Analysis Breaking

London regional office hijacking Tottenham annual general meeting tonight and preventing left delegates attending

Yet more interference by Labour to impede member democracy

The Labour party is yet again interfering in the democratic processes of local party groups, after recent scandals in Streatham, Bristol and elsewhere.

Tottenham constituency Labour party (CLP)’s annual general meeting (AGM) is being held this evening, or rather the second part of it after a previous meeting was left unfinished. Elections to the key ‘officer’ positions that set the direction of the CLP are held at AGMs and no votes for officer posts had been held in the abandoned meeting.

Local members see the hijack of their meeting as a precursor to yet another attempt to remove popular Haringey council leader Joe Ejiofor, the only Black council leader in London – who is implementing the ‘Haringey manifesto’ that includes delivering 1,000 council homes at council rents and insourcing services – and to control the selection of council candidates.

The Labour right in the area, which now consists of open Blairites along with former ‘lefts’ who are now cheerleaders for Starmer, have been pushing for a change of policy so that new homes built by the council will be let at ‘affordable’ (and not really affordable) rents instead of council rents.

For months, branches and executive committee (EC) members have been asking the party for correct delegate allocations for branches to the ‘GC’, or general committee – Tottenham is organised on a branch/delegate basis rather than as ‘all-member meetings’. The AGM should have been held last December, but was postponed after the branches realised that they had been given incorrect delegate eligibility numbers, which substantially reduced their delegate entitlements.

However, despite repeated requests, accurate allocation numbers were not provided until after the deadline for electing delegates, leaving branches unable to elect their full delegate allocations. This has reduced the left presence at the AGM: the majority of branches are on the left, while many of the affiliate delegates, often from non-functioning affiliate branches local members say have been set up for the purpose, are from the right.

At the same time left union delegates are finding that they are being prevented from joining the meeting, as Unison’s John Burgess has complained on social media:

After the CLP’s chair was suspended in December for allowing debate on a motion of solidarity with Corbyn – with the news as usual leaked to right-wing hacks before the chair himself knew – Labour’s London regional office has hijacked the meeting and imposed the right-backed candidate for chair (who was the only other candidate) on the CLP without an election . The Tottenham EC had decided to reopen nominations to allow a contested election, but regional staff stepped in to over-rule the decision made by duly-elected officers and delegates.

Yesterday afternoon, regional staff issued an edict that no votes will be taken at the AGM itself. Instead, ballots will be sent out after the meeting using the controversial ‘Anonyvoter’ system created by associates of acting general secretary David Evans that has caused chaos in other meetings. This is causing much suspicion that, on top of the above, the balloting process will be manipulated to favour the right-backed slate.

Rules breach

Labour members in the area have also discovered three cases of delegates to the CLP from affiliate groups – including a local councillor – standing as branch delegates to the CLP – which is specifically forbidden in Labour’s rules. This serves to block branch delegate places that would otherwise have gone to left-wing members.

Labour’s rules for delegates to GCs state:

(Procedural guidelines for the general organisation of Constituency Labour Parties. Clause I. General: Clause IV. Conditions for appointment of delegates to this CLP)

3. No person shall act as a delegate for more than one organisation/Party unit.

Yet again the party is treating members and their democratic rights with utter contempt.

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53 comments

  1. How do the Kremlin under the control of Keir ‘Stalin’ Starmer continue to get away with this sort of deliberate and calculated undermining of the democratic process? If this happened in some 3rd world republic or Cuba it would be called out immediately.
    The question is, What can be done?

  2. David Evans has written a new letter to Local Party Officers (March 10th)

    Dear colleagues,

    Thank you for your letter, and apologies for the delay in providing a response.

    I first of all want to say that I can fully understand the feelings and emotions that the issue of antisemitism, the EHRC’s report and the actions taken since have engendered within the Party. It is a complex and serious issue and there are a range of perspectives and points of view.

    But in October last year, the Labour Party was found guilty of committing unlawful harassment of our members and unlawful acts of indirect discrimination against our Jewish members. The publication of the EHRC report was the most shameful day in our Party’s long history and we cannot lose sight of that fact. The EHRC codified and set out clear expectations on the Party around agency, which required us to give very clear guidance to voluntary officers such as yourselves.

    Rest assured that I did not put myself forward to be General Secretary in order to have to issue such guidance about motions to stop CLPs. That’s why my initial guidance asked that members be mindful of how they discussed the EHRC report and, in line with our statutory responsibilities, asked that branches and CLPs did not bring forward motions which sought to repudiate the findings of the report or question the EHRC’s competency to undertake the investigation. I also suggested that the binary nature of motions – forcing members to retreat to ‘for’ or ‘against’ camps – might not be the best mechanism for debating the important issues the EHRC report had brought to light, and I provided some model questions to inform workshop-style discussion at local meetings. There was significant evidence that where more adversarial propositions were allowed, contrary to my guidance, that an exclusory, rather than an inclusive atmosphere, was created.

    While the vast majority of members and CLPs accepted this advice, unfortunately it soon became clear in some areas we need to more to improve culture and provide an open and welcoming space for members of all backgrounds. That’s the only reason we needed to take a firmer stance and expand the number of issues that were not appropriate for discussion.

    I know that the Labour Party would be nothing without its volunteers and I will once again offer my thanks to the branch and CLP officers who have been implementing the guidance. In hindsight, the guidance I issued originally was not clear that it was I as General Secretary – backed by the NEC – ruling these motions out of order. I was not expecting local chairs to make that decision, and therefore it was not for members to seek to challenge chairs.

    It is also not the case that chairs or other officers were being instructed to break any rules or standing orders. I hope that clarifies matters going forward.

    With the EHRC having signed off the NEC’s action plan to implement the recommendations contained in the EHRC’s report, the way forward is now clear. I will always keep any guidance I issue under review and will continue to do so in order to foster a more inclusive, open and positive framework for discussion. We must face up to our previous failure to deal with antisemitism and deliver a genuine zero-tolerance approach.

    Harold Wilson famously said that the Labour Party is a moral crusade or it is nothing. I very much hope that I can count on you – and other officers, members, and elected representatives across the country – to help us to live up to that aspiration.

    Thanks,
    David

    1. Thanks David Mealymouth, for nothing. When there is a bad law, the only way to change it is through debate, yet you’ve made debate a reason for exclusion.
      When Nelson Mandela stood against apartheid, the Labour party didn’t say “he’s a terrorist, he breaks the law, we can’t have members discussing apartheid at meetings or passing motions in favour of resistance”. It seems to me you would expel members for such behaviour these strange days.

      1. Unfortunately because the takeover deal is loaded with billions of debt there will soon be 5000 less colleges at Asda. The new owners need their wages to service their debts.
        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56185236
        Were the regulators right to block the Sainsburys Asda merger?

      2. Yes, “colleagues” as ’employee’ or ‘associate’is an ugly term. Its use became a part of the asda culture during Archie Norman’s term as CEO there. It is a word used by Conservatives for the same reason (Archie Norman MP). It’s despicable and probably indicates a hatred of workers/the proletariate.

        And of course you can’t be a unionised employee of ASDA since Norman’s time there.

      3. Thanks for gently pointing out my typo

        5000 less colleges colleagues at Asda.

      4. Singing “We’re in the money” did their take over the world of good

        Anyway, you are what you eat and Asda is turds

      5. Exactly, right in both posts, lundiel. Well said.

        Mandela would make mincemeat of the current occupants of Southside. Oh, and you’re also correct in your description of that letter. ‘Mealy-mouthed’!

        I’d go further and call it cowardly. Still, hiding behind the pandemic, knowing there won’t be a ‘flesh and blood’ conference, for some time.

        Despicable!

    2. That’s some spectacular blarney.

      Just a little more evidence of how labour doesn’t deserve your respect anymore

    3. We already have at least one Tory Party in Britain but Starmer and Evans are trying to start another.

      The comments from Evans, totally buying in to the antiSemitism clap trap, are an indication that he’s taking the remaining members for fools. Evans and Starmer are antiSocialists and should never have been in the Labour Party in the first place.IF Socialists ever get into positions of power again, these are the people, together with their enablers in the background, who must be booted out of the Party with no qualms whatsoever.

    4. Starmer and Evans and the folk at the EHRC are well aware that the Panorama program was a black propaganda hatchet job on Jeremy and the left, and that no journalist on this planet worthy of the name would just let the ten ‘ordinary Jewish Labour Party members’ make the claims that they each did AND then *not* give the CLPs concerned the opportunity to respond to the claims AND include them in the program.

      And I have little doubt that Starmer and Evans and Co and the people at the EHRC are well aware that seven of them were JLM committee members, and one of the other three their former Campaigns Officer. Everyone else who participated in the program was named in a caption in their initial segment along with their ‘job discription’, and John Ware and the producers of the program obviously knew that had they done the same for the ten ‘ordinary Jewish LP members’, just about everyone watching the program would have realised it was a stitch-up by the time they got to the third or fourth JLM committee members segment, let alone the fifth, sixth and seventh, so THAT of course is why they WEREN’T named etc AND why Ware and the producers did THEIR segments completely differently to everyone else who participated in the program – ie absent Ware ‘interviewing’ them and just speaking directly to the camera/viewers.

      But Starmer and Evans and the folk at the EHRC couldn’t give a fig about THAT because they are totally corrupt, as are Ware and the producers of course.

      My apologies to the posters below for doing a signpost on you!

      1. JVL posted the following a couple of days after the program aired:

        The Panorama programme – a compilation of critical comments

        There has been an outpouring of really good material exposing the dreadful Panorama programme as a mishmash of prejudice and distortion. We’ve reposted some articles already.

        Here is another selection, challenging the “evidence” produced, the multiple distortions, the role of JLM and more.

        https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/article/the-pannorama-programme-a-compilation-of-critical-comments/

  3. Democracy in action under Starmerites! The shenanigans would make Trump blush.

  4. No surprise that Evans came out with the usual nonsense.
    He’s so determined to follow the EHRC recommendations that he had a new discipline policy in place in a matter of weeks didn’t he? Oh, hang on, no, it just seems to have slipped his mind.
    “However, despite repeated requests, accurate allocation numbers were not provided until after the deadline for electing delegates, leaving branches unable to elect their full delegate allocations.” – as I recall there is no requirement to elect the full delegate allocation. The requirement is to elect no more than the maximum number of delegates allowed and to have a gender balance. Simply electing 20% fewer delegates than seemed to be the required number for each branch would have satisfied the requirement. Regional office could only have taken issue with this if the numbers were not warranted by the number of members but, for this to be the case, they would have had to publish the membership numbers.
    More importantly, Evans and Starmer don’t appear to accept the oft-quoted, mantra “divided parties don’t win elections”. Maybe they will come May.

  5. Why is any socialist surprised by these right-wing power games by the cult of new Labour 2.0? FFS have some damn respect and stop giving these scumbags your support, your money and especially your vote just because they call themselves Labour.

    Labour is DEAD stop trying to get around these scumbags you can’t they have the game sewn up. So let them play there stupid little power games. Stop giving them money and support and above all help to set up a socialist only party that is the only way forwards now.

    This endless fight and loose and then do it again achieve what? We have been playing this game for more than 50 years now if not longer time to wake up and see the game is rigged and stop wasting your time sanity and money on people that holds your beliefs in contempt.

  6. Under the forensic ‘standby’ leadership of Sir Keir Rodney Starmer, the Labour right and hard-neoliberal centrtists (“the moderates” in BBC parlance) have DECLARED WAR on the reasonable, common-sense democratic socialists.

    This Tottenham CLP AGM event is the third or fourth battle they have launched against us.

    Time to FightBack, or Time to Leave? I truly am conflicted.

    Why is no-one on the Left responding to this aggression which the right are unleashing? Wars are lost when troops are leaderless – sometimes without anyone knowing.

    1. The left is not filled with fighters. Think leaflet drops and sit ins. It’s one of the reasons that the left does so poorly. It’s common knowledge they ar weak etc (in the eyes of others).

    2. Maybe a shot across the bows in May? Let them know your displeasure in the voting booth, though of course they’ll blame Covid.

      1. Lundiel, of course they will blame Covid and put on a brave face. However, if Labour loses a lot of votes all over the country including London and Liverpool, the right wingers will panic and someone will challenge Starmer for the leadership sooner rather than later.
        What we need is to ensure that no a single socialist Cllr loses his/her position, so we no only maintain but actually increase our percentage of socialist Cllrs within the Party..
        It looks like Sadiq will retain London, but it is a question of how much of a majority Sadiq will get. As for Liverpool with what is going on, maybe it would go Green?

    3. And in what way would you have them respond to it qwertboi? I seem to recall you saying EXACTLY the same thing a year or two back!

      And when you say the left is not filled with fighters NVLA, in what way would you have them ‘fight’. As for being ‘weak’, were they ‘weak’ when Jeremy and the LP came within a whisker of winning the 2017 GE, or have they only become weak since then?

      Anyway, I take it that YOU are not on the left yourself given that you speak about them as a separate entity to yourself. Is that right?

      The reality is that the right are devious and duplicitous and unscrupulous, by their very nature, the left are NOT.

      1. AND, by their very nature, the left are NOT.

        And then there’s the small matter of the right having the MSM – ie the Establishment’s propaganda machine – to manipulate what millions of people think and feel and believe.

      2. It’s not for me to tell anyone how do anything, let alone fight. It’s a question of perception, and to the right they see weakness. That’s how it is.

        What exactly is the left Allan? Who are you to decide my perspective?

      3. “In what way would you have them respond to it?”

        Well, the higher-profile parts of the left often do everything exactly right in my opinion Allan. They define, break down and dissect the action or words that are contentious to them and they then dissemble, scrutinise and examine the , resolve, separate, reduce, decompose, disintegrate, dissect, divide, assay, test; rare fractionate. ANTONYMS synthesize.
        2 the results of the experiment were analysed: examine, inspect, survey, scan, study, scrutinize, look over, peruse; search, investigate, explore, probe, research, enquire into, go over, go over with a fine-tooth comb, check, sift, dissect; audit, judge, review, evaluate, interpret; rare anatomize.analyse and discern

      4. Your usual bone headed nonsense I see Allan. Allan Howard, but of course you are the only true socialist posting here. If anyone disagrees, they are “trolls” Tories, not of the Left, aren’t they.

    1. Sorry, forgot to add the title:

      Honest Government Ad | News Corp Bargaining Code

    2. Fantastic. Thanks PW. It’s almost worth having to de-cooky my mac after arriving at the surveillance-capitalism-on-seroids youtube/google site in order to see the brilliant thejuicemedia video.

      Thanks again

      1. My pleasure, qwertboi.

        I’ve been following their channel for some time now and even though it’s mostly Australian politics they never cease to cut through the bull crap in the most entertaining way.

        On a more international note and, of course, particularly relevant to the UK is this one from 2019 on Julian Assange:

  7. Action Plan/Timetable is useful. Very odd that some members have had no email to tell them where it can be found. I’ll have to ask our Secretary if s/he has had the information.
    As an aside, when I was charged with drawing up draft policies for Complaints and Discipline, a policy was normally in place within 5 to 6 months. Why the miserably slow response of the Gen. Sec.?

  8. Today has been a bad day for The Labour Party. Started early with Rayner and her ‘car-crash’ television interview. ‘The NHS deserves, at least 1.5%’, as I recall. Taking time to have another dig at Jeremy Corbyn(mustn’t forget to do that). It must be part of Southside Media Training.

    Then, Starmer. I don’t think I’ve seen such an abysmal performance from any party leader – maybe Natalie Bennett comes close. He couldn’t wait to get away from that podium, and I don’t blame him.

    Then we had the media trying to make sense of it all. That’s the part I found most galling. They were taking it seriously.

    I stopped my DD in January – dithering, to see if things got better. I will not be reactivating it for the foreseeable.

  9. Just got a begging email from Starmer. He’s getting his excuses in early: “As many as 1 in 4 voters have said they are less likely to vote in May because of the pandemic.”
    😂

    1. All the more reason to vote for ANYONE other than a (pro-starmer) Labour candidate. I’ve emailed the Labour candidate in my ward to ask her if she has any opinioon about, or intention if victorious regarding The Socialist Campaign Group of Socialist Councillors. The wrong answer will win a vote for the Greens,

      1. Postal votes are for fools.

        1) The operation is now privatised, ran by an ex Tory MP.

        2) The last GE, when Laura K blabbed the numbers a day beforehand should warn anyone that it’s no longer a valid method to vote with.

      2. SteveH, I rather use my right not to vote in view of whom the Labour candidates are in my ward. However, I would be supporting the campaigns of the few nearby Cllrs that are members of the SCG to get re-elected.

    2. Yes, a nailed on certainty that “Great Leader” and his team of empty vessels will hide behind the virus come May.

  10. If Margaret Beckett calls a comrade, on the NEC, a ‘silly cow’, what action do you think should be taken?

    1. Can we have some context. What did Laura Pidcock say/do that prompted this response from Margaret.

      1. baz2001 – To date the only information I’ve seen on this is Howard’s tweet The level of detail given could at best be called scant. Has your research revealed any further details.

      2. If Pidcock had actually done anything that could possibly have “provoked” Beckett, does it not stand to reason that Beckett would have SAID why she was provoked by now? Why do you assume Beckett was provoked in the first place? Her organising principle as a Labour politician, since the Kinnock era, has been to prove she is no longer a socialist, so it is not hard to imagine that she would feel entitled to insult a younger Labour politician who still hasn’t checked HER soul at the door.

      3. kenburch – So you don’t have any evidence after all. Like me you don’t know what happened so please stop pretending that you do.

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