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Shenanigans on Labour’s right

‘Independent’ NEC slate feeding data straight to Progress/Labour First



The contest for three additional places on the party’s NEC (National Executive Committee) is essentially between two ‘slates’ of candidates. On the one side is the ‘grassroots’ slate supported by left-wing organisations. On the other are popular comedian Eddie Izzard, Johanna Baxter and Gurinder Singh Josan in what styles itself the ‘independent’ slate.

The three extra places approved at Septembers annual conference are to represent Labour’s membership on its ruling committee. But is the ‘independent’ slate as independent as it claims to be?

Campaigning is now underway and the ‘Independent NEC reps’ website makes huge play of the supposed independence of the candidates and its significance:

indep nec 2

Members who remember Johanna Baxter’s part in the suspensions of ‘the Purge’ surrounding the 2016 Labour leadership contest will already be raising eyebrows – but there is a more current connection that raises questions about the claim.

The website invites visitors to register their details in order to receive information about the campaign and the candidates. The website’s homepage that contains the registration form (archived here) does not say what will be done with information submitted. However, after registration, those receiving the emails will find out where it went.

And given the claim that the ‘independent’ slate will ‘not take instruction from any faction’, recipients may be somewhat surprised by the answer:

indepnec email.png

Not only that, but by signing up you provide Labour First and Progress – both limited companies unaffiliated with the Labour Party – with permission to send you their ‘opinions‘ about Labour and to try to get you involved in their campaigns and events.

Labour First and Progress are two organisations that tried strenuously to prevent Jeremy Corbyn becoming Labour leader, who supported the challenge against him and are widely regarded as implacably opposed not only to his leadership, but to the vision and direction of the Labour party under him.

Labour First was even, at the beginning of this year, attempting to organise to control September’s conference in order to prevent measures Corbyn’s supporters were eventually able to welcome because Labour First failed spectacularly in that effort.

Both organisations were closely linked with manoeuvres at the 2016 conference that stacked the NEC against Corbyn and the vast majority of members who back him.

In other words, both organisations are well and truly factional.

The fact that the slate is supported by Progress and Labour First should be enough to warn any pro-Corbyn member not to touch it with a ten-foot pole, let alone consider voting for anyone on it.

The fact that it is being presented as an independent slate when in fact it is the Progress/Labour First slate, speaks volumes about why – and every member needs to be aware of it urgently.

And to make sure to cast their vote only for the grassroots left slate of Yasmine Dar, Rachel Garnham and Jon Lansman.

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4 comments to Shenanigans on Labour’s right

  • Danny Nicol

    The problem is, given the Momentum coup, I am not at all sure I can vote for Dar, Garnham and Lansman either. Given that Momentum has abolished its own democracy, these comrades were not chosen by the pressure group’s membership. Furthermore none of them are existing members of the NEC and we are entitled to be especially fussy when it comes to promoting new “names”.

    So, where do they stand on the crucial issues?

    Will they actively support the replacement of the capitalist system with a planned economy in which most of the economy will be in public ownership? To this end will they actively support the abolition of large-scale private enterprise in Britain?

    If so, what transitional demands will they promote?

    Will they oppose any settlement with the EU and any other international agreement which in any way limits the powers of UK governments to intervene in the UK economy?

    Will they actively promote the mandatory reselection of Labour MPs?

    Will they actively promote the abolition of the Blair-era National Policy Forum and the reinstatement of Annual Conference as the Party’s policymaking body?

    Will they push these positions at the NEC regardless of the views of the Labour Right on the matter? Nowadays there seems more emphasis on achieving a cosy consensus!

    Given the liberal rather than socialist nature of most Corbynistas, I am no longer willing to vote for names merely because they have somehow acquired the label “Left”. I want to know for sure that they actually support the socialist transformation of society. If we settle for a merely liberal Left, we will certainly end up with capitalism for ever.

  • Ann

    in reply to the above from Danny Nicol. It may be a very important issue to be sure of a candidates credentials and policy but if you don’t vote in the ballot now in front of you for the Momentum three candidates are you planning to vote for the Progress three or not vote at all. We on the left cannot in my view stand apart from the leftward moves however inadequate some of it appears without letting less socialist candidates win.

  • Jonathan Clyne

    Hi Danny,
    You should ask yourself about what you are more concerned. Encouraging hundreds of thousands of members to take more control over the Labour Party. Or, not worrying about encouraging Progress and Labour First and imagining that you are saving your soul.
    All the best,
    Jonathan
    PS: If there had been another three candidates, the situation might have been different.

  • Mick

    I am informed there are many more candidates, they just haven’t bothered to make themselves known. Very few have made contact with our CLP secretary, therefore will have no chance of being selected.

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