My email to NEC members Ann Black and Pete Willsman today regarding the recent suspensions and rejections of members:
Dear Ann and Peter,
Re: Recent rejections or suspension of new and existing members by the Compliance Unit
I write to you both as a matter of some urgency following the news of a number rejections or suspensions of new and existing members to our Party. As you both may be aware, this has even included the suspension of the former miner and Orgreaves Justice campaigner, John Dunn, who has been a member of our Party for the last 45 years, and for no apparent reason beyond his challenge of Owen Smith following Owen's hustings in Orgreaves.
Two indeed happen to be Facebook forum members of mine, with whom I have had the opportunity to examine the reasons put forward as to why they were rejected. Frustratingly, for the gravity of these decisions and their consequences, the amount of information or detail supporting the Party's decision to reject seems to be inversely proportional to the seriousness of it!
In one case, no more is offered by way of a rationale beyond a single sentence reading,
"You tweeted in support of the Green party on 5 July 2016"
In the other case, a new member has been informed of her rejection by the following,
"You posted comments online which are in breach of the party's recruitment rules"
The letters, which unfortunately I do not have specific permission to share at this time, do not go into any more details than that - in the first, we are no more clearer of the offending tweet than we are of the precise rule that has been breached by the online comments condemned in the second.
This is haphazard at best, and at its worst comes across as wholly arbitrary, Kafkaesque and capricious.
I cannot be alone in thinking that such important decisions must be taken on the basis of sound facts and reasoning, and that such decisions must be conveyed to respondents with as much information as possible so as to facilitate an appeal and rebuttal to these serious charges.
In both these cases, the respondents are none the wiser as to their offending actions! We were neither are able to locate this offending tweet, nor the precise rule that has been supposedly breached due to a lack of clarity, which beggars the question how they are to appeal on such a basis!
A number of helpful comrades have already advised that affected members ought to contact the barrister Liz Davies using the link http://www.whycantivote.com/.
However, with only two weeks to appeal and the possibility of a 12-month ban from joining without an appeal, you will undoubtedly understand both the frustration and upset this has caused. I would be most grateful for your advice under these circumstances and for permission to share your advice with the forum upon receipt.
The upcoming leadership election is without doubt vitally important to both the future of our Party, and indeed how we are to go about uniting as one following a difficult and at times unpleasant contest.
I am without doubt that you both stand by not only the need for a fair and robust contest, but indeed the need for such a contest to also be seen as fair, robust and impartial. It is my fear that these recent rejections and suspensions clearly are not in the interest of these exacting standards befitting our Party, and I implore you to look into them and to provide the much needed reassurance that this contest will be run to the highest standards we as a Party are able to achieve.
I have for the benefit of doubt copied this email to my local branch secretary, Councillor John Tanner of South West Central branch (Oxford).
I would be most grateful for your advice and any help you may be able to offer.
Yours in comradeship,
Oxford SWC Branch
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