Owen Jones: Labour’s review of candidates is not a purge: it’s what’s known as democracy | Owen Jones

Construing grassroots internal elections as an authoritarian cleanse is part of the smear campaign against Momentum by those terrified by its success

Hide your kids: those dastardly undemocratic reds are coming again! The front page of one Murdoch outlet today carries wild reports of “Moderates forced out by hard left in Labour purge”. What has actually happened is this. Labour is choosing candidates to stand as councillors in next year’s local elections. In some cases, members have democratically decided that some sitting councillors should face an open contest: this happened automatically until a rule change last year. Calculating that they will lose to a leftwing alternative, some have stood down. Others have lost. This is not a “purge”. This is what is known as “democracy”.

Labour’s membership has the right to decide who will represent the party in elections, based on their record and politics. Take Haringey. As my brilliant colleague Aditya Chakrabortty has exposed, the Labour council there has tried to force through the privatisation of £2bn of council housing, public buildings and land. On one estate, more than 1,000 social-rent homes are to be demolished, with no provision given for socially rented replacements.

Related: Momentum loyalty test planned for would-be Labour MPs

Continue reading…