Wednesday, 31 August 2016

The Labour Party purge

The ongoing Labour Party purge is an extraordinary thing to behold. Not only is it a demonstration that a bunch of out-of-touch Labour Party elitists are intent on waging an anti-democratic war of attrition against the party's own membership, it's also being conducted in a searingly hypocritical manner.

Retrospective trawling

It's bad enough that Jeremy Corbyn supporters are being purged from the party for stuff as trivial as liking the Foo Fighters too much on their personal Facebook feed, while anti-Corbyn members of the Labour Party establishment are allowed to get away with abuse like calling other members of the party "Nazi stormtroopers" in the mainstream press, but one of the most disgraceful things is the people are being purged for having posted social media comments supporting other political parties long before they joined Labour.

When the civil rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti delivered her report into alleged cases of anti-Semitism the Labour Party and the NEC agreed to abide by its findings. One of the clearest recommendations of the whole report was her call for "a moratorium on the retrospective trawling of members' social media accounts and past comments".

Instead of heeding this call for a moratorium on social media trawling, the Labour Party NEC has instead decided to orchestrate what is almost certainly the most invasive Stasiesque mass trawling exercise in British political history.

Not only are they trawling back through people's social media accounts to look for signs of disloyalty or thought crime from when people became party members, they're clearly and undeniably trawling back through comments that were made long before the intended victims of their witch-hunt ever even joined the Labour Party.


One of the worst examples of someone being purged for supporting other parties long before Corbyn even became Labour leader is the case of Dr Gemma Angel who was purged from the Labour Party over a Tweet from May 2014 in which she explained her reasons for voting Green.

Gemma Angel is far from the only example of someone being purged from the Labour Party for having supported other parties long before Jeremy Corbyn became leader and inspired them to join Labour. Another example is Ben Crawford who was also purged for the "crime" of posting Tweets in support of the Green Party between 2014 and 2015 (see letter).

Attracting other voters

Before the Anyone But Corbyn coup was launched the right-wing of the Labour Party constantly chelped away about how Corbyn couldn't appeal to supporters of other parties, but now that they've realised that tens of thousands of people who used to support other parties have joined Labour in order to support Jeremy Corbyn, they've set about trawling through their social media accounts desperately searching for any reason to prevent them voting for Corbyn in the leadership election!

A political party that is determined to bar people from joining them if they've ever supported a rival political party is so ridiculous it's like an unwitting self-parody. It's hardly possible to think of a more effective way of making sure your political party becomes an increasingly irrelevant dissent-banning closed ideology echo chamber than the orchestration of a massive witch-hunt of any members who ever dared to support another party in the past.

The sheer hypocrisy of it

The idea of setting a load of Labour Party minions the task of trawling through the social media postings of pro-Corbyn party members and supporters to look for any excuse to bar them from voting in the leadership election is appalling enough in its own right, but punishing people for supporting other parties before they even became Labour Party members is staggeringly hypocritical when actual members of the Labour Party establishment have been allowed to get away with making a £2 million+ donation to the Liberal Democrats (David Sainsbury), openly stating that they'd rather the Tories win the next election than a Labour Party that represents the will of its membership (Tony Blair), speaking at a Tory party conference and praising their hard-right economic agenda (John McTernan), and accepting a load of Tory party cash to run an anti-EU campaign to undermine the official position of the party (the Labour Leave shills).

It's staggeringly hypocritical for the Labour Party NEC to purge ordinary members for stuff they said long before they even joined the party when they've proven themselves so willing to turn a blind-eye to blatant examples of disloyalty from high profile Labour people who were members of the party at the time of their disloyalty.

A Pyrrhic victory is their best possible outcome for Owen Smith

If the terrified Labour Party establishment do succeed in purging 200,000+ Labour Party members in order to hand victory to the Anyone But Corbyn candidate Owen Smith it will clearly be a Pyrrhic victory.

Corbyn supporters won't be the only ones to delegitimise Smith and the Labour Party by pointing out that he only managed to win because the leadership election was rigged in his favour. All of Labour's political rivals would gleefully use this anti-democratic shambles as a stick to whack him with too.

Do the Anyone But Corbyn supporters really believe that Theresa May and the Tories wouldn't use this disgraceful anti-democratic purge to score points against Owen Smith if he won? Do they really think the tories and other rival parties would go easy on him just because he helped to get Jeremy Corbyn out of the picture?

Even if Owen Smith wins, he's doomed and the Labour's reputation as a democratic party will be in tatters because of the manner of his victory. The only way to repair the damage is for the Labour members who haven't been purged to vote for Jeremy Corbyn and to then demand democratic reforms of the party so that Labour Party elitists will never be able to go on such an appallingly damaging anti-democratic rampage against the party membership again.

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