Corbyn flexes muscles to overturn Birmingham anti-democracy

At the turn of the year, the SKWAWKBOX published exclusive legal advice from a highly-qualified barrister that the move by the Birmingham Labour board to disenfranchise thousands of Labour members was entirely unlawful.

Hard-line right-wingers had ruled – allegedly in breach of party rules and procedures – that only members who had joined Labour before July 2015, two months before Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader, could vote in selections of next year’s council candidates – at one stroke ruling out huge numbers of pro-Corbyn members from the selections for as long as 6 years.

On Saturday night, the Guardian announced that Jeremy Corbyn had stepped into the process to ensure that the gerrymandering measure was overturned, so that any members joining by the start of this year will be entitled to vote:

guard jc bham.png

The paper reports that Corbyn was ‘warned’

that, in effect, he would be overruling decisions already taken by the local party.

Which, of course, was exactly what was needed. The West Midlands has been a bastion of the right-wing old guard clinging to control of party mechanisms in the hope of frustrating Labour’s new status as a genuine, inspiring alternative – and protecting far too many dire MPs.

The SKWAWKBOX applauds this show of resolve by the Labour leader, whose strength and electoral surge in spite of attempts to undermine him by laughably-termed ‘moderate’ MPs including many from the West Midlands, plus the support of the vast majority of Labour members, entitles him to take whatever action is necessary to ensure that Labour operates democratically.

And not just in the Midlands.

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  1. It makes one wonder why Iain McNicol and the NEC hadn’t already sorted this out.

    1. The problem is the the NEC has & is acting illegally against the party rule. For a start it has 2 extra members that shouldn’t be there. NEC support the Blairites & Progess against party rules. Frankly, McNichol needs to be investigated & removed.

  2. Tom Watson blocked me on Twitter when I told him his chums on Wirral had spent 9 years stealing £736,756.97 from learning disabled people. The figure was released in response to an FOI request.

    Labour needs to rid itself of its callous, careerist throwbacks.

  3. It is the convention for Labour Party General Secretaries to resign when the party loses a General Election.

    Iain McNicol has now overseen two losses and has yet to resign, which demonstrates two things. Firstly, it demonstrates a lack of honour, and secondly it shows he has no respect a lack for party conventions. This fact alone is evidence he is not a fit and proper person to hold this position.

    His position had already become untenable due to the leader of the party choosing to be an additional defendant to Mr McNicol in the court case which was brought to attempt to block the leader from appearing on the ballot for the second leadership contest, a contest which was triggered by a coup by a group of plotters the PLP.

    The leader chose to defend his position personally due to his lack of trust in Iain McNicol. This was a based upon a reasonable suspicion of Mr McNicol’s trustworthiness as Mr McNicol had, in advance of the court case, colluded with the plotters to block the Leader of the Labour Party automatically appearing on the ballot.

    As Mr McNicol had at that point self evidently lost the trust of the leadership he should of course have immediately resigned.

    So, having established that Mr McNicol is merely a careerist who lacks integrity, let us turn to his capability.

    Mr McNicol has, by the terms of his own objectives when he was appointed, failed to deliver.

    He claimed he wanted to make the party more open, decentralised and democratic. As this Skwawkbox article shows, he has abjectly failed in that regard. Indeed, he has done worse than just fail. McNicol has actively overseen a regime within the party that spies on members’ social media and hacks into members’ social media accounts with the express purpose of expelling new and established members members who support the leadership of the party.

    He has also wasted hundreds of thousands of pounds of party funds in his successful attempt to discriminate against Labour members to prevent them from voting in the leadership contest. The beneficiary of Mr McNicol’s discrimination was Owen Smith, a candidate in th contest. As Mr McNicol was the returning officer for the contest, his actions were in clear breach of his duty as the returning officer to remain impartial.

    Another of his objectives was to increase the use of campaign technology. In that regard, despite the vast income generated due to Mr Corbyn being an exceptional fundraising asset for the party, and despite having a four year head start, he has been left completely flat-footed by the Momentum campaigning organisation which has introduced superior phone banking apps and online campaign organisation tools on a shoestring budget.

    Mr NcNicol’s behaviour and lack of capability renders his position untenable. As he places his own career interests above the interests of the Labour Party and lacks the integrity and decency to resign, he will have to be removed from office.

    1. Eloquently summed up! Absolutely nowt for people to disagree with, here. 🙂

      1. There are two aspects to this. Firstly, his removal. Secondly, who will replace him.

        There are several ways to remove McNicol. The least humiliating for him would be for him to do the right thing by the party and resign.

        As he has, so far, refused to take that honourable option then the leadership could ask him to resign. I would suggest that the leadership invite Mr McNicol to a private meeting and put those choices to him.

        If he does not choose option one then it will be crystal clear that he is happy to continue to damage the party and he will leave the leadership little choice but to declare it has no confidence in McNicol. The next step would be for the NEC to vote on the matter. If members of the NEC vote to block the will of the leadership then their names would be leaked and the membership could vote them off the NEC. That would be a good way to do it as it would kill several birds with one stone.

        The leadership may choose to avoid that course of action in order to avoid a perception of disunity being capitalised upon by the media. McNicol is aware of that consideration and is therefore effectively blackmailing the party to keep him in post.

        An alternative strategy would be for the membership to organise a nation wide submission of replica motions of no confidence in Iain McNicol based on the comprehensive list of his failures and his abuse of office, including the ones listed above as well as the fact that he cost the party an election victory by underfunding Labour candidates, and demand that he step down with immediate effect.

        Should the majority of the the CLPs vote for those motions, McNicol would have no option but to resign.

        Perhaps Skwawkbox would be willing to act as one of the facilitators in that process.

        The person who replaces him will, unlike the current General Secretary, need to be trustworthy and supportive of the leadership. I would suggest, that all else being equal amongst the candidates, a woman General Secretary be appointed.

      2. Unfortunately, when there has been a campaign of CLP submitting resolutions to the CLP, they seem to vanish after being sent to the administrators. There are many more fish to fry,.

  4. Tom Watson and Iain McNicol were at the absolutely centre of efforts to dipose Jeremy and, when that failed, disenfranchise his supporters to the extent that the grissly Owen Pfizerboy had a chance of winning the leadership election they were all so keen to avoid.

    I suspect that Watson, McNicol and others are, in large part, motivated by a desire to keep a lid on evidence of their joint misconduct during the leadership challenge that could see them all permanently run out of politics in disgrace.

    Even something as apparently innocuous as the left gaining control of the NCC might be enough to bring Watson and McNicol’s whole facade tumbling down, as complaints against their actions are given a proper airing.

    NcNicol standing down or being voted out by the NEC might be a positive step but that would very much depend on who replaced him.

    McNicol is now so tainted (as detailed above) that he’ll probably be gone soon enough but expect the right to use his departure as an opportunity for damage limitation. They’ll want to replace him with someone else who’ll keep a lid on misconduct during the leadership challenge and they’ll also want McNicol to receive a severance package “in recognition of his years of loyal service” etc. etc. which is in fact hush money and a reward for gross misconduct.

    Don’t fall for it, McNicol is the tip of an iceberg.

    He and his co-conspirators must not be allowed to slink off into the shadows – rewarded for gross misconduct, faux reputations largely intact – from where they’ll undoubtedly snipe – sorry, “intervene” – for years to come.

    Hundreds of thousands of Jeremy’s supporters deserve to see actual justice served, not see the likes of McNicon and Watson slink off under the terms of some grubby ‘deal’.

    Watson, NcNicol, and all the rest, should be dismissed in disgrace if they are unwilling to recant and implicate their co-conspirators, Mandelson included.

  5. Perhaps some sort of mass protest against the dirty tricks brigade could be organised to drive them out. They will not be easily deposed as they are leeches clinging on to their host for all they are worth, but if the Party is ever to heal itself properly, then it must be undertaken.

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