Building New Labour: The Politics of Party Organisation - download pdf or read online

By M. Russell

ISBN-10: 0230513166

ISBN-13: 9780230513167

ISBN-10: 1403939942

ISBN-13: 9781403939944

'New' Labour was once outlined partially by way of wide-ranging reforms to the party's inner democracy. those integrated adjustments to how applicants and leaders are chosen, alterations to coverage making strategies, and a programme of 'quotas' that reworked women's illustration within the occasion. within the first ebook to examine these kinds of reforms intensive Meg Russell asks what stimulated them, to what quantity they have been pushed by means of leaders or individuals, and what they could educate us either approximately celebration organisational swap and the character of energy kin within the Labour celebration today.

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The issue was finally resolved at a special conference convened at Wembley in January 1981. Here the various options for widening the franchise were debated. Bob Maclennan, MP for Caithness and Sutherland and later an SDP defector, proposed that 'the only way in which this Party can widen the choice and extend the franchise ... is through one member one vote' (Labour Party, 1981, p. 127). David Owen spoke strongly against trade union involvement in leadership elections, suggesting that the electoral college 'will be shown to be totally illegitimate' and 'totally undemocratic', and that '[t]o allow the block vote to choose the future Prime Minister of this country is an outrage.

After the 1979 defeat backing from key unions facilitated, through their votes on the NEC and at the annual conference, the agreement of the two successful CLPD reforms. Not only did the unions help secure the mandatory reselection of MPs, but they had voted themselves additional power through the establishment of the electoral college in 1981. This culmination of events was an absolute reversal of the party's traditions, whereby the unions' behaviour was guided by restraint (Minkin, 1992). Both their actions and the new powers that they had gained were openly criticised by Labour's political opponents, including many of those who defected to form the SDP.

There was one such suggestion in 1974, rising to 12 in 1975, and by 1977, 79 such proposals reached the agenda (Kogan and Kogan, 1982). Despite the opposition of the PLP and the party's right wing, the leftward drift on the NEC made it increasingly sympathetic to the demand. Having initially opposed mandatory reselection the NEC finally recommended acceptance of the principle at the post-election conference of 1979, and this was approved. It passed formally into the party's rules at the 1980 conference.

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Building New Labour: The Politics of Party Organisation by M. Russell


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