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

13th January, 2012 11:39 am

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

  • News Harriet Harman urges Cameron to demand compensation from the French government over Calais crisis

    Harriet Harman urges Cameron to demand compensation from the French government over Calais crisis

    Harriet Harman has written to the David Cameron to urge him to ask the French government to pay compensation to Britons affected by the chaos at Calais. In a letter to the Prime Minister (the full text of which you can find below), Labour’s interim leader argues that the government has ignored warnings from Labour and hauliers about the growing crisis at Calais. There are thought to be over 3,000 people living in a ‘migrant camp’ in Calais and over […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured What do final CLP nomination patterns mean for each leadership candidate?

    What do final CLP nomination patterns mean for each leadership candidate?

    Two weeks ago I did an initial analysis of the patterns in the CLP nominations for Leader. We now have the final nomination figures: 145 for Jeremy Corbyn (though some sources are saying 147) (38% of those nominating), 110 for Andy Burnham (29%), 109 for Yvette Cooper (29%), 18 for Liz Kendall (5%). This means that 267 CLPs (41%) did not nominate. As I said last week some deliberately don’t bother – the two large Oxford CLPs (where I live) […]

    Read more →
  • News Milifandom founder reveals who she’s backing for Labour leader

    Milifandom founder reveals who she’s backing for Labour leader

    Abby Tomlinson, the founder of Milifandom, has announced that she is backing Andy Burnham to be Labour’s next leader. Really proud to have such a great advocate for my campaign in @twcuddleston. Thanks for the support Abby. — Andy Burnham (@andyburnhammp) July 31, 2015 Tomlinson started a ‘fandom’ for former Labour leader Ed Miliband in the lead up to the last general election. She formalised her attachment Miliband by declaring herself a “Milifan”, part of the “Milifandom”. Among other things, Tomlinson argued […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Europe Featured Why is the EU the only area on which no alternative is being offered in the leadership race?

    Why is the EU the only area on which no alternative is being offered in the leadership race?

    Like many, I was disappointed to read this week that Jeremy Corbyn has announced that he will be supporting an “In” vote when we come to the referendum on our EU membership by the end of 2017. Whether you agree with him or not, it is undeniable that Jeremy has widened the debate on so many policy areas in this leadership election, and has given a voice to parts of the party that have been ignored for decades. Why then, […]

    Read more →
  • News Would George Galloway really be allowed to rejoin Labour?

    Would George Galloway really be allowed to rejoin Labour?

    George Galloway intends to rejoin the Labour Party if Jeremy Corbyn wins the leadership election, 12 years after being expelled. However, it is far from certain that he would be allowed to do so. Speaking on LBC Radio, Galloway told Iain Dale that he would “definitely” join Labour “pretty damn quick” if Corbyn became leader – but the leadership candidate has been less than complimentary about the former Glasgow, Bethnal Green and Bradford MP. In an interview with the New […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit