In the wake of “Labour Purge 2,” it’s easy to become despondent.
Here are 10 reasons to be hopeful:
- Labour HQ looks incompetent. Labour’s NEC made history, taking steps unprecedented in British politics. Backed by General Secretary, Iain McNicol, Labour has culled over a third of its members. Purging the head of the Bakers union (BFAWU) led John McDonnell to demand the protection of members from a “rigged purge.” Presented with little to no evidence of their suspensions, members have received letters outlining vague justifications, such as “sharing inappropriate content” on social media.
- Iain McNicol will resign. The systematic abuse of members and supporters is a final “Hoorah” from the General Secretary and his outgoing team. The NEC will soon have five new representatives; promising to protect and serve Party members. McNicol cannot survive this.
- A purge won’t happen again. Labour can look forward to a future where Party members and supporters have greater powers, authority and responsibility; where Party leaders have greater accountability to the movement they represent. Is it any wonder Jeremy Corbyn wanted to democratise the Party? The Labour purge is precisely the kind of scenario he foresaw and demonstrates just how irrelevant party members have become in the eyes of HQ. The devolution of powers to the Party Grassroots is not a luxury – it’s a necessity.
- Tories may be callous; but they’re not stupid. They know what’s happening in the Party. They know systematic attempts have been made to obliterate members. Accusations of Corbyn being a “fantasist,” “weak” or “inept” are dissipating. Many Tory voters now find themselves cultivating a sense of respect for Corbyn as a person, regardless of his political leanings. This is half the battle.
- Floating-voters. The public see Corbyn suffering anti-democratic forces. They see the bullying. They see the abuse. And, while many of them may think he’s “incapable of winning a general election,” he has their respect.
- Labour Hustings. Thursday’s debate in Glasgow revealed yet more ugliness as Smith attacked Corbyn for “not voting to remain” in the European Union; conveniently forgetting he campaigned with the entire “leadership of the Labour movement” in Cardiff.
- Pressure. Smith’s habit of resorting to abuse when under scrutiny is not just a problem for his leadership ambitions but for the PLP as a whole. In Smith’s own words, there’s a concession that “Jeremy is right” about almost everything. The Party cannot defeat Corbyn on policy and has therefore resorted to ad-hominem attacks.
- Numbers. The scale of anti-democratic plotting in Labour is unprecedented. But gerrymandering votes away from Corbyn won’t work. The number of eligible voters (roughly 300,000 after “Purge no. 1”) means HQ still faces a mammoth task. Even if Labour was to purge another 200,000, the percentage of Corbyn/Smith supporters would remain the same. The danger is the specific-targeting of Corbyn supporters which, if evidenced, would see Iain McNicol and co. behind bars.
- Corbyn is winning undecided leadership voters. After Thursday’s debate, HPOL carried-out its own polling of undecided/previously-undecided voters, based on the evening’s Hustings. The result was conclusive. Owen’s performances were getting worse. Through the leadership challenge, Corbyn has developed precisely the skills he’d been attacked as lacking.
10. Labour HQ wants Corbyn supporters to quit – and they’re not doing it. Having accepted Corbyn is impossible to “break as a man,” Labour turned its attention to the only available target: its own members. This new attempt to break Jeremy Corbyn through his supporters is both cruel and stupid. Systematic purges may prevent many Corbyn supporters from voting; but in doing-so Labour is creating more in their place.
Our message is clear: Don’t be silenced. Don’t lose hope. Stand up for democracy. And let’s win this election.