I think it’s fair to say that most Labour members would struggle to define the Labour left as one cohesive body within the Party. Even amongst those who self identify as ‘left’ find that members of their own peer group don’t always share their politics. In fact, I suspect most members of Momentum, CLPD, CLGA, LRC or Labour’s BAME, LGBT+, Disability, Women or Youth groups etc have differing ideas of what constitutes ‘left values’ within their own groups and it’s not uncommon, for example, to find that you have more in common with members of other Labour groups than you do with some of the members of your own group.
Having affiliate groups dedicated to supporting members who share a common goal, grievance or identity is never a bad thing but when these various groups start to compete with (or even attack), each other because they don’t agree on a given point or whether a candidate should get their support for a left slate, etc, then things start to unravel pretty quick. The fact that some of these groups are run by unelected exec further undermines trust and integrity and it’s extremely damaging to us all.
What’s equally damaging to trust and integrity within the party is when you have elected Exec, like some on the NEC for example, who wield an excessive amount of power and claim they want to improve Labour Party democracy but, at the same time, freely disenfranchising ordinary members A true democracy would allow CLPs to choose their own local candidates and nominate who they want to represent them on the NEC for example and a true democracy would not allow a small handful of individuals to suspend candidates for the NEC without good cause.
Of course, whilst some Labour affiliate groups are busy tinkering around the edges – debating amongst themselves or focusing their energy on fighting other Labour groups – they’re not fighting to change the status quo and they’re certainly not fighting for ordinary members. What’s worse is that while they’re busy fighting each other and while the party is busy putting all its energy into fighting its own membership, the Conservatives are making hay, devastating the economy, turbo boosting their racist policies and ripping the heart out of the NHS.
Seems to me, what we need now is to grow a Labour CLP coalition that puts all the power and control into the hands of the membership. Elected CLP Exec can be the voice for their members and most CLPs have elected Exec for their BAME, LGBT+, Disability, Women and Youth groups, etc. Now imagine a coalition of CLPs where decisions are made by elected executives from 650 constituencies or, better still, where elected exec are tasked to poll their membership on key issues. Imagine also how powerful such a coalition would be if they decided to challenge a decision by the NEC and think about how much more effective the party would be when coordinating election campaigns and rallies?
If you’re a member of the Labour Party and you think a Labour CLP coalition could be the kind of break through that the party needs right now, or if you think you have an idea that might be even more effective, then please drop us a quick email with your thoughts – firstname.lastname@example.org