Welp, that’s me and the Labour party done for. I thought we’d escaped the stitch-up of Jeremy Corbyn not being on the ballot – as much as I didn’t especially want him to continue leading, I wanted him to not continue leading as the result of a fair fight against a clearly better alternative. Admittedly, I want a lot of things that are equally implausible, but at the very least the “fair fight” bit would have been accomplished, if not the “decent opponent” bit.
But, of course, there had to be a but. Why wouldn’t there be? The number one lesson of 2016 so far is that if something good happens then it will almost immediately be followed by sixteen thousand shit things happening at exactly the same time. This time, the turd dropped in everyone’s lap was the announcement that if you joined the party in the six months prior to the NEC convening on the 12th July, you would no longer have a vote in the leadership election… unless you wanted to cancel your membership and re-register as a registered supporter. For £25. In a two day window.
To give a full history: I have been a member of Labour, on and off, since 2010. I originally joined, from the Liberal Democrats, in May 2010, and voted for Ed Miliband in the leadership election that year; membership lapsed for financial reasons (i.e. I went through a lot of shit in 2011). I rejoined again in October 2013 after seeing Ed finally coming out of his shell a bit and saying things that really chimed with me again; a few months later I started doorknocking and delivering leaflets. I was a member of the party up until November 2015, when I (as I previously wrote about) quit after seeing John McDonnell somehow respond to an open goal by setting himself on fire and shitting on the ball. I rejoined, as I found out today, on the 18th January this year after reconsidering, and have since then attended multiple branch meetings, done telling for the party during the local elections and delivered a shitload of leaflets – not as many as I would like to have done, but what I could with my circumstances. As I found out, ironically after getting home from my local branch meeting, being an active member and supporter of the party is apparently not good enough to earn a vote in the leadership elections; as I “joined” six days after the 12th January cut off, it was confirmed to me today, I will not get one.
Unless I quit again, and part with £25 to be a registered supporter.
You know what Labour: you can suck rancid drops of sweat from my hairy taint before I will even consider parting with more money for something I thought I had paid for the right to do as part of my membership of your party. Take my membership card and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. I’m out. Oh, sure, you’re building a social movement, you’ll miss my money, nobody else can beat the Tories, yada yada, but why the everfucking fuck should I not take it personally that I rejoined you six days late and therefore one of the most basic rights of membership has been stripped from me in an effort to stymie imaginary hordes of entryists who joined well before this pathetic excuse for a leadership competition was a twinkle in anyone’s eye? I rejoined because I realised that despite McDonnell’s idiocy I did still think that the party was our (the left’s, and the average working person in Britain’s) last hope for a better future, and I’ve stuck with it even as the party tears itself asunder in the most undignified manner possible; as the leadership continues being bumbling and incompetent and as the PLP see this bumbling incompetence and respond “well we can be shittier!”… but this is not good enough. Six month rule.
I’ve been disenfranchised on a technicality. Many people haven’t even got that; they’ve just had their vote nicked off them retroactively simply for the crime of not being in the party long enough. I personally know two people who joined recently – yes, both supporters of Jeremy Corbyn in a rather less qualified way than I could ever claim to be – and why should they stick around when the first message they get loud and clear is that they’re not good enough and the things the Labour party sticks on its website as a paean to potential new members aren’t worth the photons they’re borne upon? Why should they not feel like they’ve been sold a pup? Why the hell should they trust Labour again? Why should I trust Labour again? Oh sure, you can get around it by joining a union, or another society, but at the end of the day the principle counts – why should I have to?
The answer is; I won’t. I couldn’t give a sun-blushed shit what it has to say to me or anyone else, I’m gone. Apparently I’m not good enough, and neither are the hundreds of thousands of people who showed enough faith in it and its embattled leader to join it even amongst all the tumult. Sure, go ahead and tell me they’re all entryists, they’re all Trots, they’re all communists, SWP members, CPGB members, sandal-wearing lentil-eating north London hippies that chuck bricks through windows and tweet rape threats at MPs, or they could be just good, decent people who appreciate what Jeremy Corbyn believes in and who have now got every reason to feel bitter and disgusted with the party he leads after it has taken their money and then changed the deal. Good job repelling the people who fund you, you absolute shithouses.
I’ve joined another party, for what it’s worth; I won’t disclose which one (here at least, some people on the /r/LabourUK IRC channel know; at least know it’s not the fucking Tories) but frankly it seems like a better home for me right now than a party that, while everyone I’ve met on a local level has been friendly, welcoming and nice to have a pint (or diet Coke in my case) with at meetings, doesn’t appear as an institution to give any basic respect to me as a member or anyone else who has committed the grave, unforgivable crime of looking like they might possibly vote for Jeremy Corbyn.