Tag Archives: Labour Party

The Woolas Judgement: Good News For Our Democracy

That Phil Woolas will lose his seat (pending any last ditch legal challenge/judicial review) is sad news for the man himself but very good news for British democracy.

One of the things that struck me during my campaigning at the last general election was how little people seemed to care about the rules.  I documented my own astonishing experience here.  Electoral courts have been so few and far between that there has been no sense of consequence to deter people from bending the rules.   Bending quickly becomes breaking.  Consequences help focus the mind.  This judgement should focus the minds of many.

If any issue should be a cross-party issue it should be this.  The way we conduct ourselves at elections is core to our ability to lay claim to even be a ‘democracy’.  I’ll put my cynicism aside and take Harriet Harman’s rationale for dumping Woolas at face value and offer full support for her stance.  We follow the USA on many things but the drift to negative campaigning and attack ads is a road we should stop following –  all the more when attacks are based on tittle-tattle, rumour or downright lies.

Many of Woolas’ colleagues now say they feel he was hard-done-by and  worry that this judgement ‘could open the floodgates’.   Good.  Let the flood gates open.    The unfortunate truth is that had this not been a wafer-thin majority then the case would never have come before the Court.    Now that this precedent has been set it is my sincere hope that any future candidates who plays loose with the truth on the character of an opponent should be in fear of the result being annulled immaterial of the size of their majority.

Full respect to Lib Dem candidate Elwyn Watkin in risking all to bring this case.  He has done the country a great service.

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Filed under Election, Politics, UK, UK Politics

Labour’s Bonkers Shadow Cabinet Selection

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.  I suppose that line could be New Labour’s epitaph.  However, it’s still alive and well in the party’s internal democracy.  As with the leadership election rules, the system for selecting their Shadow Cabinet is well-meaning and intended to be democratic.  That is a laudable ambition.  It is certainly something the Conservative Party hasn’t cracked.  Nevertheless, it is difficult to argue with Jack Straw that Labour’s means to this ends, when you take a step back, is frankly ‘barking mad‘.

Poor Ed.  He can’t pick his own team.  Instead he has to go through the next two years surrounded by a Shadow Cabinet put in place thanks to nods, winks and pushes from politicking Unions helping advise their members on where to put their 1s, 2s and 3s.   Straw is convinced the quality of the opposition benches are hurt, he says:

“And what it means is that of the 18 or 19 people in shadow cabinet, probably a dozen [are] capable of being in the Cabinet, half a dozen are not[..]”

So Ed is going into battle with a couple of even dudder duds in his armoury.

The other huge issue for Ed is that when you look at the top ten in the list as finally elected – not a single one of them backed Ed as first preference.  Think about that.  Not one of the top ten members of his team thought he was the best man for leader.

He has his work cut out and starts handicapped by his own party rules.   We should let him get on with it.  As Napoleon used to nearly say “Never interrupt your enemy when he is doing a good job of defeating himself”.

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Filed under Politics, UK, UK Politics, Uncategorized