You have only four weeks left to submit motions to Labour’s annual conference in Manchester which starts on 30 September. The deadline for submission is 12 noon on Friday 21 September (here’s the letter inviting them). We set out below some draft motions which have been proposed by CLPD and Labour CND which you may find useful and can be downloaded. This is one of the few opportunities that constituencies have to influence the Conference agenda and thus the Party’s policy making so don’t lose it, even if that’s what the party bureaucracy still seem to prefer.
In spite of all the kerfuffle over Refounding Labour, the rules on what you can and can’t propose remain absurdly restictive:
- You can’t deal with campaigning or organisational matters – these things are supposedly dealt with by Labour’s national executive.
- You can’t deal with any issue that has been dealt with by the NPF and its policy commissions. Unfortunately, we don’t get their papers, and the annual report whose publication on membersnet was promised in early August has not appeared. Delegates have been promised copies of various reports in early September, probably too late for your branch meetings, even if they do arrive on time.
- You can’t deal with a topic which didn’t arise after 31 July 2012 — unless it wasn’t dealt with in any of the reports you haven’t got and couldn’t have been dealt with in another way by the Partnership into Power process (whatever that means).
- You can’t try to “overturn or revisit” anything in a previous party policy programme (no time limit is mentioned) unless its on an issue which previously did have 25% support in the policy forum (an official “alternative position”) but there have been very few of those.
- Oh, and you can’t “seek to bypass the national policy forum policy-making or national executive committee decision-making processes”, which as far as I can make out rules out anything else they haven’t already ruled out.
If you can’t believe that they’re this restrictive, please carefully read the conference arrangement committee’s “Criteria for determining if a motion is contemporary” and tell me where I’m wrong. It’s not surprising that so many motions are ruled out of order. And even if they’re not, there’s still a ballot to choose which issues are debated. This is supposed to yield four topics chosen by the affiliated organisations and four from constituency parties but much pressure is usually applied to persuade party delegates to choose the same ones as chosen by the trade unions so there are usually only five or six topics permitted.
Our suggested model motions, which take account what we believe might be chosen through the priorities ballot, are as follows (click the pictures to download):
Reflecting on cuts to services and unaffordable fare rises, this would commit the party to taking back into public ownership all the railway franchises as each contract expires – a policy consistently approved by conference in the past.
What the economy and the homeless need is a large scale, national social house building programme to provide good quality, genuinely affordable housing for all who need them.
This commits Labour to repeal the Health & Social Care Act, end privatisation and the internal market, pay decent nationally-agreed wages to staff, and restore the core principles of the NHS.
This commits Labour to pursue policies which promote a multicultural vision of an inclusive, tolerant society which recognises the benefits of both diversity and immigration, and to vigorously oppose the growth right-wing groups that threaten this vision, like the BNP and EDL.
The motion opposes austerity in all its forms as self-defeating and harmful to people and business alike. Instead it promotes major investment in homes and infrastructure, and action to stimulate including cuts in VAT, ending public pay freezes, benefit cuts and cuts in the minimum wage.
This motion explains that Trident replacement does not address our real threats, does not increase our security, is unaffordable and is unpopular. Instead, Labour should commit to a Nuclear Weapons Convention to achieve a global ban.