to deal with your request without proof of ID, so don’t give them the opportunity to delay by asking for it

A cheque for £10. Having already lost the £3 supporter fee, this will be annoying, but I doubt Labour will accept a subject access request without the statutory fee, and they can refuse to process the request without it. If you want to know what happened (or find out that it was a flawed process), you will have to sacrifice the tenner. If they are feeling generous, they won’t cash the cheque. The Information Commissioner cannot order them to waive the fee, so don’t waste your time asking them.”

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Featured Image via Chris J Latimer

48 thoughts on “The Labour Purge Is Underway, And They’ve Banned Me From Voting Corbyn (IMAGE)

  1. Pingback: After Purging Thousands Of Left Wingers, Labour Let Former Tory Minister Vote In Leadership Election | Scriptonite Daily

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  3. As a rejected supporter, I would like to submit my details to Matt Beresford but am not on Twitter. Can you provide an email address please?

  4. Pingback: Labour Rejected Me In The Purge, Then ‘Outed’ Me In The Media As An ‘Infiltrator’ | Scriptonite Daily

  5. There is no actual ‘democracy’…and this Corbyn bloke is reminding me of that Barry Sontero thing……just look what happened there!

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      • Yes, Respect, TUSC, Left Unity… all worked really well didnt they and showed how an uncompromising hard left socialist agenda could capture the public imagination and sweep to victory! Even the greens couldnt beat 5%

  7. Hiya
    When the “old” Labour party accepted block votes from Trades Unions, people used to complain that they had been signed up to a cause that they didn’t necessarily support. It is very true that Trade Union closed shops included workers of all political hues. I can not understand why the “new” system needed to be purged of anyone who wished to express an opinion

  8. I think the point here, is that although you personally support Corbyn, you don’t support the others, and they ARE REAL Labour according to them!

    Also, if they checked out your blog, many of the issues you’ve always [rightly] raised, are against the ‘Blairite’ Labour ideals, so they won’t like that. I believe that anyone who has criticised Labour in the past via blogs, comment, twitter etc would be ruled out.

    It just shows how desperate the Blairites are to hold onto power and keep the party firmly on ‘centre right’, but in the process they have made a mockery of the democratic process, brought the party into disrepute, and made them a laughing stock.

    Whoever get in, they’re going to have to put that straight, and it won’t be that easy. People like us see through all of this, but the general public just read the Sun/Daily Mail headlines as ‘gospel’, and form their political ‘opinions’ from that.

    I

  9. This middle class, middle of the road, middle England anxiety about Corbyn is very telling. I am not sure if it is anxiety about being made ‘unelectable’, which dogged Labour and led to the travesty that was New Labour. But since the Blair years the New has been quietly dropped, therefore one could possibly assume that a move away from neo Conservatism was desirable for the Labour Party.

    Thing is – Corbyn is being slandered, or praised, for being ‘far left’, but to me he is a jobbing MP who has held his seat for 30 years (therefore surely earning him cred for the leadership) in Islington – hardly known for ‘far left’ politics – his part of Islington, just like many part of London is left leaning, but hardly ‘far left’. This therefore has to be a new definition of ‘far left’, which to all old time lefties must be more than a bit confounding, as to us it seems pretty regular left!

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  12. It’s ridiculous that the Labour Party is going to such underhand measures to keep out the very people who can give it a future. Clause 4 used to be printed on every membership card and the party leaders should curl up in shame at what they have done to our Labour movement.
    In throwing open voting to anyone willing to cough up three quid, there was always the risk of attracting individuals who did not have the best interests of the party at heart. It seems though, that the opposite has happened, and thousands of disillusioned, real supporters have perked up at the chance of putting the heart back into the party. As Mark Steel said, this is something to be celebrated, not fought.

  13. Well, that’s very concerning. Another sign “democracy” is dead.
    Seems to show a want, and a need, for British Workers, et al, to move much farther to “the left” as much as that means anything today.
    Seems also a restating of evidence-based Values and policies is needed, especially of any “new left” shift and want by British voters.
    What DOES “Communism” mean today, after we’ve gotten beyond the “McCarthyist” of purges in the US, which effected so many other western nations.
    Not suggesting Corbyn is Communist, but perhaps more voters are better educated on that policy-set today, and see the Common sense of something opposite to the seriously dysfunctional and disastrously divisive elitist right wing “capitalist” and “total-privatization” beliefs and policies?
    “Green” policies also, are bundled into “evil communist” buckets for denigration, even though Wise Green policies are also absolutely logical toward maximum sustainability of as many as possible, as are Proper, shared resources in true Communist policies. Policies which predate any “modern” like Marx’s concepts and depictions of that Community-focused way.
    But that’s a bit off-topic. Think they do need to be said though, in contributing to the ever-changing arena of British politics. People everywhere must, and ARE thinking more wisely about this thing called “politics”, and find that the drift to the “right” IS bad news, and in that see also that what we’ve been fooled to hate – ie., “Communism”, may in FACT be quite a lot better overall.
    However, as “modern” communism was as much a Jewish construction, as said, the whole “government policies” thing has to be reassessed by everyone, so-as to not merely make an open door for the zionists to walk through and swallow all quality human rights in their march to conquer the whole planet.
    IMO, “Communism” is the exact opposite to “central control”, where Locals, have total but wise, fully-politically/economically-informed understanding and management of their own patches, and the logistical central committees come from the Locals, as do revenue, etc.
    This bad news of the Labour Party’s selective membership rubbish has to be outed fully, and if done, may be a healthy demise of that old party. It has been pretty false for a century anyway.
    But, Good Fortune with “THE Revolution”, Britain?

  14. Pingback: The Labour Purge Is Underway, And They've Banne...

  15. If like I you want to vote for corbyn and have paid your three quid to do so then sign up as an Andy Burnham supporter via his website and watch your application glide through (as I have done – PS I am a registered supporter of the green party also).

  16. I applied to rejoin , was accepted and received papers and voting slips, vote online on Tueday and then received a similar email to above on the Wednesday. I was told that my views were inconsistent with the party’s values and my vote will be refused. A vote which i am sure you can guess who i voted for as Leader. I am a socialist, always have been and always will be. I left the party when i had had enough of Blair and the direction of the party, probably stupidly remaining in the party longer than i should have. I am and have never been a member of another party, though supported the NHA financially, believing there are too many MP’s, Peers of all political persuasions to gain should the NHS become more and more private. Corruption and its potential is rife in my opinion. Im appalled at the way the Labour Party is treating socialists and socialism, it is abundantly clear that Blair has a desire to use his capacity to manipulate his beliefs via the party who seem more obsessed with power than principles, to direct the party his way, omitting true labour people. The people like Danczuck and Mann, Sheerman and the man who ran away, David Miliband, need to question themselves as to who the party really represents, or originally did anyway!

  17. Pingback: The Labour Purge Is Underway, And They’ve Banned Me From Voting Corbyn (IMAGE) | Scriptonite Daily | Britain Isn't Eating

  18. It seems some mistakes have been made. And it’s a PR disaster. But are you really arguing that people who stood or campaigned for competing parties in the last GE should be able to now claim to be labour supporters and vote for the leader?

    • Yes. That’s what happens in politics – you reach out and attract people to your party, and they will have voted for and elected other parties n the past. We have Labour MPs who once stood as MPs for other parties.

      • I would argue that such people are more than welcome to *join* the party. (I indeed joined after the previous GE to vote for Ed in the leadership elections… hmmm). But what we’re talking about here is not joining but declaring you are a supporter. I find that hard to stomach when only a couple of months ago some of these people were actively working to defeat the party (and hence at least in part under our FPTP system facilitating a tory government).

            • So you think the Labour Party NEC who are overseeing the election are on the government payroll! – Nurse, bring my tinfoil hat!

          • But the rules are clear: the objectives of the labour party include winning elections. If you campaigned against them in a GE, you clearly don’t support the party’s principles and objectives so are not a ‘supporter’ for these purposes? I do think the rule change was a mistake but now we have it, all that i (and the party) ask is that it is adhered to.

            • You are confusing the past with the present. How do you expect Labour ever to gain new members if one cannot join if not already a supporter? The question asked was if you are a supporter of the Labour party (present tense). Any other interpretation is frankly, absurd.

              • Of course anyone can join. Joining is a different process. “Supporters” were asked to conform that they shared the aims and values of the party. Someone who only a couple of months ago urged votes against the Labour Party in my (and their) book is an opponent, not a supporter,

                • By definition, a new supporter was not a supporter before they registered as a new supporter. Looks like your ‘Yossarian’ pseudonym is rather fitting.

                • you do realise that *members* are also being purged, not just “supporters”, right? I am a member. I joined the day nominations for leadership closed. I clearly stated that I joined because they *now* had a leadership candidate that I felt I could support.

                  I am checking my email regularly, just in case.

  19. I was rejected through being associated with Lib Dems which I left in 2012 and last did anything for them in 2010 (never a candidate). Was in the Labour P 1983- 2008 then left because too right wing/illiberal. Planned to vote for Yvette Cooper!

  20. Look here we three Andy, Yvette and Liz had a nice little cosy election how dare people upset this with voting for that other fellow. I mean he even wants to make our party democratic. Good lord where will the introduction of democracy lead? You will be wanting us to listen to the electorates concerns next. Listen hard and listen good it is our party and you can only join if you support one of the three of us. Got it? good!

  21. The Labour Party number just gives you the runaround – 15 minutes (mostly on hold at 7p a minute) for them to tell me that in order to appeal I had to join as a full member… so a party that questions my belief in its aims and objectives wants me to join it in order for them to give me the ‘evidence’ (his word on the phone) that I don’t believe in it. You couldn’t make it up!!! Oh, and he couldn’t guarantee that if I did join as a member it would be processed in time for me to vote in the leadership election…

    • Seeing that type of runaround occur, signs the need to drop them totally, and form-up a new politic. Not just a new party.
      Everyone’s been runaround, as per misinformation on the whole politics thing, for centuries.
      If it’s not too late, there must be more than ever, well-enough informed, knowledgeable, AND angry, punters everywhere, to reunite nation-AND-world-wide on some Truly Sustainable, perennial policies for Humans on the finite acreage of Mum Eartha?
      It’s all about equitable distribution of resources, humans and the land.
      Those reappraisals on these policy issues, sadly for most Brits, requires, if we go global on it, total re-evaluations on the British Commonwealth, whether it’s sustainable, which it’s not (I’m Aussie), then therefore, how to dismantle it so that Brits don’t become 3rd worlders, as-it-were.
      That, demands dismantling the whole “monarchic” false politics’ structures. Can Britain do that?
      Christianity is as much integral to the same monarchic centrist and thus deadly, anti-democratic structure of “colonialism” etc. So that too, must be dissolved for Proper Democracy to reign, anywhere.
      But if Brits could dismantle both monarchism and christianity, they’d be liked much more than disliked globally, no question.

  22. We’ve got to admit, though, that there are people joining the labour party or registering as supporters – both from the right and left – not because they want the party to pick the best candidate but because they want to, in their minds, sabotage the race.

    I’m leaning towards Corbyn (not fully made up my mind yet) but I want the race to be fair and square. If they have evidence that someone has not joined up in good faith then surely it is best for them to take this action?

    Incidentally, are you applying for the subject access request and will you publish the reason for your refusal?

    • I don’t think there’s any evidence that anyone has joined from the left to “sabotage the race”. They may not have voted for Labour in May, but they have joined in the genuine belief that Corbyn is the best choice for the party, the only candidate who will fight austerity and the only person who can persuade non-voters and those who switched to SNP, Greens and even UKIP that the Labour party has something for them.
      By focusing the purge on the left, the Labour Party are saying they are only interested in persuading people who are currently voting Tory – the group that least supports the aims and values of Labour.

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