Some Labour supporters have charged advocates of democratisation of the Labour Party, including mandatory reselection, as being ‘obsessed’ with holding MPs to account. We socialists argue that it’s not an ‘obsession’ but is a fundamental prerequisite of building a Party capable of securing the election of and sustaining a Corbyn-led Labour government.
The fundamental contradictions facing the Labour Party are:
- It is led by Jeremy Corbyn with the support of the overwhelming majority of the 600,000 members who has made a break with the policies of austerity advocated by the Blairites.
- The Party machine and the Parliamentary Labour Party is still controlled by a right wing which colonised the Party, particularly during the Blair and Mandelson years, who adhered to free market capitalism, the maintenance of austerity and shackling the trade unions.
It would be an error to imagine that, because of JC’s popularity, they have changed their outlook.
The present rules and constitution make it very difficult for the mass party membership to exercise control and accountability over their elected representatives.
The solution is for the party rule book to return the power to the membership by democratising its structures.
To bring this about rules changes should include:
- A procedure of mandatory reselection of elected representatives before each election to allow the members to judge the performance of MPs and Councillors and to decide whether to readopt or select an alternative.
- The formulation of policy to be determined by the Party membership via the vehicle of a City or District Labour representing all Labour movement organisations which would be binding on elected councillors and MPs. As it was under the rule book of 1985 which was ripped up by the Neil Kinnock-led administration. A key clause was: The DLP will ‘…..formulate an electoral programme and to compile a panel of candidates.’ This rule involved all sections of the Labour Movement in the decision-making process, a concept now alien to the right wing who are determined to hang on to control from the top.
These proposals will open the discussion on how to forge a Labour Party capable of not only securing the election of a Corbyn-led government but to sustain it in the face of a ferocious campaign of opposition from the capitalists and their media.