UK Labour General Secretary Iain McNichol has succeeded in disenfranchising 150,000 party members in the upcoming leadership election, having spent the party's money on an appeal of a High Court ruling saying that the dirty trick that yanked the voting rights of hundreds of thousands of new members, presumed to support Jeremy Corbyn, the besieged, left-wing leader of the party.
But the New Statesman's Stephen Bush doesn't think it matters: the old-line party rank-and-file, including many trade-union members, have become Corbyn supporters (possibly out of respect for his platform, possibly out of disgust with the party grandees' long-knifed attacks on a leader who was elected by a wider margin than any other leader in party history).
According to an anonymous Labour politician, the anti-Corbyn strategy to date has been "we have to call him a c**t every day until he f****s off." But if Corbyn retains his position in a Labour-wide vote that excludes all those alleged entry-ists from the Green Party or even Tories (as some of the wilder unsourced fantasies have it), the party establishment's position will be untenable — it will be absolutely indisputable that they are the ones out of step with the party, not Corbyn and not the rank and file.
Since then, a lot has happened. More than 150,000 people have paid £25 to vote in the Labour leadership race. By my estimation, having spoken to more local party officials than is healthy, around a third of the £25ers are party members who fell foul of the cut-off date, but the rest are the great "known unknowns" of the contest. The GMB and Unison, following consultative ballots, have endorsed Owen Smith and Jeremy Corbyn, respectively. Pro-Corbyn candidates swept the board among the membership section in the party's NEC elections. And 275 constituency Labour parties have made supporting nominations, on which metric Corbyn leads Smith by 234 to 41.
Crucially, those nominations have only included the votes of party members who joined before the 2016 cut-off. It is hard to draw up a metric by which Corbyn is not winning. He is winning in constituency parties that nominate via all-members-meetings. He is winning in constituency parties that nominate via delegates. He is winning in held seats. He is winning in Tory seats. He is winning in constituencies that nominated Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall, and especially those that nominated Andy Burnham. There is no part of the Labour party where he is not winning, though he is doing slightly less well in Scotland and London, and very well in Merseyside.
The High Court's judgment won't stop Jeremy Corbyn winning
[Stephen Bush/New Statesman]
(via Naked Capitalism)
(Image: Jeremy Corbyn PMQs 001, David Holt, CC-BY)