The presence of both Jeremy Corbyn supporters and Millwall fans in Milton Keynes (where the former held a rally) fortunately passed without incident, but MPs suggested that the two groups had more in common than is thought.
“They’ll be chanting, ‘No one likes us – we don’t care!’ Don’t know what Millwall fans will chant though,” tweeted the former shadow cabinet minister Michael Dugher. Although Corbyn hailed the rally as “the largest ever political meeting” in the town’s history, an opponent observed that those attending the rally (1,500) were outnumbered by the away fans (2,065).
Labour’s general secretary, Iain McNicol, has become a hate figure among Corbynites after his involvement in the effort to prevent 130,000 new members voting in the party’s leadership contest. “Can’t we get rid of this Iain guy?” an activist asked, entering one of the Labour leader’s phone banks.
A source revealed another grievance: McNicol broke the party’s Nespresso machine during last year’s general election and hid the evidence in a drawer. “Everyone knew that he had done it, but no one could talk about it,” the insider said. “He can’t run a modern political party, he can’t work a modern coffee machine . . .”
Threatening to deselect MPs is all the rage but some zealous activists appear to be forgetting that they need to have a Labour MP to deselect first. There have been reports of deselection leaflets in areas where there are no Labour MPs, and the NS contributor Ayesha Hazarika received a tweet apparently warning her that she would be deselected.
Hazarika pointed out that this would be quite tricky. She used to be a political adviser to Labour, but these days she’s competing for laughs with a stand-up show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Constituency Labour Parties are learning lessons from clubs and bars about controlling the selectorate. At Uxbridge and South Ruislip CLP, members had to show their card at the door to prevent any uninvited people coming in. At another, Hornsey and Wood Green, a different tactic is being deployed. The powers that be have refused to allow delegates elected just before the ban on local meetings to vote, because they had not officially taken office by the time the decision was made.
An attempt by Corbyn supporters to infiltrate a Dan Jarvis Facebook fan page has apparently been foiled. After one “Dan fan” rapidly added to the “Dan Jarvis MBE: Born Leader” page, he was expelled, along with his fellow cheerleaders.
The other Facebook fans here will undoubtedly be relieved that they can now continue to “back Dan Jarvis to be leader of the Labour Party, whenever his time comes”, in peace.
Kevin Maguire is away
This article appears in the 17 Aug 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Corbyn’s revenge