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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Corbyn's power-grab on Labour policy levers criticised

With a Parliamentary vote on Trident looming, Jeremy Corbyn has stepped up his campaign to control Labour's policy levers so that he might line up the party's views on key issues with his own.

However, it will not be plain sailing, with opposition to his plans emerging outside the Parliamentary party as well as within.

The Guardian reports that the Labour NEC is to examine calls to give it a greater say over policymaking, at the expense of the national policy forum, and to give the committee a decisive say over the recruitment of Labour party staff.

Bex Bailey, a representative of Young Labour on the NEC, has warned of the dangers of handing the NEC control over staffing:

“A new NEC staffing committee, to directly recruit members of staff, would make staff recruitment political and divisive, putting our wish to be a great employer at risk,” Bailey wrote.

“We should take seriously our commitment to equal opportunities and oppose any attempts to politicise the staff team to work for anything other than winning local and national elections.”

The representative of Young Labour also raised concerns about Lansman’s proposals to bolster the NEC’s role over policymaking.

“I am completely opposed to any move to centralise policymaking powers to the NEC or to Labour party conference,”

“Centralising power in this manner will have an adverse effect on engagement with party members and the wider public and limit our decision-making to a smaller and less diverse group of people who, despite their best and most genuine efforts, cannot always effectively represent every single part of our party.”

Although ostensibly this is an argument over whether the Labour membership or MPs should have the final say on policy, in fact the stifling of the party's national policy forum would undermine the role of ordinary members as well. A far cry of the Bennite principle of empowering grassroots activists.

It seems that the only principle that is being followed here is to adopt the policy-making method that has the best chance of achieving the desired outcome.
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