|>>|| No. 92984
This was really the worst effect of Corbynmania. in 2014, most people at most CLP meetings were fairly dull local government types. Outside of an election campaign, most of the discussion was about mundane local issues - bins, dog fouling, flytipping, that sort of thing. They were doing precisely the thing that the grassroots are supposed to do, addressing minor but easily fixable quality-of-life issues and building trust with the wider community.
Party membership more than doubled in 2015, but these new members were of a fundamentally different stripe. They hadn't previously been involved in local politics which is ostensibly a good thing, but they weren't interested in working for or with the CLP, they wanted to take it over. My own CLP (in a safe northern seat) was completely transformed in a matter of months, entirely for the worse.
Those of us who had been doing the dog-work of canvassing and running parish councils for years or decades found ourselves massively outnumbered by SWP and CND members, pro-Palestine and anti-Israel campaigners, people who hadn't been involved in the Labour movement since Militant got booted out, people who saw the party as a vehicle for their own hobby-horse. They were always there when someone tabled an irrelevant motion about international geopolitics, but they were never there when the call went out for volunteers to do some actual work.
I know it might sound bitter, but it was just utterly heartbreaking to be part of. We were an effective team who gave up huge amounts of our own time for the party, but we were being castigated as traitors by people who had only just joined the party. The breaking point for me was the Brexit referendum - the newbies outnumbered the old guard by four or five to one, but precisely zero of them ever came out leafleting and canvassing. We were out talking to pensioners about the benefits of EU membership, they were bickering among themselves on Facebook, but we were just Blairite scum who were holding back the movement. Unsurprisingly, a lot of us decided that we had better things to do with our spare time than be insulted by people who were supposed to be on the same side.
This is the absolutely critical factor for Labour that the statistics and opinion polls fail to capture. The effectiveness of the grassroots of the party was utterly devastated by Corbynmania. A generation of experience, skills and goodwill was completely squandered and will take many years to rebuild. People who were well-known and well-liked in their local communities were pushed out of the party by absolute arseholes, the infrastructure needed to run an effective campaign was left to rot and in many parts of the country we're now basically starting from scratch.