Selflessness, independence and availability: We don’t ask much

January 13, 2012 11:39 am

Author:

Tags:

Share this Article

As a stalwart ballot paper scribbler, I am proud to say I have never missed an election.

Postal votes? Save the stamp! I will breezily skip down to the polling station for the sheer hell of it.

Well, that’s not quite true. There is one set of elections where my record is, well, a bit south of 100%.

An even more embarrassing admission, among friends, is that my democratic enthusiasm used to be snuffed out when the ballot papers for the Labour National Executive Committee elections wafted onto my doormat.

Eschewing my entitlement used to owe more to the dispiriting nature of the contest rather than a lack of interest on my part in the internal affairs of the party.

Let’s face it: historically, no-one had a clue who they were voting for. There was next to no information sent out about the candidates and the whole thing smacked of a power carve-up where leadership proxies battled against real (and often imagined) opponents.

The whole thing felt perfunctory. As an ordinary foot soldier I was asked to elect representatives I knew next to nothing about and who promptly disappeared into thin air. Until the next time they re-emerged asking for my vote.

In recent years, I have mended my ways, aided and abetted, it has to be said, by candidates who took the trouble to actually canvass for my vote. I now participate, not reluctantly out of shame or duty, but enthusiastically because there are so many worthy candidates – from right across the party – to vote for.

Which set me to thinking: what are the qualities we need in our constituency reps on the NEC? Here are a few suggestions:

Tribal. Ideally, Labour NEC hopefuls will have the word ‘Labour’ tattooed somewhere about their person. I don’t want a ‘big-tenter’ or a wishy-washy pluralist. NEC members should be Labour’s hardcore.

Grassroots. To really know the party, you need to be active at a local level. Running a branch or constituency is absolutely essential in understanding how the party really ticks. NEC members should come from the ranks of the poor bloody infantry.

Independence. NEC members need to know their own mind. They need to exercise common sense and never be afraid to tell le grande fromages what’s going on outside the Westminster bubble. The party leadership will not always get it right. They may even thank you for telling them so. The members certainly should.

Selflessness. Serving on the NEC should not be seen as a stepping stone to greater personal glory. This is grunt work. NEC members should have oily hands from tinkering with the party’s machinery in order to make it run better.

Available. The best NEC members are those who get around the party. Only by trekking from one constituency to the next will they ever hope to understand the mood of members.

Candidates, you have my sympathies. The least we owe you is to bother voting. My stubby pencil is poised…

  • Anon

    I am so disappointed with the NEC this year. There is no one who has done a good job, and no one new is worth electing. i suppose that is the general problem with the party.

  • Redshift

    I’d actually agree to that list. The only thing I’d add is that in voting I quite like some regional balance. Currently the NEC is very London/South East heavy. I don’t like that. It will probably result in me voting differently than last time, when I purely picked candidates I agreed with most. The slate this time is out of the window. 

    The only one I’m 100% sure of at the moment is that Ann Black will get one of my 6 votes.

  • MaryM

    Agree that regional balance is essential so Peter Wheeler is my top vote

Latest

  • Comment Zero Discrimination Day: why LBGT rights matter worldwide

    Zero Discrimination Day: why LBGT rights matter worldwide

    When Ed Miliband appointed me his LGBTI global envoy he displayed once again his grasp of the wrongs that exist in the world and our need to be part of the resolution of these defining issue. His lead was followed this month when President Obama appointed Randy Berry as State Department LGBT envoy. And this is extremely important because when oppression and discrimination are on the increase that is precisely when we need to give our voice to the voiceless. […]

    Read more →
  • News One million more families will have to pay the Bedroom Tax if the Tories win in May, figures show

    One million more families will have to pay the Bedroom Tax if the Tories win in May, figures show

    One million more families will have to pay the Bedroom Tax if the Tories win the election in May, according to figures examined by the Labour party. These figures show that 220,000 more families would have to pay the tax each year of the five yearlong Tory government. As it stands, of those paying the tax – which on average amounts to £14 more a week in rent for an extra bedroom and £25 for two or more – one […]

    Read more →
  • News Polling Two-thirds are in favour of Labour’s tuition fee pledge, poll finds

    Two-thirds are in favour of Labour’s tuition fee pledge, poll finds

    YouGov polling on behalf of The Times Red Box, has found that two-thirds of people are in favour of Labour’s plan to cut tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000 a year. As we reported on Friday, Labour announced they would cut tuition fees and increase the maintenance grant by £400. They would fund this by reducing tax reliefs given to the country’s wealthiest pensioners. This policy would come in to force for those entering universities in September 2016. YouGov have […]

    Read more →
  • Featured East Coast: Why privatisation is not the end of the line for rail reform

    East Coast: Why privatisation is not the end of the line for rail reform

    I am writing this article on board what the Conservative Party hopes is one of the last publicly run trains in Britain. On Sunday, East Coast will be privatised. The nation’s stake – its share in the East Coast Main Line company – will be sold to Stagecoach and Virgin Trains for a meagre £11 million. The East Coast livery will be quietly replaced by a new brand, as if the last five and a half years never occurred. Why […]

    Read more →
  • News Dugher criticises Cameron for “ideological sell off” of East Coast ahead of privatisation tomorrow

    Dugher criticises Cameron for “ideological sell off” of East Coast ahead of privatisation tomorrow

    Tomorrow, East Coast Main Line will be taken over by private companies Virgin and Stagecoach.   Ahead of this, Michael Dugher, Shadow Transport Secretary, will give a speech in Leeds in which he’ll outline how Labour would allow public sector companies to “take on lines and challenge the private sector on a genuinely level playing field.” They’d do this, he says, within the first 100 days of government.  . Dugher is expected to say: “The end of East Coast Trains will […]

    Read more →
lablist-logo mark-ferguson maya conor coffee-cup
Everything Labour. Every Weekday Morning
×