Mirror: no response on shoddy journalism re Labour membership

Report claimed reasons for membership change that are not in evidence

The Daily Mirror – supposedly a left-wing paper – has printed an article claiming that Labour’s membership fell by 46,000 “because of antisemitism, Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn”.

Labour members don’t have to give reasons if they leave the party – or, in most cases, their membership simply lapses unrenewed – and the party keeps no data on reasons. So the paper no basis for the headline, nor for the article linking the figures to those reasons – apart from a handful of anecdotal claims on social media that certainly don’t amount to anything like 46,000.

The SKWAWKBOX wrote to the journalists whose names appear on the article:

Your article today claims Labour lost 46,000 over antisemitism, Brexit and Corbyn. There is no data as to why people left or their membership lapsed and you appear to have relied on a handful of anecdotal claims by supposed members of their reasons for leaving. Many examples exist of such claims from people who were then exposed as not even members to begin with.

Anything to say about the poor journalistic standards exhibited in this article?

No response was received. Let’s be charitable and say that the headline might have been imposed on the article by others at the paper – but the framing of the article is still appallingly skewed.

As one observer put it on Twitter, there could be – and very likely is – a very different reason for the fall in membership:

Right-wing pressure groups have spent the almost four years of Corbyn’s leadership desperately trying to recruit enough members to make another leadership challenge anything but an embarrassment for them. 46,000 – below 10% of Labour’s huge membership – would be about right, given the persistently solid support of most members for their party’s leader.

That interpretation of the available facts is supported by the fact that, in spite of the reduction in membership and as even the Mirror’s article admits, Labour’s income rose during the same period. Committed supporters invest their money as well as their time in the vision of the party – members who are only there in the hope of casting a wrecking vote don’t.

Barely two weeks ago, we had the Murdoch Times claiming support among Labour members for Corbyn had ‘plummeted’ – when in fact, it was exactly the same as the level both leadership elections showed. These attempts would be funny if the Establishment wasn’t trying to undermine the main hope of real change available to the people of this country.

Losing those deluded enough to support the drab, visionless ‘business as usual’ politics of the right is anything but a loss to Labour, regardless of how the dreary corporate media try to present it.

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  1. “The Daily Mirror – supposedly a left-wing paper..”
    Yeah, right.
    All this membership talk has some importance though: a steady increase in membership and a growing political presence of the local membership would be signs that the movement was progressing towards power.
    My sense is that there has been a failure to take the next step of increasing local activities, rediscovering political education and organising the margins in society-the young, the poor, the unemployed, tenants etc. Without transforming the nature of the Labour Party from a fan club to a powerful living organism, with its own centres, including media, disillusion and defeat loom in the near future.
    One of the worst results of the anti-semitism nonsense and the purges that preceded it has been to make it dangerous for members to think for themselves, exchange ideas, formulate opinions- every time a mouth is opened there is the possibility that a misinterpretation or misrepresentation might open the speaker top expulsion from the party.
    The first principle has to be Freedom of Speech, the right to learn by making mistakes in public.
    Unfortunately there are still many, even among those calling themselves socialists, who believe that the great unwashed need to be under the guidance of salaried experts, MPs and Union Bureaucrats. In fact the reverse is true.
    It is very weird that Chris williamson is suspended and Jess Phillips and Tom Watson are not.

    1. Bevin,
      Lets give a few facts out, such as between August 2015 – February 2018 some 12K members were Auto-Excluded, Expelled or Suspended by Crooked McNicol and his anti-democratic cookie crew – these figures from senior sources sitting on the NEC at the time, which is indicative of the fact new members are not given a warm welcome, and that’s before we look at the manufactured AS crisis, which the Party leadership seems intent on pouring more petrol on, rather than telling the Ardent Zionist Brigade to bugger off, which would have been the simple way to deal with the issue.

      We than have a archaic Party organisation that is hardly suitable for the 21st Century, which allows factions to essentially control local and regional centres, usually to the benefit of the Labour Bitterites.

      Add to this the Party Democracy Consultation process that was essentially binned, despite 1000s participating, and then the egregious decision by the NEC/Unions and Leaders Office not to implement Open Selection and you get a very corrosive environment for those who actually do believe in People Power at a grass roots level.

      Oh, and I’ve negated the fact that membership costs themselves are not cheap, which does seem strange given the collapse in real incomes since 1992 for the majority of those the party is supposed to represent, unless of course we follow the crass stupidity of Paul Mason and his misrepresentation of Gramsci.

      In a nutshell, I personally know several persons forced to leave the Party within a one month TL due to faux charges of AS and a Compliance Unit unfit for purpose. And this is before we take your critique on board. Indeed, I’m rather surprised that Party has retained more than 500K members given the antics of the right and a Compliance Unit unable to discern fact from fabrication.

      Indeed, if I rejoined the Party I’d be expelled not soon after my paperwork arrived – of course, they’d pocket my 12 month membership fee, which also leaves a bitter taste in one’s mouth.

      1. Yes 👍 ex Labour councillor and one of the many refused by mcnicol and the subscription used to reverse the decision on our legitimate applications to be members of the Labour party..And now we sit down and watch Chris Williamson being thrown under a bus!…….Somthings very wrong and we need to democratize our party

    2. Good points Bevin, tragically those old left at the top of Momentum have taken on bourgeois traits (top down, taking power for themselves, patronisingly telling people who they should vote for, so we are held to emotional blackmail – vote for the Leff NEC slate we decide or JC loses his majority on the NEC).
      Lansman is a political moron who doesn’t get left wing, grassroots, bottom up, participatory, democratic socialism and I will not vote for this political moron again.
      We will decide who are the great and good of the Left on their IDEAS (accepting there are some decent socialists on the Left NEC slate like Claudia and Darren) but a new Labour Left Network seems to be emerging which is bottom up and may have the potential to harness all of us who are energised by the fact Labour has its first socialist leader.

    3. All spot on: Bevin “failure to take the next step”; christopher rogers “archaic Party organisation that is hardly suitable for the 21st Centur”; Bazza “Lansman is a political moron who doesn’t get left wing” — the big positive here is that we all see that “grassroots, bottom up, participatory, democratic socialism” is the way forward. Shame that Corbyn doesn’t get this.

      1. I thought John that you wanted to run away from confrontation when supporting Chris Williamson was mentioned.? All well and good if you have changed your mind because of the argument on democratizing Chris Williamson vision of a member ed Labour party.?Welcome on board!

  2. One observant person replied that the Daily Mirror’s circulation has fallen 50% from roughly 1,000,000 to 500,000 between 2015 and 2019, and suggested that this was due to their failure to back Jeremy Corbyn.

    1. Irish sean…..a very astute observation,but the lack of revenue reflects in the appalling lack of real journalism,and the negative attitude to the Labour party.,I think many of the old rags are doomed,they live in the past and run cap in hand to the establishment!

  3. Yes. Headline:
    I was there in my city when thousands were waiting in the intermittent rain for hours to hear JC speak and then days later saw thousands of people running over a field to hear JC speak at Gateshead Stadium – if it had been a Right Wing Labour MP speaking they would have been running away!
    But JC’s secret is simple, he agrees with us left wing democratic socialists!
    Keep the faith brothers and sisters, we will win!

    1. The comments on here give me confidence to carry on regardless and only u few cowards make me ashamed! Comrades in socialism!

  4. Or perhaps there’s a simpler explanation.

    Fewer people join political partied when there are no national elections due to be held, and more join when there are.

    See: Tories “apparently” went from one-man-and-his-dog to 160,000 when the Prime Ministership was up for grabs.

  5. It was interesting that the Groan – against all expectations – didn’t particularly spin the story, unlike the Mirror.

  6. its a shame the way the daily mirror has been reporting. Years ago my dad asked me to get the daily mirror for him, I was about thirteen at the time, the daily Mirror had run out I naively got my dad the Sun. You would have thought I had given him poison when I handed him the Sun “Thankyou but I don’t want this tory rag ” I never made that mistake again, he loved to read the Daily Mirror, every day he would read it and do the crossword as well. Dad died over twenty years ago, he would be very sad to know how the Daily Mirror reports now. This paper is just the same as the Sun and the tawdry tory newspapers. I only wish dad was still alive to know Jeremy Corbyn is the labour leader.

    1. Same with my father maria,and he died before Thatcher fell! But he would be appalled to see our modern day PLP

  7. Since the Herald died there has been no readable hard copy left wing newspaper. There are one or two candidates on line, the Morning Star and the Canary show promise.

    1. Not being financially sound anymore I still find some spare pennies to support good causes, thus I’ve donated to The Morning Star and shall donate to The Canary at the months end, I need to contribute to this website too. As for The Guardian, I was once a very loyal reader who even purchased a daily copy when living 6000 miles away – not anymore, so there’s one saving at least.

    2. The only thing about the Canary is that they can’t seem to compose an article without mentioning ‘racism’. They can find racism where it doesn’t exist.

    3. “Since the Herald died there has been no readable hard copy left wing newspaper.”

      … although amongst the MSM the Mirror has consistently stood out in backing Labour.

      The problem is that it’s establishment petticoat has been showing since the election of Corbyn, and Kevin Maguire is consistently one of the Westminster luvvies, albeit with a dislike of the Tories and LibDems.

      Maguire writes a gossip column for the equally biased New Statesman, and it is an interesting insight into the limits of the mindset of current Westminstrer journos who operate within a limited sphere of knowledge and perception, with a few notable exceptions. It’s not simply a ‘left’/’right’ issue. The attitude to the AS scam is always a good acid test of the groupie mentality.

      On that particular journalistic subject – yesterday I did something that goes against the natural grain – I dispatched a new book straight into the wastepaper basket after checking out its analysis of the AS scam. If a text regurgitates the MSM version of events on that subject, I reckon its entire political analysis and argument is likely to be worthless.

  8. Ceredig yes very true,and if we do nothing and leave the establishments right wing mps in position,we will see all of the above including Squawk box shut down using the extremism laws to curtail socialist news outlets.The next major slowdown is already gaining traction across the financial world…….We have a perfect storm brewing and need leaders of vision… What have we got Corperate stooges Trump and Johnson,macron,and the rebirth of right wing fanatics.Who will be blamed…….Corbyn already carrying the can for leaving europe,despite not being in government and now socialism is blamed for rabid antisemitism,and again we are blamed.We cannot hide,we come out fighting or we disappear into history?

    1. Its not just the mirror, a quick internet search for that headline brings up many different publications running that same story. This is definitely an organised attack on Corbyn.

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