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

Alice Perry and Jim McMahon’s report from Labour’s July executive

NEC ReportLocal government representatives on Labour’s National Executive Committee, Alice Perry and Jim McMahon, report on the National Executive Committee meeting on July 21st.

Acting Leader’s report and general discussions

Acting Leader Harriet Harman’s report sparked a lively debate on a number of issues including welfare reform, Syria, the leadership contest and the importance of party unity and collective responsibility. Harriet Harman explained that to avoid pre-empting the new Leader and the new policies they may want to adopt, her approach has been to continue with the policies in Labour’s 2015 election manifesto and as outlined in the Your Britain policy documents. It was Harriet Harman’s last NEC meeting and she received heartfelt thanks for all that she has done for the Labour party and for the country, including her work on equality, social justice, human rights and international development. Continue reading

NEC elections: nominations show a shift to the left

NEC electionsThe close of nominations for candidates for election to Labour’s national executive revealed that the Left has improved its position compared with two years ago, although fewer nominations were received – 1377 altogether from 288 constituency parties (CLPs) compared with 2105 from 431 CLPs in 2012.  Overall, candidates backed by the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance (CLGA) again received an absolute majority — 54% of nominations, 1% up, whilst independent candidates received 14%, up 3%.

However, unlike in 2012 when there was a single right-wing slate of six candidates, this time there were two partial slates with only 5 candidates altogether (Progress backed only its own two candidates, whilst Labour First backed its own three, the Progress two and independent Johanna Baxter. The Labour First preferred combination (it remains unclear whether this will now be agreed by the Blairite purists at Progress) was backed by only 8 CLPs whilst 37 supported all six left candidates. However, this situation means it is fairer to look at individual candidates nominations as a proportion of those CLPs making nominations. Continue reading

In defence of slates

Labour Internal ElectionsIt’s spring of an even year, and time therefore for an excess of self-promotion on social media. Why on earth, I hear you cry. Because in a few months time ballot papers will hit the doormats of two hundred thousand Labour members, for that most glamorous of glamorous elections: for members’ reps on Labour’s national executive committee (NEC).

These elections have, since they were reformed in the late 1990s, been fought out between two slates of candidates. On one side, the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance: a loose coalition of left groupings which has most recently included the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD), the Labour Democratic Network and the Labour Representation Committee (LRC). On the other, a slate of figures from the party’s right has been put forward by the shadowy Labour First grouping. In recent years this slate has been promoted jointly with the Blairite group Progress. This year the agreement appears to have disintegrated somewhat: Continue reading

Centre Left candidates for Labour’s executive launch their campaign

CLGA Slate 2014 with slogan half width
Six candidates backed by the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance today launched their campaign to be elected to Labour’s national executive committee as constituency party representatives. Constituency parties have until 20 June to make up to six nominations.

All six stood at the last elections in 2012, and between them received 47% of the votes of individual party members, compared with 33% for the right-wing Progress/Labour First slate and 20% for other candidates. The  six centre-left candidates include the three who were elected last time — Ken Livingstone, Ann Black and Christine Shawcroft — who took thee of the top four places and the other three — Kate Osamor, Peter Willsman and Darren Williams — were amongst the top four runners up with Kate Osamor only 123 votes from victory. Continue reading