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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