I was rejected and in despair. The Labour Party’s leadership election had left me cold. The bulk of MPs backing Owen Smith, or perhaps it was hatred of the other candidate, just didn’t seem to correlate with the level of support for Jeremy Corbyn amongst the local Constituency Labour Parties.
At first I thought the £25 fee wildly undemocratic and all the High Court/Court of Appeal juggling beyond embarrassing. It did cross my mind that this was a fundraising scam to increase party funds. That would have been manipulative and sneaky but at least it would mean that this wasn’t the PLP acting in a mean-minded way to exclude poor people from engaging in the democratic process.
Then, the rejection email arrived, no explanation, despite registering on 20th July, I “do not currently hold any status with the Labour Party”. I briefly hoped this marked a return to good socialist principles on the relevance of social status. But no, apparently not, it actually meant I was ‘persona non grata’ in the leadership election process.
So, there I was attempting to support a party which, except for the last election, I had voted for since the early eighties. A party whose existing Westminster elite, although unelectable as a government themselves, seem to believe that policy rooted in social democratic values is unelectable. In September last year Paul Krugman observed, in the New York Times, that “The Corbyn upset isn’t about a sudden left turn on the part of Labour supporters. It’s mainly about the strange, sad moral and intellectual collapse of Labour moderates”
Sorry Labour I did try, really I did but I’m going with the Greens. They believe in shared leadership something you clearly don’t. Peter Tatchell recently tweeted that the Greens are “a democratic, united, radical, visionary party”. Labour, that was supposed to be your job. Of course, the true reason for my shift from Red to Green is really incredibly shallow – any party which can put a Blues Drummer of the Year nominee into a leadership position gets my vote.