FBU’s Matt Wrack speaks out in support of ‘Open Selection’

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In June, as the SKWAWKBOX reported, the FBU (Fire Brigades Union) annual conference voted strongly in favour of mandatory reselection, often called ‘open selection’. Now FBU head Matt Wrack has spoken out in support of the change to Labour rules to make it easier for members to decide who represents them to the electorate and in Parliament.

In a statement titled “To serve as a Labour MP is an honour, not a right“, Wrack says:

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) conference in June made a bold and significant intervention into the Labour Party’s democracy review by demanding the party adopt mandatory reselection of MPs in each parliament.

Our conference unanimously carried the resolution, which explained the very real contradiction at the heart of the Labour Party at present. We have leadership under Jeremy Corbyn who represent the aims and values of the vast majority of the membership; yet many of the bureaucratic structures imposed by Tony Blair – and others with an even older vintage – are still in place in the party.

The current process for holding sitting MPs to account by their CLP membership has the strong whiff of entitlement. Some MPs seems to think theirs is a job for life, a job where you cannot even be questioned on your activities of representation, let alone be held accountable. A lifetime’s entitlement to a parliamentary seat is utterly undemocratic and risks in many cases retaining an MP who doesn’t represent the Labour Party or the working class.

If MPs find themselves far off the membership’s wavelength it is not unfair to provide a CLP with democratic processes to enable their removal. If MPs really believe they have the support of their own CLPs, then they will have no problem with mandatory reselection. Labour MPs should not fear mandatory reselection. Those MPs who work hard, who represent their members’ and their constituents’ best interests have nothing to fear.

FBU members know from bitter experience the frustration when dealing with some Labour MPs who refuse to engage with or assist the union, or even to understand the gravity of the situation firefighters face.

The call for mandatory reselection also has wider significance. Bringing real democracy into the Labour Party is essential to our vision of society. Allowing members to have a real say over who represents them and how they can hold representatives to account is vital if we are to have any chance of achieving our goal, which is to bring about a society which has the working classes’ best interests at its core under a socialist government.
FBU conference laid down an important marker: “to serve as a Labour MP is an honour, not a right”.

As an affiliated union, FBU delegates will vote on the issue at Labour’s conference in Liverpool later this month, as long as the Labour right does not succeed in blocking it from the agenda, along with a range of other measures for the empowerment of Labour members.

The ‘Bakers‘ (BFAWU) and Unite are also suspected to support open selection, meaning that if the balance of constituency delegates is as expected, it should pass easily.

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18 responses to “FBU’s Matt Wrack speaks out in support of ‘Open Selection’

  1. I have never been able to understand why newly elected NEC members don’t immediately take up their new posts.
    It is absolutely nonsensical to leave the losing incumbents in place until after conference, they no longer have any democratic mandate. Why should the very people who have just been rejected by the membership be left in place to sabotage policy for the next 12 months.

    • Spot on SteveH , another archaic rule that needs to go ,like saying OK we won the election but can’t take office until 3 weeks later ffs !!

    • I avoid the Canary because of the way it ignored the Lexit campaign and how it jumped on the ‘all Brexit voters are racist thugs’ bandwagon. But credit where it’s due .

      • Funny you should mention Brexit Ella, because I’ve just come back to this page after reading a very interesting article on the Canary about people making hundreds of millions off the whole affair, and the Canary article linked to a Mail article about it, and the following is a comment that somebody posted on there (although I disagree with them about the Russia bit):

        This is par for the course with Odey – it’s why he and the other leading Brexiters WANT Brexit, so they can make money by forcing British companies out of business. And they have the nerve to pretend that Brexit is somehow patriotic. Odey made £220 million the night of the referendum by betting against sterling – betting against his own country’s currency. They are all the same, Rees-Mogg, Redwood, Banks – all traitors to Britain. Redwood’s advised people to get their money out of Britain. Rees-Mogg invests in Russia, which wants to see Britain collapse. This is what Brexit is all about – destroying the UK.

        Here’s a link to the DM article:

        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/investing/article-5824697/Brexiteer-Odey-bets-500m-AGAINST-British-businesses.html

        NB Ever since May first said that “No deal is better than a bad deal”, I suspected that THAT is precisely where they always intended to take us (AND blame it on the EU when it happens!).

      • I hate being patronised and talked down to about this subject; as if I didn’t know what I was voting for.

        The likes of multimillionaire Gary Lineker feel entitled to talk down to the plebs too. He wants us to have a 2nd EU Referendum because we didn’t know what we were voting for, the silly fools that we are. But he knows best, so it’s alright.

        I knew exactly why I voted to leave. The undemocratic nature of the EU is one reason. We were only offered a vote because of a complete fluke. Other EU nationals have no such luxury. They have no voice.

        I voted to leave the EU because in essence it is a neoliberal animal. Article 106 reveals its true nature. Then there are the Four Pillars that place business needs over the rights of workers. Then there’s the attacks on unions and collective bargaining. We should never forget the brutality Greece suffered at the hands of the EU.

        http://www.leftfutures.org/2015/09/eu-membership-means-no-renationalisation/

  2. Thank you for the good news Skwawkbox. The right-wing likes to ram the ‘democracy’ meme down our throats but ironically it’s the biggest threat to democracy.

  3. Not long now…

    I’ll bet there’s a load of them getting their ‘parting shot’ speeches prepared. Nowt on offer for correctly predicting what they’ll be about.

    (Who gives a flyin’ f**k what they’ll be about when the reptiles making them are out on their arses?) 🙂

  4. If anything will eek out traitor Blairites into a new centre party, mandatory reselection will.

    The other great way will be for Conference to vote down their beloved EU ‘People’s Vote’.

  5. I’ve never looked forward to Conference season so much in my life!

    I think that bottle of tequila I was saving for election night might be making an early appearance…

  6. “I voted Brexit because I’m a racist!” (sic) Some ‘comrades’ aren’t just downright nasty, they’re f……g ignorant. I voted Brexit for many of the reasons that Tony Benn or Dennis Skinner often cite. I voted Brexit because of the democratic deficit; what the ‘Troika’ are doing to Greece; Spain or Italy; because of Nato expansion forever eastwards via EU; because it’s Blair’s globalist baby (see Macron) & because I identify as being a democratic European. The EU are a rich man’s globalist club & I voted Brexit because wages & manufacturing are collapsing, especially in the EU ‘gig’ economy. That’s enough for now!

    • Thank you. I’m so tired of justifying my reasons for voting leave too. I left Twitter because I was sick of the relentless bullying and demonisation of Brexit voters. It became intolerable.

    • To my mind it was no-win either way (THAT’S why I didn’t bother voting), but Yes, it’s despicable beyond words what they’ve done to Greece – ie looted it – and of course the Greek elite are still doing just fine (and were very much a party to the looting). But I was surprised to hear you say that some ‘comrades’ regarded you as racist for wanting
      out, but then a lot of people undoubtedly DID vote for Brexit because of the mass immigration that’s been going on for decades (although much of it from outside the EU), and a certain percentage will no doubt be racist, but I think the majority are NOT, and just have genuine concerns about the level of immigration. But one thing’s for certain, we will never be able to “take back control” as long as the Tories are in power.

  7. Quite how we got from OPen Selection to Brexit I am not sure , but hey ho there are some interesting views , only issue is that UK PLC and it’s workers will probably get really screwed by the Tories and their catastrophic Brexit and unlikely JC will be able to do much about it as the idiots still voted the Tories into power .
    I don’t care if we are in or out so long as the working class get the best deal and I know that will only happen with a JC lead Labour Govt .
    GTTO

    • Hi Rob,
      from ‘Open Selection’ to Brexit via ‘Canary’. Such is life as one thing leads to another, & I don’t think the ‘workers’ are idiots. but whatever happens, it is the working classes who will pay the price.

  8. Excellent point by Matt Wrack – it is an honour not a right.
    And I would add it should also be a calling to fight for diverse working people and not a bloody career!

  9. It would be wise not to continuing to repeat that mandatory reselection’ is the same as ‘open selection’, it is not. Reselection can only occur when you have selected an MP – remember that most Labour candidates are not MPs being in constituencies where Labour does not win. At the moment Party members do not have an open selected of their candidate. This constant reference to mandatory reselections is an obsession by strong Labour Party areas with their own MPs rather than with the democratic principle involved. Thank goodness for the international branch trying to teach Momentum important political Lessons rather than mantras.

  10. Maybe we got to Brexit because it’s looming up and important. Ella’s link is useful because the article and its ensuing comments make reference to at least one key issue re the implementation of the manifesto. The idea that whilst monopoly nationalisation of services might not be possible; not for profit, publicly owned services, at the municipal or regional level are. This still leaves a raft of issues such as state investment and intervention unclear, at least for me.

    I do sometimes wish the leadership would start coming out, in a bit more detail, about some of these underlying issues. Starmer’s 6 tests have a function, no doubt, but they don’t exactly help me to persuade others, or offer clarity about the Labour leadership’s current position. I understand that Labour has to be demonstrably respectful to that 70% demographic and It’s difficult, yet honourable, to have supported Remain and then to have created a manifesto that builds on what could be positive about Leave and perhaps even depends on this.

    Still, In the event of some kind of parliamentary vote or even a people’s vote, it would be good to be clear about the issues. Maybe most people are.

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