Presentation on theme: "Pulse Point Labour Party Leadership Elections. Miliband shakes up Labour leadership elections. The NEC has approved a report by Labour Leader Ed Miliband."— Presentation transcript:
Miliband shakes up Labour leadership elections. The NEC has approved a report by Labour Leader Ed Miliband detailing his plans to change the way Labour Party leaders are elected in the future as part of his plans to reform the party. Miliband supports the one member, one vote system. This will replace the electoral college which has balanced the power to elect leaders across sections of the party.
Why change? To reduce the influence of trade unions. To make the party more democratic. To increase party membership. To give the leader more legitimacy.
To reduce the influence of trade unions. Following allegations of electoral fraud by the Unite union in Falkirk, Ed Miliband decided it was time to rethink the party’s relationship with the unions. Reformers in the Labour Party fear the link with Unions reminds voters of ‘old’ Labour and the ‘loony’ left of the party. The reforms of the Labour party over the past 30 years have seen leaders move away from their reliance on Trade Union support.
To make the party more democratic When Ed Miliband was elected leader he was seen as the unions’ choice. Opponents labelled him ‘Red Ed’ In 2001 the Conservatives opened up their leadership election to party members although the MPs still select the candidates. The Liberal Democrats have always elected their leader in a one member one vote system. Labour’s electoral college has been criticised as the most undemocratic of the main parties.
To increase party membership. The new plans will introduce new levels of membership. Trade Union members will be able to ‘opt in’ to become associate members of the Labour Party for a reduced fee. Reformers in the Labour Party believe that reducing the influence of the unions and making the party more democratic, will encourage a fresh intake of people who may have been put off by the, closed-shop image. If Labour want to reduce their dependence on the unions they need to find new sources of revenue. The reforms will be phased in over 5 years to soften the financial impact.
To give the leader more legitimacy. Electoral college systems leave the elected leader open to questions of legitimacy as they are not as transparent as one member one vote. This map shows how ‘constituencies’ voted in the 2010 Labour Leadership election. Blue represents Ed Miliband, Green- his brother David. Despite being the most popular candidate for party members and Labour politicians, David lost out because the union vote favoured Ed by a significant majority. Anomalies in the old system meant that an MP’s vote was worth 600 times more than a party member and over a thousand times more than a union member. If an MP was also a party member, in a union and a member of an affiliate such as the Fabian society, they would have been able to vote four times.
Pulse Points. Is Labour a ‘divided’ Party? Why would the PLP want to check the influence of the Trade unions? What effect will the proposed changes have on the power balance within the party? How important is it for a political party to be democratic?
Pros & Cons of the reform. Old rules Candidates need 12.5 % of PLP support to get onto the ballot. Most factions of the party are represented. Votes have different weight depending on who casts them. Multiple votes are possible. Confusing and undemocratic. MPs have a disproportionately large influence. New rules Candidates need 20% of PLP support to get onto the ballot. Fewer candidates = less choice. One member, one vote. All votes have the same weight. No multiple votes. If the 10% of union members who opted to vote in 2010, opt in to party membership their share if the leadership votes will actually increase from a third to a half.
2010 Labour leadership election. CandidateMPs/MEPsParty Members Unions & Affiliates Total % of vote David Miliband 13.9114.699.1837.78 Ed Miliband 10.539.9813.8234.33 Ed Balls 5.013.373.4111.79 Andy Burnham 3.012.852.838.68 Diane Abbot 0.882.454.097.42 Totals 33.33 % 100.00 % As no one reached 50% the bottom candidate dropped out and her votes were redistributed.
2010 Labour leadership election. CandidateMPs/MEPsParty Members Unions & Affiliates Total % of vote David Miliband 14.0215.089.8038.89 Ed Miliband 11.1111.1315.2337.47 Ed Balls 5.183.834.2213.23 Andy Burnham 3.033.304.0810.41 Totals 33.33 % 100.00 % Still no one reached 50%, the bottom candidate dropped out and the votes were redistributed.
2010 Labour leadership election. CandidateMPs/MEPsParty Members Unions & Affiliates Total % of vote David Miliband 15.7816.0810.8642.72 Ed Miliband 12.1212.4316.7141.26 Ed Balls 5.434.825.7716.02 Totals 33.33 % 100.00 % Finally Ed Balls’ votes were shared between the Miliband brothers.
2010 Labour leadership election. CandidateMPs/MEPsParty Members Unions & Affiliates Total % of vote David Miliband 17.8118.1413.4049.35 Ed Miliband 15.5215.2019.9350.65 Totals 33.33 % 100.00 % Despite leading the field up to the final ballot, David Miliband lost out to his younger brother by 0.65 % of the vote.
Ramsey Macdonald formed the first Labour government in 1924. Although this initial taste of power lasted only for a few months, it shows how rapid the ascent of the Party had been.
In the 1970s a series of strikes, known as ‘the winter of discontent’ enabled Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher to clampdown on the unions, which were seen by many to be too powerful and corrupt. Following repeated general election losses throughout the 1980s the Labour party set on a course of modernisation.
Labour leaders and the unions John Smith got rid of the unions’ block vote, reduced their share of the electoral college from 40% to a third and he introduced one member one vote for local candidate selection. Neil Kinnock began reforms to move the party away from its ‘loony left’ image. Rejecting militants in the party and promoting the engineers of what would become ‘New Labour’. One of Tony Blair’s first achievements as leader was to rewrite Clause IV of the party constitution which effectively severed the commitment to public ownership against the wishes of the Unions.
The future of the Labour/trade unions relationship Miliband’s reforms are radical, but as they are to be phased in over 5 years, the situation continues to develop. Key questions: Will Labour ever totally sever itself from its ‘union paymasters’? With trade union membership falling year on year, will they continue to be able to exert the influence on their members and therefore the party? Can the party survive financially without the unions? If not, can they survive politically with them?