Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Harriet Harman or Horrible Hypocrite?

Today, like other Labour Party members, I got an email from our Acting Leader, Harriet Harman, asking me to encourage friends and family to join the Labour Party.

Harriet told me to let them know that, by joining before 8th September, they can help choose our next Leader.

Harriet forgot to mention in her email to Party members that the choice I am to offer to those of my family and friends who join the Party will be limited to those candidates who secure sufficient nominations from Members of Parliament between 24 and 27 May!

John McDonnell is right to describe this as a stitch up (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8690259.stm). We have been done up like kippers!

If you will excuse my quoting from a press release from the Labour Representation Committee I will share the following;

"Effectively this means that the whole process is biased towards the Labour hierarchy's favoured candidates, largely excluding the possibility of others coming forward to secure sufficient nominations.

It also prevents rank and file party members having any say over the process. Labour MPs will have no real opportunity to consult their local parties and constituency parties will have no time to meet.

John McDonnell said:
"We thought that New Labour had learnt its lesson from the coronation of Gordon Brown and wanted a genuinely democratic process this time round. By curtailing the nomination process so drastically in this way the whole process is being discredited from the start. Effectively excluding rank and file members of the party in this way will just alienate all those who are looking for a fresh start."

If the truncated nomination period means that the Parliamentary Labour Party fail to put a socialist on the ballot paper for Party members and trade unionists to vote for then the contest will become a pointless marionette show.

Harriet's email will have been utterly hypocritical if we end up without the choice of a break with New Labour on the ballot paper for Labour Leader. No former Cabinet member can offer this.

All those who wish to rescue Harriet from hypocrisy and - more importantly - rescue the Labour Party from irrelevance must pile the pressure on Labour MPs to nominate John McDonnell and give Party members and trade unionists a real choice.

We have a matter of days in which to act.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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