The Labour Party NEC has been declared in its right to decide what arbitrary cut off date to impose on its members in the upcoming leadership election. They decided 12 January 2016. Anyone joining after that date does not have the right to vote in the upcoming leadership election, unless they spent £25 extra between 18-20th July 2016. The decision has disenfranchised 20% of the Labour Party membership from voting, roughly 130’000 people.
The NEC reasoning is that those who have maintained their membership for a period of time are more likely to be involved in the party, administrative burden, and to prevent a subversion of the voting procedure. This last reason is laughable. People are joining the Labour Party because it has someone who is making them engaged with politics and with your party specifically why is this a bad thing? In what political landscape would people joining a party to vote for their desired leader be against the interests of the party? They increase their numbers, thus increasing legitimacy, and increase the amount of members it can actively try and encourage to take part and become politically active permanently. This can be in no way a negative event for the party but somehow the Labour General Secretary Iain McNicol argued it was in court.
Whether the people joining were pro-Corbyn or pro-Smith shouldn’t matter the principle of them having a right to vote in the party they have paid money to join and support should show you that their interest has been lit to participate in the political process. To argue that barring people from taking part in the most important aspect of their political party is outrageous and directly opposed to electoral-representative democracy and even democracy itself.
The Labour Party has not stopped here with its utter abhorrent view on modern liberal society. Last week it added, wait… added. Yes, The Labour Party has a list of words members are barred from using. Finding evidence directly from the Labour Party, as I am not a member of any party, for this is especially difficult. But anyway lets get on with it. The Labour Party is banning words, the most recent of which is ‘Blairite’ as it is now seen as a term of abuse. What in the world is going on here! How can a major political party of a western liberal democracy ban words, it goes against the very fundamentals of free speech that we hold dear. Not only is it banning these words, others of which include ‘traitor’, ‘scab’, and ‘scum’, but it is apparently scrawling through social media to find if people voted not-Labour last election in order to deem them ‘not a genuine Labour supporter’. Now this last claim I will not go into because it is outrageous in itself and the evidence is weaker than that for the banned words.
Proscribing what words members of your political party can and cannot use does not show the Labour Party in a very good light. In fact it shows it in a downright negative one. Fundamentally against freedom of expression and opinion and for a political party to find it so easy to completely ignore this right of humanity is worrying to the nth degree.
If found to be using words that are banned the Labour Party will bar you from participating in the upcoming leadership election and quite possibly expel you from the party. This tyrannical use of power against its own members only further delegitimises the party as being for the people.
Not only that but it has not banned the use of the word ‘Corbynite’ which has been much in the same manned as ‘Blairite’. So while deeming one to be a term of abuse and therefore banned the other is ignored only showing a bias within.
A political party to bar members their right to vote in their parties election and proscribe to them words they can be expelled for using is tyrannical and the party or at least NEC should be criticised until it shows that it leads a party that is actually for the rights of the people and not for its own gain above all else.