Welcome to Grassroots Labour
Stop Press - Members Ballot Print E-mail
Sunday, 13 June 2010 13:28

Change to Members Ballot Timetable

The NEC Procedures Committee has now decided that the ballot papers will be issued later. Instead of 16 August as previously agreed, the ballot papers (for all positions – Leader, NEC (constituency places and Treasurer), NPF and London Mayor in London) are not likely to get to members until after 1st September.

 
Diane for Leader Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 June 2010 17:09

By Peter Willsman - Labour Party NEC member

Diane Abbott’s leadership campaign has excited comrades about the possibilities that have been opened up. The party’s left wing will for the first time since the 1980s be able to participate in the contest and put its views before the party membership. Additionally, the left is putting forward a candidate who has wide appeal. In the two public polls published since Diane put her name forward for consideration she has either been the voters’ first or second choice for leader. She will bring a breath of fresh air compared to the list of white males who are also on the ballot paper.

The left needs to pull together and put its efforts into building support for Diane’s campaign, as this will help get across the popular agenda that Labour needs to adopt so it can rebuild support amongst the electorate. Diane will ensure there is a proper debate on the direction Labour should take, which party members have been saying is desperately needed.

The two Eds, in particular, will now have to clearly set out where they stand in relation to the abomination that was New Labour. As Jon Cruddas has said, he has known the Eds for nearly 20 years but still does not know where they stand on most major political issues. After Diane launched her campaign, pointing out how wrong it was to invade Iraq and the damage it did to Labour’s support, both Eds publicly distanced themselves from Blair’s decision to invade and indicated they understood the need for rebuilding the trust that Labour lost as a result.

Diane’s critique of neo-liberalism, her support for investment for growth and opposition to reductions in public spending, for progressive taxation, social justice, anti neo-con military adventurism and for peace can now all be aired in the course of the forthcoming election campaign.

Like Diane, I have been appalled at the way other leadership candidates and their supporters are targeting immigrants. Suggestions that migrants are the cause of low wages or to blame for fact that the Labour government did insufficient to address the housing shortage are just plain wrong. There is no evidence that migration has had any impact on wages and terms of conditions. But it is clear the last government fiercely resisted proposals to regulate the labour market thus allowing wages to be driven down, irrespective of the nationality of the workers. In fact there is strong evidence that the migration of the past decade contributed to strengthening economic growth and improving public services.

Read more...
 
Nominate for NEC 2010 Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 June 2010 15:12

Grassroots Labour - democratic socialist groups across the centre and left of the Labour
Party - is promoting candidates who stand up for the rights of party members.

The candidates are:-

Ann Black
Ken Livingstone
Christine Shawcroft
Sam Tarry
Sofi Taylor
Peter Willsman

A leaflet promoting these candidates can be downloaded from here
 
No new era, but the sound of an elite sharpening its axe Print E-mail
Friday, 14 May 2010 14:30
The Cameron and Clegg show won't seem so cute once the cuts bite, but if Labour backs another Blair, it will fail to benefit

We are at the threshold of a "new era", David Cameron declared yesterday, in the rose-kissed dawn of a "historic and seismic shift" in British politics. It certainly looks like coalition politics could be here to stay, given the historic decline in support for the main parties. But any idea that the new Tory-Liberal Democrat government represents a challenge to Britain's power structure, or even a break with some of the most shopworn politics of the past decade, was swept away as the ministerial carve-up was revealed.

With Liam Fox as defence secretary, William Hague at the Foreign Office, George Osborne as chancellor and Michael Gove in charge of schools, you have a quartet of throwback enthusiasts for US neoconservatism unmatched in today's western world. For all the talk of the brilliance of the Tory modernisers' coup, the prospect of the new home secretary Theresa May – who voted against abortion and gay adoption rights – heading up the government's equalities agenda, or Iain Duncan Smith dragooning the sick and the jobless into privatised cheap labour schemes is a sobering measure of the new reality.

Read more...
 
May 2010 NEC Meeting Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 June 2010 17:02
Election process for the Party’s next leader

The procedures for this election are set out in the Rule Book.  The NEC established a Procedures Committee to oversee the election process and agreed a timetable and Codes of Conduct for Candidates and Party Staff.  Key points are as follows:

·         24 May to 9 June.  MPs make nominations – these will be posted twice daily on the Party’s website (To stand nominees must receive the nomination from 33 MPS). 

·         10 June to 26 July CLPs, affiliated orgs, and MEPs can make “supporting” nominations.

·         5 June – 18 July Regional /local hustings

·         From 16 August ballot papers and magazine posted to all members (voters indicate 1, 2, 3, 4).  There will be the option of secure e-voting and telephone voting.   There will be a helpline.

·         15 September.  Last day to request replacement ballot paper.

·         22 September.  Close of members’ ballot.

Read more...
 
CLPD Model Rule Changes Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 June 2010 14:39
The Campaign for Labour Party Democracy is circulating suggested changes to the Labour Party Rulebook that would help give party members a greater say in party policy. The proposed rule changes can be downloaded here.

 
Peter Willsman reports from NEC Print E-mail
Monday, 03 May 2010 14:17

 

·      Manifesto Meeting with Ed Miliband (25th Feb)  

Three NEC members (Ann Black, Peter Kenyon and Peter Willsman) representing the CLP section of the NEC, together with a handful of NPF members representing the CLP section of the NPF, held a two hour meeting with Ed Miliband and staff to discuss issues for the General Election Manifesto.  The NEC members insisted that that Labour’s response to the recession should be investment for growth not reductions in services and jobs that would only worsen the economic situation.  This should be combined with a commitment to progressive taxation eg. reform of council tax.  It was argued by most of those present that, for example, the Party’s policy of universal free school meals would send a powerful message that we are serious about tackling poverty and malnutrition.  It would also clearly separate us from the Tories and reinforce our core vote.  In response Ed confirmed that he full agreed with the general thrust of what was being said. 

 

A range of specific policies were pressed by the NEC members, among them were the following (with Ed’s response in each case).

 

Tobin Tax – this is government policy and it is being pursued at an international level. 

A massive increase in house building, especially social housing – this is accepted, but there are budget constraints.

A People’s bank based on the Post Office – This is being worked on.

Require multinational companies to account by country – Discussions are taking place at an international level.

East Coast Mainline to remain public – Discussions are taking place with the unions.

Reinforce the hunting ban – Ed was sympathetic.

Consider converting good selective schools to 6th Form colleges – Ed needed to think about this one!

Leasehold reform – Ed will see if the concept of commonhold can be further developed.

Saving money by cancelling Trident and ID cards – Ed sidestepped these by saying that nuclear disarmament will be pressed at a forthcoming international conference and that the introduction of ID cards will cost relatively little for several years.

 

·        Report of the 23rd March NEC

Questions to Gordon Brown

Gordon stressed that in contrast to the Tories Labour must clearly be seen as on the side of the majority and not the few – “We are the People’s Party, we always have been and always will be”.  This means giving the public a clear choice.  We stand for investment, fairness and public services.  The Tories would give handouts to the rich, would decimate services and deepen the recession.  These are exactly the same policies that the Tories pursued under Thatcher.  In response to questions Gordon reaffirmed the commitment to concessionary fares and to an expansion of house building, especially social housing.  He also distanced himself from the Tory-controlled local government employers, who are refusing any pay rise.  Several NEC members were critical of ministers who had made anti unions comments about the BA dispute.  Gordon responded that behind the scenes he had been trying his best to assist the negotiations.

 

“Cabs for hire”

Nick Brown, Chief Whip, gave a report of the disciplinary action he and the General Secretary had taken against those MPs who had disgraced both themselves and the Party by offering to sell their Parliamentary influence.  This action was unanimously endorsed.

 

Late Parliamentary selections

A report was given of the recent decisions of the NEC’s Special Selections Panel.  Attention was

drawn to the adverse publicity resulting from the Panel’s actins in relation to the shortlisting in Stalybridge and Hyde CLP.  It was agreed that more transparent procedures should be followed in future [unfortunately since the March NEC there has been the shortlisting in Stoke Central CLP, where the Panel’s actions are completely indefensible.  This will be raised at the next NEC].

 

East Lothian CLP

In January this CLP had carried a resolution requesting permission from the NEC, in accordance with the Party’s Rule Book, to re-open the reselection process for its sitting MP, on the grounds that there were ‘changed circumstances’.  This request was agreed by a special meeting of the NEC in early March.  The CLP then held an all-members meeting at which it was resolved by a large majority that the sitting MP “shall not be the Labour Party candidate at the next General Election”.  The MP then appealed to the NEC.  The NEC did not uphold the appeal and the CLP was given permission to select a new candidate.

 

·        Manifesto meeting with Ed Miliband (7 April)

Ed called a meeting solely with NEC members representing the CLP Section and Ann Black, Peter Kenyon, Christine Shawcroft and Peter Willsman attended.  The main thrust of the Manifesto was to protect and reinforce the economic recovery, but also to address the main issues facing us in the next decade.

 

The NEC members stressed the importance of clearly distinguishing our policies from the Tories, through emphasizing our values and principles in practice eg by tackling poverty, progressive taxation, ensuring the bankers pay and building much more social housing.  Labour must not be cautious.  The Tories will promise the earth and Labour needs to be bold.  The key will be winning back former Labour voters and getting our vote out.  Ed did not demur.

 

·        Clause V Manifesto Meeting (8th April)

This was the formal Manifesto approval meeting as laid down in the Rule Book.  It was chaired by Gordon Brown and included the NEC, Cabinet, Union leaders, representatives fro the PLP and NPF – altogether some 70 comrades.  The meeting lasted over 2 hours.  All ten chapters were moved, debated and finalised – on every chapter Gordon called everyone who indicated.

 

In opening the meeting Gordon said this was one of the most radical Manifestos our Party has presented.  He picked out three themes – securing the recovery, building even better public services and reinvigorating politics.  Several TU speakers pressed the issue of universal free school meals and Peter Willsman pointed out that this is a symbolic issue that separates us from the Tories.  Ed balls undertook to redraft this section.  Willsman also asked for recognition to be given to the role and contribution of the Co-op Movement and Co-op Party and Ed Miliband took this on board.  Willsman also pressed on the Tobin Tax and Alistair Darling reported on the considerable progress that has been made in the last few weeks.  Willsman also pressed that our commitment to giving football club supporters trusts a right to own a share of their club should be given much greater prominence.  He also argued that there should be more attention given to the issue of tackling tax avoidance by multinationals, which particularly disadvantages third world countries.  Willsman also felt that capital gains should be taxed at the same marginal rates as income tax.

 

Following the publication of the Manifesto there will be further specific departmental policies announced during the campaign.  These will address several of the issues raised in the prior discussions with Ed Miliband.

 

Peter Willsman is a CLP rep, on the NEC.  He is always available for advice and assistance phone 020 8854 7326.

 
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