I have just sent this email to the Labour party candidates for the local elections that are happening today.
Dear Jackie Fraser, Doug Scott and Shaun Stammers,
I will be voting today in the council elections for Mitcheldean, Ruardean and Drybrook. In the past, I have voted for Labour councillors. But I am writing today with a heavy heart to tell you that, because of the NEC’s dreadful non-decision on a Brexit policy, I cannot vote Labour in this election (nor in the forthcoming European election).
It is simply unconscionable for the NEC to overrule the stated wishes of 80% of Labour members, MEPs, MPs and CLPs to pursue Jeremy Corbyn’s personal preference — especially when he won the party leadership on the specific promise of allowing members to guide policy.
What this amounts to is that your party has been taken over by a coup which, paradoxically, is now enabling the far-right policy of Brexit, even though polling has consistently shown that the majority no longer want to leave the European Union. I have voted Labour in every recent General Election, but will not be doing so again.
By the way, I might add that I would also not vote Labour if I were a Leaver, since its muddled and inconclusive policy amounts to nothing. True-believer Leavers will vote for UKIP or the Brexit Party, while we Remainers choose between the Lib Dems, Greens and (in the European election) Change UK. In short, Labour’s Brexit policy is not only a betrayal of its members but also a grotesquely incompetent electoral miscalclation.
In closing: I fully understand that none of this is your doing, and I regret that you at the local level are reaping the consequences of Corbyn’s undemocratic takeover. I wish you all well, but it’s important that Labour councillors, MPs, MEPs and others understand what has happened at the top of the party and the effect it is having on voters.
Dr. Mike Taylor
I can only hope that this and similar letters help Labour’s grass-roots ativists to understand that their party is being destroyed by Brexit just as surely as the Tories — with the difference that, for Labour, it’s a choice they’re making rather than a dead-end they can’t escape from.
Update (the same afternoon)
This just in from Shaun Stammers, one of the three candidate councillors I wrote to:
I totally understand your frustration. As an ardent remainer I too am disheartened by the lack of vision from the NEC. On the door step it has been a terrible time with Leavers condemning us for stopping Brexit and Remainers not at all happy that the Party leadership is not campaigning for a second vote. Personally I think a second referendum is the only way and I will continue to lobby for such. Locally everything is up in the air and every vote will count but I respect the strength of your view.
With the best of regards
I really appreciate his quick response and I do understand his position. I imagine every Labour and Tory candidate is having much the same experience: getting it in the neck from both sides.
I hope he gets his party back (and that the nation gets it back!)