At the BLP meeting in Honiton (see below) the agenda was set aside in favour of a pre-election session for the Constituency. We heard that, owing to the very short notice of the election, there was not enough time for branches to select their own candidates so the NEC would do it for us. Sitting MPs and previously adopted candidates were automatically endorsed, but anyone else would need to apply to the NEC.
Our 2015 candidate, Caroline Kolek, told us she was too busy to stand again and recommended Henry Brown. Henry then told us about himself and answered questions. He would apply and the NEC would decide who would be the official candidate.
Sonce then we hear that Caroline has changed her mind and agreed to stand again, so she is our official candidate. I shall try to arrange for her to come to Seaton to bring the Labour light of reason to the benighted Tories here.
The latest polls show that popular support for the Labour Party is at a very low ebb. What can we do to change that ?
To my mind the dissension between the Leader and the Parliamentary Labour Party is the reason. Squabbling, plotting, briefing against one another – they look more like a disputatious rabble than a prospective government. Granted, the Tories are also deeply divided, but they keep it quiet: Labour plotters ensure maximum publicity for their quarrels, to the serious detriment of the image of the Party.
One argument is – change the Leader. We cannot change the PLP, so get rid of the person who upsets them so much and perfect peace and electoral gravitas will magically return. Of course, this has been tried already. A complete unknown was pushed forward – and resoundingly defeated by a membership vote. But contention continues and public support declines.
In any decision process the literature teaches us that a continuous battle takes place at various levels of our minds. The surface decision, ostensibly derived from rational analysis is deeply affected by unconscious and unacknowledged drives. To understand a decision we need to look at all levels affecting it.
An example is my own reaction to the EU referendum, in which I was a passionate remainer. I campaigned vigorously on the rational case (economic statistics) and totally failed to acknowledge my irrational emotional drives. As an immigrant from the cultural deserts of South Africa, Europe represented to me a wonderland of art and sophistication to which I now had open access. I was desperate to preseve that link whatever the economic statistics had to say about it, and however easy it might be to travel there after Brexit. At the time, all this was hidden from me in the flurry of the campaign. However, afterwards reading analysis by various commentators of the differing reasons for Brexit voting I eventually understood my own decision better.
So, how does this apply to Labour’s travails ? Why are so many members thinking differently from the PLP and the electorate as a whole ?
We in Seaton are part of the Honiton and Axe Valley Branch of the constituency party: the other branch being Tiverton and, I think, Cullompton.
There will be a meeting of our branch at the Three Tuns in Honiton on 19th April from 7.30 pm. I shall be training up from Exeter for the occasion: hope to see you there.