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Labour and the Collins Review Special Conference

by Barry

Tomorrow is a special conference, called by the Labour Leader, to debate and approve the results of the Collins review.  This review, commissioned in the wake of “issues” around candidate selection, has come up with a number of recommendations to be adopted.  I welcome this review and think that most of the recommendations are a good thing and should be viewed as a natural evolution of the Party.  They do not throw out Trade Union involvement, in my mind it strengthens it and get more members directly involved. 

In brief, the recommendations are as follows:

A more transparent link with the Unions

In essence, rather than an opt out, Trade unions members will have to opt in to being affiliated to the Labour Party.  This is a great move, as TU members will get a greater sense of belonging after making a positive move to do so.  Yes it may mean less funding for the Party, but if it means more people engagement then that’s a positive step for the future.

Closer relationship with unionists

Having individual TU members more closely associated with their local CLP is a positive step.  One of the biggest issues we see from a CLP perspective is that we have messages to get out there, and more direct involvement from TU members would be a huge asset.

One Member One Vote

At the last leadership election, there were people who voted more than 2 and 3 times wearing various hats.  Some as a normal member, a member of a union and maybe more than one union.  Moving to One Member One Vote is a logical and sensible move.

Nominations and Short-listing in Leadership Elections

This remains with the PLP, and that is just right.  I do think that they should have gone one step further and removed the need for the membership to vote for shadow cabinet members, but that’s a different argument for a different day.

Fair and Transparent Selections

Yes,  But only as long as its enforced.  The spending limit is a very good idea too, because right now, it’s not a cheap affair to be a candidate for selection, and I know many people who just can’t afford it (and some of those are even white males 😉 ).

Primary Elections

This will be interesting, I quite like the idea and look forward to seeing how it works in London.  If it gets a wider engagement then that can only be a good thing for everyone.

constituency Development Plans

This is my only one area of contention – on the face of it, yes a good idea and in the strong labour areas where there are paid staff to develop it, it’s probably useful.  However in smaller CLPs and/or CLPs that are marginal, it’s yet another piece of management buzzword paperwork to be completed by people who really just want to make a difference.  Bits of paper like this are brilliant when done well, and more importantly taken on and used by the CLP.  But, they are not a great volunteer management tool! (Speaking from experience and not just in political circles).

It’s a shame that, as I understand it, it’s an all or nothing package, IE one vote for everything.  I would have likes to have seen each debated and voted on its merits, but on the whole I hope it is voted through.  If it isn’t then it will almost certainly cause a huge rift in the party and could be hugely damaging to the leadership.

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