The grotesque chaos of Claire Kober’s Haringey

The resignation of a council leader would normally be no biggie. I mean, I’m guessing entirely here, but presumably that happens in towns or cities across Britain several times a year, for one reason or another.

These things usually merit a run of front pages in the local press, and perhaps a short mention or two nationally. They are then swiftly forgotten, as just another ego-driven municipal hissy fit over a bypass or an over-budget leisure centre. All of that makes the events surrounding Claire Kober’s departure in Haringey simply extraordinarily. Continue reading

Time to move on from the 1980s, Lord Hattersley

If I were official keeper of the Croslandite flame, easily the most renowned contemporary advocate of that standpoint, I’d be humble enough to ponder why my preferred brand of politics carried such little traction in Britain in 2017. As a serious partisan of social democracy, I would ask why ideas of the stripe that until recently dominated Labour now fail to enthuse its membership.

Might that indicate shortcomings in the ideas themselves? Or perhaps certain failings on the part of those who now propagate them? Why are adherents so frequently parodied as out-of-touch Centrist Dads or personally venal baby boomer neoliberals?

The very last thing I would do is to dust off memories of the Bennite years, and try to shoehorn developments of the last two years into a prism completely inapplicable nearly four decades later. That, unfortunately, is what former deputy leader Roy Hattersley unconvincingly attempts in his widely publicised article in the Observer this weekend, which will deeply disappoint those of us whose memories of his past role are better than that. Continue reading

Elections to Labour’s national executive: do you want a member-led party or don’t you?

When I’ve finished writing this blog post, I’ll be heading over to my inbox to send my National Executive Committee votes off for Yasmine Dar, Rachel Garnham and Jon Lansman. For obvious reasons this internal contest has been portrayed as pro-Jez or anti-Jez; you’re either for him or against him. Yet it’s worth remembering this isn’t a case of Corbyn supporters motivated by the Labour leader’s celebrity or unassuming style. It’s about politics, and the Labour right, who don’t really have any politics beyond hating the Labour left, would do well to remember the appeal of Corbynism is explicitly political. If you happen to be reading this and haven’t made your mind up, these words might be of some use. Continue reading

Pete Willsman reports from Labour’s November Executive

National Executive Committee Away Day 26 November 2017

This NEC was the annual ‘Away Day’, where ‘blue sky thinking’ is encouraged. This year we held our meeting in Glasgow where we were warmly welcomed by the new leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Richard Leonard and the very enthusiastic Scottish Executive Committee (SEC), and part of the meeting was held jointly with the SEC.

Procedure for the election of the NEC representative from the party’s youth

This election is timetabled for early in the new year. It was pointed out that for some years the trade unions have been pressing for a procedure which is more representative of the two wings of our party, the industrial and the political. In particular, an electoral college consisting of 50% young party members voting by OMOV, and 50%, affiliates – using their own mechanisms to reflect the views of their young members. After lengthy discussion, this procedure was agreed for the 2018 scheduled election. It was noted that this matter is covered by the Democracy Review and thus, in due course, the new arrangements could be amended. Continue reading

What is happening in Catalonia?

 

Things have happened quickly since the unauthorised referendum called by Catalunya’s regional government on October 1st. The result – a  90% yes vote on a 42% turnout, with many opposed to independence staying away – led Catalan president Carles Puigdemont to proclaim independence. The Spanish government responded by completely suspending Catalan autonomy and unleashing fierce repression – which in fact began before the poll.  Continue reading