Two months ago, we argued that the party machine was corrupt and rotten, that this was recognised across a broad spectrum of the party, and the new Leader should ask the NEC to appoint a new General Secretary with a brief to clean up the party. This evening, it has been announced that Ray Collins is going. Of course, the public explanation is that he is going to the Lords, but the truth is that Ed Miliband has acted quicker than we expected and will not stop here.
Ray Collins was appointed (narrowly and in spite of Left and union opposition) under Gordon Brown not Tony Blair. He had also been associated with some Left causes in his long service at the TGWU and Unite. However, he was essentially a ruthless fixer, absolutely committed to perpetuate the party machine “designed to support Blair in power, to command and control, to ensure that anyone selected for any public office was on-message, that any policy proposal presented for discussion at any but the lowest level was in line with the Leader’s thinking“. He was never suited to facilitate the changes Ed Miliband wishes to introduce, to restore democracy to the party, to encourage open debate about policy and strategy.
As we said before, “bottom-up renewal starts with a top-down clean up“. Let the clean up start now and let it continue until it is complete.