Labour Party

Health and social care must both be public

The Guardian reports a Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson saying there is “no foundation” to claims that the government plans to bring social care under the umbrella of the NHS. But rumours are widespread enough that the denial comes at the end of a longish article on the claims. The Guardian has since covered the possibility fairly extensively, as have other media outlets. We want social care made a free public service, publicly-owned and provided, with its staff on secure public-sector pay and conditions. Health and care campaigners are divided on the general issue of NHS...

Labour's antisemitism tangle

More than ÂŁ300,000 has been donated to a fundraising page to help support Jeremy Corbyn if a legal case goes ahead over the leaked Labour antisemitism report or the Panorama programme produced by John Ware. Keir Starmer has already settled the Panorama legal cases with the whistle-blowers featured in the documentary, several of whom are heavily criticised in the pro-Corbyn leaked report. Corbyn has criticised the decision. He claims the move to settle was political rather than legal and that Labour had a strong defence case. Regardless of the merits of the legal case against the former party...

Left NEC slate: a weak start

The “Centre Left Grassroots Alliance” campaign for Labour’s National Executive Committee, supported by Momentum and other organisations, has launched under the banner “Grassroots Voice” (futureweneed.com). The front page of the campaign website includes a 180 word political programme. If you’re not paying much attention it reads as left-wing, namechecking various good causes, but what it actually advocates is vague. It says nothing about procedural questions which are crucial particularly for NEC members, e.g. sovereignty of conference, proper reporting of NEC meetings, due process over...

Remobilising the left

At the end of July, local AWL organisers met to discuss remobilising members to respond to the economic and political upheavals that face labour movement activists as the lockdown eases. Our window for that remobilisation may be short if lockdowns are partially or fully reintroduced. As socialist activists whose political bread-and-butter is face-to-face communication and outward-facing activity such as meetings, street protests, and picket lines, we need to learn the lessons of lockdown. Some trade union activity has been possible in some unions, at the local level and among leftists, but...

The Momentum election, lying, hypocrisy and transphobia

The sweeping victory of the Forward Momentum slate in the Momentum national coordinating group election means that every candidate elected bar one signed the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights pledges. Candidates in the Momentum election supporting the Momentum Internationalists platform signed up to them, but criticised the pledge which suggests an emphasis on exclusions from the party rather than challenging transphobia in vigorous debate. Many candidates on the conservative left/Stalinist Momentum Renewal slate signed the LCTR pledges but four did not, for reasons that are worth paying...

Labour meetings reopen

A new “coronavirus guidance” from the Labour Party (15 July) says that “CLP [Constituency Labour Party] ordinary meetings and branch meetings may now be conducted online”. Beyond online social get-togethers, educational talks, and so on, such meetings had previously been banned since March. That deprived ordinary members of the right to call leaders, MPs, and councillors to account, to debate out policies, and to make decisions on campaigning. The guidance still says “physical meetings remain prohibited”, though since 4 July the government rule has been that meetings of up to 30 are OK with...

Row over Labour slate

The new leadership of the Labour left group Momentum has faced criticism for endorsing all six candidates on the “Centre Left Grassroots Alliance” left slate for the Constituency Labour Party seats on Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC), despite failing to get a statement on trans rights supported by the slate as it said it would do. The elections are for 18 of 39 seats on the NEC, and are now in the nominations stage. That closes on 27 September, and balloting will be 19 October to 12 November. There was a genuine problem of timescale, with the new Momentum national coordinating group...

Labour's NEC election: what does the left stand for?

The “Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance” is actually a collection of organisations on the Labour left, dominated by Momentum and the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy. It has just agreed a single slate of six candidates for the nine CLP reps on Labour’s National Executive Committee. Only six, because this will be first NEC election run under Single Transferrable Vote, and it is now inconceivable the left could win all nine. In the two-place CLP rep by-election and BAME rep election earlier this year, the left was split and the right won all three places. This time there was pressure for a...

Starmer: Campbell-Bannerman or Blair?

A Tory government, re-elected last time on a wave of nationalism, is ousted after many years in office. Under it new legal shackles were imposed on trade unions. A soft left government comes to power: what will it do about the right to strike? That could be the situation in a few years’ time. It was the situation in 1906, when a Liberal government led by Henry Campbell-Bannerman replaced the Tories in office. Trade unions and the new Labour Party demanded legislation to overturn the Taff Vale judgement, which made trade unions liable for costs incurred by employers during strikes. Liberal MPs...

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