For months now, the SKWAWKBOX has covered the disenfranchisement of Labour members via arbitrary suspensions and even expulsions, as well as the dismissive, abusive and even incriminating way in which those have been lifted once the leadership election was over. The conclusion that they were done with the aim of preventing Corbyn supporters voting in that election is almost impossible to dismiss.
Now, 3 full months after the close of the election, you could be forgiven for thinking that the debacle could be consigned to the past, at least until the next contest – but you’d be wrong.
Below is a letter received in the last couple of days by a Liverpool Labour member who had been not merely suspended but completely expelled from the party – for 5 years, with no right of appeal.
You’d think that such an expulsion must mean some serious misdeed had taken place – or at least the reasonable belief in one. You’d be wrong about that, too:
No reasons for the exclusion decision, nor any explanation given for its reversal beyond a ‘review’. Basically, ‘oops, oh well’ – ‘apologies for any inconvenience’, with no recognition of the serious, fundamental wrong that such an arbitrary removal, not only of voting rights but of actual membership, represents in a party that claims to be democratic.
The letter’s shoddy quality of paper and print is only partly conveyed by the image (those blank lines across some of the print are not an artefact of the image) but it perfectly conveys the dismissiveness with which the party bureaucracy is treating members – as does the rote wording, which is clearly a template that has been used for all members similarly affect. That such template letters are still being sent out 3 months after the event underlines the scale of the disenfranchisement.
It’s staggeringly presumptuous as well: “we’ve let you back in now, so get back to campaigning”, essentially.
And the letter is signed, as have been all the others, by General Secretary Iain McNicol.
This farce shames the party and McNicol, as the man responsible is, beyond dispute, guilty of bringing the party into disrepute. As CLPs across the country start to wake up to his unfitness for his position and vote ‘no confidence’ in him, it’s more essential than ever that he be removed – and without delay.
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