|Conference 2013 Shenanigans|
|Friday, 27 September 2013|
Why CAC election result is not safe
It is with deep regret that we learned yesterday that the oversight of the CAC elections has fallen short of the "open, transparent and trusted" political practice which Ed Miliband and Iain McNicol rightly expect. Unlike in Falkirk, incontrovertible evidence has been found of misconduct and machine politics, for which the responsibility lies not with trade unions, but elsewhere in the party. Evidence has been provided to the Party’s General Secretary that one young delegate was called to a meeting with a party official in his region and, within earshot of two witnesses, told “we are supporting” the two candidates who are also Labour whips. Other delegates have also been identified in the same region that were similarly entreated by the same official, in contravention of the staff code of conduct that expressly forbids party staff from canvassing. We recognise that Iain McNicol, the Party’s General Secretary, has taken action to prevent party staff being partisan in internal elections and we welcome his commitment to investigate this new evidence. However, it is clear to us that this is very unlikely to be the only example of misconduct in this election, and that therefore the result of the election is unsafe and a wider investigation is needed. Katy Clark and Peter Willsman stood to be the CLP representatives on the CAC precisely to ensure that delegates have a free and fair conference, that Labour is true to its principles and members’ rights are respected. Delegates can help this investigation. If any party officer spoke to you about the candidates in the CAC election or about how you should cast your vote, please approach us in confidence. Ring 07710 541410. Together we can make this a party to be proud of.
Composite carve up
Delegates were persuaded to drop key elements of their CLPs’ housing resolutions at Sunday’s compositing meeting. The party officer in charge left the CLPs’ crucial points out of his suggested composite (and distributed it late). Then Shadow Housing Minister Jack Dromey weighed in, asking delegates to drop calls for rent controls and scrapping the “right to buy”. He offered a promise that a Labour Government would have a massive house-building programme and regulate private landlords instead - which sealed the deal with most delegates. This is contrary to CAC’s official procedures, which state that Shadow Ministers should speak in an advisory capacity before delegates formulate the composite.
East Coast Rail privatisation
TSSA is calling on CLP delegates to support a TSSA “reference back” on their Emergency Motion on East Coast and Rail privatisation, and the campaign to keep it in public hands. TSSA will call for a Card Vote on the reference back and we ask all supporting CLP and Trade Union delegates to STAND UP for a card vote! Dozens of CLPs found their rail Contemporary Motions knocked back by the CAC alongside TSSA's, despite being irrefutably contemporary. A concerted campaign from the party machine to keep this urgent debate off of the conference floor led one party bureaucrat to state: "The CAC has resolved to make no decision tonight," - despite having had 5 days to consider the emergency! TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said, "Do passengers have to die, on the tracks of our private rail system, for the Labour CAC to support an emergency motion!"
OMOV for CAC
Islington North CLP submitted a rule change to extend party democracy by introducing OMOV for CAC elections. It has been ruled out unfairly, through an incorrect application of the 3 year rule. Support Islington North when they move reference back. Voting on NPF documents in parts 14 CLPs submitted a rule change seeking to end the undemocratic practice of Conference having no choice but to vote on whole NPF documents on a take it or leave it basis. These were all ruled out by the CAC.
A genuine emergency motion, about the United Nations special investigator calling for the bedroom tax to be abolished, has been ruled out of order.
We have been told another genuine emergency (Fire Service cuts/defending Firefighters’ pensions) has also been ruled out unfairly.
A former senior party official explained to Yellow Pages a few of the tricks that some of his erstwhile colleagues got up to. They graded delegates from A (new and/or impressionable delegates) to D (hard-bitten lefties). The officials only tried to influence the voting of the A and B delegates. C and D were cold shouldered. If there were several delegates in a CLP’s delegation, they tried to get the A delegate to vote early in the morning. Of course, each CLP delegation only has one ballot paper, but they falsely informed the A delegate that every delegate had a separate ballot paper. Once the A delegate had voted for the official’s preferred candidates, the dirty work had been done. When the C and D delegates arrived they found that their CLP’s sole vote had already been cast. On your way home from conference this year, you might reflect on how you would be graded!!