Labour’s financial crisis is self-induced

Labour in a tail spin

JVL Introduction

Labour is clearly facing a massive financial crisis as chronicled in the Zelo Street blog below.

The reason for it is simple: it is haemorrhaging members.

This is undoubtedly because of Labour’s policies – or rather lack of them. Who can say with confidence what the Labour Party stands for?

And, as the crisis deepens, unity candidate Keir Starmer seems to be doubling down. The problem is the membership and it needs to be cleansed.

Thus the organised purge yesterday of four organisations, membership of which has just been declared incompatible with membership of the Party.

The title of the article below is a clear warning of where Labour is heading unless it changes direction.

This article was originally published by Zelo Street on Tue 20 Jul 2021. Read the original here.

So Farewell Then Labour Party

It was three years ago that the Guardian told “With membership blossoming the [Labour] party is far less reliant on big donors than the Tories … If Jeremy Corbyn were looking for a single example of his impact on British politics, then his party’s finances might be the best place to start. The party’s large membership, swollen since the 2015 leadership contest, has helped ensure that Labour is easily the richest political party in Britain”.

There was more. “In the general election year of 2017 the Labour party raised £55.8m – £10m more than the Conservatives. Labour members, who number about 550,000, generated £16.1m in subs for their party in 2017. A further £18.2m came via donations, partly from online campaigns. As the party’s annual report highlights, on one day alone, during last year’s general election campaign, Labour was able to raise £500,000”.

Fast forward to yesterday, and the same paper was now reportingLabour’s ruling national executive committee is to discuss plans for large-scale redundancies among staff, with at least 90 jobs at risk, as Keir Starmer seeks to repair the party’s shattered finances”. Why might that be? “Labour’s finances have been hit hard by fighting three general elections in the past six years, as well as a string of costly legal cases, and hopes of a membership bounce after Starmer took over failed to materialise”. Compare and contrast.

In 2018, there was no talk of two General Elections in three years hitting party finances. The reality is that Labour has been haemorrhaging members for some months now, and that the loss – estimated at around 8,000 a month – has had a reverse leverage effect on party finances as many of those departing donated rather more than their subs.

That report from 2018 confirmed that donations exceeded membership income. What is now facing the party was reported by LabourList’s Sienna Rodgers: “In meeting with Labour staff, I’m told David Evans has said the party’s poor financial state is due to lost members and dealing with antisemitism cases. Reserves now down to one month’s payroll. Voluntary severance offered to all NEC-funded staff”.

If only those members were made to believe there was a reason for them to stay, that they were valued and that Labour was still the broad church of old. But instead of enthusing an uncertain rank and file, all that comes out of the leadership is the grim sound of a war being fought against the mythical left, a centrist purification of the ranks.

It is as if winning the Batley and Spen by-election has been read the wrong way by Keir Starmer and David Evans: instead of accepting that victory was down to a combination of throwing everything at the campaign – something that could not be replicated at a General Election – and an outstanding candidate in Kim Leadbeater, a complacent leadership has convinced itself that it is doing something right, and must carry on doing it.

So the attacks on the left will continue. That’s the left, the part of Labour that unfailingly turns out in all weathers to campaign for the party – or did. Combined with leftie-bashing is a total lack of initiative, of purpose. Right now, Labour needs someone to lead – not to prostrate themselves before critics and play meek and inert.

Tory poll numbers are way ahead of Labour not because they’re doing anything right, or better, than Labour. It’s because Labour isn’t doing anything at all. That’s not good enough.

Comments (9)

  • Pete Marchetto says:

    There is only one plan. To ensure the Labour Party never again threatens the Tory-inspired neoliberal status quo. Those now in charge don’t care if Labour wins an election, nor even if it continues to exist. You only have to look at the prominent members of the internal opposition to Corbyn during his period in office and their income stream to see how comfortably seated they are on the gravy train and how they are threatened by ‘For the many, not the few’ when they are themselves among the few. This has been transparent for a while now. We have to stop seeing stupid mistakes. No one is this stupid. We have to start considering the intention, and the intention – along with the reasons behind it – has long been obvious.

  • Linda says:

    Doing what’s POSSIBLE to ensure there IS a future for left of centre politics in the UK is the only option we’ve now got left. Stray thoughts:-

    1. There must be individual office holders and staff on NEC, in the PLP and in the affiliated organisations who are appalled by the damage Starmer and Evans have done to Labour’s chances of surviving bankruptcy and as a political party. Who knows which key individuals and groups feel this way and what power and contacts they have to reverse the current situation? Are there any social media specialists who could start campaigning for a change in behaviour by Labour HQ?

    2. Is Momentum an effective ally? How well does Momentum get on with the affiliate stakeholders and rank and file Labour membership?

    3. Who controls the “Labour” name and resources (database, website, properties etc)? Legal possession of these assets will make it far easier to bring “Labour” back from the dead.
    4. Does Tony Blair want to fund a “Blair + Kinnock” party to replace the hole left in British politics if the Labour party is killed off?

  • Doug says:

    It’s an easy fix, either the Unions call time on them or we the members do
    My suggestion is a mass resignation of members on a date to be agreed after conference
    With that on the horizon the Unions know the begging bowl will be out for them to bail the party out
    Who was it who said
    ‘When you have them by the balls then surely their hearts and minds will follow’

  • Stephen Carlill says:

    I continue as a member but I have reduced my contribution to Party funds to the absolute minimum, instead of adding a donation to my subs and donating to my CLP. I know others who have similarly reduced their contributions and there must be many many more Party members who have done the same. No doubt this has significantly aggravated the Party’s financial difficulties.

  • Must agree. It becomes increasingly obvious that the only reason for Starmer is to demolish the Labour Party.

  • John Webster says:

    Pete Marchetto is absolutely right – the main reason they had to get rid of Corbyn (who was a Romantic Socialist more than anything else) was that he challenged UK/US hegemony and channelled opposition against that. The majority of Labours right wing and indeeed members have little understanding of international politics. They reflect the economism of most Trades Unions and focus on bread and butter issues. The weaponisation of antisemitsm to purge the LP of some of its most politically aware members is deliberate. Anyone with any grasp Middle Eastern history would immediately see the way that antisemitism has been conflated with criticism of Israel – and treat the allegations with scorn. All this will come crashing down. Starmer will be exposed. He will probably be then shunted off to the Lords as a consolation prize and some other Oik will be cultivated to take over. Only mass campaigning will have any impact. The Labour Party and the two party system is a key way that ‘the establishment’ (aka the ruling class) keeps control. Same as in the USA. This is becoming increasingly obvious.

  • Rob Gardiner says:

    Could I agree with Pete? The self destructive act we are now witnessing has clear motivations. To drive out any strain of socialism from the Labour Party; to make it impossible that the Corbyn experiment could be replicated; to silence voices that would speak the word “Palestine”. These are the priorities, with the task of defeating the Tories in an election being ranked lower than them. So we now see 4 groups proscribed , we witness the demand that that all candidates and office holders must submit to training by JLM in anti semitism, we hear attacks on JVL. The mask has been torn away and we can see the Labour Party for what it is now. It cannot be saved or rescued, and it is fated to travel further down its self destructive path. We possess 2 mirror images of political parties, both anti democratic and both practising authoritarianism. I can offer no hopeful resolution of this tragic situation we find ourselves in.

  • steve mitchell says:

    The situation the UK finds itself in is reminiscent of that in 1935. After the Partys’ right wing leadership joined the National Government Labour was swept away in the GE. This despite 150 people dying every day from the effects of malnutrition and unemployment never falling below 10% in that period. The hungry voted for their own semi starvation. The unemployed voted for their own unemployment. What is happening today has happened before. There is nothing new in politics. Situations and personnel changes but principles remain the same. Orwell wrote in 1941 that the only way to win the war was to adopt socialism. The British people would lay down their lives but they needed hope for something better. He criticized the Labour Party for not wanting real change. Taking turns in government was the extent of their ambition. I would submit that the Labour Right believes the same today. The moment Corbyn was elected leader they started to undermine him joining with other parts of the Establishment. Peter Oborne , a dyed in the wool Tory journalist described what had happened to Corbyn a carefully organised and brutally executed political assassination based on lies. There have been 4 global calamities ,including the present pandemic since 1914. Only one of those calamities ended with a recovery that was truly successful. Orwell had called for socialism as the way to win WW2. He was absolutely right. After WW1 the world carried on with orthodox economics. Disaster ensued. The same can be said about the banking crisis. Ten years of Tory austerity has left our country threadbare. Thousands of unnecessary deaths have occurred. The Labour Manifestos of 2017 and 2019 were exactly the policies needed for a positive recovery. We can be sure beyond peradventure this Tory government will take the wrong option. Paradoxically , the institution which has saved Johnson is a living example of socialism in action and it works

  • Doug says:

    5th October 2021 Labour Day
    Mass resignation and Unions withdraw funds

Comments are now closed.