The Labour purge of new supporters, denying an untold number a vote in the leadership election, has brought the party into disrepute. Many are convinced that it is a right wing witchhunt of socialists and people with left wing views.
Whatever its motives, it has exposed a culture of incompetence within Labour that will do little to arrest its perception as a party in decline among the wider public.
The confusion being wrought is widespread. Take me, for instance. I have been a member of Labour since November last year. I have never attended one Labour Party branch meeting or one event organised by my local branch since. Not one.
Moreover, I did not vote Labour in the general election. I voted Green in the general election. Why? Because my constituency Labour candidate accepted a campaign donation from Tony Blair. The idea that any socialist or progressive could vote for anyone who accepts money from a man responsible for the carnage visited on the Iraqi people is beyond belief.
My loyalty is not and never has been to a political party. My loyalty is to working class communities and oppressed people here and abroad. If Labour stands up for working class and oppressed people I will support it. If it attacks working class and oppressed people, as it did under Blair and Blairism, I will oppose it. What’s more, I suspect many on the left feel the same way.
I cast my vote for Corbyn online and have yet to be told it has been rejected.
When they deny people a vote with the words, “We have reason to believe that you do not support the aims and values of the Labour Party,” they are clearly suffering from a lack of historical perspective.
What aims and values are they referring to? Is it the aim of full employment and the values of the welfare state, NHS and social and economic justice that informed the party’s founding principles and the policies of the ’45 Labour government? Or are they referring to the aims of Blairism with the values of the free market, big business, the City of London and illegal wars and imperialism?
To ask the question is to answer it.
This outrageous filtering of votes and people who signed up under the rules set up by the very leadership that is now busy purging hundreds of people from the party is a disgrace. It is an example of the very vote rigging we have long been invited to associate with Robert Mugabe. It is also a studied insult against Jeremy Corbyn, illustrative of their view of him as an incorrigable outsider of mere second class status.
Corbyn will likely win regardless of this process . However who would bet against them attempting to have the election annulled on the basis that it has ended in the ‘wrong’ candidate being elected?
Blair, Mandelson, Brown, Straw, Campbell – a rogue’s gallery of opportunists, war mongers, and liars; men for whom principles in a political leader are like wings on a horse.
A stake is about to be driven through the heart of New Labour and it is not before time.