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Today MPs will determine whether party members get real choice and real debate

24-C-uk-election-voting-rights-none-of-the-above-revolution-funny-political-tshirt_1Shortly after midday today we will learn whether Labour MPs have determined whether the party’s 200,000 plus members will be allowed to vote for Jeremy Corbyn to be their leader, whether a proper debate about what went wrong in May and what we need to do to put it right in five years time will be allowed to happen. Although many MPs have responded positively to the pressure from party members and nominated Jeremy in order to have a fair election and full debate, we cannot prejudge whether that will be sufficient.

The hurdle of 15% of the party’s MPs  is simply too high. It should not require MPs to nominate candidates other than their preferred one in order for them to even be considered by party members. In the deputy leadership election, in spite of the withdrawal of the then third placed candidate, it is still possible that only two of the original seven candidates will get through to the real contest. First preferences are not the only indication of the level of support and it is entirely possible that the candidate that who has the most support on some other basis both in the parliamentary party and the party in the country will be excluded. Even when the hurdle was 12.5% it was too high, and yet the Scottish party has adopted the same 15% hurdle not only for parliamentarians but also for councillors.

If Jeremy does qualify, it is a tribute to the massive social media campaign which has taken place, and to pressure from grassroots members on parliamentarians. This should be no surprise. Members know the party has to change and after the debateso far  between the establishment leadership candidates, I suspect that most activists do not have much faith that the “learning the lessons of defeat taskforce” will do what it says on the tin.

Margaret Beckett, who is to chair the taskforce, has a long and distinguished record for being wheeled out by the leadership to loyally defend the indefensible policy advocated by the leader no matter how daft it is and how alienating of Labour’s core voters. Is she the right person to “leave no stone unturned” in undertaking “a forensic, honest examination of where we went wrong“? Or will she do what has loyally done for thirty years and argue for what whichever leader we end up with wants.

Do we have confidence that Margaret Curran who was appointed to represent Scotland in this investigation “will dare to look over the edge of the precipice at what happened” in Scotland when the strategy she devised and oversaw led to Labour’s annihilation in Scotland. It is hard to imagine a more inappropriate person to ensure that the taskforce won’t “paper over the cracks” than the person who presided over period which tuned cracks into giant chasms.

We need a shake up massively bigger than anything the two Margarets will provide and Jeremy Corbyn as leader would most certainly shake things up,

13 Comments

  1. Jeffery Davies says:

    Is he strong enough is he going to take this party to its grass roots hum I wonder wont the blair babies fight back against him its not rocket science its just to many greedie mps that blair put there its just a very uphill strugle to bring this party back jeff3

    1. Robert says:

      To be honest these days we may as well let the Tories mess it up, Burnham or one of the Progress drones would be little different.

  2. Sue says:

    It would be great to see Jeremy as leader. A real breath of fresh air and some real anti austerity arguments. There is no doubt though that the press and media together (probably) with a lot of the PLP will stand against him. So if he gets onto the ballot he will need all our support to be able to withstand the rubbish which will be spread about him and the dirt thrown. If Jeremy doesnt get onto the ballot paper then I think it really will be the end of the Labour Party and I even wonder sometimes if that isnt actually what some in the PLP want!

    1. Robert says:

      He got through, now it’s up to the members to push for him, my Union the GMB is backing Burnham which tells you a lot more about the leadership of the Unions these days.

      1. Andy Newman says:

        No, the GMB is not backing Burnham. No decision has been made about who GMB will recommend support for.

  3. Patrick says:

    Robert it is OMOV the members will decide, most of the new members joining are not in Unions, my CLP has 220 members but only 39 are in a Union.
    The members will vote for Mr Corbyn, as the members candidate, which is what we joined for.

    1. Robert says:

      I left labour in 2010 after going to ATOS. anyway I did mean labour members should have said, most of the people in the GMB will I suspect back the Union, who is backing Burnham.

      1. Andy Newman says:

        I repeat, GMB has made no recommendation, and it is premature to assume support for Burnham.

  4. Patrick says:

    Jon, Beckett is backing JC!

  5. Tim Barlow says:

    Delighted that Jeremy made it onto the ballot. I think I will join the party now just to be able to vote for him.
    Labour really is in the Last Chance Saloon. This is a straight-up fight for the soul of the party, Jeremy is it’s only genuine representative and the Progress cuckoos and their media friends will be fighting dirty to stop him. If they succeed, we should, as Tariq Ali commented recently of the party, “let it bleed” and throw our support behind Left Unity. Until then, this is going to be interesting…

  6. Barry Ewart says:

    Yes it’s game on and time to get behind Jeremy Corbyn.
    I have already signed up to his campaign.
    The Left has a vision – I would argue we want a beautiful, democratic, dynamic, and progressive society in the UK, and World.
    Whilst others may just want a few crumbs for working class people and the progressive middle class.
    It is the Left that has vision and it is great we now have an anti-austerity candidate on the ballot paper, but of course the task as always will not be easy.
    We need to get Labour back to being a political party again, and one that believes in political education.
    One that tries to win working class people and the progressive middle class to democratic socialist ideas, and one that also takes on general middle class ideology (they are generally socialised to vote Tory) and we need to try to win them to the progressive middle class (and a higher social plane).
    We also need to try to engage with the 15.9m people who did not vote (and 7.5m did not even bother to register to vote).
    I have learnt that we can be national – wanting a wonderful type of society here AND international supporting others in every other country so they too can fight for the same, so we want both which is a strength.
    Funny I was in a pub on Saturday and two horrible middle class men (who had had a bit to drink) were gloating that, “We are all Conservatives now!” and I thought funny when 76% of the electorate hadn’t voted for the Tories!
    So perhaps we should ask the candidates: Will you give policy making back to members via Annual Conference?
    Will you allow constituency parties to choose their own shortlists and candidates to make us more representative?
    Will you bring in a minimum membership fee of £5 and sliding scale fees to help us to build a mass party?
    We need a Labour Leader who is also a facilitator and keeps the power with grassroots members.
    A Leader who is also on the front-line in UK community campaigns, and in international campaigns.
    All the 4 candidates may be decent human beings but do they have a vision that will make people notice that they ever existed?
    I am backing Jeremy Corbyn and would argue the Left should get behind this cause.
    Yours in solidarity!

    1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      Once again you manage to surprise me and in an entirely positive way; keep going.

  7. John P Reid says:

    Bit disapointed Angela Eagle, might not make the ballot, ok watsons gonna walk it on the first round,but Rashanara and Stella are similar in intake age etc,and Stella’s on 24 votes, so is likely to get through,yet Ms Ali,and Ben Bradshaw are on 20 votes ,unless there’s away to get extra ones in on it, cant one of the 3 southerners drop out,so Eagle gets on,

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