Educate, agitate, organise!

This is a guest post by Graham Taylor, former Chair and Election Agent Tower Hamlets Labour Party

I am going to ask HP readers to do something more than read this article. I want you to sign up as many £3 registered supporters as you can. I got about half a dozen to commit yesterday. Friends, family, neighbours. And also to encourage affiliated union members to vote.

Tonight’s no-confidence vote in Jeremy Corbyn and his refusal to resign means that a challenge will be launched and the Labour Party will run a leadership election on the current party rules. While there is some dispute about whether the incumbent will automatically be on the ballot paper my expectation is that, due to the trade union left dominance on the NEC (Labour’s ruling body).

What happens next?

Once the challenge is mounted [probably tomorrow], my expectation is that the NEC will pretty much run the same process as last year, with a leadership election taking place over the summer [the difference being that JC will be in charge until he isn’t!]

What about the members?

JC only got 49.59% (121,751 votes) of fully paid up members last time – the largest block of voters – while there remains a hardcore of support, his poor leadership and especially inaction over the EU Referendum has seriously weakened his support amongst the membership. The sheer volume of MPs backing the no confidence motion will have also had an impact.

What about the workers?

JC got 83.76% (88,449) of the affiliated members. Do Trade Union members really want a perpetually Tory England? I hope not. Moderates in affiliated unions and socialist societies need to get their acts together and support ABC (Anyone But Corbyn) .

Although turnout figures weren’t released last year, this will have been the lowest turnout section of the vote. Far too many members just don’t see it as their thing. You need to talk to them.

What about the £3ers?

The £3 supporters were only entitled to vote in the previous leadership election and have no status in this election. The scheme will be re-opened (probably for £3 again).

Whilst some of the £3ers were no doubt genuine Labour supporters, we all know that the reality was that many of these were the usual ragbag of Trots, Greens, clicktavists and fellow travellers. They’ve always been able to organise. They spend their lives getting people to sign petitions, and fill forms in. The expectation from the boys in Miliband’s office, obsessed with American politics as they all are, was that we’d end up with a US style primary. The reality was far more British.

What do we do now?

If even just every fully paid up member that voted against Corbyn last year signed up one anti-Corbyn £3er, we’d slaughter him. All of us who believe last week was a tragedy and want to see a better future need to sign up as many people as possible. What’s amazed me in the last week is just how many of my friends who usually have very little interest in what I do politically have been telling me that ‘You need to get rid of him’; friends, family even my next door neighbour in the pub watching the match [anyone that knows me will know what an unlikely scenario this is]. And my response to each of them has been – you need to sign up, and you need to get everyone that you know to sign up.

Secondly you need to encourage anyone you know in an affiliated union to vote, and to ignore their leadership if they’re backing Corbyn

We then need to rebuild the party, and sizeable chunks of the country, but let’s find an effective leader of HM Opposition to start with.