Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Labour leadership preferences...

In a moment snatched from dealing with the current reality of redundancies I have contributed to an email discussion between members of the Labour Representation Committee about the Labour leadership election and - since work pressures restrict blogging just now - thought I would inflict my meandering upon you, dear reader.

The LRC has rightly supported Diane Abbott as the candidate for whom Labour Party members should cast their first preference vote. This sensible decision reflects an appreciation of the fact that her vote will be read as an index of support for broadly socialist policies amongst rank and file Party members and trade unionists.

However, the question then arises as to whether to cast a second preference vote between the two disappointing sons of a good Marxist father who seem likely to make it to the final round of voting.

I agree that there isn't much in it between any of the four white male fortysomethings in suits but I do offer this observation.

A problem for some years has been the unwillingness of the leaders of the biggest trade unions to exert effective political pressure on the Labour leadership.

This refusal has its roots in the "division of labour" between the political and industrial wings of the movement. One of the things I think we created the LRC for was to try to transcend this historic weakness of Labourism (whether left or right, "old" or "New").

Given the support for Ed M from these same leaders is it not worth considering the possibility that it may be - at least - marginally easier to argue with them to place demands on the candidate they have endorsed and supported?

I don't claim that this is a vital point but it nudges me in the direction of thinking that, whilst I will cast my first preference vote, if not enthusiastically then at least in a determined way for a (deeply flawed) candidate of the left, I shall (holding my nose) cast a second preference for someone we should consider not endorsing in any way but supporting "as a rope supports a hanging man"

That said it is far more important, I think, that LRC members discuss how we build working class opposition to the Government (and those who do their bidding) - and pressure on trade union leaders to support this opposition.

I will vote not on the basis of the merits of the candidates but on the basis of a decision (which may be right or wrong) about how the voting in the election will impact (to however limited an extent) upon these more important issues.

We desperately need effective opposition to the ConDems - and the trade unions need to use every tool we have, including our influence over what ought to be the Parliamentary opposition to an unprecedented assault on the Welfare State.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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