Who do you trust: Was the GMB’s endorsement of Owen Smith rigged?

Jeremy Corbyn: More popular than we've been told - but the victim of a propaganda war? [Image: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images.]

Jeremy Corbyn: More popular than we’ve been told – but the victim of a propaganda war? [Image: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images.]

Not only should we question whether Welsh Labour (at the very least) tried to rig Constituency Labour Parties’ nomination of candidates, it seems, than we should ask whether one of the UK’s biggest unions did the same.

Hot on the heels of publication by This Blog of claims that Owen Smith supporters conspired to hijack Blaenau Gwent’s nomination in the Labour leadership election – on the advice of Welsh Labour, comes a claim that the GMB’s nomination may also have been rigged.

A reader contacted This Writer to point out that a tiny seven per cent of the union’s 640,000 members voted to nominate either candidate, and the margin of victory for Mr Smith was just 1.3 per cent of the membership.

But many members complained that they had not received a ballot paper, voting information for many others is likely to have been sent to invalid email addresses, and even more may have gone into spam folders or been rejected as junk mail by email clinet programmes.

If those people had been able to vote, Mr Smith’s majority might have been swept away completely.

The GMB’s support was trumpeted as a major indicator of public feeling against Mr Corbyn during the leadership election, but it represented the opinion of less than 26,000 people – around four per cent of the union’s members.

Couple this with the claims about Blaenau Gwent and suddenly it seems we should be asking whether support for Owen Smith was grossly over-inflated by people with something to gain from wasting the time of everybody in the Labour Party.

Here are some facts about the GMB vote, courtesy of the Huffington Post:

The GMB’s ballot was contracted to Electoral Reform Services (ERS) which guaranteed the integrity of the voting process, based upon membership data passed to them by GMB. However, electronic votes were sent to those members where the union holds an email address, and postal votes to the others. This proved somewhat problematic, with many members saying they did not receive a ballot paper: bulk email systems are known to have a relatively low rate of response and many email addresses may not be valid, others may go into spam folders, or be rejected. While there is no reason to think that members failing to get a ballot paper would statistically favour either one of the candidates, the background level of dissatisfaction caused by some members failing to get a vote has unfortunately given legs to rumours of entire groups of members assumed to be left-wing not getting ballots.

Out of the 640,000 GMB members only 43,419 voted, about 7% of those eligible. Owen Smith getting 25,969 votes, and Jeremy Cobyn 17450 votes. The margin of victory for Smith is a mere 1.3% of GMB’s membership. On such a margin, there is no clear mandate for the union to support either candidate, especially as anecdotal evidence suggests a majority for Corbyn among the lay activists, whereas the consultative ballot addressed the whole membership.

The same article made a very sharp point of opinion about the candidate who was constantly touted as the man Labour needed if it was every going to win another election:

Owen Smith, the candidate who promises continuity with the strategy that lost the last two general elections, the strategy that lost Scotland, and who is backed by John McTernan and Alastair Campbell, represents a retreat into a comfort zone for a party habituated to defeat, a party unwilling to adapt to how society has changed since 1997.

Mr Smith – and his supporters – must have known this.

So can we please now kill the lie that Corbyn can’t win?

Source: We Must Question The Wisdom Of GMB’s Endorsement Of Owen Smith | Huffington Post


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10 thoughts on “Who do you trust: Was the GMB’s endorsement of Owen Smith rigged?

  1. aunty1960


    We are ineffect having our democratic rights and voice being taken away. We might as well be a one party on dictator state.

    We also need to question and debate where we are going, While no one or very few want to continue with Blairite Right Wing me me me policies and spindoctor spin as the only news and intelligence

    neither do I suspect that most would not want to go back to some diehard socialist non existent wet dream of an old man in the British Library.

    We need to be here. In time and present, and our politics and policies need to be relevant.

  2. rupertrlmitchell

    Firstly Mike, the above report just confirms my personal opinion that we need to find a way of taking another vote on who is running the Labour Party; either Corbyn the properly elected leader, or Smith or McNicol. Jeremy Corbyn does not stoop to manipulating figures and I feel certain that I speak for the majority of the real Labour movement when I say I want Jeremy to take over and for the other mock Labour party to get the hell out of it.

    Why is Labour STILL trying to sideline anger against Iain McNicol over the ‘purge’? I apologize for responding to your blog of yesterday on this page Mike but try as often as I did the response just clicked out each time which I thought rather suspicious so I will try once more today:-

    “Why did Iain McNicol wait until just before the vote for the re-election of the Leader to suspend members when he could have done so weeks earlier if he so had wished?

    How many of those suspended, including myself, had voted for Jeremy Corbyn, and how many had voted against? I suspect that there were none who had voted against. The whole matter leaves the Labour Party in disarray and has damaged its image badly and is playing into the hands of the Conservatives. The only reason I remain a subscribing member of the Party is due to my loyalty to Jeremy Corbyn and the fact that we need as many people on board in case a GE is called at short notice.

    Without Jeremy Corbyn I would not consider it worth-while remaining a member as the nasty comments being made by those who oppose him lead me to consider them more Right Wing than genuine Labour.”

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      This one was in the ‘pending’ tray, just fine. I don’t know why your comments get bumped automatically. Is it some setting you have on?

  3. DS

    Aleppo? #LivingHomeStandard? Brexit? No, you’re focusing on the Labour leadership election. You’re fighting the wrong battle.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      There’s plenty about Brexit and the Syria conflict elsewhere on this site. You’re posting misleading criticism. Why?

      1. DS

        I fully admit to not having looked through the rest of your site before posting, so it’s fair to say you have spoken about Syria and Brexit. The frustration comes from those on the left refighting the same internal battles over and over. From what I can see of your writing, you’re a Corbyn supporter. Fair enough. It feels like you should accept he won and move on, rather than continue fighting though.
        As to “misleading criticism”, well, I’m happy to accept that I was unaware about your other comments on Syria, so I’d accept mistaken. “Misleading” sounds a bit paranoid, as if you think I have some sort of agenda…

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Sadly the battle over Mr Corbyn’s leadership is still being fought, as some Labour MPs simply won’t accept the result.

  4. Graeme Beard

    I have been a GMB member since 1991. My wife a GMB member since 1998. My son a GMB member since 2004. Not one of us received any information or were balloted on supporting Smith or Corbyn. The latter would have had 3 more votes if we had. It was rigged without a doubt.

Comments are closed.