Democracy is relegated!
Sheffield’s ruling (by permission of the Greens) Labour Group continues to close its ears as it clings to power in the town hall.
Forming a government of national unity – sorry a “co-operative administration – the new leader, Terry Fox, said “We hoped to have a triangular arrangement with the Lib Dems, too. Unfortunately, that has not happened, but we have an agreement with the Greens that will give us an administration and take the city forward”.
Terry, who succeeds the short-lived leadership of Bob Johnson who lost his seat in May’s elections, has long coveted the position.
And his position was confirmed within hours of the election defeat – so not much chance of a period of reflection as to why Labour lost so badly in the city and what might be changed to improve its standing.
The election of Fox goes against the wishes of a significant number of Labour members in the city who petitioned the NEC to allow members to have a say.
Labour is running its own version of the disgraced European Super League where the fans – sorry members – have little or no say in how their team is run, what league it aspires to be in and what cost the members must bear when their side loses.
The petition, promoted and championed by Sheffield Labour Left, was rejected at the NEC by 20 votes to 11 showing that, although the right continue to control the party apparatus, Starmer and Evans’ are not without some opposition still.
The petition stated that: “there have been a myriad of incidents which have brought the city into a bad light on the national stage. Many people, from all wings of the party, have raised concerns with the previous administration, including an enduring unpopularity from the continued fallout from the Streets Ahead highways PFI, and the distance it maintained from party members and the general public alike.”
It is that distance – shall we call it that boardroom mentality that brooks no democratic input – that will continue to hamper the city – and the Labour Group – in addressing the slide from a bastion of Labour support to a City with third division management.
As the petition declared: “To decide why we lost and how we regain power, the members who are the forefront of our campaigns must be included in that debate. We believe that this should begin with the next Leader of Sheffield Labour Group being elected by an all-member ballot, rather than by Councillors alone. The process for this should not be rushed, should allow for a comprehensive reflection of the mistakes made, and how we can begin to rectify them.”
Well, the rush to appoint a new “manager” (leader) demonstrated once again that while the ruling group rely on the fans (members) to turn out year after year to get them elected, they have no intention of consulting them or allowing them even an opportunity to debate the way forward.
Relegation to the amateur leagues beckons if this contempt for the membership is not dropped.