Posts Tagged ‘Ray Collins’

Friday News Review

19/11/2010, 06:30:47 AM

Offensive Lord sparks row

The Prime Minister’s enterprise adviser said a drop in mortgage rates “since this so-called recession” had left most people better off. Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, the Conservative peer also said “people will wonder what all the fuss was about” when looking back at the Government’s spending cuts, the deepest in more than 30 years. He described the loss of about 100,000 public-sector jobs a year as being within “the margin of error” in the context of the 30 million-strong job market as a whole. – Telegraph

In a sign of Number 10’s desperation to pour cold water on the comments, Lord Young’s apology was issued before the newspaper carrying the interview containing his remarks had even hit the news-stands. He wrote a letter to Mr Cameron to “apologise profoundly” for his “insensitive and inaccurate” comments. – Independent

His remarks were seen as an offensive throwback to Thatcher-era harsh rhetoric, and are bound to lead to Labour calls for his dismissal as enterprise tsar on the grounds he is totally out of touch with the squeeze on living standards almost all voters are experiencing. Lord Young wrote to Cameron last night to apologise and express his “profound regrets”. He described his comments as insensitive, adding: “I am not a member of the government and played no part in the spending review. I deeply regret the comments and I entirely understand the offence they will cause. “I should have chosen my words more carefully. Low mortgage rates may have eased the burden for some families in this country. But millions of families face very difficult and anxious times.” – Guardian

Rift in the ranks

Shadow chancellor Alan Johnson today denied he is rocking Labour’s boat by urging new rules to weaken union influence. He told a journalist that future leadership contests should be changed to prevent members of trade unions and affiliated organisations from having more than one vote. “We did not go far enough, the party was half-reformed and we need to return to it,” he said, referring to Tony Blair’s internal reforms in the 1990s. Tories seized on his comment as evidence of a new rift between him and leader Ed Miliband, whose victory over brother David was achieved with strong union backing. – Evening Standard

Labour may be riding high in the polls, but according to Labour insider Dan Hodges in this week’s New Statesman, there is growing discord within the party supposedly united after Ed Miliband’s election. “Ed Miliband’s team are terrified of Ed Balls and Yvette. They think they’re going to come and try and kill him. And the reason they think that is because they will,” he told Hodges. “There’s a sense of a vacuum developing,” he continued. “People are looking for leadership and direction. And at the moment, they’re not getting it,” according to one shadow minister. – New Statesman

As Alan Johnson sparks off a debate on Labour party democracy, how might the party reform itself? With a recent history of expanding fairness in the country, Labour should now turn to its own internal workings. How democratic is a system where one person, who isn’t necessarily a member of the Labour party, has a number of votes, depending on how many trade unions or socialist societies they are members of? Yet a Labour party member of 60 years’ standing receives only one? How fair is it that 9 per cent of the membership of affiliated trade unions carries the same electoral weight as 72 per cent of Labour party individual membership? How fair is it that some people are allowed to vote on the basis of being ‘Labour party supporters’ but all L5s aren’t allowed to? The answer is it is not very fair at all. – Teddy Ryan, Progress (more…)

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If reform means breaking the link then we will lose

18/11/2010, 03:59:42 PM

by Tom Watson

One of the most difficult meetings I have taken part in was when I defied Gordon Brown at a sub-committee of the NEC. He had been convinced of the need to impose a candidate in Nottingham East by outgoing general secretary of the Labour party, Ray Collins. The general election had been called and there was little time to organise a last minute selection of members.

Collins was worried about the amount of time that would be diverted from campaigning in key seats. On balance, he was probably right, but I felt very strongly that members should ultimately decide who their Parliamentary candidate should be, even if it was at a quickly convened meeting. The vote was won by one, after Dianne Hayter, in a last minute shift and out of deference to Gordon, conceded on her avowed opposition to impositions. I voted against him. You could have cut the atmosphere with a knife.

Up until the Nottingham decision the last candidate to be imposed by the leadership of the party was a general secretary of a powerful trade union, Alan Johnson. I thought of that moment today when I read Alan’s comments in the Times newspaper. Alan wants to introduce full one-member-one-vote rules for electing our leader like the ones we have for selecting our MPs.

“It can be one member four votes and that’s wrong”, says Alan. He may be right about that. The current system of an electoral college allows multiple votes in different sections all having an unequal value, with a trade union levy payer vote having the least value and an MPs vote having the most value. One MPs vote was worth hundreds of trade unionist votes in the leadership election. Many people think that unfair. (more…)

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Timetable for the Election of the Leader of the Labour Party

07/06/2010, 12:00:11 PM

After several requests, we’re publishing the formal timetable for the leadership race below.

This is the information sent to MPs by Labour’s General Secretary Ray Collins.


Monday, 24 May
  • 2.30pm Opening of PLP nominations
  • Stakeholder mailing: procedural information packs, including nomination and supporting nomination papers
  • 5.30pm MP nominations posted on Labour Party website; thereafter, twice daily at 12.30pm and 5.30pm until close of nomination process.
Monday, 7 June
  • 7.00pm PLP Hustings
Wednesday, 9 June
  • 12.30pm Close of PLP Nominations
  • 1.00pm Procedures Committee to declare all validly nominated candidates.
  • Email to all members
Thursday, 10 June
  • 12.00pm deadline for acceptance of nomination by validly nominated candidates.
  • Supporting nominations open
Friday, 11 June
  • Youth Hustings, London
Sunday, 13 June
  • Hustings, Glasgow
Saturday, 19 June
  • BAME Hustings, Leicester
Saturday, 26 June
  • Hustings, Newcastle
Sunday, 4 July
  • Hustings, Cardiff
Saturday, 10 July
  • Hustings, Southampton
Friday, 16 July
  • Hustings, London & South
Sunday, 18 July
  • Hustings, Birmingham
Monday, 19 July
  • Procedures Committee
Tuesday, 20 July
  • National Executive Committee meeting
  • 5.00pm Deadline for candidates to provide 250 word statement and picture for inclusion in candidate booklet.
Thursday, 22 July
  • Last day for membership queries (and adjudication by National Constitutional Committee)
Sunday, 25 July
  • Women’s Hustings, Leeds
Monday, 26 July
  • 12.30pm Close of supporting nominations
  • Deadline for affiliated organisations to certify number of members to be balloted
  • Artwork for ballots and candidate booklets made available to affiliated organisations.
  • Ballots being printing
Saturday, 31 July
  • Hustings, Manchester
Monday, 16 August – 22 September
  • Ballots and member magazine posted to all members.  Balloting begins
Wednesday, 8 Sept
  • 12.30pm Freeze date for new members to join
  • Deadline for members in arrears
Wednesday, 15 Sept
  • 5.00pm last day to request  replacement ballot
Monday, 20 Sept
  • Procedures Committee
Tuesday, 21 Sept
  • 5.00pm close of affiliate ballot
  • National Executive Committee
Wednesday, 22 Sept
  • 5.00pm close of members and MP/MEPs ballots
Saturday, 25 Sept
  • 1.00 – 3.00pm Announcement of ballot results
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Ray Collins forgets to pay lip service

23/05/2010, 11:59:18 AM

Ray Collins did two things last week which politicians don’t usually do.  First, he expressed an unfashionable view to a difficult audience because he thought it needed saying.  Then – once he realised that he’d overdone it – he apologised even though he didn’t have to.

He might reply that he is not a politician.  That he is foremost a trade unionist, and that as Labour’s General Secretary he is merely an appointed official; the servant of the party.

In fact, he is a skilfull politician who has wielded an influence as general secretary not seen since Tony Blair wrested it from Larry Whitty and never gave it back. (more…)

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