New group “Labour for Democracy” launched

4th December, 2012 9:08 am

Tonight sees the official launch of a new internal party group, the rather loftily titled “Labour for Democracy” (for what’s worth I doubt we’ll be getting a “Labour against Democracy” any time soon). The group is fronted by Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield, who will act as their Chair. Announcing the formation of the group, Blomfield said:

“We’re committed to the radical change for Britain that Ed Miliband has set out in his One Nation agenda. We believe that it needs a new approach to the way we do politics, reaching out to those who share our values across parties. It’s not about coalitions or compromise, but building on popular support for progressive change that is shared by voters who do not always support Labour.”
As for the aims of the group, their website states that:
“All Labour members will work hard for every Labour vote.  But whether we win the outright Labour majority we all seek, or end up with a less conclusive result, the change Britain needs will require the support of all who share our values.”
Many of those involved in Labour for Democracy were supporters of the Yes to AV campaign, with some of the early press coverage suggesting that the group is part of extending an olive branch to the Lib Dems ahead of a possible coalition. For those  who are wondering to what extent this is being endorsed by the party leadership, it’s worth noting that John Denham (Ed Miliband’s PPS and one of his closest advisers) is backing the group, saying:
“Pluralism is simply a commitment to work with others, including members and supporters of other political parties if that increases our chances of achieving progressive change. While Labour values are most strongly supported by Labour voters, many supporters of other parties also share some of our values. No party today speaks exclusively for progressive opinion; none will do so in the future.”
The launch event is tonight at 6pm, Committee Room 17 in the commons. We’ll be watching with interest, as – I imagine – will be Labour minded members of the Lib Dems.
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  • A step in the right direction. Labour in Scotland badly need some democracy applied as their membership has never been asked on its views as regards its stance on the Independence issue. The Labour for Independence group is pressing for discussion, but the lack of democracy is obvious – no talk, no discussion, no, no and more no.
    I hope the new LFD group turns its spotlights on this shocking lack of party organisation north of the border.

  • llanystumdwy

    Lets hope they really believe in democracy and will bring about change – but I doubt anything will change..

    Remember, Gordon Brown was not elected by party members (or the country) and yet managed to sneak his way into becoming leader. Why does this loophole still exist with no senior member of the party speaking against it? The Labour party is the stitch up party which has no understanding of the meaning of the term democracy.

  • PaulHalsall

    John Denham- aarrgh!

  • Chilbaldi

    I really don’t see the point in this. Are we mad?
    1. We will never need to form a coalition with the Liberals.
    2. I would rather operate with a bare majority spurn the Liberals and ensure that they die, rather than give them a lifeline. Why encourage competition on the left of British politics?
    3. Pluralism is good, but lets remember that we are the major left wing party and have only just come out of 13 years of government. I know its natural to have moments of self doubt but come on…. are the doom-mongers really suggesting its that bad for Labour in the long run? I’d hate to have been around in the 80s if this is how pessimistic people are now!
    Groups like this are a little self-defeating if treated as any more important than a simple sop to Guardian readers.

  • Chilbaldi

    It’s not a loophole, it is the British Constitution. You fell into the lies the Tories were saying before the 2010 election.

    • llanystumdwy

      No. I was not talking about the British Constitution, I was talking about the Labour party constitution in which New Labour created to prevent any candidate standing for leadership unless they have the nominations of 20% of Labour party MPs. This effectively leaves the election of the leadership in the hands of Labour MPs and excludes ordinary party members from having a say. This is my point about Brown dodging the election with the party membership – it has nothing to do with the British Constitution. And no former cabinet member has had the courage to admit to this failing. This is stitch up politics.

    • The British constitution says nothing about party leadership elections… Brown’s coronation was a vile spectacle, a total farce.

      • Redshift1

        True but that was a PLP stitch up. They should of had a contest, and Brown probably should have gone for an election there and then (although no reason other than good politics to do so).

        If getting more party democracy is what this group is about fine, but from the looks of it it’s a continuation of Neal Lawson’s obsession with Lab-Lib coalition.

  • Chilbaldi

    True, as I doubt the Murphy/Boyack stuff will.

  • Janet Keene

    why work with a party who will be wiped out?

  • 100% wrong, please go away and stop this silly idea that Labour cannot win elections without the help of turncoat Lib Dems or Greens who wander from Labour in the first place. It is an utter insult to every hard working Labour activist to even create this group. It is defeatist and represent all that is wrong in the party.

    Labour must win on Labour values and they must not be watered down to play 2nd fiddle to other parties who do not share the same values. This silly notion has gone too far and this is not real democracy. People are free to choose in a vote but this notion is horrendous. What is says is whoever comes 2nd that’s OK they can be in power to!!!

    Regardless of who is pulling the strings on this the wider party do not want it and those forcing these views on the party should stop and think what harm they are doing.

    • Chilbaldi

      Exactly. Coalitions are really democratic aren’t they? That Lib Dem manifesto is really being put into practice, giving all those Lib Dem voters what they want. Democracy in action.
      I joined Labour to ensure there is a Labour majority in Parliament from now until the day I die. I would be really happy if the Liberals ceased to exist.

  • 100% wrong, please go away and stop this silly idea that Labour cannot win elections without the help of turncoat Lib Dems or Greens who wander from Labour in the first place. It is an utter insult to every hard working Labour activist to even create this group. It is defeatist and represent all that is wrong in the party.

    Labour must win on Labour values and they must not be watered down to play 2nd fiddle to other parties who do not share the same values. This silly notion has gone too far and this is not real democracy. People are free to choose in a vote but this notion is horrendous. What is says is whoever comes 2nd that’s OK they can be in power to!!!

    Regardless of who is pulling the strings on this the wider party do not want it and those forcing these views on the party should stop and think what harm they are doing.

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