National Executive Committee
NEC meeting 24 March 2009 Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 April 2009 07:30

It was the day of the Leader’s speech to the European parliament in Strasbourg so Gordon Brown wasn’t present. Ann Black, vice chair of the NEC as well as a CLGA CLP representative, chaired the meeting.

Europe

Glenis Willmott, MEP and Labour's Leader in Europe, presented the draft Euro manifesto. The working time directive has been a divisive issue in the Labour and Socialist Groups (where a majority of Labour MEPs oppose the British opt out as demanded by Minister Pat McFadden) and, although the issue would not be in the manifesto, she hoped an agreement outside the manifesto could be reached.

Glenis Willmott also talked about Tory MEPs leaving the European People’s Party (an alliance of Christian democrats) in favour of a far-right alliance with Polish & Czech MEPs who pursue homophobic policies, deny global warming, and one of whom described the election of Barack Obama as marking the “end of white man’s civilisation”.  She also reported her call for one of the three top posts of the EU to be filled by a woman.

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NEC meeting 27 January 2009 Print E-mail
Tuesday, 10 February 2009 13:43
NATIONAL POLICY

The meeting opened with a discussion about the National Policy Forum (NPF).   Pat McFadden reported that it would meet on 28 February and would review both the most recent Partnership in Power (PiP) cycle and contemporary issues as well as considering the contemporary issues referred by conference this year.   The NEC has previously endorsed the role of CLPs in submitting amendments, new in this PiP cycle, but the NPF could take a different view in its review. The review of contemporary issues (referred by conference to the NPF without a vote) was promised when this procedure replaced contemporary resolutions two years ago.  

Ann Black suggested there was a lack of clarity about what happened to contemporary issues not selected by conference: Pat McFadden suggested at first that they were simply dumped, whilst Diana Holland of Unite (TGWU) argued that they should be taken into the process, albeit without any special working parties like those that had been selected.  Peter Willsman noted that some policy commissioned involved all CLPs submitting those contemporary issues selected by conference to participate – surely an example of ‘best practice’ – whereas others merely invited movers and seconders.

The discussion quickly warmed up when Andy Kerr of the CWU expressed a lack of confidence in the NPF, and in particular in Pat McFadden’s handling, as Chair, of the Royal Mail issue on which he has a conflict of interest being also the Minister for Employment Relations and Postal Affairs.  The Warwick 2 policy statement, endorsed by Annual Conference had specifically stated: “We have set out a vision of a wholly publicly-owned, integrated Royal Mail Group in good health, providing customers with an excellent service and its employees with rewarding employment.” However, the twice-sacked and unelected Lord Mandelson, following the Hooper review, had announced a partial sell-off in violation of this policy and without any consultation.  Pat McFadden replied that the government would retain a majority stake, so it was not privatisation!  And Hooper took precedence over the ‘vision’, which simply described the current Royal Mail set-up and did not imply any commitment for the future!
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Peter Willsman News from the NEC Print E-mail
Sunday, 01 February 2009 13:50

A report by Peter Willsman (0208 854 7326) of some of the issues at the January NEC meeting.  Peter is a CLP rep on the NEC and has represented CLPs and members on the Party’s National Committees since 1981.  For more information visit www.clpd.org.uk and www.grassrootslabour.net

 

·         Leader’s Report

Gordon Brown stressed that since the international banking system had broken down it was vital to have international agreement on a new system of global supervision.  In April the government is hosting a Conference of world leaders to move this agenda forward.  He highlighted that the policies of laissez faire have been completely exposed and that Labour, with its belief in the significance of the role of the state, can work towards a situation where markets and financial systems act much more in the public interest.  Gordon stressed that our government must, above all, seek to protect the general public from the worst effects of the crisis, especially this means combatting unemployment.  Ministers are looking at schemes in Germany and Holland, which subsidise training to avoid redundancies.  There will be a considerable increase in jobs in the construction industry.  Local authorities will be enabled to build houses and give mortgages.  Northern Rock will be renamed and turned into a national lender.  Ann Black said VAT reductions should be targeted rather than blanket.  Dennis Skinner said the message should be that the Government is really only lending money to the banks, whereas it is giving real money to the public.  Peter Willsman said the scandal of the tax havens should be addressed and that pressing local councils to hold down their budgets will mean a reduction is local services and investment, which is exactly the opposite of what is required to combat the crisis.

 

·         Vote 2009

Harriet Harman and Douglas Alexander presented a detailed paper setting out the Party’s organisational strategy for the 2009 elections.  Many NEC members drew attention to the serious threat from the BNP.  Tom Watson and Peter Willsman deplored the fact that due to the nonsense of proportional representation, the far right can win Euro seats with as little as some 8% of the vote.

 

·         Partnership in Power Report

The chair of the NPF, Pat McFadden, came under heavy fire from Andy Kerr (cwu) and other union reps. for the latest moves against Royal Mail.  The unions argued that what was being proposed was effectively a form of privatisation and was against the last Manifesto commitment and against NPF policy.  Pat contended that this was not the case.  Mike Griffiths asked about the understanding that there would be a second stage to Warwick II.  Peter Willsman argued that all the CLPs, involved with the remitted Constitutional Issues from last year’s annual conference, should be able to attend the relevant Policy Commissions.  Pat’s answers to both questions were somewhat equivocal.

 

·         EPLP

Peter Willsman asked Glenis Willmot, the new leader of the EPLP, if the favourable trade agreement between the EU and Israel could be suspended, given that its human rights provisions have been violated.  Glenis confirmed that there is a lot of sympathy with this point and that the agreement has been put on hold.

 
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