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, September 17, 2007

Hopefully the last ever batch of these

"Save the Labour Party" (sic) have helpfully provided the full text of the contemporary resolutions sent to Annual Conference.

Unfortunately 102 of the 150 are not contemporary and have been ruled out as they don't refer to specific events since the end of July.

Reading through them just reminds you that the submission of little essays of well-meaning wish lists or condemnation, which will in any case get composited out of existence, reminds you what an absurd way to try to make policy the resolutionary method is.

The sooner Brown's proposal to scrap this hangover from the pre-1990s policy-making system is passed, the better.

In the meantime 10/10 to West Dunbartonshire CLP and John Spellar's Warley CLP for passing this (although unfortunately this one is being ruled non-contemporary as well):

"Conference notes announcement by the International Atomic Energy Agency on 21 August 2007 of a timetable to implement its plan for clearing up outstanding questions about Iran’s nuclear activities and giving better access to nuclear sites.

Conference also notes the interviews on ITV News and Channel 4 News with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on 12 September 2007 in which he ruled out the abandonment of uranium enrichment.

Conference believes that these developments show that the UK faces an uncertain world where there are continuing challenges in relation to nuclear proliferation.

Conference therefore welcomes the decision by the government and the House of Commons to retain theUK’s independent nuclear deterrent in line with the party’s manifesto for the last general election which stated that “We are also committed to retaining the independent nuclear deterrent”, as a recognised nuclear state under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).Conference welcomes the open approach taken by the Labour government to the decision, including the publication of a white paper, a vote in Parliament, and discussions in the Britain in the World Policy Commission, the National Executive Committee and the National Policy Forum.

Conference welcomes Labour’s long tradition of working to alleviate the threat from the world’s most dangerous weapons and, as a signatory to the NPT, our responsibility to work towards the goal of the global elimination of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

Conference also welcomes the commitment to strengthen the international consensus against such weapons and continued work bilaterally and through the UN to urge states not yet party to the non-proliferation treaties, notably the NPT, to join.

Conference notes that the Trident submarines used as the platform for the UK’s existing nuclear deterrent will reach the end of their operational life around 2020 and that a decision was therefore urgently required on the question of the replacement.

Conference believes that there is an overwhelming case for replacement and that the deterrent is essential to the UK’s future defence and security requirements because:
• It is impossible to predict all the security challenges that might arise in the next half century and that therefore to ensure that the UK is as prepared as is possible for potential scenarios we must retain the full range of defensive options available to us;
• As long as potential enemies have nuclear weapons, we should retain them;
• The possession of nuclear weapons remain a means of deterring other states from using or seeking to acquire nuclear weapons;
• Potentially thousands of jobs in the UK defence industry and allied sectors are dependent upon, and could be further secured by, the replacement of our nuclear deterrent;
• Our independent nuclear deterrent plays an important role in maintaining the UK’s international status and influence; and that the signal that would be sent out about our place in Europe and in the world should we decide to leave France as Europe’s only nuclear power, would leave us with a diminished diplomatic status and exposed to greater security threats.Conference therefore reaffirms Labour’s longstanding commitment to retaining the independent nuclear deterrent and calls upon the Labour government to proceed without delay in implementing the decision to replace the Trident system at the end of its operational life."


Blogger grimupnorth said...

Yes, the sooner the better that we can't vote at all, Luke. Bring it on!

12:08 pm, September 17, 2007

Blogger E10 Rifle said...

I admire Luke's honesty to be honest. He doesn't want motions about stuff he disagrees with discussed at conference; he does want ones he does agree with (the pro-trident one) discussed.

Which is fine. We know where we stand.

12:46 pm, September 17, 2007

Anonymous N1 ben said...

E10 Rifle said...

"I admire Luke's honesty to be honest."

Isn't that on par with saying - I admire Hitler because he was a conviction politician? Oops, sorry. I meant to say Thatcher ... because she was a conviction politician. Thatcher. Sorry about that, slip of the tongue!

1:55 pm, September 17, 2007

Anonymous Andy said...

nice piece of doublethink from grimupnorth here - ironic support for the reform proposals here, as she clearly believes them to be 'undemocratic', while on the thread about the West Derby result, she attacks genuine party democracy because she doesn't like the result.

I can't work out whether this is intellectual incoherence or out and out hypocrisy. Either way it helps to explain why the left is in such a mess.....

3:50 pm, September 17, 2007

Anonymous doublethink said...

Liverpool West Derby? Democracy?

Nice one.

4:05 pm, September 17, 2007

Anonymous grimupnorth said...

Actually, I disliked the result not just politically but more because it was a clear case of gerrymandering - parachuting in an ex-Minister to a city he probably hardly knows.
I believe there was a Liverpool city councillor also standing . I would be interested to jear from someone in the constituency what they thought......

5:16 pm, September 17, 2007

Anonymous Andy said...

How do you gerrymander an omov ballot? You either trust members to make decisions or you don't.

I've been following news of the West Derby selection on Labour Home and elsewhere on the blogosphere, and from whats been posted, it seems clear that the reason Twigg one was not that he was parachuted in by the leadership, but because he worked bloody hard, and moved to the area full-time for the duration of the selection campaign. Consequently, he was successful in convincing members that he would be an effective advocate for the constituency in parliament.

If we extend the logic of some the comments posted in various places about Twigg's selection, it was a disaster for the Labour Party that Clem Atlee was chosen to represent an east end constituency, because as a middle class public school boy from rural surrey, he would have no understanding or affinity for eastenders, so could only come up with policies that would make their lives worse!

5:47 pm, September 17, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Oh Grim, that is NOT what gerrymandering is. Gerrymandering is like the Labour-proposed ward boundaries at the previous boundary commission which made Traddord a winnable Town Hall, or the Tory arrangements this time which made it winnable. The latter very likely being fairer thsan the former though that's not saying much.

Or the crazy arrangements of the ward boundaries in Derry pre Civil Rights which gave us Catholics the absolute minimum representation though havving a few units that were 100% Catholic and then lots that were 30-40% Catholic and 60-70% Protestant.

Allowing a City to be run by the 33% minority.

What has happened in West Derby is nothing of the sort. It is the way the system works.

In theory I think all sitting MPs should face a real selection process but pragmatically I know what can happen so I don't wouldn't pursue the means to trigger such a thing.

Bob didn't organise effectively to get the backing he needed to prevent the contest and he didn't organise effectively to win that contest.

It's a great shame. But presumably you would not want a system that prevented the possibility of ousting an MP you wanted to see ousted?

On Conference Resolutions. Well done to STLP for publishing the texts. This means that the protocol being used can be tested properly keeping resolutions from all sides in or out on an equal basis. Previously we all know that right-wing pro-platform pnes have made it in without being contemporary and without even being passed by a competent party unit.

If this is the last ever year then at least we can say that it was a more transparent process the once.

Obviously Luke's shortlist falls apart if the CLPs are persuaded to vote for two or three of the TU resolutions instead of CLP ones. As they may well be unless the CLP ones all suit the platform.

PS There are still appeals and reference back processes to come. Perhaps the floor of conference could show some guts and not vote with the platform/CAC's carve up.

5:51 pm, September 17, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Traddord = trafford. Sorry.

5:52 pm, September 17, 2007

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

Luke - do you really believe the policy forum process is a superior way of making policy? I mean it really is a joke. I've been to loads of these things now and I never cease to be amazed at how utterly unrepresentative the concluding reports are of what is actually said in the forums. I mean, they genuinely bear no resemblance to a democratic policy-making process at all.

6:06 pm, September 17, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

I agree with Dr Dunc. The NPF so far has been shockingly bad. Which is not to say that the contemporary motion process has been much good. And if we face facts we do have a rally in September not a policy conference and so policy making probably does need doing separately from the set pieces.

Looking at the CRs I reckon that the Manchester Central resolution of 2005 WOULD HAVE GOT THROUGH THIS PRE-SORT.

If it had not then at least some reasons - better than the ones given - would be in public domain to be discussed and overturned or derided.

6:18 pm, September 17, 2007

Blogger grimupnorth said...

Chris, According to my dictionary,to gerrymander is a verb which means to "manipulate unfairly." which new labour is pretty damn good at......
Duncan,absolutely right about the NPF. A complete and utter farce.....

6:38 pm, September 17, 2007

Anonymous GW said...

Seems to me that there are elements/idiots who seem to think that OMOV actually means "Only My Oppinion's Valid"

2:37 pm, September 18, 2007

Blogger Merseymike said...

The problem is that the replacement for the resolutionary voting system, which I also think is unworkable, was even less effective and served to make party membership meaningless.

If you want people to join the Labour party, then people have to feel that it is something worth doing

If you only want people to join who agree with absolutely everything the government does, then you may as well book a village hall for the next conference.

I think there has to be a way of involving members more effectively

3:38 pm, September 18, 2007

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Luke Akehurst said,
"The possession of nuclear weapons remain a means of deterring other states from using or seeking to acquire nuclear weapons;"

Certainly not if you consider Pakistan and India.

4:07 pm, September 18, 2007

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

Chris - you're right, conference is now a September rally. But I don't think it necessarily follows that it need stay that way. By all means lets take what's good about any recent party reforms. Local and regional policy forums were quite a good idea (although they're done EXTREMELY badly): the national policy forum should be replaced by proper policy debate at conference: look today at how many CLPs don't send any delegates or don't send complete delegates, compared with how many individuals pay to go as 'observers' to enjoy the champagne and salmon and all the Tory-style flag-waving and general toffery. If we want to make use of PiP reforms, then I would recommend that regional policy forums replaced compositing.

8:32 pm, September 19, 2007


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