Labour deadline looms

Submitted by martin on 31 May, 2011 - 12:09

24 June is the deadline for Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) to respond to the Labour Party's official review of its structure, conducted by Peter Hain.

It is also the deadline for CLPs to submit a rule-change proposal (they can choose to do that, or put in a "contemporary" motion by 16 September, which has to refer to recent events, i.e., in effect, events in August). It is the deadline for them to elect delegates to Labour Party conference 2011, though some CLPs did that at their annual general meetings in February.

These deadlines come at a time when there are openings in the Labour Party - and pressures to shut them down quickly.

The 19 May meeting of the newly-elected Executive of the giant Unite union adopted a declaration that "we must communicate our position within the Labour Party at all levels and make it clear that Unite cannot support a position based on government cuts being 'too far, too fast'... We must ensure that Labour MPs and councillors receive an unequivocal message from our union supporting our policy of opposing all cuts".

But Unite's Political Director appointed earlier this year, Adrian Weir, no radical but reckoned a friend of Labour Party democracy, has stepped down in obscure circumstances and been replaced by Steve Hart, who is expected to follow instructions from Andrew Murray, now the union's "chief of staff" and a supporter of Stalin and North Korea. And Labour is not campaigning against the threat that the coalition government will legislate to ban union funding of political parties.

The Labour Party has 50,000 new members. But the left has so far been unable to organise them into an audible fresh voice in the party.

The whole Labour Party structure is up for review. But Peter Hain's consultation document is poor, and the unions are not opening up their response for the consultation to debate in the ranks.

Labour's general secretary Ray Collins is to be replaced. But it seems possible that his successor could be Chris Lennie, a veteran Blairite hatchet-man.

Ed Miliband was elected Labour leader last October by trade unionists' votes, against the wishes of the Shadow Cabinet. Since then he has been running scared from the hard-Blairites whom he defeated.

The strongest pressure on him is from the hard-Blairite right, who want to get him to do their will and then push him out, to replace him by one of their own. The unions and the left need to create a counter-pressure.

bit.ly/laZNz9: suggestions for rule-changes from the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy.

www.refoundinglabour.org: Hain review

bit.ly/kF1vot: CLPD-suggested short response

bit.ly/lid9Ig: threats to ban union funding for political parties

bit.ly/jyqd0y: shifts in Labour and union officialdom

bit.ly/j6P7jH: Unite Executive statement

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