Analysis comment

Labour’s new ‘Organise to Win’ plan melts brains of staff and turns Labour into a Frisbee

Months of preparation results in management-speak and gibberish – can you make sense of it?

An artist’s impression of a Labour staffer after today’s presentation

The Keir Starmer-commissioned ‘Organise to Win’ plan has been months in the making and it was presented to Labour staff – many of whose jobs it will mean shedding – today. And it is brain-meltingly opaque, full of mind-boggling management-speak and gobbledegook.

The section ‘Ways of Working’ presumably tells staff how they’re going to manage without around one in four of their current number – and it introduces them to the wonder-solution of ‘Agile ceremonies’:

One slide was not enough for this pithy new way of working, so a second gives more – well, not sure ‘information’ is the right word, but let’s go with it for now – on the nitty gritty of the new modus operandi:

The ‘voter-centric’ one apparently means telling voters who the party is and what it stands for; but the massive, unaddressed problem with that little gem is that Labour doesn’t perceptibly stand for anything under Keir Starmer – except maybe some flag-fondling and an occasional, blurted bit of Islamophobia – and the blurb makes it clear that it’s not going to actually stand for anything at all, without asking voters what they think it should be.

There will, of course, be as many opinions as there are voters, so no clarity there then. Cover for more money spent on focus groups run by mates of the management, probably.

‘Agile’ ways of working seems more to do with agile ways of packing as many fuzzy buzzwords and phrases into a single paragraph as humanly possible – although it does say it includes ‘honesty and transparency’.

Of course, honesty and transparency will not include the release of the Forde report, at least not until those who can remember what it’s about have all died off.

And of course, the future will be ‘multidisciplinary’ and emphatically not in silos – and it will be ‘flat’ and ‘dynamic’, with ‘clear goals’ that nobody can be told about (according to Labour’s front bench, at least). So much for transparency.

So the Labour party’s future will be flat, dynamic and agile. In other words, a frisbee.

Nu-Nu Labour: a Starmer-branded Frisbee, apparently

Skwawkbox was not the only one to find the new document, well, less than compelling. Author and former Corbyn scriptwriter Alex Nunns took a similar view, as did many others:

And not a few pointed out that for Starmer’s predecessor, growth and other good things came without a huge spend on management-speak:

Of course, this is just what happens when a party is devoid of ideas and has no one stepping up with any. What a fall from the days of vision and excitement that were killed off by the people now running the ‘show’, if it has enough substance even to be that.

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  1. This garbage and waste of members money hugs and is worlclass. They should have teams of incompetents everywhere, provide them with lottery money and compete at the imbecile Olympics. The party is barren of ideas, bereft of competence and ruled by moronic self serving, morally bankrupt, placemen. A sorry, sordid mess. A leadership of the vain, selfcongralatory nincompoop, resulting from the intendinded self immolation of the party by the greedy, blood drenched few. Baubles, ermine and nepotism will not be enough to defend them from the wrath of the working class.

    1. I’m sorry alexanderscottish, but you seriously underestimate the problem.

  2. Any way of finding out
    1) How much the management consultants that I am sure they used to produce this pile of Bovine Excrement cost.
    2) Did Evans political consultancy company “thecampaigncompany” have anything to do with it?

  3. Ouch my head hurts.
    “Organise to Win” what? The most boring corporate speak they can come up with.
    Members hard earned cash thrown away on a meaningless spreadsheet that would even challenge the experienced.
    Alas Starmer and chums aren’t remotely interested as long as they can make out they’re moving away from the previous leader it doesn’t matter if there are no ideas and no policies.

    1. Theyve got loads of previous for this organisations like Labour to win ,Labout ftw I suppose our moderate chums think it sounds inspirational

  4. Of course, in the “Labour” Party of Keir, we can assume that “make sure policies speak to the needs of voters” means nothing but “make sure policies obey the restrictions imposed by big right-wing corporate donors- i.e., keep TORY policies on all but a handful of trivial, irrelevant side issues like Blair did”.

  5. This is common sales/marketing practice where the ‘customer’ is sold a product in a transactional sale based on competitive advantage. It has nothing to do with politics, ideology or social philosophy, it is purely about identifying the customer’s needs (this can be either what the customer asks for or what the sales consultant advises is best for the customer), providing a solution eg, customer is frightened of crime. Solution more police. Close the sale and follow up.
    It’s a load of American sales shite that dehumanised transactions and makes customers of people. It’s exactly what I’d expect from Starmer and will further dehumanise the relationship between public and politician.

    1. PS. The ‘solution’ to the customer’s needs is largely governed by ‘price’. When this is applied to political policy it comes down to cost, providing more for less. The ‘customer’ is no longer the people. The customer is the tax payer and the aim is to undercut the opposition (the Tories). This is neoliberal heaven.

      1. PPS. I conclude that what it all means is, in light of all the redundancies, the party workers will from now on work in small interchangeable groups going with whatever works. Except that the overall party structure is centralised and rules based. It won’t work because it is putting flexible working against inflexible management.

      2. The LabourRight are turning politics into marketing, campaigns into advertising, candidates into brands, voters into data points, and debate into messaging.

        Organising people to vote Labour in future elections is not organising, it is herding.

        Starmer must be the first leader of Labour to disgust and alienate so many well-intentioned party members. Even Blair didn’t demotivate as many as Starmer is. It’s anathema to participative democracy (and exactly what the billionaire class want).

      1. You can click on the images, and then save them [I think], and/or do a screencapture and then edit the image in Paint ~ as I have just done! You can then play with the images as you wish [pdf’ing them included]!

  6. Votercentric ignored the North over Brexit.Are Labour members voter’s? Agile remove all dissenting members. Transparency over suspension of members. New ways of working and multidiplinary teams purloined from the NHS jargon-wifey had input.

  7. Anything to avoid a clear,comprehensive, discernibly left-wing policy platform.

    These people are New Labour, centre-right frauds, using management speak and buzzwords as cover for their glaringly obvious lack of political principles. People who think they can bamboozle the electorate and worse,Labour’s membership, just long enough to get their grubby, corrupt mitts on the levers of power.

    They don’t have a critique of the system because they see themselves as very much part of that system. They just want their turn; their chance to be better managers of the status quo.

  8. “Multidisciplinary… where all views are respected and welcomed.”

    Yeah right! Tell that to all those expelled for being in proscribed groups!

    What a load of bollocks, it certainly will not convince me to vote labour again!

  9. Whenever I mention the falling membership numbers on a certain newspaper’s site, Starmer-fans tell me it’s not about how many members there are, it’s about how many votes Labour get….

    Apart from ignoring the fact that both 2017 and 2019 saw huge increases in voter numbers for Labour, it is now clear from the gobbledygook document that Starmer wants to increase membership numbers. Clearly he knows how to lose tens of thousands, but getting more to join, now that would be a new experience for him.

  10. Just when you thought you couldn’t despise Starmer’s Labour any more than you already do.

    Notice how this basically eschews the idea of spelling out clear policy proposals, in favour of ‘listening exercises’, so-called ‘Voter-centric’ behaviours. Transactional behaviours that involve telling folks what you stand for and why they should support you, that’s ruled out, as the opposite of voter-centric. Funny how that’s exactly what the leadership want- no policy discussion.

    If 2017’s and 2019’s Brexit focused GE taught us anything, it’s that the electorate respects clear policy proposals and then following through on those proposals. “Get Brexit Done” – a simple yet highly effective slogan for the Tories, which Labour, pressed by the likes of Starmer et al into 2nd referendum confusion, had no answer to.

  11. I have sat in a zoom meeting today about this organise to win thingy. It was targeted at members who wanted to find out what it is supposed to be about.
    1. aim is to get the seats back they lost in 2019,
    2. They might want preferably members (up to 2 per lost seat to be trained up as campaign organisers or such like most likely with the expectation that they fill the vacancy of those sacked community organisers but that was not said.;
    3. the course at the academy lasts 2 years, weekly 1 hour sessions, assignments apparently more as examples of actual campaigning. The expectation is that the academy attenders do loads of campaigning during their education and that they commit for the 2 years and then work their magic in the next GE to get stammer elected.
    4. It was not mentioned whether people get a certificate for their labour.
    5. Stakeholders were mentioned, and we actually learned that they are not the sticks to which posters are attached. Who would have known????
    They displayed a chart with skills people should develop. active listening was one, sadly it was bottom of list…..There were also lists with areas, soft wares covered, approaches and such like.

    However, in my view, unless you have a purpose, a vision, everything is just window dressing and a waste of time. Stakeholders views seem to be the A to O of campaigning, so if voters wanted loads of foreign holidays in exchange of their votes, stammer would open up either a travel agency or a re-run of Butlins so it seems.

    1. Agreed.

      It’s an exercise in obfuscation, the political equivalent of ‘smoke and mirrors’; to disguise an empty policy cupboard. And a right-wing leadership bereft of ideas and original thinking.

      This pretentious BS is designed to make staffers feel like they’re doing something really,really clever worthwhile and important, when in reality they’re just wasting time on platitudinous drivel.

  12. “So the Labour party’s future will be flat, dynamic and agile. In other words, a frisbee” That line really got me in stitches!

    Anyway, my mind is made, and has been made for a while (and I keep repeating it): Starmer’s job is to lose while looking like he’s trying to win. Only Rentoul and a couple of Guardian columnists will believe this crap will get Labour anywhere. But too many still believe it’s down to stupidity…

    1. ‘Flat, dynamic and agile’ indeed. Keeping up with the news is a very sobering experience these days, but this did raise a smile.

      A bit off topic but, many years later this is all reminiscent of the gobbledegook and American ‘management speak’ we were fed at a New Labour Local Government department. Reams of incoherent meaningless claptrap.

      I have puzzled over the same question and like you reached the same conclusion : it isn’t Starmer’s stupidity or political inexperience; it is deliberate.

    We will end up on the Eternal Neoliberal Neolabour/Conservative TORY Merry-Go-Round, just like the Americans!
    Fight the the Bastards, in/out of the party membership!
    VOTE Neoliberal Neolabour Parasite Party TORIES OUT!
    VOTE Democratic Socialist UK Labour Party MPs/Candidates IN!
    That is my only plan, until we have at least a Democratic Socialist Party & Entirely Parasite TORY FREE!

  14. Absolutely Ben, Neutralise Labour or sabotage it – is what he is deliberately doing. The problem is ordinary people think he is Labour and that’s what the Labour Party represents.

    Our only hope now is that he expels all the left MPs in the Party for supporting Ken Loach, as he must do, because that was the excuse for expelling others. Or if he’s once again challenged in court, he will lose because of the contradiction. Not that that seems to worry him as it only bankrupts the party with legal fees, which then kills two birds with one stone.

    The Neo-Liberal Liberal right in the Party dress themselves up as Labour, but as we know they are part of the problem in politics today, they are all in it together.

  15. Zzzzz Right Wing Labour.
    Zzzzz Starmer.
    Oh dear, when I was a member I remember often wasting 2 hours of my life at branch and CLP meetings, all to support Corbyn.
    Is wonderful to be free from all that crap, fortunately I have an active (socialist) trade union branch who want to transform society (and the world) and who regularly fight alongside the oppressed which is so bloody refreshing!
    And in our own way we try to politicise people as well as offering practical support.
    Labour – a political party?

  16. It was a Right Wing dominated branch & CLP with a political lightweight careerist Labour MP.
    At times I forced myself to go to fight for Corbyn but would have rather gone to the bloody dentists!
    We need to try to politicise the masses unlike Right Wing Labour, they want the power for themselves.
    Right Wing Labour won’t win but if by a miracle they did BELIEVE ME THEY WOULD BE IN GOVT BUT NOT IN POWER!

  17. Christ! Something straight out of the Stewart Pearson** book of babbling bollocks

    “I like the plasmic nature of your data modelling.”

    “Let’s imagineer a narrative.”

    “All right, my children of a lesser god, listen up! There’s a file marked ‘Snap Election Drill’ on the J drive. If you don’t know how to access the J drive, turn your pass in at reception, go and buy some silver body paint, and pretend to be a robot on the South Bank. COME ON, FLY, MY PRETTIES, FLY!”

    “OK, lovely people, let’s go truffling in the forest of knowledge!”

    “You know, I’ve spent the last ten years detoxifying this party. It’s been a bit like renovating an old, old house. Oh, you can take out a sexist beam here, a callous window there, replace the odd…homophobic roof-tile, but after a while you begin to realize that this renovation is doomed. Because the foundation is built on what I can only describe as a solid bed of cunts.”

    **From “The thick of it

  18. Nu Nu Labour are following new Labour by sitting in dark rooms talking to each other reaffirming that their Neo liberal beliefs are the right way to go, it is said Corbyn voted against the whip or the outcome of these meeting 400 odd times, that is over 400 times they got it wrong. We got used to “We will learn by our mistakes” but when you keep talking to yourself that is an impossibility, Neo liberalism is no friend of the working man and after 40 years of it Nu nu Labour is hell bent on not changing tack any time soon, time to desert the ship

  19. “Agile” is a project methodology used in software development, and to a lesser extent other STEM industries, to ensure the product is always ready to release at the end of each “sprint” of 1 to 4 weeks (normally 2).
    This requires extensive training and a robust sequence of definition -> development -> test in an effective canban task ticket framework.

    This is not quick or easy to implement, especially if there’s legacy methodology, workplace factions and impossible if not adopted by those at the top.

    I’m unsure how applicable this is to a political organisation but can see it as a way of processing workload more efficiently.

    I highly doubt a disfunctional hierarchy would be able to make it work.

  20. I see that they are intent on “breaking down silos”.
    Say goodbye to the farmers’ vote then.

  21. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
    I remember having to listen to all this management horse-shit when I worked in engineering.
    It’s no wonder the place went to the wall.
    I wondered what happened to all those stupid, useless, bull-shitter managers – in spite of whom I continued to do my professional job.
    Now I know where they ended up …. In the higher ranks of the Labour Party.

    As Skellyknelly says …. FIGHT THE BASTARDS.
    Give them what they understand – The steel toe-cap in the bollocks.
    Venceremos !!

  22. This succinctly nails what the carpetbagger sectarians running the circus have bought into:

    “Less obvious is the effect of facts on conventional leadership. If only the facts matter, it shouldn’t matter where they come from. That undercuts the traditional justification for hierarchy: that the boss knows best. Facts force the boss to choose between being ‘in control’ and being right. Many choose the former.

    All this sets up a bizarre corporate amnesia – a kind of conspiracy not to learn in which organisations find new ways of repeating mistakes in an endless loop. They are suckers for half-truths – more dangerous than total nonsense because they are not entirely wrong, except when treated as whole truths, in which case they become total bollocks.”

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