Votes heal

Why can’t the Labour Party recognise that fair votes heal? If you’ve done your best and lost, then it’s easier to accept the will of the majority. While it’s always been a ploy to manipulate the short lists for selections, there’s an ugly rumour going round that Lewisham’s Mayoral Selection committee plan to propose a short list of two, one woman and one man to put to the members.

The big picture is that the candidate will be chosen by a one member, one vote; members should be given a diverse choice of competent candidates. Proposing a candidate that doesn’t come from such a competition, is contemptuous of the electorate, and dangerous for the Party as the experience of Gordon Brown and Theresa May, who both avoided their membership confirmation have shown.

Labour’s rules emphasise fairness to candidates and members in several places.

ooOOOoo

Chapter 1.VIII.N NEC & Equalities Policy, sets out our equality goals, supporting the representation of working class, women, ethnic minority, LGBT and disability candidates and the NEC’s duty to pursue it.

In Chapter 4.I.1 they declare the that fair elections will be held, obvious it would seem but the Judges quoted this in the 2016 cases. The rule applies to internal officer elections, but if they can import freeze dates into internal elections from Chapter 5, then the overall duty of fairness from Chapter 4 can be applied to Chapter 5 (Candidates for Office) selections.

Under Chapter 5, rule 5.I.C.i requires a fair selection and rule 5.I.E. Candidates representative of our society states,

i. The Party will take action in all selections to encourage a greater level of representation and participation of groups of people in our society who are currently under-represented in our democratic institutions. In particular, the Party will seek to select more candidates who reflect the full diversity of our society in terms of gender, race, sexual orientation and disability, and to increase working class representation.

Chapter 5, also has a rule, 5.I.H. called “Transparency in procedures”, which states that

i. Procedural rules and guidelines for these selections shall endeavour to be clear, simple and easy to administer by Party units. Support shall be provided to those administering the selections process.

Transparency, and that word is why I publish the rule title would suggest the rules are published in advance and available to all. It would seem that this rule has not been so well read.

I was of the view that a rule exists that states there must be at least three candidates for a single post selection, but I can’t find it today; I must have seen it somewhere, perhaps its in some of the procedural guidelines for parliamentary selections, which not all members get to see.

Finally rule 5.III.7 documents the disputes process for non inclusion, to be resolved by the Regional Appeals Board, or the LCF on the process of the selection.

Votes heal

six two

And another Lewisham Deptford GC, this time it’s a Special one, convened to deal with (some) Conference business. So in the best traditions of the Labour movement we started with a rules row.

The Secretary had, unlike in previous years, removed the election for a women’s delegate from the agenda. I felt that by not putting a women’s delegate election on the order paper, the organisation was taking a backward step. I can’t really believe that the feminists have changed their mind, they’ve always been so keen on the “…at least 50%…” rule. The agenda also proposed that the CLP only send three of its 12 delegate entitlement. The Chair now understands that when rulings are challenged, as we say in software testing, we are critiquing the product not the author and is very calm about it. However not everyone else in the room has got that yet and are keen to help him out by ensuring that his line is understood, . We voted on whether to have a women’s delegate or not and voted not to, actually we voted to send one, but not by the ⅔ majority required.

We then had an argument about the delegation size. To my mind it was unfortunate that the proposal from the floor was to fund three delegates, but to send twelve and then make a conditional commitment to the remaining seven that we might find the money. This would mean that people would be standing not knowing how much it would cost them which will exclude people. I have said before that the only way to control cost is to control numbers. I also suspect that 12 is too many, although I’d be interested to know how much we spent on the election.

Policy development is as important as fighting elections as this last election and the impact of the manifesto showed. It’s a shame that even a left leadership seems none to keen to share the making of manifestos with the membership, but their minds have been on other things. Luke Akehurst of Labour First had suggested (or maybe something stronger) that they argue for minimum sized delegations. I am not sure why, I and allies felt it should be larger. In the cold light of day, sending 14 is financially unsupportable, the influence of an individual delegate is tiny, it’s a very large conference and very few people get to speak. It’s easier to be called to speak if you are known to the chair, or your line is known to the chair. While I believe in Conference Sovereignty, there must be a better way of doing this. The final point to make is that now we have ½ million members (or more) perhaps the delegates’ expenses should be funded by head office.

Anyway, after an hour of this palaver, we moved on to the votes. It was close, but the left did well, better than last November at the AGM. The delegation has a left majority, we nominated both Left candidates for the National Constitutional Committee, which is elected at Conference by delegates and voted for a split ticket to nominate Chandwani and De Piero, who beat her running mate on the right slate on the toss of a coin for the CAC positions.

We ran out of time to discuss motions and rule changes of course.

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Expulsions

I went to visit some Labour Party friends in North London last night; several of them have been “auto-excluded” from membership. This has to stop. I have developed a rule change motion [ Download here … ] or http://bit.ly/2sFM6t8.

Rule changes are submitted with a supporting text justifying themselves; The text is posted below, but in summary

The problem with the rule is in three words, automatically, support and organisation. Automatically denies the accused natural justice, support has no threshold of proof, ( tweets i.e. 128 character phrases have been taken as sufficient) and organisation can be anything, there’s no qualification of opposition or unacceptability.

If you agree, it would be good to get this on the Conference Agenda, it needs to be passed at an appropriate CLP meeting and submitted to LP HQ by July 7th.


“The Labour Party campaigns in and with communities and their organisations. It also works with other political parties although currently only the Co-op Party. Not all relationships of supporting & joining organisations other than official Labour organisations are prohibited by the rules.

Unity in electoral campaigns and compliance with the rules should be the required level of commitment. Registered supporters are asked to agree with the aims of the party and not belong to an organisation opposed to it. This should be the standard for membership.

Prohibition of support of organisations other than affiliates creates a chilling effect for joining and support of such organisations. It means working with organisations such as Hope not Hate, Liberty, Green Peace or Amnesty International may render members liable to automatic expulsion.

Automatic ineligibility is currently interpreted as allowing expulsion by administrative action. The accused is processed in secret, unable to challenge evidence, present a defence or request an appeal.  These are all breaches of the rights to natural justice. This is unacceptable in a democratic party.

This has been used in a factional manner where long-term members and Green Party converts have been expelled. Disciplinary action taken varies; members of other parties who hold public office wishing to join are usually accepted.

The purpose of this rule change is to end the arbitrary, partisan and secret exclusion of Labour Party members, so that all members that abide by Labour’s rules, are entitled to join and remain members of the Party.”

Expulsions

Centre Left Grassroots Alliance

The Left slate for the open national positions in the Labour Party. These are for the Conference Arrangements Committee and the National Constitutional Committee.

Vote Left 2017

Conference Arrangements Committee

The Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC) has a crucial role in influencing the running of conference, and therefore requires candidates who will represent the wishes of members.

The center left candidates requiring nomination are Seema Chandwani and Billy Hayes for the two CLP reps on the Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC).

Seema Chandwani is a CLP Secretary (Tottenham CLP, Labour Party Membership Number: L1187007); and Billy Hayes is the former General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union (Mitcham and Morden CLP, Labour Party Membership Number A065571).

The election for these reps will be by a One Member One Vote ballot this summer.

National Constitutional Committee.

The Left Candidates  for the two CLP reps on the National Constitutional Committee (NCC) are Anna Dyer and Emine Ibrahim.

Anna Dyer is a sitting member of the NCC (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn CLP, Labour Party Membership Number L0081865) and Emine Ibrahim is a CLP rep on the London Region’s Labour Party Board (Hornsey and Wood Green CLP, Labour Party Membership Number L0150489).

The election of these reps will be by CLP delegates at the Annual Conference in September. The nomination process will be for most CLP’s the mandate for the delegates.

Click here for pdf leaflets: Billy Hayes; Seema Chandwani; Emine Ibrahim; Anna Dyer.

Centre Left Grassroots Alliance

Osterley

A day out in Brentford and Isleworth campaigning for a Labour Victory; this is the second most marginal Labour seat in London. Fab company, the team came from all over London.

I met my first voter who loved Corbyn but was abstaining because he couldn’t stand the local Labour candidate’s anti-brexit position.

A comrade came across someone who claimed to be a life long Labour voter who was leaving us because we plan to repeal the Tories inheritance tax give-aways. They have set the start point to  £850,000 up from £325,000. This makes a difference in London and plays to my argument that tax bills deter not only those that will pay them, but those that hope to do so too. We tried the triple lock and dementia tax, maybe should have tried the abolition of tuition fees. (I wonder if this is the sort of stuff that the Tories are putting out through their Facebook advertising campaign, now if there was only a crowd sourced rapid rebuttal site that I could post this to.)

Osterley

Campaigning

A quick trip around the Lewisham Deptford constituency canvassing for the Labour Party. A couple of accusations about getting Brexit wrong, i.e. the nuance in Labour’s front bench position upsets i.e. pisses off London remainers. Labour’s candidate for re-election, Vicky Foxcroft , voted against the Article 50 notice bill, twice! It makes life easier for people like me; I am glad I don’t live in Vauxhall.

I am surprised at the large number of EU citizens I meet who cannot vote in the general election. Mistakes were made; it’s wrong that people who’ve been here for more than 5 years, in employment, paying tax can’t vote in the general election; nor in the referendum.

One issue came up which I had missed and not expected. The Tories have abolished the council tax support for those on the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Councils have had to develop ways of making up the shortfall, by either cutting (discretionary) services or levying council tax on ESA claimants. There are other laws that stop councils levying the council tax on the wealthier residents, if they have them…. It’s another Tory cut ensuring that Labour councils and the Party take the blame.

I’ll finish by stating that there were a few who say they’ve left Labour because of Corbyn. It’s sometimes hard to determine if this is actually about Brexit, or about other aspects of his politics, but I met one person from Northern Ireland who can’t support him over his record on that subject. Someone else did the talking, but I think these conversations have to start with whether they support the Good Friday agreement or not. From my point of view, the anti-corbynism on the doorstep is less frequent, if more vitriolic,  an occurrence then those who couldn’t support Ed Miliband because they didn’t like the way he ate a bacon sandwich, or something!. Labour supporters who repeat these damaging slurs need to remember the way that Ed was attacked as not being up to it and let’s not forget the attacks on Kinnock either.

A final note, Vicky is well known, although some still ask where Joan’s gone!

Campaigning

Campaigning

How to help Labour’s campaign in Deptford to re-elect Vicky Foxcroft a Lewisham Deptford’s MP.

    1. If not on the electoral roll, register to vote before the 23rd May, here…, if you haven’t got your polling card by 15th, apply again! I didn’t know you could vote if homeless, but it seems you can, the form is here; you’ll still need an internet connection, a printer and an NI number, although alternative proof of identities are acceptable.
    2. Register for a postal vote here …, before the 24th May; you’ll need a printer
    3. Join the Party here …
    4. Donate to the national party here…
    5. Join us on the doorstep, find out where & when here …, or here … we also run phone banks for those who can’t or don’t want to knock on doors
    6. Put a poster, or posters up in your window, or garden, tell us here …, you’ll need to say that you want a poster
    7. Donate to Labour’s campaign in Deptford here …
Campaigning