Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) is meeting today to clarify, and possibly game, the rules and to set the timetable for the Party's leadership election. Traditionally, with only Denis Skinner MP and the Grassroots Alliance slate of lefties and internal democrats to hold them back the NEC is completely and utterly in the pocket of the leadership.
Yes, even the Trade Union representatives are programmed to suck up to the leadership of the parliamentary party; a role where following their own Union's conference decisions and traditional sector interests is subordinated to securing knighthoods and peerages for their General Secretaries and selection in safe seats for Deputies and stalwarts.
So, what are the NEC to do today? In the absence of a Prime Minister they're .. gonna have to think for themselves and represent whoever it is delegated them.
And no, comrades and colleagues, brothers and very occasionally sisters, that was not on this occasion a Miliband. The above has been, of course, a ridiculous caricature.
Here are some only slightly ridiculous pointers that may help you think things through and make the right decisions.
First some principles:
1. Give all MPs two nominations and insist that one is used for a male candidate and the other for a female candidate;
2. Accept that the male MPs simply are not up to the job of nominating for equality and give only women MPs a second nomination, to be used for women only and with a proportionate threshhold of 11 nominations;
3. Apply a "zip" mechanism - no sir, not so that only those with fly zippers may be nominated - whereby there must be a woman nominated for each man on the ballot, plus one for good luck. This may be combined with rules 1 and 2 above, and to stop it being used as a mechanism to restrict the men to two Milibands the NEC shall require that there be nine or more candidates.
On Political Content:
Naturally, all party members signed up by the end of July should be allowed to vote.
Naturally, the process should be run to coincide with existing NEC elections to culminate at the Manchester conference.
Naturally, there should be a major membership drive.
Young members should continue to have a special rate. And those paying Trade Union levies should be included henceforth as individual members of the party with the net value of those levies passported through to the party.
There should be movement over time to parity with other memberships, whose cost should be reduced and/or banded so that it is not a barrier to any comrade.