There was a special SEC last Saturday following the announcement that there will be a General Election on 8 June.
Kezia reported on the arrangements that had been put in place including her attendance at the UK NEC meeting earlier in the week. She also reminded the SEC that we still had important local government elections to focus on.
She welcomed Jeremy Corbyn’s unequivocal position rejecting any so a called progressive alliance with the SNP. The SNP not a progressive political party. One of the very few Bill’s that they have introduced in the Scottish Parliament is the Airport Departure Tax – a regressive tax cut for more wealthy households at the expense of vital public services and the environment.
It was hoped that Jeremy would make several visits to Scotland, starting with the STUC on Monday.
The manifesto process will also be condensed, and it is hoped that the Scottish manifesto will be published earlier than it was in the last general election. The starting point would be the 2016 manifesto updated with the Party’s latest initiatives. Of course none of this binds the policy process for the next Scottish Parliament election.
The main business was to agree a process for the selection of candidates. This process has been devolved to Scotland in accordance with the new rules establishing a more autonomous Scottish Labour Party.
While there is always a preference to have local selection meetings, it was recognised that this is simply not practical. Organising 59 selection conferences over a couple of days is logistically hugely difficult, but more importantly, it would be a huge distraction from local election campaigns.
Applications to be a candidate have been widely publicised and there had been a substantial response. Candidates have to be members for at least 12 months, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
It was agreed that a panel of 7 SEC members would be established to select candidates 2 TU, 2 CLP, 2 from balance of the SEC, plus Kezia. There is an expectation that at least 50% of candidates will be female.
There was also an update on the local government election. The next SEC meeting will consider a framework for approving any coalition agreements. The focus will be on delivering Scottish Labour’s anti-austerity policy.