What the NEC election results mean

20th June, 2012 1:00 pm

Labour’s NEC results have been announced today – expect the mainstream media and the right to read plenty into them. Much of it will be stuff that isn’t borne out by the facts – so here’s my take on what the results mean.

1) As you were. 5 of the 6 NEC members were re-elected, and the only change is that Luke Akehurst* is replaced by Peter Wheeler – another Progress/Labour First candidate. So the political balance of the NEC remains the same – CLPD 3 Progress/LF 2 Independent 1. There’s no “lurch” from party members – it’s steady as you go – the organisational/political balance remains the same.

2. The overstated demise of Ken. In part Ken Livingstone topping the ballot is due to his name recognition which far exceeds most of the shadow cabinet, nevermind fellow NEC candidates. Yet at the same time it also suggests that his unpopularity amongst Labour activists may have been overstated – certainly there’s a significant chunk of the party that is still hugely loyal to him.

3. You don’t need to be on a slate, but incumbency helps. Johanna Baxter was re-elected to the NEC as an independent, breaking the hold that slates have long held over the NEC. Last time she came 7th but joined the NEC after Oona King became a Baroness. This time she was elected first time – a huge achievement. However other independent candidates fared less well and there is clearly still a slate advantage. Johanna was successful because she’s an incumbent and was able to run for re-election on her record. Incumbency also helped 5 of the existing 6 members get re-elected, and the “new” member Peter Wheeler is an ex-NEC member himself. All had a record to stand on.

4. A disengaged electorate. Turnout was always likely to be lower than last time (which coincided with the leadership election). By my back of an envelope calculations turnout will have been between 25 and 30% (and we’ll be pressing the party to release an official turnout figure). Not great, although not as low as I feared. Considering the power the NEC has – especially in opposition – that’s a disappointingly low. In a party largely shorn of democracy, NEC elections are a chance to have a say. For whatever reason, not enough members knew enough or cared enough to vote. Further engagement with members from the NEC is obviously needed (some members are already better at this than others).

* – On a personal note – I’m sad to see Luke Akehurst is no longer on the NEC. We don’t always agree but he has a huge passion for the party and members – and has made a genuine attempt to engage through forums like this one. 

To report anything from the comment section, please e-mail [email protected]
  • john P Reid

    oona king actually came 2nd last time (like Ken both on the Back of standing for our choice for mayor), And Johanna Baxter was 7th and came in when Oona went to the lords,
     I recall some who nearly won last time Like Sam Tarry and Alex Hilton who was going to stand but didn’t in the end, Haven’t tried this time, which was a shame as they cross the left /right border.

    • Chilbaldi

      I don’t know if Sam Tarry crosses over the border from the left to the right of the party, but agree it is a shame that neither stood.

  • AlanGiles

    Interesting that two of the more right wing writers for LL – namely Mr Akehurst and Mr Richards, have both lost elections this week (Richards Police Commissioner for Brighton, Akehurst NEC).

    Just an observation which I make without further comment.

    • Oh come now Alan, don’t be coy. 

      Tell us what you really think the election results for Messrs Richards and Akehurst display.

      Interesting that one of the more left wing members – namely Mr Livingstone – has lost the London election (twice) but topped the result for the NEC. Aren’t people fickle?

      • AlanGiles

        I said I wouldn’t make further comment, David and I won’t

  • OK, OK, you really need to break this down more. You’re assuming far too much in-depth knowledge by readers, which probably contributes to putting off casual Labour party members – the ones who don’t constantly fixate about party events. You know, the 70% who didn’t vote in these recent internal elections.

    Let’s start with abbreviations. I’ve noticed this in a lot of recent posts, but no-one seems to be spelling out what the NEC or the NPF are. Even the words “national executive committee” and “national policy forum” would be a nice start, as well as actually clarifying the differences between the two and what both bodies actually do.

    In addition to this, your mention of political balance baffles me. Before this post, I hadn’t realised that the candidates were representing different philosophies. The voting leaflet, which is practically the single piece of information that Labour party members would have about the candidates, was notably unclear about this. And coming back to abbreviations, what is CLPD? From the sentence, I’m guessing a more leftish group (of three people) on the national executive committee, but again, it’s completely opaque to more casual Labour readers.

    This isn’t a personal criticism of the author or of the site. It’s of this assumed knowledge that simply makes it difficult for Labour members (not even mentioning the public, for pity’s sake) who aren’t “in the know” about these sorts of issues.

    It also wouldn’t surprise me if it’s part of why turnout was as low as it was, with general information about the process and the candidates notably sparse or opaque, discouraging participation from the very people we want involved – right?

    • I second this. In my case, I’m a very active member in many respects and a regular reader/commenter on LL, but even I often find my knowledge of the specifics of internal party democracy is a bit lacking, I sometimes have to look up people/acronyms in order to follow and with the exception of the high-recognition names, I tend to vote relatively blindly when the internal elections roll around. Like Jeevan said, putting myself in the shoes of a more casual member or member of the public, I wouldn’t know where to start.

  • Mike Homfray

    I know a fair few who voted largely Ga but also for Peter Wheeler as the only personikely to win based in the north of England

  • Daniel Speight

    I will give Luke Akehurst his due. He doesn’t post and run on LL like so many MPs. He is willing to argue his corner even if many don’t agree with it.

  • Newham Sue

    I agree that the booklet sent out didn’t do enough to differentiate the candidates (one reason Ken would have towered over others – we all know exactly what he’s about). Also, if anyone was still to vote by that point, do feel the hysterical tone of Luke’s attacks on the GMB motion (and anyone of a left persuasion) may have put folk off. Defending Progress policy/structure is one thing, but claiming the Labour Party is about to be swept by some new red peril is just immature poppycock

  • aracataca

    Been moddied off again. Suspect the malign influence of that great democrat AG. However, I will try again. Nice to see Ellie Reeves back.She always keeps in touch with members. The elections show there is no desire for radical internal change in the party. Suits me.

Latest

  • Comment Featured Uncategorized Britain seems to be fragmenting but English socialism is being reborne

    Britain seems to be fragmenting but English socialism is being reborne

      by Tom Kelsey and Jon Wilson The referendum brought to light deep fractures that risk destroying the left, and with the prospect of a bruising leadership election the divisions seem to be getting wider. Working class voters in once industrial towns and cities think their political leaders are out-of-touch with no understanding of life in a country many feel is rapidly changing for the worse. The idea of the nation, particularly of a resurgent England, has become a channel […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Uncategorized As the dust settles on the vote for Brexit, it is time to reach out to our democracy’s missing millions

    As the dust settles on the vote for Brexit, it is time to reach out to our democracy’s missing millions

    At a critical point in the development of the Labour party leadership, this article offers a few thoughts on a future Labour agenda for democratic reform that transcends internal politicking. After four years of working at Bite The Ballot, a party-neutral youth democracy movement – and one that unites decision-makers of all persuasions in its work – I can say that British politics still has a long way to go on the road to democratic renewal. Though the pieces are still […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured We must bring politics back to our communities rather than leave people to rely on Westminster “elites”

    We must bring politics back to our communities rather than leave people to rely on Westminster “elites”

    All told, it’s not been a good few months for the standing of our politicians. Whether you think there was a good case to have a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU or not, the reason we were all put through it was ultimately one of internal Conservative party management. A fundamental question about who we are as a nation and how to best represent our interests was embarked upon because David Cameron thought it was his best […]

    Read more →
  • News Kinnock: Labour must show that its socialism can “work in practice”

    Kinnock: Labour must show that its socialism can “work in practice”

    Neil Kinnock has criticised “ideological flights of fancy”, and said that Labour needs to show that socialism can “work in practice” before it can be successful. The former leader has said that winning parties have to be “professional” as well as having a “sense of belief”, and launched a strong attack on “career politicians”. “You can enchant people by ideological flights of fancy, but that’s not going to help them at all,” Lord Kinnock told BBC programme Conversations this week. He said […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Wayne David: Top-down change no longer works – we must boost democracy from the ground up

    Wayne David: Top-down change no longer works – we must boost democracy from the ground up

    If we are serious about extending political engagement and closing the gap between people and politics, Labour needs to do two things. Firstly, we need to have a coherent and powerful narrative about bringing power closer to the people. And secondly, we need to have a series of practical proposals to make the political process more accessible and relevant to people. Even though Labour was the party which introduced devolution in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and recently favoured “permissive” […]

    Read more →
x

LabourList Daily Email

Everything Labour. Every weekday morning

Share with your friends










Submit