Saturday, December 16, 2006

Emergency NEC Meeting - 14/12/06

Got the message on Tuesday that there was an emergency NEC meeting on Thursday evening – mainly to discuss Hayden Phillips and Party funding.

I had to miss the by-election in Lancaster but felt it important to be there in person (sorry Lancaster!)

Two other items of business:

1. There will be a National Policy Forum in February which, amongst other things, means we can discuss Trident

2. Changes to the Annual Conference, venues will now be:

2007 Bournemouth

2008 Manchester

2009 Brighton

2010 Manchester

This means we are back to being away from the English South Coast every other year.

The main business was the party’s approach to an interim report from Sir Hayden Phillips in which, amongst other things, he has come up with proposals which would require the Party to write to every single trade union member every year reminding them they don’t have to affiliate to the Labour Party. This is a more draconian assault on Trade Union political funding then even the Tories managed after the General Strike of 1926!

Hayden Phillips is clearly exceeding his mandate by delving into Trade Union Political Funds and would destroy Political funds and cost the Party millions – a totally partisan attack on the basis of our Party’s funding at a time when finances are tough enough.

We had a very constructive and unified debate in which we reiterated policy agreed at Conference. I made the point that we needed unity and that the Party/Union link was not up for sale. The NEC unanimously agreed a statement along those very lines.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Lancaster By-election 14/12/06

The emergency NEC means I'll probably miss the Lancaster By-election so good luck to the party there.

By the way, the Nazi BNP objected to me calling them Nazis in a recent posting.

Apparently the Nazi BNP don't like people reminding them that they are Nazis and the get really upset in a Nazi fashion, so if you want to upset the Nazi BNP you know what to do.

6 times in one sentence - that should really upset them!

Sir Hayden Phillips Review of Party Funding

Things seem to be moving very quickly on the party financing front with rumours that Sir Hayden has published draft recommendations, including a £50,000 donation cap on every organisation and individual, including Trade Unions and severe restrictions on the way trade unions collect their political funds.

I haven't seen the report yet but clearly these proposals are a nonsense and would destroy Labour's link with the trade unions. This must be fiercely resisted.

There is an emergency NEC on Thursday 14th where we will be discussing the issue and its important the Party maintains its unity on this issue.

The changes needed are controls on expenditure and an end to anonymous donations.
I will be arguing strongly against any moves which threaten Trade Union Political Funds or the Trade Union link with the Labour Party - and doing my best to keep the Party united and our fire trained on the opposition.

To make a donation to the Labour Party please visit:

Review of party funding website:

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

NEC Report

1. NEC Meetings
At the beginning of November we had the NEC Away Day and NEC meeting.

The Away Day concentrated on the challenges facing the party over the coming year – specifically the forthcoming elections, party renewal, and policy making and improving the NEC’s role in running the party.

The main business of the NEC meeting included the guidelines for any future leadership elections, Annual Conference in Manchester which was felt to have been very successful (although we are aware of the major problems of the accreditation process and are addressing these!) and the arrangements for events to replace Spring Conference. It was also reported by the Chief Whip that Clare Short M.P. having resigned the Labour whip had excluded herself from the party.

Copies of a report from my colleague, Ellie Reeves, which you might find useful, together with the NEC response on party funding are available by emailing

2. Blog
To improve communications I’ve set up a blog. It won’t replace written and e-mail communications but hopefully will complement them. It can access it at

3. Membership 1000 Club
We’ve never needed new members more than we do at the moment and we probably all know people who would join if asked. However, doing so on you own often seems like whistling in the wind.

It occurred to me that a bit of solidarity might help. If 900 of us pledge to get 10 members each that will be an extra 1000, it won’t change the world but will make a real contribution to party membership. More information on my blog but if you’re interested e-mail, writ or ring and we’ll probably have a little prize at the end of next year.

Any members recruited will be able to vote in the leader / deputy elections next year – so get in touch and sign up for the 1000 Club.

4. Warwick
The Party Chair, Hazel Blears has prepared a report on the implementation of our Warwick Manifesto commitments.

The picture seems to be that much progress has been made but we still need urgent action on the outstanding issues – especially delivering on the promised guaranteed bank holidays for all workers. Copies of the report can be received by e-mailing me at this address.

5. Issues
I’ve been pursuing a number of issues on behalf of members including parliamentary selections, trustees for Labour Clubs and ensuring a future for the Local Government Conference. If there are other party related issues you’d like me to take up please let me know.

6. Meetings
If you would like me to attend your GC please contact the above address and I will do my best to get there.

Best wishes for Christmas (and Hanukkah) and the New Year.

Here’s to a good 2007 for the Labour and Trade Union Movement

The museums are getting full - thanks to Labour

I don't know if anyone else noticed but The Guardian had a report last Saturday that since Labour introduced free public admission to museums the attendances have risen by 83%.

It's one of those radical steps our Government took which has been of real benefit to everyone but doesn't get enough publicity.

It's also one of those policies which are genuinely popular and socialist and we need more like this for our next term of Government.
If you are ever up in Salford, try the Lowry, it's a great day out and free.