CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

A question of democracy

05 October, 2017

• “IS efficiency undermining Labour’s democracy” asked John Gulliver in the Camden New Journal (Is ‘efficiency’ undermining Labour’s democracy?, September 21), referring to the procedures used by the Kentish Town branch of the Labour Party when selecting their three candidates for next years Camden Council elections.

Replying on behalf of the branch, James Kennedy ignored the question (John Gulliver has misrepresented Labour’s process for choosing council candidates, September 28).

Instead he concentrated on assuring New Journal readers that the procedures were explained to the members and questioned John Gulliver’s claim that some members did not understand them.

This ignores the quote within the Gulliver piece from a named branch member of long standing who, along with one other member, protested after the procedure had finished. Had they understood what was happening they presumably would have registered an earlier protest.

There are two main objections to the way the Kentish Town selection was conducted. First a meeting advertised as a shortlisting meeting transformed itself into a selection meeting.

The usual selection meeting that follows a shortlisting meeting will no longer take place. Having attended a number of such meetings over the years, it has been my experience that selection meetings usually attract a bigger turnout than most other meetings. It is also usual for branch members to have an opportunity to question the shortlisted candidates.

On this occasion the candidates were barred from attending their own selection meeting as it was officially a shortlisting meeting, therefore no questions were asked.

Then there is the matter of branch members who put themselves forward as potential candidates for shortlisting; they too are banned from the meeting and denied their right to vote for the branch candidates. This is clearly not democratic – one has to ask is it even legal?

DON RYAN, NW5

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