Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Labour - a power sharing leadership?

A few days ago I came across an article in by Paul Mason in which he argued for some kind of power sharing in the Labour Party; that Corbyn and Smith should agree to power share and allocate shadow cabinet posts after the leadership election in a way which reflects their percentage share of the total vote.

Given that I support proportional representation (PR) in local and national elections via the added member system, it seems logical that this approach to power sharing in government at all levels should be reflected in the way the varying interests across the Labour Party work together.

Good friends in the Labour Party, who I have known for many years, some since my Young Socialist days in Wembley, are much like Susan and me. Corbyn was not our initial first choice a year ago, but the way the right-wing of the Labour Party conspired against him, forced Party members like ourselves into voting for him. I remain of the view that he is a centralist when it comes to power, whereas I am (and always have been) a localist, who believes in empowering local communities and local government. I am opposed to Beeston, Broxtowe, Lenton, Nottingham etc being ruled by Whitehall dictat.

Graham Allen argued for a Magna Carta for local government and I have referred to his work and that of his parliamentary committee on many occasions. 

Jeremy Corbyn has come late to the argument and has produced a paper called A new settlement for local government. It is a step in the right direction, but does not go far enough.

His opposition to PR supports my view that he is a centralist. In the last Parliament he was absent for all three votes on changing the voting system (see this link to They work for you). Like Owen Smith, Jeremy Corbyn has his weaknesses.

Today I would vote for Jeremy Corbyn, but I could change my mind and will not decide how I vote until the the last few days of the election.  I am no fan of Smith. Housing and changing the voting system are top of my policy list, followed by returning power to local government. There are other issues, but these are my top three.