Obligatory dig at Compass
From the Compass website:
"Local Convenors (UK wide)
As part of the ongoing development of Compass, this autumn we’ll be encouraging the formation of local groups across the UK. This is a crucial step for Compass to continue to build its membership, to increase its influence and not just be seen as a London operation.
It’s envisaged these will meet on a monthly basis to primarily discuss Compass ideas – in particular hold discussions themed around Compass publications. At present there is a lack of quality progressive debate at the local level – the purpose of these groups will be to revitalise political debate at the local level around the key issues/challenges facing the democratic left.
In addition we want groups to be action focused around particular policy campaigns Compass is advocating at the national level. Another important role is linking to other groups – such as trade union branches, community action groups and local groups of members from other pressure groups. We want groups to become positive change-makers in their local area."
Now call me old-fashioned but if I considered myself on the left, and had gone to the bother of joining a group aiming to influence Labour's future direction I would
a) stand to be secretary or campaigns officer of my local Labour Party (or to be a local councillor) not "Compass Local Convenor"
b) try to get "quality progressive debate at the local level" going at my local Labour branch or CLP, where there might be people that disagreed with me (isn't that what "debate" is about) rather than setting up separate little grouplets to have a Compass love-in
c) be so busy campaigning on both issues and elections with my local Labour comrades in one happy, comradely team that I wouldn't have time for separate campaigns under the "Compass" banner that by definition bring no political benefit to the Labour Party
d) link to trade unions and socialist societies through the structures of the Labour Party they set up, rather than inviting them to provide a token proletarian presence at the Compass monthly whine/wine and cheese.
e) believe that the body best suited to being "positive change-makers in their local area" was the Labour Party
What are these clowns on?
Compass is starting to take on all the characteristics of a political party - an HQ, staff including a "General Secretary", an annual conference, local organisers, local branches, its own campaigns, its own regular meetings, its own relationships with unions and other groups outside Labour's structures - albeit a rather absurd political party with no organic roots in the working class, a leadership personality cult and policies last taken seriously at NUS conferences in the late '70s.
At least if they spend their time in exclusive conclaves it gives them less chance to screw up their local Labour Parties.