Labour is in danger of losing all the energy and hope that we saw from Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
Poor governance, a lack of transparency and a lack of accountability are undermining the credibility of the whole party. These issues include:
- Under-resourced CLPs unable to function effectively as a result of the centralisation of funding. A survey of CLPs by Stand up for Labour found that over 60% do not have office space. The current distribution of members’ subscriptions is grotesquely centralised (For every standard rate member who pays £52.56 per year, only £2.50 goes to the local party and a whopping £50.06 goes to the central party). Most CLPs can only dream of following the example of Broxtowe’s Labour Hub.
- Vast sums of money being spent in the party’s name without consultation with the NEC. This was clearly the case last week where £600,000 of party funds were spent on settling a case out of court.
- Party accounts that fail to disclose anything but the bare minimum of information (see the discussion with on party accounts on ‘Labour Funding Scandal’ at 31 minutes)
- NEC members not seeing the agenda for NEC meetings until they arrive at the meeting (see Mark McDonald on ‘Whatsapp stopped the coup against Corbyn’)
- NEC members being denied access to accounts or budget information (see Gurinder Singh Josan and Jon Lansman on ‘Labour Funding Scandal’ at 36 minutes)
- NEC members being denied access to information about party membership (see Ann Henderson’s comments on ‘Is Labour run by bureaucrats?’ at 1:07 minutes).
- A culture of nepotism that blocks people standing for office (witnessed by many in ‘Is Labour Run By Bureaucrats?’ and seen in the leaked report)
- A culture of bullying and racism (witnessed by many in ‘Is Labour Run By Bureaucrats?’ and seen in the leaked report)
The most damning overall point is that the NEC is not running the party – the bureaucracy is.
The only hope we have of resolving all these issues is through mobilising the membership behind the NEC and this can only be achieved if the NEC election becomes a full-blown campaign.
We need to take this opportunity to discuss ways we can make the party accountable, transparent and credible.
All NEC candidates need to address the fact that, as things stand, the NEC is not running the party. We desperately need NEC members who accept that this is happening and who also won’t accept it happening any longer.
I’m dismayed at the approach to this election being adopted by the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance.
For the sake of party democracy and in order to inspire more people to take part in the NEC election, we need more than a list of six people with 200 words statements – we need to conduct a series of discussions about the issues.
Selecting a slate of people and then telling everyone to vote for them because they are socialists – and to not vote for them would split the vote and ‘let in the right’ – is simply not good enough. This is old fashioned, top-down politics at its worst.
Many Labour members are despondent and some are threatening to leave (or have already left) as a result of the way the party is run.
It is essential that socialist candidates running for the NEC take this opportunity to go out of their way to give hope to disheartened members.
This will involve taking part in many debates and discussions and listening to ideas put forward by members. This can all be done from the comfort of their homes via Zoom.
If we want to save the Labour Party and work on the energy of Corbyn’s leadership, we need to encourage discussion and debate.
Crispin Flintoff, Henley CLP