Left Watch

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Labour tramples on a young activist who wouldn't follow their script

By Mark Wallace 
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"Thursday 5th May 2011 was the proudest day of my life. I had just got elected as a Councillor for Wavertree Ward on Liverpool City Council. I was the youngest ever councillor in Liverpool, and beat Lib Dem Lord Storey who had served for 38 years. You called me on the Friday afternoon - to my absolute surprise - to congratulate me on my election win."

So begins a heartfelt letter from Cllr Jake Morrison to Ed Miliband. 

Until this week, Cllr Morrison was a proud and enthusastic Labour activist - particularly since he received the personal call from his party leader he mentions above.

But no longer. Jake Morrison has been suspended by Labour pending an investigation. The reason? He claims it's because he fell out with his local MP, much-touted rising star Luciana Berger. If so, this is a remarkably grubby tale of petty vendettas within the Labour Party.

Just as interesting, though, is the reason Ms Berger gives for complaining about her city's youngest ever counncillor:

"I understand from your tweets that you have been knocking on members' doors. As you will be aware from the many emails that Sheila has sent you, and which you have sadly ignored, we have had a training session with Arnie Graf from which the Wavertree CLP Members' ID scheme was launched, and we now have a very comprehensive agreed script and process...

...You have not visited the office to collect a copy of the script, which includes a list of all the forthcoming CLP events which we are inviting members to."

This is intriguing. Arnie Graf is the American "community organiser" hired by Ed Miliband to bring about a heralded recovery in the Labour grassroots. The North West is the test-bed for Graf's masterplan - and there are already reportedly ructions within Lancashire Labour because, despite his personal attention on their campaign, they failed to take control of Lancashire County Council in the recent local elections.

If refusing to follow the Graf-dictated "script" when canvassing is acceptable grounds for MPs to file formal complaints against activists, what does that say for Ed Miliband's spin about a new, localist, grassroots Labour Party?

For that matter, if the Graf revolution means the central party trampling on its keen young members, that helps to explain its distinct lack of success so far. Apparently One Nation now means doing exactly what you are told - at pain of punishment if you refuse.