If I had been told this casually I would have dismissed it as more media rubbish, but here on the BBC is the astonishing claim that Labour MPs are to vet new members and supporters to make sure they are genuine and not loony-lefties or Commies or other infiltrators.Harriet Harman has written to all Labour MPs asking them to check new members are not trying to skew the party's leadership contest.Each MP has been sent a list of new members from their constituency so they can check for suspicious names.
It beggars belief that Ms Harman thinks this is a good idea - but then her last good idea was to recommend that Labour MPs abstain on the Tory's Welfare Bill vote - an idea so good that 48 Labour MPs who disagreed actually voted against her advice. Well done to them!
So, Labour MPs are presumably to spend their Summer break whizzing around their constituency checking up on new signups. That will be fun for them! Picture the scene... a knock at the door, householder opens the door to find Labour MP clutching a list and demanding to know if the householder is a Trotsky-ite, or a Communist, or a member of UKIP trying to undermine the leadership election process. I can imagine what some of the responses would be to such an enquiry! But seriously, how can it be proven? And what happens in areas like mine, where there is no Labour MP? Who is the poor muppet who gets sent to check then? It is hardly going to endear the Labour Party to electors if it starts acting like the Witchfinder General!
It is important to welcome new members and supporters into the party and to encourage participation in politics and policy making. Traditional Labour values are not redundant, despite the apparent shift away from them by a majority of current Labour MPs. There is a huge resurgence of interest in politics, more so than for the last two decades, and if the Labour Party temporary leader makes the wrong calls now she will be directly responsible for causing great damage to the Party. I would hope she would not want that on her conscience.