Labour party tries to shoot the Elephant in the room

Picture the scene. It’s Britain, in the year 2006. The Prime Minister of the day announces he will preside over one more major party conference, then step down before the next.

You’d think then, that that the governing party’s conference would be a natural place to discuss his sucession – perhaps even a place for (gasp!) leadership hustings. But no. Labour’s Conference Committee has thrown out more than 140 attempts by Labour constituency parties to discuss issues such as the leadership on the grounds that – get this – the issue is not contemporary.

Delegates are also railing against the Labour Party’s decision not to hold an Annual General Meeting:

“The Labour Party with debts of over £25 million and membership down 10% in 1H 2006 is NOT holding an Annual General Meeting when members can hold the Leadership to account for its stewardship in the past 12 months.” says website LabourConference.Net

In the Liberal Democrats, even our smallest accounting unit – a local party – can be suspended if it fails to hold an Annual General Meeting. In our party, had our leader announced his intention to step down between conferences we would have laid on hustings at our conference (as, for that matter, even the Conservatives managed to do during their most recent leadership change!).

And perhaps the most important thing Labour party supporters should note is that if you turn up to our conference as a member, you have the opportunity to get up on our conference stage and change representatives’ minds. If your local party elects you as a voting rep, your vote is of equal weight to our party donors, MPs, and even the leader – in the Labour party you’re competing against the four big unions (Amicus, TGWU, GMB, UNISON) who hold 40% of the vote – you and your member friends have only 50%. If your view contradicts that of the leadership you must be 100% united, and have backing from a block vote holder to defeat them.

Labour has increasingly been movoing its policy making away from conference and in to ‘Policy Forums’ – which meet in private. Liberal Democrat policy is always voted on at conference. Some policies, such as the outcome of Meeting the Challenge, involve extensive pre-vote member consultation.

Are you a Labour party member fed up with the fact that your party doesn’t listen to you – even at party conference? Don’t waste your time joining the “save the Labour party” campaign – you’re already too late. Join us.

Hat tip to Recess Monkey for pointing out the decision to rule out the leadership motions.

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This entry was posted in News.


  • “Labour’s Conference Committee has thrown out more than 140 attempts by Labour constituency parties to discuss the issue on the grounds that – get this – the issue is not contemporary.”

    140 motions were ruled not contemporary, but they weren’t all about the leadership. I think the ones about the leadership were just 17

    “in the Labour party you’re competing against a union block vote ”

    there’s not an union block vote…the unions have to ballot their* members for their 1/3 of the electoral college

    * actually it’s not just “theirs”. It’s all the affiliated organizations:: unions, the Co-Op Party and the Socialist Societies

  • Rob Fenwick 23rd Sep '06 - 2:55pm

    You’re trying to tell me the unions don’t do deals with their votes? *laughs*

  • “You’re trying to tell me the unions don’t do deals with their votes? *laughs* ”

    well, your main piece was a bit confusing and it wasn’t so clear what you mean with the “And perhaps the most important thing Labour party supporters should note is that if you turn up to our conference as a member, you have the opportunity to get up on our conference stage and change representatives’ minds. If your local party elects you as a voting rep, your vote is of equal weight to our party donors, MPs, and even the leader – in the Labour party you’re competing against a union block vote of 1/3 and a Parliamentary block vote of 1/3 (which is whipped by the party leadership) – you and your member friends can only influence one third of the say” part.

    First it seems you’re talking about votes at the conference…but then you mention the 1/3 for the unions and 1/3 for MPs. So it’s impossible you’re referring to conference votes because the “weight” splits are not that ones.
    The 1/3 for affiliated organizations and 1/3 for MPs/MEPs is for the leadership vote. If you’re referring to it, well, I don’t know what you mean with “unions don’t do deals with their votes”. Union bosses can (and do it) say who their preferred candidate is, but members can vote for whoever they prefer. Infact back in 1994, Blair didn’t have the backing of the majority of unions leaders, but he won over 50% of votes in the trade union section.

  • Rob Fenwick 23rd Sep '06 - 3:25pm

    Yes I’m sorry, you’re right – it is infact worse than I outlined. The unions have 40%, not 30% of the vote. And where, before Blair, the members had about 80% of the vote, they now have 50%. You’re right, I’m sorry. The Labour party conference is a shining example of democracy – I’ll go and correct my piece now!

  • well, I thought you wanted a serious debate, not just mocking other people who just wanted to be helpful. But I probably misunderstood this wesbite and the level of the debate here.

    The unions and other affiliated societies are part of the party (through the affiliation), I suppose you would like them (and their members) to have no say.

  • Rob Fenwick 23rd Sep '06 - 3:52pm

    I’m sorry, but I, and I think most other people, find a system that weighs four union general secretaries as being roughly equal to about 200,000 members to be indifensible. But well done you for trying.

  • wythenshawe-bloke 24th Sep '06 - 7:25am

    it makes my skin crawl at the thought that blair and brown are 2 miles away from the moss (moss side for you southeners) were the killing of the kid, and £5 million is being spent on the coppers, right now sky are broadcasting in front of the center and theres 8 coppers walking past, were were these police when ordinary people need/want them, not in the likes of the moss and *wythenshawe* (largest garden city of europe and home of manchester airport) were the residents are labeled with the UKs lowest incomes ,lowest job creation and were labour controlled manchester city council have seen fit to sell off masses of ground and yet fail to encurage regeneration in any large or even modest way, MP for wythenshawe and sale paul goggins isnt interested in anything but his wacky ways ,yet the whole UK takes massive profits from the airport and diverts it away from wythenshawe.

    weres the lib-dems that live in wythenshawe, apparently no were and dont seem willing to voice even the state in wythenshawe civic center were we cant even get a CAB or law center to help with bringing these many problems to peoples attention.

    sorry for the rant, but blair and brown could give a flying *** about places like the moss and wythenshawe but will use any tack and centeral manchester for their own ends and totally ignore the rest.

  • wythenshawe-bloke 24th Sep '06 - 7:46am

    rob, its clear the labour thinking on low income and protecting state benefits
    for the english people, they have forced people to take a bank account to receave these protected by law payments.

    however, scots gordon brown, i assume, has seen fit to NOT protect these benefits in the english law once these benefits are payed into the banks, and the banks are taking these vital payments in bank charges , wereas if your in scotland the GOVT have made sure that these same benefits are protected so the banks cant take any part of these (child benefit etc) moneys.

    what is the Lib Dems view on this state of affairs ?, and what are they willing to do to bring this profit mongering at the expense of the countrys most needy?.

    its clear that at least a large proportion of lib-dem MPs are behind diluting the Data Protection Act so as to give these banks and the CRA’s far more power to share peoples personal infomation even though this data is the property of the person not the institutions, see for many many problems with these related facts of how ordinary people including average/low and benfits familys are suffering.

  • wythenshawe-bloke 26th Sep '06 - 8:06am

    hmm 2 days and not a single resonse to my questions or comments, is it werth coming back here ?, it does seem to be a problem to get any form of party to speak about wthenshawes situation wonder why that is given its got over 35 thousand council houses alone with the area having a capacity of 100.000 adult people at least, and people wonder why we dont vote for them!..

  • wythenshawe-bloke 27th Sep '06 - 9:05am

    ill try and spell it out for the readers:

    here a direct link to one such state benefits case of were the english banks are taking this benefit in charges.

    its clear enough for anyone looking for it, in this day and age its common that many basic services (ntl phone etc)will refuse to take cash or make an unlawful charge (in common law see banks and defaults at the site above for more info)for paying bills etc, so eather the least well off must pay for services at a higher cost or setup a direct debit, yes?.

    ignoreing for the moment the fact in UK law, a direct debit is tantermount to a cash payment, and the pesky thing about the queens coin of the realm cant be refused in payment and its wrong that the likes of NTL the incumbent cable for the uk charge anything extra in relation to DD.

    now, if for any reason what so ever, that DD gets taken out a day early or for some reason a DD amount asked for is even 57P over the current funds i the account then the banks automatic systems will refuse the transfer and MAKE AN UNLAWFUL charge against your account and remove that amount , and in doing so remove your ability to use that cash for paying bills and services.

    now what ever the readers limited view of the facts, its clear that the UKS least wealthy low income/state benefits will be most hard hit by these actions , yes?.

    now, if your in receat of and state benefits, for instance ‘child benefits’ that money IS PROTECTED in UK law as a garanteed minimum payment for use by you and you alone as the payee, however, currently the second it gets payed into an ENGLISH bank (or in my case A&L) then it is no longer afforded this protection as the labour GOVT did not see fit, weather intentially or not, to make English law to ban the banks from taking this vital moneys, BUT if you live in scotland there IS A LAW there to stop the banks taking that moneys.

    the point is if its good enough for scotland for protect their least wealthy in law , then it should be also afforded the english welsh and irish as well.

    as you look into this, im sure some smart arse will tell you how theres agreements and bamking codes that say they shouldnt take these state benefits, and that might be true, HOWEVER, they *do* *ignore* these so called *guidelines* etc, and they *do* *take* these *moneys* BECAUSE IN English LAW as stated above, theres nothing set in stone to protect these and other moneys.

    keep this in mind every time you hear so and so MP say we have taken X% of children out of poverty and X% of low income people are better off by X%, these are the very same people that are suffering in unlawful charges as they need every single penny ( and those pennys do matter in these cases) and are therefore far more likely to be placed in a situation were they temp find themselves a few pennys over as they pay their gas/electric or emergency phone be company imposed DD payments only.

    is that clearer to you simon.

    are yes Gorton, the bellview dogs/BIG DADDY when i was a child, have you seen the state of wythenshawe civic center lately?.

    some pictures of how it was, now while thats so 70s, now its just sad
    i cant find a current set of pics so pay civic a visit sometime and see.

    i imagine there are many other deprived areas around the country with the same kind of story, but given wythenshawes manchester airport and its homes for hero’s ‘largest garden city in europe in the wythenshawe hospital that performed the worlds first heart transplant, i submit its got everything currently wrong with all things GOVT today and so should eb made far more visable in the nationals understanding of the incumbent labour councils abuse of these places.

    we lost the famous outdoor markets as labour sold off the grounds to mcDonalds BC etc years ago, we had the shopping parrades woodhouse park/newallgreen each with 40 shops and houses above them to far less houseing trusts so now we have new familys with no shops to spend local money or jobs in them to work locally , its mad, we need more local jobs not houses here….

    thanks for reading

  • wythenshawe-bloke 27th Sep '06 - 9:32am

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