Panic in the Grassroots Alliance
Judging from the coverage generated in the ever unreliable Tribune, the "Centre Left Grassroots Alliance" (sic) are panicking about the Labour NEC elections having realised that the moderate wing of the party have upped their game organisationally and that without Mark Seddon they are bereft of one of their highest profile vote-winners - Walter Wolfgang is hardly a credible replacement.
So they are resorting to what they normally do which is to chuck a bit of mud around in the hope that some of it sticks. Hence this silly little article in Trib:
"LABOUR PARTY officials have been accused of directly intervening inthis year's elections for the constituency section of the National Executive Committee, throwing the process open to potential legal challenges. Last week some MPs and MEPs sympathetic to the party's leadership began contacting local members, advising them to vote for:Azhar Ali, Louise Baldock, Lorna Fitzsimons, Ellie Reeves, Bill Thomas and Peter Wheeler. The six candidates have been selected as the "leadership slate" by the party hierachy. Tribune has seen several copies of letters sent out by MPs and MEPs all of which are virtually identical. Tribune has also received the original template, which tells MPs where they should sign their name. A researcher for one of the parliamentarians who distributed the letter to local members, admitted that they had been asked to send them out by the party's regional office. The researcher understood that regional officials were acting on instructions from the party's headquarters. It is entirely against the party's rules for party officials to seek to influence internal elections. The rule was introduced after Alicia Kennedy - who has since been made assistant general secretary - was caught campaigning for an NEC candidate by email. To increase the embarrassment Ms Baldock who is a already a member of the NEC, has confirmed that no one asked her to be part of the slate and she had hoped to stand independently The leadership slate has been created to counter the Left-wing Grassroots Alliance, who currently hold four ofthe six constituency seats. Their sitting members are: Mohammed Azam, Ann Black, Christine Shawcroft and Pete Willsman. The remaining two grassroots candidates are: Gaye Johnstone secretary of Save the Labour Party and veteran peace activist Walter Wolfgang who was last year violently ejected from party conference. Russell Cartwright, assistant secretary of the Grassroots Alliance, said: "This is unwarranted interference in the democratic process. The general secretary should now take immediate action to stamp out this malpractice. A Labour Party spokesperson, said: "The NEC election is a free and fair ballot of Labour Party members. If anything has occurred which is not in the code of conduct the party will take action."
As usual, the Party's civil servants who can't answer back are smeared.
The premise behind the whole thing is ridiculous - that there is something wrong with MPs and MEPs expressing a view to the members who selected them about who to support in an internal party election. What scoundrels and rascals! Next thing they may be expressing support for the Prime Minister ... or the policies in the Party Manifesto.
As the office a certain Campaign Group MP not a million miles from the London Borough of Hackney has merrily emailed me the CV of one of the Grassroots Alliance slate - perhaps not the best use of their time given my well known open mind on such matters - it does seem there is one rule for the SCG's brave tribunes of the people - whose motives in promoting their favoured NEC candidates are of course pure and noble - and another for MPs who actually want the party to win the next election.
Anyway, I failed to vote for the full "leadership slate" as outlined in Trib as this was the first I'd ever heard of it. Does it even exist or is it a figment of an increasingly desperate and paranoid left's imagination? Will my meteoric rise through the ranks to deputy chief leafletting monitor be thwarted by Victoria Street enforcers now they know I voted for Philomena Muggins not Louise Baldock? Did Louise want my vote as she doesn't like slates? Does anyone other than Tribune's miniscule readership care?