Why has Labour HQ blocked Democracy Review page from search engines?

sleeves up

Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘Democracy Review‘ is a vital, multi-phase consultation aimed at the democratisation of the party and the fitness of its internal and outward-facing processes to represent the movement as a genuine political alternative.

In short, it’s important to the vast majority of Labour members – and is being overseen by party Chair Ian Lavery and Corbyn aide Katy Clark, with the assistance of NEC (National Executive Committee) member Claudia Webbe and Chair Andy Kerr.

So it’s interesting to note that Labour’s Southside HQ – or whoever was commissioned by it to create the Democracy Review web page on the Labour Party website – contains coding that blocks it from being shown in search engines.

The ‘metatag’ information encoded into the page is a ‘noindex’ tag:



Google Support’s page on the noindex tag makes clear what its purpose is:

noindex google

So the tag on the Democracy Review page is intended to prevent Google showing it if someone searches for it. It doesn’t have another purpose.

The information came to light during a discussion on a Labour-related Facebook page:

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Labour HQ was contacted for comment but had not responded by the time of publication. However, a spokesperson later said:

The Labour Party Democracy Review is a wide-ranging engagement with our members. At the launch of the review, members were sent an email and video message from Jeremy Corbyn with a link to the consultation questions on the website. The review has been widely advertised to CLPs and affiliates and the Party has already received thousands of submissions.

The review and the opportunity to submit responses are on Labour’s ‘Membersnet’ members-only website. If the coding was an attempt, say, to limit responses from non-members while relying on messages and links to members by email, Labour’s response begs the question: why put it on the main party site at all?

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  1. “Why has Labour HQ blocked Democracy Review page from search engines?”
    That is easy to answer – The RW have realised that the only chance they have of clinging onto power is to cheat and lie.

  2. The situation with regard to accessing these pages must be changed straightaway. There can be no valid reason for preventing members from keeping up to date with the democratising process.

  3. This is just another item to add to the long list of failings which demonstrate that Iain McNicol lacks the capability to carry out the duties and resonsibilities required of a General Secretary of the Labour Party.

    When he can’t even carry out the simplest of tasks like this it really is time for him to go and for the party to replace him with somebody who is competent.

  4. Corbyn’s advocacy about democracy inspired me to join to Labour Party and even more to other activities. Authoritarian policies are forced in every corner of the society and all over places has to be changed. Without democratic issues Corbyn’s Labour Party would be weakened. We have to get back democracy for fairer society.

  5. On balance, I think this is comission rather than omission. This is of a piece by the clowns who are starving the Leaders office of short money and is in the form of the Compliance busy victimising Jewish members by accusing them of anti-Semitism as defined by the Israeli Embassy at Palace Gate and otherwise by the Jewish Chronicle which is regularly leaked to by Iain McNichol. Iain McNicholl and his whole putrid administrative little empire needs to go – I’m don’t pay a subscription as a member supporting JC so some tiresome bureaucrat can perpetrate this sort of nonsense.

    1. Interesting, On the Labour Party Forum and elsewhere online you were complaining about Labour International members being idiots and controlled by Momentum etc etc. “Member supporting JC” – I think not.

  6. Giving the NEC any credit for not being involved would be a mistake at the highest level!
    These meta tags, have to be written in the program, either with instruction from the person who requests this program to be written!
    Or the programmer is a RW, who agrees with the dogma on the right in the PARTY?
    Whatever or whoever, it needs an investigation!

  7. What’s needed is a crowdfunded whistleblower reward for information – emails, chatlogs, internal records; anything incriminating and actionable – on the orgy of Southside / Labour Right misconduct during the leadership challenge.

    The abusive proceduralism and plausibly deniable sabotage will continue until they’re dragged out by their feet.

  8. Over a day has passed and still no response from McNicol or the NEC, I wonder why?

  9. Suppression of information … whatever next! Sounds like this Democracy Review needs to include a few changes on the tech team too.

  10. I’ve contacted the creative team that administers the Labour Party website, Wide Eye @wideeyecreative (based in the U.S.) plus its man in charge Ben Ostrower @benostrower twice altering them to this clumsy error.
    I’m still awaiting their reply and removal of said meta tag.

    Ref 1. https://twitter.com/domesticempire/status/940937524960210946
    Ref 2. https://twitter.com/domesticempire/status/941237876313993216

    Perhaps other readers might wish to follow suit?

  11. As a web designer, I can say that unless ‘noindex, nofollow’ is the default setting for the entire website (highly unlikely and I’ve never see it – why hide your site from Google?), it’s unlikely to be an accident. It has never been a default tag on any CMS or website tools I’ve ever used and requires manual addition, so an oversight seems unlikely. In my experience the tag has to be added deliberately, and I usually only use it site-wide via the header block to prevent Google finding the website while it’s in development. I rarely use the tag outside of that circumstance. Even if deliberate though, I imagine the defence of the perpetrator will be that the tag was added to a draft of the page and they forgot to remove it. There are other ways to draft a page though, and any semi competent web editor can draft offline before uploading and immediately putting live without ever needing to rely on noindex and nofollow.

    1. The article has never said it’s not available, just that it’s blocked from search engines. On the contrary, it asks what the point is of putting it on the main site if it can’t be searched for

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