A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Akehurst on tour part 2

Last night saw me go to Greenwich & Woolwich CLP to debate Trident replacement against Kate Hudson, national Chair of CND.

As the CLP Chair will be reading this, I'll take the opportunity to thank them for being a polite and very well-informed audience. There were a lot of very experienced activists in the room who could cite memories not just of the '80s (when both the then Greenwich & Woolwich constituencies fell to the SDP) but of the start of CND in the '50s. In the audience was David Gardner, the man whose number crunching in Walworth Road helped Labour come out of the early '90s parliamentary boundary review some 20 seats better off than was expected.

As with my debate on the same subject with Walter Wolfgang at Harrow West, no vote was taken, but I think the majority in the room took the opposite view to me.

What did come across was that there are a lot of people out there in the party with intelligent contributions to make to policy debate and a lack of opportunities to contribute - NEC and NPF please note and start thinking about how to involve CLPs more in policy-making.

It was one of those good debates where you come away with respect for the integrity and thoughtfulness of the position taken by your opponent - and as Kate Hudson is a Hackney resident I got a lift back north of the river (on condition that I agreed not to talk about Trident all the way home).

Historical footnote: Greenwich & Woolwich was the first CLP in the Labour Party to have a ward structure (to fight the 1906 election) and the first to have individual members as opposed to just union, ILP and Fabian affiliated branches - so you could say it is the birthplace of the current organisational model of the Labour Party.

15 Comments:

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Hi Luke

Given the great respect you are developing on these outings for grass roots Labour organisations and the intelligent debate which can be had among the comrades/colleagues who make up the party can you please explain why it is that party managers herd delegates to vote for Union resolutions in the conference ballot?

Thereby preventing debate on the likes of Trident, Iraq, Civil Liberties Erosion and the rest?

Party managers - elected and salaried - should be ashamed of themselves don't you think?

Best wishes

Chris P

11:54 am, February 02, 2007

 
Blogger Adele said...

Chris, surely delegates know that you don't vote for the union resolutions cos they all get debated anyway.

12:00 pm, February 02, 2007

 
Anonymous susan calder valley CLP said...

no, they don't. I have spent many hours outside waving Campaign For Labour Party democracy leaflets explaining that. Delegates are also often told to vote for union issues by regional staff at briefing meetings before priorities ballot on Sunday .

12:03 pm, February 02, 2007

 
Anonymous Dan Judelson said...

Luke wrote:
What did come across was that there are a lot of people out there in the party with intelligent contributions to make to policy debate and a lack of opportunities to contribute - NEC and NPF please note and start thinking about how to involve CLPs more in policy-making.

Good point, also made here on Michael Meacher's blog about the NPF tomorrow.

3:15 pm, February 02, 2007

 
Blogger Chris Paul said...

Hi Adele As your elders and betters have told you not once but twice in this comments section alone the party's paid employees and Ministers and fifth column delegates (including some MPs as emergency replacements) persuade lots of naive and/or uber-loyal delegates to vote for TU motions. This has succeeded in restricting debates over the last three conferences to FIVE, SIX and SIX of which in each case FOUR are TU. Best w Chris P

PS Clearly I am inviting Luke to condemn that dirigiste, Stalinist, shifty, against-the-rules behaviour and the down right lying from certain Ministers ... to their own members ...

5:29 pm, February 02, 2007

 
Blogger Chris Paul said...

Hi Dan

I'm not sure that Luke can be bought for Michael's cause by this great minds think alike line! And clearly there are those other issues that would plague a MM candidacy.

Time to back JMcD and someone from the centre left too.

Best w

Chris P

5:32 pm, February 02, 2007

 
Anonymous Gordon said...

Any Party official that is found to be interfering in the democratic decision making process of the Party itself should be investigated at the very least. I look forward to the outcome of the enquiry into Peter Hain's campaign having several paid Party staff members on it (allegedly)...

5:34 pm, February 02, 2007

 
Anonymous dan said...

mr judelson,

is that comedy meacher campaign still bubbling along nicely? is old nine homes "9/11 was an inside job" loyal-blairite-till-unceremoniously-sacked meacher still planning to run?

i can't wait! i'll probably die laughing. along with the rest of the labour movement. ha ha ha

11:23 pm, February 02, 2007

 
Anonymous joe said...

dan,

by the way MM was speaking on Thursday night, he really is putting together a run at the leadership. Saying John McD has only 12 PLP backers and saying the only thing he has spent the last month doing is phoning round MPs to see what the support is like for a challenger to Brown

12:46 pm, February 03, 2007

 
Anonymous dan said...

thought so! it's car crash tv at its finest.

is his approach to run a campaign based on getting the support of a few mps rather than trying to win grassroots support? very new labour!

12:51 pm, February 03, 2007

 
Anonymous Dan Judelson said...

Hi Chris

Slightly surprised that you think I was attempting to "win" Luke's support, rather than simply pointing out a problem commonly identified by people from very different political perspectives and which needs fixing regardless of who is leader.

My htlm skills are pretty basic, so apologies for the bad linnk, the NPF post is here: http://www.michaelmeacher.info/

10:23 am, February 04, 2007

 
Anonymous Dan Judelson said...

and I notice my spelling has gone awry too...

10:24 am, February 04, 2007

 
Anonymous Miles said...

I've got a great idea to involve grass roots members in decsion making.
Encourage them to put resolutions to be debated at their local parties.
Send the resolutions which are agreed locally to a national conference.
Invite delegates from all around the country to debate as many of the resolutions as time allows and vote on them.
Those which are agreed by this conference of delegates become policy and are implemented by party MPs and councillors.
What do people think?

11:20 am, February 04, 2007

 
Anonymous Duncan said...

It's radical Miles, but it might just work :o)

1:31 pm, February 04, 2007

 
Anonymous Jo said...

Yes, cause that would really make sure that all those many members who just happen to be delegates to their GC or who get to go to a national conference as delegates get a say ..... or rather it would make sure that hacks monopolise these processes.

Resolutions at GCs never did contribute much to well informed, mature debate. They only polarised opinion and turned non-hack members off going along to branch and GC meetings.

6:05 pm, February 07, 2007

 

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