This morning I had the privilege to be at the special conference for the announcement of the result of the leadership contest between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith.
As you will know by now, the result was emphatic, with Corbyn gaining a decisive 61.8% share (313,209/506,438/654,006) of the votes in spite of the efforts to weed out around 250,000 mostly Corbyn supporters by suspensions, expulsions and simply not sending them a ballot.
But there was a significant little passage of events that you will have missed. I was seated directly behind deputy leader Tom Watson and party General Secretary Iain McNicol, within easy touching distance (if I had wished:
As he prepared to read the results, NEC Chair Paddy Lillis said he would read out the overall result but would also show the results by voting constituency (full members, supporters and affiliates).
After reading out the overall result, there was a look – missed by the cameras as they cut to Corbyn and the crowd – between McNicol and Lillis, the latter then referring to the split of votes among constituencies being on the screen but not reading them out as was done at last year’s announcement. Those results were therefore on a screen for those present to see, but not shown to those watching via the cameras of BBC News etc.
When you see what those figures showed, it’s not hard to understand why McNicol and co wouldn’t want them broadcast to millions of people. Here are the broken-down results:
There are two major reasons why the party machinery doesn’t want those figures on show.
Firstly, they show that Corbyn won a clear majority in every category, whereas last year the only one in which he (just) failed to win was that of full members, where he polled 49.5%.
Today’s result shows that – in spite of constant character assassination by both ‘coup’ MPs and the media and the disenfranchisement of massive numbers of members, Corbyn’s support among full members has increased by no fewer than 8.5 points.
Which leads us onto the second reason – the numbers show the truly staggering extent of the systematic efforts to deny votes to those who were considered likely to support Corbyn. But that is something that definitely needs the light of scrutiny, so here’s another graphic to make it crystal clear:
This shows that my ‘conservative calculation’ earlier this week of 121,000 denied a ballot was indeed overly conservative.
Even excluding from the member count the 128,000 denied a vote because of the arbitrary imposition by the NEC of a 12/1/16 cut-off, the members who could have voted and didn’t are almost 138,000.
The registered supporters count is also higher than the 57,000 I estimated.
Given that registered supporters had to pay £25 to register, we can safely assume that all of those would have voted given the chance. Not absolutely every member would necessarily have voted if they could, but in such a contentious contest, the percentage would have been very high.
But let’s be cautious and say only 80% would have and couldn’t, because of suspensions or because they simply didn’t receive their ballot (a situation we already knew was high).
That means over 172,000 would-be voters were unable to participate in the election – of which the vast majority would incontestably have voted for Corbyn – almost as many as Smith was able to win in total and far more than his share if the 128,000 12/1/16 voters had not been excluded.
The scale of the gerrymandering by Labour party officials to try to undermine their own leader is simply huge. But not as huge as the fact that in spite of it, Corbyn was still able to increase his majority and achieve a clear win in all sections of the vote – and he deserves massive kudos and congratulations for that.
Yet I bet you won’t see this in the mainstream.