The anti-democratic section of the Labour party, laughably referred to as ‘moderates’, has today attempted a second ‘chicken coup’ – and its success or failure hangs in the balance.
You are extremely unlikely to hear it mentioned in the mainstream media.
The Labour NEC, which includes several imminently-defunct members who will be replaced by Corbyn supporters at the weekend, has voted by 16-14 to increase its number by two – one member each to be nominated directly (i.e. unelected) by the leaders of Welsh and Scottish Labour:
The BBC’s notoriously anti-Corbyn Laura Kuenssberg chose to brush past this anti-democratic measure as if it meant nothing:
But the even more anti-Corbyn (and failed NEC candidate), prominent in the anti-Corbyn Progress and Labour First factions, who struggles not to boast about what he considers his side’s successes, let the cat out of the bag by admitting that the move would cancel out the effects of recent elections:
This is the equivalent of an outgoing government calling one last session to make a law that the overwhelmingly-elected new government has to appoint a majority of its opposition to its front benches and halving the voting power of the MPs of the party with the democratic mandate – a hideous and brazen move designed to make itself near-impossible to overturn while disenfranchising the millions who had voted in the new government.
It is unclear whether ‘frontbench’ means the Westminster front bench or the Holyrood/Cardiff equivalents. If the former, Corbyn can look to counter it by stacking his front bench with his supporters; if the latter, it allows anti-Corbyn Kezia Dugdale and anti-Corbyn Carwyn Jones to effectively annul Labour members’ democratic decision to elect Corbyn supporters to all 6 ‘constituency’ positions on the NEC. This would mean that Corbyn would need to ‘shuffle’ certain MP members in order to retain a functioning majority.
Tellingly, no such move was made to put a representative of Northern Ireland Labour on the NEC – doubtless because Labour in Northern Ireland has seen 500% growth in membership under Corbyn and is overwhelmingly pro-Corbyn.
EDIT: The Scottish representative at least, it appears, will be from the Scottish Parliament and directly appointed by Kezia Dugdale, as this tweet from a BBC political correspondent states – though how this is justified in a package of moves that purportedly makes Scottish Labour independent of the English party is beyond justification.
The move must still be ratified by the Labour Conference, which starts this weekend – but the outcome of that vote is unclear, as the party machine has been busily suspending (and therefore disqualifying) Corbyn-supporting delegates, so the likely balance of votes is not known (except perhaps to those behind these machinations).
If the measure passes a Conference vote, Jeremy Corbyn must take any actions necessary to negate it, whether that be shuffling people like Jon Ashworth, who has voted against Corbyn in every NEC vote, out so that they are removed from the equation and replaced by a better MP, or by withdrawing the whip to disqualify right-wing members so that the post-Conference NEC can overturn it or bring in rules that negate this deeply, shamelessly anti-democratic tactic.
It will go against the grain to take such steps, even to correct such an egregious and underhand wrong – but turnabout is fair play and the anti-democratic faction in the Labour party must not be allowed to succeed. They have underhandedly exploited the rulebook to open this door, so they can’t complain if the rules are used to firmly close it again (though without question they’ll bleat like goats).
Spread the word. Raise awareness. Get mad and even.