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Time for motions to Labour conference (though they’ll do their best to stop you)

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):

Britain’s railways: bring them back into public ownership

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.

Prioritise investment in a sustainable programme of affordable housing

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.

NHS: Not for sale

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.

Oppose racism, Islamophobia and the far-right

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.

Economic policy for growth – Invest and defend pay – Not cuts

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.

Scrap Trident and support negotiations for a Nuclear Weapons Convention

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.

6 Comments

  1. Harry Barnes says:

    Your link to “criteria for determining if a motion is contemporary” merely brings up some black, white and grey lines. No doubt the correct version is little better, but the links needs to be sorted.

  2. Harry Barnes says:

    On your first link “here’s the letter”, do you know when it was circulated. My Labour Party Branch next meets on 12 September, then my CLP next meets on 21 September – the last day for motions to be submitted. By claiming that everything is an emergency, I suppose we still have time to send an electronic dart.

  3. Harry Barnes says:

    Whoops! No we don’t, motions have to be in nationallly by noon on 21 September – unless they are a genuine emergency. So we now have to dream something up at our Branch meeting on 12 September, that will not become an emergency until after 12 noon on 21 September. Easy really. Motions should be in the hands of our Branch Secretary by 5th September (unless they are an emergency). I just need to work out when an emergency becomes and emergency, then when it ceases to be an emergency for long enough for Conference to accept that it is an emergency.

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      Harry: I don’t understand why the document links don’t work on your PC. I’ve now checked them on someone else’s computer and they work fine viewed through your browser although if you try to download them then you get the fuzzy lines you describe. I can see no good reason for making them secret documents. The letter to CLPs went out on 3 August, and I will forward a copy to you plus the CAC criteria.If anyone else has this problem please comment or let me know & I will upload them to eft Futures to replace the links.

      Finally, don’t confuse these “contemporary motions” with emergency motions. Here is what the letter said about those:

      Emergency Motions
      The Conference Arrangements Committee will also consider emergency motions. Emergency motions must:
      a. be about an issue which could not reasonably have been the subject of a contemporary motion, or
      b. have arisen after the closing date for contemporary motions – Friday 21 September at 12 noon, or
      c. is an issue of urgent and immediate importance to the discussion by the whole Labour Party at Annual Conference
      d. be received by Friday 28 September at 12 noon.
      e. emergency motions must be emailed (no form required) to CAC@labour.org.uk and a hard copy, signed by the CLP secretary or Chair, sent to the Conference Arrangements Committee, The Labour Party, One Brewer’s Green, Buckingham Gate, London SW1H 0RH or faxed to 020 7783 1506.

  4. john p reid says:

    HArry have to agree ,teh way I got around this was Emailed everyone in my local party,What’s the rules on not having meetings in August I couldn’t find any in the rule book.

  5. Jon Williams says:

    Jon,

    I agree with your post helping to explain how members might submit motions to conference. It seems a rather complicated process – one might cynically think that was the ultimate purpose to deflect members thoughts and ideas – as suggested. Local members will find the process difficult to understand and may feel it’s not worth pursuing.

    The suggested motions I heartedly agree with – hopefully Team Ed will promote and insert in the next Labour manifesto.

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