The link between CLPs and Leadership needs strengthening and that is not any individual’s fault, it is a matter of how we organise and develop and something we must do once we have our new Leader in place.
I joined Labour back in the dark ages; when Thatcher was wrecking our housing system, crushing Unions and polishing her pseudo Royal “my country and I” rhetoric. I was just one of the angry young women who fought for a better and more honest way of governing. The Labour Party was the only viable option to oust the tories and it still is. Because of that I have never supported any of the internal factions nor have I ever undermined a democratically elected Labour leader or done anything other than support him.
However, I see that the factional divides are squaring up against each other in the Leadership contest and they are risking igniting the whole internal battle again for the next few years. The reason that I am putting myself forward for the NEC CLP rep position is that it is time for greater balance at the heart of our great Party: It does not belong to one or other faction! For years ordinary members and their CLPs have been at the end of a pecking order that saw them with little influence and little campaign money to spend. Members are not sheep, I believe that if members had greater power and resources to campaign through their CLP then they would not feel the need to seek that power through the patronage system. Patronage permeates our internal elections and selections which, in my observation, merely reproduces the dangers and mistakes of the past rather than genuinely seeking more democratic or effective ways of doing things.
Also on my list of jobs as a NEC member would be to find a more effective route for CLPs to take part in policy development rather than the rather clunky arms length National Policy Forum. I spent 3 (very happy) years on the NPF, specifically on the Economy Commission, and while it had some strengths, its weaknesses were greater. The reality is that policy is currently largely decided at Leadership or Shadow Cabinet level which has given us some great policies but also led us up some blind alleys in 2019. Our memberships in constituencies like Redcar, Sedgefield, Darlington, Stockton South and Bishop Auckland had something to tell us about our direction in 2016 to 2019 but we didn't always listen, that connection between members and the rest of the Party must be strengthened and policy development is key.
The Labour Party is my Party, your Party, our Party, don’t be shy about voting for greater CLP power!