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.

Monday, July 23, 2007

GRA slate for elections at conference

CLPD has published the Grassroots Alliance slate for elections at Annual Conference:


As I'm standing for the NPF I'm not allowed to comment on the other people running.

Instead I'll comment on the extraordinary number of gaps - i.e. non-runners.

To stand for the NPF you need your own and 2 other CLP nominations. In each region there are 4 seats up.

So this implies the GRA - a broad coalition of the various different left groups - can't field a full set of four candidates in any of the regions - or that the people they tried to run couldn't all get even three CLPs to nominate them. In the West Midlands they seem to have no one at all on the ballot paper.

So much for fears that the McDonnell campaign has re-energised the left on the ground in CLPs.


Anonymous Adele said...

Well I would recommend the following people, all of whom I know, have worked with and have been impressed by at some point Sure loads of other people would be really good as well; but what I personally would be after is people that work with and improve the manifesto on key issues like Warwick, Housing e.t.c and who invisage a much bigger and more participative role for NPF. What I am not interested in, is just point blanck oppositionalism which seems to be the agenda of the CLGA, barring one of their NEC members who is actually incredibly good.

London - Alon Or Bach

London Youth - Rohini Simbodyal

North West - Cllr Mike Amesbury

North West Youth - Hannah Al Othman

Oh and I am a CLP delegate so am open to persuasion

3:40 pm, July 23, 2007

Blogger Dave Brinson said...

I have issues with the positions and tactics of CLPD, but the Grassroots Alliance candidates should be taken on their merits rather than their "slate"- Ann Black is by far the best constituencies rep. on the NEC, and gets her huge vote in spite of, rather than because of her group affiliation.

5:20 pm, July 23, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Surely Peter Wheeler and Ellie Reeves are the best CLP reps on the NEC???

Having said that, I've never understood why Ann is involved in the GRA.

5:50 pm, July 23, 2007

Anonymous adele said...

I would say Peter, Ann and Ellie are all excellent.

8:08 pm, July 23, 2007

Anonymous progressive said...

Akehurst you're such a scumbag sometimes.

So has Labour First got a full slate in all regions? You haven't commented on their slate.

And who are the two men Labour First are supporting in London? You and Mike Katz? It all seems a bit confused on the right of the party.

And how many CLPs did you get compared to ...say... a hardworking CLP rep like Francis Prideaux. I heard he had about 20.

Oh and Adele if youre in the North West have you spoken to Cat Smith at all? She's been a very hard-working Labour Student sabbatical at Lancaster Uni over the last year and politically would identify with Ann Black.

Its not anything against Hannah Al Othman - i've just never heard of her.

9:39 pm, July 23, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Oh and I am a CLP delegate so am open to persuasion"

If you vote for Luke I'll go down on you.

9:48 pm, July 23, 2007

Anonymous Andrea said...

"And how many CLPs did you get compared to ...say... a hardworking CLP rep like Francis Prideaux. I heard he had about 20

The last time he blogged about it he listed 14 supporting CLPs and nominations hadn't closed yet

9:50 pm, July 23, 2007

Anonymous Tim said...

Andrea, are you Andrea Gordon? Just wondered.

10:00 pm, July 23, 2007

Anonymous Andrea said...

"Andrea, are you Andrea Gordon? "

No, sorry, I'm not

10:15 pm, July 23, 2007

Anonymous adele said...

1) How may people can I vote for in London? Yeah I will probably vote for Luke. Despite what some people may think from my occasional rants we are roughly in the same place politically and members of unite (amicus).

2)Yeah I am in NW. I do know Cat and like her a hell of a lot. I know she has done loads in Lancaster. However, we are not in the same place politically.

If she was running for the main spots then I would vote for her.


12:17 am, July 24, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Adele: you can only vote in your own region etc.

But you can combine Mike with the CLGA slate if you wish. Characterising CLGA backed delegates to NEC as engaged in "point blank oppositionalism" is really not reasonable.

It certainly doesn't show much respect for the CLP grass roots who put them there on purpose to give some small chance that the NEC is not over-run by delegates of one particular persuasion.

The trouble with the NPF of course has been that it does not act, is not allowed to act as, a proper scrutiny and indeed policy inspiring, testing and tweaking body.

Baa Baa Baa is for the sheeple! At the end of the day the NPF CLP delegates have a purpose. Giving ordinary party members a voice. If they are all inveterate stirrers we would have a problem. If they are all inveterate rubber stampers too.

Don't know Rohini or Hannah but agree that Alon and Mike would make credible ginger groupees.

9:36 am, July 24, 2007

Anonymous adele said...

Baa Baa sheepie! One thing I am not is a sheep and a don't think Luke is either.

CLGA are what they are. I'm actually not sure they represent the grass roots that well, Can't think of anyone that wuld represent the grass roots better than Mike.

11:26 am, July 24, 2007

Anonymous Ravi said...

Sorry this is all double dutch to me, I only joined up in October. I have no idea who the candidates are and what they stand for.
Although Luke said he could'nt really talk about the candidates maybe one of you could. so I could'nt possibly comment. Could someone explain what this is all about?

11:44 am, July 24, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Adele: Luke is smearing CLGA and you are sadly joining in. Luke is against party democracy if it means anyone some of whose policy positions he does not like can get elected ... to anything whatsoever within the party.

If you're not sheeple don't follow this line of Luke's! A very good comrade no doubt in other ways but sadly obsessed with destroying difference rather than unity in our party.

Kind of Sheepford Zombie Wives ...

Mike will no doubt be elected onto the NPF. It would be good if delegates like yourself did pick people who want to "improve the manifesto". People have no business standing for the role if they have anything else in mind. Respect that.

If you get a chance look up Belbin Team Roles and/or Bono's Six Thinking Hats. Look up some references on creativity and not closing down debate or thinking prematurely.

A good team tends to have a variety of characteristics within it, not just sheeple.

12:21 pm, July 24, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

We only know our own nominations. I have 12. There were 3 others that voted for me at their GC and did not get the paperwork in.

12:23 pm, July 24, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...


12:24 pm, July 24, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris, do u have a list of who has been nominated in the NW?

12:30 pm, July 24, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Ravi: There is this thing called the National Policy Forum. It has the cabinet on it and other MPs, it has representatives from the Trade Unions and other affiliates, and it has representatives from constituencies.

Four for each region elected at Conference (an annual gathering which was at one time considered to be the primal policy making body of the party) and a couple more elected at regional conferences. I think that's right anyway.

The National Policy Forum produces three rounds of documents in each major policy area. These reflect what is coming down from above and to some extent what is in the delegates own heads and what comes in from CLPs, members, supporters, pressure groups etc.

It is moot to say the very least how much that trickles up in response to centrist proposals ever gets into the documents.

It is also the case that things not discussed at NPFs have found their way into final documents and that things not in these final documents - never discussed - find their way into manifesto.

Now, this is not a judgement. It is a fact. If Gordon were to slip in the renationalisation of the railways after no one had talked about it no-one on the left would be complaining. It's probably fair to say that it is Labour Right things that get slipped in. Academies, Top Up Fees, NHS marketisation ...

Conference gets to rubber stamp the third year findings of the NPF on an all or nothing basis.

For example a Britain in the World position paper that is pretty good on matters of international development but says (post-Iraq) more of the same on "ethical foreign policy" can only be voted in or out. Votes tend to be by show of hands and with very few against after rather tedious ministerial statements, occasionally and this was in the Britain in the World "debate" enlivened by an OAP heckling.

The argument used to stop any debate is that this would be undermining the process of the NPFs and attendant consultation - called Partnership in Power or PiP. But most participants are open and honest about most manifestations of this so far being less than satisfactory.

In fact where contrary ideas are presented it is normal form for ministers to drag in delegates to "hear their views" and try to persuade them not to rock the boat. Usually successfully.

NEC is National Executive Committee and ia also drawn from MPs, TUs and CLPs. The CLP reps on this are elected by one member one vote (OMOV).

The CLP members on NPF are elected by delegates at either conference or regional conference and these in turn are elected by delegates from branches elected by the active few who attend branch meetings.

Needless to say OMOV generates more of a contest than the picks of delegates.

Centre Left Grassroots Alliance is one of many ginger groups around the LP. In fact it is an alliance of a broad range of smaller ginger groups who agree to act together in forming slates for these kinds of elections.

Obviously it would be daft if each if these small groups did the same kind of thing on their own.

The Labour right does the same kind of thing. And barring their being more than eight candidates for eight places candidates are normally on one or other slate. There are a few who could be on either and I guess that Ann Black would sale onto the LF slate if she wished to.

CLGA is pretty broad in its membership - whatever Luke may say - and being a vestige of party democracy it has to be viewed as a GOOD THING rather than as a butt for Luke's abuse.

12:48 pm, July 24, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Anonymous: I have details somewhere of the four my CLP nominated (the CF slate as I recall) and the three CLGA nominated. That may be it. I'll get the names for you.

12:52 pm, July 24, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

One or two people have now come out to play over at LOL on this story. All welcome.

1:12 pm, July 24, 2007

Blogger grimupnorth said...

The usual rant from Luke. And utterly unfair. The CLGA origonally came together to give the centre-left a voice and as a means of organising opposition to New Labour's anti-democratic agenda ( which continues sadly)
Out of the six CLGA candidates for the NEC last year, four were elected. LRC member Christine Shawcroft( whom none of you have mentioned) got over 50 per cent of the vote. Ann Black is centre-left and also an excellent NEC rep.To say that's despite the fact she's CLGA is a nasty, but predictable, jibe.
Re the NPF - yeah, we all know it's been hijacked by the sheep and, frankly, ordinary members feel pretty much disengaged from it. Most don't even vote because they don't see the point.
Unlike the establishment candidates ie Luke and his mates, CLGA does not get help from party officials, does not get the same access to information and is up against it at every turn.However, I see left-winger Laura Bruni is standing for NPF and I hope she gets there. I'm sick and tired of nasty jibes from so-called "comrades" who regard a healthy respect for party democracy and the rights of ordinary members ( ie to table contemporary motions and actually have a VOTE on issues) as oppositionalist.

3:10 pm, July 24, 2007

Blogger Dave Brinson said...

"Ann Black is centre-left and also an excellent NEC rep.To say that's despite the fact she's CLGA is a nasty, but predictable, jibe."

I voted for a variety of candidates, including Ann and Chris Shawcroft. I did so because of their individual credentials not because of any affiliations.

I am not a fan of factions within the Labour Party from either wing- there's nothing that annoys me more than those circulars saying "I'm voting for these people because I believe that they are the best candidates etc. etc." and then reproducing one or other complete slate.

The "despite" comment may seem "nasty", but I could quite hapilly have made the same one about, say, Ellie Reeves and the LF slate. Let's keep slates for where they belong: ie. Labour slates in public elections, and conduct our internal Party elections based on the merit of the individual candidate.

6:19 pm, July 24, 2007

Blogger E10 Rifle said...

There's also the issue of the NPF just seeming so remote from ordinary party members. You have to find it, rather than the other way round (which should be the case in a healthy and democratic organisation). You don't get mailings around NPF matters or issues, nothing to indicate that this is something that you could actually contribute to.

I don't expect these sorts of things to bother Luke of course, given that he's never expressed any great interest in party democracy.

1:08 am, July 25, 2007

Anonymous B said...

Exactly E10... when my CLP submits a paper to an NPF commission we've no idea what they actually do with it.

And of course the Labour Party doesn't publicise NPF members or contact details and - as far as I know - charges the NPF member to get hold of CLP Secretary addresses.

8:30 am, July 25, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Actually E10 those are exactly the issues that bother me and the platform I'm running on is one of being active in going round London CLPs opening up the NPF's work to them and being held accountable.

They are also the issues that Brown's current party reform proposals are trying to address.

I dislike the way you conflate disagreeing with my politics with assuming I want to shut down debate. If you talk to people in my CLP - some of whom I think you know quite well - they will confirm that whilst I disagree with them on many issues I am always up for an open debate, for keeping members and the democratic structures of the party empowered, and for accepting when I'm in a minority.

The left of the party doesn't have a monopoly on democratic values - indeed their opposition to OMOV over the years shows quite often they have been the ones opposing the empowerment of grassroots members.

9:45 am, July 25, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke what is your view of the proposed OMOV vote on final stage document for the manifesto, with no opportunity to amend either at conference or by a wider-membership method?

Posturing and colossal waste of money? Or great leap forward?

10:23 am, July 25, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Luke: one of your admirers dubbing themselves "Eduardo" has been over and puked up bile over my blog. Next time you see this person could you please tell them to clean up after themselves?

It's such a sham.

3:21 pm, July 25, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Oh, shame.

3:22 pm, July 25, 2007

Anonymous eduardo da silva said...

Heh heh! Chris Paul is losing it. What a slimy, sleazy sicko he is.

Message to Chris Paul: You are a nobody. Bye bye

5:41 pm, July 25, 2007

Anonymous Andrea said...

"Message to Chris Paul: You are a nobody. Bye bye"

and are you famous? Are you Eduardo Da Silva, the football player from Arsenal?

6:19 pm, July 25, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris Paul sounds really riled! What's the matter Chrissy wissy, able to dish it out but unable to take it?

I'd be very surprised if it's the real Eduardo da Silva, or indeed if you're the real Andrea Pirlo!

7:36 pm, July 25, 2007

Anonymous Andrea said...

"I'd be very surprised if it's the real Eduardo da Silva"

damn, I was already thinking of hiring him for the Labour Party Football Team! :wink:

8:23 pm, July 25, 2007

Anonymous Fan o' JC said...

All Arsenal players are clearly in full political agreement with their Islington North CLP and their MP Jeremy Corbyn and therefore real Arsenal players more likely to agree with Comrade Paul and oppose the narrow North London nationalism of siding with Comrade [sic] Akehurst.

11:17 pm, July 25, 2007

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

This is the most interest I've ever seen sparked in the National Policy Forum!

Let's be frank - this forum is a waste of space for ordinary party members (the NPF, not Luke's blog, which is probably considerably more worthwhile!)

Presumably there aren't many lefties in the country who couldn't have stood as CLGA candidates if they'd wanted to (several of us posting on here) but why would you? Although people have an unfair view of me and think that I enjoy being an awkward sod, I really can't see any merit in sitting in a room disagreeing with everybody about everything, losing every vote (if they have votes; I doubt there's much call for them) - maybe when I was a student (there must be some reason why I went to Labour Student conferences) - but I've discovered the joy of drying paint since then.

There are some good candidates on the CLGA slate who I'm sure have it in them to be considerably more constructive than I would be able to be in such circumstances.

1:54 pm, July 29, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did a bit of research about the North West election and a quick Google search of the candidates names flags up some things of interest. "Hannah Al-Othman" the first story is from her University newspaper which reveals she urinated in a bar and threw a bin through a McDonald's window..... wow!!! I'm not so sure about her anymore.

8:12 pm, September 17, 2007


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