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Bogus consultation and stage management. So much for transparency

Special conferenceIn the furore over Collins, there have been three main areas of concern. There is concern over the actual proposals and their implications – those have been addressed on this site by Jon Lansman. I would like to address the second and third of these areas of concern – the way the proposals are being railroaded through the special conference, and what the future will be for the trade unions, as organisations, within our party.

The review started with a “consultation” conducted by Ray Collins, the results of which have never been published. From Ann Black’s forensic examination of the responses, it is obvious that a large majority opposed the idea of the primaries.

As far as the voting procedure for the special conference was concerned, at the NEC on 4 February called to consider the Collins report, Ann Black asked about separate votes and was told that “this would be referred to the CAC” (see AB report).

The correct practice based on precedent is that there should be a vote on the Collins report itself, and then separate card votes on each of the two rule changes proposed – which affect different chapters of the rule book and are on unrelated subjects. Anyone who has been a conference delegate is probably aware that separate rules changes require separate votes.

In fact no further meeting of the CAC has been arranged. They had met prior to the report being produced. They hadn’t known what would be in it. They didn’t decide a detailed voting procedure since they were unaware that it would contain two separate rule changes. How could they? They haven’t had a discussion since.

The delegates briefings in two regions regions were told (wrongly) that the NEC had agreed that there’d be just one vote which may be what happens, but it’s not been agreed by any elected body and is against custom and practice.

Several  CLPs have submitted emergency motions asking “the NEC/CAC to ensure that there are separate votes … on the report and on each rule change in line with normal procedure.” The CAC should respond to these. Delegates should watch out for this or any delegates raising the issue, and support democracy!

Within an hour of the NEC on 4 February, delegates were invited to attend special briefings, with shadow cabinet members present, to have their ears bent about the wonders of Collins’s recommendations. And we had to endure the nonsense of a memo from Ed to all party members that afternoon about the words of “Paul” who had (allegedly) joined the party because of the ‘reforms’ just agreed by Labour’s executive, and because “until now the party never felt democratic. It never felt like one I could join.”

One of the main motivations for the this whole business was that Ed’s people wanted him to have a “Clause IV moment”. I suspect that Ed himself has never been happy with the way the levy arrangements operate and has wanted it to be “more transparent”. Ed gave some hint of this when CLPD met with him during the Leadership election campaign, following which we had resolved to support him as our second preference for the post.

In private, none of the trade unions, except perhaps Community, are happy with these changes. The unions are voting for it because they don’t want to rock the boat in the run up to a crucial general election. Exactly the same attitude is expressed by the majority of party activists in the CLPs.

13 Comments

  1. Robert says:

    Labour have never been happy about the levy we all know that, over the years labour have tried many times to get the levy which they have always seen as belonging to them. I remember Jack Straw looking at the issues and then deciding it was going to be a lost task. the view of labour was the political levy was paid by members and because it was political and the Unions were affiliated or not affiliated the levy was theirs by default.

    Today we are seeing labour trying to force through changes because mainly Falkirk was a mess Labour shouted about changes and the Unions I know mine did said touch the conference vote and the levy would end, so they looked around to get poor old Ed out of a mess this is the out come, but the levy is separate labour thinks now if they get state funding they will still have £150,000 or what ever the Opt in gives them better then a kick in the head because they can count each one of those as individuals donations.

    But in the end somebody will ask one day why fund a political party which has simple nothing to offer the working class at all.

    Poor old Miliband is now owned by the Progress group and not worth bothering with if labour gets back in so will state funding of parties.

  2. James Martin says:

    So has ‘Paul’ with all his Daily Mail stupidity been found yet? Or are we to assume Milliband just made him up and is just a dirty liar? In fact, I’d go further than that. As a Party member for longer than him I say that little Ed is nothing more than a big fraud. Shame on anyone who votes for this pile of s@*te,

  3. Rod says:

    James Martin: “Shame on anyone who votes for this pile of s@*te”

    That’s not the correct attitude!

    With the general election just a little more than a year away it’s your duty to offer support to whatever Ed and his Progress cronies propose.

    If you rock the boat now you could damage the career prospects of the Progress members in shadow cabinet who are looking forward to taking possession of ministerial limousines.

  4. Robert says:

    The same when Ed stated he knocked on a door and a disabled man answered, MIliband knew so he said this man could do something.

    he was right because good old Miliband went next door to a neighbour and then asked him about the disabled chap next door.

    What a shame Miliband did not have the courage or the guts to ask the disabled person what was wrong with him and had to take second hand views from somebody else.

    Maybe if Miliband had asked the chap might have said well Ed waste of time for me voting mate I have only a few month left due to cancer or one of the other serious illnesses. Or he may well have said what’s it got to do with a right wing troll like you what is wrong with me.

    Does anyone really believe that Miliband knocked on doors to see a disabled person or that Paul is a hero of labour and joined all because of his right wing progress attack on all that left in a labour party closer to the Tories then the working class.

  5. Rod says:

    Robert: “Does anyone really believe that Miliband etc.”

    No. No one believes it. But plenty of LP members still want to see Miliband and his Progress cronies in government.

    But of course, some people thought Marshal Petain was an alternative to Hitler.

  6. Ian Blackburn says:

    So much talk of what should have taken place years ago. As a Labour member I want one member one vote. My vote is as important as any other. I just am not interested in finding divisions in the party between Milliband and others. Who cares? Unions want employment rights. Only Labour – or the European union – have any sympathy for workers rights. So if the unions want a government that offers such rights, but still has to accept that majority who vote in elections for Labour do not care one bit about unions, those unions must support Labour. If any person, ordinary person in the street or union leader wants a say in the Labour party, then they must join the Labour party. It is as simple as that. if unions wish to hold back their money, that is down to them. But if you end up with another Tory government, who will those union leaders go crying to when the Tories do worse than Thatcher and batter the unions? All ready talk of having strike ballots to have fifty per cent of those eligible to vote actually voting. All ready talk of banning strikes on vital services. Tubes, railways for two. Just get on and vote for one member one vote. It is democratic and it makes EVERY Labour person equal.

  7. Rod says:

    Ian Blackburn: “If any person, ordinary person in the street or union leader wants a say in the Labour party, then they must join the Labour party.”

    But ordinary people have no say on Labour policy.

    When conference voted to re-nationalise Royal Mail if elected in 2015, the vote was immediately slapped down by the elite. A LP spokesperson said: “Re-nationalisation is not our policy. Labour Conference is entitled to its view but we are going to do the right thing.”

    My LP membership expires within a few weeks. I won’t be renewing it. And I’m looking forward to using the skills developed over decades of campaigning for Labour Party against today’s Labour/Progress Party.

    My CLP and more than a few surrounding CLPs are moribund and appear to be beyond renewal. There’s almost nothing left of what was once a well-rooted organisation. It’s not going to take much effort to slide the remnants into the grave of irrelevance now being prepared by Ed.

    Politics abhors a vacuum so I look forward to the development of an alternative to Tory/Progress/Labour policies.

    Please vote in favour of the Miliband/Progress reforms – there’s no need to prolong the agony of Labour’s demise.

  8. Robert says:

    I will be honest I do not really care we will see in 2015, I suspect labour will be saying come on how did we lose that, lets get rid of Miliband he was not really Progress, lets get Reeves as the next leader we can pretend she is Thatcher, and when she loses they will be saying bring back Blair or Blair jnr.

    It will take a long long time before Tory Lite dies.

  9. James Martin says:

    Just watched Miliband on the BBC news site with his conference speech. The prat sounds more and more like Blair by the day. You know, I even think he’s beginning to look like him too.

    Oh and Ian B – so the EU cares about workers rights do they? Try telling that to a Greek worker! Of course when it comes to supporting Ukrainian fascists the EU is all over them like a rash, but if I really thought that they and Miliband are all we’ve got as trade unionists to help us then I’d be topping myself now. So much for collectivism and the power of the workplace…

  10. Marion Lock says:

    The easiest way for the Conservatives to have an overall majority in the 2015 General Election is if the Labour Party (which is the only party able to beat them in the polls) splits into factions and these factions fight each other, rather than fighting right-wing dogma, control and lies. The last Labour Government wasn’t perfect (I was very much against the disaster of the Iraq War, and the lack of realisation that unbridled immigration was a major concern of many workers.) However, most of their policies made life easier for working people. Our CLP discussed the Collins Report and sent in our reservations re. Primaries and Supporters being allowed a say on policy matters. We shall not, however, be forming an’Anti-Collins Report’ faction in the Party. “United we stand – Divided we fall!” We have selected our Leader (Many say, with Union support). He is astute enough to recognise the problems facing working people under this Government, and I believe, he is sincere in wanting to create a better life for them. We must do nothing but support him. We can leave it to the Right Wing to denigrate him, the Labour Party, the working people, and left wing policies.
    It is our job to SUPPORT ALL FOUR. Marion Lock

  11. SANDRA CRAWFORD says:

    If Ed is now owned by Progress it is only because others are letting it happen.
    OK you may be worried about the GE. bUT IF These decisions were made outside the normal rules then members and unions should make sure that these come back to the main conference again and again and again until a democratic decision id reached.
    I know it was not democratic, because members of the LP and the unions did not vote on this.

  12. Chris says:

    The unions should have done everything possible to kill off this leadership power grab. Up to and including trying to oust Miliband.

  13. Rod says:

    @ Chris.

    Nail on the head, mate.

    The current crop of union leaders, many of whom are approaching retirement, will probably receive peerages for service rendered. And if Miliband wins in 2015 he’ll want to bring in state funding for political parties. Miliband has already suggested a ceiling of £5K for donations to political parties.

    So, if Miliband wins and follows through, the unions won’t even be able to contribute significantly to supporting/founding a party to represent the interests of ordinary people.

    This really does seem to be the end of the LP in its historic role. What strikes me as being wholly perverse are those on the Left who remain within in the LP, who are fully aware of the implications attached to these new developments and disagree with them yet still insist that the only solution is the election of a Progress/Labour government!

    It’s a funny old world.

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