The Labour Party is a members party

barrie cunningBarrie Cunning is the newly elected secretary of Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk CLP, and wants to see more power in the hands of Labour members.


May 8th 2015 will go down in the history books as one of the worst electoral defeats for Scottish Labour and a sad day for Scottish socialism.  There has been a lot of speculation about what we did wrong, what we could have done better and the future direction of the party.

I agree that Scottish Labour did lose touch with the country, took the Scottish people for granted and in turn became complacent, but I do not agree that this is the end for Scottish Labour; if anything this is a much needed wake up call for the party.

There has been a lot of talk about how many Labour members have joined the SNP since the referendum but what I don’t hear is  the party talking about the members that we currently have.

For too long the names of our leaders – Blair, Brown, Miliband, Murphy – have dominated the Labour headlines and our decision-making. I think it’s now time that members should take a bigger role in the party to help steer it in the right direction. After all, the Labour Party is a members’ party, is bigger than any individual and belongs to us all.

It’s time that members were consulted more on policy and the future direction of the party – and I don’t mean by filling in a survey on the Labour website. Instead I think we should adopt a more pragmatic approach where someone from each CLP is tasked with giving the Scottish Executive Committee feedback from their members in terms of the policies that they would like to see introduced. In essence, bottom-up not top-down policy-making.

I also believe that CLPs need to become more integrated with one another which would enable them to be more supportive of each other’s activities and help create a more unified network. I’m a member of the Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk CLP and I would like to see a South of Scotland CLP annual event which could be held in different parts of the region as I believe this would be a step in the right direction.

On BBC Question Time the panel were asked “What’s the point of Labour?” and for me that’s an easy question to answer. The Labour Party was born out of the workers movement and to this day we continue to fight for workers rights and a more just and equal society.

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4 thoughts on “The Labour Party is a members party

  1. Great article. We do need the CLPs to be in contact with each other more.

  2. Well done, Barrie, speaking the truth. Let’s hope your ideas are listened to by those at the top.

  3. Would definitely improve Labour’s MP relationship with their constituents, and it might even be possible in Scotland, but ultimately you will get nowhere in Westminister with the revolving door that is large corporations and the house of commons.
    Westminister doesn’t think we notice things like KPMG supplying consulting services to parties gratis in exchange for some input into policy making, or MPs with vested interests in private health care companies, or Dave Hartness of HMRC giving their friends favourable tax deals then leaving to the private sector shortly after. Westminister is tainted but unfortunately it holds all the cards and i doubt SLab would be able to influence any meaningful change, unless of course, no no its stupid, well, if only there was some way to have a Scottish Labour party independent of WM with more meaningful powers……..

  4. I have been a member of the party for over 10 years and I feel that we have been neglected and not listened to for sometime. I agree Barrie that the party should be more pragmatic and that it should be remembered that Labour is a members party, instead of talking the talk I would like to see more action, more member involvement.

    I’m sick of being told what is happening and not being consulted, I’m tired of hearing the same old rhetoric about equality fairness etc etc and how the SNP won, I want to see more action and less talk.

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