Enfield Southgate members trigger the next ‘earthquake’ among Labour right?

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Southgate Underground Station at night. Photo by Christine Matthews [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this week, the SKWAWKBOX exclusively reported the ‘earthquake’ that has shaken the Labour right when the ‘Local Campaign Forum’ (LCF) – the body that controls candidate selection processes – in the West Midlands borough of Sandwell was suspended by Labour General Secretary Jennie Formby and Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC).

Some of the improper practices alleged in Sandwell are common around the country – and it seems that local Labour parties (CLPs) are beginning to rise up and demand that corruption at local level – the next essential step in the re-establishment of Labour as a popular movement – is dealt with.

On the same day that Sandwell LCF was suspended, Labour members in the north London constituency of Enfield Southgate received the following email (emphases added by the SKWAWKBOX):

Dear Member

The following motion was passed overwhelmingly by 46 votes to 2 (with 4 abstentions) at our All Members Meeting on 24 May 2018:

This All Members’ Meeting of Enfield Southgate Labour Party is concerned to note:

  1. That irregularities occurred in the Councillor selection process of 2017. The process was overseen by the then LCF Secretary (now Leader) who has acknowledged that she guided the interview panels to omit two important questions from the list of questions provided by the LCF to be asked of all candidates. The Labour Party Compliance Unit guidelines on candidate selections identifies ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ questions that must be put to all candidates. These two questions fell into the ‘essential’ category and should have been asked of all candidates. – One of the questions dealt with the contribution made to the promotion of the Labour Party and was designed to check that a candidate had a minimum of one year’s membership of the Party and a track record of regular involvement in party campaigning etc.

    – The other question fell into the ‘essential’ communication skills category which is designed to identify a candidate’s ability to communicate clearly both verbally and in writing, be able to demonstrate an ability to read and critically appraise a written report, to compose and write letters, and to use the telephone and email in representing constituents.

     

  2. That the guidelines advise that nominees must meet all the agreed essential criteria and only if they meet those should they be recommended for endorsement by the LCF. It is clear that some nominees were put through who were unable to meet those requirements. As a result, we are unable to warrantee to the public that all candidates put through are qualified to be councillors. 
  3. That the explanation provided by the then LCF Secretary – that the first interview panel failed to ask to ask the two essential questions and therefore for the sake of consistency she instructed all subsequent panels omit them – is contradicted by the London Regional Director in his report of 8 January 2018, which states: “The Chair of the first panel confirmed to me that all questions were asked to applicants.” 
  4. That the then LCF Secretary failed to inform the LCF that the two essential questions had been not been asked. 
  5. That when the LCF met to endorse the candidates they were not informed that [sic] of this omission and endorsed the list on the basis that all candidates recommended for endorsement had fully met the criteria. 
  6. That a number of candidates whose interview assessments were marked ‘potential’ were reported by the then LCF Secretary to the LCF as “yes” 
  7. That a businessman from Broxbourne was discovered to have been texting instructions on who to vote for to specific groups of members at shortlist and selection meetings, in contravention of party rules. 
  8. That the candidate panel endorsed by the LCF is not representative of the diversity of the communities they are elected to serve. 
  9. That all five sitting black councillors were deselected, and that in protest at the endorsement of the panel, one black councillor resigned his Council seat and another black candidate withdrew her candidacy. 
  10. That a substantial number of applications for Cabinet and other committees appear to be part of a job lot that has been completed by the same person, as evidenced by the same sentences and spelling errors presenting across the forms of a specific group of applicants. 
  11. That some applications for Cabinet strongly suggest that the applicants are functionally illiterate and would not have met the “essential criteria” at interview had the essential questions been asked. 
  12. That the irregularities may have materially affected the outcome of the selection process and hence the composition of the new Labour Group when the Leader was elected at the AGM. 
  13. That the then LCF Secretary (now Leader) has repeatedly refused to answer a list of 25 questions pertaining to the interview, shortlisting and selection process, which were drawn up by the LCF and put to her in writing.

The AMM therefore

a. Endorses the statement accepted by the LCF at its meeting on 9 January which states that “even more information was withheld from the LCF” making it “impossible for the LCF to discharge its duty”. (copy attached)

b. Expresses its very grave concern at the sequence of irregularities and breaches of the rules that have led to the ousting of the former Council Leader, including the failure to properly consult the membership as required by Labour Group standing orders.

c. Instructs the Chair of the CLP to write to the NEC and National Constitutional Committee setting out these concerns and demanding an immediate investigation with the power to suspend councillors and members where there is a prima facie case of wrongdoing.

d. Resolves that, henceforth, this CLP will exercise far greater scrutiny over the workings of the local party, including of the Local Campaign Forum, Labour Group and Council, insisting on adherence to rules, transparency of action, and proper accountability to the membership. The Executive Committee is directed to bring forward a scheme to ensure that this necessary work is successfully achieved.

The allegation of the completion by third parties of application forms, together with the winking of selection panels to rubber-stamp ‘functionally illiterate’ candidates as ‘placemen’ for influential local government figures is strikingly similar to one of the complaints that has contributed to the suspension of the LCF in Sandwell and seems to be part of the right-wing ‘playbook’ for stitching up council power structures.

The SKWAWKBOX has received a significant number of allegations that a north London MP has been at the centre of the manoeuvres to replace Enfield’s popular, left-supported council leader – the ‘sequence of irregularities and breaches’ referred to in the Enfield Southgate motion above – and is investigating.

As this blog predicted earlier this week, the suspension of Sandwell LCF needs – and looks set – to be just the first in a wave of investigatory and disciplinary actions by Labour’s leadership and administration.

Labour members demand it – and the people of this country need it, so that Labour can be the same inspirational force for change at local government level that it is proving to be at the national.

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20 responses to “Enfield Southgate members trigger the next ‘earthquake’ among Labour right?

  1. I wonder if the infamous Netanyahu funded and supported Joan Ryan is playing a part in this corruption? She’s already been implicated in ‘The Lobby’ yet remains an MP for some reason. Looking forward to more exposure of this corruption. Well done Swawkbox.

  2. Skwawkbox, is it possible to establish if the councillors who benefited from the corrupt activities of the LCF Secretary were members of the Cooperative Party?

    • Oh here he goes again the political imbecile IA slagging off the Cooperative Party though yes whilst some Right Wing Labour Careerists use it to add to their menu the moron takes an homogenous view of the Cooperative Party when there are still plenty of decent socialists in there including a significant number like me who support Jeremy.
      When the working class were living in poverty they set up Coops to provide decent bread etc.
      This political imbecile needs to get with the programme following a recent pro cooperative movement speech from both Jeremy and John.
      His thought process of treating groups of human beings or movements as homogenous (they are all the same) is mirrored by Barbarians like Trump.
      I suspect IA is a middle class liberal or non-Labour bourgeois socialist.
      Meanwhile grassroots, bottom up, left wing democratic socialists will work to transform the World!

      • You seem highly agitated by a simple question, Bazza.

        If you are a member of the Labour Party I would ask you to behave in a comradely fashion, your comment is in clear breach of both the values and rules of the Labour Party.

        If you are a member of the once honourable Cooperative Party I suggest that instead of attacking Labour Party members like myself you address the fact that your party has been captured by a Blairte caucus whose sole objective is to undermine the democratically elected leader of the Labour Party and act as an inbuilt opposition to the Labour Party and its socialist programme of government.

      • Oh! Hark the embodiment of the labour party that is Bazza.

        Got a pretty high opinion of yerself haven’t ya? Is that a prerequisite of being in the co-operative? I mean you’re all fully accomplished dab-hands in telling us who’s who and what’s what.

        Even if IA is ‘A middle class liberal or non-Labour bourgeois socialist.’ I’ve read enough of his/her politics to know I’d much rather join a party full of IA’s type in the party than some working class, class-traitor of a party full of likes you only seem to find in the co-operative. Those that sell out to the likes of umunna & greasy et al f absoblute fs.

      • I’m proud to say I’m a working class socialist, The Toffee.

        I’ve never bought into the middle class idea. I think it’s just an establishment method of trying to undermine the solidarity of working people and an attempt to generate reactionaries who think they are better than others to maintain the status quo for the benefit of the establishment.

        That’s just my view, I’ve got nothing against socialists or anybody else for that matter thinking of themselves as being middle class.

        I just think they are falling for an establishment trick and should have more confidence in themselves and their value instead of having to rely on constructed status labels which are actually designed to separate working people and prevent progress and equality in society.

        If you rely on your labour to put food on your table you are, by definition, working class.

        People should be proud of that. It’s honest and decent.

  3. What seems ‘normal’/’acceptable’ seems to be riddled with agendas and influences rather than consensus and propriety-everywhere.Good to know but mountains to climb.

  4. Root & branch analysis needed to expunge corrupt practices and save our democracy!!!

  5. I am very glad to see these rocks finally getting turned over.

    With others I have been working at trying to combat this sort of corruption for the last 3 years but it has been difficult when Southside have at best turned a blind eye, or at worst colluded themselves.

    I have had numerous RD’s tell me the rules don’t matter and are just guidelines. The other favourite reply from RD’s has been “no one else has complained so it must be fine”. To borrow from the late Southampton resident Benny Hill “just because no one complains it doesn’t mean all the parachutes worked”.

    The actions in Sandford and Enfield are a good start though and it is none too soon in coming. For the Labour Party to be successful I firmly believe we have to ensure our deeds match our words. It is absurd to say we are in favour of human rights or public propriety and then in the Party itself behave with a flagrant disregard for both.

    Our actions as a Party have not been matching our expressed values. To get the political support we need I strongly believe we must demonstrate that we not only talk a good game but that we are morally superior in our actions as well and demonstrate that we have not just the best policies but the best and strongest underlying moral values. We are better than the Tories not just because we say so but because in every action we prove it day after day.

    Whilst in opposition we don’t have much control but the thing we do control is our own Party so it is essential that in its internal workings it be a paradigm of virtue to clearly demonstrate to the electorate that we mean what we say and carry our values into practice and thus can be believed when we say we would do so as the UK Government.

    • “The thing we do control is our own Party’

      I beg to differ.

      Mandatory Reselection = The Damoclean sword for the MP; the Panacea for democracy AND discipline within the entire party.

  6. I assume most of those involved will have been willing, knowing co-conspirators and accomplices but if even one feels misled or abandoned s/he might expose documentary proof condemning the lying Quislings-in-chief who’ve earned expulsion a hundred times over.

    • It is interesting that if you look at the edits to Joan Ryan’s Wikipedia entry someone called ‘Philip Cross’ seems to have made quite a lot of them.

  7. I am a member of Enfield Labour party and we are determined to root out this cancer of corruption, that has invaded our local party for too long.

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