It’s official: the word “Blairite” is now considered to be a term of abuse in the Labour Party and its use banned at meetings.
“Blairite” was on the list of proscribed words, apparently provided by Labour HQ and which was read out to a meeting of party members in Croydon last week. And anyone found to have used it publicly could even find themselves banned from taking part in the forthcoming leadership election.
Labour officials have begun sending out lists of “registered supporters”, the people who have forked out 25 quid to take part in the party’s leadership election, in an effort to weed out anyone who is deemed not be a “genuine Labour supporter”.
And according to a senior figure in the Labour Party in Croydon, “This includes, for example, anyone who tweeted that they voted Green in the 2015 General Election.”
The lists have been sent to councillors, local party officers and MPs, including people such as Steve Reed OBE, for some time the vice-chair of Progress and Croydon North/Lambeth South [delete to taste] MP, who has been calling for his party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to resign.
With so many Blairites “embedded” into Labour’s party structures over the last 25 years, Corbyn’s backers fear that the process will be used to purge their support among grassroots members and those who have been drawn to the party in the past year.
“They are also trawling through social media accounts looking for anything incriminating, including the use of certain words about opponents,” the Labour Party figure said. “We must be on our guard and ready to defend people who are genuine supporters of Labour under Corbyn but who are blocked from voting.”
Corbyn supporters reckon that as many as 40,000 of the 25-quid supporters have already been disqualified, with another 10,000 having been referred to the party’s scrutiny committee. In total, 183,000 signed up as registered supporters in recent weeks – which means if nothing else, Jeremy Corbyn has helped to contribute more than £4 million to his party’s funds this summer alone.
But there are other ruses being used, seen by many as an effort to diminish the Corbyn support by Blairite incumbents. Following a controversial ruling by the party’s National Executive Committee, anyone who has filled the forms and paid a fee to become a party member since January this year is also denied a vote in the leadership election.
Before the 2015 leadership election, when the supporter’s fee was a mere £3, Labour received a number of “interesting” pledges of support, including one from Jason Cummings, a Croydon councillor and member of the council’s shadow cabinet for the Conservative Party.
It is not known whether anyone within the Croydon North Labour Party moved to “purge” Cummings 12 months ago. But they have managed to exclude, as members or supporters, trades union officials and the comedian, Mark Steel, because of their past dalliances with other political parties which they deemed to be more radical than the Iraq War-supporting, benefits-cutting, austerity-lite Labour Party of the Blairites.
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