An Open Letter To The Labour Party – From Someone Denied Membership

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing in relation to the Labour Membership Appeal 2493653.

After careful consideration, I have decided to withdraw my appeal relating to my application to become a member of the Labour party. My reasons for doing so are numerous, and are outlined below. If you could return the £25 that was accepted from me in the last leadership election, but then which related vote was denied, we will consider the matter closed.

To confirm, I do not wish to continue with the appeal against being denied membership of the party. My reasons for no longer wanting to be a member of the Labour party are as follows:

Undemocratic
Despite it’s lipservice to democracy, the Labour party is completely undemocratic. This is clearly evidenced by the desperate attempts made by various groups, organisations, and individuals to prevent the will of the members. Despite being democratically elected by Labour members, Jeremy Corbyn faced an internal revolt and coup attempt, ultimately resulting in a leadership challenge, at a time when the Government was in crisis following the Brexit referendum and the resignation of David Cameron.

Following the leadership challenge, certain factions within the Labour party then created as many obstacles as they could conceive of in order to gain an upper hand in the leadership election. The path towards a free and fair election was deliberately blocked by internal circles within the Labour party itself, in moves that amount to nothing but party civil war. Initially this was through barring recent members from voting, then it was charging a £25 fee in order to cast a vote, then it became a purge of recent members from the electoral register, and finally the suspension of the Brighton and Hove Labour branch from the Labour party.

All of the aforementioned obstacles to democracy were designed and decided upon by central figures within the Labour party itself. And we would be fooling ourselves if we did not believe that these actions were conducted in order to prevent Corbyn from remaining as leader. It was a coordinated campaign against the democratically elected leader of the party and should be a cause for concern for anyone who values democracy.

(If Corbyn and his supporters had coordinated such a campaign, it would have been likened to Stalin, but due to the fact Corbyn and his supporters were the victims, there has been silence on the issue.)

Quite clearly, internally the Labour party does not value democracy, but this injustice is present across society as a whole, and is not simply an issue which Labour have to contend with. We do not have a democracy in the UK at present, and to speak as if we do is to deceive ourselves.

A democracy cannot have an unelected head of state – no matter how long the tradition has existed – as a monarchy has no place in 21st century Western politics. Neither can we have a system whereby a political party can gain 12.6% of the national vote, but get rewarded with only one Member of Parliament. No matter the racism or xenophobia inherent within their beliefs and slogans, this system is undemocratic and exists only to maintain the status quo between the two leading parties. Both the Conservative and the Labour party agree to maintain the living relic of the First Past The Post system, because this allows them to protect the two-horse race for 10 Downing Street.

Election after election, the turnout falls, and the trend shows that people are becoming less and less interested in politics. Perhaps if this issue of democracy were addressed, this trend would be reversed, and people would not only be able to speak of democracy, but also participate within one.

Hypocrisy
Throughout the Labour leadership election, national, regional, and social media were awash with comments and thoughts on the candidates and their policies. I am never one to shy away from giving my honest opinion, and so I said and wrote a number of things at the time. It was something I wrote about Hove MP Peter Kyle, that caused my membership to the Labour party to be rejected. “Social media comments” was the reason given, and the evidence I was recently presented with was the crime of likening Kyle to a Conservative MP – the utterly disgusting insinuation of “red Tory”. For this outrageous remark, I was banned from becoming a member of the Labour party.

The entire episode, whilst set in the context that it was – a coup against Corbyn and a purge of his supporters – stinks of hypocrisy. On a daily, if not hourly basis, names and labels were and are thrown against Corbyn and his supporters, not just by Labour members, but by Labour councillors and MPs as well. The demands for Corbyn to resign, the deafening cries of him being unelectable, derogatory social media comments, and months of smears by the national press went essentially unpunished, but anyone who dare defend him or criticise those against him were targeted.

I am left in absolutely no doubt that there is one rule for those that support Corbyn, and another for those that oppose him. In less than 60-seconds, whilst searching online, I have found three cases remarkably similar to my own, but from the other perspective.

Evidently it is an outrage to compare any standing Labour MP to a Tory, but to call the democratically elected leader of the party “pathetic” is okay, as is to state that Corbyn is “unfit to be Labour leader“, as is to say that “Momentum is a cancer that is slowly killing @UKLabour. The bastards must be robustly challenged.

Personally, I see these statements as an act of freedom of expression, but I fail to see how my comments differ from theirs and why mine was worthy of punishment and theirs have not been.

As an aside, I also fail to see how my social media comments are worthy of being prevented membership in the Labour party when the criminal Tony Blair maintains his place. Despite his responsibility for one of the worst crimes this side of the millennium. Every day that he walks the streets is an injustice.

Big Brother
The right of freedom of expression is another matter to cause concern to any current or potential Labour member. What was the stalwart of any dystopian projection for the future, is now very much a crucial aspect of the internal workings of the Labour party. Surveillance, and subsequent punishment, have been introduced by the Labour party and I can’t imagine they will be withdrawing them anytime soon.

Though “official figures” have revealed that 3,107 people were purged from the Labour party, I imagine the reality is much higher. And in order to purge such vast numbers of people, in such a short space of time, the Labour party has adopted software which scans social media postings for “flagged phrases”. It seems “red Tory” was one such phrase and I was purged.

In theory, the idea that software can find potentially dangerous or threatening comments is fine, and I understand that it is being introduced to try and cope with the social media age of near constant updates and tweets. However, when certain phrases are flagged, all social media is monitored, and members of the public can face punishment not only from their government, but also from the political party they are a member of, we have to question what the logical outcome of such a move will be.

Not only is the very essence of freedom of speech coming under attack, but such a social-media-sifting-phrase-flagging-system also encourages self-censorship and the silencing of criticism, and could ultimately lead to the coercion of public opinion. George Orwell’s Big Brother has found a new home within the Labour party.

Foreign Policy
I voted for Corbyn in the leadership elections, because his brand of anti-neoliberal politics, and his dedication to a more equal and supportive society appealed to me greatly. At the time, I was aware of his views on certain foreign policy issues, but I concluded that his domestic policies were worthy enough for him to have earned my support.

As time has gone on, I have been forced to reevaluate this thinking. Though I still support the improved welfare and anti-austerity message, I have had to come terms with the fact that as an internationalist, as a global citizen, I cannot sacrifice the protection and the rights of people living overseas for my own. Moral policies at home, must be matched with moral policies abroad, and I am worried by Corbyn’s worldview, particularly his silence on Syria and their criminal dictator Bashar al-Assad, and his reluctance to criticise Russia, and their equally criminal and kleptocratic leader Vladimir Putin.

Were it not for the chaotic state of both Europe and the Middle East currently, Corbyn’s personal views on Putin or Assad may not matter as much as they do, but alongside climate change and Brexit, Russia and Syria are two of the most pressing concerns for any European leader currently.

And it is on Brexit where I find another foreign policy flaw. I do not agree with any of the comments that blame Corbyn for the result of the EU referendum, and neither do I feel he was not as active as he should have been during that time. My real concern is that Corbyn does not want to be in the EU himself, and he has no desire to fight for the right to remain.

It’s highly likely that I will have left the country by the time Brexit occurs, and if the experts and forecasts are anything to go by, a post-Brexit Britain is not somewhere I will want to be returning to. I cannot set aside the feeling that leaving the EU will be a disastrous act of self-sabotage, and I cannot support anyone that advocates taking us along such a dangerous path.

Futile
Ultimately, I am not too disappointed at the membership rejection. After all, I will still be able to vote and I have gained an increased ability to express my thoughts without fear of censorship or punishment. I have never been a member of a political party, and this was my first foray into joining one. The experience has taught me a lot, and it has also reminded me of why I never joined one in the first place.

It seems increasingly likely that the future of this country is to be shaped by the Conservative party. Labour’s petty squabbles will continue, Corbyn will be ousted in a coup or defeated at the next election, and Brexit will occur at the expense of the British people, and for the benefit of the corporations who choose, or are bribed to stay. Whatever occurs, it will mostly just be cosmetic changes, with no real challenge to the status quo and no discernible differences.

A welfare dependant family will continue to reign over a country of corporatist slaves. The elites will strengthen their wealth and power at the expense of the poor. Habitat and species loss will continue as the destruction of the planet improves share prices. War will be ever-present, as an unstable world faces decade old unsolved problems and a toxic amalgamation of new ones. Nationalism will rise in order for this isolationist island to feel proud and attempt to “restore its place in the world”. And the other will be demonised, attacked, and driven out.

A drastic change is needed, and the recent actions of the Labour party are clear proof that they are not up to the task.

Fantasy. Lunacy. All revolutions are, until they happen, then they are historical inevitabilities.”
– David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

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4 thoughts on “An Open Letter To The Labour Party – From Someone Denied Membership

    1. Thanks for commenting.
      Your piece was a good read.

      Ever since they both burst onto the scene during their campaigns for leadership and election, Bernie has always appealed to me over Corbyn.
      I think the Labour party is in trouble no matter who leads it. It is too fragmented, and the only thing holding them together is the fact that under FPTP, they have to be united by their similarities as opposed to being divided on their differences.

      If they were to endorse PR, they could go then split and go their separate ways. Some espousing the Blairite neoliberal policies of the late 90s and early 00s, and others returning to the Labour socialism of the post-war period.

      Labour currently is like an unhappy marriage, it may be best to divorce, and build new, separate lives.

      1. What stops the Labour Party from advocating proportional representation? (Related question: why not go for instant run-off or ranked choice voting as an alternative to PR?)

      2. Labour vs Conservative is a two-horse race. Opening up the field means that both of these parties will lose seats and supporters.
        Despite being in opposition, I think the Labour party is comfortable knowing that they are the only party big enough to govern. This fact is known by the public as well and impacts on how they vote.

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