Questioning the Alliance
Update 0810: I was wrong, utterly wrong, about the LRC (see below). See comment 2 from Andy Fisher, Joint Secretary to LRC, to whom an apology will be forthcoming.
I have a few ideas, some settled, other less so, and in the ‘less so’ category is seeking election to the Labour party’s National Executive Committee. Initial tweet feedback was mildly encouraging.
Should I decide to go through with this, I’ll no doubt be setting out my experience and skills here, and Comrade Dave has already offered to support my cause by ‘interviewing ‘ me, and such like.
But there’s a problem.
Ideally, I would like to be considered for inclusion within the slate of candidates put together by the Grassroots Alliance, made up of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, Save the Labour Party, and the Labour Representation Committee. Yet when I come to look into that possibility, I found that:
For the six constituency places on the NEC, the Grassroots Alliance have so far narrowed the possible slate to eight contenders.
To be frank, I had no idea this process had taken place, despite being a member of the Labour Representation Committee. Did I miss something?
I enquired what the process had been for the drawing together of all ‘contenders’ and the subsequent ‘narrowing’, so as to work out whether I might still seek inclusion. The reply I received from Jon Lansman, who had announced the eight contenders in his blogpost, was brief and to the point:
Consensus of participating organisations.
I struggle a bit with this. How was consensus reached? Who did the consensus reaching? What was the original process for inviting expressions of interest? None of this is made clear either by Jon or on any of the websites of the participating organisations. Indeed, I’m not even sure of Jon’s function in all of this, and why the list is being set out on a new blog ‘Left Futures’, not apparently part of the Alliance set up, and then picked up at Socialist Unity as fact rather than opinion.
Indeed, for organisations which are keen to stress the importance of open internal party democracy, the process for ending up on the slate of said organisations seems far from openly democratic.
Now, I don’t want to make too much of this. As with my mild criticism of the LRC process over their announcement of John McDonnell as preferred leadership candidate, I’m sympathetic to the fact that processes of democracy are administratively heavy, and difficult for volunteer, shoestring organisations. Nor do I have any reason to believe that the eight ‘contenders’ now being promoted as the Grassroots Alliance slate are anything other than good and worthy candidates, though I know little about some of them.
But it does leave me in a quandary.
Had I understood what appears to be something of a quiet ‘who you know’ process, would I have sought to get on the slate via that process even though it apparently has its faults, or would I have objected to the process in principle and sought my own nominations separately?
Should I now seek nominations from CLPs in spite of not being on the Grassroots Alliance slate, because I think I can do a good job on the NEC, or would that be too great an act of hostility towards an Alliance whose aims I broadly agree with?
Could I work slate members elected to the NEC as effectively if I – a Johnny-Come-Lately with a couple of fancy blogs and a few election results to my name – were being voted on separately and were then perceived to have bumped one of their closer comrades off the NEC?
Should that concern me, or should I just take the attitude that the person who gets the most votes is the worthy winner?
Answers, in the usual form please, to the usual comments box, especially if I’ve simply got the wrong end of a stick somewhere.