Monday, August 01, 2016

Hello Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith

 Image result for Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith
The candidates for the leadership should be pushed to come to an agreement to stand by Labour Party policies as these have been (and will come to be) agreed by Labour Party Conference. This does not unreasonably bind them. They should still be free to suggest changes that they would like to seek in future Conference's policies, whilst sticking by what has been established in the meantime. Furthermore leaders and the PLP can still have a say about the priorities, timing and the detail when acting on Conference decisions. They will also often have to act on new and passing items, without having specific Conference guidance at the time. This is currently the case (until the coming Conference ?) on  policies over leaving the EU. 

Most of current Conference policies formed the basis of our last election manifesto. Any alterations, additions or elaborations (e.g. on Syria) have only emerged so far from last year's Conference.  Most of Conference policies arise (of course) from the work of the Policy Forums. Prior to the General Election, I summarised these in a number of blog items. These can be found via links in this item.    These proposals should form the basis of Labour"s current parliamentary approach, until subject to later Conference alterations.

It is also possible for candidates to press for the further democratisation of the Labour Party. It is also a difficult approach for candidates to argue against when facing the votes of the membership in a leadership contest.

I hope that Labour Party members will push such a line. It could be a position which any candidate could find it difficult to reject in current circumstances.
For those without a blog facility, it should be possible to comment at this version of the above.


Unknown said...

Malcontent Labour MP,s and many of their establishment supporters and wannabe careerist are political troglodytes who love democracy so-long as the plebs are flag waving groupies doing as they are told and voting for self-serving posh politicians parachuted into working class communities, aka Blair, Mandelson, Kinnock (the younger) and uncle Tom Cobley and all.

But one-member-one-vote is anathema to these lovers of democracy, who prefer the Westminster gravy train, Parliamentary sycophancy and the status quo.

Harry Barnes said...

Under the current Labour Party rules, the new members who have been refused a vote in the leadership elections have the right to feel cheated. For their equivalents who joined in time for the last ballot were given the vote. So the recent batch who joined can quite reasonably argue that a refusal to give them the vote is a breach of contract. For they joined expecting they would just be dealt with as for the last batch.

However, we need to draw lessons from what has happened and argue for Conference to adopt more sensible rules the next time round. A more reasonable pattern for the future would be to restrict the vote to those who are full or affiliated members up to when it is clear that a contest is due to take place - as when Ed Milband announced his intention to resign as leader and when the PLP engaged in a vote of no-confidence against Corbyn. Then you would not get a sudden rush of outsiders suddenly jumping on the bandwagon, either as brand new members or as registered supporters. Just taking over from many who have been flogging away at things for years.

The PLP has changed its membership a great deal since I was an MP. And much of my knowledge of Labour MPs from my time is terribly dated. There are numbers of old and new members since then whom I have observed. But there are only 100 out of 230 I am in any position to make any judgments about. I feel that 63 of these are reasonably hard working parliamentarians who seek to do a decent job on behalf of their constituents and also on a wider basis. The rest seem to me to merely self-seeking, reactionary or both of these.

Owen Smith is one of the 130 whom I knew nothing about until he stood for the leadership and I havn't found out much extra about him since then.

What we need is that whoever is elected as leader, they work for peace and reconciliation amongst reasonable and hard working Labour MPs and for the membership. In my blog item above I was seeking such a format from the current contestants. I press the point because within the current British party political and electoral system, I don't see there being a feasible alternative to Labour which democratic socialist can seek to work through. Yet I am aware that Labour needs considerable improvements - especially for it to become an internally democratic Party.

If Labour, however, splits into (say) "Momentum" and "Progress" then that could just ensure Conservative rule, with the opposition being drawn mainly from a just a few of these substitute Labour Parties; but mainly from a hotch potch of the SNP, PC, UKIP, revised Lib-Dems and the bits and pieces from Northern Ireland.

And if we are to re-shape British Politics as the Keir Hardies did, what are the signs the Jeremy will do this in the modern world of multinational capitalism ? Or should we just go down to a glorious defeat?