For the McDonnell amendment

It’s getting to the time of year that Constituency Labour Parties are selecting their delegates for party conference. This time both the right and left of the party are scrambling members for the monthly meeting because there’s something substantial on the table for when we meet in Brighton in September: the McDonnell Amendment. For readers not au fait with party jargon, this rule change for how the party selects its leader is very important. To qualify for a place on the ballot paper for a leadership contest, a candidate must now acquire the nominations of at least 15% of the parliamentary and European parliamentary party. Under the shadow chancellor’s proposals, this would be reduced to five per cent. The right have set their face against, while the left are mobilising for it. In this case, the left are right and the right are wrong. Indeed, I would go so far to say that the party as a whole – all of its wings – would benefit if the amendment passes. Continue reading

Deciding on a coalition: should Labour follow Attlee or MacDonald?

Miliband & Salmond at No10Labour has had two experiences of formal coalition.

In the first, its leader chose not to consult the party which was very divided about his austerity programme, and chose to go into coalition with the Tories and Liberals. This split the party which didn’t form a majority government for 14 years.

In the second, the leader put it to a vote at Labour’s executive (carried 17-1) and two days later moved an emergency motion to the same effect at Labour’s conference in Bournemouth (carried 2,413,000 to 170,000). He went into coalition with the Tories and Liberals but kept the party remarkably united, and won the next election with a massive majority on a bold programme which had very broad consent in the party.

So what shall we do next time? Continue reading

Let’s hear it for insincerity!

Looking forward to welcoming you back to conferenceI have just received another of those marketing emails from Labour:

Hi David,

I’m thrilled to invite you to our annual conference, taking place in Manchester from Sunday 21 to Wednesday 24 September.

As a long-term member, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your ongoing support for Labour. Conference this year is our last before the election, so it’s a great one to come along to if you haven’t been before.

As ever, it will be an exciting chance to meet up with fellow supporters and we’ll be talking about how we can best shape our vision for a better Britain. Register now for this year’s conference — having you there would mean so much to us.

We all have one thing in common: a desire to rebuild that vital link between the wealth of our nation as a whole and the finances of Britain’s working families. So let’s get our heads together at conference to make this happen in 2015.

Reserve your conference place now: with the general election less than a year away, we need your input to ensure we elect a Labour government.

I truly hope you’ll be joining me to make this our most successful conference yet.

Looking forward to seeing you there,


Continue reading

Bogus consultation and stage management. So much for transparency

Special conferenceIn the furore over Collins, there have been three main areas of concern. There is concern over the actual proposals and their implications – those have been addressed on this site by Jon Lansman. I would like to address the second and third of these areas of concern – the way the proposals are being railroaded through the special conference, and what the future will be for the trade unions, as organisations, within our party.

The review started with a “consultation” conducted by Ray Collins, the results of which have never been published. From Ann Black’s forensic examination of the responses, it is obvious that a large majority opposed the idea of the primaries. Continue reading

Was your constituency vote cast at conference without interference? Check the record

CAC Ballot boxReaders will be aware from previous reports that there is serious concern about the validity of the result of internal party elections held at this year’s Labour conference in Brighton. In the closest fought election for the party conference arrangements committee for many years, two opposition whips were declared elected as representatives of constituency party members following complaints about interference by party staff who are required by their code of conduct to remain impartial.

Delegates have now come forward from six of the party’s eleven regions (now including London which is the largest) reporting that they were advised to vote for the two whips. Fortunately a record of how votes were cast on behalf of each constituency is now available which can be downloaded here. Continue reading