Thursday, August 20, 2015

Being seen to rig the election against Corbyn is as bad as being seen to depose him afterwards

I said the other night that the Daily Record's declaration for Jeremy Corbyn would only cause a headache for them if he won and was then deposed - ie. there wouldn't be a problem if he was never elected in the first place. However, the stories that are emerging of legitimate electors being denied a vote without any good reason may alter that equation. This, for example, is from the comedian Jeremy Hardy -

Jeremy Hardy : Bang on cue, rejected by the Labour Party. It's "we have reason to believe" that's my favourite bit.

I can see why my application was rejected. I have been a member of the AA since the eighties. Oh and I joined the National Trust last year.

Hi Andy, do you really want to win a rigged election? I googled a crossword answer, and felt hollow and kind of dirty.

Dominic McGladdery : Please tell us it was "we have reason to believe you are a socialist" ;)

So if we take Hardy at his word, there's no reason to suppose that he's a supporter or member of any other party, and he should have been allowed to vote. It seems probable that he's been excluded for making critical comments about Tony Blair, who is a member of the Labour party but does not embody the Labour party. By the same token, Jeremy Corbyn is a member of the Labour party but does not embody the Labour party - so will the Blairites who have made deeply insulting comments about Corbyn be denied a vote? That seems unlikely, and therefore the double standard constitutes vote-rigging.

Although the YouGov poll suggested that Corbyn was winning even among full Labour members, he wasn't doing as well with them as he was with the £3 sign-ups. It's not totally inconceivable that vote-rigging could still just about deny him victory, in which case all hell is going to break loose.

From an SNP point of view, that could well be the ideal scenario.

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UPDATE : It now appears that even Robert Sharpe, a full Labour member of five years' standing and a two-time candidate, has been banned from voting (probably for no other reason than that he's made pro-Corbyn comments on social media).  See HERE.

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I was bemused by Mike "can't be arsed" Smithson's suggestion yesterday that the effort in June to find extra MP nominations for Corbyn but not for the "viable candidate" Mary Creagh was a sign of sexism. The argument for Corbyn being helped onto the ballot was specifically that he represents a strain of thought within the Labour party that would not otherwise feature on the ballot paper. The same could hardly be said of Creagh, who would have been just another Blairite mush candidate. Nor was it necessary to get her onto the ballot for gender equality reasons - 50% of the candidates are female anyway (and both Cooper and Kendall have been regarded as potential winners at different points during the campaign). Perhaps more to the point, Corbyn's "borrowed" nominations follow an exact precedent set in 2010, when Diane Abbott was the left-wing candidate helped onto the ballot. For the uninitiated, Diane Abbott is a woman.

I'm also not sure that a long-standing Liberal Democrat member like Smithson is ideally-placed to paint Labour as a uniquely sexist party. Not only has there never been a female leader of the Liberal Democrats or their predecessor parties, but there has only ever been one female candidate for the leadership - Jackie Ballard, who finished a distant fourth in 1999 behind Charles Kennedy, Simon Hughes and even Malcolm Bruce.

On the same website, Don Brind has today entertainingly claimed that he, as a Labour right-winger, is losing the election but winning the argument. Hmmm. Isn't that exactly what the Bennites said in 1983, Don?


  1. at least 3 MP's are still alive that have "crossed the floor" from Conservative to the Labour party. Presumably they can't vote either. Lord Howarth, Lord Temple-Morris and Shaun Woodward.

  2. Hardy was sometimes very sneery towards Yessers who implied that the way things were done in UKOK land wasn't always (or even very often) fair and that they wanted to escape for that reason.

    I wonder if he's inclined to be a little more understanding of that desire now?

    Let's be clear here, the Labour party can dress this up how they want, but they are rigging the thing in broad daylight. If they wanted to disallow these people who chose to join up after the election from voting on this because they were not committed enough to the Labour party, then they should have invited them to donate in return for a vote. That's all they had to do, really. If the rules at the start had been, 'we think only people who had joined before the contest opened were committed enough, and therefore only these people have a vote' then fair enough. It's the changing the rules when things appear not to be going as they wished that is the scandal.

    1. *should NOT have invited them to donate in return for a vote! D'oh!

    2. "..the Labour party can dress this up how they want..."

      Oh no. Not Eddy Izzard again!

    3. Not so sure about that particular comment Dan, but I must admit I did wonder if Izzard would feel like a bit of an eejit for settling for Murphy when he could have so much more street cred supporting Corbyn. Michael

  3. When will folk realise that we don't, and never have lived in a democracy?
    You can vote for whoever you like, as long as Westminster is elected.
    Bring on the Boris water pistols.

  4. Aldo wants us to vote to be part of a country where this party is regularly in government.

    1. Vote SNP / Yes - get austerity max.

      I can just imagine a post indy Scotland where swingeing cuts and tax rises are the order of the day. But if you complain, you'll be cast as unpatriotic; "A TRUE Scotsman wouldn't mind making sacrifices for the good of the nation!"

      I think I'll choose tory austerity lite over SNP austerity max.

  5. The British Labour Party are making a laughing stock out of themselves in this leadership contest. What we are witnessing would not look out of place in the most disreputable Banana republic. The New Labour/Prospect/Red Tories faction has made an absolute **** of themselves. This is what happens when you hand the keys of your political party to the likes of Blair, Brown, Mandelson, Straw, Miliband, Cooper, Burnham et al for around 20 years.

  6. Jeremy Hardy admitted in an interview with Radio 4 that part of the reason may be that he openly supported Caroline Lucas but he still couldn’t understand why his friend Hugo Rifkind has been allowed to slide in without question.

  7. Today's ComRes/DailyMail poll

    CON 42 (+2)
    LAB 28 (=)
    LIB 8 (+1)
    UKIP 9 (-1)
    GRN 6 (+1)
    SNP 5 (=)