The Labour Party has long been drifting towards an organisational and political style that political scientists call ‘electoral-professional’. This is a modus operandi in which a party no longer acts a bottom-up mass membership party but is instead an elite of parliamentarians and parliamentary staff who have almost total control over the image, policy, ideologies and activities of the party.
Party membership in this model is simply not necessary. In fact members and activists are at best tolerated instead of encouraged. Therefore such parties tend to have very low membership numbers, and the members have little real incentive to join unless they want to rise up the ranks to become MPs or parliamentary staff. Instead of relying on the fundraising of party members or their activism, instead such parties rely on backdoor state funding through parliament which pays for the bulk of their activities.
The upshot is that, if Curran is indeed involved in the suppression of party members’ activism and speech as alleged, then she is hardly acting out of sync with the spirit or operations of the modern Labour Party. Instead she is simply reinforcing and playing the usual role required under the model of the modern electoral-professional style party.
The way to get ahead in the Labour Party is to become a parliamentary staffer. Look at their caucus. The former parliamentary staffers include:
- The Leader
- The Deputy Leader
- The No 4
- The House Leader
- The Chief Whip
As far as I know only one MP in National used to be a parliamentary staffer. The Greens also have a fast-track for parliamentary staffers with three MPs having worked for the Greens in Parliament. But at least their selections are not so centrally controlled.