Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Those Labour membership figures

We must give due credit to Peter Hain for giving a more credible account of the situation than Harriet Harman. In the story in the Evening Post, he speaks only of "tens of thousands" of additional Labour members, not the thirty-two thousand claimed by Ms Harman. Moreover, he does not assert as she does that thousands of Liberal Democrats switched membership, merely that some former LibDem voters joined Labour. This last claim, of course, cannot be proved or disproved, given our secret ballot.

From the posting and comments at http://peterblack.blogspot.com/2010/09/massaging-those-statistics.html, we can be fairly certain that the increase in Labour membership since last year is 21,394, that is, the difference between the figure stated in Labour's accounts for the year ending 31st December 2009 (156,205) and the declared membership for the issue of leadership ballots.(177,559). It should be noted that this figure is only 559 more than they reportedly had in May 2007. Labour has done no more than share in the general rise in political activity since the turn of the year, benefiting all parties, as it became obvious that we were heading for a close election.

Finally, to round off the correspondence started by my posting about Ms Harman, the authentic version of Godwin's Axiom: "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." There is a corollary that: "once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress".

For those who don't like my researches into The Big Lie, may I offer this gem from CH Spurgeon, the great 19th century nonconformist preacher: "If you want truth to go round the world, you must hire an express train to pull it; but if you want a lie to go round the world, it will fly: it is as light as a feathe, and a breath will carry it. It is well said in the old proverb, 'a lie will go round the world while truth is pulling his boots on'.

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