Analysis comment

Bristol West region-run shambles sees mixed-up ballots and 100+ members deprived of votes – but ‘chaos’ all happens to favour Labour right

‘Clean sweep’ for Labour right challenged by both factions; right-wing treasurer candidate declared winner despite name being against same online ballot check-box as left-winger

Bristol West constituency Labour party (CLP) held its long-delayed annual general meeting (AGM) last night. Many members believe the original AGM was delayed by the party’s regional office because too many left-wingers had registered to attend the Zoom session. The CLP has also seen officers suspended for daring to allow discussion of a motion expressing solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn.

The new meeting, run directly by regional party representatives, was a deeply-troubling shambles that lasted more than six hours instead of the usual two – one in which all the chaos happened to favour the right-wing ‘slate’ of candidates, despite the long left-leaning history of the CLP.

The right ‘won’ a clean sweep of the officer positions at the Zoom meeting – with the right’s treasurer candidate being declared the winner even though she appeared on the ballot with the same check-box for both her and the left-wing candidate:

But that was a very long way form being the total of the problems with the meeting. Bristol West member Matthew Hollinshead listed the serious anti-democratic issues, which SKWAWKBOX has independently verified, in a Facebook post:

Members believe that the ‘incompetence’ was unquestionably politically motivated.

Estimates of the number of members deprived of a vote range from 100-150 – but those estimates appear only to include those who stayed to the end of the marathon and whose votes were still either not counted or unable to be cast. A large number of members had given up long before then because of fatigue, family responsibilities and needing to sleep before work the next day.

One major cause of the problem was region’s decision to use an online voting system that can handle a maximum of 300 voters for a meeting of 543 members – leading to split ballot sessions that then needed to be recombined manually. The lack of transparency in how the votes were handled – and the decision to set up the meeting so members could not see what questions or points of order were being made to the chair – disgusted many of those present.

Bristol has recently also seen a racism scandal, after Labour suspended a number of candidates and cancelled their selection. The party has also been accused of ‘stitching up’ the shortlist for the city’s mayoral candidacy so that members on the left had not one prospective candidate to vote for – leading to the selection of a right-wing candidate implicated, according to locals, in the expenses scandal.

Members on both left and right have raised objections to the conduct and outcome of the meeting. However, given the recent conduct of the regional office and the national leadership’s evident contempt for local party democracy, the chances of the fiasco being corrected do not look high.

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  1. It’s the forensic approach to running a party. Mr Forensic – can you believe that he was ever a lawyer – running this shitshow?

  2. The corrupt SW Regional Office has taken control of councillor selection process too. I’m not sure where they get the power to do that from?

  3. By accident, or by design – the right win.

    By calculation or incompetence – the right win.

    You pay your dues – the right win.

    You vote stammerite labour at any election – the toerags win**

    **You tell me the difference?

  4. If these people were just a small number of the maties you that every now and again you occassionally had an impromptu meal with, you’d probably chose to starve rather than endure the experience again.

    Stay and Fight has never been more essential or less agreeable, but we need to recognise these people for what they are.

  5. This ruthless behaviour by the entryists and neoliberal LabourRight should cause all former members who left Starmer’s Labour in disgust immediately decide to rejoin the party to resist the LR.

    Guerrilla warfare by a a large membership of ‘independent’ democratic socialists is the surest way to defeat these MSM- and billionaire-backed “moderates”.

    1. Yawn, Oh yes come back all is forgiven it will be different this time! NO IT WON’T

      We played the sick games by the cults rules and lost we had a true socialist leader and he was falsed out. We was prevented from making the government this country needs.

      This is the truth deny it all you like. They have the power they alwase had they won’t ever allow socialists to be incharge. This so called socialist party is a trap that you come into all infused wanting to help and alter this country and then after seeing all the sick power games you realise the game is rigged the house alwase wins…

      The only way forwards is a socialist Labour party with a mandate of any right wing entryism or games being played in the press needs immediate strong responses and instant dismissal if any right wing person is discovered.

      The smart people have learnt by your rules and if were smart will ruthlessly use the same rules against any right wing cancer from outside or within the new party. Then and only then will there be again a worthy party to believe in now we have a cult and people desperately trying to convince us to waste another 20 years fighting to only end up back disillusioned and tired.

      This stay and fight? Is the definition of madness repeating the same mistakes and expecting a different result..

    2. Problem with staying is that these corrupt fascist, anti-democrats (sleepers) are deeply embedded in senior and not so senior positions at all levels and parts of the party structure particularly among the “staffers”.
      A process that reportedly started under Mandelson. Back in 90s.
      The staffers in particular need sacking but that won’t happen if members keep paying their subs and the LP remains solvent

  6. This ruthless behaviour by the entryists and neoliberal LabourRight should cause all former members who left Starmer’s Labour in disgust immediately decide to rejoin the party to resist the LR.</b<

    Which will be instantly turned into a rush of support for stammer by that twat steve h and the rest of the sickeningly sycophantic gobshites, with zero recourse or rebuttal given to the left through the scheming right wing media who haven't mentioned as much as a dicky-bird up to now because they're creaming themselves with there being zero opposition to the rags from el greasy bastardo.

    Be ruthless with your subscription. Be ruthless with your vote. Only then will you get to see reults. ALL parasites die if they're starved.

  7. Why is anyone surprised at the depths this cult of new Labour 2.0 will go to to protect the right-wing cultist they are not even really trying to hide that there not blatantly rigging elections for their mates. But why is anyone surprised they have been pulling this BS for years now I have to ask why is any socialist still in the Labour party?

    It’s obvious they want socialism dead and walk away from any left ideology for this Tory Lite BS instead. Well, let them play their stupid cult gamers!!

    We tried to turn this party around and they pulled every dirty trick to prevent us. It’s more than time to admit what we can all plainly see there is no point to Labour anymore.

    Time to start again with only a socialist party. No right-wing allowed and leave them to there power fantasy. While we try and improve this country for the people not the 1%…

  8. Is there a formal mechanism in which complaints about Labour internal elections can be examined? I have issues regarding the NEC elections last year which have been noticed by people on all wings of the party.

    Does the Electoral Commissions remit extend to internal party elections?

  9. Corbyn’s demise and consequently the prospect of a Socialist government was in many ways as much a fault of the left as it was of the right. We had every opportunity to get rid of the wreckers on the right but we failed. Anyone on the left who did not support open selection or rejection of the IHRA definition must accept their part in Labour’s failure. This goes right to top of the then party leadership and that of the unions.

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