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For @UKLabour, RT = Endorsement, Apparently

AUG. 21, 2015

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    By ROBERT MACKEY

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    Until this week, Grace Coles, a 24-year-old student in Wales, had never heard of Ken Loach, the great English filmmaker born five decades before her, whose social-realist dramas about the struggles of the British working class are more acclaimed at Cannes these days than in the multiplexes of Cardiff.

    On Thursday, however, when Ms. Coles called the British Labour Party to ask why her application to register as an official supporter and vote in its coming leadership election had been rejected, she was told that because she had reposted a Twitter comment by Mr. Loach, or the party he is associated with, she was suspected of harboring sympathies for a rival political movement.

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    @JoeyColes25 @labour I retweeted ken loach apparently?! Labour confused that a retweet isn't support of a party just,erm a retweet..!

    — Grace Nancy (@gracecoles1) Aug. 20, 2015

    Mr. Loach, an ardent supporter of trade unions, broke with the Labour Party in the 1990s when it moved rightward in search of centrist swing voters under Tony Blair. Mr. Loach now supports Left Unity, an alliance of left-wing activists he hopes to see grow into “our own Syriza, our own Podemos,” the anti-austerity parties that have shaken up politics in Greece and Spain.

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    https://t.co/vANeA15vb7 THE LEFT ALTERNATIVE

    — Sixteen Films (@SixteenFilms) May 6, 2015
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    Labour is throwing out huge numbers of new supporters in #LabourPurge. Yet war criminal Tony Blair remains a member unquestioned.

    — Left Unity (@LeftUnityUK) Aug. 20, 2015

    With that, Ms. Coles — who is unsure what the comment she reposted was, but suspects that it was something critical of the Conservative Party she opposes — found herself caught up in what was described on social networks as the #LabourPurge.

    While the party maintained that it was simply carrying out a necessary vetting process, to keep its ranks from being infiltrated by saboteurs from other parties seeking to influence the results of the leadership contest, some suspected a plot to derail the candidacy of Jeremy Corbyn, the veteran backbencher whose left-wing platform has spooked the more centrist, Blairite establishment.

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    Good to see Labour moving to tackle all those infiltrators hell-bent on spreading social justice and equality. #LabourPurge

    — David Schneider (@davidschneider) Aug. 20, 2015
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    The #LabourPurge? It's Jeremymandering.

    — GeorgeMonbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot) Aug. 20, 2015
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    "Have you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Jeremy Corbyn fan club?" #LabourPurge pic.twitter.com/egy9OpzNZU

    — Trevor Grant (@gittarman) Aug. 20, 2015
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    Looks like Labour is sabotaging their own leadership election to get the result senior leaders want and not party members #LabourPurge

    — Shehab Khan (@ShehabKhan) Aug. 20, 2015
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    Labour reveals list of people banned from voting in leader election. (done for @huffpostukcom) http://t.co/GWP8FqNMgc pic.twitter.com/fweSmxrJFt

    — David Schneider (@davidschneider) Aug. 12, 2015

    Ms. Coles, whose Twitter avatar declares her support for Mr. Corbyn, said she was rejected despite having voted Labour in the last election, in May. Like many other supporters of the party who were shocked to find themselves blocked from taking part in the leadership election, Ms. Coles took a screen shot of the email from Labour, which suggested that she did not “support the aims and values of the Labour Party,” and posted it online.

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    What the hell?! pic.twitter.com/5v89r3DyYB

    — Grace Nancy (@gracecoles1) Aug. 20, 2015
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    So many young people like myself feeling like they have someone2vote 4 at last, then having that right taken away. It's a joke.#LabourPurge

    — Grace Nancy (@gracecoles1) Aug. 20, 2015
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    I am in shock. I have voted Labour in every election, including the last one. But I do want a non-privatised NHS pic.twitter.com/eR4yteN0k1

    — Marcus Chown (@marcuschown) Aug. 20, 2015
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    Labour Party have emailed me after I have cast my vote for @Corbyn4Leader saying I am no longer a member of the party pic.twitter.com/vjIhOLT2lY

    — annie (@anniecxxx) Aug. 19, 2015
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    So as trade union rep, Young Fabian and LABOUR PARTY MEMBER I have been denied a vote as apparently I don't support Labour values!Astonished

    — Emily Maiden (@EmilyMaiden) Aug. 20, 2015
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    Labour Party have also kicked my wife out. Full member, voted Labour last time out. Never been a member of another party. @UKLabour explain!

    — Luke Wright (@lukewrightpoet) Aug. 20, 2015
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    It's a race against democracy. Can New Labour ban enough Corbyn supporters in time to make sure one of their people wins? #LabourPurge

    — Marcus Chown (@marcuschown) Aug. 20, 2015

    As anecdotal evidence mounted suggesting that the party’s vetting process was flawed — and some Labour members revealed that they too had been barred — a lively and outraged discussion of the issue made it a trending topic on Twitter in Britain.

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    I'll be able to vote in the #LabourLeadership because my Twitter account is anonymous. How ridiculous they've gone this low. #LabourPurge

    — UtopianFireman ☭ (@UtopianFireman) Aug. 20, 2015
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    Before my vote in the leadership gets discounted, can I just say I thought the war in Iraq was bloody fantastic #Labourpurge

    — Joe (@joeshawty) Aug. 20, 2015
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    Labour wants to stop me voting in the leadership election with the #LabourPurge. This is why I won't let them succeed pic.twitter.com/152QK9lhy7

    — Pete Sinclair (@pete_sinclair) Aug. 20, 2015

    Despite the scorn heaped upon the party’s vetting process online, there is evidence that scrutiny is necessary. Some Conservatives have boasted of obtaining ballots for the leadership contest in hopes of swaying it in favor of Mr. Corbyn, who is widely dismissed by the political establishment of both mainstream parties as unelectable.

    Some critics of the party, however, worried that in rejecting young people inspired by Mr. Corbyn’s candidacy, Labour risked undermining its best chance of expanding its base and alienating voters seeking a clearer alternative to the center-right policies of the Conservative government.

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    Heaven forfend the Labour Party allow any enthusiasm to enter their ranks.

    — Rosie (@rosieatlarge) Aug. 20, 2015
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    The most depressing aspect of this election has been the current Labour leadership's determination to keep out enthusiastic new supporters.

    — Susan (@marthasydenham) Aug. 20, 2015

    Here's what Jeremy Corbyn was doing in the 1980's vs what our Prime Minister David Cameron was doing pic.twitter.com/EkovQIJ6C4

    — Shehab Khan (@ShehabKhan) Aug. 10, 2015

    #auto

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