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Vote for the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance for Labour’s National Executive Committee

CLGA

Ballots have been sent out this week for the Labour Party National Executive Committee elections. The party’s ruling body has taken on increased significance since the vote to allow Jeremy Corbyn on the ballot. It’s importance cannot be understated, given it has this week:

– Ruled out over 20% of the membership from their right to take part in a leadership election, directly contravening the terms of membership and also basic democratic rights.
– Prohibited many young, working class and impoverished Labour supporters from taking part in the leadership contest, by imposing an artificially high £25 fee for registering as a supporter.
– Denied thousands of trade unionists a chance to vote in the leadership election by imposing a freeze date on their affiliate status.

Given the importance of the elections, Left Futures are supporting the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance slate of:

– Ann Black
– Pete Willsman
– Christine Shawcroft
– Darren Williams
– Rhea Wolfson
– Claudia Webbe

Information about these candidates can be found at the foot of this article.

Ballots should arrive at members’ addresses however you can also choose to vote online.

The opposing slate has been organised by Labour First, the main voice of anti-Corbyn and anti-left activists on the party’s hard right. Their two current CLP reps voted against Jeremy Corbyn

The slate is coordinated by Luke Akehurst, who is also a candidate. Akehurst has been one of the principle organisers against Jeremy Corbyn, and you can find a full review of his opinions here, which include, that party staff should fix for the right:

The draft code of conduct stops Labour staff doing their job. They should not be neutral referees. They should be able to promote the candidates and policies of the elected leadership of the party against their internal critics. Back in Morgan Phillips’day as General Secretary or Herbert Morrison’s as London Regional Secretary there was none of this nonsense about neutrality, the party staff explicitly had a role in giving the left a kicking. Ah, the good old days!

Or that the war in Iraq was a good thing:

My hunch is history will say Rumsfeld made all of us a lot safer by destroying the Taliban/al-Qaeda base in Afghanistan and removing Saddam from power so he wasn’t around to refresh his WMD arsenal and marry it with N Korean missile technology. There are a lot of Afghans and Iraqis (particularly Kurds and Shiites) who have a lot to thank him for.

The battle for the NEC is crucial to the party’s future. Make sure you cast your vote and encourage others to do the same.

Information about the CLGA candidates can be found here:

VOTE for centre left grassroots NEC

Vote CLGA 2016 p2

Vote CLGA 2016 p1

28 Comments

  1. Ric Euteneuer says:

    Done ! Which probably means that by posting here that I did, that a way will be found to discount my leadership vote in September…

    1. Faerieson says:

      About to do the same. Perhaps, in future, the PLP will manage to manipulate the party so as to forgo the inconvenience of voting altogether. Not entirely convinced by Ann Black’s recent activities.

  2. John P Reid says:

    4 of the above are already on the NEC, Kate Osamor and Ken Livungstone your two other choices from 2014 gave left,for different reasons, can’t see how you can criticise others for the anarchy,when you’re mainly on it

    1. Matty says:

      Kate Osamor left because she became a Labour MP – hardly anarchy! At least your writing seems to have improved though – I have actually understood a couple of your last posts.

      1. John P Reid says:

        It was called anarchy in the article
        As for the labour first slate I consists of 2 others Elkie Reeves Jon Cryers wife and Peter wheeler who helped rebbeca long Bailey get in ,hardly a right winger,

        1. Matty says:

          You must be reading a different article – there is no mention of anarchy anywhere. Any idea how Ellie and Peter voted at the NEC last week?

  3. John Penney says:

    We have been assured, by her inclusion on the Left Slate, that Ann Black is solidly, unconditionally, pro Corbyn , and therefore firmly “on the Left”. So why does she appear to have, stayed behind to participate in the NEC double-dealing this week, and fully supported all the recent undemocratic NEC manoeuvrings to restrict voting rights and stop branches meeting, and the bogus “intimidation” narrative used to justify it ?

    1. James Martin says:

      I agree, if there were NEC members who were present at that unprecedented undemocratic stitch up and attack on both new members and CLP’s then they should be shouting about what happened from the rooftops, exposing the named individuals who have done this and said what they did to try and stop it. Instead we get silence which adds to the secrecy which in turn aids the right-wing PLP/NEC coup against the Party membership. Ann Black has posted on this site in the recent past, both in terms of NEC reports and comments in the discussion sections – where is she, and the other NEC members from the left now, and why are they so completely invisible?

      1. John Penney says:

        Another triumph for the “smokey back rooms” way Left Slate recommended candidates emerge ! Comrades, Ann Black’s Left Slate status is a scandal of misrepresentation – equal only to Angela Eagle being the Left recommendation for Deputy Leader last year !

        It is well worth a read of Ann Black’s own account of the NEC meeting and her role in it , which is available online. In it she entirely bought the Right’s narrative of “far Left intimidation” and wholeheartedly agreed, and voted for the imposition of the scandalous ban on branch meetings, voted for a massive hike in the supporters fee , (though wanted it to be “only £12” !), and for there only to be a two day window for supporter applicants.

        And she supports the Rights entirely bogus claim that the rules are “completely ambiguous” on the right of the Leader automatically to be on the ballot ! Which they definitely are NOT . The post 2007 Constitution is quite clear. She voted AGAINST the pro Corbyn, barrister , Michael Mansfield explaining this basic fact to the NEC !

        This supposed “Left candidate” was entirely hand in glove with the sneeky manoeuvre by the NEC after Jeremy left the room to gerrymander the electorate to the advantage of the Right !

        This is a Left Slate candidate we have been recommended to vote for ! And I actually voted for this person – who we can be quite sure will NOT be a guaranteed supporter of Jeremy in the future conflicts ahead !

        1. John Penney says:

          Sorry , Ann Black did actually vote for the Supporter fee to be £25 !

          See my reproduction below of her NEC report for more shocking stuff .

          1. Matty says:

            The main thing is that Ann voted for Jeremy’s inclusion on the ballot (unlike 14 others on the NEC). The CLGA stands for Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance and it’s no secret that Ann is not hard left.

          2. John Penney says:

            No, Matty, the ” main thing isn’t” that Ann Black, very grudgingly voted for Jeremy to be on the ballot (having gone along with the Right narrative lie that there was any doubt at all that this was so automatically from the 2007 Labour Party rules onwards). That is utter complacency on your part.

            The fact is she repeats every canard of the Right throughout her self-justifying account, and votes FOR the suspension of Labour branch and CLP democracy !

            The “POINT” , Matty, is that we in Momentum have been recommended to vote for Ann Black on the basis that we could be assured she is a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. She is clearly not, not in any consistent way, and not only is she clearly not “hard ” Left, it is difficult to see how she is actually on “the Left” at all.

            Momentum’s leadership have “sold us a pup” by , without any consultation, doing backroom deals with their long time broad Leftish mates to recommend a slate that we can now have little confidence in. That is the “point”, Matty.

  4. Ben says:

    Does it really matter who is on the new NEC now the current NEC have fixed the rules of the election to be firmly against Jeremy Corbyn or any other left candidate?

    It wouldn’t be so bad if the other choices on offer, Eagle and Smith, weren’t so damn uninspiring.

  5. Ben says:

    Sorry, forgot to mention that those well off enough to splash out £25 can still have a say…. so it is just new members, the unemployed, disabled and pensioners they want to stop having a voice.

  6. John Penney says:

    I attach Ann Black’s own statement on her role in the NEC meeting. I leave it to comrades to make up their own minds on her role.

    NEC Update, 15 July 2016

    NEC Update, 15 July 2016

    First, I’d like to thank everyone for your personal support at a difficult time, it has kept me more or less sane. That and staying off Twitter and Facebook.

    Second, I deeply regret the abrupt cancellation of all local party meetings. The reasons relate to threats and intimidation of fellow-members, councillors and MPs at a number of recent meetings, and a growing climate of hostility on social media. As I wrote a few days ago, most discussions were taking place in a comradely atmosphere despite strong and conflicting views, and it’s unfortunate that all of us have suffered. NEC members are not exempt. My local party has had to cancel an all-member meeting at a cost of £270, a new members’ social event and a women’s tea party. At Tuesday’s NEC meeting I was one of only two members to query the sweeping nature of the ban. I got exemption for September meetings to discuss conference business, and have asked about candidate selections for next May. At yesterday’s procedures committee meeting I conveyed your messages forcefully, and a full explanation is on its way.

    Third, thanks for all the messages before Tuesday’s NEC. I received hundreds of individual responses followed by many more from organised campaigns, and did my best to represent the former in particular. I still have 800 messages in my inbox – I’m reading them but cannot realistically reply to every one.

    Below is a report from the meeting. You’ll have heard that it lasted seven hours, and many accounts are already online. We seem powerless to prevent proceedings leaking in real time, and Pete Willsman’s proposal that all phones should be confiscated caused panic among those who need connectivity as much as oxygen and water. Below are the main areas covered, the votes, where I stood, and why.

    National Executive Committee, 12 July 2016

    At the start we stood in silence to remember Jo Cox, with the Chair Paddy Lillis reminding us that MPs perform an honourable public service, before returning to business as usual.

    We then considered a request from Andy Burnham and Debbie Abrahams to address the NEC on behalf of most of the shadow cabinet. They proposed seeking an independent mediator to try to avoid a damaging contest and asked the NEC to postpone decisions for 48 hours until they reported back. All of us hated this situation, but there was pessimism about whether any avenues remained unexplored, questions about why the shadow cabinet had waited till after a challenge, and concerns about indefinite drift. Thirty-two of the 33 NEC members were present, coming in on crutches, returning from holidays, taking time off work, and could not simply come back again on Thursday. The NEC eventually agreed to hear Andy and Debbie, who argued that far more time should be allowed for discussion. To give peace one last chance I proposed agreeing the papers before us, but delaying the start by 48 hours. If there was an eleventh-hour solution we could happily drop the whole process.

    Safeguarding Issues

    Before voting, the NEC discussed whether to hold secret ballots. Some argued that transparency was paramount. However members felt vulnerable, with personal details posted online, obscene and offensive messages, rape threats, death threats. The general secretary Iain McNicol faced legal intimidation for, among other things, planning to “impose” secret ballots. We know, now, that words have consequences, and those of us elected by party members or the public – councillors, constituency representatives, MPs – are in the front line. On a show of hands, secret ballots were agreed 17-15. I voted in favour, allowing each of us to account to our constituents in our own way. The close vote left some feeling that those who condemn abuse and intimidation had declined the opportunity to support their words with actions. My proposal to agree the process but delay the start for 48 hours was then carried by 20 votes to 12.

    The next question was whether Jeremy Corbyn should be present. As leader he is a member of the NEC, but on all previous occasions, including Angela Eagle last year, NEC members standing for a position have absented themselves. The code of conduct states that aspiring candidates cannot attend any discussions that deal with election business. Some demurred because we hadn’t yet agreed the code, though it was identical with last year’s. Jeremy Corbyn addressed the meeting and withdrew, for the time being.

    NEC members then expressed dissatisfaction about lack of notice of the meeting, and hearing about it in the media first. However the NEC could not discuss procedures for a leadership election until one had been triggered, and then had to move quickly. As soon as Angela Eagle announced that she would declare on Monday, Tuesday was obvious to anyone not buried under the duvet since 23 June, which began to seem an increasingly attractive place to be. And we had all, actually, got to the meeting.

    Round One

    After three hours we moved onto the agenda, with the first decision as to whether Jeremy Corbyn as the incumbent would automatically be on the ballot. We heard from James Goudie QC who said he would need to be nominated by 20% of MPs and MEPs, the same as challengers, and had copies of conflicting legal advice which said he wouldn’t. The rulebook is frankly a mess. There are anomalies: because candidates only need nominations from 15% of MPs / MEPs where there is a vacancy, Jeremy Corbyn would face a lower threshold if he resigned and stood again than if he stayed put, which seemed silly. Others said the rulebook never envisaged a situation where a leader did not have the confidence of 20% of his colleagues. My feedback seemed typical in splitting 50 / 50, with some members saying that regardless of their personal preference the winner would not be seen as legitimate if Jeremy Corbyn was excluded.

    The discussion was lengthy and wide-ranging. There were calls for Michael Mansfield to address the NEC, but a vote to hear from more lawyers was lost 13 – 19. I voted against, as I doubted whether any minds would be changed by further representations. Some NEC members then proposed letting Jeremy Corbyn back in for the vote. This was carried 16-15. I voted against, because of precedent and because of concerns about legitimacy if he only got on the ballot through his own vote. This was in fact not necessary as the meeting voted 18-14 that he should automatically be on the ballot. I voted with the majority, as promised: doing otherwise would be seen, rightly, as a stitch-up, and he could probably have gained the 51 nominations anyway. And this decision now frees MPs to nominate according to conscience.

    Nuts and Bolts

    Jeremy Corbyn then left again, as we moved on to details of the process. I had asked members about eligibility to vote. There was near-unanimous opposition to last year’s £3 registered supporters, with full members feeling devalued and doubting supporters’ commitment to Labour. Many wanted the scheme scrapped entirely and I would have preferred to do this upfront, but as it is in the rulebook there had to be some minimal allowance. I voted, in line with your views, against extending the two day registration period to seven days, which was lost by 16 votes to 10. The draft proposal was for the one-off fee to be set at £12, and alternatives suggested were £10, £15, £20, £25 and slightly facetiously £500. The meeting voted 15-12 for £25 and I voted in favour, again consistent with what you told me.

    I had also asked whether there should be a qualifying period for members. Most people who responded said Yes, with six months the most popular option, in line with choosing candidates at other levels. This was the proposal in the draft paper. However I proposed a more generous cut-off date of 24 June 2016, in line with the NEC ballot and giving a say to members who joined to help in local and mayoral campaigns and in the referendum. Sadly the vote was 14-14 so this was not carried and the 12 January 2016 date went through. I’ve had complaints since the meeting, and would make two points. First, if there was no qualifying period then any ballot would have to be delayed for months to allow CLPs to check the new members. Second, people join to support Labour’s aims and values and to campaign to elect Labour representatives to government. Many of us have stuck with the party under different leaders through continuing commitment to those general principles, not to any individual.

    Equal Treatment

    The six month period applies equally to affiliated trade unions and socialist societies, where members at 12 January 2016 have until 8 August to sign up as affiliated supporters. This has caused problems for some affiliates. Scientists for Labour have suspended applications until after the leadership contest, when they will process anyone who really wants to join: “Scientists for Labour is a Labour-supporting science policy group, not a fast-track for non-members to dictate who will lead the party.” Meanwhile media reports say that in one day 3,000 people with no previous interest in trade unions had paid £2 to join Unite Community in the hope of gaining preference over members, which is clearly not what the NEC decided.

    Local parties will still have to check registered supporters for political opponents, though there should be far fewer than last time. CLPs are normally allowed eight weeks to challenge any membership application. Because of the huge numbers joining since 23 June, and the fact that none of them will be able to vote in the leadership election, I have argued successfully for CLPs to be given until late October to consider them.

    Finally I appreciate that there are strong and differing views on much of this. Like other NEC members I am struggling to do the best for Labour in difficult times and hope that disagreements can be expressed courteously, according to the new, kinder, gentler politics espoused by our leader Jeremy Corbyn.

    Ann Black, 88 Howard Street, Oxford OX4 3BE, 07956-637958, annblack50@btinternet.com. Previous reports are at http://www.annblack.co.uk

    1. James Martin says:

      “Second, I deeply regret the abrupt cancellation of all local party meetings. The reasons relate to threats and intimidation of fellow-members, councillors and MPs at a number of recent meetings, and a growing climate of hostility on social media.”

      I’m sorry, but this is simply outrageous – the ban on meetings has nothing to do with alleged ‘intimidation’ of which I have seen no evidence at all, but everything to do with attacking the membership and stopping us mobilising against the coup. Look at Brighton & Hove CLP, now suspended after nameless allegations of ‘intimidation’ at their AGM that those who were there (and there were huge numbers) say are nonsense. Look at the homophobic allegations thrown at Wallasey CLP members that appear to be utterly groundless and a disgusting slur. By voting for a ban on meetings Ann Black has failed to stand up for democracy in the Party, and yet she again appears as if by magic (because no one knows or tells how else these back room deals are done) on the ‘left’ slate. Even after being in the Party for more than 30 years these things still baffle me. I will vote for you again this year Ann, but I really hope I don’t have to again in the future.

      1. Tim Wilkinson says:

        Agree. Deeply unimpressive.

        Also, re: “Second, people join to support Labour’s aims and values and to campaign to elect Labour representatives to government. Many of us have stuck with the party under different leaders through continuing commitment to those general principles, not to any individual.”

        This is an entirely specious argument, since as we know the advent of ‘New Labour’ as embodied in Blair’s presidential-style pleadership entirely altered (specifically, subverted and corrupted) the character of the party, while the Corbyn leadership is reversing that change.

        Therefore the question of the leadership cannot be separated from that of aims, values and principles: in fact, the leadership is the vehicle for reclaiming and defending basic Labour values.

  7. Pam Hall says:

    Of course violence and threats are unacceptable, however before democracy and the chance to vote, leaders of countries were chosen on the battlefield and unfortunately if the right to vote is withheld, violence and threats, though wrong, are more likely to occur, in my opinion anyway. As for stopping meetings after threats, it seems rather odd to me because Jo C’s murder didn’t result in surgeries being shut. Quite rightly too. Doctors nurses and teachers ambulance staff and many others are often threatened, occasionally killed, and also have to deal with it. Hopefully in JCs fairer society there will be less violence fear and preassure, oh and no nukes either!

  8. Historyintime says:

    In any close situation you can generally rely on one or two left members to defect!

    1. James Martin says:

      I wouldn’t call Ann Black’s unacceptable actions a defection, it comes across more like a complete lack of understanding of what is going on. Tellingly the coup is not mentioned once, and yet how does she think things got to that particularly crisis NEC meeting to attempt to keep Jeremy off the ballot to begin with if not via the coup attempt?

      Then she goes along with the intimidation slurs (this is different from social media/net nutter issues where like at the time of the Syria bombing vote I suspect most of the abuse – and all of the death threats – comes from outside the Labour Party entirely), and so agrees with the unacceptable proposals for secret ballots for our representatives: “The general secretary Iain McNicol faced legal intimidation for, among other things, planning to “impose” secret ballots… I voted in favour, allowing each of us to account to our constituents in our own way. The close vote left some feeling that those who condemn abuse and intimidation had declined the opportunity to support their words with actions.” Of course this chimes with the disgusting actions of Progress-tendency/Me First NEC slate candidate (and longstanding CWU activist) Johanna Baxter the following day where over the course of 4 or 5 hours she put on the same tearful act (without any actual tears) about the ‘intimidation’ she had got which turned out to be normal email lobbying (undermined in her case by her call for views before the vote) and the legal advice. This farce was then brought to a head when she was backed by C4’s Cathy Newman (no stranger to making up stories as her previous lies and slurs about her treatment at her local mosque showed) who revealed that the ‘intimidation’ included a ‘senior journalist’ who turned out to be Owen Jones, Jones then released his actual email claimed by Baxter to be ‘intimidation’ sent to all NEC members prior to the vote and it was if anything far too polite.

      That Ann Black doesn’t appear to understand why secret votes are unacceptable in the labour movement by representatives of members, that she doesn’t even seem to understand the misleading narrative being spun by the PLP coup plotters and their NEC supporters about ‘intimidation’ that is then used to directly attack internal democracy and accountability is worrying, particularly when she is again on the left slate that we are told is essential to stop the very abuses she (and who else?) has only just willingly gone along with!

      1. John Penney says:

        All very good, true, points, James.

        This Ann Black on our Left Slate farce , following on from the earlier backing by the Left of Angela Eagle for Deputy Leader (there was then no Left candidate at all so I can see the problem in that contest ), highlights vividly the profound problem on the Labour Left of a tiny group of old stagers still trying to restrict decision making to themselves – as if hundreds of thousands of new Left oriented members hadn’t now joined the Party.

        This is also the reason Momentum is still a shadow of the democratic mass movement it needs to be. The Momentum Centre are so afraid of sharing their 200,000 strong supporter database that they still won’t release these to local organisers !

        I don’t think Ann Black is naïve – I think she is simply utterly complicit with the maintenance of the Labour neoliberal status quo. All that it took for her to get on the Left Slate was a couple of glib articles on Left Futures, a few kind words to the Left Labour in-crowd – and now she simply ignores us and helps stitch up Jeremy at the first opportunity !

        1. John P Reid says:

          Since 1992 When Bernie Grant tried to stand as deputy but didn’t get the nominations has there been a left choice for deputy, did no one stand think they could get the nominations in 1994 2007?

  9. John P Reid says:

    Ex SWP shouldn’t be allowed to join labour, same way ex BNP aren’t allowed to join ukip

    1. James Martin says:

      What about ex-Communist Party members John? You know, like Peter Mandelson, John Reed, Alan Johnson etc. Then there are ex-Tory party members (people like Shaun Woodward and his butler), would they be on your McCarthy banned list too?

      1. john Reid says:

        sorry I was being sarcastic should have put a little smiley

  10. Sacha Ismail says:

    Hi John Penney,

    There are many criticisms to be made of democracy in Momentum, and when the leadership election is over it will be necessary to talk a lot more about this. (Though of course it is still far more democratic than any organisation of the Labour right.) However, I believe the local data has now been released? I haven’t checked if our Lewisham group has had it, but a comrade in Manchester who is a critic of how Momentum is run generally told me that the Manchester group has had theirs…

    Sacha Ismail

    1. John Penney says:

      Hi, Sacha.

      Interesting news on release of local supporter info. I’ll enquire again about North Shropshire (of course in these rural boondocks there may not be any other than the circle of Labour Party people I already know .) I had a Momentum meeting last week on an all Shropshire basis in Shrewsbury , quite a few people there, but they hadn’t heard of any release of Supporter data from Momentum Central either.

      I of course agree that sometimes we have to “do deals” on the Left to tactically support people that are not full allies. Which Ann Black, to put it mildly, has certainly proved not to be at the last NEC. But as you say, this should be the outcome of democratic discussion – not backroom deals between a narrow clique.

  11. Sacha Ismail says:

    As for the NEC, I think will have to be a discussion in Momentum about the position it takes on the “CGLA” slate in future. It’s not out of question, it seems to me, to have an alliance with people you are very critical of, but this needs to be DISCUSSED.

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