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Honouring party members for hard work away from the media spotlight

NEC Report ABWhen I received the offer of an OBE I was surprised, and my first instinct was to decline. Partly because of the “British Empire” – it’s odd to be appointed to something which no longer exists, and which has a chequered and not always glorious history, as the recent court cases from Kenyans imprisoned in the 1950s remind us. Whether there should be a civil honours system with more appropriate titles is something which I’d never thought about before.

I understand that it was Ed Miliband who put my name forward, and I believe it shows that he appreciates hearing members’ views even when he disagrees with them. I will continue to pass on feedback from the frontline, both positive and critical – there’s a national policy forum next weekend 22/23 June, and an NEC meeting on Tuesday 16 July. If there’s anything you’d like me to raise, just email me.

After thinking and talking it through, I decided to accept. With all the scandals and stings, it’s important that political activism is valued as an honourable part of collective life. The tiny minority of ex-ministers who sell themselves to the highest bidder and use party position as a passport to personal wealth let us all down. Most members put in huge amounts of their own time and money out of loyalty and commitment, and many councillors, MPs and party staff work way beyond the hours for which they are paid.  They air their differences in private and not on the Today programme. All deserve praise and recognition.  Without them I would not have been able to continue as a national representative, nor would I have wished to.

Finally I’d like to congratulate Tony Robinson on his award. As well as Baldrick and Time Team, he was an elected member of the NEC from 2000 to 2004, and he became a good comrade. He put a lot of work into the party away from the media spotlight, and his views were also influenced profoundly by talking and listening to members.

10 Comments

  1. Stephen says:

    “After thinking and talking it through, I decided to accept. With all the scandals and stings, it’s important that political activism is valued as an honourable part of collective life. “…
    So you took the OBE for our sake .. How very noble and self sacrificing

    ““Comrades!’ he cried. ‘You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself..”

  2. Mike says:

    Tend to agree with Stephen. It’s only a certain kind of activism that gets the gongs. I suppose Ann was quite helpful to the Party apparatus in letting the rest of us down over Calder Valley, Ian Giibson, Lutfur Rahman, etc. Isn’t there also something inherently wrong with an honours system in the gift of party leaders?

  3. Dean Williams says:

    oh dear. I read that article twice to check it wasn’t a spoof.

  4. Annie says:

    Yeah, Ann, it’s because you represent members views -not because you helped witch hunt the RMT, Ian Gibson, George Galloway, Lutfur Rahman, Ken Livingstone and others out the party at various times.

    And then there’s the less high profile stitch-ups, like in Calder Valley. WTF is this person doing on any left, centre-left or even frankly centrist slate!?

    And as for the British Empire having a “not always glorious history” … and the award for understatement of the year goes to …

  5. Patrick Coates says:

    I think the 4 people above would have taken it, I am waiting for mine, maybe next year.
    Without Ann sending us e-mails, most members would not have a clue what was going on.
    By the way what has happened to Jo-anna Baxter, most CLPs servents are buzy fundraising, so it is good that she and Anne informed us of the inside story.

  6. Patrick Coates says:

    The Party does have it’s own Honores system, it is called the Merit Awards, it is given by CLP Secretaries to one of there members, I did think of giving it to myself……….

  7. Johnreid says:

    Luftur’s expulsion wasn’t a witch hunt, he backed a Muslim cleric who’d broke the law, Ian Gibson resigned he didn’t have too because he sold his home that we’d paid for to his daughter on the cheap, even Charles Clarke said that wasn’t a resigning matter, Livingstones expulsion s his choice, again nothing to do with Ann Black

  8. Johnreid says:

    Annie Calder vale,that was an all women shortlist, wee are the Labour Party you know, Galloway was ex spelled for his calling for Iraqis to kill U.K soldiers, the RMT backed org political parties,

    Lets look at some other expulsions

    reg underwood, Reg prentice, George Brown, Luke Bozier, the SDP

  9. Rob says:

    Never mind John you will see the future is all yours

  10. Johnreid says:

    I hope so, the idea that we have another 1983 moment and are out for 14 more yrs afte the next election would be a disaster.

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