If you’ve been keeping a close eye on the columns of the Independent and Torygraph lately you’ll have seen the name Mark McDonald pop up. He’s also been on the websites of Sky News and the daily current affairs organ the First post . To top it all the news website of the beeb which is one of the world’s best regarded URLs has featured him. As my cousins in Bangladesh used to say “we listen to the BBC when we want to hear the truth”.
So why all the attention? First up as someone who knows hom personally I can say that he’s an all-round good egg. He was broaght up by a single mum on a council estate in Birmingham. Mark built on his background as an NHS ancilliary nurse for many years by becoming a mature student and is now a human rights barrister and former Labour PPC (ran against Ed Vaizey at the last General Election). The media interest is because, as readers of Labour Home will know, Mark is running for the Labour Party treasurership. The incumbent happens to be Jack Dromey ie Mr Harriet Harman.
The Guardian’s Backbencher column comments “Maybe he’ll ask Harriet’s advice on how he can tighten up Labour’s dodgy finances… But the Backbencher has a feeling that Jack may be just the human sacrifice that Gordon has been waiting for.”
Alex over at Labour Home points out though “This isn’t an attack on Jack Dromey, who has held the post for four years. Neither is Mark’s candidacy a confrontation with the party hierarchy. It is meant as an illustration to the party that it can benefit from the constructive co-operation of regular party members at every level.”
Politics needs its tarnished reuptation restoring, particularly in the Labour Party after cash for peerages, dodgy donations etc. As a cobweb busting exercise a new treasurer would send a powerful signal, particularly someone of the callibre of Mark. There is an inevitable Facebook group as Chris Paul has pointed out.
Although on paper the unions have a great deal of sway and Dromey is seen as a union man, I get the feel that a lot of the rank and file, like the voters of America, would welcome a bit of change in the Labour Party. Apparently the post is traditionally unopposed however democracies thrive on contests. The situation has been described as a David and Goliath one but stranger things have happened.
Finally as any keen follower of 20th century sociological developments will know, McDonaldisation is a theory of George Ritzer that updates Weber’s theory of rationalisation and bureaucracy with an analogy to the burger giant. One of its key features is “efficiency”, which is greatly needed in Labour party financial affairs in the run-up to the next election.