Cleaning Up Labour’s Politics II

Cleaning Up Labour’s Politics II

I have just published and backdated my first thoughts in response to Ed Miliband’s speech on “Cleaning Up” politics. This has been written over a six month period. It was started as I shaped my thoughts and was originally written as a contribution to what became the Collins Review but I decided it was insufficiently focused and made no proposals. It merely expressed my anger. The final version of the article was published today and backdated to near the point I started it. It was thus published after the closure of the Collins Review deadline, and before the publication of the Special Conference agenda.  …

Cleaning up politics

Cleaning up politics

Dear Ed,

Thank you very much for announcing that you were going to ignore the “Refounding Labour” consultation by writing to me from a “no reply” address. I always appreciate those. I’d also like to thank you for when you got round to it, allowing me to submit my views by posting them to what is becoming a classic one nation labour’s web property, the  ‘consulting bit bucket’. I shall be putting this on my blog, and posting a summary to my member’s net bog. …

Innocent until proved guilty

Innocent until proved guilty

Having been to see “If Only” and reflected on triangulation and careerism in the Labour Party, the ramifications of the Falkirk selection affair became clearer. Last Wednesday week ago, at a Prime Minister’s Question time that Cameron actually turned up to,  Ed Miliband let Cameron accuse him of being in the pocket of Len McClusky and Unite. This is from a man who ‘let go’ his Party Treasurer for being accused by the Sunday Times of selling access, the leader of a Party where parliamentary committee members are selling their time and actions to lobbyists and the man who offered Andy Coulson, the man whom, it would seem, authorised the original Hackgate, a job in Downing St. It’s arguable that Ed Miliband has been trying to catch up since and he has taken the Falkirk selection as his trigger for action. …

And so it begins

Four hours after Ed Miliband announces that Labour’s London Mayor Candidate will be the subject of a “Primary”, the Evening Standard reports  that Lord Andrew Adonis is considering running for Mayor. Adonis is an ex-Government Minister, who has never fought an election, and is Labour’s leading evangelist for executive directly elected Mayors and the leading evangelist for academy schools. He was made by Tony Blair, and is a leading thinker  on the right of the Labour Party and currently Chair of Progress, the Sainsbury funded think tank and caucus . …

Seamus Milne on the Trade Union’s political levies

Seamus Milne has just written about the fallout from Falkirk, the article has a sub title, “the real problem is unions aren’t influential enough.”

Viva RMT

He makes the point that they are the only civic society movement funding ordinary people’s access to politics, and that the attack on Unite and Miliband is about reinforcing the power of the right wing, both in and outside the Labour Party. …

Clean Politics, a bit of Ed, a bit of me

Ed Miliband makes his speech; the autocue is here at Labour List. This speech more than most, one must read his words, everyone else will add their spin. So, here’s mine, by my reading, the key points for change are,

  • Affiliation Memberships by Trade Unions are to be based on consent.
  • A new code of conduct for candidates in internal elections and selections, (we have one now; so who’s fault is it that it isn’t good enough?)
  • Limiting expenditure  including  gifts in kind and 3rd party expenditure internal elections and selections (Good idea, the devil’s in the detail).
  • Regulation of CLP/TU teaming agreements (again an incremental reform; I’d like to see the evidence that the current agreements are being abused.)
  • He proposes that MP’s should be prohibited from having second jobs, (Yes please,  and include the Mayor of London in this proposal.)
  • He proposes that unspecified measures should be taken to clean up lobbying and conflicts of interests in Parliament (Perhaps the Labour Party should expel the worst offenders, and include Peers in the list.)
  • He proposes that Labour’s candidate for London Mayor is to be chosen by supporters, not members. (Why would we want the advice of people who won’t join?)

He also refers to the opening out of policy making since his election as Leader. This is delusional, moving policy initiation to a ‘bit bucket’ on the web is not extending policy making. …

Labour’s union link

The Falkirk Selection dispute has been bubbling under for months now. It exploded onto the national scene last week when the Labour leadership suspended the candiditure of Karie Murphy,  who was allegedly UNITE the Union’s chosen candidate, together with the constituency Chairman (sic). I am unclear as to whether they have decided that the NEC should play a role in the selection, and it is clear that neither the NEC nor the Orgsub have met, nor to my knowledge has the National Constitutional Committee. Tom Watson has also resigned as Deputy Chairman and Election Co-Ordinator. The usual suspects within and outside the Labour Party are attacking the Union links. …

Real (Labour) Party democracy

Paul Cotterill came out of his self imposed blogging retirement to write about the Falkirk affair at his blog, “Though Cowards Flinch”. I am glad to see him back and hope it’s  not a one off.

He argues that the secretive and exclusive way in which these decisions were taken, so soon after the Refounding Labour members’ consultation is not really a harbinger of a new politics.

Most of his article relates to the issues surrounding the management of Unions’ political funds. It was written before Ed Miliband’s speech and so most comments at this time were based on presumably embargoed press releases and interested spin. Paul finishes with,

He’s done the easy bit, challenging the affiliated unions to accept the virtues of opt-in engagement.   The question is: does he have the guts to take on the PLP’s power base in the interest of real party democracy and growth.

While Paul’s journey to the obstructionism and downright destructive activities of some members of the PLP is fairly gentle, I have little doubt we’ll be hearing more. …