Saturday, June 12, 2010

Leadership election- ballots and hustings

It was good to see Dianne Abbott make the short list and a pity that John McDonnell didn't. Lets be clear- I believe the election of either as Labour leader would be an unmitigated disaster for the Labour Party- buts that's just my personal view and they have every right to stand for election and if the members agree with them and not me then I have to accept that. Thats the nature of democratic debate.
I have said before that one of the jobs of the NEC is to defend the rule book as agreed by conference, we cant make the rules up as we go along. What I believe we now need to do is to change the rules to ensure that when there is a vacancy for leader we have a relatively low threshold of nominations to maximise nominations combined with a relatively high one when we have an elected leader to discourage the sort of self-indulgent challenges we saw in the 1980's
The leadership debate will be crucial for us as a party and its' vital that the membership are fully involved. There will be official hustings in every part of Great Britain and hustings for every sector of the party( I have just noticed there isn't an official LGBT hustings which strikes me as an omission so I will raise this with the General Secretary)
There will also be plenty of other hustings and campaign meetings by the candidates.
I give below the dates and locations of official Hustings-more detail should be on the Labour Party Website.
Sunday June 12 Scotland
Saturday June 19 Leicester BAME
Saturday June 26 Newcastle
Sunday July 4 Cardiff
Saturday July 10 Southampton
Friday July 16 London and South
Sunday July 18 Birmingham
Sunday July 26 Leeds- Women
Saturday July 31 Manchester

I have just noticed in typing this list that there are no official hustings in Eastern England or The South West and no all inclusive ones in Yorkshire (brief pause while I hit the roof!).
Lets be clear - the minimum members should be able to expect is an all member hustings in their region. Bame,Womens, Youth and LGBT, not to mention disability, hustings are all vital but they should be in addition to the regional and national hustings. In the South West we lost ten seats, in the East we lost ten seats, in the South East we lost twelve. Our representation in the Southern part of England has been shredded and without it we will never have a Labour Government. Are we saying Labour Leadership candidates have nothing to learn from party members in Norwich, Brighton or Exeter!
I will be contacting the NEC officers and other NEC members to increase the spread of official hustings and will let you know how I get on-but feel free to get involved. Write toRay Collins at The Labour Party, 39 Victoria st. Westminster SW1h 0HA

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