Leader’s office oversteps mark with Labour Party HQ

(see also update here)

When the Labour Party announced the appointments to its new executive board last Friday, it appeared that elements in the leader’s office were trying to take over the running of the party machine. The new board was to have consisted of six new posts plus the general secretary. Two of those plus one other newly created and not advertised will go to existing leader’s office staff who will continue to work there at least some of the time. In addition, Tim Livesay and Lucy Powell, the leader’s chief and deputy chief of staff will also sit on the board in spite of not reporting to the general secretary. Continue reading

Labour’s clean up begins in earnest – top managers to go

Few Labour politicians are willing to discuss the true nature of the old New Labour party. Just over a year ago, we argued that the party machine was corrupt and rotten. A hard hitting attack that received almost no response. No rebuttal. No complaint. Just one supportive comment. Many people seem to prefer not to discuss it. That machine was still in evidence in Liverpool at Labour’s most recent conference, one year into the new regime. But today, decisive steps were taken to dismantle it. Conveniently sandwiched between the Autumn statement and the biggest strike in Britain for many decades, it has been a quiet revolution which will receive little media attention. Continue reading

Refounding Labour: conference timetable stitch-up

According to the draft Labour Party Annual Conference timetable, rule changes and other matters arising from the Refounding Labour ‘consultation’ will be ‘decided’ on Sunday 25 September – the first day. The proposals themselves will be tabled at a deferred Organisation Committee on Thursday 15 September, and decided at the Labour’s pre-Conference executive committee on Tuesday 20 September. This is insane. Unless the proposal is for any rule changes to be deferred to a special conference in the late autumn as proposed by Bridgend CLP here. Continue reading

Report of Labour’s July national executive

Tuesday 19 July was a dramatic day in parliament, with Tom Watson questioning the Murdochs and Keith Vaz chairing interviews with senior police officers.  Across the committee corridor the NEC meeting was quieter but equally tense as we chose Iain McNicol for Labour’s next general secretary, the sixth appointment in 11 years, after Ray Collins’ elevation to the Lords.  Two candidates were shortlisted by senior NEC members:  Iain, national political officer with the GMB union, and Chris Lennie, the party’s deputy general secretary since 2001.  Both promised to change the culture away from central control, with Iain stressing that he would rebuild trust, treat members as a resource rather than a problem, and put an end to silos, factions, egos and empires.  I voted for Iain, as I think did all the constituency representatives: this was not about left or right, but about who would be best able to deliver for Ed Miliband.  As a party organiser in the 1990s Iain had to raise his own salary, which may yet come in useful, and trouble-makers should note that he is a black belt in karate and also plays the bagpipes. Continue reading

Labour General Secretary: who voted which way?

It’s been a long time since votes on Labour’s national executive were recorded. Although all members of the executive are representatives of someone, they prefer to vote in secret. They don’t get away with it in parliament and we may not agree with the practice, but don’t expect it to change anytime soon. But since we believe in openness and transparency, we’ll have a stab at setting out who voted which way on the general secretaryship of the Labour Party yesterday. The responsibility for any errors is, of course, ours but we promise to correct them immediately if you let me know. Continue reading