Unknown to the vast majority of Labour members, whether by design or accident, a hugely important Labour election got underway this week.
Most people are aware of the vital CAC elections, for which ballot papers started going out to all Labour members last week. However, few members might be aware that there is also an NEC (National Executive Committee) election happening right now – one that gives Labour members the chance to correct some of an anti-democratically created imbalance on Labour’s ruling committee.
The election of Labour’s BAME representative on the NEC.
MP Keith Vaz is the incumbent BAME (black, asian, minority ethnic) member of the NEC. Mr Vaz has a well-known and problematic history, but also – for supporters of Jeremy Corbyn – a deeply problematic voting record, which has consistently aligned with the NEC’s right-wingers, according to another NEC member who spoke to the SKWAWKBOX.
His rival Asghar Khan, on the other hand, has a strong record of grassroots activism, a working-class background – he drives a postal van for a living – and has the backing of four major trade unions.
Khan is formally supported by the Unite, GMB, CWU and TSSA unions, as well as of steadfast allies of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn like CWU’s Dave Ward and MP Richard Burgon:
— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) July 24, 2017
Asghar’s candidate’s statement makes clear that he is thoroughly onside with Labour’s direction as a genuine alternative to the Tories:
Only members of BAME Labour are eligible to vote in the election and, perversely, BAME members of the Labour Party are not automatically members of BAME Labour. Membership of BAME Labour requires Labour members to join the section individually – at a nominal cost of £5.00 for two years’ membership.
It’s too late now to join and vote in this year’s election, but the SKWAWKBOX recommends every qualifying Labour member to join in order to strengthen the left’s democratic voice in the party going forward.
For those who have been BAME Labour members since at least 7 July, voting another strong, left candidate onto the NEC is vital for the success and direction of the party, given the current knife-edge balance of votes on the committee and the consistently anti-Corbyn voting record of incumbent Keith Vaz.
Having spoken to Asghar and to some of the great people who are backing him, the SKWAWKBOX is pleased to endorse his candidacy and asks qualifying readers to vote Asghar Khan as BAME NEC member.
The closing date for votes is 11 August.
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