If you can’t win an election by attracting enough votes, what can you do?
You can graciously concede defeat and tip your hat to the victor or you can try and gerrymander the voting so that you can grab a win that you hope you can lock in by shenanigans after you have locked yourself into the leadership’s offices. It would seem that the usurpers in Labour are having a tilt at the latter. Potential members have been receiving emails turning down their applications for membership to the party on such spurious grounds as the person having tweeted support for an alternative party’s policies. Members are not receiving their ballots or finding that they have been suspended or expelled from the party for all manner of equally spurious reasons.
My guess is that the people doing it believe that there will be no repercussions for their actions, that corrupting a political party’s democratic process can be carried out with impunity. Is it possible that, after denying 100,000s of recent Labour party members their democratic freedoms, the NEC can “purge” sufficient numbers of remaining Corbyn voters to put Owen Smith into a positon where he might “win” a vote? It beggars belief. It also beggars belief that such momentous machinations within one of the two major British political parties can drift by the British press with so little scrutiny. Well, that doesn’t really beggar belief, it’s what we’ve come to expect.
And then there’s the silence of the PLP. Just as silence met Smith’s derisive language about mental health and his casually dismissive use of the word “lunatic” to demean Jeremy Corbyn, the disenfranchising of Labour party members apparently warrants no public voice of concern or solidarity. A notable exception, a member and former (possibly even current) worker for the party, who referred to “Corbyn twatterati” in a tweet, tweeted of his expulsion from the party and received personal support from John Prescott and a pledge of support for his appeal. The Daily Mirror has already reported that figures in both camps have lost their votes but there are no official accounts on numbers and the Mirror article could not comment on the scale of the “vetting” taking place.
Just when you think new depths can’t be sunk to, the “plotters” sink to new depths.
It is hard to imagine the thought processes of those tearing Labour apart and attacking its very democratic fabric; that’s probably for the best, there are just some heads you do not wish to be inside. But, equally, it is hard to imagine what is going through the minds of those who are standing idly by while it takes place.
When you’re only hope of seizing control of your political party is to disenfranchise its membership then it’s not your political party. The Tories have dragged British democracy into the gutter and it lies in tatters, those behind the “coup” are attempting to steal its wallet and shoes. Shameful.