The SKWAWKBOX has covered at length the Labour candidate selections for next May’s local council elections. The selections have been marked by three key elements:
- outrage among the local population at the council’s plans to hand over the homes of thousands of social homes lived in by local people to a private company for demolition and ‘redevelopment’: the so-called Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV)
- deeply questionable occurrences at some selection meetings, with queries about anomalous membership patterns in some wards that have reselected pro-HDV councillors to stand again in May
- transparently self-interested complaints by deselected pro-HDV councillors and their supporters, who have claimed ‘Momentum’ is conducting a vendetta-based take-over
That last claim is patent nonsense, as anti-HDV councillors have been reselected across the political spectrum, with centrist councillors who have fought against the ‘social cleansing’ plan easily retaining their place and even anti-Corbyn members testifying that the remote and arrogant behaviour of some pro-HDV councillors has been the key factor in their failure to do so.
Today, three more centrist councillors decided that withdrawal from the fight was preferably to the anticipated humiliation of defeat – and in keeping with the behaviour of their colleagues who have lost or stepped down so far, they decided to blame Momentum.
Councillors Arthur, Elliott and Doron withdrew from the contest only around 45 minutes before the 3pm selection meeting, but at 2.33pm the trio had already tweeted a link to a long article about their decision to stand down:
Local Labour activists have told the SKWAWKBOX that the majority of those who have stood down so far have announced it only an hour or so before the selection meeting and that this looks like an attempt to cause the meeting to be aborted – at such short notice the meeting has to proceed and members have to decide whether to re-open the shortlist or endorse those remaining on it as the candidates.
They have always chosen the latter.
The councillors’ article is entirely in line with the pronouncements of other defeated/withdrawn centrists. The trio pay lip service to the democratic right of members to select someone else – but label the members they think weren’t going to reselect them as closed-minded and unfair:
“It’s right that councillors should have to win the support of local Labour Party members” – but we chose to withdraw at the last moment instead.
The rest of the statement is no better and wanders off into a show of horror that members of other parties should be involved in a campaign to end the HDV, which affect the whole community in Haringey. One local member told the SKWAWKBOX how relieved they will be to ‘be rid’ of its authors, because of the lack of grace and dignity in defeat that they felt was reflected in the statement and in the way the withdrawal was announced.
This last-minute withdrawal took place in spite of the trio evidently having decided to do so far enough in advance of the meeting to write a ten-paragraph, 1032-word statement – and to publish it half an hour before the meeting was due to start.
The Labour right may be trying to use the candidate changes to smear what they prefer to simplify as ‘Momentum’, but it’s hard to escape the feeling that the people of Haringey will be breathing a sigh of relief when the selections are over and they finally get chance to vote in candidates who will end the prospect of the HDV and its impact on their community.
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