Monday, May 24, 2010

National Executive Committee Tuesday May 18th

I go down to London the night before NEC meetings and stay at my brothers in Lewisham. It means I avoid getting up at dawn and, more importantly, saves £150 on the train fare. Thats why I was in a pub by the ground in Charlton watching them in the play off semi-finals. All very depressing as they were beat by Swindon-maybe next year?

The NEC meeting starts at 9.30 am and the main business is the details of the leadership election and consideration of the General Election. There was a lengthy discussion on timing and whilst I understood the arguments about moving quickly to elect a leadership to take the fight to the coalition I felt that we need to entrust that job to our elected Deputy Leader,thats why Harriet was elected in the first place.

I feel it's vital that we have a proper election campaign which allows members to weigh up the merits of the different candidates and study the lessons of 13 years of Labour Government. An election culminating at annual conference allows for this and is also approximately £200, 000 cheaper-an important consideration in these cash strapped times. Members have had enough of being bounced into decisions and I, for one, am perfectly capable of campaigning against this coalition at the same time as discussing our leadership and future direction. Good features of the recommendations include extensive hustings and a cap on expenditure (details to be agreed).

We did, I think, make a mistake with too tight a dead-line for nominations by MP's but the procedure committee which we established has now agreed to extend that dead line.

We then had a good presentation about the election including success areas like Scotland and Merseyside and also our problem areas. We agreed to start looking at starting the selection process as soon as possible ensuring we are in a position to fight an election as soon as possible. I believe CLPs should pick their candidates with minimal interference from above.

The meeting finished at 2.20-just short of 5 hours- meaning a quick sprint to Euston for the last off-peak train to Manchester.

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