Ballots in the crucial election of nine members of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) have started to go out today – and Labour members who support Jeremy Corbyn need to vote for all nine candidates on the left ‘slate‘, as any deviation risks opening a door to the right-wingers who want to block Labour’s impetus as a genuine movement ‘for the many’.
None of the right’s preferred candidates can be trusted anywhere near the vital phase one of the ‘democracy review‘ to put the party back in the hands of its huge membership and insure it against a repeat of the right-wing take-over that Tony Blair pushed through.
But the tactics of the right have evolved – and involve a considerable degree of attempted camouflage. Rather than a ‘Progress/Labour First slate’, 2018 candidates have been billed as ‘independents’ – and around the country, right-wingers have campaigned for various local positions on claims of support for party leader Jeremy Corbyn, in spite of working against him previously.
That phenomenon has begun to appear in the current NEC election.
Mary Wimbury is a right-wing candidate whose campaign is backed by Labour First and Progress:
Her campaign’s Facebook page leaves little doubt about where she stands for anyone who knows what to look for – links to appearances with Progress MPs and directors, headlines against the idea that members should elect their local council leaders and other right-wing tell-tales.
But her campaign letter and campaign image both name-check Jeremy Corbyn:
The link is tenuous, but the less well informed might think that she is in some way aligned with the Labour leader. However, members of her CLP (constituency Labour party) say that she detests him.
The SKWAWKBOX has contacted Ms Wimbury to ask whether she considers this campaign presentation honest and whether she obtained permission from the people on show in her campaign materials for them to be included.
In addition, Ms Wimbury’s announcement of her candidacy stated that she wants Labour to be a:
Party that is welcoming and inclusive for all who share our values. We need to live those values in our meetings, in our campaigning and in our encouragement of new people to get involved.
She has therefore also been asked whether she will condemn the recent aggressive verbal assaults by right-wing MP Ian Austin on his parliamentary colleagues Ian Lavery and Chris Williamson, as this will no doubt be of considerable interest to Labour members voting in the NEC election. Any responses received will be published.
Labour members should be under no illusions about the stakes involved in this election, with the democracy review, the direction of the party and the conduct of future leadership elections all in the balance in an NEC on which the left currently has only the tightest of advantages.
Any candidate succeeding in this election who is not on the left slate will be a huge setback. All members of good will toward the party’s current direction need to vote for the full left slate of nine candidates:
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