|Collins Review: Miliband successfully digs himself out of hole. Labour remains in hole|
|Sunday, 09 February 2014|
by Jon Lansman
When I read the email from Ed Miliband to all party members yesterday afternoon, I thought Left Futures should run a competition with a prize for the first person who could identify ‘Paul’, the possibly mythical figure who it is said has joined the Labour Party because of the ‘reforms’ now backed by Labour’s national executive:
I have been asked many times why these changes are necessary. One of our newest members puts it better than I ever could. Take a moment to read Paul’s story:
‘I joined Labour because of the announcement today on party reform. I have been a trade union member and voted Labour for over 30 years, but until now the party never felt democratic. It never felt like one I could join.‘
Paul is right. Labour must be a more open, inclusive and democratic party. I hope these reforms will spur many more people like Paul to come and get involved with us.”
I decided against. No one in their right mind could claim that this whole exercise is actually going to attract anyone to vote for or join the Labour Party, or so I thought. In the (unlikely) event that there is a real ‘Paul” and he is of sound mind. he is in for a terrible let down about Labour’s internal democracy. No Labour Party members, in practice, have any say on anything that goes on in their party, and you can be absolutely certain that neither will “affiliated supporters” or “registered supporters“. They may occasionally be allowed to vote in a leadership election, but that’s where it will stop.
In 2010 (when there would have been just two candidates with the 15% threshold agreed yesterday, both called Miliband), I voted for the Miliband that carefully positioned himself at some distance fromNew Labour. What I got was this week described by a leading Blairite as ”more Blairite than Blair on party reform“.
The changes agreed yesterday are designed to do two things:
It has been a slick operation by the leader’s office fixers managing this exercise – they have shown they are just as adept at machine politics as New Labour. Within an hour of the national executive meeting, invites went out to constituency delegates inviting them to meet with shadow cabinet members in the run up to the special conference. However, some of the worst aspects of the Collins report of which I wrote on Monday have been at least partially solved:
Ed Miliband has delivered on his misguided promise. He has clambered out of the political hole he dug, but Labour still faces possible financial disaster just before the 2020 general election.
And what of the democratic gains? Some may see theoretical benefits in positive choices being made. An alternative view is that millions of trade union members will continue to pay a levy of perhaps £7 a year on average, almost all of which will either be paid to the Labour party or used for its benefit. In the past they received a ballot paper in leadership elections and, if they were Londoners, in selections of the London mayoral candidate. Now most of them won’t.
It’s called One Member One Vote. And the member’s name is Miliband.
This article is reproduced from Left Futures.