Anyone following the progress of the UK Labour Party since the long-standing and downright honest socialist politician Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader in September 2015, won’t be surprised to find that Labour Party members who intended to vote for him again following a leadership challenge have had their vote taken away.
I’m one of those party members. On August 22nd, I was told I’d receive a Vote Now email. It never came. I phoned, and I reapplied three times, and eventually received an email on September 9th to say the delay was purely through weight of numbers: “I can also see that we haven’t yet dispatched your ballot yet. Yours is one of a very small number still to be dispatched, any delay in receiving a ballot is simply due to the nature of such a large task.”
On the same day, however, I received a PDF file containing a “Notice of administrative suspension” letter relating to “Comments made on social media including on 30 January 2016 and 18 June 2016”.
I would not be allowed to vote in the leadership ballot.
Certain I’d done nothing wrong, I searched through hundreds of social media posts and found that I’d only made one post on each of those dates, both unrelated to the Labour Party, not abusive, and not breaching party rules.
One post was a retweet, and the other was an ironic reference to Tracey Emin. Both contained asterisks.
I emailed to say I’m going to appeal. I did appeal using a standard letter. I’ve heard nothing. The poll closed without even an acknowledgement, which is somewhat upsetting.
I could make a request under the Data Protection Act to find out what else they hold on me, but that would require sending all my Id, and as I don’t know how they linked my social networking account with my membership number so they could suspend me, I’m against doing that.
On Saturday 24th, the result of the leadership election that I was excluded from will be announced, and although the party is now the largest political party in Europe thanks to Corbyn’s excellent leadership, and he’s miles ahead in the polls, I’m not certain he’s going to win massively as expected. It could be the biggest political shock of all time, and one that might mean September 2015’s Labour leadership election was the last democratic election I’d ever take part in.