Analysis Exclusive

Investigation shows Beckett won UL contest 383-368 – and grassroots challenge Turner’s claimed win

Number of supporters unable to vote, in spite of being eligible and on voter list, was enough to give Howard Beckett a clear win – and grassroots left has taken dim view of Turner’s claimed victory

A post-election report on the mechanics of the United Left (UL) selection count has confirmed that UL proclaimed the wrong winner of the contest.

Steve Turner ‘won’ the ballot by just three votes but the report, seen by the SKWAWKBOX including a list of those affected, confirms that well over a dozen UL members were denied a vote because the emails containing online ballot links ‘bounced’ – the email addresses provided by UL to the firm sending out online ballots were incorrect, while several votes awarded to Turner were invalid.

The ‘lost’ Beckett votes

An overwhelming majority of those disenfranchised by the provision of wrong emails for the electronic ballot were Beckett supporters. Correct email addresses had been supplied to UL and email chains seen by SKWAWKBOX confirm that data controllers did not follow up on pleas to sort ballot issues before polling closed.

In spite of the bounce list UL has claimed all entitled to vote were able to do so, ignoring this and other issues to publish an endorsement of Turner as its nominee and Turner has publicly welcomed and accepted the statement of support – but the move has gone down badly with many on the left, who have said that accepting a clearly-flawed ‘victory’ reflects badly on him and called on him to show leadership by himself calling for a re-run:

The number may well have been larger. The voting company could only report bounces – non-delivery reports resulting from invalid email addresses – but emails to an incorrect email that exists (but belongs to someone other than a UL member) would not result in a bounce.

Member email addresses, according to insiders, were provided by United Left officials who endorsed Turner.

Ineligible Turner votes

Two ballots were issued to Turner supporters whose joining date did not qualify them to participate, but bigger discrepancies also exist:

  • a separate section of United Left was created in Scotland. Normally UL members in Scotland vote through PULS – Progressive United Left Scotland, which overwhelmingly supported Beckett. But a separate section was created before the ballot, adding 11 voters in Scotland
  • one region added a group of “cash paying” members to the regional list it submitted. The SKWAWKBOX understands that some were members of the Communist Party who joined late and voted for Turner

Other issues

The contest saw an array of other issues, including:

  • delays in sending electronic ballots
  • failures to provide ballots to members who queried why they did not receive one
  • regional lists of voters were never validated, in spite of requests by the Beckett campaign
  • issues with the entitlement to send campaign emails
  • the pre-recording of a hustings statement when the rules of the contest stipulated live presentations
  • late additions of voters after the eligibility cut-off
  • unequal treatment of voters in arrears, with some allowed to vote and others not
  • the promotion of Turner’s candidacy on official UL social media
  • lack of provision of lists of eligible voters

So many were the issues that Beckett’s supporters were forced to spend voting day chasing missing ballots instead of in the planned ‘get out the vote’ operation.

Even without those other issues, Beckett supporters denied a vote would have been enough to ensure a clear Beckett win.

Some of Turner’s supporters have tried to dismiss the significance of the issues, but the invalid email addresses confirmed in the post-selection report and the issue of those who chased their ballot but did not receive one are conclusive – had had the contest been conducted properly, Beckett would have won the UL contest by around 383-368.

There is no suggestion Steve Turner was responsible for the errors, nor of impropriety by the voting firm. However, there is no doubt that, whether driven by incompetence or unprofessionalism, these issues on the part of a small number of people changed the outcome of the contest.

The SKWAWKBOX attempted to contact United Left for comment, but the organisation’s contact form – the only contact method its site provides – was not working.

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27 comments

  1. What a pity that these two decent trade unionists now have to deal with this. If any individuals are found to be behind any corrupt practices they should at the very least be named shamed and thrown out of the Union and the Labour party.

    1. Carole Morgan’s ‘antidote fund’ has now reached £153,632 and seems still to be growing rapidly.
      What a hero she is!

  2. It has now become crystal clear that Jeremy Corbyn should start a new Anti-Racist Labour Party and make it clear that racists of any description, including Zionists, are excluded. Almost overnight it would become the largest Party in the country.

    1. You never ever even vaguely define what you mean by ‘Zionist’, Jack T. You just use the term in it’s usual catch-all shit-stirring unexplained way. Yet you have been challenged umpteen times to define what you mean by what is historically , and today, a very multi-meaning, multi-layer, toxically dog-whistle meanings laden term . You are either an anti-Semite , and/or a cynical troll constantly bringing up those old ‘Zionist conspiracy’ tropes , this time in the Labour Party context , simply to confuse and divide a historically and politically ignorant and naive Left Liberal ‘Left’.

      Jeremy Corbyn supports the existence of the state of Israel – obviously not within its current partially internationally illegal boundaries, or its illegal land seizures, and supports a ‘Two States’ negotiated solution – NOT the utter destruction of the state of Israel. So is Jeremy, in your terms , a ‘Zionist’ too ? You daren’t answer this simple question, Jack T, because YOU are only interested in peddling anti-Semitic tropes on a regular basis on here , and can’t afford to expose your dodgy motivations for constantly rambling on about a totally undefined ‘Zionism’. YOU certainly wouldn’t be welcome in any Left Party with any socialist politics.

      1. jpenney, you’re the one attributing wider meaning to the word, not Jack T.
        I can’t point to the comment because comments here are not searchable but I recall him being challenged previously and, I’m almost certain, defining his views.
        In attempting to associate him with the far right retards who SPIT out the word ‘Zionist’, you yourself approach the dehumanisation inherent to antisemitism.

      2. Jpenney, you appear to be rather dumb. I’ve no need to define Zionism when Nathan Birnbaum the person who coined the name in the first place has already defined it. For your information he said it referred to his belief that Jews are a nation who are destined to reclaim Palestine. Both of which are obviously nonsense.

        Is that clear enough for you Mr Penney?

      3. What slippery , dishonest, avoiders of the issue both the always historically ignorant , David McNiven, and the Zionist conspiracy obsessive , Jack T are. I’m afraid your bad faith, non sequitur , irrelevant to my question, ‘definition’ of ‘Zionism’ – from Nathan Birnbaum apparently, is deliberately irrelevant here. The entire history of Nazi and subsequent post war holocaust denier fascist anti-Semitic usages of this term amply demonstrates its toxic multi-layer set of meanings – if not carefully defined. The crux issue here boys, as I specifically asked, is whether Jeremy Corbyn himself , in supporting the right of the state of Israel to exist, is by YOUR definition ‘ a ‘Zionist’. For most ultraleft , and wider generally anti-Semitic, definitions, whereby the right to exist of any sort of Israeli state is denied as legitimate, and ANY acceptance of the existence of an Israeli state is defined as ‘Zionism’, Jeremy, the PLO, most Labour Party members, most world governments, and most UK citizens, are ‘Zionists’ (or by that slippery ultraleft term ‘social Zionists)’. So don’t hide behind your blatantly dishonest subterfuge bogus arguments, boys, be honest and define what YOU mean by ‘Zionists’, and say whether Jeremy Corbynis one . If you haven’t by now noticed Jack T’s constant obsession with ‘Zionist conspiracies’ in the Labour Party, David McNiven, you are a moron, as well as a political novice .

      4. Of course I’ve noticed and I’ve also stated that I think using the word is ‘unfortunate’ in that it gives comfort to the far right retards who spit it out as a term of abuse.
        Misuse of the word by the far right doesn’t delegitimise it or make it unsayable unless you submit to Israel’s, the BoD’s and your feeble, mewling protestations – I don’t.
        There are people in this country suffering more than hurt feelings, fucker, so think hard before you alienate your historic protectors on the left for Likud and the land they haven’t yet stolen.
        Zionism is another form of imperialism and socialists oppose imperialists whether they’re English, French, US, Chinese, Russian or Israeli.
        NOBODY HERE denies Israel’s right to exist – we may criticise the UK and others for the imperialist land grabs that enabled its formation, but that’s not the same thing at all.
        I support a two state solution but Israel’s actions prove IT DOESN’T – it clearly wants ownership of ALL the land and TOTAL, UNILATERAL power over ALL inhabitants of that land – it’s as racist as the US or the UK, it’s an apartheid state, it’s murdering Palestinians and evicting them from their own land in continuing breach of 2334, from which the US only abstained instead of vetoing – not exactly a ringing endorsement, Netanyahu.
        Not that the US and UK are not apartheid states themselves you understand – they just enforce it more subtly and their victims are black, not Palestinian.
        Jews are far from being victims of ANY kind in EITHER the US OR the UK, so maybe you could stop your bleating until YOU can’t find jobs or decent housing?
        Hurt feelings come a long way behind the real oppression black people suffer, you miserable whining bitch.

      5. jpenney, you are becoming a little more than tedious. Readers should note that when Zionists are confronted with the truth about Zionism, they immediately accuse others of that which they are guilty as they did when they accused Jeremy Corbyn of anti-Semitism. There are no worse anti-Semites than Zionists, Jews who disagree with them are ostracised and vilified.

        You even stooped to the age old trick, as acknowledged by Jewish minister Shulamit Aloni (“it’s a trick we always use it”) of bringing the Holocaust into it. I might remind you that the concept and definition of Zionism evolved way before the Holocaust occurred. Using your definition, you said “most UK citizens, are ‘Zionists’ “. If the public is kept uneducated by the insessant propaganda from Israel as to its non-existent democracy, is it any wonder they are deceived?

        As for being ‘slippery’ and ‘hiding’ you are the epitome. You are trying to re-define Zionism as though it was something noble, when in fact it is the root cause of the violence to and persecution of Palestinians who have been under continuous occupation, colonisation and subjugation by European Zionists, with no connection whatsoever to Palestine, since the late nineteenth century.

        The evil and racism of Zionism and Zionists is on display daily in Palestine for all to see and has been codified in Israel’s ‘Nation State Law’ which says Jews are the only group entitled to self determination and that Settlements – illegal under international law – will continue.

        I will leave you with a quote from Jewish psychologist Avigail Abarbanel:
        “Zionism is a mental illness that can be treated. Zionism is just a symptom of a deeper problem, the delusional belief that you have “rights” which do not exist”.

        And for good measure, here is a video featuring three learned Jews who have no time for Zionism

    2. good idea and fund now approaching the 200K mark , lets get it to 500K and thats the seed money for a new Socialist Party .
      Israeli Govt Zionist agents NOT welcome i.e FUCK OFF

  3. I still haven’t heard an argument against joining the Greens en masse instead of starting another new party.
    The Greens will surely recognise that their policy ambitions are massively coincident with left wing politics?
    It’s Capitalism/neoliberalism after all that’s destroying the planet in its obsession with the constant ‘growth on growth’ as investors demand ever greater returns?
    Much harder for the MSM to justify attacking the Greens than the socialists, but (without researching it specifically) I think it’s almost certainly true that all socialist policies have greener outcomes than Tory policies, and all green aspirations are about saving the planet for the many, instead of the few mega-rich that might hope to survive terminal global warming.

  4. Leave UL its not an org that should rep workers…start alt union….do same with starmer (johnson with a haircomb)’s so called ‘labour’ party

  5. David, when you first suggested it I thought it was an excellent idea. Given the support that has recently been expressed for Jeremy Corbyn, I now think that he could be at the head of an anti-racist/green Party. After all, as you said, Socialist policies are in general ‘green’. I do however think a new Party should stress its anti-racist position so there can be zero ambiguity about who we support and who should be excluded. Starmer and jpenny are two who spring to mind.

  6. Turner needs to b told , in no uncertain terms, that unless he joins calls for a re-run of the UL ballot he has NO CHANCE of winning the ballot for GS

  7. First Labour Party staffers frustrating the membership and leadership (possibly in coordination with MPs), now union staffers are vote rigging – or maybe they can’t organise a p1ss up in a brewery. Does not look good either way.

  8. Hi. My local TUC secretary has sent me this message. “Listen, Skwawkbox’s analysis is flawed. All the complaints have been investigated. Jennie Formby was not eligible has she hadn’t paid her subs and this applies to others as well. The independent balloting firm has confirmed ballots were sent to those saying they hadn’t received them. The vote was close but none of the alleged irregularities stand up to challenge the result.”

    1. Yes. That’s hardly surprising. But these anomalies were not included. Btw, Formby was excluded for being behind with subs, but it appears Steve T supporters were allowed to make theirs good – and some were allowed to join after the deadline and vote…

  9. The minute you mention Zionist you get diverted away from the main issue down a rabbit hole.Stick to the ballot irregularities.

    “Correct email addresses had been supplied to UL and email chains seen by SKWAWKBOX confirm that data controllers did not follow up on pleas to sort ballot issues before polling closed.”

    It’s the same cancer as was in the Labour leaked report.

    1. Ian – Unsurprisingly the HuffPost has a different take on this. I guess the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle of these 2 perspectives.

      Of the 1,089 United Left members eligible to vote across the entire UK and Ireland, 17 ballot emails “bounced” back, but only four people requested a change of address and then voted successfully.
      https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/united-left-selection-dead-man-vote-mccluskey-beckett_uk_5f1b08eac5b6296fbf4210f3

  10. The ‘i’ reported voting difficulties because voters had supplied ‘old’ email addresses and that some had forgotten to renew their membership. The UL’s abilities to organise and infighting is getting a bit like ‘The Popular Front of Judea’ v ‘The Judean Popular Front’ even before a discussion on elections gets diverted to Zionism (how relevant is that?). Comments re ‘Piss Up’ and ‘Brewery’ come to mind.

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