Making Labour’s Policy 2018

And now you can read Labour’s National Policy Forum Report … available from this site, I got it from Seema Chandwani who hosts it on here blog, and publicised it on twitter.

Wonder when it’ll be published by the Labour Party. …

Power in Momentum I

I have been preparing a little blog article on “Power in Momentum” which has been overtaken by yesterday’s decision by the “Officers” of Momentum to withdraw support from Pete Willsman as a candidate for Labour’s NEC. The article, among other issues, examined the power structures and came to conclusion that with the exception of the powers allocated to OMOV ballots, for which the rules mandated IT still does not exist, every decision and power is granted to the National Co-ordinating Group which meets in secret, doesn’t publish it decisions or its membership and has unlimited delegation powers although it doesn’t publish its instruments of delegation either. (I begin to question if it is genuinely a membership organisation.) One has to wonder why they decided to delegate the decision to the Officers rather than the Chair alone, but it’s a sign of hope that they couldn’t trust the whole NCG even after they purged the remainder of the democratic opposition in the last round of elections.

I have already voted for the #JC9 but do not consider Pete Willsman’s comments to be anti-semitic, and I am not alone, and consider that the Left needs all nine of its slate to be elected. I would urge anyone that has not yet voted that supports the Corbyn leadership to vote for all of the #JC9. …

Labour & anti-Semitism II

This has been written by a campaigning comrade and I reproduce it here, I disclaim authorship to avoid allegations of plagiarism.


Even before the release of the NEC’s new Code of Conduct on antisemitism, JVL was working as part of a consortium to prepare the ground for a challenge to the IHRA definition which, as you know, has attached to it controversial examples of conduct that it says may be considered to be antisemitic.

On June 15, a statement signed by 27 prominent Jewish figures was published in the Guardian calling for clarity about what antisemitism is and what it is not. This was followed on July 6, just after release of the NEC code, by a supportive statement from an unprecedented array of political and cultural figures.

When the NEC adopted its new code, and was immediately vilified, dishonestly, as rejecting an imaginary “internationally recognised definition of antisemitism” allegedly embraced by the entire Jewish community, JVL produced briefing notes for PLP members and a model motion for CLPs, as well as publishing online an avalanche of authoritative critique, most of it from expert Jewish sources defending the NEC code as superior to the IHRA document. I recommend looking at the JVL website for the full range of material.

Particularly helpful are an examination of the two documents by Brian Klug, a world expert on antisemitism, an explanation by another leading authority, Antony Lerman, of why fighting antisemitism has to be part of a wider antiracist struggle, and a Global Jewish Statement demonstrating how the IHRA document undermines legitimate campaigning on behalf of Palestine. This discussed in a comment piece in the Independent explaining the background to the global statement. …

Labour & Education

Labour Party Conference is just two months away and so I am considering what I would like to see discussed. I think it important that we workout what a National Education Service means and so I with some help from some friends have developed the following words.

Conference notes

  1. that the government continues to promote privatisation of the schools system through academies and free schools, with a culture of competition based on ever-more onerous testing and Ofsted inspections. This is bad for students, school workers and society.
  2. our manifesto pledge to “ensure that all schools are democratically accountable…”
  3. our manifesto pledge to “abandon plans to reintroduce baseline assessments and launch a commission to look into curriculum and assessment, starting by reviewing Key Stage 1 and 2 SATs”

Conference believes that “public”/private and grammar schools are also incompatible with an egalitarian and democratic education system serving the many, not the few.

We call for the next Labour government to

  1. Immediately stop all academisations and the opening of any new academies or free schools.
  2. Place all state schools & FEs into full local authority control.
  3. Abolish “public”/private schools by taking them into local authority control.
  4. Ensure all schools are comprehensive, secular community schools, open to all.
  5. Immediately abolish Ofsted, all SATs tests and league tables.
  6. Restore national pay bargaining for teachers, implement the National Education Union’s maximum class size demands, and introduce a national Workload Charter.

(196 Words) with no Trigger.

I say with no trigger because motions to Labour Party conference must refer to an event between the publication of the National Policy Forum report and the 14th September. This is referred to by me, as an event trigger.

Motions need to be under 251 words long. So if you think I’ve missed anything important add or replace some of the demands and we’ll put them together at the composite meeting. If you get this through your CLP drop a comment on this blog. …

Labour & antisemitism

On July 5th, Labour’s NEC voted to approve a new guideline defining antisemitism and codifying how Labour should deal with incidents of Antisemitism. Jon Lansman, in an article in the Guardian describes it as a gold standard, however some inside and outside the Labour Party object in that the Labour Party has followed the advice of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on antisemitism in that while confirming its commitment to the International Holocaust Remembrance Association’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, it has ensured both that free speech rights on Israel and Palestine are defended and that the Macpherson principle is correctly adopted. This has involved the modification of four of the IHRA examples. Brian Klug, again in the Guardian, examines the Code in detail and concludes that, “Labour’s code in fact enhances the IHRA document.”

The Jewish Labour Movement supported by several/many of Labour’s MPs consider the failure to adopt all 11 examples as failure of commitment and are considering legal action. It is reported that  Louise Ellman & Ruth Smeeth plan to move a motion at the PLP meeting tonight calling on Labour to adopt the IHRA definition in full, including the 11 examples several of which are felt by many, including the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee to inhibit legitimate political discussion of the Israeli Government’s actions, and the wider issues of justice in Palestine.

Ealing Momentum, as reported in the Swawkbox have written an open letter to their MPs calling on them to support the NEC and not to support such an emergency motion.

I have written to my MP asking her to do the same, and I have reproduced the Ealing Momentum words immediately below/overleaf. …

Labour Party, making policy

My submission to Labours Democracy Review on making policy.

CLPs should have an inalienable right to initiate policy, as such CLPs should be allowed to submit motions to Conference on policy as they see fit (i.e. not be constrained by the NPF report and processes).

NEC should publish their minutes so that members know what they are doing.

Appropriate CLP motions should be presented to the NEC and their actions recorded, minutes taken and reported to the authoring CLP.

CLPs should be able to submit a motion + rule change to Conference during the same year and CLP/Affiliate proposed rule changes to conference to should be allowed to be debated at the Conference for which it was proposed.

The NPF to be halved in size, meet more regularly, report to conference, and conference to be extended by a day. This is designed to increase the NPF’s accountability to Conference and provide some form of governance over continuous policy making; Conference should remain sovereign. NPF should be commissioning hearings led by a combination of grassroots activists and members and workers/trade unionists with expertise in specific areas. NPF should function in a more transparent way. This transparency to include its web site.

Conference should be a day longer, it would allow the consideration of more topics.

It should be considered to have a first delegate to conference at 500 members, and additional delegates at 750. More money should be sent to the CLPs and/or the Conference delegates should be funded by HQ. (We are debt free you know). [On drawing the graph/chart, I wonder if it would make much difference, it would make it easier, if it could be afforded, to send a gender balanced conference delegation, which is my purpose, but this would only be so for those CLPs with between 500 & 750 members. It should be noted that larger CLPs are not sending their full delegations because of cost. It should be noted that small and remote CLPs are not sending their delegations at all often because of cost. Perhaps elections at conference should be done as postal votes for non-attendees.]

It has been suggested to me that despite my efforts, many of Labour’s new members lack experience of the motion/debate process. More education is required at branch/member level about the motion process (e.g. what motions should incorporate and the change we hope to bring about). …

Electing Labour’s Leader

My submission to the Democracy Review on Electing the Leader.

Required nominations in the case of a vacancy should be set so that the electorate are given a choice. It should be noted that the higher the threshold required within the PLP, the more likely pressure for reselection will be in cases where MPs no longer represent the views of their membership.

On electing our leader, the Leader should be elected by individual ballot, of individual members, affiliate members and registered supporters.

Registered supporters should be asked to renew their commitment annually (and undergo the same checks that are used for people to become members), charged no more than of the order of £5 per year and be able to attend (but not vote during) branch meetings. If Toby Young seeks to become a registered supporter, we should refer it to the Police for fraud.

Freeze dates for all elections for internal office should be decided according to administrative feasibility. i.e. days or weeks, not the 6 months used in the 2016 leadership elections. …

Labour and local government

I have just made my submission to Labour’s Democracy Review on Local Government. It consists of proposals about candidate selection, labour’s governance (Groups and Labour Committees), Direct Mayors and recalling/dismissing Leaders.  The current local government candidate selection process and Labour Group governance rules gives a massive advantage to incumbents vs. challengers. If we are to meet our aspirations of representing the community and its most disadvantaged, we need to do better. … …