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The Labour Party is like Baldrick from Blackadder. They have a Cunning Plan.

Not content with having won elections in Whitstable for the past 30 years, next year they’ve decided to lose one instead.

The deselection of our two sitting Labour councillors raises all sorts of interesting questions.

According to Labour Party rules, it seems, it is perfectly OK for nine activists sitting in the back room of the Labour Club to overturn the democratic decision of the more than 900 people who each voted for Phil Cartwright and John Wratten in 2011.

Which is fair enough maybe. You join a club and you abide by its rules. If the Labour Party rule book allows this to happen, who are we to argue?

But the next question is: was it wise? Was it intelligent? Did it make any political sense whatsoever?

Apparently the invitation to attend the meeting went out to all relevant members. So, when only nine people turned up, didn’t anyone flag it up as perhaps a little bit inappropriate to go ahead?

At that point it turned into a lottery. It no longer reflected the mood of the wider public. It came down to the particular preoccupations of the nine people sitting in that room.

Now here’s the odd thing. I’m a Labour Party man myself. I know these people. Some of them I count as friends.

I have no doubt that most of them would have voted in good conscience, but when I spoke to one of them a few days ago, I was told that no one expected John and Phil to take umbrage with the decision, let alone to resign the whip and to stand against the Labour Party at the next election.

This is the bit that really astounds me: this complete lack of emotional intelligence, as if the sitting councillors would have lain back after this massive insult and not wanted to turn to the wider electorate, the people who voted them into office, for their opinion.

Which leaves the rest of us stranded. With the Labour vote split, who knows what will happen next?

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