Friday, July 07, 2006

Labour NEC elections

Ballot papers have now gone out to all individual members of the Labour Party for the NEC elections. This may well be the last election before the next leadership contest, and given Gordon Brown’s enthusiasm for a new generation of weapons of genocide, it is an opportunity for progressive members of the party to give him a slapping.

So it is quite simple. If you are entitled to vote then use it.

As soon as you get your ballot paper vote for Walter Wolfgang. Vice chair of Labour CND, and vice president of CND. It would be brilliant if Walter topped he poll, sending a clear message for no Trident replacement. Wolgang remember was the pensioner bundled out of conference last year for opposing the war!

Then also vote for Mohammed Azam, Ann Black, Gaye Johnston, Chrsitine Shawcroft, and Pete Willsman. Together these make up the Grassroots Alliance slate.

But that still isn’t quite enough, you also need to mandate your conference delegates to vote for Ray Davison (East Devon CLP) for the NCC (CLP section); and for the CAC (General Section) vote John Boughton (T&G).

As I wrote recently, the Labour left seem to have no realistic strategy for advance, but at least these elections give an opportunity to show that even within the Labour Party the hold of neo-liberalism is not complete


A soft socialist said...


1) Ann Black
2) Peter Wheeler
3) Pete Willsman
4) Ellie Reeves
5) Walter Wolfgang
6) Louise Baldock

AN said...

Hi ASdele

Don't you think Brown's position on trident may boost Wolfgang's vote?

Also the fact that CND are strongly backing Wolfgang?

Louisefeminista said...

Well, I have just voted for Grassroots Alliance slate re: NEC elections.

At least, Adele, you are not voting for that annoying woman, Lorna Fitzsimons. Loathesome!

AN said...

My favorite story about Lorna was when she was head honcho of NUS in one debate she said "I find that very offensive, speaking as a disabled woman"

Now lack of common sense when talking to tabloid journalists about you sex life may be a disability.

Louisefeminista said...

Lorna used to also inflate her feminist creditials as well when it suited her. Her "feminism" was opportunistic through and through.

I also remember the "blonde(ish) bombshell" when she was a Lib Dem and she quickly scurried (like a good opportunist she was) to NOLS as it would do her improve her career propspects. Oh and this is utterly juvenile (but fun and I was a 19-year old Trot) but when Lorna decided to stand still as a Lib Dem, for NUS NEC some of us had a fun time defacing her election leaflets and posters...

So Lorna, if you are reading this and wondered who drew (very artistic if I say so..)on your manifesto and other leaflets.. it was me and two others...

AN said...


What coems through withthe ballot papers in terms of election addresses, etc.
Is there enough info for the members to decide which are the left candidates and what the issues are?

Louisefeminista said...

Yep, you get a glossy voting guide (details of candidates)

And the Grassroots Alliance are saying who they are and who to vote for.

Good to see Brighton Pavilion (my old CLP) backing Walter W. Actually, Walter's has the best biog and explicitly states his opposition to war in Iraq and occupation. Lack democracy and public ownership.

Louisefeminista said...

Oh and you get a supa sexy slick little glossy number in the shape of Hazel Blears.... sorry.. magazine which does have the erudite Ms Blears wittering on about.."new community activism".. and more New Labour bollocks

AN said...

by the way, Lousie

Do you think Adele is trolling?

I have been participating in the debates in Osler's blog, but Adele just seems to come back with the same trite platitudes, I am wondering whether she is just enjoying winding us up, rather than having a genuine debate.

Louisefeminista said...

Trolling, Adele? Never!

Seriously she could be as she is coming out with the same brain dead Blairite crap and probably is enjoying winding up the old lefties and trots.

There is no serious debate except for the Blairite standard line. No deviation.

Dunno about you but i am feeling a tad bored by it all..

AN said...

Yeah, it was intertsing to start off withk and nice t remember why we finf Blairism so outrageous, but it is just going round in circles.

Thinking of having a weekend thread about films you would recommend as a socialist, so this is early warning to start thinking about it (but don't post suggestions here, you will have to be patient)

catch up soon ;o)

Derek Wall said...

I must mention, tediously, that the various demands of the grassroots alliance such as opposition to privatisation, are standard stuff for even non socialist Greens, so I would urge you to join the GPEW and have a rest from being persecuted and to build an electoral challenge to Labour which might encourage them to be less barkingly neo-liberal.

Are their candidates to the left of the grassroots alliance? is there a full list of candidates on the web somewhere for curious non labour leftists to look at?

On another matter it would be great if socialist unity ran a 'five films' every socialist should watch.

AN said...

Yes it was a bit tedious Derek, but we still love you.

The thing is, there are a number of people who are not going to leave the labour party at this stage, and certinly it is an even longer process before much of Labour's vote realises how much the party has changed. So in the meantime what is the best way for us outside the Labour party to work with our friends and comrades inside the Labour party. At this oment the Grassroot Alliance are thebest NEC candiadtes.

(I hope someine in the party will post a full list of candidates here, (or somewhere) as it is in the members only section of the labour party's site)

I'll run something about films on the blog this weekend, and maybe develop it into something for the website, like we did with recommnded books

Louisefeminista said...

You can check the LP website (but may be for members only). The only explicitly lefties are probably Walter Wolfgang and Christine Shawcroft.

Dunno is that is any help..

Louisefeminista said...

Grassroots Alliance candidates

Ann Black
Walter Wolgang
Mohammed Azam
Christine Shawcroft
Gaye Johnston
Peter Willsman

any better?

AN said...

No we kknow the grassroots candiadtes, that was in my orignall post!!

It is the full list of candidates we don't know, as it is in the memebrs only section of the labour party web-page.

perhaps you coould access it, and cut and paste it here?

Louisefeminista said...

DOH! Sorry.... it is a Friday afternoon and am tired... (I did think it strange as you had indeed posted the Grassroots alliance names already..)

Ok, will do...

Louisefeminista said...

Unfortunately, can't cut and paste as it is in a pdf format.

stroppybird said...

Andy, Louise

Don't think Adele is a troll as such, she has her own blog.

Like you im getting a bit bored.

Is this the future of the Labour Party ? I think its time to get out.....

AN said...

yeah i didn't mean I thought she was a troll in the literal sense, more whether she was being deliberately a wind up to get us going.

My own history in the Labour party is almost unique, cos having been a emebr since about 13 or 14 years old, i joined the SWP in 1978, but then after the Tories won the election in 79, i was almost the only person to think the SWp should have joined the Labour party along with the rest of the left, and so i did on my own.

I left again after the miners strike and rejoined the SWP. I have always been torn beacsue I think the left histrocially "should" have been in the labour party. (My favorite quote is "Jock Haston should have been the labour candidate")
But the party is finished now isn't it.
I used to ask myseolf what sort of young prson would jouin labour now - well Adele has answered that question!

AN said...

And yeah Stropster, get out, but then what?

You could always join Derek's outfit. I serioulsy thought about it myself, but have invested too much political capital in the socialsit alliance here in Swindon, we have a councillor now, very good links with the unions, etc. And joining the greens would break all that up.

AN said...

On Derek's question about the full list of candidates.

A labour party member has sent me the PDF of candiadtes and their election addresses, and which CLPs nominated them.
It is too lng to cuut and paste, but if anyone wnats it then e-mail me and I will send them a copy (about 500 kBytes)

stroppybird said...


'Then what'

Thats the trouble. Don't know where else to go . Am thinking about the Greens, especially as they are strong in Brighton.

AN said...

Not tempted to hitch up with Tony G in Brighton then? ;o)

Basically i think things are really shit, and there isn't anygood answer, and comrades have to make the best of the situation they are in, which will be different for different people and in different places. the Greens are as good as any, and some of the socialists in the gens, like Derek, and Pete Cranie and matt sellwood seem really good comrades to work with.

Fo rhte bigger picture - we need to continue networking, and being active in whatever we can be, until things get better, and something else comes along.

it is not an inspeiring strategy, but it is the best we may have.

Either that or we could all join the Sparts. ;o)

Matt Sellwood said...

Say my name and I will appear! :)

Thanks for your kind words, AN. The thing that interested me in the original blog post was the fact that the Labour left seems to have no realistic plan for retaking the party. This has struck me several times in the last year, as Oxford CLP is 'leftish' and I have good relations with a number of the most radical councillors in the city. They always seem utterly unable to tell me just *how* they are going to change the party - or how they will reverse Blair's destruction of Labour's internal democracy. Their strategy seems to be one of 'We need to keep working hard for Labour and eventually the leadership will be grateful and become left-wing again". Which is just barking....

Does anyone know if there is a strategy that might actually make some sense? Or is it all totally aimless - 'my party right or wrong' stuff?

El Tom said...

For info on the candidates, look here.

AN said...

Hi matt.

No there is not strategy, just hanging on. My impression is that the Labour Representation Committee is an alternative to creating a straegy, rather than a strategy - if you see what i mean.
Certainly some of it is just wishfull thinking, or inertia. After alll for a lot of Labour activists they might wish to leave but there is no obvious alternative (electable) place to go.

& Thanks el tom.
That link to the Grassroots Alliance candidates was already in my original post :o)

What we would like to know is whethere there is an on-line reference to the other candidates - Blairite douschbags and all.

AN said...

BTW where is Adele? have we scared her off?

Derek Wall said...

I think she got lost on my another green world blog in dialogue with ecosocialismo approaches to the Middle East, i.e do we want a one state or a two state socialist green Israelistine Or Palisrael or just anarchy...

in terms of ecosocialism in the Labour party, Alan Simpson seems to be the key figure, does he have a strategy?

Louisefeminista said...

AN said: "Either that or we could all join the Sparts"
I wish I was a Spart (with flowers in my hair)
Apols: to Sandy Thom

Oh, I wish I was a Spart.
Oh why, oh why, do the
Left treat us like a real
smelly fart.

From meeting to meeting we dart
selling Workers Hammer. If only
people would open their hearts and
not treat us like tarts.

It is sad and lonely being a Spart
So please come and join us and be a part…

stroppybird said...


Perhaps, unlike the rest of us sad anoraks , Adele goes out into the real world on a saturday :-)

Sure she will come back and play ...

AN said...

Alan Simpson is a great bguy. we brought him to Swindon for an anti-war meeting two years ago.
And he is excellent on ecological issues, as well as social justice and internationalism
Ni i don't beleive he has a strateg, but he is the most persuasive speaker you will hear on why it is still worth joining the Labour party.

AN said...

I'm going to try that trick agin:

Matt Sellwood

I ownder if he will post another comment in response?

Matt Sellwood said...

I see all....:)


AN said...

Well a question to matt and Derek.

If the labour Left don't have a strategy, do you?

It seems one of the biggest obstacles for the green party gaining the necessary credibility for activists leaving the labour party, or who have already left it, is that the greens spend a lot of time perfecting the policies they would implement should they win an election, but are never going to win one, and have no public discussion about how that gulf can be bridged.

Am I being Unfair?

Matt Sellwood said...

>>Am I being unfair?>>

Somewhat, yes. :)

The challenge is definitely there, but I think Greens have made significant progress in the last seven or eight years - towards being an electoral force that has to be taken seriously. We are certainly further down that road than any other force 'to the left of the mainstream' - including RESPECT, in my opinion. Our base is wider and deeper than theirs, and we will definitely break the 100 councillors barrier next year.

We also stand a good chance of winning a seat in Parliament in 2009/10 - and I sincerely believe that.

The other thing to say, of course, is that elections are by no means the be-all-and-end-all of social change, and what Greens need to get much better at is not only the electoral side (though we definitely need to sharpen up there too) but also our engagement with trade unions, grassroots activists and progressive social movements of all kinds. That link, which still exists despite Blair and Browns efforts, is the big advantage of the Labour Party still - and its something that is slowly slipping away from them. Its the Green Party's job to become the new 'electoral wing of the movement'.

It is a bit of a vicious circle though, I agree - we're not big enough to win lots of MPs, so people don't join us, so we're not big enough, so people don't join us etc etc. I think we will reach a tipping point eventually - I hope its soon.


AN said...

You are right it is a catch 22, I would personally be tempted to join the greens, but the preception of the Greens by the other socialists in Swindon who I work with, is that the greens only do electoral politics, and are not interested in the day to day campiagning (and lord knows we do try to involve them)

the greens need to win over a larger constituency of the activist left, and increase trade union links, and then they could be really credible, but can it be done, that is the question?

Matt Sellwood said...

Well, I'd like to think so. It's why I'm involved in Green Left and GPEX, anyway.

AN said...


Has green left got a strategy of what it hopes to acheive? for example rule changes that would make a leeds style coalition with the Tories impossible? Or is it early days yet.

Matt Sellwood said...

It's early days yet. I know that *I* have a strategy of what I hope to achieve, but don't know if that would be shared by other people involved in GL as yet. :)

Dragging the thread back to its original topic, you may be interested in the following, which was in the Independent today:

"On message backbench MPs have been instructed to sign a dummy letter to Labour activists in their constituency, urging them to vote against Wolfgang in this months elections. The note...suggests instead that they support a range of Blairite candidates. 'I understand from conversations with members, that many of the candidates standing for the NEC are unknown to you' reads the (supposedly) personal missive. 'Some members have asked me who I am supporting and why....on a personal level, I will likely be casting my six votes for Azhar Ali, Louise Baldock, Lorna Fitzsimmons, Ellie Reeves, Bill Thomas, and Peter Wheeler.' Sources close to Wolfgang say that the letter has already been signed, sealed and delivered by a number of MPS.
'Its not fair, and could seriously damage Walters chances. Pather though it seems, No 10 is wetting its pants at the idea of Walter saying hello to Tony at a monthly NEC meeting.'

AN said...

It iis unbeleivanble, walter seems like a realy good guy. I really hope he wins.