Tag Archives: membership

Labour membership still strong – but you wouldn’t know it from biased right-wing media coverage

Labour is losing 125 members a day due to Brexit and complaints of anti-Semitism, according to right-wing “news” outlets like The Times and the Jewish Chronicle. And is it?

No.

The party’s membership has fallen slightly – figures for December 2018 show numbers at 518,659, down from a high of 564,443 the previous December – but the most likely reason for this is far less dramatic than the right-wing rags are suggesting.

The simple fact is that Labour membership increased massively from 2015 onwards because people wanted to show their support for the politics of then-new leader Jeremy Corbyn. The increase continued beyond the 2017 general election because, far from being a Conservative landslide, Mr Corbyn’s politics ensured that Labour deprived the Tories of their Parliamentary majority.

Now some of those members – people who joined to make a statement – are starting to drift away. Some may find it hard to afford the membership fee, also – we live in a Conservative-run country where working people are being squeezed hard, remember.

Labour’s own literature has described the fall as “in line with previous experience” outside a general election or leadership campaign year (and remember that 2015 and 2016 were leadership campaign years, while 2017 was a general election year).

And the fall did not affect party income – it both raised and spent significantly more than its political opponents. Income stood at £45.6 million and expenditure at £46.3 million.

These details may have been lost on you if you had read the version of the story put out by the right-wing press.

“Tens of thousands quit Labour in first annual membership drop under Jeremy Corbyn” screamed the Sky News headline.

“Labour loses 125 members a day over Brexit and antisemitism complaints” claimed The Times – falsely, it seems.

“Disillusioned Labour members leaving party at rate of 125 a day as antisemitism allegations continue to dominate” alleged the Jewish Chronicle.

But the simple fact is that anti-Semitism allegations have not harmed the party. Perhaps members have seen through the falsehoods.

Also failing to make much of an impact has been the high-publicity departures of prominent MPs who have been critical of Mr Corbyn. They have mostly fallen into obscurity. I mean, who cares what happens to Chuka Umunna now?

And Labour’s policy on Brexit seems not to have been the turn-off that some political rivals hoped, either.

In contrast, Conservative membership was said to be 159,320 when Boris Johnson was elected leader, with income of £34.2 million and expenditure of £36.3 million.

Liberal Democrat membership is at around 105,000. They received £6.2 million and spent 6.5 million.

So the story here is that Labour membership has remained strong while the other parties are struggling to hold on to the few adherents they have left.

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Graun reckons Brexit has cut Labour membership – but the figures tell a different story

What are they on about? You could forgive Jeremy Corbyn for facepalming in response to The Guardian‘s claim that Brexit and anti-Semitism are pushing people out of his party.

Fake news rears its head at The Guardian again!

The paper is saying unrest over Labour’s stance on Brexit has led to a 10 per cent fall in the party’s membership, with 6,000 leaving each month in the last two months.

But its own story goes on to state that this drop-off is due to “lapsers” – people who joined in the pro-Corbyn surge following the 2017 general election who have allowed their annual membership to lapse.

They do not show up in membership figures until 18 months after they joined / their last renewal because the party gives them time to choose to renew.

Obviously if these people lapsed their memberships six or seven months ago, they weren’t thinking about Labour’s attitude to Brexit in the EU Parliament elections at that time!

For one thing, we didn’t know we would be taking part in that poll.

Ah, but the Graun reckons “several MPs claim scores of local activists have become disillusioned and drifted away, as a result of what they regard as the party’s ambivalent stance on Brexit”.

Would these be Remainer MPs who think Labour should alienate half the UK’s population by joining demands for a new referendum – which may only confirm the mandate for the nation to leave the EU?

No mention is made of their own views on Brexit so the report omits important information. How are readers supposed to make up their own minds on this if they don’t have all the facts?

Also harmful is the claim that Labour’s attitude to claims of anti-Semitism in the party is turning members away – although this is more nuanced than mainstream rags like the Graun are reporting.

People aren’t merely dismayed that the party may be “institutionally anti-Semitic” as The Guardian (and others) has claimed.

They are also angry that the Labour leadership has not defended itself – and its members – against false accusations but has tried to find excuses to dismiss high-profile members facing them.

So while Labour’s membership has fallen – as is usual in the middle of a Parliamentary term, let’s not forget – the Graun is not being straight over the reasons.

My advice: Don’t take this nonsense at face value. Do your own research. Think for yourself.

Source: Labour membership falls 10% amid unrest over Brexit stance | Politics | The Guardian

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Mainstream news reporters: If you can’t provide evidence for claims, then those claims are FALSE

Prove it: If you see a political claim being put forward without evidence – in the social or mainstream media – feel free to post this in response, so everyone knows.

It’s past time we put an end to un-evidenced claims from so-called news reporters who are politically biased.

Claims attributed to “a source” or “an official” have as much authority as claims attributed to Merlin, Darth Vader or Robin Hood and it’s time we stopped putting up with them.

The latest I’ve seen is from Robert Peston, who quotes an “official with access to internal figures” to claim the Labour Party has lost 150,000 members since its peak.

Who is this official? How do they have access to the figures? Has Mr Peston obtained – or even sought – corroboration of the claim?

We don’t know. So we must conclude that the official doesn’t exist and the claim is false.

Furthermore, we have access to information from a named official who we know has access to the figures – Labour general secretary Jennie Formby – and who says the claim is not true. She did it in response to recent claims in the Mail:

I’ve created a little banner (above) that you can use to highlight unevidenced claims when they appear in the mainstream or social media. Feel free to use it.

Let’s swing the spotlight to point out the fakers.


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Theresa May rules out second referendum despite 700,000 taking to the streets to demand ‘people’s vote’

Worst negotiation: This placard-creator has a point, don’t you think?

I don’t want to say “I told you so”, but…

Theresa May rebuffed demands for a second EU referendum last nightdespite 700,000 protesters taking to the streets demanding a “people’s vote”.

The Prime Minister rejected calls for a fresh poll 48 hours after placard-waving campaigners swarmed on London urging a re-run.

She also raised the possibility of staying tied to EU rules – including freedom of movement – until 2022.

Source: Theresa May rules out second referendum despite 700,000 taking to the streets to demand ‘people’s vote’ – Mirror Online

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The Tories have been lying hard – instead of increasing education and local government funding, they’ve cut it by billions

Damian Hinds: He has been Education Secretary for less than a year but has managed to be rebuked four times for lying to the public.

There was a time when the Conservatives could expect to broadcast any old rubbish and expect it to be swallowed wholesale by a complicit media and a gullible public.

That time has passed.

The UK Statistics Authority has mauled Education Secretary Damian Hinds after he tried to lie to us about Tory cuts to school budgets. Here‘s the Mirror:

“Sir David Norgrove said he had “serious concerns about the Department for Education’s presentation and use of statistics”.

“Sir David highlighted four occasions that had caused the authority concern but stressed that there was no sign that ministers had learned from their mistakes.

“Ministers downplayed concerns from headteachers who marched on Parliament to protest school funding by insisting that the UK was “the third highest spender on education in the world”. Sir David [said] the original way it was presented used “a wide range of education expenditure unrelated to publicly funded schools” to “give a more favourable picture”.

“The Minister of State for School Standards Nick Gobb wrote that, in an international survey of reading abilities of nine-year-olds, England “leapfrogged up the rankings last year, after decades of falling standards, going from 19th out of 50 countries to 8th.” Sir David said in this letter: “This is not correct. Figures published last year show the increase was from 10th place in 2011 to 8th place in 2016.”

“[Sir David] also highlighted a recent tweet and blog from the department in which he said “figures were presented in such a way as to misrepresent changes in school funding.” He explained that spending was “exaggerated by using a truncated axis, and by not adjusting for per pupil spend”.

“In his speech to Tory party conference, Mr Hinds said that 1.9 million more kids are “studying in good or outstanding schools” under the Conservatives, prompting the Labour frontbencher to demand an investigation… Sir David said that while the claim was “accurate as far as it goes,” it had failed to “give a full picture” and should have been put in context with an overall rise in pupil numbers as well as changes to the way inspections are carried out.”

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner responded to the letter as follows: “This is a humiliating rebuke for Tory ministers. The Education Secretary has not even been in office for a year, yet this is the fourth time he has been caught by the government’s own watchdog making a claim that is wildly misleading or blatantly false.

“They need to come clean and stop deceiving the public in a desperate attempt to cover up their shocking record.

“They have used misleading figures on school funding to hide the fact that they have cut billions of pounds from school budgets, leaving head-teachers forced to beg for donations from parents to pay for books and stationary.

“And their claims on school standards are now in tatters. Instead of relying on discredited statistics they should use the Budget to invest in schools and genuinely improve standards.”

“The next Labour government will fairly fund all schools, as part of a National Education Service for the many, not the few.”

It does seem strange – doesn’t it? – that Mr Hinds should claim an increase in education budgets when schools are begging parents to pay for pupils’ pens, and head teachers are forced to choose between laying off staff and paying them for fewer hours in order to service a pay rise Mr Hinds announced but failed to properly fund.

On October 1, Treasury Minister Liz Truss told the BBC’s Newsnight that the Conservative government was not cutting funding to local government.

She said: “What we have done with local authorities is that they are able to raise much more money locally than they were before.

“We are not making cuts to local authorities. What we have done is give them more revenue raising powers so that decisions can be taken locally.

“It’s really important that local councillors are responsible for the decisions they make.”

She was saying the Tories have turned council funding into a postcode lottery, with services dependent on the property wealth of local residents.

And the Local Government Association spelled out the facts that Ms Truss was trying to hide:

“Main government grant funding for local services will be cut by a further £1.3 billion (36 per cent) in 2019/20 despite many councils already struggling to balance their books, facing overspends and having to make in-year budget cuts.

“Almost half of all councils – 168 councils – will no longer receive any Revenue Support Grant [the primary source of central government funding] next year.

“Between 2010 and 2020, councils will have lost 60p out of every £1 the Government had provided for services.

“The financial viability of some councils is now under threat and many others are increasingly unable to provide dignified care for our elderly and disabled, protect children, boost economic growth, fill potholes, build homes and much more.

Funding pressures and rising demand for services, such as adult and children’s social care and homelessness support, will leave local services in England facing a £3.9 billion funding black hole next year.

Still, it isn’t all bad.

If the Tories are lying about the amount of funding they are providing to services, they may also be lying about this:

How about it, Brandon Lewis? Let’s see your membership figures!

Jeremy Corbyn WILL accept second referendum – but can’t rely on Tories to force election

Jeremy Corbyn: He shouldn’t bank on Tories doing what he expects.

Here’s the thing: Conservative MPs want a Conservative government in power. They don’t care about anything else – certainly not the good of the United Kingdom.

People need to understand that.

It is unrealistic for the Labour leader to expect Conservatives, who don’t want Theresa May following her current course, to give up power because of it.

I’m not ruling it out, because stranger things have happened recently.

I just wouldn’t count on it.

Jeremy Corbyn plans to use Tory Brexit rebels to force PM Theresa May into a General Election as early as November.

And the Labour leader will reluctantly back a second EU referendum if his party conference calls for it.

In his only newspaper interview as delegates gathered in Liverpool, Mr Corbyn said: “If this Government can’t deliver Brexit then it must move over and have a General Election.”

To do this Mr Corbyn’s MPs and Tories from Jacob Rees-Mogg’s ­European Research Group of ­Brexiteers would vote together against Mrs May’s Chequers plan.

Labour set six tests for any final deal including a strong relationship with Europe, the same rights, protections and benefits we have now and fair migration to boost Britain’s economy.

Source: Jeremy Corbyn WILL accept second referendum if Labour conference votes for it – and plans to use Tory rebels to topple Theresa May – Mirror Online

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Conservative Party membership has plummeted – they are withholding the figures to hide the truth

Land of disillusion: Another former Conservative burns his membership card. [Archive image: Daily Mail!]

The only reason Grant Shapps has demanded that the Conservative Party publish its membership figure is to embarrass Theresa May. That’s fine by This Writer.

Mr Shapps attempted to unseat the minority prime minister last year, after her disastrous performance at the Conservative Party Conference – but before the series of further calamities that befell the Tory government in the months that followed.

And the party membership figure is sore point among Conservatives.

Back in 2013, This Site reported that David Cameron had admitted the Tories had a membership of 134,000 – not the nearly-150,000 quoted in the BBC News article below.

That was a drop of almost half the membership, from the 253,600 who voted in Mr Cameron’s leadership election in 2005.

Now, the figures This Writer is hearing suggest that membership has almost halved again, to around 70,000 – that’s a fall of almost three-quarters in less than 13 years.

It doesn’t mean that much, though.

Remember, nearly 14 million people voted for the Conservatives’ selfish and homicidal policies in June.

They won’t die out of their own accord – privilege understands self-preservation.

The battle for Britain has always been one of persuasion. We must overcome unreasoning tribalism and irrational hatred of those who oppose the privileged few, as well as the Tory policy arguments, to win the stewardship of the United Kingdom and its citizens.

The Conservative Party should “come clean” about how many members it has, its former chairman has said.

Grant Shapps said “transparency” on membership numbers was vital even if the figure appeared to be “embarrassing”.

The party last published figures in 2013, when it had 149,800 members but has refused to publish an update since then.

Activists and academics have estimated it has fallen to 100,000, or less.

Source: Tories must come clean on membership figures – ex-chairman – BBC News


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Britain to be kicked out of Europol against its will | The Independent

Europol gives the UK access to shared criminal databases [Image: Getty].

The Brexit bill keeps adding up, doesn’t it?

The loss of shared criminal databases could do the UK a lot of harm, especially at a time when the threat of terrorist attack is never far away.

But that’s the price that around a quarter of the population voted to pay. Okay, around a third of those who were qualified to vote at the time. And a large number of those would make a different decision given the chance today, we’re told.

But we’re doing it anyway!

How ridiculous. The UK is the laughing-stock of the world.

Britain will no longer be a member of the European police agency Europol after it leaves the European Union, the European Commission’s chief negotiator has said.

Speaking at a security conference in Berlin Michel Barnier accused the UK [of] abandoning the defence of Europe at a time when it should be standing “shoulder to shoulder” with its neighbours in the EU.

The UK government said as recently as September that it wants to remain inside Europol and retain other EU security benefits such as the European Arrest Warrant and shared criminal databases.

Source: Brexit: Britain to be kicked out of Europol against its will | The Independent


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As we head into conference season, here are the main stories of the new Parliament – so far


It seems possible that certain unscrupulous politicians might want to distract us from the issues that affect us the most, so This Site has put together a handy, quick-reference guide for you…

… in handy infographics that you can copy and paste anywhere you like!

(You’re welcome!)



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Cameron backs down after threatening to sack ministers over EU referendum

Struggling: David Cameron today.

Struggling: David Cameron today.

David Cameron has been forced into a humiliating climbdown over his threat to sack Tory ministers if they didn’t back his deal with the European Union – whatever that deal might be.

He reckons his words were “misinterpreted”.

The Writer reckons that is very funny indeed!

Cameron told reporters yesterday: “I’ve been very clear, which is I’ve said that if you want to be part of the government, you have to take the view that we are engaged in an exercise of renegotiation to have a referendum, and that will lead to a successful outcome.” [boldings mine]

This was a repeat of what he told Andrew Marr in January: “Well, there are Conservative Members of Parliament who want the leave the European Union come what may, but if you’re part of the government, then clearly you’re part of the team that is aiming for the renegotiation.”

Asked by Marr if this meant there would not be a free vote, as Labour allowed in the 1970s, Cameron replied unequivocally:”No, I’ve set out that very clearly in the past.”

Now he’s saying that Marr interrupted him so much that his comments were not clear.

They seem clear enough to this writer!

And they’re saying that this is a Prime Minister who has talked himself into a corner.

The Sunday Times’s Tim Shipman tweeted that this issue goes back three years, to when Downing Street said ministers would be free to campaign for the UK to leave the EU – and the next day Cameron said they would not.

He’s still saying there won’t be a free vote – possibly because he sees it as a way of getting rid of his more awkward ministers.

But that will play havoc with his standing among backbenchers – especially the 50 eurosceptics who are already campaigning for a much more radical approach.

Finally, Cameron told journalists that – if they were unclear on anything – they should ask.

Fine words, from the man who has a habit of making statements and then walking away while questions fly towards his back!

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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