Tuesday, 27 September 2016

A Note on the NEC Vote

A quick note on the conference vote that gave extra seats on Labour's NEC to representatives from Scotland and Wales. Very quickly Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale revealed her appointed rep was ... herself. Don't be too surprised if Carwyn Jones takes up "his" seat too.

There are plenty of delegates and Labour watchers who've decried this as a stitch up by the outgoing committee. You'll remember that NEC, the one who, by banning party meetings over the summer, gave credence to the meme that Labour is a thuggish bear pit. This is also the very same NEC who altered conference eligibility criteria for CLP delegates to ensure newer members were crowded out by older, more "reliable" folks. Lo! When this package of rules came before conference a "sensible" result was arrived at. And what does this amount to in practice? It ensures the already underrepresented majority for Corbynism in the party on the NEC is now eclipsed, assuming that Carwyn and Our Kez set their faces against party reform proposals coming from this direction.

The beginning of the end for Corbynism then? No. Well, not necessarily. A check, certainly. The elections to the Conference Arrangements Committee now assume greater importance, and a win for the left here mean blocking actions from the NEC can be circumvented eventually as more Corbynist motions from CLPs get through gate-keeping. And the Welsh and Scottish leaders cannot be seen to act in overly partisan ways lest their positions be threatened. In the mean time, however, it only adds more fuel to the democracy fire. As we live in a liberal democracy in which majorities theoretically have the right to be majorities (don't get me started on the iniquities of first-past-the-post), to have the NEC conniving to fall short of its tepid standards doesn't contribute to the unity folks have been pleading in recent days.

Therefore in the spirit of peace and reconciliation, I have a proposal of my own to make. As we are all agreed democracy is a good thing, and we want to harness the collective power of our membership, it is only sensible that members' representation be increased on the party's governing body via the seats reserved for CLPs. Six seats sufficed when the party was knocking around the 200,000 member mark, but now we've almost tripled in size the composition of the NEC should reflect the new situation. Therefore, for every 50,000 above 200,000 full members, the party should add a NEC seat. That would not only ensure more proportional representation of our party's lifeblood, but increases the likelihood all shades of members' opinions are heard on the leading body. That way all groups in the party have a vested interest both in expanding the selectorate, ensuring the party connects with our constituencies and communities, and taking democratic discussion over stitching more seriously.

How about it?

6 comments:

Mathias Alexander said...

How did the Labour Party acquire this dog's dinner of a constitution?
Composite motions?

Igor Belanov said...

Robert Michels would be having a field day.

BCFG said...

For centrists like Tom Watson and Sadiq khan the definition of unity is to empower themselves and disenfranchise the members, classic New Labourism in other words. Corbyn and his supporters must come up with their own definition, unity must mean giving power to the members and dis-empowering the PLP, including mass deselection.

If Corbyn fails to address this then all his words will be meaningless.

In fact if Corbyn fails to deal with this then Corbyn's legacy will be to destroy the left within Labour forever.

Corbyn was put on the leadership ballot purely as a token gesture, to give some truth to the lie that New Labour was a broad church. They never expected him to win and would never have put him on the ballot if they believed he would have a chance.

As soon as the next leadership election comes round no left leaning candidate will be on that list and will not be on any list ever again. At this point there will be no, absolutely no argument for leftists to support the Labour party.

Corbyn's role will have been to act like one of those undercover reporters who goes into an airport and uncovers security lapses, embarrassing for the airport but also doing them a favour by showing the holes in security. Corbyn will have shown New labour its own security problems and the centrists will ensure those problems will never surface again.

This, I fear, will be Corbyn's disastrous legacy.

If Corbyn does take on the centrists (and its a big if given what I have heard so far) then for the first time in decades we stand a chance of real progress, real choice and having a real voice.

Corbyn's supporters have to see the urgency of defeating the centrist enemy. If they do not defeat them all they will have achieved is doing them a massive favour! They may as well wear I love Tony Blair t-shirts.

asquith said...

Is he a capitalist-roader then, BCFG? A running dog? A Zionist, even?

Blissex said...

«How did the Labour Party acquire this dog's dinner of a constitution? Composite motions?»

Many many years of fight between mandelsonians and the unions, with members up to 2015 largely passive. The fight between mandelsonians and the unions was whether business donors like Lord Sainsbury would "support" the party or union donors would "support" the party.

In other words the outcome of the long time difference reported by Lance Price in a summary of a New Labour strategy meeting on 1999-10-19:

«Philip Gould analysed our problem very clearly. We don’t know what we are. Gordon wants us to be a radical progressive, movement, but wants us to keep our heads down on Europe. Peter [Mandelson] thinks that we are a quasi-Conservative Party but that we should stick our necks out on Europe.»

Obviously a «quasi-Conservative Party» wants to get rid of the "support" of the unions.

BCFG said...

No (obviously) asquith, he is just a thoroughly decent bloke who is playing with thieves, wolves and liars.

The old adage, you can't cuddle a Tiger springs to mind.

But one thing is for sure, as soon as Corbyn goes there will be no token leftist on that ballot anymore. They will not make that mistake again and for that they can thank Corbyn.