Weaver Vale CLP (constituency Labour party) in Cheshire is clearly run by an excellent executive that keeps itself informed about wider party matters. The ‘exec’ was so concerned about the proliferation of what are mostly ‘fake Labour’ ‘fronts’ for right-wing and external groups set on seizing back control of the Labour party that they wrote a letter to Labour’s NEC (National Executive Committee) raising those concerns and some outstanding points about the nature of those ‘front’ groups.
None of those three letters – sent in October, November and this month – has received as much as an acknowledgement from Labour HQ.
In the context of the recent discovery by the SKWAWKBOX that ‘inconvenient’ motions from CLPs are being ‘binned‘ by HQ rather than passed on to the NEC for consideration as they should be, a three-fold failure to even acknowledge the deep concerns of a whole CLP sheds an even bleaker light on the apparent contempt with which members are regarded by much of the right-wing ‘old guard’ still squatting in Labour’s ‘command and control’ structures.
This blog asks readers who are Labour members (and if you’re not, please join) to send a similar communiqué or motion from your CLP to the party’s General Secretary, Iain McNicol – and a copy to this blog, so the ‘inconvenient’ wishes of the membership cannot simply be ‘disappeared’ by functionaries.
Here is Weaver Vale’s letter in full:
We are writing to you as the main officers (Chair, Secretary and Treasurer) of Weaver Vale CLP. This course of action was agreed by the CLP delegates at our last meeting.
We want to express disquiet at the actions of some factions within the party, and to ask that clarification be provided as to the status of a number of groups who appear to be operating as “a party within the party”.
On the 26th November, as part of the national ‘NHS Action Day’, called for by the party leadership, many in the party, including a group of us in Weaver Vale were out campaigning. While this was happening three groups, claiming to be representative of, the party, decided to have conferences that day. These were:
This raises serious questions about their commitment to the party. In addition the guest list at Blue Labour, included speakers who do not have any interest in seeing labour succeed, these being Rod Liddle, Philip Blond, and worst of all Stephen Woolfe (the one time UKIP leadership candidate). We cannot see how these people have anything in common with Labour, or have any ideas that should influence Labour policy.
While these conferences show a failure to support both the party and the leader, they do raise a more fundamental question about the proliferation of these groups within the party.
There are a number, mostly calling themselves “progressive”, these include:
- Labour First
- Labour for the Common Good
- Saving Labour
- Blue Labour
- Labour Tomorrow
- Progress (previously called to be ‘outlawed’ by the GMB)
- Campaign for Labour Democracy
- Labour Futures
- Labour Together
- Grassroots Labour
There may be others of which we are not aware.
We have excluded groups who are affiliated to Labour, as they conform to Labour Rules . These would include for example the Fabians, and potentially Momentum, who are saying their new constitution requires affiliation to the party. Also excluded are online websites e.g. Labour Futures, which are not exclusive to Labour Members.
The questions we wish to raise are:
- What is the status of these groups within the party?;
- Do the funds they hold (either by subscription or donation) belong to the party, as CLP funds do?;
- None of the above seem to be affiliated to the party (others do e.g. the Fabians), and therefore should their actions and behaviour(s) be regarded as hostile to the party?;
- Progress are registered with the Electoral Commission and this should be seen as acting against the party and they must be treated as a party within a party.
- Labour First has appointed a full time organiser, (Matt Pound) whose job, according to his own words “is to make sure candidates friendly to his employers win internal elections in the party”. His job is not to help the Party win elections, and gain power, or to support the leadership, but to help one internal faction within the party gain power. They have procured this organiser by raising funds from Party members, which could have been used to fight local or national elections, but which instead is being used to support internal division in the party;
- Some groups are making statements which are contrary to the party’s aims e.g. the front page of Saving Labour makes the following statements:
- “The leadership contest is over but nothing has changed: Labour still needs a leader that can command support in Parliament and the country”.
- “Jeremy Corbyn has alienated almost all his colleagues in Parliament, has failed to set any kind of policy agenda and cannot meet the profound challenges of the future”.
- “We need new, fresh leadership”.
While we have no problem with genuine debate within the party, as it is both healthy and is good for party democracy, most of these groups do not seem to have the wider interests of the party at heart. They have an agenda of their own, and seek to dominate and destabilise the party contrary to the majority of the membership. They purport to be Labour, but do not affiliate. They raise their own funds, run separate conferences, set up shadow structures, and even in at least one case, have registered with the electoral commission.
A further issue that needs to be looked at, given the revelations in early January, is the relationship between Shai Masot and any of the groups noted above. Masot has admitted trying to influence party policy, and has direct links with a number of theses groups. If there has been overt or covert collusion between Masot and any of the above groups and any organisation or socialist society affiliated to the Party then disciplinary action may be necessary. There are a number of Al Jazeera videos giving more detail on this.
An inquiry must be set up to look at the above named groups (and others that may exist), to see if these groups are compatible with the aims and objectives of the party. If they are found to be acting against the party and are bringing the party into disrepute then action must be taken against the organisations and those who run them, including disciplinary charges and potentially expulsion.
Yours sincerely etc.
(Links and emphases added by the SKWAWKBOX)
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