Its about time Labour members were treated with respect….

Last night my Twitterstream was alive with recriminations about remarks David Miliband made at the Hay Festival. I have to confess to having not read them, context and all, so I wont rush to a judgement. Having said that the fact that the controversial aspects seem to pot-shots at the Labour membership, I do feel moved to speak out on this issue. Time and time again its made perfectly clear by those higher up the Labour food chain that the membership is seen privately as a burden, not a blessing. Riding roughshod over the membership is almost like a rite of passage for any aspiring Labour leader/politician.

Leaderships always have a fractious relationship with their supporters *but* all leaderships since the 1980s, without exception, display signs of deeply mistrusting the membership and implicitly blaming us for the electoral exile of the 1980s and bitter factional struggles of that and the preceding period. This a-historical nonsense is made even more absurd by the fact that obviously a significant portion of Labours current members were barely a twinkle in the eye in the 80s.

People who protest this should consider why, if the leadership trust us, is our conference a glorified political beauty pageant and not the central policy making authority? The obvious answer is that they dont and there is an unwritten view is that the membership is like a problem child which needs to be kept away from the adult business of real politics. We are undervalued and under appreciated and this is at the heart of so many problems that we have as a Party. Apart from the fact that listening to the membership and giving it a say would have steered Labour in government much closer to the electorate than the fabled focus groups it also sends a signal to the wider public they are similarly likely to be held in contempt. A problem to be managed, not people who are looking to be governed by people in tune with them.

We, the members, are not some ‘freaks of nature’, we are the actual living link to the electorate. We have the most contact with them and are, of course, voters ourselves. Its high time our leadership realised this and started treating the Labour membership with the respect and deference it is due from the people who make it what it is. If it doesn’t then I think, for all the current polls, it will struggle to ever find its way into government again.

Tags: , ,

About darrellgoodliffe


3 responses to “Its about time Labour members were treated with respect….”

  1. John p reid says :

    Haven’t read david Milibnads comments so I odn’t know if you Mean he’s havign a Dig at teh Leadership, that twitters are digging at him,Or whats’ this got to do with the Leadership (by which i assume you mean hi as An M.P knocking members.
    I also Don’t believe that the Leadership Under Michael foot blmaed laobur members for it’s defeats in the 80’s, he accepted the Blame , Some of the shadow cabinet tony Benn , or Head of the GLC Livingstone said laobur lost in 83 because it wasn’t left wing enough, Others ,Kinnock (in 1987) just felt the 83′ manifesto needed to be wrapped in Red roses,
    Obviously I felt that unilateralism and Leaving europe where Politically unpopualr in 1983, and the 87′ the election the Tory Press were running stories of the Loony left of Militant at liverpool Beating people up who disagreed with them,Livingstone Inviting Sinn Fein IRA to county hall (which we can debate anotehr day about whether this was good or not)But it was massively unpopular with the public,Or stories OF Bernie Grant on Haringay council (unfailry beign called an Anti white racist),But as someone who campaigned for Laobur in 1987, the Working class certainly felt laobur was extremist and it wasn’t the Members who teh leadership were blaiming Kinnock was Blaiming Livingstone ,Benn and Grant,

    Interstingly Watching the 2001 election on BBc parliament channel,
    on laobur wiing such a big landslide agian the Tories were saying Laobur have got such a big majority that they’ve been given enough rope to hang themselves, 4 years later Laobur win another big majoirty
    That the toires were saying ah we lost a second time in 1950 and came back agian in 1951, trtreeting the 167 majoirty labour got like the majority of 6 they got in 1950
    and that ther’ll be big out of parliament protests by public workers to stop laobur pushing its manifesto in the Next 4 years and that Peter hitchen said that the Tories lost the 2001 election as it wasn’t right wing enough.
    Funnily enough When i saw the 1983 election all the things the tories said about labour in 2001 , were exactly the same thing that the Laobur said about the tories in 1983 and 1987,

    The tories in 2001 refusing to accept that they lost that election with such a landslide becasue the public rejected what they stood for and that it was teh publics fault for not voting for them, Tony ben saiyng in 2001 that even though laobur had won the 2001 election by a landslide that the Public didn’t really want what Laobur had fought that election on, and that the public really wnated afar left laobur govnerment adnthat the unions will make laobur become far left in 2001 as old laobur will win the argumnet with nu labour to do this, Despite the fact that the Union hardly funded lapobur in 2001 and Ken Livingstone wasn’t even a member at that election and didn’t even support them at time,


  2. John Reid says :

    good link Black hat defence, This should be posted on all labour blogs.


Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. The Black Hat Defence – Politicomaniac - June 2, 2011

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: