Local Elections

I  usually comment on the elections I campaign in. The Lewisham results are in, or at least called by the BBC, we have a new Labour Mayor, Damien Egan, and every single councillor is also Labour. Now we need to learn how to listen beyond the Party, and how to scrutinise ourselves. It’s an honour and a responsibility. I hope we live up to it.

I campaigned in Deptford, Mottingham (Bromley) and Bromley North, which surprised me by being in Tower Hamlets. The Labour vote has gone up in London. I found little interest in politics, it’s become very tribal. The only exception is the issue of Housing. We’ve done well in Deptford, missed by 21 votes in Mottingham and I am still waiting for the Bromley North results.

Wadsworth’s Out

It’s not been a good week for Labour, in Lewisham, the Momentum branch split, my local Labour Party’s consideration of the antisemitism issues have been smeared in the Times, and today, it has been announced that Marc Wadsworth, one of Britain’s leading black activists, with a life time history of fighting racism has been expelled for conduct “prejudicial or grossly detrimental”. We’ll have to see what people including Marc’s lawyers say, but yet again, the case of antisemitism has not been made and the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth is a disgrace, a vengeful last throw of the dice by the New Labour rump.

On the Chakrabarti Inquiry

I had reason to have another look at the Chakrabarti report, you can imagine why. It saddens me deeply, that a such a well thought out & evidenced response to the allegations of antisemitic behaviour has not become the benchmark by which the Labour Party judges itself.

When I first read this, to me the implied allegation that the disciplinary process was unsafe because of the lack of professional legal time and latterly the exposure of the fact that the NCC (Judges & Jury) received little or no independent legal advice from the prosecution seemed to me to be possible the most important finding. After the last week, I am of the view that the gentle yet robust definition of unacceptable behaviour in terms of racism and the Party’s response is equally if not more important

However, for various reasons[1] the then NEC, decided not to bring the recommendations to conference in 2016. This was recognised as a partial mistake by both sides of the argument i.e. those that wanted harsher rules and those who wanted vanilla Chakrabarti since the rules were changed at Conference 17 to delete the “free speech” defence which would have previously prohibited disciplinary actions against any racists or misogynists. Successful prosecutions will remain difficult as the decisions to “do” Livingstone & Greenstein on “bringing the party into disrepute” and not on antisemitism or use of abusive language in the case of Greenstein prove because, despite having changed its rules at Conference 2017 any decisions are still potentially subject to judicial review.

We i.e. the Labour Party badly need the rest of the Chakrabarti Inquiry recommendations to offer certainty around behavioural acceptability, ensure proportionality in terms of penalty and guarantee a fair trial if things require it. In this, the intra-party sectarian delay, has served it poorly.

The benchmark by which we i.e. Labour judge ourselves should be the Chakrabarti report, not the IHRA definition.

ooOOOoo

In this case, there is more to read …..

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.

Ultra-Vires is not enough

Well , it never stops, last week, the Labour Party NEC ruled a proposed election for a new Chair of the National Policy Forum out of order as insufficient notice had been given. Some argue that it was because the new left majority expected to lose and that Ann Black would be returned to the NEC Officers Committee. The NPF meeting did not take it well; it seems there was a brou-haha but opinion be divided as to who caused it and who was the victim.

There are people arguing that it’s not against the rules to have an election with 4 days notice. I think they’re wrong … I think Chapter 15 applies.

Arguing that it’s not against the rules is a pretty low threshold of acceptable behaviour. The question to be asked is, “Is it wrong?”. The ubiquity of the argument, it’s not against the rules is the main reason that I argue that the Nolan Principles must be applied to all LP role holders and public officials.

Labour’s Democracy Review

Labour’s Democracy Review

Labour List reports the initialisation of the Labour Party’s “Democracy Review, together with some snide comments about its pace, suggesting that it is designed to  cement Corbyn’s leadership and succession rather than ensure it reports to the membership in time to debate the changes before conference.  They also publish the document passed at the OrgSub, also available as a mirror from this site.

The review will work in three phases, liberation organisation and autonomy, organisation & structure.

The first phase, about the Liberation Groups is planned to end by 12th Jan. One of the drivers for this is almost certainly the need to have new systems in place when the NEC Youth Rep is to be elected, and the need to rerun the election for the BAME representative on the NEC. From my conversations though I know that our BAME members have more to say.

The paper says there will be a hub, presumably a wiki at which members, CLPs and affiliates will be able to access the consultation questions and respond, there will also be an email address, (presumably for those without a browser) which is less satisfactory as any contributions become secret. The paranoid amongst us, assume that by not having a closed membership open wiki, where members can set the agenda, they are building a means of control.

Labour’s Housing Policy

Labour’s Housing Policy

At #lab17, new policy on housing was passed, including most dramatically the promise to ballot existing tenants and leaseholders before destroying current social housing stock. The text of the motion, Composite 5, is posted below with a YouTube clip from Jeremy Corbyn’s Leaders speech in which he refers to the new policies.