Jeremy Corbyn became the leader of the British Labour Party largely because of the support of rank and file members. But in order to get on that ballot, he had to meet a threshold among the MPs in parliament and despite their lack of enthusiasm for a socialist, they deigned to include him among the candidates on the ballot as a sop to party left wingers that they were not being completely marginalized. The party establishment were blindsided by the degree of rank and file support for Corbyn that resulted in him becoming elected to the leadership.
Ever since then, they have tried to undermine his authority and the Brexit vote gave them the chance to try and remove him. They moved a no-confidence vote which he lost by a resounding 172-40 among the MPs, but he refused to step down. Then Angela Eagle said that she was challenging him for the leadership spot and this set in motion another battle and the anti-Corbyn bloc attempted what amounted to a coup. They said that in order to be eligible to stand for leadership, a candidate had to have at least 20% of the Labour members of the British and European parliament, around 50 in total, which Corbyn would have had a tough time meeting.
But the question was whether the party rules required that minimum only in the event of a leadership vacancy or if an incumbent was automatically on the ballot. Corbyn and his supporters said that the rules said that he should be automatically included but the establishment demanded that this question be put to a ballot of the National Executive Committee. They also demanded that the ballot be a secret one out of fear that party members would punish those who voted against Corbyn.
They succeeded in getting a secret ballot but were thwarted in their effort to keep Corbyn out because the final vote was 18-14 in favor of his automatic inclusion. Here we see a triumphant Corbyn addressing the public just after the vote.
The establishment was also alarmed by the post-Brexit surge in party membership by about 130,000 following the no-confidence motion on Corbyn because they feared that most were Corbyn supporters rallying to his side. They succeeded at the last minute in instituting a new rule that said that only those who had been members for at least six months could vote unless they paid a much higher fee of £25, something that the Corbyn bloc vowed to challenge.
Even by Labour’s recent history of giving shambles a good name, today’s meeting of the ruling NEC takes the biscuit.
Because at the end of the meeting, after a couple of pro-Corbyn members had left, and Corbyn himself had gone, a vote was taken on a motion not on the agenda, to exclude from the leadership vote anyone who joined the party in the past six months. So the 130,000 who signed up since Brexit, most of whom are thought to be Corbyn supporters, will be unable to vote.
Now whatever you think of Corbyn, this looks and smells like gerrymandering by his opponents.
Corbyn will definitely attempt to get the vote over-turned. And he may resort to the law, since Labour’s website made clear that membership bought a vote.
As for those who joined since January, they will be revolting.
That said, if anyone wants to take part in the election, they now have two days to pay £25 and become a registered supporter.
Which is the first example of the much feared post-Brexit inflation, since till today it cost just £3 to be such a voting supporter.
Isn’t it interesting how the Labour Party MPs are so afraid of the party members whom they claim to represent?
Meanwhile, Robert Mackey suggests that Rupert Murdoch may have played a role in nudging Andrea Leadsom to quit the race for the Conservative Party leadership, handing the role to Theresa May.
When Gove then failed to secure enough support from his fellow lawmakers to be one of the two nominees in the final stage of the leadership election, however — and May made a clear statement that she would oversee a complete withdrawal from the EU, pledging that “Brexit means Brexit” — it seems clear that the editors of Murdoch’s papers, like most Conservative MPs, came to see Leadsom as a loose cannon better removed from the race.
Apparently Murdoch, who was an influential backer of the odious Tony Blair and played a significant role in elevating his role in British politics, apparently feels he has much more clout in an isolated Britain than one in the EU, saying “When I go into Downing Street they do what I say. When I go to Brussels they take no notice.” (My emphasis-MS)
We have reached a point where the oligarchy does not even bother to hide their control of politicians.