The Labour Party's capacity to upset local activists continues unrestrained on the other side of Offa's Dyke. Having been 'instructed' by former Hackney Council chief whip, Luke Akehurst to put a sock in it, I feel compelled to highlight misinformation being attributed by the South Wales media to outgoing Islwyn MP Don Touhig and an unnamed Labour Party official.
Earlier this week Mr Touhig was reported as saying:
"Labour Party procedure has been followed and party members will now get the opportunity to select a candidate from a talented short-list."
Who chose the talented short-list?
According to the latest story in the South Wales Argus:
A Welsh Labour spokesman said: "Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidates are chosen by local Labour members in a democratic vote, and to suggest that the Labour Party's selection process is anything other than fair would be completely wrong."
It is true to say there will be a democratic vote. But it is not the whole truth and nothing but the truth to say:
to suggest that the Labour Party's selection process is anything other than fair would be completely wrong."
On the contrary, the longlisting, interviewing and shortlisting process now being used is so opaque and lacking in 'fairness' as to be bringing the Labour Party into disrepute. Not very smart, IMHO, under any circumstances, let alone with a general election only weeks away. There is no reason why within the Labour Party's NEC fasttrack procedure that all applicants CVs could not have been made available to members electronically. (The Labour Party has its own intranet to which all members can have access). There is no reason why all members and or their elected constituency party officials could not have been asked to longlist candidates for interview, and then been offered observer rights at the interview sessions leading to shortlisting.
The usual excuse advanced for not adopting such methods is that it excludes those not on eMail. What would be better? Local members encouraged to participate and enable those lacking eliteracy to do likewise or preventing all members from taking part in longlisting through to the shortlist? Bit of a no-brainer for those of us campaigning to retain and recruit members.
So my sympathies go out to comrades past and present in Wales who object to being cheated of their rights to select candidates from the moment a vacancy arises to the declaration of the selection ballot. One would have thought the Labour Party would have learned its lesson after the infamous Blaenau Gwent defeat. Not so it would appear. Misleading members and the public about the new arrangements is not going to help win the next election. So Mr Touhig, who did chose the short-list? And why were local members given no say in the process?