Saturday 14 November 2020

On Labour's NEC Elections Results

There's an interesting analysis from Sienna Rodgers over at LabourList about the results, so what's one more two-penneth? Here are a couple of brief take-homes.

1. Looking at the number of NEC ballots issued, LeftieStats shows party membership has declined by about 57,000 since the leadership election. It's reasonable to presume most of these were from the left. Still, the Grassroots Alliance won a plurality of votes with 37.5% and five seats (but down 19% on 2018's last full elections). Considering they were hoping for four seats, returning five is a good showing. Though had those who resigned stayed, the left would have done even better. Unfortunately, what wasn't good news was the turnout. At 27.4% it wasn't fantastic, but doesn't appear too disastrous - the worst in recent years was 2017's contest, which could barely muster more than a fifth of the membership. However, there is cause for leftwing concern. The low turnout three years ago can be put down to a mix of triumphalism following the election, an expanded membership not properly engaging, and despondency among the Labour right. In 2020, the low rate could represent a layer of left members disengaging and perhaps running their membership out. Completely understandable thanks to what's on offer, but something that has a bearing on the internal struggle from now on.

2. Perhaps the left might have done even better if the Grassroots Alliance hadn't included Ann Henderson on the slate. Given questions over her record and associations with Jennifer James and Pete Willsman in the CLPD, obvious liabilities should not be touched with a barge pole let alone be promoted by the left for internal elections. This is not a question of "purity". It is reasonable to expect candidates representing socialist class politics be entirely comfortable with our actually-existing class in all its diversity. Wanting to have a "debate" about trans people is entirely inappropriate and, while there is a generalised assault on a misunderstood and powerless minority by the Tories and sundry media liberals, utterly unconscionable. Indulging this nonsense undermines the labour movement's solidarity with its trans members, and we wouldn't stand for it if any other minority was involved. It's pretty damning how some more centrist figures understand this better then some so-called leftists. Unsurprisingly, the only Grassroots Alliance candidate not elected was ... Ann Henderson. Perhaps if the people who make decisions about slates were more serious about power and struggle, they wouldn't consider offering candidates with a divisive background. As this contest has shown affecting a tone deafness and brushing concerns under the carpet won't work, because the wider grassroots left won't stand for it. Let this be a lesson.

1 comment:

Blissex said...

All these troubles would be avoided if my long-standing proposals were implemented:

* For members to be more democratically elected by the Labour MPs.
* For OMOV to mean that "One Man" Peter Mandelson had the "One Vote" to elect NEC members and the leader.