Tales from an author

Archive for the month “September, 2016”

Labour Purge – 78,500 missing votes?

I have now been Blogging for nearly a month about the detail of suspension of thousands of members of the Labour Party.

My local BBC radio station have interviewed me about this. Link below – piece starts 1 hour and 5 minutes into programme. In my home city of Southampton, in contrast to my being prevented from voting in the leadership election after 32 years of Labour membership, a local councillor who left Labour to join another party last year actually got a vote. Vetting of the process by Labour HQ is a disgrace.

I have today sent the latest in my series of emails to the Labour Party – following up on that sent on September 13 (link below).


I still have not received the courtesy of a reply to the series of emails below. It is now 30 days since I was suspended from the Labour Party on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations.

Please can somebody deal with this matter.

Thank you

A moment later I received:

This is an automatic reply

Thank you for your email.

Governance and Legal Unit staff are now working at Annual Conference in Liverpool. We will respond when the unit re-opens on 29 September.

Sent by email from the Labour Party, promoted by Iain McNicol on behalf of The Labour Party, both at Southside, 105 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6QT Website: to join or renew call 0345 092 2299.

In summary, party HQ have abdicated any responsibility – until 6 days from now – for continuing their (very slow and obstructive) work on looking at incorrect suspensions of thousands of loyal members purged for wishing to vote for Jeremy Corbyn.

There has been much speculation about the size of the purge. The official figures from the Labour Party, summarised in Tweet below, show that 207,500 full members of the party did not get a ballot. Even if 129,000 of these are the registered supporter voters, there is still a shortfall of 78,500. This is vote rigging on an industrial scale.  


Labour Purge Day 27 – Ballot Closing? What Next?

Today at 5.00 pm was the closing date for requesting reissue of a Labour leadership ballot. This was 5 days later than the original timetable – due to Labour HQ accepting there have been problems.

The main problem is the Labour Purge, with the party HQ deliberately mismanaging the ballot over the last 4 weeks. They have suspended thousands of Corbyn supporters, depriving them of a vote, while unaccountably delaying the issue of ballots to countless other members and registered supporters.

To summarise, for the benefit of new readers, this is day 27 of my suspension, for allegedly Retweeting two messages, with the party’s evidence for this not actually proving their case. I have made a series of telephone calls, and sent lengthy emails, but they refuse to look at my appeal.

Todays deadline appears to mean the end of any chance of my voting.

The last few days have seen many reports on social media of new people being purged. At the start of September, the Daily Mirror reported about 7,000 party members were suspended – the figure has clearly grown since then.

Pamela Fitzpatrick, one of the very few people (I only know of two others) whose suspension has been lifted recently, has today Tweeted that she has still not received her ballot. Pamela has been assured it will arrive by midnight tomorrow, but Labour HQ have a strange concept of time.

What happens next?

We can discount any chance of a last minute outbreak of fairness from the Chicken Coup plotters, and thousands of loyal party members will miss out on the vote they are entitled to.

Assuming that Corbyn is re-elected, we can hope that the newly-elected NEC will lift the suspensions. There have been suggestions that this should be followed by the unsuspended members being given their votes back, which can be retrospectively added to whatever gerrymandered tally Iain McNicol announces.

As for the future of the party, and possible unity, I cannot see those who have been purged easily forgiving the plotters. The plotters have treated loyal comrades in an appalling way, and tried to destroy Labour Party democracy.

The Labour Plotters and the Appalling Treatment of a Mentally Ill Man

It is day 21 of my suspension from the Labour Party. I am one of thousands of supporters of Jeremy Corbyn suspended by a right wing clique at party HQ, who are continuing the work of the PLP plotters trying to bring down a leader overwhelmingly elected a year ago. The treatment of myself, and thousands of other loyal Labour Party members, by cynical careerists is sickening.

Here is an email I sent to the party today.


I write to complain about the appalling way I have been treated by the Labour Party, from which I have now been suspended for 21 days without evidence. I have been a loyal party member for 32 years, but am now alienated by arbitrary suspension, and this is severely affecting my already precarious mental health.

I have today spoken at length on the telephone with Jack from Compliance. I began by explaining that, further to several previous emails (see below for some of these) and telephone calls, I wished answers to a series of points. This is a summary of what happened today.

1 I said I spoke to Compliance 5 days ago, at which point I was told that my challenge to the supposed evidence – Retweeting messages I did not Retweet – would be looked at soon, and the suspension lifted if they agreed with me. When I asked for an update, Jack said “it is impossible to give a timescale for this process”.

2 As I have Asperger Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, long-term mental health conditions, I feel I should be entitled to expect reasonable adjustments, in accordance with the Equality Act, in the way that the Labour Party deals with my appeal against suspension. This view is supported by the Equality Advisory Support Service, with whom I have discussed the situation. Jack said he was unable to comment, but had noted my point, and would pass it to somebody dealing with my appeal.

3 I have not received a response to my email of August 27, asking about a subject access request in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1988. It is an offence under the Act for an organisation such as the Labour Party to process a person’s data in a way which causes distress. I therefore intended to file a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office. Jack said he was unable to comment, but had noted my point, and would pass it to somebody dealing with my appeal.

4 I had previously been told by Compliance that suspension appeals would not be heard until after the leadership election. This was not true, as Ronnie Draper was given a personal hearing on September 9, and his suspension was lifted that day. As I had been suspended a day before Ronnie Draper, and immediately launched an appeal, it was reasonable to expect that I should have been given an appeal hearing by now. Jack said this was not the case, but he needed to get advice from a colleague. Jack then said “nobody in Compliance will be able to speak on individual cases, including Mr Draper’s case”.

5 Pamela Fitzgerald had her suspension lifted on September 9, without needing an appeal hearing. I suggested this could be followed by my suspension being lifted without the need for a hearing. Jack said he would not comment on this.

6 I noticed on Twitter yesterday that one member of the party remains suspended but have been told they can vote in the leadership election. First Jack said this was not true. I pressed, saying that there had been quite a bit of material about this on Twitter, including some of the correspondence between the member and the party. I felt this set a precedent for other suspended members, including myself, being allowed to vote. Jack said “there is no such thing as a precedent”, which I remarked did not sound factually correct. Jack said he needed to get advice from a colleague. Then Jack said that, regardless of the truth or otherwise of the particular situation I had mentioned, he could not comment.

In summary, I felt that in view of my loyal party membership, the lack of evidence for the suspension, the number of times I had contacted the party about the matter, and my mental health, it was reasonable to expect a guarantee that the matter would be resolved in the next few days, a timescale that would enable me to vote in the leadership election.

Jack now said “Just because you have phoned and spoken to me, you cannot jump the queue.”  I reminded Jack of the points I had just made, and pointed out it was unreasonable for him to make his suggestion.

Jack said he had spoken to me at length, but Compliance did not have time to look at my case at the moment. I said that it would save time on future phone calls and emails if somebody in Compliance would spend a few minutes looking at the supposed evidence, and lift the suspension. Jack said he could not guarantee any progress with my appeal ahead of the leadership ballot closing.

By this point I was getting so anxious that I told Jack I was having trouble getting the words out.

Jack said he understood and sympathised with my position, but “my hands are tied, and I can only tell you what I have already said, because that is what I have been told to do”.

I asked Jack if he could pass the call to somebody else, who had the authority to do something more specific, given the circumstance I had outlined. Jack said he had been told not to pass the call on, and that he now had to terminate the call. Jack then became the third person from Compliance to put the phone down on me.

I again ask, please can somebody deal with this promptly and fairly?

Thank you

Andrew Godsell



Why NOT Trust the CONservatives?

Sadly almost all of my political energy in recent weeks has been used fighting against suspension from the Labour Party. Among the many annoying aspects of the situation, it is taking me away from one of the things I do best, namely attack the Conservative Party. To partly redress the balance, thought I would post the final chapter of my critical history of the Conservatives, a book published last year. So here are my thoughts on a decade of Dodgy Dave as leader of the Nasty Party.

 We Are All in This Together 2005-2015

The Labour Party defeated the Conservatives in a third successive General Election on May 5 2005, obtaining a majority of 66. Labour won 356 seats, the Conservatives 198, the Liberal Democrats 62, and the others 30. The day after the Election, Michael Howard announced his decision to stand down as Conservative Leader. Following a review of the rules for Leadership elections, which did not lead to any changes, a contest began in October. Two ballots led to David Cameron and David Davis advancing, while Liam Fox and Kenneth Clarke were eliminated. The vote among party members saw Cameron defeat Davis by 68 per cent to 32 per cent. Cameron – educated at Eton and caught smoking cannabis there – had only been an MP since 2001. He struggled to establish a strong image as Leader of the Conservatives, being criticised by many for his relative inexperience, and faced difficulty uniting the party. A veneer of socially-conscious Conservatism alienated the right, despite Cameron’s clear Eurosceptism.

Tony Blair stepped down as Prime Minister in 2007, and was replaced by Gordon Brown, the new Labour Leader, who had been Chancellor of the Exchequer for the 10 years of Blair’s premiership. At the same time John Prescott ceased to be Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, but Harriet Harman, who replaced him in that role, was not accorded the additional position of Deputy Prime Minister by Brown. The premiership of Brown was undermined by the onset of an international banking crisis in 2007, which developed into a global recession, and the biggest crisis of capitalism since the depression of the 1930s. With the Labour government struggling to deal with a budget crisis, as vast amounts of public money were used to rescue private sector banks, Cameron and the Conservatives gained ground. In June 2009 the Conservatives won the European Union election, with 25 seats, while UKIP took 13 seats, Labour 13, the Liberal Democrats 11, and the others 10. The Conservatives now resumed their link with the Ulster Unionists, running a joint campaign in the Northern Ireland section of this election.

Public confidence in the British political system was severely reduced by the scandal of MPs making excessive, and often illegal, claims for expenses. A campaign by the Daily Telegraph, during 2009, highlighted failings by both Conservative and Labour MPs. After requests under the Freedom of Information Act had been blocked, due to lengthy resistance by MPs, the Telegraph leaked information. The newspaper largely used the expenses detail against the Labour Party, and in favour of the Conservatives. Being outside the public sector, the Daily Telegraph was exempt from Freedom of Information, and did not have to disclose how much, and to whom, it paid for the leaked detail. It subsequently transpired that the Telegraph bought the information for £150,000 from John Wick, a supporter of the Conservative Party, with former links to the security services. The deal was agreed by Will Lewis, the editor of the Telegraph, who moved the following year to News International.

The electoral pact between the Conservatives and Ulster Unionists led to an embarrassing rejection, as Sylvia, Lady Hermon, the only sitting Ulster Unionist MP, resigned from the party in March 2010. The reluctant Unionist alliance failed to win any seats at the subsequent General Election, and the pact was soon discontinued. That General Election, held on May 6 2010, led to a hung Parliament, with the Conservatives having 307 seats, Labour 258, the Liberal Democrats 57, and the others 28. The Conservative Party had failed to win a majority for a fourth successive General Election, which represented their worst sequence of results since the six successive defeats between 1847 and 1868. After several days of negotiations between parties, Gordon Brown and the Labour government departed from office, being replaced by a Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition. David Cameron became the Prime Minister, while Nick Clegg was his Deputy – a Con-Dem double act. Cameron, aged 43, was the youngest Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool, a Tory who took office in 1812.

The government quickly set about massive public spending cuts, with the Conservatives using a budget deficit as an excuse to attack public services. Cameron and the government told people “we are all in this together”, but the continuing problems of recession, aggravated by austerity, had a disproportionate impact on people with lower incomes, while the Conservatives rewarded rich people with massive tax cuts. The policy was overseen by George Osborne, a complacent Chancellor of the Exchequer, who had inherited a multi-million pound fortune. Unemployment increased to almost 2,700,000 by the end of 2011 – the highest figure since 1994.

A messy compromise between the Conservatives, who opposed electoral reform, and the Liberal Democrats, who had long been in favour of some reform, led to a referendum on the generally unsatisfactory Alternative Vote, in May 2011. The electorate rejected AV by 68 per cent to 32 per cent, a result which damaged the cause of electoral reform. Later that year the Coalition carried legislation to set a fixed term of five years for Parliament – unless there was a vote of no confidence in the government, or a majority vote of two thirds of MPs in favour of an early election. It appeared that the main motive was a wish by the Coalition government to bind the two parties making up the alliance, with a law that would force them to remain together, in power, for five years.

The Coalition government’s policies had an adverse effect on both the National Health Service and Sure Start. The Health and Adult Social Care Act 2012 led to major reorganisation of the National Health Service, with the Conservatives undermining the service through fragmentation and privatisation. Dozens of the Conservative MPs who voted for the legislation benefitted financially, through links to private health companies, which won contracts as parts of the NHS were sold off. The Welfare Reform Act 2012 unfairly disadvantaged many benefit claimants, particularly with the introduction of an under-occupancy penalty, generally known as the Bedroom Tax. Major cuts to Legal Aid were also imposed. In the light of these events, the Conservatives were regularly reminded of the “nasty party” tag by the Labour Party, led by Ed Miliband, who replaced Gordon Brown in 2010.

The Conservative Party, along with their friends in UKIP, whipped up hysteria about immigration, undermining Britain’s multi-cultural society. Internal argument among Conservatives over Britain’s role in the European Union continued to influence the party leadership. At the start of 2013, David Cameron announced that a referendum on British membership of the EU would be held if the Conservatives won the next General Election. The death of Margaret Thatcher, in April 2013, led to widespread re-assessment of her legacy. While Conservatives lauded Thatcher as a saviour of Britain, many people saw that Thatcher had encouraged a form of capitalism that was in crisis, sold off important public assets, and divided the nation. A lasting effect of Thatcher’s policies was a drop in the level of support for the Conservatives, who only gained a majority in one out of the five General Elections between 1992 and 2010. In the Summer of 2013, the Coalition government’s plan for armed intervention in the civil war in Syria was defeated in a vote by the House of Commons, as the Labour Party led the argument against this course. Cameron, who misjudged the situation, had to pledge that the government accepted the will of Parliament.

In May 2014 the Conservatives were reduced to third place in the European Union election, with 19 seats. UKIP won the election with 24 seats ahead of Labour, who took 20 seats. The Liberal Democrats were left with a single MEP, while the other parties won 9 seats. After a protracted and damaging trial, Andy Coulson, formerly director of communications for David Cameron, was convicted of previously organising phone-hacking at the News of the World – part of the News International group – and sent to prison in July 2014. Cameron’s judgment in appointing Coulson, who had already been under suspicion, was questioned. July brought another scandal, with credible allegations that Conservative MPs were active in a paedophile ring, during the Thatcher administration, prompting Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to announce an inquiry into historic allegations of child abuse. The chair of the enquiry, Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, had to step down a few days after her appointment, due to public pressure, as her brother, Michael Havers, had been Attorney General in the Thatcher government.  Following this May blundered again, appointing Dame Fiona Woolf, who also resigned as chair, due to her friendship with Leon Brittan, who was accused of suppressing a dossier about paedophile MPs in 1984, when he was Home Secretary.

    An independence referendum was held in Scotland, on the initiative of the Scottish National Party administration. In the weeks leading up to polling in September 2014, the Conservatives were worried that the outcome would be a vote for independence. With the Tories and Liberal Democrats unpopular in Scotland, the government was reduced to leaving much of the detailed campaigning against independence to the Labour Party, with Gordon Brown taking centre-stage. The referendum rejected independence, at this point, by a margin of 55 per cent to 45 per cent. The government committed British forces to take part in air strikes against the Islamic State terrorists in Iraq, having received backing from the House of Commons in September. Meanwhile British military activity in Afghanistan reached an end, 13 years after this action, led by the USA, was started under Tony Blair’s government.

During the Autumn two sitting Conservative MPs, Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless, defected to UKIP, and were returned to Parliament for the latter party at By-Elections. Nigel Farage, the reckless UKIP Leader, fanned fruitless speculation about other MPs defecting from the Conservative Party – which he had once been a member of. Many people were concerned about the openly racist, xenophobic, sexist, and homophobic comments regularly made by prominent members of UKIP. Besides a cynical approach to Europe, UKIP had an extreme outlook, bordering on Fascism. In 2006 Cameron said “UKIP is sort of a bunch of fruitcakes and loonies and closet racists”. After ruling out a Conservative pact with UKIP across several years, Cameron changed his mind in Autumn 2014. There was growing support among members of the Conservative Party and UKIP for the idea that, in the event of another hung Parliament, the right wing parties should work together. In late 2014, and the early part of 2015, Liberal Democrat members of the government, anticipating the forthcoming General Election, sought to distance themselves from the Conservatives. There was clear evidence that the Coalition was failing to deal effectively with the budget deficit, and national debt. The Coalition reorganisation of the NHS had left it in crisis, and the Labour Party’s rescue plan was growing in popularity.

After 13 years out of power, as Labour won three successive General Elections, the Conservatives sought to re-create Thatcherism. Cameron was portrayed by supporters as a modern Conservative, in touch with ordinary people. The reality of Cameron’s premiership was continuation of old themes, which had motivated the Conservative Party since its foundation in 1830. For nearly two centuries, the Conservative Party has been run by the wealthy and powerful, with the party focussed on keeping those people wealthy and powerful. The rich benefitted in a limited recovery from capitalist crisis after 2010 but, for most people, Britain was a poorer place, both morally and financially, under the Conservatives.

Labour Purge Day 19 – The Battle Continues

Yesterday evening I travelled from Southampton to London to attend a public meeting called by Labour Against the Witch Hunts, a group battling against the unfair suspension of thousands of members of the Labour Party.

As people at the meeting exchanged their experiences of arbitrary suspension, by the dreaded Compliance Unit, and the unclear appeal process, phrases such as Kafkaesque and Orwellian were used. It is so sad to see the methods being used by the right to attack the resurgence of a left movement built around Jeremy Corbyn. One of the key messages was do not be silent – we must continue to publicly oppose, and expose, the methods of the Labour Purge.

Labour Against the Witch Hunts have organised a petition, to be delivered to the National Executive Committee, asking for emergency action to lift suspensions, and restore voting rights in the leadership election. If you have not done so, please sign the petition – link below.

National Executive Committee of the Labour Party: Hold Emergency NEC Meeting to quash suspensions, expulsions & refusal of memberships

There is also a short survey gathering evidence about the suspensions.

The announcement two days ago that Ronnie Draper and Pamela Fitzpatrick have had their suspensions lifted is good news. It is also shows the previous announcement from Labour HQ that they will not deal with appeals until after the leadership election concludes to be untrue.

The last few days have seen a further round of suspensions of Corbyn supporters, as the unaccountable right wing clique at party HQ continue attempts to gerrymander the leadership election. They have even suspended a nephew of former Labour Prime Minister, Clement Attlee.

Labour Leadership Missing Ballots – Day 17

With just 5 days to go until the final ballots are due to be issued for the Labour leadership election, controversy and confusion surrounds the thousands of missing ballots.

Labour HQ have briefed the mainstream media that votes have only been blocked for 3,000 members who have breached party rules.

The picture on social media is of many thousands of members losing their right to vote, due to arbitrary suspension, or the mysterious non-arrival of their ballots.

In the absence of an official statement from the party of the number of people entitled to vote – including precise numbers of those retrospectively barred for being members for less than 6 months, but then able to apply for the £25 fancy franchise – and the number of ballots issued, speculation is rife.

Regular readers of this Blog will recall my posting updates on a personal quest to get a vote – it is now day 17 of my suspension due to unsubstantiated allegations. I had another frustrating telephone conversation with Labour HQ yesterday, and followed it up with the email below.

My conclusion remains that a right wing clique are working hard to ban Corbyn supporters. Please read the evidence, and decide for yourself.


Further to emails below, I have today spoken on the telephone to X in Compliance. I gave him my name and membership number, and asked what is required to get my suspension lifted, given that I had emailed two days ago pointing out that I did not Retweet the messages I am accused of Retweeting.

X said that the matter would be investigated by the Regional Director. I pointed out I had previously been told that such an investigation would not take place until after completion of the leadership election. Now that I had seen the evidence, which showed I had not Retweeted the messages, and it was therefore the case that Labour headquarters had made a mistake in suspending me, I asked whether somebody at headquarters could make the decision to end the suspension. X repeated that the Regional Director would investigate. I said there was nothing for the Regional Director to investigate, as I had not carried out the Retweets. I said there was growing evidence that party headquarters were suspending supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, and delaying a response to their appeals. X denied this was the case, and again said the Regional Director would investigate. I asked whether X was really saying that the party could take away my right to vote in the leadership election, due to their mistaken belief I had Retweeted something, and then do nothing to restore my vote when I appealed. X then said he had to check something with his supervisor.

A moment later X said that his supervisor, Y, had told him to tell me that I should contact the party’s legal section, as they would reverse the suspension if I showed that the evidence against me was incorrect. X said Legal were a separate department to Compliance, and could be contacted on or telephone 0207 7831498.

I telephoned that number, and the call was answered by Z in Compliance. I said I had been speaking to somebody else in Compliance, who said to call this number to speak to Legal. Z said Compliance and Legal were part of the same department, sharing an office and telephone number.

Z took my name and membership number, and I recounted my conversation with X. Z said she could not look into my case at the moment, but guaranteed it would be dealt with soon if I emailed the details to I said I had emailed and telephoned the party several times, over the course of being suspended for two weeks, with little response. My latest email two days ago had gone to as that was the address specified by the party when they sent me the evidence for my suspension. I said I would email the legal address, but expected, in view of my series of emails and telephone calls, that somebody should be able to give me a guarantee on the telephone today that this matter would be resolved prior to the last of the leadership ballots being sent out on September 14. Z said she would not guarantee that timescale, at which point the line went dead. It appeared that Z had disconnected the call (somebody else in compliance put the phone down on me last week when I pressed for a prompt response).

Please can somebody deal with this promptly and fairly?

Thank you

Andrew Godsell


Labour Suspension – The evidence shows I am not guilty

Last night, 12 days after I was suspended by Labour HQ, and following several requests, I finally received their evidence, which actually shows I am not guilty of the allegations.  

I have today sent them the reply below.

As always, I will update this Blog with developments.


I reply to your email below, and make the following points.

1 I received this email 12 days after being suspended from the Labour Party. During the intervening period I sent several emails, without receiving adequate responses. The attachment you sent purports to show two Tweets by me that led to the suspension. Having followed the weblinks in your document, I have found the two Tweets posted by other people, and no evidence that I Retweeted them. I attach a Word document with screen prints of the view I have today on Twitter of the relevant messages. You will notice that the Retweet buttons are not highlighted, which would be the case if I had Retweeted them. I therefore conclude that I did not Retweet the messages, and the basis of your decision to suspend me is incorrect.

2 My email of August 27 said “I wish to make a subject access request in accordance with section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1988. Please can you advise the process for my obtaining copies of all the searchable material the Labour Party holds on myself. I am particularly interested in finding out the specific detail of the allegations that led to my suspension, the person/s who made allegations, and the process whereby they were considered before you suspended me from the Labour Party”. I have not yet received a reply to that email, and the evidence you have now sent does not explain who made the allegations.

3 My Twitter profile states “ReTweet not always endorsement”. I often Retweet things I do not necessarily agree with, as part of the sharing of information on Twitter, and I know many other people do likewise.  I cannot see why the Labour Party is using resources trawling social media, looking for evidence of alleged abuse, that can be used to suspend members, when that alleged abuse took place prior to the publication of the rules for the leadership election. Such trawling of social media is contrary to a recommendation of the Chakrabarti report. In view of this, the suspension of myself, in the mistaken belief that I had Retweeted derogatory comments about Angela Eagle, would be particularly unfair.  As for the other message that I did not Retweet, I cannot see how sharing information about a disagreement between the NEC and a crowdfunder should lead to a suspension.

4 The Labour Party are aware that I struggle with mental health conditions, which have been aggravated by the experience of suspension, and should meet their obligations to me in line with the Equality Act.

5 I am copying this email to X, who was part of the NEC panel viewing evidence, and has argued against my suspension, knowing me to be a loyal member of the party. After 32 years membership of the Labour Party, I find the way in which I am being treated over this suspension to be alienating. I renew the request that the suspension be lifted, without more delay.

Please can I have a detailed reply to all the points here by 5.00 pm on Thursday September 8.

Thank you

Andrew Godsell


Labour Suspension News – You Read it Here First!

The pressure on Labour Party headquarters to explain the shambles into which the leadership ballot has descended is clearly increasing. The daily exposure of the process should lead to a rethink, if Labour HQ wish to retain credibility in the face of charges of vote-rigging.

Here are three new developments:

1 Jeremy Corbyn has, in his usual diplomatic way, told the Guardian about his concerns over the running of the contest. Corbyn says “I’m surprised at the numbers of people who’ve been denied a vote and I’m surprised at the lack of reason that’s been given to people. I’m concerned about that because surely in a democratic process everyone should be entitled to vote unless there is some very good reason against them”. The Guardian also report that Corbyn has asked for the names of all the party members denied a vote – the Mirror has suggested there are 7,000 such people.

2 Labour Against the Witch Hunts, a group of activists I have joined, have launched a petition, calling upon the NEC to lift the suspensions, and allow all party members to vote. Please can readers of this Blog sign, and share, the petition.

3 A modest Blogger may be making news! A piece on the Canary website today reports that Labour does not intend to investigate the suspensions until after the leadership election. The source for this revelation is shown to be correspondence between a party member and Labour HQ, mentioned on Twitter, and first unveiled on a certain Blog a lot of people have been reading.

Thanks for reading and …….please sign the petition.







The Labour Leadership Election Farce

Every day brings alarming revelations about the farcical running of the Labour leadership election. It appears that more than 100,000 party supporters, entitled to vote, did not receive their ballots by the end of August – the point at which all ballots were due to be issued.

There is also the issue of people unjustly suspended from the party, and deprived of their vote, all of whom appear to be Corbyn supporters. A piece in the Daily Mirror yesterday suggested that up to 7,000 members have been “purged” in this way.

There is an online poll in the link above. As I write this, 61 per cent of respondents think all the party supporters signed up to vote should be able to do so. Only 15 per cent think the current situation is fair. The other 24 per cent agree with some, but not all, purging.

The scale of the Labour purge is gradually slipping into mainstream media consciousness.

In contrast, the BBC, with its vehemently anti-Corbyn approach to reporting political news, now seem to be ignoring the purge of his supporters.

The BBC reported Corbyn’s concern about the purge on August 26, but have not revisited it since then

Yesterday the BBC ran an expose of the Saving Labour approach to ousting Corbyn, but failed to make the connection with gerrymandering of the ballot by staff at Labour HQ.

My Blogging on the situation continues to be part of the social media storm. Work continues among the suspended to challenge the situation.

Yesterday the Labour Insider Blog featured a piece by me about the mental health aspects of the purge – they gave it the title Labour’s Shame. This what I wrote:!Labours-Shame/cjds/57cb25784730e93edc8b6f95

Thousands of loyal Labour Party members are currently suspended, on the basis of little or no evidence, due to what appear to be unaccountable actions by the compliance department. This is obviously causing a lot of anger and upset to those involved. As one of those suspended, I have been Blogging on a daily basis about the Labour purge, explaining what it means to be barred from party activity, and what is being done to tackle this. For much of my life I have battled with mental health issues, including Asperger Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and spells of depression. I have touched on this in my Blog pieces plus Tweets, and received many messages, both public and private, from other people in a similar position.

People with Asperger Syndrome struggle with social interaction. Membership of the Labour Party has always been important to my sense of identity. When I joined Labour, in 1984, I felt part of a political party that championed the NHS, comprehensive education, and workers’ rights, while providing opposition to Thatcherism. In 1997, I helped in the election of a Labour government, which was destined to introduce the minimum wage, and strengthen the NHS, along with other achievements. I felt proud of my small role in the process. Although I struggle talking to people I do not know, confidence in the strength of the Labour Party, and enthusiasm for politics, has enabled me to be a regular party canvasser, talking to people on their doorsteps. I have stood as Labour candidate at local elections on 10 occasions, between 1989 and 2015. Now that I have been suspended, I feel that part of my identity has been taken away, hopefully only on a temporary basis.

Other people have been telling me that suspension has intensified their mental health problems. Experiences we share include increased anxiety, lack of sleep, and the repeated checking of emails, hoping for news that the nightmare of suspension may be removed. The nature of Asperger’s and OCD causes me to obsess about particular problems. As I write this, it is the eleventh day of my suspension. The suspension has rarely been far from mind in this time, and I am finding it difficult to focus on other matters. I have sent a series of emails to the Labour Party about the suspension. I often find the writing of even the simplest email a struggle, with the Asperger in me wondering whether I am communicating as I should be, while the Obsessive Compulsive worries about the content – spelling, grammar, layout of paragraphs, font, and is it unlucky to send an email at 13 minutes past the hour? On the single occasion this week that I spoke to somebody at party headquarters, the lack of any positive outcome added to my anxiety.

I have had a telephone conversation with the Equality Advisory Support Service, an organisation that provides official advice on the practicalities of the Equality Act and Human Rights Act. They are looking at the Labour Party’s legal responsibility to deal fairly with party members who have a disability, including long-term mental health issues experienced by myself.

In an email sent on September 2, the Labour compliance department belatedly acknowledged my mental health concern, and said this will be taken into account when they deal with my appeal against suspension. Unfortunately, at the same time, they said the actual reasons for the suspension of myself, and thousands of other party members, will not be investigated until after the leadership election, in which our votes have been taken away.

Apparently Labour Party staff, who are busy suspending loyal comrades they know nothing about, on the basis of flimsy evidence, do not have time to look at the detail of appeals. As Labour Party members we place trust in our organisation. At present that trust is sadly not being reciprocated by the party machine, which is badly letting down thousands of our people. For those of us with Asperger’s, and similar conditions, it feels very alienating.


Suspended from the Labour Party – Day 11

Yesterday I reported here that Labour HQ have said suspensions will not be investigated until AFTER the leadership ballot. Is this the end of the road? There are reasons to believe it is not.

I am in touch with Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign team, who are working to highlight the issue of arbitrary suspension.

Awareness of the issue is growing, with both the Guardian and Independent having published letters from party members in the last few days.

There is increasing determination among the suspended party members to fight against this injustice.

I went to a picnic today, joining fellow Jeremy Corbyn supporters in Southampton. It rained for much of the time, but we were sheltered under a bandstand. Much of the conversation obviously revolved around the leadership contest. It was good to be among friends, who sympathised with my plight, but re-telling the sorry detail yet again was a struggle. Once the rain stopped, I joined some blokes and lads in a football kickabout – it was good to remember innocent fun.

This evening I have completed writing a piece for the Labour Insider Blog, about the mental health implications for people caught in the Labour purge. I will update here when it appears there.

Once again, thank you to the people reading this Blog. My series of posts about the suspension have been viewed over 13,000 times in little more than a week. The many messages of support, on the Blog, Twitter, Facebook – and even real life – mean a great deal to me.

I still believe in Labour Party democracy, and we can work together to restore this.




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