BAME Labour result is anything but unexpected

It was announced today that MP Keith Vaz had defeated the challenge by Leeds councillor Asghar Khan for the ‘BAME Labour’ (BL) place on Labour’s ruling NEC (National Executive Committee). This has been portrayed as a ‘unexpected blow’ for Momentum, which had backed Khan:

fisher bame.png

While there’s no question that Momentum would have wished to see Vaz replaced on the NEC, it was not unexpected. Many viewed Khan’s candidacy as important to highlight the issue rather than for any serious chance of victory – because BL appears to be far from representative of Labour’s black and ethnic membership which, like the rest of Labour’s membership, is largely pro-Corbyn and therefore unlikely to vote other than for the most pro-Corbyn candidate.

BL is an affiliated organisation that is meant to protect and promote the interests of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people in the Labour Party.

However, contrary to what you’d expect simply being a black, Asian or minority member of the Labour Party does not make you a member of BL. You have to apply to join – and if you apply, you don’t automatically become a member – you receive a message saying your application has been submitted for approval.

Rumours abound of Labour members applying to join and finding that their application was never registered, or even that they have been debited the membership fee but then find the organisation has no record of them when it comes to voting time. Even NEC members will admit that membership numbers are extremely unclear – but most active party members who would qualify for membership are not in BL.

What is clear is that BL looks a very long way from being an organisation representative of Labour’s wider BAME members – and many members who know anything about the organisation suspect that it exists to further the interests of right-wing Labour far more than those of BAME members of the Labour Party.

And, those interests are best served by keeping control of the BL NEC spot. Much as that needs to change, that makes the result anything but surprising.

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  1. Jeremy’s opponents are holding and even gaining ground, one grubby little scheme at a time. Chalk up a seat on the NEC to them.

    As lowly, downtrodden members, there’s only so much we can do against a hostile bureaucracy – sometimes, as above, nothing.

    We’re giving overt support to the leadership, we need it back in cases like this.

    Otherwise, the party itself is going to slip right through our fingers and, at some point down the line, Jeremy’s opponents will control everything necessary to purge Jeremy’s supporters and turn the party back into a front for the laundering corporate influence.

    1. Not entirely true, I guess the constitution is as open to Momentum and Corbynites to be amended as to the vaz fans.

      Maybe now is the time to review BAME as an organisation under labour constitution able to nominate a member to the NEC or maybe BAME members need to change the operation of that organisations constitution and also how policy is implemented.

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