What the Labour NEC is, and therefore who to vote for
Most Labour members who are going to do so will have voted in the National Executive Committee (NEC) elections by now, and anything I say would be unlikely to influence them in their choices. The pull of personality, and of the slates (on both Left and Right) is strong.
But for those still committed to exercising their democratic rights who still haven’t decided where their x’s will fall, here’s why and how I voted, based primarily on the 200 word candidate statements.
Reasons for not voting for candidates
1) A failure to understand/get over in the statement that the NEC is not a policy-making body, but the party’s main governance structure, and that if they want to be on a policy body they should have put their name forward to the National Policy Forum;
2) Divisive statements and the setting up of straw men about the intentions of other people in the Labour party;
3) Tendency to go on about how bad the Tories are, as though members motivated to vote in the NEC elections actually need telling that.
4) Vacuous promises about making sure members’ voices are heard etc.;
5) Suggestion that just reporting back on the NEC’s work, as opposed to actually contributing to it, is sufficient;
6) Going on about Refounding Labour as the best thing since Keir Hardie.
7) Listing other candidates that they candidate thinks we should vote for.
8) An over-reliance on the ‘I’m from the regions’ pitch; while I think it’s useful to have people from outside London on the NEC, I think the argument for regional representation is bogus in relation to the governance role of the NEC.
Reasons for voting for candidates
1) Understanding displayed of the governance role of the NEC, and a specific statement about what the candidate might bring to that governance role;
2) Appropriate evidence of experience and how this relates to contributing to the NEC’s work;
3) A specific commitment to working towards enhanced part-union links via the NEC, and seeing the party as part of the broader labour movement;
4) A ‘je ne sais quoi’ of integrity, as opposed to a ‘je ne sais quoi’ of greasy pole climbing.
Overall, the standard of statements was actually quite poor, with not a single candidate mentioning the Labour party’s financial situation, for example. I suspect this reflects a broader ignorance of what the NEC’s role is in the party, and candidates adjusting their statements to suit this level of ignorance.
But there were glimmers of hope, and on this basis I voted, in rough order of preference, for:
Rob Carr, Lynda Rice, Lewis Atkinson, Darrell Goodliffe, Ellie Reeves, Peter Willsman.