For some strange reason, a large number of journalists and writers from broadly Conservative-supporting journals and websites visited Labour Live in Tottenham on Saturday. I was there too.
The rest decided to go quite openly. I went undercover.
To get a ticket to the show, attendees had to provide their name and address. They also had to bring some form of identification.
This is a double standard by Labour. At the same time as demanding proof of identity to their shindig, they are also opposing voters having to provide proof of identity at polling stations.
I also had an objection to having my name, address, and telephone number becoming a line entry on a Labour Party database for a Corbynite to use as he or she sees fit.
Thanks to sluggish sales, tickets to Labour Live were discounted a while ago from £35 to £10, and by Thursday last week they effectively free to all comers after the Red Roar, a Corbynsceptic website, tweeted the special codes used by the unions to give away any number of tickets.
Labour gen sec Jennie Formby is now begging party staff to take tickets for #LabourLive with just days to go – and she reveals that the GMB union has purchased tickets in the process. pic.twitter.com/OmM5l3oKQe
— The Red Roar (@TheRedRoar) June 13, 2018
This was used to humorous effect by some. Labour claim to have ‘sold’ 13,000 tickets. This is stretching the word ‘sold’ way beyond its normal usage. But then socialists don’t really understand buying and selling, which is why they try to abolish it whenever they can.
I decided to go a step further than clogging up a socialist database and inflating Labour’s ticketing claims and go to Labour Live using a false name. I used the name of an Attlee-era politician combined with an address that bore his name, together with a single-use email address. The e-ticket duly dropped into my inbox. It stated ‘PLEASE BRING IDENTIFICATION’, so I made up a rather feeble unlaminated ID card featuring a picture of the deceased politician with the word ‘identification’ in big letters at the top.
Arriving half an hour before Labour Live opened, I found that the queue was not large and moved quickly when the venue opened. Every e-ticket had one of those drunken checkerboard designs on it for scanning. The apparatchik scanned my e-ticket to no avail.
Something was wrong. I was directed to a special booth for ticketing problems. The functionary behind the glass screen tried to scan my ticket. She asked for my email address, which I supplied. After about five minutes and after calling over a colleague, they noticed my subterfuge by looking at the name printed on the e-ticket. It is good that young people know the names of historical Labour politicians.
The young lady asked me if I had booked this ticket.
I said I had.
She asked me if this was my name. I did not say no. Instead, I proffered the identification I had made earlier, which she said was not good enough.
Crikey! I had been rumbled. She told me that because I had booked under a fake name the ticket no longer existed.
It was then that I told the young lady that Labour’s own ticketing system was demanding a higher standard than that being used at general elections. She replied that had I used an innocuous name the ticket would probably have gone through, but that because it looked like a ‘joke’, it had been stopped. These socialists really do have no sense of humour, but also seem happy to accept fakery so long as it is competently performed. The implication is that there was at least one poor soul whose job it was to work through the thousands of names provided for the free tickets and to weed out the dodgy ones.
I remonstrated that I was, after all, a real person. She could not disagree.
At this point I deployed a quotation from a Labour Party press release earlier this month. Cat Smith, Labour’s spokesman on voter engagement, said: ‘Clearly their plan to impose voter ID will put people off voting, which is why the Government should abandon their undemocratic proposals as a matter of urgency.’
Then the true reason for the need for identification to enter Labour Live emerged. It was not to combat ticket fraud, perish the thought, although that might have been the original intention. Someone might have believed at one time that Labour Live might be as oversubscribed as Glastonbury. Instead, I was told this hoopla was just to validate that the ticket-holder was over 18 and could legally buy alcohol from the beer tent.
All of this effort had been put in place to prevent 16- and 17-year-olds from getting drunk in the presence of St Jeremy.
I stated that I had no intention of consuming alcohol. The functionary said I could go in with a child’s wristband, which I was happy with. There was a wait while someone went to get one. Then she decided to give me an adult wristband after all, stating she understood my point about not wanting to show identification.
I was in. And I could buy a beer to celebrate. I didn’t.
There is, however, a serious point to this japery. I tried to enter this Labour Party event pretending to be someone I was not, using a quotation from a Labour spokesman who opposes any measure to prevent the crime of personation in general elections, and the Labour Party was happy to let me in on that basis. Perhaps they were instructed that no one was to be turned away. Jeremy needed his masses.
After being in abeyance for a number of decades, voter fraud has been on the rise in this country, especially through a postal voting system that cries out for meaningful reform or abolition. Voting in person is the ultimate form of democracy, but even that also needs checks to prevent frauds that some voters and candidates seem increasingly inclined to perpetrate. Labour opposes these, seeming to believe that voter ID policies will somehow disadvantage their supporters. This is offensive, implying as it does that potential Labour voters lack the wherewithal to arrange their affairs such that they can provide documentary evidence sufficient to prove identity. It is also concerning that politicians close to Corbyn seem to be way too casual about how voter fraud at elections undermines democracy.
Tony Blair’s rewrite of Clause IV in the Labour Party’s constitution states that it is a ‘democratic socialist party’. It is increasingly clear that ‘democracy’ and ‘democratic socialism’ mean entirely different things.