Luke Akehurst is wrong on Refounding Labour…..
Luke Akehurst today has posted a piece urging LabourList to ‘chill out’. It follows a piece on LabourList by Mark Ferguson which raised concerns over the lack of publication of the submissions and other concerns about the whole process. Concerns I, by and large, share. On one point, Luke is however correct, some understanding should be shown of the size of the logistical task facing the Party in terms of collating and publishing the submissions. However, Luke’s attitude is wholly wrong and his approach is, it has to be said, lamentable from a CLP representative on the NEC.
First we have his downplaying of the significance of the entire process:
There are a lot of political issues in the UK today worth getting excited about. The timing of the publication of reams of technical submissions to an interal review of Party structures is not one of them.
Internal democracy, the rights of the membership, a real stake for members in policy making my not be big enough issues to excite Luke but I am sure that is not true for many Labour members. Second, and probably in a related point, we have his behind-closed-doors attitude to the whole process:
As NEC members we are only part of the way through the process of agreeing recommendations to go before Conference (there are two more formal meetings – an Organisation Committee and a full NEC meeting where this will be discussed) and there ongoing informal discussions with stakeholders to try to reach a consensus on some of the key issues.
I would be unhappy if the politics of those discussions was jeopardised by a rushed putting of the views of some stakeholders in the public domain during these discussions.
What makes me deeply unhappy is the thought of these negotiations going on in such a manner in the first place. We should be having a full and frank discussion about the direction of the Party in which everybody has a say and is entitled to see where people stand, and if peoples views change why and how they have changed. It is exactly this attitude to the process which begin to give credence to the claim that Refounding Labour is becoming a stitch-up. I don’t know about any other Labour member but I am sick and tired of governance by a charmed circle, I want open and democratic governance and I want us to treat the British electorate as adults, not children who cant understand frankly expressed differences. Unwittingly, rather than reassuring me that Refounding Labour is headed in the right direction, Luke has confirmed my view that it in fact isn’t at all. If the leadership attitude is indeed ‘take it or leave it’, my advice to the Party, as things stand, would be to leave it.