JANUARY 22ND 2021
Yesterday the NEC Organisation Committee approved a paper supposedly to ensure that only ‘High Quality Candidates’ are selected for local government and Parliamentary selections.
The paper made it clear that candidates and elected representatives are held to a higher standard than party members and the NEC expects the highest standards of probity.
That’s fine in principle – but there were several elements of the paper which are deeply unsettling.
The system laid out in the paper ultimately rests on highly subjective and value judgements, in my opinion it will increase incentives for false/malicious accusations which are already a key contributor to toxifying party culture.
I asked for greater clarification on how a potential candidate can be deemed to “embarrass” the party and put down a basic amendment to change wording from “that be embarrassing” to “that would be seen by many people as”, but this was defeated.
Another simple amendment was made to stop the General Secretary unilaterally ruling out a candidate, adding stipulation for it to be brought to the NEC.
This was also defeated.
The fact that elected bodies can potentially be cut out of crucial decisions to rule candidates out troubles me immensely.
I believe the paper hands too much power to unelected officials and has a negative and discouraging tone towards disabled, working class or BAME people.
This could potentially intensify domination of professionalised, career-oriented people standing for elected office.
We don’t want bland robotic suits with little lived experience – we want people who represent our communities.
People make mistakes. They learn. Sometimes they are victimised by unfair accusations.
If we are to be relevant to ordinary people, we need to accept that not everyone standing for elected office will be perfect.