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Peter Willsman’s report from Labour’s November executive

Inside Labour Willsman from NECNational Executive Committee 17 November 2015

The NEC is united in its support for Jeremy as he gets to grips with a very difficult job. I worked with Jeremy in NUPE before he became an MP. I have never met anyone as dedicated. Jeremy is totally exceptional. Party members want to give Jeremy a chance to show what he can do. The small number of “comrades” who are briefing the media against Jeremy are not only disloyal to our elected leader but are harming our party. Party members are unlikely to forgive them for the damage they are doing.

You will see that the NEC established a party reform working group which will begin work before Christmas. Will CLPs and party members please let me have any suggestions that could be brought to the attention of the working group as soon as possible. 

The November NEC is always scheduled as an “Away Day”, which we all found rather amusing, given the fact it was only a mile and a half up the road from where we normally meet.

Leaders’ Report

Jeremy opened his report by stressing our solidarity with the people of Paris. The mindless violence against innocent people has shocked us all. Jeremy stressed that the use of maximum force is necessary and justified in these dreadful situations.

Jeremy drew attention to the refugee crisis and the inadequate response by the government. Jeremy reported that he had strongly lobbied the Chinese Premier on behalf of the steel industry drawing attention to the very serious effects of the dumping of Chinese steel. Jeremy emphasised that if we lose our steel industry it would undermine the whole of the UK’s manufacturing base. Jeremy also reported that he had pressed the new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue of human rights. Jeremy will continue to raise these issues at every opportunity.

Jeremy then addressed the sheer vindictiveness of the Tories’ trade union bill and the fact that its aim is to undermine the Labour Party, as well as to make it very difficult for workers to defend their rights. Jeremy stressed we must develop a positive policy covering all aspects of workplace rights. Ian Lavery MP, the Chair of the Trade Union Group of Labour MPs, is already working on this and putting together a document. Jeremy congratulated all concerned on the effectiveness of the ongoing Tax Credit Campaign. This has put the Tories on the back foot and we intend to keep up maximum pressure on this issue.

NEC members responded to Jeremy’s report by developing many of the points and issues that he had raised. Several NEC members raised the issue of the very harmful leaks to the media and the very damaging way in which social media is being used. It was agreed that we need to develop a Labour Party Code of Conduct in relation to the use of social media.

Jeremy thanked the party staff, the NEC and party members for their support in the face of a hostile attack on him personally and on the party.

NEC Aims and Objectives

The NEC considered a 22 page document setting out the custom and practice that has been established over many years. This included the NEC’s standing orders. NEC members were asked to submit suggestions for revising this document and amendments will be agreed at the next NEC meeting in January.

“Tomorrow’s Labour Party: Giving the Party Back to its Members” – Paper from Tom Watson

Tom introduced the paper which covered ‘a digital revolution’, and ‘party reform’. Tom had asked the NEC to make suggestions for his paper and he thanked those who had responded. The first set of Tom’s recommendations covered the development of a digital strategy for the party as a priority. This would be overseen by a digital working group, reporting to the Organisation Committee and then discussed at every NEC meeting. There will be a showcase event in the spring, livestream open forums for every quarter, for organisations and members to discuss ideas and develop pilots. There will also be support for local innovation and pilot projects in CLPs together with the trade unions.

The recommendations covering party reform were wide-ranging, e.g. looking at the structure of the NPF, gender representation within the party, increased representation of under-represented members, including a bursary scheme for working-class candidates, issues connected to devolution, greater support for Labour councillors, a political education program, a youth review and reviewing the implications of the Trade Union Bill.

This working group will start its work before Christmas and will be reporting to every NEC meeting. It will be jointly chaired by Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson and be open to all NEC members. The actual members of the working group were agreed to be Angela Eagle, Ann Black, Jennie Formby, Johanna Baxter, Andy Kerr, Cath Speight, Alice Perry and Jim Kennedy. It was agreed that the working group would also review the democratic structures of the youth section.

In this discussion I stressed that the NPF should be accountable to the NEC, as it was when it was first set up by Larry Whitty, general secretary of the party at the time. I also pointed out that all policy developed in the party should be brought to the NPF, including all policy developed by the “Shadow Shadow Cabinet”, i.e. the PLP policy groups. I also argued that the NEC must be restored to its central position in the party that it held for some eighty years before it was downgraded and sidelined by the Blair Supremacy. (I recommend that all party members should read The Blair Supremacy by Professor Lewis Minkin). In particular the NEC needs to examine its committee structure because before New Labour there were several very important committees that were then abolished.

Becky Long-Bailey stressed that CLPs and unions should be asked for ideas to be taken into consideration by the working group. It was agreed that the working group would consider this proposal at its first meeting.

New Policy Commissions 

The NEC agreed to set up seven policy commissions (Co-Chaired by Shadow Cabinet members and NEC members) on the following policy areas:

  • The Economy – Building a Productive Economy, chaired by Margaret Beckett and Jennie Formby
  • International – Britain’s Security and Defence Priorities, chaired by Ken Livingstone
  • Communities – Housing Policy, chaired by Jim Kennedy
  • Health and Care – Mental Health, chaired by Keith Burch
  • Children and Education – Early Years, chaired by Mary Turner
  • Home Affairs – Crime and Policing, chaired by Ellie Reeves
  • Transport, chaired by Diana Holland

In the discussion I stressed that these commissions should have as their basis the composite motions that were carried at the Labour conference in Brighton. Also, as now, all 202 national policy forum members should be asked for their first and second preferences in relation to which policy commissions they wish to serve on. The policy commissions will begin their work very shortly and they’re will be a full meeting of the NPF in the Spring/Summer.

Review of the 2015 Annual Conference

There were 956 delegates, 509 women and 447 men. There were 671 CLP delegates representing 507 CLPs, 387 women, and 284 men. This is an increase of 60 delegates from last year. There were 261 trade union delegates representing thirteen trade unions, 110 women and 151 men. There were 24 socialist society delegates representing 19 organisations, twelve men and twelve women.

In the discussion, I pointed out that it needs to be made clear that under Partnership in Power CLPs and trade unions can send in ‘contemporary motions’ on organisation and campaigning as well as on policy. The criteria for ‘contemporary motions’ should be much more flexible. I also argued that the one-year delay which faces rule changes submitted by CLPs and unions should be dispensed with as it is totally unnecessary. I pointed out that the NEC does not look at rule changes submitted until its July meeting of the following year. I suggested that this was disrespectful to those CLPs and unions who had submitted rule changes. I proposed that the NEC should look at these rule changes much earlier.

Several NEC members raised the very contentious issue of the employment of G4S at our conference. It was felt that before G4S are invited to tender they should give the party assurances on the issues of concern. This proposal, on being put to the vote, was carried by twelve votes to four (there were several abstentions). [see recent article on this subject – Ed]

Local Government Report 

Alice Perry presented a written paper setting out the hard work our councillors are doing at a local level in the face of horrendous reductions in their budgets forced through by the Tory government. Alice also covered the “devolution deal” with George Osborne. This is a very difficult tightrope for councillors to negotiate, but efforts are being made to address the difficult issues which Osborne’s proposals create.

General Secretary’s Report

Party Finance

The party is now debt-free. The NEC heartily congratulated our staff for their splendid efforts.

Membership 

On 30th November 2014 membership was 192,707. It is now almost 400,000. Some 1,000 joined last week alone. Some 500 new members came to conference. The biggest increases were in London, North West, South East and South West. The largest increase by age were the 20-29 and 70-79 age groups. The conversion rate of registered supporters is some 30-40%. The new members have been asked what they would like from the party. The answers are to have their voices heard, to learn how to get involved, to make a difference locally and nationally, and to meet for social activities.

I pointed out that the Labour Party has more members than all the other parties in the UK put together. The Tories have about 100,000 members (closely guarded secret), with an average age of 68. I also pointed out that many elderly members are not on email and we do not want them to be treated differently than those with internet access.

Oldham West and Royston By-Election

Many NEC members had attended the service celebrating the life of Michael Meacher MP, who was a lifelong campaigner and committed socialist. Iain detailed the major campaign that is being waged to ensure Jim McMahon wins the by-election with a large majority. Many NEC members (including myself) are making the trip to Oldham to put across the party’s positive message.

Elections 2016

Next year there will be elections for the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, London Mayor and GLA, local elections (England), and police and crime commissioners. The NEC were aware that given the latest polls some of these elections are going to be more difficult than last time, especially Scotland. In the discussion I stressed that in London we should not underestimate George Galloway, who will lie low in order to lull us into a false sense of security.

Andrew Fisher

The press and media have told us that the NEC was going to be locked in combat over the issue of Andrew Fisher. In fact, this matter was not discussed. I understand that the officers’ investigation is nearing completion and that the matter will be satisfactorily resolved very shortly.

23 Comments

  1. Mervyn Hyde (@mjh0421) says:

    This 1977 document from the conservative party illustrates how they would privatise our Nationalised industries, confirmed later in Margaret Thatcher’s 1982 Cabinet papers:
    http://fc95d419f4478b3b6e5f-3f71d0fe2b653c4f00f32175760e96e7.r87.cf1.rackcdn.com/FABEA1F4BFA64CB398DFA20D8B8B6C98.pdf

    Please use it and the Cabinet papers to destroy the myth that they are doing it for the country.

  2. Robert says:

    We will see, one thing to state you would expect to have a shoot to kill at the NEC this is not what Corbyn said in the media, and he is making mistakes and then saying he is being taken out of contest. Same as pressing the button if we are attacked, we all know these question are trick ones but he has to be able to get around these .

    The problem is the Tories are not so much the issue as is labour own right wingers who are still so angry that he Corbyn beat Kendall .

    Labour has to become more clever then this, if your going to win the next election, when asked would he allow the shoot to kill, state yes of course I would under the same rules as the army uses .

    If somebody is going to blow up people and a bullet will stop them then so be it.

    The police are not known to be cleaver with shooting innocent people, and then lying through their teeth, so with good training the shoot to kill has to be allowed , and Corbyn should have said he would not allow cuts to the police or the military to ensure the safety of the country, he is missing his chances of attacking the Tories.

    Corbyn knows the game and he has to be like the Tories willing to say things he may not agree with but know it is what the people want or expect, the Tories will lie they often do to get voters on side sadly the press the button and the shoot to kill should have been dead easy. turns out it was a disaster for Corbyn.

    The bombing in Syria well I think just bombing will end up getting more people joining ISIS as we see more and more innocent people killed.

    But labour right wants to go to war we do not like not being with the USA, the French are now more or less the kiss ass lap dogs of the Americans and it’s annoying the Blair rites.

    Should we be bombing, only if we have the army on the ground to go in and wipe out the followers just bombing will do little and next ISIS will take children and women into the building we are aiming at, will the Tories be willing to kill the innocents I expect so because we do not have the media coverage in Syria we did in Iraq.

    What we cannot see will not worry us.

    1. bill says:

      Thanks for this its very helpful to know this information.

      Commenting further we have a leader and membership and NEC with one set of principles being undermined by some members of parliament. Sooner and it does need to be sooner the membership needs a party conference so that the wishes of members especially the new intake of members are expressed policies are adopted and members of parliament clear on what the latest policies are.

      I agree with a lot of the comments Robert makes on presentation.

  3. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

    “A committee is a group of people who individually can do nothing, but who, as a group, can meet and decide that nothing can be done.”

    Fred Allen

    “If you see a snake, just kill it – don’t appoint a committee on snakes.”

    Ross Perot

  4. Verity says:

    In relation to the General Secretary’s report, it would be appropriate at some stage for someone to explain when and how guidance is to be provided to CLPs on how best to relate to, and involve Supporters (who are not full members). It has been announced (quite proudly, by B. Bradshaw for example) about how his CLP has invited Supporters to meetings and they have failed to turn up or show any interest. This will no doubt be repeated time and time again to suit, but the explanation lies with the ways or the absence of the ways (in the eyes of those very Supporters) in which this is done. There is some latent resentment (as well as some sloppiness) by some members’ organisations and this is reflected in the half – hearted, distant or unrealistic attempts to involve. In addition, some (especially younger Supporters) have little engagement with the procedures of formal meetings and without some appreciation their return visit is certain not to occur. This is best addressed, rather than leaving people like Bradsahaw to choose to undermine the category of (the partially) committed when it becomes convenient for him to do so.

    1. John Walsh says:

      Verity is making a very important point here. In my CLP we are engaged in open hostilities between Corbyn supporters and a New Labour old guard (they still use a New Labour logo to head Agendas). It would be very helpful if the NEC provided guidance on involving new members and supporters. We could then simply get on with our work, instead all our time and energy is wasted by distraction tactics. New members and supporters urgently need intervention by the NEC – a statement, today, by prominent NEC members would provide immediate help.

  5. David Pavett says:

    It is good to have these report back on the meetings of the NEC.

    That said, I am taken aback by the apparent inability of the NEC to respond to the new situation in the Labour Party with anything but narrow and bureaucratic responses.

    What do we learn about in this report?

    1. Peter W thinks that Jeremy C is “totally exceptional”.
    2. An NEC Party reform working group will begin work before Christmas. (Should we not be told something about its terms of reference?)
    3. Jeremy C expressed solidarity with Parisians. (But did he really say that “maximum force” should be used in such circumstances?)
    4. He also asked the Chinese Premier to have concern for our steelworkers and asked the Indian PM to respect human rights.
    5. The viciousness of the TU bill.
    6. The problem of harmful leaks to the media and damaging use of social media.
    7. 22-page document setting out established “custom and practice”. (That sounds really boring. Why is their no link for downloading it?)
    8. Tom Watson on giving the Party back to its members. (I have written to him four times about this and received no reply or acknowledgement so I think I get the picture – business as usual.)
    9. Loads of recommendations made on Party reform. (Where do us ordinary members get the details?)
    10. Good suggestion that Shadow Cabinet policy proposals should also go to the NPF. (Was it agreed?)
    11. Peter W called for enhanced status of the NEC. (Good suggestion, what happened to it?)
    12. Seven new policy Commissions. (well sort of new.)
    13. Peter W made proposals re the Commissions. (Were these agreed?)
    14. The NPF will meet in the Spring/Summer. (Which is it?)
    15. Conference statistics – totals, men/women participation.
    16. G4 to be asked for “assurances” on “issues of concern”. (What are they? Why not dump the bastards?)
    17. Definition of “contemporary motions” needs to be more “flexible”. (How?)
    18. Local govt report on horrendous cuts and on efforts to address difficult issues. (Too vague to be of interest.)
    19. General Sec: Party now debt-free, membership doubled to nearly 400,000, new members asked what they want from the Party.
    20. Oldham West by-election: major campaign underway.
    21. 2016 elections for Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, London Mayor, GLA, local elections (England), police commissioners.
    22. Andrew Fisher issue will be satisfactorily resolved very shortly. (That sounds like it has already been resolved.)

    I confess that I found a lot of this near pointless. It is, for example, not helpful to hear about committees being set up if we don’t have their terms of reference. And why are the papers for the NEC not made available to Party members (at least after the meetings)?

    But that is not my real grouse. What get me about all this is the virtual total lack of political leadership regarding the members.

    The NEC members seem to think that its role in responding to the situation in the Party consists in setting up new committees. As for giving the political leadership needed by the Party right now there is nothing.

    The only thing which can resolve problem of the gulf that has opened up between the PLP and the Party membership is clear statements of policy from the base of the Party (branches, CLPs, affiliates). If expression comes from the base of the Party to support the policies advocated by Corbyn and McDonnell (or something close to them) then that would tranfrom their position and expose the MPs who are out of tune with the membership.

    For that the NEC should have called for, recommended, proposed (whatever) a series of debates to be held throughout the Party on key themes (this could and should have been set up in conjunction with the NPF). It should have arranged for briefing papers to be produced explaining the key alternative positions on those issue.

    Instead it spent its time setting up committees and workgroups. These may be valuable in themselves (hard to tell on the information given, but to miss out efforts to try and get the membership debating issues in some kind of coordinated way seems to me to be a massive failure of leadership.

    1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      Good post, (far better than the article,) but I can’t help feeling one somewhat wasted, (as equally are the also sound and perceptive comments above from Verity and from John Walsh,) on in the currently all but defunct state of the labour party.

      If only there was any alternative at all.

      The unexpected election of Corbyn opened a brief and desperately needed window of opportunity for labour to regain grassroots support and even some much needed moral credibility, but it’s a window that’s rapidly closing even as we speak, (“half hearted, distant or unrealistic attempts to involve,” being an exceptionally perceptive and accurate description,) as the initiative and enthusiasm that he inspired, (albeit briefly,) becomes lost in a world run increasingly by the likes of Sharon Shoesmith, Sean Wright, David Nicholson, Lord Adonis the world of pettifogging local bureaucracies, partnerships, committees and cheap back-room deals that are anything but democratic socialism.

      “O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark,
      The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant,
      The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters,
      The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers,
      Distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees,
      Industrial lords and petty contractors, all go into the dark,
      And dark the Sun and Moon, and the Almanach de Gotha
      And the Stock Exchange Gazette, the Directory of Directors,
      And cold the sense and lost the motive of action.
      And we all go with them, into the silent funeral.”

      Eliot.

      1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

        For example Jim McMahon, (who was so outspoken about the closure of a local police station and of a sub post office that no one ever really used,) is suddenly being very quiet indeed about the new NHS commissioning board effectively closing down the local pain NHS clinic, (a lifeline for many people suffering from chronic or acute pain,) and substituting it with a lay panel, (probably with a DHSS nominee present,) of mostly medically unqualified physiotherapists and psychologists, who will now assess the psychological needs of patients on basis that; if they’re not getting better, (and because there are no persistent or degenerative conditions,) they must be, malingering.

        It was in fact Labour who first introduced this crap.

    2. Bazza says:

      I agree with David re policy regular disussions/consultations.
      The NEC could outline draft ideas on a policy area every 2/3 months to be sent to constituencies.
      These should be short and simply written and used as a stimulus- response document like in education.
      Then Constituences should discuss the brief papers locally as widely as possible and send suggestions/amendments to the NEC, and those who can’t make meetings because of work/childcare/caring responsibilities or other commitments etc. could contribute on-line and deadlines for responses should be set.
      We could even set up on-line supporter e forums locally/nationally to offer an input.
      A report on each consultation should then go to conference where tabled amendments are discussed and a policy is finally agreed upon by delegates.
      Take an issue like housing – the more imaginative Constituencies may even also have more open public meetings with labour supporters/potential supporters invited.
      You could possibly cover 3/6 policy areas a year and we should start now.
      Grassroots, bottom up democracy should start now and not wait until tomorrow.
      Seize the moment!
      Yours in solidarity!

  6. John P Reid says:

    Ellie with her sister being closed to Falconer and Andy burnham may have a easy job, on crime, but what ideas has Bunham ever had on the HOME office, dealing with ECHR?

  7. peter willsman says:

    David,as you see, I have asked for ideas for party reform that can be taken to the Working Group.Instead of pontificating in your ivory tower will you please give me some concrete suggestions.I and CLPD have pages and pages of ideas, but it’s just possible we have not thought of everything.Yours in comradeship,PW.

    1. John Walsh says:

      Peter, where do we send suggestions? Here’s a couple:
      1. Will the NEC provide guidance on involving new members and supporters – practical measures that we can adopt without being harassed and distracted by the old guard. The guidance isn’t difficult to write – we know what we want to do. The point is we could hold up your ’emergency measures’ to GC delegates and get more support because we’re following NEC guidance.

      2. Relax the rules on contacting members and supporters by email – if the old guard control who can email members we’re hamstrung. Yet, we’re responsible, professional people who simply want to be able to contact members. Give Regional Office the power to allow sensible project proposals to be circulated to members (i.e. RO gives a member the power to email on a project by project basis – we have the email lists, but we can’t use them).

    2. David Pavett says:

      1. I love the comradely tone of your reply: “Instead of pontificating in your ivory tower …”.

      2. You seem not to have read my comment to the end. I proposed that

      “… the NEC should have called for a series of debates to be held throughout the Party on key themes (this could and should have been set up in conjunction with the NPF). It should have arranged for briefing papers to be produced explaining the key alternative positions on those issue.”

      Is that not a “concrete suggestion”?

      3. You haven’t answered any of the questions I raised about (a) things which are not clear in your report or (b) links to materials referred to or (c) availability of NEC papers.

    3. gerry says:

      Peter – when commenters take the time to respond to what you have reported, then it is simply unacceptable to respond to them with pathetic abuse, like you have done re David Pavett’s perfectly reasonable comments. Indeed, your response tells party members like me that you really are unfit for purpose as an NEC member. You should apologise for your sneering, but of course people like you never do…

      1. Matty says:

        So Dave’s comment that “I confess that I found a lot of this near pointless” is reasonable but “pontificating in an ivory tower” is beyond the pale. Strewth!

        1. David Pavett says:

          I will agree that I should not have used that phrase. My view of the report should have been apparent since I gave plenty of reasons. I should have let that speak for itself.

          I did however ask specific questions which have not been answered and made positive suggestions which have had not response beyond some mild abuse.

  8. peter willsman says:

    John,thanks,I’ve made a note of your points,PW.

  9. Bill says:

    Hi Guys Can we PLEASE not start antagonism amongst ourselves otherwise like a lot of other sites people will just stop commenting or debating or feel reluctant. Just saying ….

    1. John Walsh says:

      I second that Bill. David’s question about transparency is interesting, though. To take one example, PW mentions a briefing paper that Tom Watson brought to the NEC – perhaps we can’t see the actual paper, but could we have a little more detail? Also, PW wants concrete suggestions about party reform, where can we send them and could there be some kind of running order so that we’re not repeating each others suggestions?

  10. peter willsman says:

    John,as I have said,I have noted your concrete suggestion and will progress it.If you also want to send it in, it should go to the Gen.Sec.
    David,sorry but you are talking about process,the Working Group will soon meet and start looking at concrete proposals for reform.The NEC has moved on from process.No doubt things could always be handled better and what you say is OK,but we are where we are.I do not accept that ‘ivory tower’is an insult.To me it describes people who do not relate to the world as it is,but relate to a more perfect world that does not exist.So David can you please give me some concrete proposals that I can consider for advancing at the WG.I have dozens of ideas of my own,but I want to hear from thoughtful comrades like John and hopefully yourself.
    Yours in comradeship,PW.

    1. David Pavett says:

      Peter, thanks for the response.
      You suggest that it is not helpful to talk about process because “the Working Group will soon meet and start looking at proposals for reform”. I don’t see why the latter is a reason for not doing the former. Also my proposals were aimed at moving us from where we are to a more open form of Party politics. So I don’t the force of saying “we are where we are”. My suggestions are as follows.

      (1) NEC papers should be made availabe to members.
      In fact all NEC materials (except confidential materials), agendas, minutes, papers should be accessible.
      (2) The terms of reference for any groups set up should be made clear (this should be solved by point 1).
      (3) The NEC should agree a protocol for elected members (from MPs to councillors) to respond to queries, comments and criticisms from ordinary members.
      My experience is that it is still business as usual. I have written four time with proposals on Labour’s Internet presence to Tom Watson. No reply, no acknowledgement. If the Party is truly to be given back to the members this must change. I suggest that all reasonable communications should be responded to within 10 working days and that where this not possible or where there is no intention to respond a brief reply stating the reason for that should be sent.
      (4) NEC reports like yours are helpful but need to focus more on the specifics of key political issues e.g. on the main points of the report on local govt cuts.
      (5) It is not helpful to be told what you, or anyone else, proposed without knowing what happened to those proposals (were they agreed, did they go down like a lead balloon?).
      (6) Irrespective of Party reforms the NEC should be promoting Party-wide discussions on key contentious issues within the PLP. This is a matter of extreme urgency. Whether this is done by direct appeal to the units/members of the Party and/or through the NPF I don’t know but it has to be done if we want to rescue Corbyn and McDonnell from their outrageously embattled position in the PLP and even in the Shadow Cabinet.
      Many of us are trying to contrubute to this at local level but we need a national steer. So far this is not apparent. Jeremy Corbyn has appealed directly to the members over Syria and he was right to do so but we still have to push such things through all the formal channels. To repeat, we need a National lead on this and this should come from the NEC. Will you or some other NEC member put a motion on this with clear written supporting arguments (that will be made available to the rest if us)?

      We have a leader supported by the majority of members but who is constantly undermined by hus MPs. The duty of the NEC is surely to find ways if enabling Party members to make very clear what they want from their elected representatives.

  11. peter willsman says:

    Thank you David,you have included some concrete proposals in your reply and I will seek to progress them.All of the proposals I (and other NEC members) make are taken on board by our officers.If they are not sufficiently taken on board I come back to them at an appropriate time, until we reach an accomadation with which I am satisfied.I have served on all 4 national cmttees since 1981.I can assure you David that I am even more persistant than you.Yours in comradeship,PW.
    PS.The AF case has now been satisfactorily resolved.

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