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UK Labour goes OMOV

Written By: - Date published: 8:35 pm, March 2nd, 2014 - 9 comments
Categories: democratic participation, labour, uk politics - Tags:

UK Labour’s special conference  yesterday changed the Party’s rules for leadership selection, and the basis for affiliate involvement. One-person-one-vote is the general rule, and block voting for leadership and selection by affiliates including unions is replaced by individual and intentional involvement.

The vote for change was 86% in favour, although those who voted for it were not entirely uncritical. The change is seen as a triumph for Ed Miliband, whose speech is here.

The change goes along with a programme of community engagement by Labour, led by American Arnie Graf. UK Labour has understood that the Obama campaigns were more about community involvement than technological innovation; more accurately the technology was used to support the community organisation. Obama was of course a community organiser; as was Howard Dean, the Decocratic Party president who set up the national organising framework in 2006.

I’m off to London tomorrow, and will watch with interest how this plays out in Walthamstow. Local MP Stella Creasy certainly looks like she knows how to organise.


9 comments on “UK Labour goes OMOV”

  1. Clemgeopin 1

    From Ed Miliband’s speech that is applicable for us here in NZ:

    But how many times have you looked around at each other and said: “Why is it so hard to get more people involved?”

    Or to it more bluntly, as a lady said to me in Leeds last Friday, “how do we persuade other people that Labour Party members are normal?”

    As I am sure some of you would agree, it is a fair question.

    But here’s the thing.

    There are thousands of normal working people, affiliated to our party, in your constituency.

    But at the moment you have no way of reaching them.

    We have to change that.

    And who are they?

    Home helps who look after the elderly, and worry about their own mums and dads.

    Classroom assistants who teach our sons and daughters, and have high hopes for their own kids.

    Construction workers who build the homes we live in, but worry about whether they can afford a home of their own.

    People who keep our shops open morning, noon and night, but are at the sharp end of the cost of living crisis.

    And the porters, nurses and all the health service workers who support the pride of Britain:

    Our National Health Service.

    These are the working people affiliated to our party.

    But too often affiliated in name only.

    And think of all the other people, not in trade unions, whose voices we also need to hear.

    Low paid workers whose boss won’t recognise a union.

    Small business owners struggling to get a loan from the bank.

    Stay-at-home mums who ask whether anyone is going to speak up for them.

    They all need to be part of our party.

    “What if all these new people did come into the party, where would we be then?”

    I’ll tell you where we would be:

    We would be a much better party for it.

    You see, I don’t want to break the link with working people.

    I am proud of our link with working people and with trade unions.

    I want to hear the voices of working people louder than ever before.

    But in the 21st century, not everyone wants to be a member of a political party.

    And you shouldn’t have to pay £45 to have a voice in the Labour Party.

    That’s why I want to bring in the 100,000s of people who are supporters of our party.

    Directly linked as individuals to the Labour Party.

    And make them part of what we do.

    That’s what these reforms can achieve.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      So, has anyone managed to conduct a successful citizens arrest of that multiple war criminal, City financial fraud enabler, and former Labour PM Tony Blair, yet?

      • Disraeli Gladstone 1.1.1

        Someone tried to a while back.

        Blair calmly debated the issues with him as his son went to phone the police.

        He’s one slick operator. Instantly knew what would look best in the media for him.

        It’s a pity, really. New Labour was worth something. It had potential. It could have changed things. And Blair fucked it up.

  2. Murray Olsen 2

    Who are the “we” he’s talking about, if they’re none of

    “Home helps who look after the elderly, and worry about their own mums and dads.

    Classroom assistants who teach our sons and daughters, and have high hopes for their own kids.

    Construction workers who build the homes we live in, but worry about whether they can afford a home of their own.

    People who keep our shops open morning, noon and night, but are at the sharp end of the cost of living crisis.

    And the porters, nurses and all the health service workers who support the pride of Britain:

    Our National Health Service.”??

    Are they lawyers, landlords, party workers, and real estate agents? Hmmmm. Maybe I’m starting to see the problem.

  3. Allyson 3

    This is the thin end of the wedge. OMOV today, electoral financing disclosure tomorrow. Whatever next?

    • burt 3.1

      It’s hard to imagine a rational argument against this, which begs the question why has it taken this long and how real is it?

      The thing I see here is a greater transparency between the unions and political parties and this can only be a good thing. The problem (particularly for public servants) however would seem to be where being in a certain union is to be automatically affiliated with a political party. Perhaps the PSA needs to accept a competing RPA ( Rich Prick Association ) also being given free access to public service workplaces.

      Do we just allow each political party currently in parliament to send their scouts out into the workplaces at their will and be done with it, each clearing wearing political party identification. How about hopeful parties like the Conservatives or the Internet party. Why shouldn’t Dotcom wonder the floors in public service workplaces signing people up ? He could have his own collective with specific free wifi bandwidth speed and volume commitments from the workplace.

  4. Ergo Robertina 4

    Seems like a good move in Britain.
    In NZ, it was interesting to compare different voting arrangements in the affiliated unions in last year’s Labour leadership election.
    The Service and Food Workers Union was the only union to allow each and every member a vote afaik. Its members have the most to gain, arguably, from Labour ending free market economics, so I think this direct accountability is a very good sign for the future.

  5. the pigman 5


    It’s hard enough to get sympathetic individuals involved in party membership and party processes as it is. Do we really think the late night shift work cleaners earning minimum wage are going to have the time or the money to participate fully in these processes bar the involvement of their affiliated union (if any)?

    Don’t really trust the Milibands or their ilk, something about the affected, toff, Oxbridge lisp they all put on (see also: Jamie Whyte’s interview on The Nation) is just.. off-putting.

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