Nelsen & Others vs. Evans

Nelsen & Others vs. Evans

During the week, Judge Butcher delivered a disappointing ruling in Neslen & Others vs Evans. Diana Neslen and her co-plaintiffs were suing the Labour Party over their treatment under the disciplinary code. This is  reviewed at the Mirror, Morning Star by Ammar Kamzi, who has also posted a blog article, , and presented in judgement form at Bailli.

Most disappointing is the idea that the accused do not need to know the charge against them, merely the gist and that the Labour Party’s investigation policy can be secret. I have argued before that the absence of a policy to guide investigators was just deplorable, but the Judge seems to think it’s OK.  Apart from being against the Party’s values, this would all seem to be in contradiction of ECHR Article 6.

I might read the judgement and comment further. I’d be interested to know if C2.II.7, a member’s right to fair treatment was deployed.

I feel disappointed that I took my foot of the accelerator over the need to incorporate the ECHR into Labour’s Rules.

Some of us who had more hope in judicial review may need to think our strategies. …

Labour hold!

Labour holds Batley & Spen. Was it good luck, or did something important and positive happen?

The first thing I want to say is that from the reports I have, Kim was an excellent candidate and the fact she was a local important. I am also told that she is good on the doorstep. I think this is important, more important than some would like, I got push back from voters in Lewisham East who didn’t want what they saw as carpet baggers standing.

If it was luck, it was luck the Party made, it seems that the election day ground operation was awesome showing Labour at its best when we pull together. Some make much of Shabana Mahmood’s appointment as national campaign chair, and with such a slim margin everything helps.

There was no Green Party candidate and the Lib Dem voted halved, but where did the 6,500 votes that went to the Heavy Woollen District Independents, a local successor to UKIP, go. It looks like not to Galloway, most of whose votes come from areas that have traditionally voted Labour and are represented by Labour Councillors on the Council and these areas have a relatively high numbers of Muslim voters. Mike Phipps, looks at the campaign and the role of the politics of the middle east and Kashmir on the election. But after this, and after the 6th May, where some softness in the Tory vote in the South was shown, and Chesham & Amersham, we can ask has Boris actually lost his mojo?

Some, it seems are rightly being expelled for supporting Galloway; I agree with this, every campaign he runs leads to bad politics and his result was disappointingly high. Galloway is no longer of the Left despite running as the Worker’s Party. Galloway is and was well funded, Novara Media reports he had 10 full timers and was ‘lent’ three office spaces. He has very publicly supported the Tories & Nigel Farage at the last General Election.

Galloway’s votes will have been shored up by the fact that the Labour leadership is leaden on the issues of islamophobia and peace and justice in the middle east and Galloway just pours petrol on this.  However, this was helped, by the official labour source who spoke to Dan Hodges in the Mail and accused Labour’s Muslim votes of going to Galloway because of Starmer’s line on anti-semitism in the Party. If this was a Labour Party member, they should be sanctioned under the rules, but there’s a high chance it was an MP.

Labour returning to the New Labour colours of purple, once used by UKIP left Galloway free to use Labour’s Red & Yellow colours. Is this a mistake? Some suggest that Ledbetter campaigned on local issues and this was a deliberate tactic to combat the anti-democracy of the populists. It doesn’t work for me.

It’s clear to me that the Labour Party is shit at negative campaigning. We’d best stop it.  The Boris/Modi leaflet was a crass mistake which will come to bite us in the arse in large parts of the country, just as putting a picture of Farage on the final leaflet in the Euro elections was a mistake.

What lessons should we learn from this?

Lesson No. 1, candidate quality counts! Al;though we are still trapped between running a good MP, or running a good campaigner; people that can do both are rare.

John Macdonnell has five lessons for Starmer: show some anger and some outrage, PMQ’s & Parliament are not enough, offer some hope and vision inc. a promise for a national care service, put climate change at top of the agenda, and make the Policy Review a real democratic exercise.  He also proposes concrete steps to unite the Party and end the war on the Left. Personally, I am not sure the pandemic is done and we need to talk about track and trace and financial support for isolation and decent sick pay. The Mirror also says, the result has bought Starmer time, but he needs to use it wisely.

Some of what I say is quite hopeful, there are lessons to learn, and if Johnson’s shtick has passed its sell by date, then this is good news but I will leave the last word to Phil BC, who is less optimistic who says,

It’s fair to say the leadership did everything wrong, and showed they’d learned nothing since Hartlepool and Chesham and Amersham. Kim might have been a personable candidate with bags of energy, but politically speaking she’s weak to the point of being homeopathic. So watered down were her responses to Israel/Palestine and pay rises for NHS workers that she’ll be right at home in Starmerism, which in its best moments affects to do nice things and at its worst pitches to the right of the Tories. And if Keir Starmer was unwilling to take lessons from elections lost, he’s not about to have an epiphany now Labour has won something.

Phil BC – averypublicsociologist.blogspot.com
 …

CLP rules, can one person hold more than one post?

CLP rules, can one person hold more than one post?

A number of CLPs are holding their AGMs and I have seen the following question asked, if it’s possible/permitted for one person to hold two positions. The rules are at best unclear but I have come to the conclusion that this should not be allowed.

Let’s do the easy stuff first, it is not permitted that one person holds more than one of the positions of Chair, Secretary & Treasurer as these hold separate responsibilities under the financial compliance policy and regulations.

I also assume its agreed that auditors may not hold a position on the EC. This is just basic.

Other than this, the relevant rules say, C7.VIII

  1. The officers of this CLP, the Executive Committee, and two auditors shall be elected at the annual general meeting of this CLP and shall continue in office until replaced or re-appointed.
  2. The Executive Officers of this CLP shall be; chair, vice-chair, vice-chair/ membership, secretary, treasurer, policy officer, women’s officer, BAME officer (where established), disability officer (where established), LGBT+ officer (where established), youth officer (where established), trade union liaison officer (where established, who shall be a member of a trade union in accordance with Chapter 2 Clause I.6.B above), political education officer (where established), communications and social media officer (where established). At least three of the first six officers listed above, as well as at least half of the total number of officers, must be women.

Also

  1. The Executive Committee shall consist of the Executive Officers, branch secretaries or other representatives elected by each branch and { } members upon such proportionate basis of the whole membership as this CLP may decide, subject to the approval of the NEC.

While 1 & 2 are not necessarily clear they set the clear expectation, through their use of grammar, that each officer is a separate person or a specific job share to be elected/approved at the AGM. The failure to permit people to hold two or more posts is also in my mind significant.

Permitting one person to stand and be elected to more than one office on the EC permits games, it allows factions to put, in the extreme case, one candidate for multiple positions and deny properly nominated people the opportunity to serve on the EC. The fact that such outrageous conclusions can occur means that it cannot be permitted or meant by the rule authors. The rules cannot mean that one person can hold six roles, and so cannot mean that they may hold two.

By the way, everyone agrees that even if permitted, someone holding two posts does not get two votes.

In some small CLPs, there may be problems filling a EC, and/or filling one while meeting the gender quota rules. In this case, I recommend that the EC office should be left vacant and the work done as a portfolio role or assigned to a co-ordinator.

Footnotes

  1. I interpret sub clause 6, as meaning that if Branch Secretaries are elected as CLP Officers, the Branch can replace their Secretary on the EC with another person. Others have a different view, that the Branch can choose if they have an EC Rep or send their Secretary.
  2. It seems most people, believe that the Branch Secretary elections are subject to a different gender quota and exclude them from the need to be part of the EC gender quotas as they are excluded from the gender quota requirement by C7.VIII.2.
  3. It should also be argued that the first vice chair cannot be held by the Chair since they have a duty of substitution for the Chair.

 …

About Chesham & Amersham

The Chesham and Amersham by-election. What’s the headline? Tory vote collapses, or Labour loses deposit. A bit of good news and bad news. I doubt that Labour’s leadership will be think that doing better than they did in the Richmond Park by-election is a winning line, nor that we weren’t really trying.

This may be a dramatic reinforcement of what was hinted at on May 6th, that traditional Tory voters in the South of the country are sick of Johnson’s UKIP retread party. It’s a shame that they didn’t wake up in time to save Dominic Greive’s seat and the 150,000 dead from CVB19; it’s not a national trend as Ben Houchon’s strong mandate in Teeside shows. Houchan’s victory also undermines the argument that the red wall is collapsing because Labour are the establishment as do the victories in Preston and Manchester.

Chesham & Amerhsam was a remain seat, 55% – 45%.

Here’s a chart, showing among other things, Labour’s 2017 vote and its historic second place.

There have been some famous by-election upsets in the past, although few with a lasting impact. I wonder if this is any different today. The politics is, and voter loyalty is much weaker than it was fifty years ago.  …

About CLP affiliate delegates

About CLP affiliate delegates

I was asked on a Facebook Group, if it was normal for Constituency Labour Party affiliates to change their delegate nominees after a Labour Party branch AGM in order to install people that had lost in the election at their branches. I replied, possibly at length, and have decided to reproduce what I said here. I wrote,

Is it normal? Dunno, but in my view it’s indicative of cheating and this isn’t the first time I have heard of this happening. If the certification of the delegates is not signed by the affiliating entity’s secretary, I would doubt that the unit has met or voted to send delegates. The key here, in generating my suspicion is the timing, the affiliate will only have days, and in the other case I have seen, the fact that the individuals named were not active or retired steel workers.

The rules on what may affiliate are named in C7.IV. Trade Union regional committees may not affiliate. New affiliates must be accepted more than 60 days before the AGM. Only socialist society branches may affiliate.

The rules require that all affiliates name the unit affiliating. It would seem normal to expect that the unit’s secretary would be named so that the CLP can fulfil its communication responsibilities, but it is not, most Unions do not inform the CLP of the affiliating branch’s secretary. I have at times sought to disaffiliate those affiliates that will not tell us who their secretary is and whose notification was not signed by the unit secretaries. I did not succeed. The affiliation should be on letterheaded paper (or digital equivalent) and certifiably dated.  

With respect to socialist societies, only local branches may affiliate. Ask for the branch name, the branch secretary and the date of the meeting at which the decisions were taken. I have helped deregister delegates who were nominated other than by local branches and rejected a soc. soc. affiliation on these grounds.  (In fact, I joined two of the socialist societies to ensure they kept to the rules. I approve of those organisations, it wasn’t parasitic entryism. In fact, I am still a member of the LME.)

I recommend that a CLP adopts the policy that any money sent to the party by affiliates without cross referencing a delegate nomination is treated as a donation. i.e. refuse to recognise affiliations without delegate nominations.

However trying this with a Union will probably bring the attention of Regional Office who may seek to ‘persuade’ you that what you’re doing is against the rules and that you or your party will be suspended. Ask for any instructions in writing.

I have previously expressed similar views on this blog in articles entitled, Phantoms, Secretaries and Localism. …

On May 6th, election day 2021

On May 6th, election day 2021

My take on May 6th's super Thursday. I waited to talk about this as it’s a story that unrolled over three days. Thursday night was dominated by Labour’s loss of Hartlepool and Durham County Council and rumours of an upset in London as the Tory GLA seats were declared and Labour held Harrow & Brent underperformed in delivering votes to Sadiq Kahn. Over Friday, the picture became clearer, there was a great victory in Wales, we took the West of England and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor positions and held councils such as Preston, although we lost the West Midlands Metropolitan Mayor (again). There were some great victories in Oxfordshire and one notable defeat in Oxford City. Labour won the elections in Liverpool and in the evening, it became clear that Sadiq Kahn would win in London, with the result being declared just before midnight. Phil Burton Cartledge comments on the lessons to be learned on strategy. I say, at the centre of the lessons to be learned is how to put together a coalition that can win. This is a question beyond that of geography. Phil BC's writings are full of analysis about the changing nature of work, the ageing and the political criticality of outright home ownership, the alienation of final salary pension recipients from the youth and even their children and the historic loyalty of Britain’s black and asian communities and these issues’ impact on British politics. He also argues that age is the primary bifurcation of politics today as Thatcher’s voters fulfil their home-owning dream and either look to survive and/or pull the ladder up behind them. He also argues that capital needs social liberalism as immaterial work becomes dominant in our economy. For more, and the links, 'Read More' ...

The Fabians canvass for policy

The Fabians canvass for policy

Momentum have run a policy primary to decide what topics and motions to push for Labour Conference 2021. The Fabians seem to have decided that this is a good idea and issued a shorter, more guided questionnaire to the world at large. They ask five questions, ... a new policy Labour should back that could transform the country, one thing Labour should do to reconnect with voters who rejected the party in 2019, one commitment from the 2019 Labour manifesto that the party should abandon, one idea for creating more unity and harmony in the Labour movement, and name one Labour MP the party should make more use of. The last is just asking for trolling, my answers are overleaf/below and feel that I have a right to offer my advice as I only left the Fabians last year having joined it to help me rethink my ideas about policy and strategy. ...

Cowardice

Cowardice

Just a quick note, a comment on ‘desperate from Hartlepool’, and a longer comment from the Irish Times on Britain, the EU, and the creation of compulsive narratives.

Starmer’s rejection of rejoining, is a slap in the face for those members and voters who want to do so, and that number is growing. Starmer’s strategy would seem to be based on that of an Ostrich and following Corbyn’s, “what unites Hull and Hackney is social justice, we shall not be divided by Brexit” whcih worked so well. This issue cannot be avoided and the post brexit trade deal is poor. It’s killing SME importers and exporters and is exacerbating tensions in Northern Ireland and fuelling racism in Britian. Starmer’s positioning reminds me of some of the games I have played where one positions your party according to one metric, usually tax to ‘win’ the game; it’s also a return to focus group led policy making.

You can’t make Brexit work without engaging with the failings of the current situation and policy. In my mind this requires reentry to the customs union and single market.

The Irish Times article is a damning indictment of Labour’s silence in the knowledge that, that silence concedes space to poor policy and xenophobia and its hard to turn an oil tanker round, once the big lie is established, its opponents will always be on the backfoot.

Image by Vicki Nunn from Pixabay …

On Labour’s Local Govt Selections 2021

I wrote something for Labour Briefing, called Time for a local government clean up, I talk about the history of control and the members charter and the rules committent to provide representation for communities and groups currently under represented. I talk about the smallness of the LCFs and thus the ease of control, and threat of corruption through poor definitions of conflict of interests. I identify the change in rules about AWS and while I don’t mention it, I remember the failure of Lewisham LCF to select enough woman for the candidate panel.  …