Labour's leader Jeremy Corbyn wants members to decide who will be their prospective parliamentary candidate at the next General Election. Given the Tories inability to govern that opportunity might not be far away. Reactions to Ian Lavery MP's recent pronouncements suggest that the age of entitlement in the Labour Party is not over (yet). Let me untangle these issues.
Ahead of the shock, surprise May 2017 General Election, Labour was so ill-prepared that the NEC took upon itself the power to select candidates. Serial rebel MPs in the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) were given a 'Get out of Jail' card. However much local disquiet to a sitting MP standing again for re-election - tough. Labour's rebels have much to thank Tory PM Theresa May for her decision to call a snap election. Their candidacy was safe. Though in some isolated places previously safe Labour seats were lost.
With the Tories in disarray over how to govern (full stop), never mind Brexit, the prospects of another General Election in 2017 require decisive action on the part of Labour CLPs and the NEC. The mantra is that nothing can be done without the authority of the NEC. I find that jobsworth approach utterly depressing. The Labour Party needs candidates in place for both local, regional and national elections much earlier than has been common practice.
National contingency planning needs to focus on the full panoply of opportunity - national, regional, local and, dare I add, European elections. If the NEC is unable to provide detailed guidance ahead of the July meeting cycle for local parties, IMHO CLPs should get on and ask the June 2017 PPCs whether they wish to stand again. In the absence of an acceptable 'sitting candidate', then CLPs should invite expressions of interest and enable all their members to take part in a selection process.
This may mean some ruffling of feathers among Labour MPs with an inflated sense of entitlement, tough. Members are entitled to decide. It is in the rules. What is the problem? Oh, yes - entitlement. Well, sorry peeps, it's time to get real.