As the SKWAWKBOX revealed last weekend, Labour members in Enfield have demanded that the party’s NEC (National Executive Committee) investigate the deeply-flawed process for selecting candidates for May’s local elections, pointing a finger at then-Secretary of the LCF (local campaign forum).
That same official was subsequently elected as leader of the council, ousting an incumbent who was highly regarded on both left and right of the party – by councillors including some who had been selected via the huge ‘irregularities’ in the selection process that she had overseen.
The council leader is close to right-wing Labour MP Joan Ryan, who employs the leader’s mother. She is also the sister of a candidate on the right-wing Labour First/Progress slate in this summer’s election of nine member-representatives to the NEC.
The extent of the failure – or abandonment – of Labour’s rules regarding the contribution to the party and communication abilities of applicants approved to stand as Labour candidates is shockingly illustrated by an application subsequently submitted by one of the councillors for an important planning committee position.
The councillor in question was one who had benefited from one of the ‘anomalies’ that allowed candidates to stand who had not been asked two ‘essential‘ questions – including one designed to test applicants’ ability to communicate. The application is barely comprehensible:
“Closeness to collection”; “This region is long as a long time life“; “House first issue should discarded” – along with one paragraph repeated verbatim and “after training the last punisment you should know” – stand out in a barely and sometimes completely incomprehensible application.
The investigators of the selection issues submitted a report of their findings to the local party. It includes a description of the two “essential” questions that were supposed to be asked of every applicant, but which were omitted from the interviews for some candidates, as the subsequent council leader admitted she had ‘guided’ the interview panels to do:
Is it conceivable that the now-councillor who succeeded in reaching the candidates’ list would have passed the ‘essential’ communication question if it had been asked during the interview?
The investigators’ report also details what interviewers are declaring when they approve an applicant to go forward as a candidate:
5. The assessment of Yes / No / Potentially is made in response to the following question: ‘Having conducted the interview with the nominee, observed the exercise, and considered all the information available to you, are you confident that this nominee would be a good Labour Party representative, who would contribute as an effective member of the team within the Labour group and the party’?
The decision to leave out two ‘essential questions’ from the interviews makes a travesty of the whole basis of the selections.
It also raises questions about why such vital questions would be omitted, allowing incapable and unfit applicants to become candidates and then councillors.
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