CfS Responds to Scottish Labour's Consultation

Renewing Scottish Labour Party Consultation

The Scottish Labour Party is currently consulting members on internal party structures. Below is the response submitted by CfS to the consultation process. Supporters may want to use this template as the basis for their responses, which can be submitted to the party until Friday 17th June. 

CfS Response

Introduction

The Scottish Labour Party should not secede from the UK Labour Party. The principles of our party are socialism and solidarity – these will not be served by the setting up of artificial boundaries with comrades outside Scotland. 

Scottish Labour does of course require the freedom of action to be able to advance labour principles in Scotland and to contribute to the party at a UK level.  Policy on devolved issues should be made by the Scottish Labour Party and endorsed at Scottish Labour Party Conference – The Scottish Labour Party should have the capacity to feed in a collective view on reserved issues, primarily through decisions taken at Scottish Labour Party Conference or through the Scottish Executive Committee of the Labour Party.    

In this regard key reform that needs to be made is for the Annual conference of the Scottish Labour Party to be the primary decision making and policy forming body. This will mean a much greater use of resolutions and votes than has been the case in recent years (Nov 2015 being a welcome exception). Decisions taken at Scottish Conference should be reported to the National Policy Forum and other policy reviews such as the Defence Review. Scottish representatives on the National Policy Forum should be mandated to support policies adopted by Scottish Conference.

In the longer term it makes sense for the Party to mirror the structure of the UK and to change as and when there are changes. Deciding the best structure should take account of the same criteria that we would use to assess constitutional change: does it enable the redistribution of resources; does it enable democratic control; does it promote class solidarity across the UK? 

Policy - What mechanism could be used to reconcile Scottish Labour Party policy positions where they differ from UK Party, into a single, agreed position for UK and European elections?


No special mechanism needs to be used. The positions adopted by the Scottish Labour Party feed into the UK policy making process. The overall policy adopted by the UK may not match with that of the Scottish Labour Party – just as the position argued by a CLP or affiliate may not be supported by the Labour Party as a whole.  On UK wide issues the view of the UK party has to take priority. This is democracy.  What is important is that the Scottish Labour party has the opportunity to be part of the decision making process.  This can happen. 


Candidate Selection - Should the process of agreeing and administering selections be devolved to the Scottish Labour Party?

In the event of Westminster, Local Government and European selections being devolved, how do they remain compliant with gender and positive action requirements of the UK Party?

The procedure and administration of selections should be devolved however they should remain compliant with existing UK rules both in general and on Gender and positive action in particular.  There should be a right of appeal to the NEC 


Shared Services - To what degree should responsibilities for administration of membership and services be devolved to the Scottish Labour Party?

Given that we are all members of the same party this is far more a matter of administrative convenience than it is an issue of principle. The party as a whole should spend as little of resources as possible in running it’s internal administration and as much as is feasible in campaigning. Given the scale of the task facing Labour in Scotland it is likely that there will need to be a net transfer of resources from the party as a whole towards the Scottish labour Party  


CLP Management - Should the Scottish Labour Party be responsible for the management of CLPs, including individual membership disputes?

This should be within the remit of the Scottish Labour Party but with the option of appeal to the NEC or other appropriate committee.   
Kezia’s introduction says “decisions about Scotland would be taken here in Scotland by me and my team”. It is not clear who makes up her “team”, but it is not the place for unelected people to make decisions.