by Martin Odoni

It is painfully clear that in the Labour Party, the right wing consider themselves above the very rules that the membership are expected to adhere to. The reason the left wing could not secure control over the party since Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership election in 2015 was because the centrists still retained a powerful grip over the party machine, and were prepared to resort to many a grubby trick to retain it. In the process, the Labour Right showed they were far more hostile to the left than they were to the Conservative Party.

This animosity to all things left has surfaced yet again as current disastrous leader Keir Starmer strives like a medieval Puritan fanatic to purge anything resembling real socialist ideals. To this end, he has decided it is time to attack children and young adults.

I am quite serious.

Jess Barnard is yet another leftist whom Starmer is attempting to quieten and marginalise.

Young Labour, the junior ‘regiment’ of the Labour Party, is supposed by the rulebook to hold an open conference for its members every year, parallel to the main conference being held in Liverpool or (as in this year) Brighton. Jess Barnard, current chair of Young Labour, has tried to maintain a dignified discretion in her attempts to negotiate with Starmer and the (interim and completely-unelected) current General Secretary, David Evans, but has finally been forced to break her silence in a Twitter thread. The story she tells of Starmer and Evans’ myopic contempt for Labour’s youth support is sadly typical of the maniacal control-freakery that has dominated the Labour Right since Neil Kinnock’s failed leadership.

Evans firmly informed Ms Barnard and her colleague Lara McNeill early this year that there would be no junior conference this autumn. He has neither the power, nor the mandate (see below) to make such a ruling. His rationale does not seem to have been made clear, but the pandemic, if pushed, is probably what he would point to. Unfortunately, that makes no sense whatever, because that would be a case for having no conference at all. And even the junior conference can easily be held virtually using modern social media.

Evans did agree that he would let the Young Labour membership know the decision was his, and that to compensate, he would provide them with extra resources at the main conference.

However, guest speakers need to undergo a ‘due diligence’ check before they have clearance to speak at the main conference, and Evans is now saying, without having offered any previous indication of this, that the party does not presently have the ‘capacity’ to carry out the checks until 20th September. That is just five days before Conference begins. This is in spite of Ms Barnard contacting Evans regularly about the issue, and not getting a response, for months.

At no stage in this has Starmer responded to any of Ms Barnard’s or Ms McNeil’s attempts to contact him either, and he is clearly trying just to keep the whole issue of the very left-leaning Young Labour at arm’s-length.

It is evident from what Ms Barnard states that Starmer and Edwards are just trying to find dirty ways to bypass Labour’s rules, so they can keep muting and dislocating the party left. They do this by keeping everything in a kind of ’emergency’ mode, using excuses like the Covid-19 pandemic to avoid ‘normal service’. They then just refuse to hold events that are supposed to be compulsory. This has included a proper, formal election by party members for the permanent role of General Secretary. Evans is therefore practicing powers for which he has never been given a mandate, and he has frequently tried to practice powers he would not have, even if he had been elected.

The Labour Right is completely corrupt. They are so used to behaving in these ways that they no longer seem to notice that what they are doing is wrong. They are so corrupt, in short, they are beyond redemption. And they are even prepared to con and bully the young to get their way.

And politicians dare to ask why the young feel so disconnected from politics? What do they expect, when politicians treat the young with this kind of arrogant, deceitful contempt when they do try to get involved?