The last loopholes were tied up earlier today (Thursday, July 14) when the procedures committee of Labour’s National Executive Committee (yes, apparently it’s a committee, not a sub-committee) blocked off members of affiliate organisations including trade unions, who have registered since January 12.
The move brings affiliates in line with members, who can also only vote if they joined before January 12 – and rules out anyone who joined after the so-called ‘Chicken Coup’ began on June 26, meaning those who joined because they wanted to support Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership are being refused the opportunity.
But those who can afford a one-off payment equivalent to a huge chunk of benefits or a large slice of a low-paid family’s income will be able to walk straight in and make their ‘X’ for Angela Eagle or Owen Smith, or whoever.
It isn’t fair. Worse – it isn’t democratic.
This will be something to remember, because members of the NEC are up for election.
Oh, except “because of the time needed for Electoral Reform Services, the independent balloting company, to prepare the mailings, only people in membership at 24 June 2016 will be able to vote”.
So, again, anybody who joined after the ‘Coup’ ringleaders made their move will be locked out.
There are possible ways of fighting these dirty tactics by the empty suits.
For a start, if you joined after January 12, try getting in touch with your local Citizens Advice office. Explain that you joined on the understanding that you would be able to vote in leadership elections but that this right has been retroactively removed without any consultation. They should tell you that the Labour Party is in breach of contract.
Then you notify Labour general secretary Iain McNicol that you intend to take legal action for breach of contract unless the restriction is removed. Make it clear that you are not willing to accept a refund as your party membership is important to you and you believe members should stand up for democracy.
It may also be worth contacting Jeremy Corbyn’s office and asking if he is willing, or preparing, to take legal action against the NEC over these rulings – the first of which was made after he and two other supporters had left the meeting on Tuesday.
Most important of all: BE POLITE! both in your communications with the Labour Party and on the social media.
Unbelievable as it may seem, Labour apparently intends to ban members from voting in these elections if they have used abusive language on the social media.
According to The Canary: “The Labour Procedures Committee have reportedly announced that anyone who uses the words “traitor”, “scab” or “scum” in relation to another member of the party, will automatically be barred from having a vote in the leadership election.
“They are apparently hoping to exclude up to 50,000 members on this basis.”
Apparently it is still entirely permissible to use the words “Trots”, “rabble” and “dogs” – which have been applied to supporters of Mr Corbyn.
And that’s the important sticking-point: These rulings are prejudicial against a section of the Labour Party membership, and beneficial to another. That is not acceptable.
For democracy to prevail, there must be equal opportunity for all – and this is exactly what the NEC has been trying to rule out.
Personally, I can feel a trip to London coming on.
Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) has ruled that members who have signed up to affiliate groups – such as trade unions – in the last six months will be banned from voting the party’s leadership election.
The NEC Procedure Committee voted 7 – 2 on Thursday to stop affiliate group members who registered after 12th January 2016 from having a vote in the upcoming leadership contest. This brings the rules for affiliate membership into line with those for party members, and means that supporters who want to register to get a vote in the contest will have to pay £25 – compared with £3 in 2015.
Following the official announcement of Labour’s leadership election on Tuesday and the confirmation that party members who joined after mid-January would be barred from voting – eliminating 130,000 people who signed up after the EU referendum –, those interested were encouraged by some to join affiliated groups to still be eligible to vote.
This was seen as a viable option for Labour supporters or interested parties on lower incomes, with the price for membership of trade unions beginning at around 50 pence per week. More than 3,000 people joined Britain’s biggest union, Unite, in a single day after it offered potential members a cut-price vote.
Following Tuesday’s decision, the NEC has faced criticism from supporters of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership who accused the committee of allowing the post-Brexit Labour sign ups to do so under false pretences – the assumption being that they would be able to vote for the leadership.
Unions are said to have sought urgent clarification over the ruling, while not ruling out potential legal action.
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