The Times reports (£) that the Scottish Labour Party are planning to demand their councillors undertake a minimum level of canvassing.
Councillors standing for the party in next year’s local authority elections will be told to sign a contract committing them to meeting thousands of voters a year and taking part in dozens of meetings. Those who fail to meet the requirements will face disciplinary action from party headquarters.
Apparently the proposal has come from the Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy was carried out a review of Labour's disastrous performance in the Holyrood elections in May.
There are local elections in Scotland next year and Labour are worried about losing control of Glasgow to the SNP. The basic allowance for councillors is a whopping £16,234.
Is such an arrangement enforceable? Demanding party donations from councillors is easy to monitor. Keeping track of how much canvassing they do would be a bit more problematic for a Chief Whip – although not impossible. Canvassing is much more effective when carried out by those with a genuine belief in the cause and interest in the process rather than those going through the motions to retain there £16,234 a year. Yet the alternative to this would appear to be idle councillors remaining in place due to inertia. Those who don't canvass will probably also be slackers over case work and scrutinising Council policy.
The Times reports that Labour already apply this arrangement in Manchester where it has proved effective.