The Relevance of Democracy to the Ongoing Careers of Rory Palmer and Liz Kendall

In today’s news, anti-Corbyn Labour Councillor Rory Palmer will “automatically succeed” anti-Corbyn MEP Glenis Willmott as Labour’s new representative for the East Midlands (“Leicester Deputy Mayor Rory Palmer to become an MEP,” July 6, Leicester Mercury).

In other democratic news from this week, local Blairite Labour MP Liz Kendall briefed the Sunday Times (July 2) to help them produce an article titled “Blairite rebels plot new centrist party.” The article explained:

“The Labour moderate Liz Kendall has revealed she was threatened with deselection as an MP within 48 hours of the election on June 8.

“The former Labour leadership candidate spoke out as Corbyn’s new party chairman, Ian Lavery, said Labour “might be too broad a church” and warned that no MP had a “divine right” to remain on the party ticket.”

Personally I can see many reasons why someone might want to have an alternative to Kendall as their local MP. Take for instance the massive unpopularity of Kendall’s Blairite politics, as demonstrated by the abysmal 4.5% of the vote she received in the 2015 Labour leadership election. Another reason why someone might want to use democratic Labour Party policies to replace Kendall might be because she voted alongside the Tories (and other Blairites) to support the bombing of Syria in December 2015.

Although the Times article talks about “mandatory deselections,” such language makes the introduction of such principles sound both undemocratic and authoritarian. But in actual fact all that Labour members are calling for is that before a General Election the local members of the Labour Party should get to decide whether the incumbent MP has done a good enough job to deserve their confidence.

If a local MP seems to be failing their constituents, then logically, the Labour Party should be able to ask their local membership to vote on whether they want to keep the incumbent, or whether they would like to elect another politician who is more likely to represent socialist values in Parliament. This process should be seen as democracy in action… and it is something that, unsurprisingly, the Tories still know nothing about.

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