More views on Labour’s review

Danyl McL blogs:

The draft states – in a diplomatic way – that the affiliates, ie the unions, have an awful lot of power within , but that they don’t do much during elections or give the party much money.

Which I find interesting. Ever since the UK election I’ve been wondering about the role that unions play in left-wing politics there, in Australia, and here. Having these powerful external organisations running around stacking selections, picking MPs and playing kingmaker within the party, which then gets slaughtered when the public don’t like the candidates they picked doesn’t seem to be working out that well for anyone.

Sadly Labour have been moving towards giving unions more power within Labour, not less. The unions annointed Andrew Little leader, despite Grant Robertson being the first choice of the members and caucus.

But I doubt former EMPU boss Andrew Little would agree with that, or the implied criticism of the unions in the review. So my theory is that Little demanded that point be removed from the final draft and someone who felt strongly about the point – and, perhaps, the role the unions played putting Little into power – leaked the draft.

A plausible theory.

A lot of people spent an awful lot of time and money trying to get ‘the missing million’ to vote in 2014. The conventional wisdom on the left is that the missing million stopped voting because there was no alternative to ‘neoliberalism’. Well, the Cunliffe-led Labour Party was very left-wing. The Greens were even more left-wing. Mana/Internet were very left-wing. The missing million didn’t vote for any of them. I’m all for research into this group of voters, but the lesson of 2014 is that targeting people who don’t vote instead of people who do is political suicide.

Hopefully Labour will ignore Danyl, and keep focusing on the missing million!

This section is too long to fully quote, but reveals that Labour does not have an executive committee or a campaign committee, both fairly staggering organisational gaps in a modern political party.

Their NZ Council has 22 members on it. Everyone knows that is too large to be a proper governing body. You need o either have a more manageable size (National has a nine person board) or have an executive committee.

And a party that doesn’t have a campaign committee!

Labour had some embarrassingly terrible candidates in the last election. But one of their biggest problems is that too many of their candidates are unionists or staffers imposed by the party on electorates that they have no connection to, and who keep running in that same electorate even as the electorate and party votes sink lower and lower. Building up the local branches and letting them identify high quality candidates seems like the obvious solution there, not further centralisation. That would be lots of hard work through, instead of a simple organisational change.

Labour Party member Phil Quin is even harsher:

The Gould Review was a carnival of navel gazing. A joke. 


However, the leaked review contains a glistening turd, namely the proposed Vetting Committee for the Labour list.

This is an atrocious idea. Because of its first past the post voting rules, Labour’s governing body is already a mono-factional behemouth incapable of promoting anyone but their own.  Adding an additional committee made up of handpicked members, unelected and unaccountable to party members, to vet poential candidates is not only needlessly bureaucratic; it is flagrantly undemocratic. 

Who would the NZ Council appoint to such a Vetting Committee other than people who agree with them?  How does that solve anything? How does it not simply entrench the problem that the party elites are determined to shrink the talent pool to include only people they would be happy to invite around for dinner?

The solution to a lack of internal democracy is not to create an undemocratic entity that takes even more power away from party members. 

In the pantheon of bad ideas, this one deserve high billing. 

The leaking of the review has highlighted even better than the review itself, the major problem. Labour is unfit to govern. Different factions leaking to do over the other faction.

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