This was written at the time and published 11 months later, It consists of notes I made at the CLPD meeting and at #lab16 on the first day. It looks at the 1st CLPD meeting, their Delegates briefing and makes some critical comments on the proposed rule changes and Lillee and McNicols speeches.
I attended the CLPD meeting, Kathy Runswick from Wallasey CLP spoke against their suspension. Kate Green MP who beat Esther McVey in 2015, spoke of Jeremy in the Chamber, he tells real stories and changed the way we speak of austerity, he’s fought the Tories in the Chamber and while she didn’t mention the 22 victories she did mention several including the fact that anti-austerity is the new normal and that we stopped Osbourne’s cruel and cynical disability cuts.
Francis Prideaux made the poin that while some treat movement and parliamentary party as alternatives, the left do and have always thought these as complements. Neither parliamentary nor extra parliamentary but mass politics
Tom Watson’s original NEC reform proposals had included an extra nine positions, none of which were to be elected by the membership, later in the meeting it was pointed out that the CLP section had been reduced from 7 positions to 6 by Blair and that the Unions had (only 12) out of 33. This was once 50%/50% CLP and Unions.
Other advice was
- Be there on time.
- Monday, it opens at 11:00, pick up the card vote and ballot papers. Pick up the yellow pages. The late publication of the agenda is a control mechanism. Be aware of the length of queues.
- The Unions are voting for, Energy, Public Service cuts and Privatisation. Employment Rightd and Industrial Strategy.
- CLPD recommends NHS, Grammar Schools, Housing and Refugees, our mandate says, Children & Education, Health and Social Care, Economy and Home Affairs.
- On Monday, there is an election for Auditor, the Left Candidate is Sina Lari.
- On Tuesday, the NCC election, we are mandated to vote for the “moderate” candidate, Maggie Cosin.
- It seems the rule changes are on Tuesday too. There may be a proposal to tidy up the rules and state that in the case of the challenge, the incumbent is on the ballot to match the NEC decision.
It is thought that the NEC proposal to have representatives of the Scottish and Welsh leaders on the NEC might get to conference. This needs to be opposed, where’s the membership, where’s the CLPs and it’s a stitch up. Losers don’t get to dictate the terms of surrender.
There are four rule changes from CLPs of importance. These deal with,
- CLP’s get four priorities in the Priorities ballot, at the moment if they agree with the Unions, their choice is lost.
- CLP’s get to propose a rule change and a motion
- NPF report can be rejected in parts
- Abolish the “contemporary” nature of motions, it’s just an excuse to ignore CLPs
Tosh Macdonald of ASLEF spoke, including a section on the unity of the Unions after meetings, and the use of industrial language.
The Sunday morning session was kicked off by the traditional CAC shenanigans. They had ruled out any discussion on the economy and austerity on the grounds it wasn’t contemporary. Doh! Three organisations moved reference back.
The NEC have collected all their rule changes into a single omnibus amendment, this includes some technical stuff, but also two new members of the NEC appointed by the Leaders of the Scots and Welsh Parties and making voting against a council budget a disciplinary offence.
The use of an omnibus motion was questioned in the reference back debate as was the absence of a debate on the economy and the ruling out of discussion on branch rights in MP selections. I voted to uphold the reference backs, the conference disagreed
Paddy Lilles and Ian McNicol spoke in the morning, issuing calls for Unity. I am sort of the view that Shami Chakrabarti has it right when she says it;s for Corbyn’s opponents to change their ways and that they need to get behind the Leader and the membership. Neither Lillis nor McNicol sounded particularly contrite, I think we need to understand the extent to which the allegations of partiality are true, and while I agree with McNicol that junior staff should be praised for their hard work, but I am not sure he deserves to “stand in solidarity”. The membership need to know if the outgoing NEC sought to win the election for Owen Smith , by at the least an overenthusiastic application of the rules and at the worst a biased application of the rules; at the least we need to know if there are 138,000 missing ballot papers.
McNicols in his speech, congratulated Alan Johnson on his campaign against Brexit declaring that the UK worker’s rights were still not on the table. He recognised we’d been talking to and about ourselves for too long, “Well no more!”. I say, we’ll see.
There’s a bunch of prizes and London Labour won one for their GLA campaign, winning the Mayor of London election and electing the most ethnically and gender diverse group ever.