A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Another contender for Minister for Daft Ideas

For once I agree with Tom Miller about something.

Pat Hewitt has called for the general public to get to pick the next Labour Leader.

I can't think of anything more likely to reduce Labour's membership below its already pathetic levels than telling people that paying £36 a year for a party card gives them no more democratic rights than any random person who walks in off the street.

The electoral college we have now, with 1/3 of the vote each for the PLP, individual members and the individual members of affiliated trade unions and socialist societies was a compromise reached after years of bitter infighting. It's a fudge but one that ensures that all the main stakeholders in the Labour Party have some say in picking a leader - and particularly that millions of political levy-paying trade unionists get to have a say. Re-opening that can of worms would be a bad, bad move.


Blogger Elephunt said...

Astonishing isn't it? We get precious little say on policy and now we have to let the public elect our leader .I would say I'm shocked but I's expect nothing better from Hewitt.

11:41 am, September 14, 2006

Blogger El Dave. said...

Heaven forbid that Labour party members should influence the manifesto!

11:42 am, September 14, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"telling people that paying £36 a year for a party card gives them no more democratic rights than any random person who walks in off the street"

Do you think that people that pay £36 a year should have more democratic rights than any person who doesn't?

I thought democratic rights were meant to be universal.

Explain please ...

1:56 pm, September 14, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Er... you wouldn't expect a vote in the election of chair of your local golf club if you weren't a member of it... so why would you get a vote for leader of the Labour Party if you are not a member of it or one of its affiliates?

2:19 pm, September 14, 2006

Blogger Welsh Spin said...

The great thing about the electoral college is that by giving a say to around 6 million levy paying trade unionists it comes about as close to being a primary as you could realistically get in the UK (since there is no provision over here for state funding to cover the cost of full primaries as over the pond - little things like preventing multiple voting don't come cheap after all).

5:15 pm, September 14, 2006

Blogger Bob Piper said...

Bloody hell, Luke, I agree with you. Does this mean I am wrong?

6:57 pm, September 14, 2006

Blogger kris said...

I'll let you in on a secret: Pay your £15 to Hackney conservatives and hear NOTHING about how to get involved- at all. No meeting info- nothing.

Given that they didn't campaign here in Hackney, one has to wonder if they even exist. Could it be that mr boff and Mr ollernshaw are the only two?

8:41 pm, September 14, 2006

Blogger Peter Kenyon said...

Jeez, I agree with you too, Luke.

Let's nail the lie that our Party Leader owes his allegience exclusively to the electorate. He got where he is thanks in part to our votes (and those of another 150,000 former comrades who for whatever reason are no longer with us.)

As an eternal optimist I hope that thousands of supporters will seize the opportunity to divi up 75p a week pdq (what's that these days - a bag of chips?) to take part in the Leadership ballot.

Ann Black has got some helpful and reassuring advice from Constitutional wizz, Melanie Onn, who says there is no established cut off date.

So now's the time to (re)join, and make Luke's worst nightmare come true - a shift to the left.

11:37 pm, September 14, 2006

Anonymous A soft socialist said...

Blair also got where he was i.e as a labour PM rather than a labour leader of the opposition partly due to a lot of hard work from party members.

7:47 pm, September 15, 2006


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