Competent Business

Competent Business

I hope I get my act together and do the reading or writing for something on ‘shortages’, Citizens take over Europe‘, economics, immigration, union democracy or UK defence policy. But meanwhile here’s a piece on the Labour Party rules and competent business.

I was asked, but not personally, and I paraphrase, “Are motions on the current round of proscriptions and auto-exclusions ‘competent business’ for CLPs?”

I have not read the motions in question and it’s possible to write one that is not competent.

I think that arguing that the proscription process, the criteria defining ‘support’, the members of the list of proscribed organisations, their swapping the disciplinary route from C6/NCC to 2.I.4.B, their prosecution for events that took place before the proscriptions decision, their failure to notify members of the change of rules are wrong, is legitimate business. (You can probably add to this list.)

I think there is an argument that auto-exclusion under Rule 2.I.4.B is not a disciplinary process.

Formby’s ban on discussing disciplinary cases was based the powers in 1.VIII.3.A.iv & 6.I.1.D both of which state that the decisions of the NEC or NCC shall be final but only if the process defined by those rules is engaged. As should be obvious, the decision to auto-exclude means that the NEC & NCC do not take decisions and so these protections for the decisions no longer apply. 2.I.4.B does not provide the “finality” protection to the decision. I would also argue that switching a prosecution track from one route to another is contrary to natural justice as is backdating the date of the events leading to prosecution.

Overall the prohibitions cover individual disciplinary cases, because they belong to other bodies, challenging the EHRC report, challenging legal settlements associated with court supervised apologies, and there’s a form of words stating that CLP leaderships have a duty to “… [create] an open and welcoming environment for people of all communities and backgrounds”. ( I need to find a reference for this last bit, and there is a more explicit guidance as to meaning of this last prohibition but it’s not on the internet nor afaik on the LP’s web site.)

To answer the author’s question, CLP leaderships will get into trouble for ignoring region or GLU advice, or acting in bad faith. If in doubt ask them, but bear in mind your members right to write and move a motion, it’s protected by their rights to freedom of speech and doubly so if the motion is proposed as conference motion.  …

Tyranny

Tyranny

The Labour Party only has three rules.

C1.X.5 which say the NEC has final interpretation of the rules

C1.VIII.3.A which says the NEC can do what it wants to enforce the rules

C1.VII.1.C.ii which says the GS can assume delegated powers from the NEC and pass them on.

This is Tyranny. …

Labour’s new disciplinary processes

judges gavel

An article by Martin Thomas, based on an interview by me on Labour’s response to the EHRC report and new disciplinary processes. I say, an interesting use of the word independent, and a destruction of the principle of an independent appeal. The investment of yet more powers in a clearly factional and incompetent General Secretary is also in my opinion a mistake. See also Labour and antisemitism, some thoughts which has stood the test of time well. …

Shenanigans at London Labour 2021

Shenanigans at London Labour 2021

At London Labour Conference, the staff used a number of tricks to ‘control’ the zoom meeting. They closed the meeting early having failed to silence Katheryn Johnson, the outgoing Chair of the CAC and they also excluded Craig for asking questions about expulsions and the Forde Enquiry and there are rumours that they chucked out some delegates for ‘inappropriate’ background images by which I mean ones with the slogans ‘reinstate Jeremy Corbyn’ and “where’s the Forde Inquiry”. I am also concerned that not all people present in the meeting were validly nominated delegates and know that we were one delegate short as they had made a mistake, again, in calculating our delegate entitlement. During the first day, the Chair, failed to ask the mover of our motion to speak in summing up, and then proposed to move to the card vote. I was concerned that this would stand and tried to move a point of order; this was not possible. This is not the first time that London Region have used control of the meeting to ensure that meetings avoid taking decisions they don’t want taken. The rest of this blog looks at four of Labour’s Rules which have probably been broken.

Rule C9B.IV.9 Procedure at Regional Conference shall as far as practicable be informed by the Standing Orders agreed at the last session of Annual Conference.

The standing orders agreed at the last session of Annual Conference are in Chapter 17 and so the following two rules apply.

Rule C17 I.2.N.i Any breach of or question to the rules or standing orders may be raised by a member rising to a point of order.

It was not possible to raise points of order.

Rule C17.I.2.O.ii Any member acting in an unruly or disruptive manner, in contravention of the standing orders, may be removed from the meeting by action of the chair. The chair shall put such a motion to the meeting, which to be carried shall require the support of two-thirds of those present and voting.

People were excluded other than via this procedure.

C2.II.8 Members have the right to dignity and respect, and to be treated fairly by the Labour Party. Party officers at every level shall exercise their powers in good faith and use their best endeavours to ensure procedural fairness for members. …

Natural Justice

After the proscriptions decision by Labour’s NEC, I had a quick look at the Report of the Charkrabarti Inquiry again, as she was very firm on natural justice.

Another matter which has been brought to my attention is the frequency of resort to the power of interim suspension in cases where an allegation that a member has acted in breach of the rules is before the General Secretary and/or his staff. Indeed, an early lesson that any new General Counsel might offer his/her colleagues is on the application of the vital legal principles of due process (or natural justice) and proportionality.

Shami Chakrabarti (Page 18)

She considered conforming to the principles of natural justice so important that she proposed to write conforming to them into the rules. Another shame that this was not implemented.  …

More on Labour’s disciplinary rules

I made a critique of Labour’s response to the EHRC report, which has been published in Solidarity. It talks about Free Speech, a lack of process, failure to meet Article 6’s definition a fair trial and makes a series of proposals as to how to introduce a fair process. The article proposes a segregation of duties within the disciplinary process, subordination to the European Convention on Human Rights, covers the role and accountability of the complaints department and General Secretary, suggests the need for a policy on investigations and ‘prosecutions’ , notes a duty to alleged perpetrators and victims, proposes the need to appropriately manage sanctions, the role and power of the General Secretary and the need for an Ombudsman.  …

Yet again, a purge!

Yet again, a purge!

So Kier’s planning that Labour proscribe four organisations allowing the Party Bureaucracy to auto-exclude its supporters. Two of the organisations (LIEN, Resist) are basically outside anyway, one (LAW) is practically defunct which leaves Socialist Appeal, who are irrelevant to the left right struggle in the Party. I have written extensively about the failure of these rules to conform to the rules of natural justice and that I have friends who have been unjustly and arbitrarily auto-excluded. Rule 4.I.2.B is contrary to the ECHR’s right to a fair trial.

The first point to make is that this is a defined collective offence. No personal culpability of anti-party activities is to be assessed. Secondly, we are in stupid position where people can self-id as BAME, women and disabled, but not as socialists, although as I discovered recently, the word socialism does not appear in the rule book. Thirdly, they won’t stop here, Neil Coyle argued that Jewish Voice for Labour should be next but the real target is to cow Momentum.

Finally, it’s a piece of theatre, designed to create the momentum that Blair created by fighting the Left. The Miitant were expelled 40 years ago and Clause IV amended in 1996, (25 years ago). Politics have changed. History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. The end game of this strategy is obvious to see, a Labour Party run by people without vision and without hope (as it was in 2010), whose only sense of journey is to attack their core support; today, that is the young city dweller who is/was a Remainer.

I quote Phil BC, from his blog, who says,

Anyone with a leftwing, socialist bone in their body should stand against this petty purge. And remind ourselves again that we’re not dealing with just another Tory-lite Labour leader but an existential threat. Starmer is more likely to lead the party into complete collapse

Here’s a petition to oppose the purge, a statement from Unite & Momentum and a statement issued by left members of the NEC. …

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 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. …