All this makes me cry. It makes me angry. It makes me shake. It makes me feel like some sort of powerless victim who has been tied down with tape over my mouth, to await some vile abuse by some nasty revolting sadist. There are thousands of members being treated like this …
Pat Stone (retired teacher) Timeline of my Suspension:
Summer 2015 joined the party and encouraged Roy to join. Never been political before, really, too busy with kids and work. Tried the £3 online thing but it didn’t work so both of us paid the full whack. We had no idea of any jiggery pokery re: Corbyn. We thought everyone wanted him, as we do, because we think this country needs Socialism, at least for a couple of terms.
Sept 2015 Corbyn was elected leader. Hooray! For once I backed a winner. On TV, somebody stormed out of the announcement meeting, shouting. I was confused. Who was that? Shocked that MPs including many women announce they will not serve, before they’ve even been asked.
March? April? May? June? 2016 Gobsmacked that MPs are resigning one by one and that there is another leadership election mooted. Saw comments on social media and joined in some irony and sarcasm about the challenge to Corbyn’s leadership by Angela Eagle.
July 2016 Checked rechecked and double checked by phone that my membership was up to date and paid up to date. I am told yes, my membership is up to date.
August 2016 We are on holiday when ballots for leadership election are sent out. We check online every day. Roy’s ballot is sent out on day 1. Mine is not.
August, September 2016 I call repeatedly and ask repeatedly about my ballot. I am told repeatedly that yes yes my membership is up to date and my ballot will be sent out soon in ‘a batch’. I am confused about why I am not in the same batch as Roy, at the same address. I am given several dates by which my ballot will be sent out.
September 12 2016 I am sent an email and then a letter to tell me that there has been an “…allegation that I may have been involved in a breach of a party rule” and my membership is suspended. I was told an investigation by my Regional Director would be carried out and I was exhorted to cooperate. This email and letter are addressed to ‘Supporter Applications… regarding your application to the Labour Party.’ At this time I had been a paid up member for more than a year, I was not applying to be a supporter, so I thought a mistake had been made. I waited. I WAS NOT TOLD AND HAVE NOT YET BEEN TOLD AS OF 6.3.17 WHICH PARTY RULE I AM ALLEGED TO HAVE BROKEN, NOR WHO MADE THE ALLEGATION(S)
September – December 2016 I called and emailed over and over again to try and find out what was going on. There was never anything proffered to me except the email and letter of 12 September. I was given the email address of ‘legal’ and sent them a message.
They told me they had asked ‘compliance’? to send me evidence of what I am supposed to have done within 5 days. I did get this ‘evidence’ 5 days later. It consists of screenshots of the ironic, sarcastic tweets about Angela Eagle’s treacherous behaviour and one in which I expressed my frustration that H Harman was emailing us, asking us to vote for Owen Smith, hoping she would not be selected as our constituency candidate next time.
I now know that ‘traitor’ and ‘deselect’ were trigger words for finding people to suspend or expel. I won’t go on here about the names new members were being called by Tom Watson, nor the piss-taking Tweets sent out almost daily by people such as John McTernan.
December 2016 I got an email from Ali Craft to tell me I should come to an investigatory interview in the week of Jan 9 2017. I reply asking for detail.
I express my shock and concern that things are being done to me that I have not been informed about – that I have had no information about timelines or procedures or my rights. He sends back some guideline info which refers to a person who is being dealt with as ‘Donald Duck’. Much of the other language and vocabulary is the language of police stations and courts of law. It is frightening and shocking. I hear of other members who are ill, depressed, suicidal in the face of this language and these treatments.
January 10, 2017 I attended the interview with Ali Craft. I asked why I was not interviewed by my regional director as originally stated. No response.
Throughout this whole affair I am expected to just comply with whatever the party sees fit to impose on me with no explanation or forwarding as if I am the party’s property. I state my ‘case’. He states nothing except that he will write a report and send it to…? I have still not been told which party rule I am alleged to maybe have broken, nor who has made the allegations. Ali Craft promises me that I will be sent verbatim notes of the meeting, “In a couple of days.”
March 2017 I have had no verbatim notes although I have requested them twice more. I have heard from Ali Craft, because I asked and he got back to me 2 weeks later (a 2 week or perpetual delay seems to be the Labour party norm, I have heard and experienced) that he has sent his report to panel – what is that? I can’t remember which section of the party – and that they will meet in March – he could not give a date – and decide whether to proceed further. I asked twice for a copy of his report about me but these requests were ignored completely.
February 2017 Early Feb? I went to my ward meeting and was informed that my suspension was no longer recorded against my name on the members list. I called Labour and was told that, yes, my suspension was lifted and a letter was being prepared to be sent out that day.
Early March 2017 I have waited every day and run to the door like a child when the post comes, to look for the letter to tell me my suspension is lifted. It hasn’t come. I have waited a month. I go to my ward meeting and stand, unopposed, for a position as second auditor.
A few days later my branch secretary has the unenviable job of calling me to tell me the PLP secretary says I am still suspended.
I have heard nothing from HQ. I will have to spend money and time again, calling them to find out.
I have still never been informed which rule I am supposed to have broken, nor who accused me. If I get a bit too mouthy in future, someone, anyone, can just allege against me and get me suspended again. And on into eternity. Meanwhile, famous names are publicly abusing members and Jeremy Corbyn on a daily basis, with impunity.
All this makes me cry. It makes me angry. It makes me shake. It makes me feel like some sort of powerless victim who has been tied down with tape over my mouth, to await some vile abuse by some nasty revolting sadist.
There are thousands of members being treated like this just because we want Socialism brought back into our party and our country. Thousands. Is this what the Labour Party is supposed to be for?