Another huge reason the Left MUST organise to win Conference delegates

Since before the turn of the year, the SKWAWKBOX has been emphasising the need for Left members of the Labour Party to organise to take delegate positions at Labour’s annual Conference in Brighton.


The right-wing, faux-Labour faction successfully did it last year and used its presence in Liverpool to push through the anti-democratic appointment of two extra NEC members, a measure that is still damaging the party. They’re already organising to try to do it again – and prepared to use any underhand method to achieve it.

The Left needs dominance in Brighton to win approval for the McDonnell Amendment, a vital rule-change to ensure Labour’s huge left-wing majority always has a candidate to vote for in any future leadership election. The right wants dominance to try to prevent it.

But it turns out that’s not the limit of their ambition – as this Twitter exchange involving Labour First’s arch-rightwinger Luke Akehurst shows:

akehurst college

The old ‘electoral college’ system was undone under Ed Miliband to democratise and reinvigorate the party. The right-wingers recognise that they can’t win in a democratic party and are quite prepared to return to the bad old days if it will protect their privilege.

Under that system, 250 or so Labour MPs would count as much as the entire membership of over 500,000. Of those, a mere 170 blairites would hold a majority and have as much weight as the more than 300,000 left-leaning members.

That small group of overprivileged, self-entitled space-wasting bench-fillers – that most of us wouldn’t trust to wash dishes – thinks it deserves to nullify the wishes of the members of the biggest political party in Europe.

On the grounds that it would be ‘best’ for the party, because they’ll throw their toys out of the pram otherwise, no doubt. They cannot, must not be allowed to succeed.


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    1. Organise and get to meetings is key. Make sure not to miss the meeting at which delegates will be selected. Talk to your union rep as well, as the unions’ role will be vital.

  1. I know it’s too late, but why BRIGHTON?
    How far do the Labour left, want us to travel?
    To be able or afford the expense of getting to the annual conference?
    Some of us in the NORTH WEST don’t have that sort of travel money, not to mention the accommodation costs!

    1. Would not your CLP cover some of your costs if you are going as a delegate ? I agree why Brighton , but then it was Liverpool last yr . Maybe the answer is Birmingham , easy to get to by train etc and cheaper accommodation costs plus bang in the middle .

    2. If you are a delegate you must take part in the pooled travel scheme so it is a flat rate of £95 per person regardless of where you come from in the UK. It is not cheap to go as you have this cost plus £116 for your conference pass (first delegate from CLP gets a free pass). Accommodation in Brighton is costly but I understand some comrades in Brighton are working on setting up accommodation amongst their membership to assist low income left delegates. I think Momentum might be trying to help with this as well. You CLP can help with costs but it does not have to. Don’t let cost put you off if you can go and support the crucial amendments, such as the McDonnell one. It is just a matter of trying to be creative. We are a collective movement so work with others to make it happen don’t try to lift the whole burden yourself.

      1. Duncs, do you have any links for this info? It would make a great article for prospective left delegates

      2. Most of this info is in the packs that are sent to CLP secretary’s about Conference Delegates. I have seen it but don’t get a copy as I am not a CLP secretary. The free pass for 1 delegate is in the rules.

  2. This seems an unlikely scenario. I would not think a CLP constitutional amendment would be accepted by CAC to reconstitute the electoral college so it would need to come from the NEC. I am unsure the NEC would pursue this as the Union reps would not be very supportive. If it got to conference the Unions would be unlikely to support it so unless the right had packed all the CLP delegates they would struggle to get a majority.

    If they want this they first have to convince the Unions to back it and dump the Collins reforms. I don’t see that happening as that was a hard won compromise in 2014. The Union’s don’t hanker for a return to the electoral college. They gave it up in 2014 because they realised that whilst is was giving them the 1/3 vote it was not delivering any influence over party control or policy. They were treated like the bastard stepchild a lot of the time by the Party leadership so it may have seemed superficially like the college gave them influence but in reality it didn’t. OMOV is actually better for them so long as the membership is more in line with the Unions policies. Their obvious goal should be greater and deeper democratisation of processes in Labour and maximising their members involvement and activity in the Labour Party, so as to increase their power leverage from the grassroots on up. Going back to the Electoral College is the antithesis of this.

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