Today, usefully, correctly, Labour approves the principle of OMOV (“one member, one vote”) in its democratic processes. As a member of a union not affiliated to the Labour Party – yet which is, nevertheless, affiliated to the TUC – and as a member of the Labour Party since 2004, I have to say I approve of this change – though, as always in politics, the devil is in the detail (as well as the practical desire to work together that any organisation needs from its members, quite at the margins of its theoretical rules and regulations). As the BBC reports (and as Ed Miliband was clearly keen to point out):
Addressing the conference after the vote, Mr Miliband said members should be proud that the party had demonstrated it had the “courage to change”.
He said he had taken a “big risk” in proposing the reforms in July, stressing: “I did not believe we could face up to the challenges the country faced if we didn’t face up to the challenges faced by our party.”
Many British people had recently felt the Labour Party had lost touch, he said, adding: “You were right.”
So I also agree with this observation (the bold is mine):
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis also urged members to move on.
“Our money will remain, they will get our affiliation fees and we will move forward to win this election for Labour. But we want Labour to stand up for our people,” he said.
Meanwhile, just as Miliband continues to show himself to be a man who can understand the lay of the land on the big (and supposedly smaller) issues time after time – from phone hacking, Big Media power, predatory capitalism and energy prices to internal party democracy and its implications for a wider voting public – I observe from the sidelines in a most interested fashion. And yet, more and more, in a most approving fashion. I’m even beginning to wonder whether despite all the Tory hype, lie-bombs and smears recently we aren’t beginning to have Labour exactly where we need it to be. Today I carried out one of these wonkish online tests designed to tell you (in a kind of politically Bridget Jones self-improvement sort of way) where you stand in relation to the major political parties. This was the result of my responses:
Interesting results, I think. If the algorithms have any validity at all, I would draw the following conclusions:
- Labour is much closer to what we might term the more innovative parties, at least with respect to their public pronouncements – even if, in reality (and here I wonder about the Greens in a couple of constituencies and the Lib Dems almost everywhere), when it comes to the real practice of government their fine words often do begin to ring awfully hollow.
- The group of parties I score in the 90s, with a very narrow spread of results, might indicate a solid coalition of Tory opposition could be formed out of the last few years of misrule – if, that is, the parties in question want to honestly represent the voters as per the policies they’ve formed/are beginning to form.
- With the caveat of independence issues always upfront, Labour (when it isn’t – especially in Scotland – running incoherent rings of rhetoric around itself) may not be all that distant from the civic nationalisms of Scotland and Wales in many respects, and certainly in terms of social policy. And politics is the art of the possible, after all.
- We’re not all that different from each other in lots of ways, it would seem. Take that as you wish, too. Either a) we’re all humans who could easily learn to work more collaboratively together if we only cared to prioritise our manifest similarities over our picky differences; or b) a helluva lot of politicians are treading on the coattails of the other – possibly to little effect as far as disenchanted voters are concerned.
- Finally, it seems I agree with the BNP with respect to their policies on transportation. I do truly hope this isn’t an unhappy use of euphemism for a very particular resurgence of immigration attitudes: perhaps a 19th century throwback to those poor and apparently unredeemable convicts, banished as they were from polite society as they ended up marooned Down Under. (Actually, I suspect it has more to do with my disagreement of any HS2 investment that allows London to suck more and more of the country into its gross economic bear hug – but you never know.)
Anyhow. I urge you to take the test yourself. And if you feel at all inclined, do share your results and observations in the comments here. I’d love to know how everyone else fares on this one.