Rejected by the Labour Party
August 26, 2015 § 7 Comments
I’ve been a Labour voter for over 40 years and today I’ve been rejected by them as a supporter – they don’t want me to vote in the leadership election and I have no idea why. My time spent scanning the rival manifestoes has been wasted, my enthusiasm for this opening up of democracy dashed.
Their email telling me this starts with the chilling formula “We have reason to believe…” It goes on “…that you do not support the aims and values of the Labour Party or you are a supporter of an organisation opposed to the Labour Party.” No reason is given for this assertion and there is no possibility of finding out what information, gossip or hearsay has led to the decision. And they don’t offer to return the £3 either.
I made an attempt to join the Labour party in 1975. At that time you had to be a Trades Union member and my NALGO membership had lapsed as I was between jobs. The Labour party official sitting at my kitchen table scratched his head and pondered. “I could put you down as a housewife,” he said. Feminism was more important to me than party membership so I declined, unimpressed. Forty years later I am even less impressed.
I’m interested in my psychological reaction however: feelings of anxiety, a nervous racking of my brain for what the possible offence could be, a strange untethered guilt as I wonder what I could have done to deserve this response – feelings all too familiar to East Germans accused by anonymous neighbours of some unspecified offence or Americans caught up in the ravages of McCarthyism.
I don’t really wish to compare the Labour party to a police state but it does seem to share a similar paranoia, accusing innocent people in unspecified ways of unspecified offences and offering no explanation or possibility of appeal. Dark times for democracy.
Sorry to hear that. I think by opening up the leadership vote to people who are not in the party they were asking for trouble – if you could choose the leader of the Tories by paying three quid I’m sure a few mischief-makers would sign up for that – but the idea that you can be rejected without hearing the reason is dreadful. There was a man on Radio 4 this morning who had had the same experience. I’m in Scotland so we have the SNP – Labour have done themselves an enormous amount of damage by not looking out for the interests of their supporters up here for decades.
Possibly a mistake by an overwhelmed volunteer? I’m concerned that sensitive souls are shooting possibilities in the foot by taking this too personally. Rather see bloggers writing about Iain Duncan Smith’s latest effort to wreck peoples lives.
Would I be right in saying you were the Rosemary Randall named as one of the ten signatories for the Green Party candidate in Petersfield division in 2013? And that you are the Rosemary Randall named as one of the ten signatories for the Green Party candidate in Petersfield ward in 2015? (They are on public notices)
Because if so, you were supporting a Green Party candidate who was opposing a Labour Party candidate. Supporting the Green Party is opposing the Labour Party.
Perhaps they thought you were the head of the local Conservatives branch in a town called ‘Carbon’?
At last – someone who can shed some light on this. Thank you David. But what a peculiar reason, if it’s true. Does this ordinary act of responsible citizenship really bar someone from being a Labour Party supporter?
Yes, I did sign the papers for a Green candidate in the local elections, not because I intended to vote for him but because I believe the electorate should be presented with choice, because I want to see debate widened, and because I welcome the arrival of young enthusiastic people into politics whatever party they stand for. It’s difficult for people from minority parties to achieve the number of signatures they need in order to stand so I was pleased to be able to help. I am not a member of the Green Party.
Talking to friends and acquaintances who are Labour Party members I discover that several of them have done the same at various points in the past. And my action is surely no different from that of the Members of Parliament who endorsed Jeremy Corbyn’s candidature, not because they intended to vote for him but because they wanted there to be a proper debate with views from across the political spectrum represented.
David, where does that totalitarian attitude leave people who vote tactically? What about people who consider themselves in their heart to be traditional Labour voters, but whose head tells them to vote tactically in a constituency/ward that’s considered to be a safe Tory seat? Or what about those people who’ve voted, say, Labour in the locals and for a different party in the general election, or vice versa, for tactical reasons, e.g. trying to keep out Ukip candidate? Do they get half a vote?
Hi Ro – saw your letter in The Guardian as well. Outrageous exclusion and deeply worrying. Isobel