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Ed and the mystery of unpublished Refounding Labour submissions

Come on. It’s the silly season. How many Labour Party members does it take to publish what they think? More than are currently paid up. On present showing, Labour can’t afford openness and transparency, it’s still paying off its debts.

Oh, how Ed must yearn for the days of “Tony wants”, and “Gordon says”. Remember the election that never was in 2007, when reportedly some £1.5 million was spent in preparation for the mockery that was to befall the party? In the 10 months that have elapsed since Ed Miliband was elected leader of the Labour Party, he has faced some formidable internal obstacles to delivering the change he wants.

None is more poignant than the fate of Labour Party members’ submissions to the two reviews he ordered into the Party and how it functions and the policies that help ensure defeat in the 2010 general election. They remain secret. For Labour HO eyes only.

Quite how that squares with those stirring Leader commitments sent soaring on the wings of victory into the vastness of the Manchester Conference Centre last Autumn is the stuff of a Monty Python revival. It’s four years since I personally introduced the concept of open and transparent consultations to the Labour Party machine. Yes, Peter, the serpent tongue hissed: Best kept for the NEC only. True to form not even the NEC was given a look in, neither then nor now, with the exception of one or two individuals.

So here we are in the year of the rabbit. Whoever is staring into the headlights deserves what might befall them. I want to know why when the Leader of my political party, to which I pay my dues, says that submissions to the Refounding Labour consultation should be published, and yet I am still waiting.

One excuse cited by one of the constituency labour party (CLP) representatives on the party’s national executive committee (NEC) Luke Akehurst is that some submissions are marked confidential not for publication. Well frankly, anyone in a democratic socialist party who is not prepared to defend their submissions in public deserves to have their contribution binned. Though on second thoughts maybe there is the ‘whistleblower’ type submission that would be best kept offline and used for performance management purposes, rather than an excuse for holding up publication of the rest.

Then there is the question about everyone else who gritted their teeth, ignored previous experience of submissions disappearing into a black hole and took the trouble to set out a few home truths. Were they asked explicitly for permission to publish, remain anonymous, or off the record and not for publication? Someone in Labour Party HO must know why provision was not built in for such considerations in the first place. Was it an administrative oversight? Was it deliberate? At this juncture, I couldn’t give a monkey’s. I just want to see my personal submissions, my CLP’s and everyone else’s in the public domain. As a democratic socialist, I can’t imagine consultations being any other way.

So, Ed. Remember your last #AskEd twitter session? Your pledge made on Thursday 14 July 2011 was recorded for posterity here . Is there a project plan? I’m happy to volunteer to telephone round the few who don’t like to share their email addresses with HO. But that’s another story. I’m sure there are enough like me who are happy to crank out up to 50 calls an hour to ask permission. If cost is a worry, I’ll be rash and volunteer to raise the necessary funds to cover the costs of scanning hardcopy submissions. For the avoidance of doubt, I’ll underwrite the scanning costs now, so that your ambitions can be fulfilled.

Just publish and be praised. All that is at stake is your reputation for keeping your word.

4 Comments

  1. Peter Garbutt says:

    So confusing when you talk about the Labour Party in one sentence and a democratic socialist party in the next. Which one are you talking about th…..Oh, just a minute, oh….
    Look, I’m sorry to have to break this to you; Santa Claus doesn’t exist, and the Labour Party isn’t particularly democratic and so far from socialist it’s colour might well be blue. Blue Labour; there’s a thought.

  2. Gary Elsby says:

    Ed Miliband: “Tear down that wall!”

  3. Treborc says:

    We are hearing Now Ed has demanded the Unions have less of a say in the Party, but do not stop giving us money untill we can find out who or what billionaires will give us dosh. We cannot give you a peerage, nod nod wink wink until we get in.

  4. Raffiq says:

    When a few home truths are told by Labour party activists the reading becomes painful. A few within the Labour party will decide for the majority of us. Democracy is not one of the “few”
    Come on Ed make your mark.

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