London Labour party ignored union guidance on selection processes to fix Euro-list

Reverberations from the London Labour party’s botched selection process for its European candidates rumble on: last week critical motions were passed at Streatham, Ilford South and Brixton Hill CLPs.

The emerging focus for unhappiness is the opaque selection criteria used by the London Labour party panel in making their decision. Calls for the regional party to explain the criteria were central to the motions passed last week.

Uncut can help out the quizzical CLPs in their quest for the criteria: there wasn’t any. Don’t take our word for it, this was the response from Joy Johnson, a senior member of the selection panel, when Uncut challenged her on how the selections were made:

“Did I discuss the criteria? That is Alan Olive’s domain and the answer is that there isn’t one…”

That’s right, to be an MEP for Labour, the London party had no preference on the type of experience a candidate should have, their track record  or any political achievements. There wasn’t even a mention that being an effective campaigner might be an asset for prospective candidates in a London-wide PR election.

Strange, you might think. For most jobs there is a specific set of criteria against which candidates are scored. Otherwise, where there are several candidates – say, 98 in the case of the London Euro-list selection – how would the panel be able to make a systematic comparison and select the best qualified applicants?

There certainly are detailed criteria for the parliamentary selection process with guidance for constituency selection panels on how to apply them and administer a fair process.

But no, for London Labour, this was all entirely unnecessary. Instead, their approach to selection has been guided by two words: “political judgement.”

These cryptic words are the reason Anne Fairweather wasn’t even called for interview, the reason candidates with limited campaigning experience were selected and why several candidates who met the specification for a parliamentary selection in spades from both left and right, were discarded.

The reality is that having transparent criteria, with clear weightings, would have made the fix much more difficult. It would have required members of the panel to actively disregard evidence of those candidates who were not blessed by the unions.

God forbid, candidates might have asked to see their markings – as happens every day in companies and public sector organisations up and down the country following interviews – and queried how decisions were made.

In the event, it was much easier to have no criteria and remove any basis for accountability for the selection panel.

Ironic really, because any hint of a similar approach for any other job interview, other than London Labour MEP, would have been roundly condemned by the unions, and quite right too.

As a Unite guide states on selection processes (in this case for redundancy)

“As far as possible an employer should seek to establish criteria for selection which do not depend solely upon the opinion of the person making the selection but can be objectively checked against such things as disciplinary record, experience and efficiency at the job”


Just a shame these principles were ignored when it came to London Labour’s Euro-list selection.

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8 Responses to “London Labour party ignored union guidance on selection processes to fix Euro-list”

  1. Nick says:

    No doubt bought their seats with union funds.

  2. Jon Lansman says:

    Choosing a candidate to be an MEP – or an MP or councillor – is not a like selecting an applicant for a “job”. It is essentially a political choice, even if a successful candidate will receive a salary. Unlike a job selection process, it is simply wrong to approach it as some kind of skills-based selection. Although communication skills will be a major asset, the choice must in the end be a political one. We are not choosing a Prime Minister or council leader when we choose an MP, MEP or councillor – they would need qualities of leadership, team building, etc which go beyond that. What we need in our bottom tier politicians above all is the right judgement, values, principles and commitment to fight for them. And we will differ in our views about who has them. Thats politics.

  3. Robert says:

    I agree that’s politics. My criteria would be no Trots or Blairites!

  4. Mark says:

    Jon L presumbly writes here to ‘hold the line’ – but he surely can’t fail to see the contradictions in his own post.

    Regardless of whether we agree on whether most voters and party members would see going for these elected positons as a bit like ‘a job’ (I’d think they would): the question here is why the list system is any different to cllrs and MPs. Obviously there will be politics in selections, but for MPs and councillors – before party members get to choose (politically, by voting for one candidate or another) there are certain criteria the Party has always asked of candidates when they go through the panel process.

    With MEP selections in some areas of the country these basics seemed to have been somewhat absent – so some members are legitimately annoyed at being presented with a list of people chosen by a cadre which subsequently refuses to say how the list was put together – and haven’t been able (like Jon) to defend the process apart from saying “it’s political.” The weakness in here is quite clear and a sign of a not very healthy system: how was it uniquely ‘political’? In other words, what was the political judgement?

  5. john reid says:

    Mark I noticed the contradictions in Jon L,s post too,

  6. Peter Wicks says:

    The Hardest of times

    A short history lesson
    of times past and present.

    After the Second World War
    the men of Britain were adamant
    that they would not go back
    to the status of slave and master
    attitude of the pre war days,
    they had just fought a war
    with blood and sweat not
    to have the chains of servitude
    manacled to their bodies
    when they returned home…

    The war left Britain destitute
    without any help from the Marshal Plan
    that created the new Europe
    for we in Britain were absolutely broke
    and the Yanks offered no help what so ever…

    So after the war, this country
    kicked Churchill out of power
    and it elected the Labour Party
    with the biggest land side victory of all times
    and we had the one and only real socialist
    government this country had ever seen…

    What happened then MUST happen again
    the Labour Party set about rebuilding
    our country by a wonderful means

    Every industry that was in private hands
    was taken by the state, for the good of
    the many and not the few
    this included coal, electric, gas,
    water, shipping, trains, oil,
    Post office telephones, buses, trams
    , airports, airlines, and great swages
    of private lands, if it could benefit the people
    it was nationalised….

    Labour took from the rich and gave to the poor
    a Robin Hood of the 1940s
    we had our first National Health Service
    and a free dental service
    plus free prescriptions for all…

    But then the “Maggot” came along
    from the Tory Party who’s first vile job
    was to stop the free school milk kids
    were getting and this earned her
    the rightful name of “Thatcher the Snatcher” ….

    But Labour was getting soft
    and to lost its balls, it elected a
    Welsh windbag called Kinnock as its leader
    who set about to destroy
    labours socialist ideology
    in later years he received a seat
    in the House of Lords
    for this bit of treachery…

    So the Tory party gained power
    with a land slide election
    with the “Maggot” as its leader
    she was more right wing
    than Hannibal the Hun
    but far deadlier…

    She wanted to decimate
    all that our brave men had
    fought and died for
    in the second world war
    ”A country fit for heroes”
    and by all the unholy deeds
    in this world, she did….

    She set about to thief and sell
    the “Family Silver” as Ted Heath
    once called it, bit by bit she sold
    it to her filthy rich friends in the City
    and her own party until all that was left
    was our NHS, but that was a sell-off to far…

    Her own party chucked her out of office
    when she caused mass riots
    over her hated Poll Tax bill
    but all was not lost for the Tory Party
    a new face appeared on the cat walk
    of politics as Tory Blair…

    This chap pretended to be a socialist
    and a friend of the workers
    and with the help of Ginger Kinnock
    became the new leader of the Labour Party….

    Tory Blair was the biggest disaster
    to come the workers way
    he spun his lies so much that he nearly
    went into orbit with his blatant untruths
    about weapons of mass destruction crap
    but it caused the death of countless people
    in the conflict on desert sands…

    Tory Blair continued to flog off Britain
    but dressed in the sick little name of PFI
    this gave giant building firms like French Kier
    the go ahead to build hospitals for the NHS
    then charge the British public BILLIONS
    in rent for the next thirty years
    sick is not the word I use….

    So Labour is a sham, it ditched its roots
    long ago to the gods of greed and corruption
    and it will be obliterated at the next
    election and allow the Tory and Lib/Dems
    To gain seats in the Halls of Westminster….

    Well done you greedy selfish gits, well done
    for now the true sprite of the old left wing
    of the labour movement will rise from the ashes
    of the shell of the party that once represented
    all the under dogs of this divided land…

    This is how it was my friends, the GREED of the few decimated all that was good and caring in the UK, we had money to spend on everything we wanted, paid for the services we owned and used which was for the good of the many and not the GREEDY unspeakable few who stole it all.

    Peter Wicks

  7. Peter Wicks says:

    Footnote….at the tender age of 76 this old dyed in the wool old warrior is telling you all….ditch this Ed the leader of labour…he is no more socialist than I am Adolf Hitler..he is NOT the working class hero we are all looking for ….take your heads out of your backsides and find a REAL leader for our party…or suffer five more years of hell under Ed….

  8. Mal says:

    Selections are moving away from the old “spad” and more towards community champion.

    However, in the north east there is a stand-out candidate that was universally backed from the get-go from almost every union, mp and even the sitting euro mp. Don’t get me wrong she is a great candidate, but the most cynical of folk might think it was over before it began. We do need transparency in the selection process so as not to deter ambitious people from having a go.

    I am not convinced that when we get these “would you like to be the next mp for “so and so” constituency?” they are being entirely honest I think the preferred candidate gets chosen prior to even the longlisting process. I guess it’s good for those who are “the one”.

    We need to be transparent, offer a choice of people and ensure everyone gets encouraged to stay involved. No-one likes a stitch-up, no matter which party we belong to.

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