It started in a burst of social media hilarity in January 2015 and reached its conclusion here at the end of May 2015 with a more analytical buzz on twitter and facebook. A social media storm, which spread quite quickly to more “serious” print media, attracted a general consensus that the expulsion letter wasn’t very clever PR. Derek McLean’s membership of the Labour Party had come to a premature end.
It started with a tweet…
A man on my train with I think 8 'Yes' badges told me he'd just joined the Scottish Labour Party for £1. You can too: http://t.co/Wi6W0trzj7
— Jim Murphy (@JimForScotland) January 15, 2015
Jim Murphy’s tweet back in January 2015 was greeted with incredulity and many scoffed that this could not possibly be true. Derek couldn’t bear to see the valiant Scottish Labour leader’s integrity impugned for long and went live that evening to confirm his part in the encounter and admit to many disbelieving viewers that he had indeed joined the Labour Party.
January to May 2015 have been an earth-shattering time for the Labour Party, but that has been documented at great length elsewhere. Yesterday I noticed Derek sharing the news of his expulsion letter on Facebook. He responded “Lol is it that newsworthy?” when one of the IndyLive team suggested doing a livestream interview about it.
As if to test the water of the story’s newsworthiness, Derek shared the letter with Jamie Ross on twitter. He decided to run with it and it all went a bit mad from there.
On Twitter, much of the story’s focus settled on the UK Labour Party letterhead and the failure to correctly name the SNP.
Interesting that it's the job of UK Labour to inform Scottish Labour members they're expelled for voting SNP. pic.twitter.com/sJ57si79lm
— Jamie Ross (@JamieRoss7) May 30, 2015
The story got wider exposure when Ashley Cowburn wrote it up for the Guardian
and Rose Troup Buchanan penned an article for the Independent.
Although Derek is clearly in breach of the Labour Party’s strict rules on support for other political organisations, his expulsion letter raises many questions:
- Has a similar action been taken against the many Labour Party members publicly supporting a tactical vote for other parties at the recent general election?
- Was this a one-off expulsion triggered by a complaint from someone who had noticed Derek’s non-compliance with Labour rules?
- Or is there a more widespread systematic purge underway to purify the membership in time for the leadership elections to come?
What are Derek’s thoughts about the whole saga?
Derek spoke live on camera last night to express his own views on why he joined the Labour Party and how he felt about the expulsion.