Too little, too late and the effect will probably be minimal, Scottish Labour has decided to redraw the leadership ballot rules. The reason for this change at this late date is the revelation that multiple Muslims members have joined with the same common email addresses and mobile phone numbers.
This contest between Anas Sarwar and Richard Leonard has been shameful, but what it does show is the depths that some people will stoop to win an election, some people have commented the way the Sarwar Campaign have acted leaves a lot to be desired.
After this contest is over, there should be a review of the rules of election and changes made, one such change that is needed is once a leader has resigned, no person joining after that date should have a vote in the next leadership contest.
Under Human Rights, elections have to be free and fair, this contest maybe legal under the current rules but I would suspect that many people would question the issue of fairness, natural justice is important especially when a system is open to abuse, and the current system clearly is in Scottish Labour.
A Scottish Labour spokesperson said:
"The Procedures Committee has taken appropriate steps to ensure that everyone who has signed up for a vote and gone through the robust verification process has the opportunity to cast a ballot in the leadership election for their preferred candidate."
Although this may tick the boxes of justice being ‘seen to be done’; it certainly doesn’t reach that benchmark in my eyes, more a case of attempting to clean up a mess by papering over the cracks.
The cracks are still there!
The U turn on the rules now means that any Labour member or supporter who shares an email address will now be issued with a postal vote.
Guess what still open to abuse because the people to are the contact point will simply go round to the sign ups and get them to vote the way that they want, but they have been slightly put out.
To join online as a member, you need to supply a postal, email addresses, phone number and your bank details for direct debit purposes. It seems that in trying to be clever, there has been a higher proportion of the new sign-ups have the same mobile and email which are Muslims. Once you join the Labour Party, it can take up to 8 weeks to have your membership verified, this means you cannot get to attend the CLP meetings, I know this because when I asked for the dates, places and times of the CLP meetings I was told that I hadn’t been verified yet. I was however contacted by the CLP to do activism, but I thought as I am not verified as having a member’s rights, that the issue of activism for the CLP was a non starter.
In this contest, a number of local constituency parties have raised concerns about a pattern which has emerged because the delays have put obstacles in the way of verifying the new members.
You can be fairly certainly that most of the new members that have been sign up by one of the Campaign Teams will not be doing activism.
Would you like to take a 50/50 guess and ask yourself which group that is?
I don’t agree that party insiders also felt uncomfortable about the prospect of more than one electronic ballot being accessed by a single account, they should be happy because this flagged up a problem in Scottish Labour. Some people in an effort to be clever have been rather stupid, they outed themselves in a most spectacular way.
I wonder what will happen when these people ask others for help to work their area, what will be their reaction when they get told, you have lots of supporters, why don’t you go ask them to help you, why are you asking me.
A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said:
“Labour’s leadership contest has been an absolute farce. Given the coups, briefings, plots and racism rows, it’s no wonder the party is seeking a root and branch review.”
A spokesperson for the Sarwar campaign said:
"This is a matter for members of the Procedures Committee."
The Leonard campaign declined to comment and why should they, they are are on course to win this contest, 41 CLPs back Richard Leonard against 16 who back Anas Sarwar. Although my CLP in Pollok is backing Anas Sarwar, I am not, if I get my vote, it will go to Richard Leonard.
Finally, I don’t like the way this contest is being run, I don’t like the rules, and I don’t like the tactics used by Team Sarwar.
The Campaign for Human Rights at