Friday, 9 September 2016

The rules is the rules

This is from the Rule Book.

“The shortlisting and selection of candidates shall consist of a vote, by eliminating ballot, of all eligible individual members of the electoral ward/division on the basis of one member one vote.”

There’s always a slightly abstract element to Green Party procedural debates. No matter how much emotion we invest in a technical wrangle, the Party will continue to be roughly what it is now.

The above comes from the Labour Party Rule Book, though, which means it changes everything.
Officially, it comes from Chapter 5 Clause 3, section 6, covering the selection of local government candidates for councillor elections. For Bristol’s Labour councillors, it comes from the depths of hell.  It says that Bristol Labour Party’s predominantly Corbynite membership can deselect all the Labour councillors who haven’t rallied to the Corbyn banner if they so choose. We all knew this could happen to MPs, I’m not sure everyone realised councillors were also in danger.

For mayoral candidates the rule is less clear. Clause 6, section 3 says “The NEC shall also draw up detailed procedural guidance with respect to selections for directly elected leaders of regional administrations and local authorities based on principles detailed in Clause I above. Regional (or Scottish or Welsh) selections board, representative of the given area and reflecting a balance of CLPs and affiliates, will also administer these processes.”

This might seem to offer them the opportunity to reselect Marvin without going to the members. However, the section contains a reference to the principles detailed in Clause 1, which include “F 1. One member one vote (OMOV) shall be adopted in all selections where reasonably practicable including those when an electoral college is used.”

Let us be clear what this means. If the Labour Party go for all out reselection then all three Bristol Labour MPs, all their councillors except the Corbyn supporters (as far as I am aware this is limited to Kye Dudd, Hibaq Jama and Harriet Bradley), and probably even Marvin himself, are sitting on ticking time bombs. By February 2020 they will be as good as absent from the political landscape

In their place, 38 cutprice Robespierres, well versed in marching and shouting at women in meetings, but not especially knowledgeable about the challenges they face. The two experienced councillors they’ve retained, Kye and Hibaq, will presumably have to run for the top jobs, so that’s Hibaq for mayor and Kye as her eminence beige, herding the new guys from neighbourhood partnership meeting to planning committee and giving them crib cards labelled ‘What to say’ and ‘How to vote’.

Am I enjoying writing this? Perhaps a little, but any sense of schadenfreude lurking in the less green parts of my psyche must surely be outweighed by an awareness of the consequences for us. And when I say us, I mean all of us.

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