Irrefutable Arguments?

The contents of this email seems to have been the reason, for the cancellation of Wednesdays Wentworth & Dearne CLP meeting?

It is very good and deserves a wider circulation.

Dear All,

This email is intended for delegates and members of Wentworth and Dearne CLP – apologies if this email does not apply to you. Please can you forward this on to other delegates not included in the distribution, or to those invited to the meeting on Wednesday. And please feel free to forward it to any other member.

The urgent issue that needs to be raised is that the meeting to nominate a leadership candidate has been limited to delegates only, excluding a great number of members from this important democratic process, in particular the large number that joined since the last general election who expected to take part in the democratic processes of the party to make a positive change, but who are now at risk of feeling disenfranchised or alienated.

What makes this particularly problematic, in contrast to the usual delegate structure used for more routine party business, is that it contradicts the mechanism introduced following the Collins Report, whereby the procedure for electing the party leader was intended to be wide-reaching and fully inclusive, reflected by the introduction of the one-member-one-vote method. This was intended to give each individual member and supporter a say in the direction of the party.

The Collins Report stated this in its introduction:

“this review … is about broadening and deepening the party’s relationship with ordinary men and women in communities across the country”

It also observed the following in laying out the context for reform being necessary:

“branches were often moribund and controlled by a small number of overworked enthusiasts … Processes tended to be

bureaucratic and based around meetings and minutes. Most members were far removed from centres of decision making”

“In the past people interested in change have joined the Labour Party largely to elect agents of change. Today they want to be agents of change themselves.” [quote from Gordon Brown, 1992]
“What I want to see is the Labour party pushing itself outwards, getting back in its local

community, being the party that represents people within that community

[quote from Tony Blair, 1993]

The Collins Report and its recommendations were accepted by Wentworth and Dearne CLP without any significant criticism or disagreement, and thus should be conducting itself in line with the changes that followed from it. On the contrary, the CLP has now resorted to practices strongly criticised in the report.

In particular contrast to the sentiments captured in the above extracts from the report:

  • The relationship with ordinary men and women in communities in Rotherham has not been broadened and deepened; it is being damaged by treating them as irrelevant, excluding them from a meeting when the agreed routine practice is to invite ALL members.
  • Branches have been excluded, secret meetings have been held, and members have been removed from any decision making.
  • People have joined the Labour Party to be agents of change themselves, but are being prevented from being such.
  • The CLP is pushing itself inwards by using bureaucratic methods and privileges to exclude the local community and the people that it is supposed to represent. This will push potential new members away from the party, not draw them in.

The only way in which to conduct the nomination meeting, to ensure the Collins Report is not entirely dismissed as irrelevant against the democratic decisions of the CLP and the wider party, is to invite all members of the CLP, and also to give them voting rights to ensure the participatory inclusiveness recommended by the Collins Report with respect to leadership elections.

An equally if not more important matter of fact that must be considered for the meeting is the standing orders of the CLP, which state:

All members of the CLP are eligible to attend CLP GMC meetings as non-voting observers”

“The agenda of all party meetings shall be drawn up to give due priority to the endorsement and introduction of new members/delegates, the discussion of resolutions, party policy items and other matters of interest to party members”
“Nominations for delegates and representatives to other bodies should be sought as widely from among party members as possible”
“Party meetings and events shall be conducted in a friendly and orderly manner and organised in such a way as to maximise participation from members”
  • Excluding members from the meeting is in breach of standing orders.
  • Not giving any priority to the introduction of new members is in breach of standing orders.
  • Discussing matters of interest to party members without them being present seems to contradict standing orders.
  • If nominations for delegates and representatives should be sought as widely from among party members as possible, surely this applies to nominations for the party leader.
  • Clearly excluding members breaches standing orders in respect of “maximising participation from members”

In addition, the Labour Party rule book states:

“Nominations for leader … shall be sent in writing … and each CLP shall be entitled to make nominations”

The CLP is made up of all members, not just delegates, and by completely excluding the majority of members from voting and participating in the debate about making a nomination for the party leader means that any decision taken has not been made by the CLP, but rather by a very small section of it, which clearly breaches the rules.

In fact the aims and values of a CLP, as stated in the rule book, include [chapter 7 clause II]:

“To unite the forces of Labour within the constituency”
 
“To provide the opportunity for all individual members of the party within the constituency to contribute to the development of the aims and policies … and that they may participate fully in discussion to broaden the political education of members of the party and to increase their influence over the formulation of the party programme”
Clearly by excluding so many members from contributing to the debate about our party leader, the CLP is in breach of these clauses in the rule book, as it is not uniting the forces of Labour, but causing division and exclusion.
More importantly, it is not providing the opportunity for all individual members to participate fully in discussion, or to broaden the political education of members in respect of the suitability of candidates, or to increase their influence over the formulation of the party programme, this latter issue being the most fundamental and important aspect of the selection of the party leader.
The only course of action now available to the Wentworth and Dearne CLP in properly undertaking its duties as set out by the party rule book and the CLP standing orders, and as suggested by the Collins Report, is to postpone the leadership nomination meeting until such time as ALL MEMBERS can be invited with sufficient notice period to attend the nomination meeting and actively take part in a discussion and a vote for the CLP’s nomination for the leadership candidate. This has been taking place across the country in the spirit of inclusive participatory democracy, embracing and utilising the great energy and enthusiasm of the members, many of which are just getting into politics and need to be welcomed, not shunned.

I now urge the secretary or any other person with the appropriate organisational authority and responsibility to immediately postpone the meeting and notify all the members.

It has been suggested that the CLP executive has been following advice that contradicts the specific duties detailed in the rule book and standing orders. If this is the case, such advice must be made available to the members. But surely such important changes to the rules must go through some form of democratic decision-making process; there has been none, and as such any advice must be invalid anyway. In fact, as the standing orders state:

“No alterations shall be made to the Rules and Standing Orders of the organisation except at an Annual or Special Meeting called for this purpose and carried with the support of two thirds of the members present. No alteration shall be effective until it has received the appropriate officer of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party”

In solidarity,

Daniel Platts

Unite delegate, Wath BLP member

16 thoughts on “Irrefutable Arguments?

  1. Excellent letter by Daniel platts.

    Bet the officers and Cllrs are still digesting the letter and scratching their heads.

    Stitch up with healy as made them all look foolish and bent. MP is busy blaming them.

    Lights on but nobodys in.

    Like

  2. It has been suggested that the CLP executive has been following advice that contradicts the specific duties detailed in the rule book and standing orders. If this is the case, such advice must be made available to the members. But surely such important changes to the rules must go through some form of democratic decision-making process; there has been none, and as such any advice must be invalid anyway.

    Silence from the town hall over attempted stitch up. MP not able to tweet rigged result.

    Like

  3. So they haven’t broke any rules then! CLP nominations are useless anyway, they won’t sway the end result. Regular CLP meetings only allow delegates to vote so no different too.

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    • They have broken the rules, they cannot exclude non-delegate members and prevent them from exercising their rights, in line with rule book to attend. What part of that, do you not understand?

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        • I am disputing the interpretation of the NEC decision, not what the words say in isolation.
          The NEC did not envisage, secret stitch-up meetings, of the old fashioned, ‘smoke filled room’ variety. The general rules for CLPs still apply, so members may not be excluded, even though they cannot vote.

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    • They terrified of democracy simon and letting members speak, vote or ser the stunts they get up to at clp meetings.
      As for not influencing things well the MP and flunkies try to distort things by tweeting the result. Without informing public that they av barred 99% of members from having a say and voting.

      Hoodwinkers at best.

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    • Rothpol is spot on.

      Why are you afraid of democracy and being open to all members and having open.meetings like many other clps. So you can be accountable to the many not an handful. So you can actually discuss and debate policies. And scrutinize how MPs have voted?

      Like

  4. The CLP is made up of all members, not just delegates, and by completely excluding the majority of members from voting and participating in the debate about making a nomination for the party leader means that any decision taken has not been made by the CLP, but rather by a very small section of it, which clearly breaches the rules.

    In fact the aims and values of a CLP, as stated in the rule book, include [chapter 7 clause II]:

    “To unite the forces of Labour within the constituency”

    “To provide the opportunity for all individual members of the party within the constituency to contribute to the development of the aims and policies … and that they may participate fully in discussion to broaden the political education of members of the party and to increase their influence over the formulation of the party programme”
    Clearly by excluding so many members from contributing to the debate about our party leader, the CLP is in breach of these clauses in the rule book, as it is not uniting the forces of Labour, but causing division and exclusion.
    More importantly, it is not providing the opportunity for all individual members to participate fully in discussion, or to broaden the political education of members in respect of the suitability of candidates, or to increase their influence over the formulation of the party programme, this latter issue being the most fundamental and important aspect of the selection of the party leader.

    Like

  5. Pingback: Last Weeks Top Ten 6th August | Rotherham Politics

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