You can’t say that!

GMB Congress 2019 is a rules revision conference and one important rule change passed earlier in the week was to restrict the number of motions and rule amendments that a single branch can propose to three motions and two rule amendments.

One of our delegation spoke against the rule change arguing that restricting the number of motions would diminish Congress because branches would be choosing not to send motions, the difficulty that large branches with multiple employers in representing all their members was mentioned. A video of the debate is here.

On reflection, the idea that 2500 motions would be proposed is foolish, there were 435 motions on the order paper when there was no restriction. (I understand that one branch put in a shed load, but they obviously thought it important.)

I would add that, since the CEC, through its power to recommend “support with qualification” can uniquely move amendments to every motion, this change (of restricting a branch’s voice) will increase the CEC’s power over the agenda and the results. Also the CEC can table non emergency business, as special reports after the closing date for motions and so amending these is procedurally difficult. No system is perfect, but I agree that this is a retrograde rule change. …

There’s a reason that votes are secret

I didn’t win again, but in another part of the business a comrade asked for a motion to be voted on via secret ballot. This is what the rules say

C15.I.2.M.ii   Ballot votes shall be held at meetings to select candidates and where otherwise provided for in the Party constitution; and where requested by any member supported by at least two others.

The Chair was advised that the request for a secret ballot required the agreement of the meeting, I have looked and can’t find such a rule. The purpose of this rule is to avoid intimidation and coercion. I did ask where this was defined, but got no answer.

We have now set a precedent that secret ballots can only be agreed by the whole meeting. It’s a charter for bullies. …

Vote for me!

There is a vacancy for the position of Secretary of Lewisham Deptford CLP. I have been nominated by my Branch and plan to stand. If you are a delegate to he CLP’s Geneneral Committee, then this is why I think you should vote for me.

I stand for a member-led party, a party where all are welcome and speak without fear, where the rules are applied fairly and with justice and where all who agree not to campaign against us in elections can join.

I believe in the 2017 Manifesto, but recognise it could be improved.

I believe that in a member led party, members have the right to criticise its leadership when they believe them to be wrong.

I believe that Brexit is a right-wing project, that there were never any good terms to leave on and that now the Labour Party needs to unite to oppose the Tory’s Brexit, whether by a General Election, Final Say referendum, or by Parliamentary vote to revoke. I believe that many of those who still say GE first actually want to leave. Labour must declare itself a Remain party, anything else jeopardises its future as the EU Parliamentary elections prove.

I believe that we are going to have to work hard to win voters back from the EU Parliamentary elections, but this can be done be being relevant which means improving the council’s performance, continuous campaigning and emphasising the investment and tax policy focuses of the 2017 manifesto

I voted for Diane in 2010 and Jeremy in 2015 & 2016.

I’ll seek to establish means of accountability between the Council Group and the Party’s  membership.

I have fought in 10 general elections and have appetite and energy to fight more. I have been in Deptford for nine years, I have been secretary of two branches and am a previous secretary of the CLP, I have held other positions on the EC. I am an active Trade Unionist, a branch official and accompanying rep. This EC lacks a memory which is why we are continuously repeating debates we have had previously; I can help to provide that memory.

I have often spoken at the GC, and my views are known across the constituency.

I’ll try to meet and balance the needs to develop policy, educate ourselves, campaign for change in our community and to win elections.

When I stood last year, I made this Video with Rebecca, while the political situation has changed, my views on organisation and culture have not.

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Should you stay or should you go

Alastair Campbell, Blair’s Director of Communications has been expelled (or auto-excluded) from the Labour Party probably under rule 4.I.2.B. He stated that he voted for the Lib Dems in the European Parliamentary elections. This was done as per the rule, with no right of defence, no hearing and no right of appeal.

The rule states,

2.I.4.B A member of the Party who joins and/ or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party, or supports any candidate who stands against an official Labour candidate, or publicly declares their intent to stand against a Labour candidate, shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a Party member, subject to the provisions of Chapter 6.I.2 below of the disciplinary rules.

The rule is in three parts, the first is about “political organisations” and the second about behaviour during elections, the third governs the exclusion & readmission process.

As Shami Chakrabarti points out, we cannot expel or in anyway sanction people for the way they vote, but it seems the NEC are having second thoughts; we’ll see what happens, but whatever they do, they need to recognise that the no defence, no appeal part of this rule put it in contravention of the rules of natural justice. If they let Campbell off, as they did with Andrew Fisher, this will be rightly seen as one rule for the powerful and one for the rest of us.

The rule should be re-written to add clarity as to which organisations or class of organisations lead to sanctions; I would argue this should be limited to fascist organisations or borrow from the NUS no-platform policy and add to that all other political parties. The rule should be rewritten to have a right of defence, and right of appeal although I recognise in some cases there is a need for velocity. (Or maybe just abolish it and define campaigning for another party as “conduct prejudicial” and dealt with by the NCC processes which are in need of reform themselves.)

I argue that all 4.I.2.B auto-excluded should be given amnesty as not only is the rule contrary to natural justice it was applied factionally and in bad faith.

It should be noted that the Labour Party has other rules to protect itself, it can refuse to allow people to join or it can sanction them under its Chapter 6 processes if actions are prejudicial or grossly detrimental. …

Europe and Brexit, yesterday & tomorrow

Europe and Brexit, yesterday & tomorrow

It wasn’t a good night for Labour last night and but not as good for the Brexit Party as they might have hoped. This article was written mainly on Tuesday and backdated to Monday 27th. It looks at the impact on the European Union, how the earth moved in the UK,  and the dreadful and inept campaigning decisions taken by the Labour Party. It finishes with a brief look at the immediate reactions in the Labour Party not least the twitter spat between Paul Mason and LOTO.

This is what the European Parliament will look like.

ep-2019-2024-hemisphereFrans Timmermans, the Socialist Spitzenkandat is now appealing for the Euro Liberals (ALDE) to build a progressive alliance in the hope of winning the Presidency of the Commission. How those lost 10 Labour seats would have helped him. This is an important initiative; the European Parliament has been run by the pan-European equivalent of the German grand coalition and while the numbers might have made this necessary, if a progressive majority could establish itself and the German Social Democrats weaned off their alliance with the Christian Democrats then a reform agenda for the EU becomes much easier since the German Social Democrats are both large and influential although. (This reminds me I must write to the Charlottenberg SPD to see what joint work we i.e. Lewisham Labour might do.)

Another good aspect of the results across Europe is that the hard right did less well than they had hoped, although the story in France is less optimistic.

This is the worst result in the Tories history, they have lost big time, their worst result since 1832. The main beneficiaries would seem to be the Brexit Party but some Tories moved to the Lib Dems, Labour and even the Greens. I illustrate the change in seats.

What happend to the votes is best described on Lord Ashcroft’s blog where he presents this chart showing the movement of votes from 2017 to 2019.

It doesn’t make good reading for Labour either. The LibDems stolen slogan, “Bollocks to Brexit” was clearly helpful to them and they have been historically sticky, once people learn to vote for them and they win, they stick with them despite having some disgraceful and unprincipled candidates, although that’s not something they have a monopoly on. (Huhn and Hughes). This was before Clegg & Cable’s tuition fee betrayal and their collusion on the Osborne’s Tory led coalition austerity programme.

If ALDE’s behaviour in the European Parliament repeats this submissive support of the executive committee of the bourgeoisie then this might have some consequences for the Lib Dems & Verhofstadt.

Labour’s hope must be that we have the 2017 manifesto, and many want & need that radical hope. What ever happens Labour needs to be anti-austerity and in my opinion clearer on remaining. Ashcroft In fairness to the Party, we have always believed that Remain is better than a bad or no deal exit.

Another thing that Labour needs to fix is the dreadful campaign. Elements of what might seem deliberate actions are detailed in John Howarth MEP’s letter to his members and published by the Huffington Post who selectively quote him as shall I. He says,

As such it was either phenomenally naive or utterly mendacious to put in place a policy that would knowingly lose votes in remarkable numbers.

From there on the party machine sought to close down any deviation for the suicidal central message. In an unprecedented decision the General Secretary was appointed agent for the entire country. At all other EU election since regional lists were introduced Regional Directors have been agents. They managed the desire of CLPs to promote candidates and help win the elections. The spending limits for these elections are huge, easily capable of accommodating local activity aimed at enhancing the campaign. This time spurious legal grounds were used to clamp down on local activity and even additional union assistance. The much derided nationally produced leaflets which carried no mention of a ‘confirmatory vote’ were presented to MEPs as a fait accomplice that was “already at print” – this turned out to be untrue but it shows how the campaign was run. The eventual product was no better. While it was frustrating to be fighting an election with hands and feet bound and with Labour staff in apparent opposition it is not the fault of junior staff or middle managers – responsibility lies elsewhere.

Howarth elsewhere in his letter talks of the poor role played by the NEC in developing and agreeing the Labour Manifesto.

To his words, I would add the late selection of candidates which delayed the production of election material, ensured there was no trigger ballot and no membership ballot to settle order, the stunningly shit “Fight  Farage” leaflet with his picture FFS and the late delivery of out cards and election addresses; half my canvassing we had no material to leave the very few doubtfuls.

The question I ask is where is the member led party? Conference has been firm that Remain is better than a bad deal! The compromise starts from we oppose a Tory Brexit, tactically we prefer a general election because it’s easier to talk about austerity, jobs, education and the NHS in an election and turnout is better, but elevating the general election to the point of principle and opposing a 2nd referendum is foolish and dishonest.

One silver lining is that the shadow cabinet and Jeremey Corbyn are now arguing that a 2nd referendum is required for any deal; we’ll have to see if the votes are there to push it through. They may have been influenced by Paul Mason’s article and the acrimonious fallout on twitter as he accurately lays the blame at the feet of the Leader of the Opposition’s office (LOTO).

ooOOOoo

Related Posts

‘The people have spoken’: How Remain parties beat Hard Brexiteers in European elections from business insider

Notes From The Cult: After EU. No, After EU from a blog called disappointed idealist, a different take on what happened and what should happen next. He or she starts by looking at who didn’t vote.

Labour’s priority should be helping to build a European socialist left by Sabrina Huck at Labour List

Unhinged by James Butler at the LRB, Labour’s front bench’s room for manoeuvre is constrained by divisions in the PLP and by it’s membership’s enthusiasm. It’s not as free as either side of the debate think.

 

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British Steel

Our minds have been distracted or mine has anyway, but British Steel became insolvent last week. Of course a huge blame game is started. Have the Chinese been ‘dumping’ steel on the rest of the world? Could the Govt. or the EU have protected it? Did the single market aid rules stop the Govt doing so?

Is China dumping? This article at the Conversation says “Yes”, big time!

This article at fullfact.org, “Is the UK calling for EU duties for Chinese steel?” deals with next three questions. The EU have raised duties but for many years the UK Government has been resisting more; they wished to avoid retaliation and for ideological reasons. There’s probably some “don’t give a shit” there too. It would seem that this is another policy area where New Labour failed to support its natural people.

The calls for renationalisation are now, rightly growing …

Vote Labour again

Welcome to the Brexit merry-go-round!

I have been reading the news as have you all. Labour’s promised vote seems to be plummeting, in London in 2017, we got 61% and in the Mayoral election, Sadiq Kahn got 41% of first preferences. Polls are suggesting that Labour is on about 24% in London, although they could be wrong.

Labour supporters should vote Labour.

If you are a Remainer, and we win, these MEPs will sit for 5 years holding a Commission accountable.

Labour’s MEPs will be the Party of European Socialists and will pursue the objects of the PES Manifesto, which is largely influenced by Labour’s agenda of anti-austerity economics and social solidarity. Labour MEPs will vote for the Socialist candidate for the position of President of the Commission.

In London our candidates are good people. Claude Moraes has an exemplary record as European Legislator acting as Rapporteur (i.e. author) for the GDPR which redefined the right of Privacy in Europe. He has been Chair of the Civil Liberties committee, Seb Dance is probably best know for the he’s lying stunt but has been campaigning on environmental rights, Katy Clark used to be an MP and was a strong civil rights campaigner and Laura Parker is an articulate socialist who would strengthen Labour’s parliamentary team; she has been part of the team that has led Momentum to its “remain” supporting decision.

We talk of beating Farage; this is not just important in the UK for our own political health but the number of MEPs in the European Parliament matters. Historically Farage has sat independently with allies but apart from the Fascist parties from France & Hungary. These far-right parties are likely to be joined by the Alternative for Deutschland and the Italian hard right. The idea of an alliance of the political right of such size is frightening and all democrats should do their best to oppose these people. i.e. coming first or second matters in the UK.

The alternative for many seems to be the LibDems. If elected, they will sit with the ALDE group led by Guy Verhofstadt, who has been the European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator; he has given up partly because he feels that ALDE will be more powerful without a strong Labour delegation. The British LibDems are no longer part of a British progressive alliance and ALDE cannot be trusted to fight the far-right.

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Charter for a better Building Society industry

I was tidying up came across some paper work documenting the Charter for an open & democratically accountable building society industry. When googling it the only reference I came across was the labour Party’s policy forum mirror. If a member of the Labour Party or otherwise have a login to the Policy Forum site, site you might like to vote it up; it has more comments than votes but it also plays to the issue of control of the banks.

History teaches me that mirroring the charter here is probably a good idea, because I can no longer find it on the BSMA site. …