Awaiting the purge
I haven’t got my Labour Leadership ballot yet. I’ve seen friends vote on Facebook and followers decide on Twitter. I am yet to make the call. I wonder if I’ll get to.
Y’see, I’m one of those people responsible for creating what Angela Eagle might call “a nasty little meme”. Throughout the course of this coup, I’ve locked horns with anti-Corbyn MPs, my own local police and crime commissioner and the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. I’m sure there are more. There has been rather a lot to rebut.
Having seen the rationale behind some of the expulsions, there’s a fair chance that when Labour’s Compliance Unit gets around to looking at some of my images, I’ll get some vague message about incompatibility with the Labour Party.
If I do end up getting barred from voting, I’m going to be a little miffed. Not because I haven’t done anything wrong. I think it quite possible that some of the stuff I’ve done is going to be close to the edge. Arguable. Borderline. I’ve tried to tread it well.
What’ll really irk is the likelihood that others will get to vote, having used much larger public platforms than a grand-strong Twitter account to get their message out. Will Tom Watson face any action for suggesting the party is full of Trots and their presumably pliable acolytes? Will Michael Foster’s ballot be denied on the basis that he labelled Corbyn’s supporter’s Nazi Stormtroopers? I very much doubt it.
We’re living in a climate where Owen Smith is saying that we need to bring in people from outside Labour (we do), yet simultaneously, people have been suspended for retweeting messages from the Green Party. The purge is politically motivated to remove Corbyn’s support ahead of the election. The problem for Corbyn’s opponents is that for every voter purged, they’re going to convince many times more floaters that these really aren’t people that should be running the Labour Party, or claiming to represent its values.
The problem with any purge is that they all require a degree of puritanism in the first place. “These are our values. Anyone that falls outside them is beyond the pale and must be removed”. There doesn’t necessarily have to be anything wrong with that, provided the values are right. Few would complain if those values were “no homeless, no exploitation and continuously working to eradicate inequality” or something similarly worthy.
The specific problem with this purge is that many of the people deciding which values the Labour Party can accommodate have completely lost sight of what Labour Party values are.