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What Does CLP Endorsement Mean?


I was vaguely amused today to read this tweet from Jeremy Corbyn.

A quick translation for those who're not caught up in this. What he's talking about is that the Labour Party is organised by UK parliamentary constituency so, as a member, you're a member of the constituency labour party (CLP) for where you live. So in my case, as a newish member of the party, I'm now a member of the Inverness and Nairn CLP.

Some, but not all, CLPs have met to decide which candidate they endorse in the leadership election and the score currently stands at 285 for Jeremy Corbyn to 53 for Owen Smith. Hence the tweet.

But here's the thing. This is all very jolly but I'm not sure whether it's that meaningful, and here's why.

As I said I'm new to this and although the CLP meeting was being held 15 miles away from here in Inverness, in the evening, and I can't drive because of my epilepsy I initially thought I should make the effort to get along to this meeting if I could work out the right combination of walking and public transport as my vote would matter. Then I did the reading and discovered that this "endorsement" is just indicative: the CLPs don't form part of the electoral college which decides the leader at all.

To put it another way it's a talking shop. So instead, as I'd prefer to hear what the actual candidates have to say rather than listening to other people tell me their views on the candidates, I've spent time watching interviews with both leaders by Owen Jones1 and also watching the first debate all the way through.

Meanwhile my local CLP met and voted to endorse Smith. Which is fine.

But here's the thing: in the email telling us the result the local party officer accidentally exposed the email addresses of every party member in my constituency so I know that about 11% voted for Smith and 3.5% for Corbyn. The rest of us didn't go to the meeting for whatever reason.

So I would suggest that for either party to be thinking that CLP endorsement is indicative of members' voting intentions is ... dubious to say the least.

  1. Which I recommend by the way - he lets both put their points without jumping in all the time like TV interviewers normally do. Here's Corbyn and Smith.

Tags: national politics Written 15/08/16

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