The SKWAWKBOX reported last week the wholly inappropriate SurveyMonkey voting system used by Streatham CLP in London to appoint delegates to Labour’s annual Conference that begins next weekend. So inappropriate that Streatham members have called on the party to disqualify their delegates because of their concerns about the scope for abuse of democracy.
The SKWAWKBOX has learned that the same, insecure method was also used to appoint the local LCF last year. The ‘Local Campaign Forum‘ is the party body that runs electoral campaigns and, crucially, oversees the selection of council election candidates.
No complaints were raised with London Region or party authorities at the time about the process used, but some members did complain to the Streatham CLP Executive. However, complaints about the LCF itself and its actions were made and an overview of the allegations is given below in an email sent by members to Labour’s HQ.
A local member told the SKWAWKBOX:
In the context of the hideously anti-democratic tactics used since, we now realise we should have engaged in a more robust defence against the use of this flawed system. That said, we are operating in an environment where the grievance mechanisms are controlled by right-wingers who support tactics designed to marginalise the left.
Both the LCF and London Region should be placed into special measures and a new team appointed but of course this is unlikely unless the NEC structures are democratised. We need a special conference and more elected posts on the NEC but that is a whole other story which has been covered by others.
The significance of a Local Campaigns Forum (LCF) imposed by flawed voting system is set out in our complaints document, which demonstrates a whole range of grievances.
This rigged LCF has used its powers to purge the left from all council selections for Lambeth Council in 2018 – a few left-wing incumbents survived but not many and they have had to keep a low profile to avoid being struck off.
You will discover a similar pattern in Labour groups in other boroughs. We’ve been told it was the same in Hackney and we know for a fact that Ealing experienced similar issues. They shelved their campaign in the interests of unity going into the General Election, but sadly the right have no interest in uniting and are still using anti-democratic tactics similar to what the SKWAWKBOX has described in Birmingham.
From our point of view in Streatham, it looks reasonable to say that there is a systematic pattern of the right wing forces contriving to purge pro-Corbyn/left-wing candidates from all council selection processes. Certainly in Lambeth, Ealing and others – and more will certainly come forward with information when you publish your article about us.
Below is the content of an email which one group of members sent to General Secretary Iain McNicol and the NEC. No action appears to have been taken, although one NEC member did respond passing the issue back to the regional office.
We write to call your attention to a long list of serious complaints regarding the conduct of London Campaigns Forum in respect of shortlisting for the 2018 local council elections, and for the way London Region has ignored or dismissed our complaints. I attach the principle list of complaints together with 10 additional files providing evidence and details.
The shambolic way Lambeth Campaigns Forum operates, as detailed in the various documents attached and with the active assent of London Region, means there is a serious democratic deficit in the entire candidate selection process in Lambeth. Candidates aren’t given adequate forward notice of interview appointments and venues, and then are treated as though they are at fault.
Statutory law has been broken with regard to the rights of people who are ill or physically impaired, and data protection law (as when one candidate’s feedback form was sent to another!). Successfully vetted candidates are not included in the panel documents presented to wards holding shortlisting meetings.
Serious questions arise as to preferential treatment given to some candidates over others for public office seats that historically have been so solidly Labour that being selected as a candidate is almost a guarantee of achieving that office. During this candidate selection season, the complaints and problems have multiplied so quickly that they have been difficult to keep track of.
The catalogue of complaints here is one I would expect raised against Mugabe’s party in Zimbabwe. We the undersigned all have been truly shocked at what has been allowed to happen here in Lambeth Labour Party, and ask that the NEC investigate and remedy these issues as a matter of urgency.
This SKWAWKBOX’s primary contact in Streatham CLP closed with the following:
With the level of widespread corruption going on, an intervention from the Leader’s Office or decent figures such as Party Chair Ian Lavery will be needed to resolve these problems.
As long as the same regional authorities and rigged NEC sub-committees are in charge of party ethics/governance, we will be stuck with “Blairecrats” and right-wing relics working against most of the members, not for them. It is particularly bad in Streatham as this is the bastion of Progress and Labour First.
The full list of complaints would be too long for this article and contains sensitive personal information but here is a sample page – one of a litany of allegations several pages long – with names redacted:
In spite of the huge democratic successes at the level of some CLPs, there are clearly serious issues that need to be addressed, with members alleging that there are endemic problems in London Labour that demand the urgent attention – and action – of the NEC.
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