Leading the Labour Party

Labour Party

I would like to see a Leader of the Labour Party who can deliver the vision for a fairer more just society articulated by Jeremy Corbyn – achieved through a kinder more honest form of politics.

The aims and values of the Party are clear in the rules1. The party is a democratic socialist party, committed to change through democratic means not through revolution or mass action2. All members should support the aims of the party and obey the rules including to accept and conform to the constitution, programme, principles and policy of the Party.

The role of Party Leader is difficult and can only realistically be delivered through a team. So the first requirement for a Leader is the ability to build and lead such a team. The Leadership team has to be seen as supportive of the Party as a whole not just the Leader.

The key role for the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) is specifically emphasised in the rules3. The Leader has to command the respect of the PLP and support them in their roles – as front bench or backbench MPs and Lords (whilst we have them).

The Party is more than just its members and true to its history the Party retains important roles for Trade Unions. The Leader has a key role in managing this difficult but necessary dynamic. The party also has elected representatives outside Westminster and respect and support for councillors should be another vital goal.

The Leader and Leadership team do not make policy. The Leader does however set the direction and must be clear about the aims and principles behind any policies. The work of policy development is set out in the rules4 and relies upon the National Policy Forum (NPF) and Party Conference. The Leader should act to deter any temptations for ad hoc policy making by the Leader, the Leadership team or Shadow Cabinet Members. The Leader should oversee policy development and adapt the processes be effective when in opposition.

The Party can only implement policies if it wins sufficient electoral support. The Leader has to help balance the tension between radical progressive policies and a platform that will have enough electoral support. And balance long term objectives against a short term programme for changes.

Radical and progressive policies currently may not have sufficient support amongst electors. The Leader has to ensure that a radical programme can be credible and easily comprehended by electors. A single overall view, simple messages, relentless communication through many channels.

Many electors are influenced in part by their perception of the Party and the Party Leader as much as by policies and manifestos. The Leader has to be credible with electors as a potential Prime Minister.

Finally, to make all of this possible requires party structures and party staff, in Westminster as well as in the rest of the Country. The Leader has to ensure that the party staff have the huge range of skills and capabilities required and they are supported and valued.

To do all these things is difficult and the party, under various leaders, has been dysfunctional for some years, unable to articulate clearly policies that the electors will vote for or to look like a potential government.

So I will vote in any leadership election for the person I think can best heal the divide in the party and build a team that will win elections with policies that allow Labour in government to progress its aims and values.

1 Labour Party Rules 2016.

2 Rules Chapter 1 Clause IV Para 1

3 Rules Chapter 1 Clause I Para 2

4 Rules Chapter 1 Clause 5