Labour Hub has reproduced an important twitter thread by Angus Satow on Keir Starmer’s purge and the implications for Britain’s democracy.
I reproduce it in full below, in view of its importance:
Labour is in the process of selecting its Prospective Parliamentary Candidates for the next General Election, with the NEC signing off batches of seats.
Per Michael Crick’s useful blog, only ONE out of the first FORTY can be classified as left-wing. Why?
In brief, every Left candidate likely to win is being blocked before the race even starts. So far:
How can they do this?
Well, according to Labour’s own rules – they can’t. But….
There are three stages to selections: longlisting, shortlisting and the selection.
Longlisting: NEC Majority, with trade union input
Shortlisting: Local Party and trade union representatives
Selection: Labour members
The Leader of the Opposition’s Office and the Labour machine – working in tandem – are intervening at the longlisting stage, where they have control.
This is when they’re blocking candidates from even being considered or voted on by members – even council leaders, senior council figures and ex-MPs!
The Labour Party leadership are clear about this – they are ensuring that loyalists are selected, figures from the Labour right who will never cause any problems.
They’re stitching it up.
They block all left-wingers from the start, and ensure any candidate offered to members is ‘friendly’.
This is no democratic choice at all.
But they face a problem:
Under a rule agreed by Starmer’s NEC, trade union-backed candidates are *automatically longlisted*.
Every left-winger blocked has enjoyed trade union backing, often from Unite and the CWU.
In @LaurenJTownsend‘s case from six unions inc Unite AND Unison.
So they come up with a workaround: ‘due diligence’.
A ‘dossier’ is compiled of ‘concerning evidence’ which has ‘come to light in the course of routine due diligence’ checks on social media.
There are some truly laughable examples of what this evidence consists of.
– Once having liked a Caroline Lucas tweet
– Liking a tweet by Nicola Sturgeon about testing negative for Covid
Equally, there are some truly disturbing examples of ‘evidence’ which is grounds for blocking:
– having mentioned Palestinian refugees (a blatant act of anti-Palestinian racism)
– Liking a tweet calling on Labour to be bolder in its economic policy
– a ‘history of protest’
It’s not hard to disprove the Leadership’s half-baked claim that this is about ‘quality control’.
For example, here’s the Leadership’s ‘heir’ for Milton Keynes North doing the exact same thing as Lauren Townsend.
In Barking, Labour Right NEC members first ignored, then swept under the carpet evidence of Blue Labour figure Darren Rodwell engaging in what have been termed racist jokes.
He was let off and won the selection. ‘Quality control’ ?
Upon receiving the dossier, the candidate is then invited to a meeting at one day’s notice, with the outcome all but certain: blocking.
These amount to nothing less than show trials.
The next day, the candidate receives a perfunctory email, saying only that the panel considered their representations, and they rejected them.
No rules are cited, no judgement given. No due process.
You might wonder – will the trade unions tolerate this blatant abuse of process, blocking their candidates?
The answer is no – earlier this year, trade unions agreed with the NEC a clarification of ‘due diligence’ that it could only be used for things such as serious financial wrongdoing.
But this agreement has been ignored, time and again.
Candidates backed by unions across the board – from USDAW to Unite, UNISON to the CWU – have been blocked on spurious grounds.
Nor is it only left-wingers being blocked.
From Bella Sankey in Hastings to Jack Hemingway in Wakefield, even soft left figures are being blocked.
As Momentum put it, anyone to the left of Tony Blair faces attack.
All this is the polar opposite of what Starmer promised in 2020.
The media shouldn’t have any hesitation in saying this: Starmer lied to get elected.
He did so because this strategy is wholly out of touch with the mood in the Party and the country.
Instead, as reported by @patrickkmaguire, it is a tight coterie of Starmer staffers on the hard-right of the Party leading this purge.
Their desire to reshape the PLP with Starmerite automatons trumps all else, from trade unions to local parties.
It’s out of step with the country, because people want their MPs to be local, but from Wakefield to Stroud, the Leadership are happy to exclude popular local champions in favour of loyalist parachutes.
And polling also shows that from a higher minimum wage to public ownership, people want left-wing economic policies!
But whether it’s deselecting Socialist Campaign Group members or blocking left-wingers, Starmer is intent on wiping these ideas out of the public sphere.
But there are more damaging effects still. As @MichaelLCrick reports, very few candidates are working-class.
Instead, they are from the professional political classes.
In Milton Keynes North, Lauren Townsend, a trade unionist who came to the labour movement by organising her workplace as a waitress, was blocked.
The Leadership’s supposed heir is a pollster.
This is the Starmerite counterrevolution to put working-class interests back in a box.
It gets worse.
In Camberwell & Peckham, @mowords, a prominent anti-racist activist and working-class black man, was blocked. No black man has been elected as a Labour MP since 2011
Meanwhile, Rodwell was let through, despite his ‘black man’ remarks.
Britain’s leading Black newspaper – The Voice – has sounded the alarm on a crisis of anti-black racism within Labour.
All this within the context of the Forde \\Report and criticism from Black MPs.
Yet the Voice has been *ignored* by the Labour Party.
Meanwhile, in Kensington, the ex-MP, @emmadentcoad, the only person to ever win the seat for Labour, and a passionate advocate for a community scarred by Grenfell was blocked.
Locally there was widespread disgust at the decision.
As @FisherAndrew79 has remarked, this obsessive purge is also draining Labour’s activist base.
With members disempowered and local councillors and even ex-MPs blocked, why would anyone go out and knock doors? The disrespect is palpable.
Indeed, when the Party blocked the *deputy leader of the council* in favour of two people who live outside the constituency, the entire Wakefield CLP Executive resigned.
So in sum:
rights of trade unions disregarded
local members and parties disrespected
failing on anti-racism
This is Keir Starmer’s Labour Party.
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