At the heart of the intrigue is said to be Labour First (LF). LF is a non-membership brother/sisterhood of right-wing Labour Party members that is alleged to control the Party machine. BTW you won't find any reference to them here. Among those at the centre of the LF web is alleged to be Fiona Gordon, Political Secretary to the Prime Minister. She was the person, of whom it is said according to my sources raised her voice to David Pitt-Watson, who has now declined the post of General-Secretary, not Gordon Brown. She is the person, of whom it is said is actively promoting the candidacy of Ray Collins with support from the Amicus section of Unite (or at least its political director and former spin-doctor to Gordon Brown, Charlie Whelan) against the obvious candidate from the GPMU section of Unite, Mike Griffiths. Griffiths was interviewed for the job only six weeks ago. If Griffiths was deemed to be appointable then, and went through a legitimate interview process missing appointment by one or two votes, why hasn't the full NEC considered the option of offering him the job? Or has the Labour leadership lost its senses completely and ditched any pretence of following sound equal opportunities recruitment practices?
My hope is that the NEC will reconsider the position adopted by its officers as a matter of urgency.
First, they need to get a clear understanding of why the last recruitment failed. Unfortunately, to avoid scrutiny of their actions, NEC officers who met on Tuesday allowed the chair, Dianne Hayter, to cancel the next NEC scheduled for 22 May.
Now, it just so happens that the whole Labour Party NEC (remarkably in the circumstances) has been invited to Brussels next week by the Labour Group of MEPs in the European Parliament. If there were a quorum present, I would be demanding an Emergency Meeting in the hub of the European demos to overturn the NEC chair's ruling and reinstate the 22 May meeting. They have a lot more to discuss than just the appointment of a GS. Current declining membership trends, the Statement of Accounts for the Electoral Commission, rescheduling of loans, latest donations returns, and the outcome of the May elections to mention a mere handful. Oh, of course there's that by-election in Crewe on....oh, when is it? Oh, yes 22 May, what a coincidence. If any member of the NEC seriously believes that by cancelling their meeting that day it will have any bearing on outcome, then s/he has really lost touch with reality. (In any case, who's idea was it to move the by-election writ so quickly following the death of Gwyneth Dunwoody MP? Of course, Fiona, couldn't possibly have had anything to do with it, could she?)
Perhaps the HR experts among readers of this blog would like to comment. Politically, I don't think we have a leg to stand on.