We are in the middle of Parliamentary selection here. Early days, but signs are we will be able to confirm it is possible to have an All-Woman-Short list and a decent and democratic selection. I am looking forward to the informal gathering on Sunday, but can look forward to it even more because I might be constituency secretary, but I am not procedures secretary. From the start I stated I wanted the freedom to encourage a wide range of candidates and help generate interest amongst members rather than having to focus on the formalities.
When I started this blog I set out some thoughts about the job description of being a Constituency secretary. The first role I identified was that of ‘talent spotter’, so when someone came along and asked if they might be able to help with the work of selection I was keen to encourage them to take on the procedures secretary role.
I made a few other comments about the role of constituency secretary in my first blog. One of them reminded me that this isn’t a job. It is something I am supposed to do for relaxation, in my spare time. I decided not to take on paid work so that there was enough time to do the job. Perhaps that is why I am finding those essential but frequent emails asking for financial contributions a little grating. Yes I know they work, but I can’t donate anymore because I don’t earn anything. Perhaps I should just tot up my time and remind folks how much it is all worth. I sometimes get tempted to do that. Dear Labour, I put in at least a day a week trying to keep this organisation going. Some times it is much more than that. That is equivalent to donating a couple of hundred pounds a week. Can you please stop asking me for more.
Of course, there were many individuals who gave far more than a day a week in the run up to the recent elections and it was great to see them being supported by Labour at a national level. Being a County Council candidate in an unwinnable seat is a real test of dedication. I can’t imagine many previous leaders who would have supported that effort by standing up on a soap box in several market towns so let’s give credit for that.
But reviewing where I started this blog, keen to encourage that refounding of Labour, I do wonder when we are going to move on in other ways. I still search for ‘constituency roles’ on membersnet and find the same garbage. I had all sorts of bright ideas for how we could engage folks in reselection, but somehow they got lost in the drive to ensure a fair process. I could still write a page long list of things we need to do on very limited volunteer resources and wonder where the support is to do it all. Only today I read through that valuable guide to on-line campaigns – yet another list of things to do. One line jumped out ‘nothing should leave your office without the web-address’. What office? I thought. There are some welcome signs of change, but I am still waiting for the sea-change of support that is needed to make Refounding Labour a reality.