Labour will discount leader election votes AFTER they’ve been cast – won’t that encourage vote-RIGGING?

The right-wing Labour leadership has put itself in a proper dilemma, thanks to the candidacy – and popularity – of Jeremy Corbyn.

Look at the denial of comedian Mark Steel’s application to become a Labour supporter – and vote for Corbyn – because he does not “support Labour values” – this is a man who wrote newspaper articles in favour of Labour, doorstepped members of the public to encourage them to vote Labour, and actually voted Labour himself.

It seems that, because he admitted he’d vote for the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas if he was in her Brighton Pavilion constituency, he’s out. That’s a comment in favour of a person, not a party.

Is his endorsement of Ms Lucas then really the reason he got the boot? Or is it because he supports Mr Corbyn now?

That is the question that will be worrying many dedicated Labour supporters who have signed up in good faith, in order to do the same.

Now, the Labour leadership has said it will remove “infiltrators'” votes, even after they have been cast. The Daily Mirror reports:

The party will carry on vetting people right up until the September 10 voting deadline to stop ‘stooges’ and ‘entryists’ taking over the race.

Insiders say that means they will tell independent vote-counters to strip out individual ballots if they suspect foul play – for example if a Tory stooge mocks Labour by posting their paper on Twitter.

This plan is wide-open to abuse. What’s to stop right-wingers, neoliberals, Blairites (or whatever else you want to call them) from looking at votes, thinking, “These people voted for Corbyn – they’re disqualified”, and finding a reason for the decision later?

Conversely, there is nothing to stop Corbyn-supporting voters from making that accusation right now. The decision brings the election into disrepute.

The decision has been attacked by the Electoral Reform Society campaign group – which partly owns the company running the election – as it said Labour should delay sending out ballot papers for a few days.

This would have been a better choice – and it counts against Labour’s leaders that they did not support it.

The current system of weeding out members of other parties is working perfectly well. This Writer took part in the process, here in Mid Wales, and managed to identify Conservatives and Greens who were trying to skew the process.

I also recognised the names of many genuine Labour supporters who will certainly vote for Jeremy Corbyn. Their applications have been accepted and their votes will be counted.

By the time the count takes place, though, will the entire process have been discredited beyond redemption?

I am seriously considering writing a letter to Labour’s general secretary, Iain McNichol, about this issue. Perhaps other Labour members, of long-standing in the party, may wish to do the same.

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  1. Mr.Angry August 14, 2015 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    How the hell can the public have faith in Politicians if this what goes on, please Mike forward a letter to the general secretary this is outrageous. They are behaving like a pack of spoilt school children who can’t get their own way scandalous.

    Their behaviour is driving people away from supporting them and the reason more are flocking towards Corbyn are they so blind.

  2. christopherblackmore August 14, 2015 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    How come they never chucked Blair out? He was a paid up Tory at Oxford.

  3. James Hunt August 14, 2015 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    You took part in this process in Wales and threw out Green members/voters?

    Why? What on earth would make someone whose policies overlap with a large slice of Labour’s ineligible? Does the party really not wish to attract new and ex-members into the fold?

    Mark Steel’s recent piece about you have to already be a member in order to join seems to have been spot on the money.

    • Mike Sivier August 14, 2015 at 3:32 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure I should even bother answering this. Members/supporters of other parties are automatically disqualified for the obvious reason that they will be trying to push their own objectives forward, rather than Labour ideals.

      • James Hunt August 14, 2015 at 4:56 pm - Reply

        You are discounting the many who will have been genuinely attracted from another party because Labour, or at least one candidate, shares their ideals.

        Many voters switch their allegiances in their lifetimes. Many switched away from Labour due to the right-wing bias since ’97, why would it be considered invalid if they were drawn back by someone running for the leadership who has the same views?

        • Mike Sivier August 14, 2015 at 5:35 pm - Reply

          You are forgetting that I have local knowledge.
          I know who the wrong ‘uns are, and I know why they are trying it on. That’s why I was asked to go through the list.
          The point is that asking me to use that knowledge is far better than what the Labour leadership appears to be trying to do here.

  4. Claire Smith August 14, 2015 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    For the first time in over twenty years a candidate with a clear message of social justice steps forward and the neo-liberal Blairites throw a tantrum.

    It should be obvious by the massive increases in the number of SNP and Green party membership who have both put forward a manifesto of anti-austerity that the people clearly Want Labour to be for them and not corporations. But the Blairites are too blinded in their Whitehall bubble to see the wood for the trees.

  5. hugosmum70 August 14, 2015 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    i think Corbyn might be better forming his own party. let those who believe in him and wish to vote for him, follow him into that party. mass exodus from labour would follow i am sure.that would teach the babies to spit their dummies out (sorry wrong word,babies are innocents..they are not) spoilt brats is more like it, .. if only we could be 100% certain that Corbyn would get the massive support at elections he is getting now.
    one can dream i suppose

  6. Andy August 14, 2015 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    This election process, whatever one’s political opinion, has been an absolute shambles from the beginning and the so called “weedıng out process” ıs utter farce. Whatever the outcome nobody should be under the ıllusıon that ıt reflects democracy at work.

  7. hilary772013 August 14, 2015 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    Oh! Mike this DISGUSTS me. If Labour do this, I will NEVER ever vote for them again. I only hope Jeremy does WIN outright & the ones that said they will not work with him are true to their word & it is good riddance.

    Please Mike write to the General Secretary.

  8. Margaret James-Barber August 14, 2015 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    by introducing slight of hand lets change the rules if we don’t like the probable outcome tactics,main stream Labour Party is going the right way to make fewer and fewer people think it is worth voting at all in any parliamentary elcection

  9. Jim Round August 14, 2015 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    Can this descend even further into a farce than it already has?
    This could wipe out the little bit of credibility Labour has left if this continues.
    I can’t see any of the Blairites giving up their seats, if Jeremy Corbyn wins I can see some playground plot being hatched to either ridicule any policies or a vote of no confidence.
    By-elections of their seats would be a good indicator (albeit on the usual low turnouts) of what the electorate thinks about Labour under Corbyn.
    If they are so sure of themselves they can go and form their own party and see how that turns out.
    The desire for power eh!

  10. Joan Edington August 14, 2015 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    The right-wing mob standing for Labour leader keep saying that a vote for Corbyn will be the end of the party. Are they really so dense to not see that this sort of behaviour, vetting ballots, is much more likely to drive voters away from Labour than Jeremy Corbyn ever could. They changed the voting procedure and now it seems it doesn’t work for them after all. They should suck it up and act like a democratic party (if they can remember those days).

  11. hstorm August 14, 2015 at 3:46 pm - Reply

    It’s vote-rigging in its own right.

  12. concernedkev August 14, 2015 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    The idea of the £3 supporter was clear in asking peoples intent to support aims of Labour.
    To generate over 610,000 possible voters suggests that something in the hustings has awakened the latent desire to be involved. Members of other parties should be barred but someone who has not voted Labour but now wants to be involved should be allowed. Local party members will soon find out if not before then after the election of genuine intent. My feeling is that Jeremy has set things alight with his positivity and has been mainly responsible for the surge of interest. They are going to have to bar thousands of people to skew the result.

  13. June Abbott August 14, 2015 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    sounds to me like vote rigging through and through someone needs to put a stop to this and also make sure they have people they can trust counting the votes the Scottish YES INDY campaign know all about that!!!!!!

    • Mike Sivier August 14, 2015 at 5:36 pm - Reply

      That’s true – they had to drop any claims due to lack of evidence.

  14. Vasco Pereira August 14, 2015 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    Hi Mike,

    First let me say that it’s great to have a blog from someone that has inside knowledge within the Labour Party. This could be useful for someone like me who just recently joined the Labour Party.

    I think your suggestion of writing to Ian McNicol is pretty good. Perhaps a petition could be organized where individual signatures of other party members and supporters can be added to it. Perhaps that could be used as well to ask for the other 3 candidates to condemn any attempts to undermine democratic procedure within the party.

    I’m worried that if we don’t organize ourselves collectively those attempts of subverting democracy could be left unopposed. Also if thousands of voices raise themselves in support of party unity and in defense of democratic procedures, then a powerful message could be sent to those wannabe plotters.

    Thanks for the great blog post.

    All the best!

    • Guy Ropes August 15, 2015 at 7:59 pm - Reply

      Ye Gods Vasco – you’ve just joined the Labour Party? I’m surprised your comment has been allowed on this august blog. Have you been vetted ? How does the Party know that you don’t wish them ill will ? Good luck with your choice.

      • Mike Sivier August 15, 2015 at 8:03 pm - Reply

        Again, why would I not allow Vasco Pereira to comment, when I allow you to do so?

  15. Ian August 14, 2015 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    How can anyone say Mark Steel doesn’t have Labour values? It’s obvious to anyone who reads his Independent column or listens to his comedy that he most certainly does have Labour values.

    Eye-popping arrogance and as clear a case of projection as I’ve seen. It’s well connected, right wing halfwits like Harriet Harman who don’t hold Labour values.

    [I don’t mean to sound sexist because I’m genuinely not but has there ever been a more awful group of politicians than those dense and deeply patronising Labour women from the Blair era? Harman was/is the worst but there was also Patricia Hewitt, Yvette Cooper (house flipper extraordinaire – not seen that mentioned recently in The Guardian…), Tessa Jowell, Hazel Blears, Jacqui Smith, Dawn Primarolo, Margaret Hodge… An unusual phenomenon]

  16. Guy Ropes August 14, 2015 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    Who are worse: those people who are apparently “right wing” for not wanting the fabric of their Country altered by allowing entry to people who seem to think that they have an inalienable right to contravene our rules, or the leaders of the Labour Party for not wanting the fabric of their Party altered by allowing entry to people who seem to think that they have an inalienable right to contravene our rules. Mike, your situation is almost too ridiculous for words: socialists who don’t want socialism or to associate with other socialists. Just as well for you that the next election is 5 years away – the Country may well have forgotten this situation – tho’ it should go down in the Nation’s history books.

    • Mike Sivier August 15, 2015 at 12:40 am - Reply

      What strikes me as “almost too ridiculous for words” is your bare-faced attempt to link the Labour leadership with the immigration question.
      Even for you, that’s a bit of a stretch!
      The attempted comparison is specious; there is no justification for the comparison.

      • Guy Ropes August 15, 2015 at 7:55 pm - Reply

        Is it ? The Labour Party want to stop any attempted interlopers as they fear for what they hold dear. The Labour Party do not want a committed Socialist to be leader of their Party (well, not the right type of socialist anyway). Not only a (proven) committed Socialist but one who draws hundreds of other socialists to his public meetings where he proposes socialist solutions to the Country’s problems. As the Party are embarrassed by Mr Corbyn’s popularity, why don’t they take the names of people who attend his meetings and take their leadership votes away. Please tell me that you are able to see, as some of your other correspondents seem to able to, that the Party’s behaviour is simply absurd. Is it not going to be quoted at your candidates in future when canvassing? How will you answer those who might consider voting for you? You are elitist – pure and simple.

        • Mike Sivier August 15, 2015 at 8:02 pm - Reply

          I’m one of the main people pointing out the absurdities of the party’s current leadership.
          That doesn’t include the Labour Party as a whole, though – an issue that you seem keen to muddy.
          I am most certainly not elitist. Nor is this blog.
          After all, I let you comment here!

    • hstorm August 15, 2015 at 8:16 am - Reply

      How about a UKIP leader who promises he will stand down if he fails to get elected to Parliament, and on failing to get elected to Parliament, remains party leader? I’d say that’s pretty disgusting, self-serving behaviour too.

      • D August 15, 2015 at 4:57 pm - Reply

        He was asked to stay has there leader…….

      • Guy Ropes August 15, 2015 at 9:20 pm - Reply

        I forgot. You know who the “wrong un’s” are. A very, very wise man.

        • Mike Sivier August 16, 2015 at 2:58 pm - Reply

          It doesn’t take much wisdom to work out who’s a member of an opposing party and pass that message on – just a little local knowledge.

  17. hstorm August 15, 2015 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    If you want to believe that.

  18. mohandeer August 15, 2015 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    Have to ask Mike “push their own objectives forward, rather than Labour ideals” – what ideals? The LP offered no solution as to how they were going to finance the promises they made, whereas the Greens had their manifesto showing how they would address the costing of changes. My own Labour MP on being asked whether the LP would allow fracking said she didn’t think fracking was necessary and would likely oppose it. JC has already made his thoughts on protecting the environment and it sure sounds a lot like he is advocating much of what the Greens would like to achieve. So if Jeremy wins and leads the party, introduces Corbynomics and proves that investing in renewables will promote a growth industry with jobs and savings and manages to get fracking stopped, he will have achieved far more than the Green Party and is therefore the better political choice. Ergo, many Green Party supporters will vote for Jeremy in 2020. The current Labour Party offers none of this, just more of the same Blairite right wing empty promises which they cannot without fiscal and economic reform deliver. Then there’s the SNP vote which was taken from Labour voters, who as Joe Cullinane reported, left the Labour Party for SNP precisely because the LP was too far right and Blairite – are they to be discounted if they want to return to Labour. This all sounds well out of order – I voted Tory until 2010, then Lib Dem who failed to curb the excesses of Tories but I wouldn’t put the Blairites back in after they failed to vote down the illegal Iraq war. Many UKIP voters voted Tory just to get a referendum, many Green voters voted LP just to keep the Tories out and many voted Labour just to keep the Tories out because they were the only party big enough to keep the Tories out, not because they wanted empty promises they knew the LP couldn’t finance. So who qualifies as a Labour voter. I’ve paid my dues and am a LP member and in the referendum on the EU I will not tolerate anybody twisting my arm behind my back and dictating to me how I will think and vote on the issue and I will keep campaigning to kill Trident and I will keep campaigning to ban fracking and to invest as much as possible in renewables and I don’t care whether JC likes it or not. So where does that leave me and many others who voted Labour in May? It seems that because I have different views than the current Labour Party on how this country should tackle the country’s and Government’s debt/deficit, whether we should have Trident and should be paying for renewables, rather than destroying the countryside and fracking the hell out of it, if only we could limit the giant 6 corporations owning the energy. Who’s offering any of this? Not your current LP – except Corbyn. So Greens, SNP and UKIPpers need not apply? This is bang out of order. To take your logic to it’s conclusion, anyone not right of centre who don’t share Blairite “ideals” could have their votes removed. This new LP is going to be a very narrow minded little club with no room for individual thinking, just toe the line sheeple which is exactly what the right wing Labour want. None of the other three candidate have offered any kind of economic strategy for delivering their promises any more than Miliband did – which is why they lost in the first place. Now we find out that the vote rigging has already started – anyone who has paid monies into the LP coffers has to be informed that their vote will be removed or the LP is guilty of defrauding them and obtaining monies by deception and the monies they have paid have to be returned to them. Good God Almighty, if I’d pulled a stunt like this when I was a Union Rep I would have landed myself in court, and been dismissed – and not just from the union. This is the first time I have ever taken issue with anything you have posted in your blogs, but this one is definitely a deal breaker. Please advise on whether those people who have been denied a vote but have paid monies to the LP have been informed. All’s fair in love and war and politics, but not necessarily legal.

  19. Guy Ropes August 16, 2015 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    Last shot: if Corbyn’s antecedents were checked purely as someone wanting to vote (for whichever candidate was put up), it seems likely that he would be ‘weeded out’ as being an undesirable. Whatever happens in the vote will be nothing less than very interesting – probably historic. I’ve met and spoken to the #1 contender. Seems perfectly reasonable.

    • Mike Sivier August 16, 2015 at 4:39 pm - Reply

      Why are you being coy about who the #1 contender is?
      (It’s Corbyn, of course.)

  20. Jenny Hambidge August 20, 2015 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    My 18 year old grandson fired up to vote for Corbyn, following all the issues, keen as mustard, has been knocked back because he was told that he is not on the electoral register. How come he was allowed to vote in the May General Election? By the time he got the email about this it was after the 14th August. Anything sinister in this Mike? I hope not. He lives in the constituancy of which you have “local knowledge” and is very disappointed at not being allowed to vote.

    • Mike Sivier August 20, 2015 at 8:19 pm - Reply

      A few people have been getting this, all over the country. His best bet is to check the electoral register – that’s with his county council – and if he isn’t on it, ask what happened to knock him off.

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