Labour on Brexit ’18

And so onto the Brexit debate. Both sides wanted to ensure that there was a single motion, and the composite meeting had agreed a single set of words. This topic was supported by more organisations than any topic ever, with over 100 supporting the positions of either the People’s Vote or Another Europe is Possible. CLPD had circulated a set of words, which reinforced Labour’s commitment to the six tests, and were supported by considerably less organisations. To some extent we remainers have won the debate in the Labour Party; there were no motions to leave no matter what and the six tests mean both the customs union and single market are to be part of Labour’s deal.

So Labour will vote against any deal made by the Government; what happens then? The best result will be a General Election, but if that cannot be won, then Labour will campaign for a public vote and consider placing remain on the ballot. Here’s Kier Starmer’s speech.

 

Both John McDonnell and others have suggested that we will not consider Remain, but if neither the Tories nor Labour can negotiate a deal then we must and the composite establishes it as policy, or re-establishes it as the 2016 Conference made clear that if the Tory deal wasn’t good enough then Labour would seek a second mandate, an election, referendum or a parliamentary vote to remain. See also Labour’s New Brexit, from 2016 on this blog.

I sought to speak in this debate but wasn’t called. Some of the points I wanted to make were obvious, that a Tory brexit would be a catastrophe, that our policy was based on the six tests and that remain was an option as we would seek a second mandate. I would have argued that you can’t respect a referendum with all the cheating, illegalities and lying but one can respect the leave voters. In fact it’s this respect that leads me to ask if the deal on the table is what they want. I’d expect every Trade Unionist in the room to want to ensure that a deal satisfied those who had given the mandate. I would have made the point that Jeremy’s 7/10 score for the EU is right, that if we stay we need some reforms for the whole EU, and we would be welcome for it, and that much of what’s wrong with the EU is the outcome of policy debates and not a systemic quality of the EU. Labour’s manifesto even on Brexit is a radical promise for government that will allow is to work with our shell shocked sister parties and allies in the EU.

I wasn’t going to use the “Pointless or Catastrophe” line, it wasn’t the right debate, but I consider it a fabulous summing up of the choice between a soft brexit or hard brexit.

I have posted the six tests and the words of the motion below.

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Starmer’s six tests for the Brexit deal are:

  1. Does it ensure a strong and collaborative future relationship with the EU?
  2. Does it deliver the “exact same benefits” as we currently have as members of the Single Market and Customs Union?
  3. Does it ensure the fair management of migration in the interests of the economy and communities?
  4. Does it defend rights and protections and prevent a race to the bottom?
  5. Does it protect national security and our capacity to tackle cross-border crime?
  6. Does it deliver for all regions and nations of the UK?

Composite 5 – Brexit

Conference welcomes Jeremy Corbyn’s determined efforts to hold the Tories to account for their disastrous negotiations. Conference accepts that the public voted to leave the EU, but when people voted to ‘take back control’ they were
not voting for fewer rights, economic chaos or to risk jobs. Conference notes the warning made by Jaguar Land Rover on 11.9.18, that without the right deal in place, tens of thousands of jobs there would be put at risk.

Conference notes that workers in industries across the economy in ports, food, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, energy, chemicals, in our public services and beyond are worried about the impact of a hard Brexit on livelihoods and communities.

Conference believes we need a relationship with the EU that guarantees full participation in the Single Market. The Brexit deal being pursued by Theresa May is a threat to jobs, freedom of movement, peace in Northern Ireland and the NHS. Tory Brexit means a future of dodgy trade deals and American-style deregulation, undermining our rights, freedoms and prosperity. This binds the hands of future Labour governments, making it much harder for us to deliver on our promises.

Conference notes Labour has set six robust tests for the final Brexit deal. Conference believes Labour MPs must vote against any Tory deal failing to meet these tests in full.

Conference also believes a no-deal Brexit should be rejected as a viable option and calls upon Labour MPs to vigorously oppose any attempt by this Government to deliver a no-deal outcome. Conference notes that when trade unions have a mandate to negotiate a deal for their members, the final deal is accepted or rejected by the membership. Conference does not believe that such important negotiations should be left to government ministers who are more concerned with self-preservation and ideology than household bills and wages.

Stagnant wages, crumbling services and the housing crisis are being exacerbated by the government and employers making the rich richer at working people’s expense, and not immigration.

Conference declares solidarity and common cause with all progressive and socialist forces confronting the rising tide of neo-fascism, xenophobia, nationalism and right wing populism in Europe.

Conference resolves to reaffirm the Labour Party’s commitment to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 including no hard border in Ireland. Conference believes that there is no satisfactory technological solution that is compliant with the Good Friday Agreement and resolves to oppose any Brexit deal that would see the restoration of a border on the island of Ireland in any form for goods, services or people.

Should Parliament vote down a Tory Brexit deal or the talks end in no-deal, Conference believes this would constitute a loss of confidence in the Government. In these circumstances, the best outcome for the country is an immediate General Election that can sweep the Tories from power.

If we cannot get a general election Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote. If the Government is confident in negotiating a deal that working people, our economy and communities will benefit from they should not be afraid to put that deal to the public.

This should be the first step in a Europe-wide struggle for levelling-up of living standards, rights and services and democratisation of European institutions Labour will form a radical government; taxing the rich to fund better public services, expanding common ownership, abolishing anti-union laws and engaging in massive public investment. …

What CLPD wants debated at Conference

There are 14 CLPD model motions. The topic matter covers Macro Economics (inc. Brexit), Climate Change, Social Policy, Immigration & teh Surveillance State and Foreign Affairs and Defence. I have made a bit.ly link to the CLPD’s version of the full text, http://bit.ly/clpdmm2018 and I have made summaries of them and added a few personal comments below/overleaf. From these comments I have made a little video.

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On Labour’s Leadership, Conference & Policy

My CLP had its meeting to determine what it wanted to say to the Labour Party Democracy Review’s phase three. This seeks views on Electing our Leadership, How we Make Policy and The Way We Work. I’ll write up what we said some time soon, once the notes are complete. We agreed some of the ideas from the CLPD’s recommendations. For the CLPD documents, I have made SURLs, see https://is.gd/vIXAAK or http://bit.ly/2Imi2Xz . The CLPD original is hosted at Grass Roots Labour’s site, here. …

Some new rules for Labour

The CLPD have some recommended rule changes, they are published on their web site and in this document.

They include allowing the membership a say in the candidates for the Leader and ensuring either the Leader or Deputy is female, reform of the trigger ballot process, democratising the Local Campaign Forums, election of the CLP NCC reps by OMOV, changes to the way in which rule changes are dealt with (2), a democratic Young Labour, introducing proportionality in the length of disciplinary penalties, establishing Conference standing orders, establishing an Ombudsman, a Charter of Member Rights, a Code of Ethics for members, representatives and staff, amendments to motions at Conference, organising disabled members and a conference for disabled members.

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The deadline has passed; I have inserted an excerpt delimiter, for what was said, use the “read more” button. …  …

CLPD ’18

Over the week end, I attended the CLPD AGM. The highlights were reported on Skwawk Box in two articles, “Hell Breaking Loose at CLPD AGM over ‘Ann Black’, Motion to depose Willsman” and “CLPD Debate Motion to support Formby and ask Lansman to stand down for Labour JENSEC”. He’s pretty much right. Pete Willsman wanted Ann Black to stay on the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance (CLGA) slate, Momentum and the LRC didn’t. Despite that the slate still has not been published. Christine Shawcroft, an ally of John Lansman and the co-Director of the company that owns the momentum database decided to challenge Pete Willsman for the position of National Secretary of the CLPD. Her nomination was ruled out of order since it was too late, so she moved an emergency motion to rule it in time, the vote on whether the motion was an emergency was lost on the 3rd count. 😀

In the afternoon , the LRC, in what I’d like to call a counter attack, moved a motion calling on Jon Lansman to withdraw from the General Secretary appointment process and to support Jennie Formby. This was pretty conclusively carried. In both cases, I voted for non-agression, in favour of Willsman and against taking a line between Formby and Lansman. This was completely unedifying. Why Lansman is standing would seem to be incomprehensible. It may have something to do with attempting to influence the Brownian motion of the ideological planets within Corbyn’s office and Lansman’s attempts to maximise the voice of the individual members against the Union bureaucrats. He makes an unlikely champion.

That’s all that happened, the platform filibustered the motions which were not discussed; I am not sure why, possible they didn’t want clarity on fighting the purge or opening up the process by which CLGA slates are chosen.

On the upside I was elected to their National Committee.

On my way home, I met a well known activist from up north, who said they were never coming back. It’s how I felt in 2015, but CLPD is too important to ignore. Other friends were refused a vote for applying too late and stayed at home, they may have had a better day. …

CLPD’s 43rd AGM

CLPD’s 43rd AGM

Over the weekend, for the first time ever, I attended the AGM of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, their 43rd it would seem. Much of the right wing media locate the intellectual and organisational engine room of Corbyn’s victory in this body. It’s been around for a while, over 43 years it would seem, but I think it underestimates the changes in society occurring over the last 10 years and the changes available to and needed by the Party, and they’re not alone.  The meeting was as those of with experience of the movement know, a mix of set piece speeches from in several cases very worthy individuals, the receipt and acceptance of reports, and debate around motions. At the end of the day, I left disappointed. …

Luke Sorba on #lab14

Luke Sorba on #lab14

My friend and comrade Luke Sorba, a Labour Councillor in Telegraph Hill ward, who mainly blogs on Facebook was Deptford’s delegate to Labour’s Conference this year and his comprehensive written report, was presented to the General Committee last night; it covered the rear guard actions by the Blairite rump, a reflection that some ex-ministers showed an arrogance to the membership, disappointment at the lack of debate on the conference floor and concludes with a paean to Ed Miliband’s heart and courage.  …