Here are ten pledges the Labour leadership contenders might like to sign up to.
Many members are hampered in their political activities by the lingering uncertainty of what they suspect are vexatious, politically motivated complaints. We are a well-funded organisation. If you haven’t got the staff, please employ some to get these cases looked at speedily and, where not justified, thrown out.
That is, make sure *our* process *is* independent. Stop taking instructions from organisations that have, one way or another, managed to present as the uncontested voice of people who don’t necessarily agree with them, and please endeavour to stop MPs being fooled by such organisations.
Tell the membership what is going on, who is dealing with what, and under which rules, and how members can make their views heard. Give the membership, and your staff, full and easily accessed details of how complaints, disciplinary actions and hearings work, and who exactly is dealing with them. Never let it be suspected that agencies with special access are hearing about, or influencing, actions that affect members, without those members knowing about it.
Resist giving shadow cabinet posts or other power positions to MPs or execs who have repeatedly briefed against the party and/or the manifesto in ways that clearly go against the members’ wishes, or who have seriously misrepresented or slandered the membership.
Bigotry means disrespect for, or abuse aimed at, others whose ideas disagree with yours.
Do not let anyone with a powerful voice in the party demand the silencing or no-platforming of members, former members, or citizens generally, unless those individuals are clearly breaking the law by, for example, inciting violence.
On the other hand, on no account name or label individuals you happen to disagree with in a way that encourages the public to see them as ‘fair game’ for abuse or disrespect, especially don’t do this just because you don’t want views that challenge your own heard.
Don’t let anyone tell you that racism means anything other than what the dictionary says it does, and don’t let one group’s definitions or concerns endanger minority groups by crowding out all others.
Deliver anti-racism, anti-sexism and anti-classism education that makes sense to members, particularly those who are themselves significantly disadvantaged by those attitudes.
When you engage with “the community” please take some time to work out exactly who you are engaging with, and what actual proportion of the actual people in this country you are dealing with. If it turns out to be a strangely small number of voices speaking for a larger group, do some research and try again.
Bland, generic statements should give way to actively telling people what is – and isn’t – going on in the Party, and why. When the membership go wrong, tell them straight. When the membership are slandered and falsely accused, rebut the accusations and support the membership.
If we have a leader who does not do so, powerful organisations will take charge and dictate to them against the interests of the membership.
These are my suggestions. I am just one person. I don’t represent any particular community. Sometimes, I’m not even sure I even agree with myself but – if I like this when it’s finished, I’ll post it on my blog. If you like it too, and if you think these are the kinds of rules our new Labour leader should work to, please share this post around. If it gets loads of shares, they’ll know it’s the opinions of a significant number of people.
Interested? Here’s how to take action.