The SKWAWKBOX has published previously on the importance of getting good delegates to Labour’s Conference and the issue of right-wing attempts to scupper the planned ‘McDonnell Amendment’, which is absolutely vital to the future of the Labour Party as a genuine alternative instead of a Blairite, Tory-lite nightmare.
The problem is, the reason it’s so important wouldn’t be immediately obvious unless you keep very up to speed with Labour politics, rules and procedures. So hopefully this will help.
Imagine you want to buy a car, but you hate the colour… let’s say blue. You go to the showroom and find that all the cars are some shade of – you’ve guessed it – blue.
You speak to the salesperson and they tell you that you can have any shade of blue you want – but only blue. S/he tells you there was once a red car in their line and it was very popular. But the owner of the chain of showrooms hates red. He loves blue and is offended at even the idea of someone wanting a different colour.
So not only did he ban the colour red from all his showrooms, he also got together with all the other showroom-owners in the whole country and they all wrote their purchasing rules to allow only blue cars.
The salesperson tries to persuade you:
Hey, blue is great! You can have cyan, navy, ocean, blueberry, bubblegum, sky-blue. We’ll even stretch to turquoise. You’ve got an absolute right to choose what you want – as long as it’s blue, of course.
But what if I don’t want blue?
Don’t want blue?! Why on earth wouldn’t you want blue?
I don’t really like blue. It’s not much of a choice.
Of course you’ve got choice! We’ve got cyan, navy, ocean, blueberry..
I heard you the first time. Why can’t I have red?
RED?! You don’t want red.
Well, because we say so…
What do you do? The people controlling the showrooms basically have a monopoly and think they know best, so they’ve prevented you having any real choice – there’s going to be nothing on their menu that you’ll really want.
So you give in, or you take public transport. Or you walk.
That’s the situation that the ridiculously-terms ‘moderates’ want to maintain. The ‘popular red car’ slipped past their guard once and they’re determined to make damned sure it never happens again.
As the rules currently stand, the far-too-numerous right-wing Labour MPs/MEPs can realistically block any left-wing candidate from being able to stand in any future leadership election. The way the rules work requires a number of nominations that might well not be achievable for a genuine-Labour MP – given the current ‘pool’ of largely right-wing members.
Even though that candidate would win by a landslide among the 500,000+ Labour members if they did make it onto the ballot.
The McDonnell Amendment aims to change that by reducing the nominations threshold so that it should always be possible to give the members at least one left-wing candidate they would want to support, instead of a ‘pick your shade of blue‘ list.
If you are a Labour member or supporter who thinks Labour needs to be an alternative to the Tory party and not just a paler version of it, then the McDonnell Amendment is absolutely vital to you.
Here is a short list of things you need to do about it:
- Everyone who wants to secure the Left in Labour – contact your CLP today.
- Formally ask your CLP for specific details on when Conf Delegate nominations and selections are happening.
- Also ask how you go about nominating yourself if you fancy it. Good to know the process anyway whether you do or not.
- Ask how you will be able to find out in advance of delegate selection meetings what each delegate nominee thinks about key issues (ie are they for or against McDonnell amendment)
- Make sure you attend the delegate selection meeting and know in advance who is standing and how they will vote on the McDonnell amendment.
- If no response from CLP re your enquiry, let the SKWAWKBOX know and we will publicise to put pressure on those obstructing your democratic rights and enlist help in your area for you
- If you are a member of an affiliated union (ASLEF, BECTU, BFAWU, COMMUNITY, CWU, FBU, GMB, MU, NUM, TSSA, UCATT, UNISON, UNITE, USDAW), take the equivalent steps in your union branch and make sure that your union both sends its own good delegates and that your branch sends delegates to your local CLP(s) to help win the votes there for good CLP delegates
Failure to act will mean failure to win the amendment – and a choice of only ‘blue’ whenever the next leadership election takes place.
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