Labour don’t do democracy locally

It appears British Labour in Dundee have gotten themselves into a wee bit of selections difficulty in the lead up to next years Council Elections.

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The Dundee Party membership over the last week decided to de-select Councillors Tom Ferguson and Councillor Mohammed Asif for next years local elections. Former Dundee Labour Lord Provost Mervyn Rolf has called on the party to clear out the dead wood. The de-selection resulted in a local high profile trade union activist to tear up his membership card. All sounds interesting but at least local members were making their choice and we should all respect party democracy.

But low and behold, barely 24 hours after the de-selection, Kezia Dugdale, Branch Manager of British Labour in Scotland, comes to the undemocratic rescue and overturns the decision of local members. Labour don’t do democracy in Dundee or Scotland, and as we saw in England with purges and refusing to grant members a vote during the Corbyn leadership contest, don’t really do democracy in England either.

This all comes on the back of questions asking if the Labour Party even have a future in Scotland at all. Polls are not looking good for next year, they have been projected to lose all but 11 councils as they have fallen to around 18% in the polls, potentially losing Glasgow City Council and again coming third behind the Tories.

I actually have sympathy for local members of Labour. I left the Liberal Democrats when Willie Rennie over ruled a conference vote by members and all women shorts lists. All women short lists also saw me resign from the SNP years ago, and currently we have Theresa May as PM without a popular mandate from the voters irrespective of us living in a parliamentary democracy.

Parties often talk about involving people in decision-making, local councils do this all of the time as well, but when that involvement in decision-making can be so easily be overturned what is the point. What is the point of being a member of the Labour Party, or any party for that matter, if the wishes of the membership can be so easily ignored and discarded. So while Labour woes always bring a chuckle out of me, esp locally, the undermining of membership democracy will slowly but surely bring about disaster for politics and political parties.

Just my opinion.

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4 comments

  1. tris

    It seems to me that political parties like to talk big about democracy and then forget it when it comes to the actual practice thereof.

    One of the biggest lies about Britain is that it is a democracy. Queens, princes, royal prerogative, privy councils, lords, churchmen, aristocrats, appointees, first past the post, special measures, whipping, and the ability of Westminster to overrule,even dissolve devolved administrations.

    One particular example comes to mind of Eric Pickles, who blew off about local democracy and instituted local referenda for local matters. When a referendum was held in King’s Cliffe, Northamptonshire on the subject of dumping nuclear waste showed a MASSIVE 98% majority ágainst, he simply overruled it.

    And in Scotland people can be elected to parliament on a list having failed dismally to gain a seat in the FPTP. As far as I know all parties have taken advantage of this.

    And these people sail majestically around the world telling other people they need to adopt democracy!

    • Anonymous

      Tris

      I totally agree and I think all the parties are the same, SNP and Greens to a slightly lesser degree but they are both very tight run ships. I can’t stand any party over ruling the membership in any shape or form. When Willie Rennie overruled conference that was the final straw for me, the fact that the party is not really Liberal helped, but I can’t stand it either way. But it is a joke, this country is probably one of the least democratic countries in the West but try telling the yoons that. I had a wee chuckle thought when I saw it was Labour, and one of the Labour Councillors de-selected is actually alright, but over ruling members is not on. I was chatting to one Labour member I know who has said they are going to resign, give it a few months and join the SNP.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  2. lanark

    Labour are always bleating about power being devolved to communities from Edinburgh but that obviously doesn’t apply to their misreable rump of a party.

    • Anonymous

      Lanark

      Labour, the Tories and the Fiberals only do democracy when it suits, they are liars and full of it. The SNP and Greens run very tight ships and I don’t agree with things like all women short lists, but at least they are not as bad as the three tory parties.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

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