Tag Archives: Thornhill report

An endangered species – Where are we with party reform?

John Pugh and Sir David Attenborough John Pugh with Sir David Attenborough

We are, by nature, political outsiders. None of us has been able to find a home in the establishment parties that dominate our political landscape. The political climate – electoral system, media, financial backing- is not favourable to us either. We struggle to get our voice heard, and our limited grip on power is always in peril and often short-lived.

As an endangered species, we would merit the David Attenborough treatment and as any endangered species need to husband carefully and efficiently our resources to survive. We survive by campaigning effectively on causes that matter to us and the electorate. However as Dorothy Thornhill said in her landmark report on the 2019 election “winning seats in elections has too often come second to internal discussion and management”, pointing out that “resources are being deployed on committees concerned with operational ..minutiae and their purposes and agendas at all levels of the party-national, regional and local”. The Thornhill report called for a review of the governance of all areas of the party.

Interestingly Dorothy in the report describes herself as “not an insider”, but even a party of outsiders needs its insiders. We should be grateful for those prepared to sit through the committee hours keeping the party’s cogs turning year after year as leaders, MPs and other stellar luminaries explode temporarily onto the scene, as membership waxes and wanes.

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