The parallels between the Bernie Sanders insurgency and the vicious UK Labour Party fight over its left-leaning, incredibly popular leader Jeremy Corbyn keep on coming: now there's a Labour analogue to Debbie Wasserman Shultz, the corrupt, hawkish, disgraced former chair of the DNC, who was forced to resign after the DNC email leak revealed her extensive dirty-tricks campaign against Bernie Sanders.
In mid-July, the Labour party pulled a dirty trick of its own: during a meeting to determine the rules of an upcoming leadership ballot, the party establishment waited until the end of the session, after Corbyn and his supporters had left the room, and then introduced a motion that was not on the agenda to change the party rules and disenfranchise 200,000 party members, all presumed Corbyn supporters.
On Monday, a High Court judge ruled that the motion was illegal, because the Corbyn-supporting members had formed a contract with the Party when they joined that gave them the right to vote in leadership races. Changing the rules after the fact breached that contract. The ruling virtually guarantees Corbyn's re-relection as party leader, because the new Corbyn-supporting members vastly outnumber the rest of the party.
But Labour's establishment is not done: Iain McNichol, Labour's general secretary, has vowed to use the party's money — a substantial portion of which came from the Corbyn block — to appeal the decision and fight to take away the voting rights of most party members.
McNichol's actions are eerily familiar to those of us who watched in dismay as Wasserman Shultz used the DNC's mighty resources to openly (and covertly, as it turns out) block Sanders. One key difference, though: the Labour Party's National Executive Committee held its own elections this week, and all six open seats went to Corbyn supporters, which is bad news for McNichol and the neoliberal wing of the Labour Party.
The Telegraph quotes anonymous Labour sources as saying that if the appeal goes against McNichol, he will be forced to resign, as Wasserman Shultz was. Meanwhile, Wasserman Shultz is now in charge of Hillary Clinton's election campaign, having failed up.
Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union, described the appeal against the High Court ruling as "catastrophic". "Here we have paid officials going into court to stop Labour Party members exercising their democratic rights. Clearly a full meeting of the NEC should have been called before taking such a terrible decision. "We have lost confidence in our full time officials to operate clearly in the interests of ordinary party members who can ill afford to fund expensive legal actions in the High Court."
Edward Leir, one of the five members, said the court's ruling was a "victory for equality and inclusion".
"This judgement is a vindication that the political process should be fair, democratic and inclusive; that political parties, like any other organisation, must uphold its rules fairly to those who support them," he said.
"More widely, this is a victory for equality and inclusion. Political parties must keep their promises, just as we all reasonably expect anyone else to in other aspects of our lives."
Jeremy Corbyn's allies plot to oust Labour's General Secretary after accusing party's ruling body of trying to rig leadership election
[Steven Swinford and Laura Hughes/The Telegraph]
(Image: @iainmcnicol/US Congress)
(via Naked Capitalism)