LETTERS: Missing Labour voters

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The Independent Online
A "SENIOR Labour Party source", commenting on the 400-odd party members in Birmingham who are not on the electoral register, asks: "If they don't want to vote, why do they want to belong to the Labour Party?" ("Labour poised to expel 400", 13 August). Is he or she so out of touch as to genuinely not know the answer?

Ever since the right-wing takeover began under Kinnock, socialists in the Labour Party have faced ever starker choices. Now that the leadership has abandoned socialism altogether, these choices amount to: 1) giving up politics altogether, 2) joining another organisation (but which one?) or 3) staying in the Party and trying to change it democratically from within (though, shamefully, an individual member trying to do this has only a fraction of the influence enjoyed by the Leader or his unelected friends). Many of those who choose the latter option will see no point in voting when the choice is between the Tories and the Lib-Dems, and so there is no point in them being on the electoral register.

Indeed, whatever their motivation in not registering, it is somewhat presumptuous of the leadership or Head Office to dictate to members on what assistance they will give. All members support the Party financially, and there are many other ways of pursuing one's political ideals than through the ballot box. Walworth Road should leave it at that, not engage in yet another round of Stalinist purges.

Jim Grozier

Brighton, East Sussex