Is Labour penny pinching?
The ‘Speak up for your Generation’ campaign launched today by the leadership seems to have attracted some comment. Of course, we are all in favour of anything that can be done to increase membership and reducing membership to such a low cost is a good incentive. However, I have some sympathy with those who say there needs to be more on offer and, on its own, the whole idea is a bit gimmicky.
If you look at the blurb then the attraction is supposed to be building a movement against this ‘out of touch government’ which sounds good accept that has already been happening and the leadership failed in its efforts to encourage it when it happened. This is obviously a problem and a contradiction in terms.v ‘Come and help us build a movement of leaflet delivers to help Labour get elected’ doesn’t sound like an enticing proposition to me even at bargain bucket prices.
The leadership has got it wrong if it thinks material incentives are the way to the heart of this movement. It doesn’t want to be bribed or corralled into a nice safely controlled movement; it wants a say and a stake in its future and let’s be honest; Labour, as it is currently structured does not offer that. It doesn’t offer a healthy culture of internal democracy, discussion and dissent and that is a problem.
So, if we are talking about what can be done to encourage this new movement to join Labour then there is one of two obvious answers staring us in the face. Firstly, the leadership has to stop its equivocation with regard to supporting young people taking a stand and secondly we have to prioritise overhauling our structures to make them more open and democratic. It strikes me that these two measures might be much more successful than reducing membership rates to spending a penny….