Sep 262010

Yesterday we heard the news that the new leader of the Labour party is Ed Millband – and congratulations to him. Ever since then we have had the media rambling on with the same old theme – more or less “but … but … it was the undemocratic unions who voted him in”.

So? It is not as if the Labour party has some sort of secret democratic process that changes every five minutes; the union vote was known well in advance, yet we heard no complaints before the result. Sometimes it feels as if the media look for any possible note of negativity in any news. Why not portray the news for once, and look at what difference Ed may make ?

There are undoubtedly Labour party members a bit suspicious of the influence of the Unions – after all it is hardly every party that allows people outside the membership of the party to vote. But why not ? The Labour party is supposed to reflect the interests of the working man and woman, so shouldn’t their representatives have an influence on the leadership ?

Sometimes the media gives us the impression that political parties need to have free and fair elections to select their leaders. Nothing could be further from the truth. A political party is effectively a private members club who put up their members for election whenever the opportunity presents itself (if funds and inclination are available).

Excluding the Liberal Democrats who have had a more chaotic life over the last 50 years, the Tories had their first leadership election in 1965 (over 100 years after their first government), and the Labour party had their first leadership election in 1922 some time after their formation. Indeed the only voters at those elections were the MPs of the respective parties!

The Labour party is unusual in allowing the unions to vote … or more accurately, the members of those unions. If they choose to do so, who are we (as non-members) to say it is wrong ? If you feel it is wrong, join the party and campaign for change.

And lets have a few less curmudgeons in the media please!

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