Excl: “Affirmative ballot” is no defeat. It’s the new selection system that Corbyn backs

corbyn ab

Mainstream media, as they’re inclined to do, have this morning been spinning the NEC’s (National Executive Committee’s) intended new system for selecting MPs as a ‘defeat’ for Corbyn – presenting an assumption that Corbyn himself was a supporter of the ‘open selection’ system that some activists have been campaigning for and was unable to get the NEC to back him.

This is not the case.

Senior Labour sources tell the SKWAWKBOX that the system on the table for Saturday’s NEC vote is what Corbyn himself asked for – and he calls it “Affirmative Ballot” to reflect the opportunity it provides for Labour members (or affiliates separately) to call positively for a selection process to choose their next parliamentary candidate.

This is not a defeat. The new system is backed by the man most of the membership backs wholeheartedly and who knows the pros, the cons, the nuances and dynamics involved – and the risks to left MPs as well as right – as well as or better than any.

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  1. Comon, true activists doesn’t care about the loosing or wining of their leader, they are, after all, two sides of the same coin. Real activists care about real democracy and in that regards this NEC proposal is just a drop in the ocean of what’s necessary. Look, if Labour can’t bring about something as small as OS to reallity, what would they be able to do when dealing with big topics healthcare, education, housing, transport, security and so on… Step up labour, the world hasn’t much time to waist here.

    1. Open selection is far from being a “small thing”. It is a very radical change and was always going to be strongly opposed by some unions.

      The fact is that we wanted a way to end the “jobs for life” culture that let M.P.’s feel free to do as they pleased with little or no regard to the concerns of local members. A way for local members to hold their M.P.s to account. If necessary by removing them as a candidate.

      This is what the proposals allow.

      Sure it is a compromise, but it gives us the greatest part of what we wanted – in this specific area. I seriously doubt that open selection would survive conference if it were endorsed by the NEC. These new proposals have a decent chance.

      We should try not to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and take yes for an answer…

  2. SPIN, SPIN. It is a defeat for the left, for open democracy, you know it and so do we, as was the IHRA climbdown.

  3. “Senior Labour sources tell the SKWAWKBOX that the system on the table for Saturday’s NEC vote is what Corbyn himself asked for – and he calls it “Affirmative Ballot” to reflect the opportunity it provides for Labour members (or affiliates separately) to call positively for a selection process to choose their next parliamentary candidate.”

    This is the sort of bullshit, meaningless spin that TB used to put out. The members know what THEY want.
    The NEC lacks legitimacy until the newly elected members take up their posts. Why don’t newly elected members of the NEC take up their new office immediately, it is insanity to allow the very people that have just been rejected by the membership to remain in post until after conference and enable them to sabotage the next 12 months.

    1. Quite agree. Like giving a sacked employee just enough time to sabotage the company before leaving. Darren Williams (NEC) on FB says: . ” I’m sorry to say that the majority of the NEC – including much of the so-called left – has proven itself too cautious and conservative to grasp the opportunity that the Democracy Review presented.”

    2. You know why the newly elected don’t take up posts until after conference because it is in the rules. The rules need changing, but that works for the right as well as the left. At the moment we are slowly (too slowly) taking back the machinery. Defeat of Open Selection was always going to happen with that make up. It is highly likely Corbyn wanted affirmative watered down changes, as his strategy is “No Confrontation” not “No Surrender”. Compromise has always been at the heart of British politics except during WW2. No, it does not work to get things done quickly. I support open selections because it is right and about time members were respected and heard. However, the Unions would walk away from supporting JC. It would make a new Party more likely and JC does not want that as I indicate above. Also, from a practical level- who here of those who support Open Selections, which would need to take place a year before likely General; Elections, has ever been a Procedures Secretary for such a process? And, how many left wing CLPs have the minimum £2,500 it costs to deliver a completely fair, well communicated selection and ballot to large CLPs. I have been Procedures Secretary earlier this year, as a volunteer and elected officer, for a target seat PPC selection and it was not only the worst job I ever did but the most stressful and took three months of daily hard slog. I respect people who do not people who just talk. Despite CLPs getting larger, I have seen little change in those prepared to actually do the work. People love yak yak yak but not doing! (If I sound a bit cross it is because the traumatic memories are coming back. The few who do do are fantastic but exhausted. So many don’t do in our huge CLP locally and are frankly f’..’ing lazy).

  4. Despite the obvious spin, it proves once again that our NEC is unfit for purpose, bending over backwards to pacify right wing union leaders.

  5. truly a mistake by Corbyn. it’s ok, people make mistakes. best thing to do is reverse it immediately before conference does it for him.

  6. That Corbyn has sold out on mandatory reselection is a bad thing not a good thing. It seems increasingly that Skwark’s role in life is to act as apologist for capitulations by the NEC fake Left.

    1. Danny, we currently have people on the NEC that have just been voted off, the new people don’t take over until after conference. That means our numbers do not currently stack up until after conference.

      Even then we have Blair supporters still working in the party machine, each one chipping away as we move forward to halt our progress, but it takes time to find out who is doing what, whilst we are also developing our policies.

      This of course is not an excuse, but what is happening on the ground.

      Blair created a machine with people placed in every corner of the party, and had 20 years to achieve it, Rome was not built in a day.

  7. Very disappointed with SKWAWKBOX. Seems you are changing your tune on ‘Open Selection’ by supporting this dreadful decision by the NEC

  8. Bottom line seems to be that with a half organised group of branches that a reselection can take place. Squawk has been chasing dodgy goings on in CLP’s while maybe half the membership call this a dodgy newsite. Squawk are exposing the kind of things in CLP’s that is driving most of us mad every day by the right wings manipulations. Letting MP’s know that they have to toe a familial line with the leadership should dissuade all but the kamikaze to desist from their daily briefings against JC

    1. Good comment. Where would we be without Skwawk but Skwawk does not get it right all the time. And you are right and wrong. They desist today but they won’t desist for long. They are treacherous and truly believe they have a divine right of tenure for the people who voted for them. They position themselves as ‘reasonable’ people, able to capture middle england. Yet they knows full well that people vote Labour not for the local candidate particularly unless they are well known, but for three reasons: A negative vote against the incumbent Government, tribalism, and a genuine desire to see socialist policies in place. These three reasons are assisted when a leader is popular in the nation. That is not the case with Jeremy, because of the MSM, the campaigns waged against him and the briefings by the PLP right. If we had a GE next month we would lose.

  9. All of us that contributed to the Democracy Review did so in good faith, why has the NEC betrayed the membership by ignoring our clearly expressed wishes. Why do they arrogantly presume they have any kind of mandate to do this

  10. It is clear from McDonnell’s public statements on MP selection and trigger ballot reform that he is not in favour of OS at present. And I imagine that Corbyn’s view will not be that different.
    Given the situation in the PLP, it is not too difficult to imagine why. Corbyn struggled to get MPs to serve in the Shadow Cabinet after the second Chicken Coup in 2016. He doesn’t have enough pro-Corbyn MPs to fill all the Shadow Ministries, including the many junior posts. He is thus dependent on many right wing MPs to form his Shadow Cabinet. If he can’t persuade them to serve, and he cannot form a shadow cabinet, then he cannot continue as Leader of the Opposition. So they have him over a barrel.

    That hard fact restricts how far and how fast he can go in relation to reforming the trigger ballot selection system. He has to be very careful and tactical. It is a chess game.

    I am guessing that the present NEC fudge on trigger ballot reform represents Corbyn’s own shrewd estimation about what is the right move at the present time, given the unfavourable situation in the PLP.

    I am certain it is not JC’s last word on the subject but we are all going to have to be patient.

    1. Making MPs’ tenure more dependent on CLP members’ support would strengthen Corbyn’s hand. They tried that blackmail. It not only failed Corbyn’s support among the membership increased. He needs to use his strength – us, the ordinary members. There is a high chance of GE next Spring, now’s the time to get ready for it.

      1. A selection process can be started with just 30% of CLP branches calling for one.

        With the selection competition itself moving to OMOV that makes it democratically representative of local members.

        CLP members can now remove sitting M.P.s…

  11. Like Skwark said yesterday, if the unions don’t support Open Selection, then it will be hard to get it passed.

    The proposal is better than what is currently the situation with the trigger ballot.

      1. I have some sympathy with that, but I am looking at this a different way.

        This new system should enable some of the worst offenders to be dealt with.

        If it does, job done, for now at least.

        If it gets rid of some but not others, the debate will continue.

        If it fails to get rid of any of the worst offenders, the call next year for proper open selection will be unstoppable.

        So rather than wasting energy fighting among ourselves, let’s see how it works in practice and then take a view on what further work is needed.

      2. I think that was the thrust of the argument behind remittances to the Democratic Review!

      3. “Half a loaf”? We got almost all the loaf and against tough opposition from many unions. That is not a loss, it is a victory.

        We need to see the details, but from what has been described, the major demand of CLPs being able to remove sitting M.P.s who they disagree with, has been delivered…

  12. Trigger+ is an improvement though I think many of us would prefer the more positive OS but we don’t have to agree with JC 100% on everything; I probably agree 90% of the time and I think that’s about enough. JC4PM!

    1. Quite. Neither Corbyn nor McDonnell in anyway determine what is right, much as I admire and will support both.

  13. Like so many of us I am bitterly disappointed. Mainly because it gives the likes of Hodge, Umunna, Phillips, Blairites etc carte blanche to denigrate and abuse Jeremy as they have done for the last 3 years. I felt like walking away from it but then I thought of all that Jeremy has been through for us. Personal attacks, smear, ridicule, labelled a racist, the man who has done so much to protect others. The treatment he has endured from the establishment and so called colleagues is
    unprecedented. How awful it must have been for his family. I shall carry on supporting him whatever others try to do to him. He has the membership. We may be ‘dogs’ to Umunna, trots to Ryan but at least we know what loyalty is. People have killed themselves , taken their own lives because of the present government yet all the RW care about is their own preservation and destroying Jeremy. Lucy Powell is the worst. To tell the EDLand The Football Lads Alliance she agrees with them in their hatred of Jeremy is sick. Words fail me.

    1. Just imagine trying to form a government with the above mentioned and over 50% of the PLP Labour MPs (back stabbers), now that’s the real danger.

  14. If JC really does favour this trigger over Open Selection then it is clear that he is not prepared to take on a battle with the Right – Wing MPs. He has calculated that those leaving Labour will defeat his winning formula. In my opinion he has underestimated their continuing opposition – hostility. I think he is wrong and will be a prisoner and unable to implement much of the programme. A ‘Corbyn’ radical solution would be to generate structural change for a socialist bias to the PLP and away from the neo-liberal democrats who will never accept him as Prime Minister.

  15. ** This could be important *** .
    I have been told that for the NEC proposals to be put in the rulebook the delegates have to vote for them when the NEC report is tabled on Sunday.

    If they don’t vote for the NEC proposals then the ones requested by the Members “remain on the table” and will be voted for on the Tuesday.

    If this is correct then all delegates should be aware that they need to vote down the NEC proposals if they want to able to vote on the Members proposals

    1. Are you sure that is not just disinformation to get the left to vote down even this watered down measure, leaving the existing rules in place?

      1. Don’t think so as it leaves the Members motion to be voted on.
        The explanation originated from a CAC member and I believe it was given in good faith. I do not know how to verify it though and would like someone more knowledgeable to investigate as it looks like it negates the undemocratic “stitch-up”s proposed by the NEC .

        (Also if true all delegates should insist on a card vote to ensure that the sort of “shenagagins”, that happened a couple of years ago, where the chair blatantly misread
        a show of arms does not happen again. )

    2. Came from CAC Update #7 – September 2018.

      The NEC can also submit rule changes, they can table those at anytime in their NEC report. Their NEC report is tabled on day one of Conference (Sunday). If they do propose something on Parliamentary Selections, and Conference Delegates vote to pass it – then any Constitutional Amendments due to come to Conference on Tuesday will automatically fall.

      We cannot have the same Conference decide two different rules for the same thing.

      The CAC have asked for and have been assured will happen, for Consequentials to be added to delegates reports, so they are clear if you vote for A then B is taken off the table.

      We envisage there will be a number of these as the Democracy Review also has changes that affect the Constitutional Amendments on the table. The Consequentials for these will be clear in the reports to delegates.

      The members of the CAC cannot vote for any Constitutional Amendment or Contemporary Motion, we are not delegates. Our role is to make sure all of the documents tabled are in line with the rules and to advocate that things need to be in place to ensure delegates understand. We have been clear we want Consequentials so delegates are making an informed decision when voting.

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