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.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

I will agree to Totnes-style primaries ...

... when the electoral registration process includes the facility for voters to register as supporters of a party in the US way so that:

- supporters of other parties can be excluded from Labour primaries so they can't deliberately back rubbish candidates
- canvassing gets a lot easier because a large slice of the electorate self-canvasses when they register to vote

And when a way is found to square primaries with a role in selections for local party members and affiliates that still makes it worth their while joining (control of the shortlist?).

Oh, and when they are, as in the US, administered and paid for by the same body that runs general elections, using the same polling stations, staff and counting facilities, in our case local authorities, because:

- if the general public want a say in candidate selection they shouldn't expect the party members whose powers they are usurping to pay for it - no representation without taxation
-and unlike Totnes Conservative Association there are hardly any Labour or Lib Dem constituency organisations with the £40,000 to run a postal ballot.


Blogger Sunder Katwala said...

So you are not opposed in principle then!

And I think the party shortlisting and voter selection model is a sensible one.

I doubt the malevolent outsider problem has any significance in practice, but again you could have a check (as in Totnes) of ratifying the result

8:53 am, August 06, 2009

Blogger J said...

- supporters of other parties can be excluded from Labour primaries so they can't deliberately back rubbish candidates

Not a problem - unless CLPs are rubbish enough to allow rubbish candidates through the shortlisting process.

8:57 am, August 06, 2009

Anonymous tim f said...

I agree with most of your points, Luke (especially party shortlisting), but I'm still sceptical about primaries, even closed primaries. (Closed primaries are much better than open primaries, though.) I certainly think it would lead to a weaker party system, and stronger/more organised factions within each party interacting directly with the electorate in support of their candidates, rather than having our fights within the Party then presenting a united front to the electorate.

I'd also note that in the US between 10 and 20% of registered Democrats/Republicans vote for their opposite party in each presidential election, so whilst it's always good to have an extra piece of information, it doesn't make canvassing much easier as it's no more reliable than historic voter id.

12:18 pm, August 06, 2009

Blogger Merseymike said...

Yes, most of that makes sense, Luke, but I think the problem with it is that it is one more step along the identikit parties, take the politics out of politics route.

This is actually starting to change in the US as there are now far fewer liberal Republicans and proportionately less conservative Democrats

5:17 pm, August 06, 2009

Anonymous M said...

Fully agree with all Luke's points.

1:16 pm, August 07, 2009


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