Time to put a sock in it Peter
I am getting increasingly irritated by the stream of conspiracy theories about Labour's parliamentary selection process coming from Peter Kenyon at his blog http://petergkenyon.typepad.com/.
These undermine Labour PPCs and reinforce a media narrative about "parachutists" etc. that is coming not from the left but from the Daily Mail.
It is wholly inappropriate for an NEC member to publicly undermine the workings of a panel actually elected by the NEC. Any of us active in local government would be outraged if a member of our borough Local Government Committee publicly attacked the LGC's role in council selections. Peter's behaviour is the same.
Let's correct some of the insinuations that are floating about around the selection process (some but not all of them reported by Peter):
- There aren't any "parachutes" - people dropped into seats. Everyone being selected has to win a ballot of all local members.
- Supporters of the leadership haven't disproportionately benefited since the Special Selections Panel took over shortlisting - left candidates John Cryer (Leyton & Wanstead) and Ian Lavery (Wansbeck) have been picked, which has given the Campaign Group two more new members than they got in the whole of the period when local CLPs were picking shortlists!
- Almost all selection winners to date have been local or had local roots. Metropolitan outsiders are the exception in a tiny minority of seats - usually because they have been exceptional candidates e.g. the National Treasurer of the Labour Party.
- If Ashfield as Peter reports is an Alll Women Shortlist that actually blocks a male Special Adviser to Gordon Brown from running who would have been a frontrunner.
- If Gloria de Piero as Peter reports is running for Ashfield she is hardly a latecomer to Labour politics - before going into journalism she was a party activist in Bradford and Birmingham from the age of 16, fulltime Campaigns Officer of Labour Students in 1996-1997 and comes from a working-class background that would make her an ideal representative for a place like Ashfield.
- Jack Dromey would have won Birmingham Erdington whoever had compiled the shortlist because he shares the CLP's politics and priorities- why would one of the CLPs with the most manufacturing jobs in the country not want someone as PPC who has spent their working life as a senior official of the main manufacturing trade union?
- I very much doubt the West Midlands Labour Party is purging opponents of the Mayoral model in Stoke - Labour officials in all regions are institutionally hostile to elected Mayors and the politics of the Labour right in the West Midlands is particularly anti-Mayoral models.
- Luciana Berger was selected by local members in Liverpool Wavertree based on a shortlist they drew up not one devised by the NEC. She won because she is a brilliant campaigner and despite not being from Liverpool, not because of any NEC jiggery-pokery.
Peter should try actually talking to Party staff and his NEC colleagues about the story behind selections rather than speculating based on gossip, innuendo and stories in the Mail.