Through the starting gate
After last night's Hackney North CLP GC I'm through the starting gate in my bid to get on Labour's National Policy Forum as a London CLPs' rep.
The actual election of 4 new reps takes place at Annual Conference but you have to get nominated by 3 CLPs in the region - critically this is including your own - so if you live in a CLP that has different politics to you or is hotly contested, this requirement can be a deal-breaker.
Anyway, I got Hackney North's nomination and as I was already nominated by more than 2 other CLPs I'm eligible to stand.
Thus far I've also been nominated by the following CLPs:
Bromley & Chislehurst
Camberwell & Peckham
Carshalton & Wallington
Dulwich & W Norwood
Hackney South & Shoreditch
Hornchurch & Upminster
Hornsey & Wood Green
Sutton & Cheam
who I'm very grateful to. The deadline is at the end of the month and 46 CLPs haven't nominated yet so I should hopefully pick up a few more.
As usual we had a tightly fought GC last night, which a left comrade over on Dave Osler's blog (http://www.davidosler.com/) is describing as a "Slightly depressing GC last night for the left in Hackney North".
Actually I thought it was a score draw and my guys could have done better (2 or 3 usual attenders were away).
For the NPF we ended up with a spilt ticket of me, Nicky Gavron, Laura Bruni and Francis Prideaux.
For the National Constitutional Committee Labour First's Maggie Cosin beat Save the Labour Party's Peter Kenyon 15-13 - causing consternation in the hard left camp as this was the seat Peter lived in for nearly 30 years.
For the Conference Arrangements Committee another tight vote saw Stephen Twigg and the left's Lynne Jones MP elected with 15 and 14 votes and moderate candidate Marge Carey and left candidate George McManus defeated with 12 and 11 votes.
A motion from the left attacking Hackney's estate regeneration policies and basically taking an anti-housing association/Defend Council Housing line was defeated heavily.
Diane Abbott was on top form and extremely funny, and won my son's vote in the reselection trigger ballot by giving him a kitkat bar to keep him quiet.
Mr Osler's blog shows there is a degree of jitters in Diane's camp about the trigger process. I gather this is because the forces to the left of her (we have them in Hackney) might vote not to reselect her (because of her son's private schooling and her support for Livingstone's position on the East London Line Extension - i.e. private sector involvement).
I'm not convinced she has anything to worry about. Yes there are a lot of people who will vote against her in some of the ward parties, but I'm not sure they will carry a majority even of the wards, and almost all the affiliates will vote in Diane's favour. Getting her triggered would require a lot of organisation - and as the person who would, if minded to, do that organising, I can report that I'm not doing it because a) the political disbenefits for Labour in the seat outweigh any advantages it would bring and b) I have other selection fish to fry in the coming months in Walthamstow. If however, Walthamstow goes All Women Shortlist, and the good members of Hackney North were to ask me to put myself forward ... but this isn't going to happen because the decision on AWS for Walthamstow happens after the Hackney North trigger ballot.