Corbyn stays on the ballot, High Court rules

by Newsdesk

CorbynThe legal challenge to Jeremy Corbyn’s right to be on the ballot automatically, from former Labour donor Michael Foster, was defeated in court yesterday. Justice Foskett ruled, in a 17-page judgment, that said the meaning, “seems to me to be entirely clear”, and that, “the Leader would not in that situation (where there is no vacancy) be someone who was a “challenger” for the leadership and, accordingly, would require no nominations in order to compete in the ballot to retain his/her position as Leader.”

This ruling means that the leadership election will proceed as planned, with ballots sent out on August 12th and a result announced at a special conference on Saturday 24th of September, the week before party conference. As Left Futures noted earlier this week, Corbyn is now the overwhelming favourite to win following recent internal polling of party members.

Additionally, nominations for the leadership election have now opened and many CLPs have taken votes, with Corbyn winning 47 to Smith’s 11, thus far. The vast majority of Corbyn’s have come from outside of London, while 8 of Smith’s 11 have come from CLPs in the capital.

 

Labour’s £25 registered supporters system has left young people out

by Asher Mohammed

The money changes hands, pic by 123rf.comThe Labour Party is in a crisis. A political party which is no longer connected to the very people it is supposed to represent. In the midst of a civil war, Labour’s youngest members have yet again been sidelined, ignored and rejected.

Don’t take it from me, talk to the thousands of under 19 labour party members who this week were left disappointed, again. Under the National Executive Committee’s rules, members who joined after the 12th of January are unable to participate in the leadership election. They can, however, sign up as registered supporters. U18s though were unable to do even that.

Even though I myself disagree with the registered supporter system, largely because I don’t believe your democratic voice can be determined by your wealth/ ability to pay £25, U18s have again for no rational reason been left out.

This includes those young people, who when previously asked, would shrug, laugh and dismiss the whole concept of political engagement. This includes young people whose parents may have never voted and have no political background. This includes my school friends, who joined the party a few months ago, only to now be told they have no alternative to participate, they have no say, their participation in the Labour movement isn’t valued.

How ignorant can a political party be, to disengage hundreds if not thousands of young people who have just got involved in politics. It’s beyond belief that a party who claims to stand with young people has time after time again ignored people of my age. They held a youth conference in the most inaccessible and unaffordable location, they held a youth review during summer exams, they fail to converse with young members at CLP/Regional/National levels.

I, even though having been a member of the Labour Party for two years, have never felt so let down. This is a direct rejection of young people from the Labour Party. The simple fact that this was not noticed or raised at all on social media by most Labour politicians, disappoints me, but in no way surprises me. As Young Labour U19s officer, I felt it was my duty to raise this with as many high profile Labour people I could. The response, as a whole was apologetic but not progressive. How can we ensure something like this doesn’t happen again? We can’t!

That’s why I’m making a plea, to every Labour member, politician, trade unionist, act now. Listen to us, speak to us, hear us, share platforms with us. I, as many fellow U19 members are too, am tired of repeating the same thing time after time again. Our purpose is more than just to be in pictures, door knock and be statistical figures for you to boast about how you’re in touch with young people.

I know, this will probably fall on deaf ears. But it’s so vital to keep that glimmer of hope alive. Take Young people seriously. Much thanks.

Asher Mohammed is Young Labour U19s Officer

The Fight for the Labour Party

by Dan Iley-Williamson

Watson & CorbynOn the weekend following the EU referendum result, Labour’s then Shadow Foreign Secretary, Hilary Benn, called on fellow Shadow Cabinet members to support his demand for Corbyn to resign as Labour leader. When Benn admitted this to Corbyn, he was swiftly sacked. A carefully orchestrated 24 hours of Shadow Cabinet resignations then ensued, shortly followed by the Parliamentary Labour Party passing a vote of no confidence in Corbyn’s leadership. This was the commencement of the long planned coup. The aim was to generate intense pressure on Corbyn, suddenly creating an environment where his continued leadership seemed impossible. The coup did not, however, go to plan. Seeing Corbyn’s leadership under threat, his supporters quickly mobilised, to an extent that is unimaginable for any other British political leader. At a day’s notice nearly ten thousand Labour members and supporters gathered in Parliament Square to show their support for Corbyn; from Birmingham to Sheffield to Liverpool, amongst many other cities, thousands have taken to the streets to show their support for Corbyn. Labour membership has seen another rapid increase, with the vast majority thought to be Corbyn supporters. With the initial attempt to remove Corbyn having failed, Labour is now holding a leadership election. Continue reading →

Corbyn will win a second contest, comfortably

by James Elliott

CorbynYouGov’s latest polling in the Labour leadership election which gives Corbyn a twenty point lead on Owen Smith, combined with the news that 183,000 people have signed up as registered supporters to vote, should prove  to be enough confirmation to make predictions at this early stage. While affiliated supporters  can still be signed up through trade unions, and CLP nominations have only just begun, it is very hard to see how Owen Smith would get over 50% of the support.  Continue reading →

The bogus Bevanism of Owen Smith

by David Osland

OwenSmithMP-2How deep the irony that invocation of Aneurin Bevan is all too often little more than a gesture of contentless radicalism, much in the manner of a faded Che Guevara poster ironically adorning the walls of an undergraduate hipster’s bedsit.

To this day, Neil Kinnock’s curious penchant for upholding a one-time militant miners’ strike leader as a primary inspiration, even while actively seeking to weaken Scargill in 1984-85, readily springs to mind.

The tradition continued when Gordon Brown happily provided the foreword for the 60th anniversary reprint of Bevan’s 1952 book In Place of Fear. Given the volume’s overt demands for widespread social ownership, the temptation is to conclude that the arch exponent of PFI could not have read it too attentively beforehand. Continue reading →

‘You can’t pass motions; that’s political’ – A Report for Labour Students National Committee meeting, 19/07/16

by Michael Muir

Inside Labour CorbynAt this year’s Labour Students National Conference in Scarborough, delegates were promised, to quote from the manifesto of our new Chair, ‘a radical change’. Indeed-and much needed it was. Poor organisation made for a chaotic conference, whilst, time and again, BAME members of our organisation told of how they felt ignored and marginalised to the point of invisibility. In the words of the BAME Officer, Huda Elmi, ‘it is like we do not exist to you’. There seemed to be a consensus that, in its current form, Labour’s student affiliate was unsustainable. Continue reading →

#SaveLabour – Vote Jeremy

by Guest

A beautiful short film made by activists and filmmakers in Liverpool, featuring a wide range of local Labour members explaining why they support ‪#‎JeremyForLabour‬. Thank you Phil Maxwell, Hazuan Hashim and Lola Perrin!

If you would like to volunteer your talents for Jeremy’s campaign, let him know through his campaign website.

Peter Willsman reports from Labour’s July executives

by Peter Willsman

Willsman1National Executive Committee 19 July 2016

This was the scheduled NEC meeting for July (below I cover the Emergency NEC meeting of 12 July). The atmosphere at this meeting was much better than at last week’s Emergency NEC meeting. In part this was due to the fact that Jeremy was present for the whole NEC and contributed throughout the meeting. This, of course, was the practice of all leaders until the advent of New Labour. Not only did Tony Blair downgrade the role of the NEC but also he was never prepared to spend more than an hour at our meetings. Jeremy is restoring the custom that served the Party well for over ninety years. Jeremy clearly appreciates the major and governing role of the NEC. One very notable feature of this NEC meeting was that, as has been the case in the past, some NEC members participated in the NEC via phone (in one case from Brittany), but on this occasion the Chair allowed voting by phone. To my mind this is a helpful development because sometimes NEC members are unavoidably absent. Continue reading →

Over 180,000 sign up as registered supporters in Labour leadership election

by Newsdesk

CorbynComforting news for Corbyn supporters as 183,541 people paid £25 to become registered supporters in the Labour leadership election in just 48 hours. The stitch-up of the right on the NEC had prevented around 200,000 party members from being able to cast a vote, forcing many who had joined the party since January 12th to sign up as registered supporters, at a huge cost of £25.

The change in procedures was condemned by many at the time, and it was particularly noted that young people, with less money, would be more affected by the price hike. The change from £3 to £25 is likely to affect the composition of the selectorate somewhat, and while those joining will possibly be a more middle-class group, Corbyn last summer won over 88,0000 of the 105,000 votes in the registered supporters section. This time, however, both Progress and “Saving Labour” have been signing up ‘moderates’, but how many moderates there out outside of the Labour Party who are willing to pay £25 to vote for Owen Smith, remains to be seen. Continue reading →

The Labour Party kills satire

by Andy Newman

Kevin Higgins photoJohnny Cash famously spent a night in jail in Starkville Mississippi for picking flowers. The Labour Party has recently achieved a similar level of ludicrous overreaction by suspending the award winning Irish poet, Kevin Higgins, for writing a satirical poem.

Kevin is a renowned artist, whose work is discussed in Justin Quinn’s Cambridge Introduction to Modern Irish Poetry. He is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events in Galway, Ireland. He has published five collections of poems: The Boy With No Face (2005), Time Gentlemen, Please (2008), Frightening New Furniture(2010), The Ghost In The Lobby (2014), & 2016 – The Selected Satires of Kevin Higgins.

His poems feature in Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and in The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Bloodaxe, 2014).  He has regularly contributed poems on topical issues to publications such as The Morning Star, Socialist Unity and Harry’s Place. Kevin is satirist-in-residence with the alternative literature website The Bogman’s Cannon. The Stinging Fly magazine recently described Kevin as “likely the most widely read living poet in Ireland”. Continue reading →

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