Above: Dennis, where are you now that they need you?
From ‘Labour First’ (republished here for the information of the entire labour movement):
Thank you to everyone who was at Labour Party Conference and ensured that far from being a rout for Labour’s mainstream, we won both the main votes that were contested among delegates (the priority ballot on whether to debate Trident, and the National Constitutional Committee election) and asserted that we are here to stay, to play a loud and proud role in the life of the party, and to fight for our values and defend the policies we see as essential to a Labour victory and, in the case of Trident, to national security.
We think we struck the right tone in being clear that we accept our new party leader’s mandate and will get stuck in behind him in fighting the Tories and austerity, but we will not roll over and allow key policies where we think he is at odds with common sense and public opinion to be ditched, or allow the Hard Left to seize every layer of the party structure or to manipulate the rules to their own partisan advantage.
If you did not watch it yesterday, please take the time to read Tom Watson’s brilliant speech which closed the conference with a reiteration of the need for a broad electoral appeal and a restatement of our achievements in government between 1997 and 2010: https://www.politicshome.com/…/tom-watson-speech-labour-par…
We come out of the conference with unexpected momentum and our heads held high. We need to build on that momentum because the Hard Left will be seeking to move fast to shift the party in their direction, using the vast amount of data and new members they secured in the leadership election.
Here is just some of what needs to happen next:
In our network
We need to expand our network round the country. Please ask everyone you know who would share our concerns about the future direction of the party to join our email list using this link: http://eepurl.com/Nzh75
We need a key contact in every CLP – someone who will attend CLP meetings and is able to promote our candidates for internal elections, our model motions etc., and feed back intelligence to us. If you are willing to do that and haven’t already told me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, CLP and phone number.
We want to set up local Labour First groups on the model that we already have in the West Midlands, a space where Labour moderates can meet up informally and build networks with like-minded people. If you can help initiate a group in your region, county or city, please email me.
If you can donate to help us cover the costs of our increased activity please send a cheque payable to Labour First to Labour First, c/o 125 Oxford Road, Old Marston, Oxford, OX3 0RB, with a covering note with your full name and address, or make a bank transfer or set up a direct debit to Labour First account is with Unity Trust Bank.
In your Region or Nation
There are a series of Regional, Scottish and Welsh conferences coming up:
East Midlands Sat 24 October Leicester
Scotland 30 Oct-1 Nov Perth
North West 31 Oct & 1 Nov Blackpool
East 13-15 November Stevenage
South West Sat 21 November Bristol
Wales 19-22 February Llandudno
Other regional conferences happen later in 2016.
These conferences elect Regional Boards which have a role in organisation, campaigning, and local government and MEP selections. The conferences also elect two delegates each to the National Policy Forum. It is important that this layer of the party’s structures is not captured by the Hard Left.
We need to know who the delegates are from your CLP if they have already been elected, so we can ensure they know who the mainstream candidates are. Please email me back with details of your CLP’s delegation to Regional Conference if you are in a region with one scheduled, and the political stance of the delegates where known.
We will try to have fringe meetings at as many of these conferences as possible, which we will publicise in due course.
In your CLP
All of us need to be active at CLP level, if the grassroots of the party are not politically healthy, the top of it never will be:
Be welcoming. We need to take the lead in welcoming all the new members that have signed up and integrating them into the social, political and campaigning life of the party. It doesn’t matter if for some of them their motive for joining was Corbynism – many people who started out as Bennites in the 1980s ended up as Blairites or Brownites, people’s views change as they get more deeply involved in politics. We cannot afford CLPs divided into “new” and “old” members – we have to take the initiative and reach out.
Recruit. We won’t get a louder moderate voice in the party by making the whole party smaller again. That would be pernicious. We need to embrace the politics of mass movements, we need to build an even bigger party that is more representative of Labour and potential Labour voters by getting people who share our values among our friends, family and colleagues to join and become active: https://join.labour.org.uk/
Campaign. Labour’s moderates have to visibly be the people who, even under a leader we did not pick, are leading local campaigning against the Tories, the Lib Dems, the Greens, UKIP and the SNP.
Take responsibility. Every position of responsibility from branch secretary upwards has its role to play in ensuring Labour is a stable, efficient, democratic and fair party. Each feeds into the next layer above and has a knock-on effect on the overall direction of the party. We have to volunteer for – or hold onto – positions of responsibility and do the hard work that sustains the party. We should rally round hard-working CLP, LCF and branch officers, councillors and MPs if they come under unfair partisan attack.
Build alliances. Many of the old divisions and battles are now rendered meaningless. We have to work with and support anyone who has the best interests of the Labour Party at heart and wants a mainstream, electable Labour. There are many people who would until this summer have defined themselves as on the left of the party who are horrified by the way events have turned out and suddenly find themselves politically adrift. We must reach out to them.
Organise. The major challenges in early 2016 will be nominations for the NEC elections, and election of 2016 Annual Conference delegates, both of which are likely to see unprecedented levels of organisation by the Hard Left. In many CLPs we also expect to see organised attempts to take control of the key officerships at CLP AGMs. We all need to be prepared to mobilise every possible mainstream member to vote at these key meetings – with a key difference being that some CLPs have an All Member Meeting structure and others a delegate based General Meeting.
Know the rules. The national rulebook (available on Membersnet) and your CLP standing orders are your allies. Read them, and use them to ensure proper democratic procedures and appropriate comradely behaviour are adhered to.
We are at the start of a process of saving the Labour Party. It is going to be a long and difficult struggle. Let’s get to work!
Secretary, Labour First
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