Open Selection - Why It Needs To Happen NOW
There is a lot of debate going on in the Labour movement at the moment in relation to automatic deselection and the proposed new rules for the selection of prospective parliamentary candidates before every general election.
This system of automatic deselection is encapsulated in the proposals being put to conference by Labour International. It is the proposal that left MP Chris Williamson has been campaigning for this summer.
Alternatively there are proposals that are an improvement on the current trigger ballot system known as mandatory reselection, which are championed by Jon Lansman's Momentum. Automatic deselection forces all MP's to submit themselves to the entire constituency membership for election to become the prospective parliamentary candidate for the local party at the next general election.
Any member would have the right to stand against an incumbent and any subsequent election would be based on one member one vote. This is the system that used to operate in the Labour party prior to the Blairite reaction in the early nineties that introduced the system that we have today.
A system known as the trigger ballot that favours obedient career politicians. The type who make up the elements in the Parliamentary Labour Party who have been so vociferous in attacking Jeremy Corbyn over the last three years.
Mandatory reselection, the favoured Jon Lansman option, ensures that such a process would be triggered if the officers of a local CLP received notice and the appropriate criteria was met for such an election to take place.
It is clear that there are significant differences between the two new proposals with one clearly being superior to the other. We will all have our own views in relation to which one that is. There are no end of rumours in relation to behind the scenes machinations and manoeuvres to influence the outcome of the debate.
There was even a rumour at one stage that there would not be adequate time allotted to ensure that a proper debate took place.
How could it be otherwise with so much at stake. For genuine Labour and trade union activists - the very future of everything we are fighting for. For our careerist parliamentarians - the jobs that they thought they had for life. Jobs that provide them with a very lucrative income and comfortable lifestyle.
However one thing is for sure and that is whatever system is adopted it is bound to be better than the current trigger ballot system. A system that effectively guarantees that it is virtually impossible to get rid of a sitting MP in a safe Labour seat.
It would be totally wrong though, to miss the main point in relation to the decision that needs to be taken at conference. Whatever scheme is adopted in place of the trigger ballot system we now have needs to be operable with immediate effect.
Any new system that is put into effect after the next general election defeats the whole object. It gives sitting MPs a new lease of life and protects their privileged position for another three to four years. If a snap general election is called, the Blairite MP's who have been undermining Corbyn for the past three years will still be standing for election on a Labour ticket.
It doesn't take a political genius to work out that even if Labour's anti austerity policies achieve enough backing to get Jeremy the keys to No10, it will be a short lived and pyrrhric victory.
There will be no chance of any such Labour government implementing significant change. Every major decision will be blocked and at any given moment such a government will be likely to fall, brought down from within. Automatic deselection or mandatory reselection, whichever conference opts for has to be implemented forthwith if such a scenario is to be avoided.