Sunday, July 20, 2008

NEC Sub Committees

We held the usual NEC sub committees on Tuesday. There was a relatively low turn out with members sending apologies due to illness or work. At the Women’s Race & Equality Committee we received a number of reports about campaigning activities & initiatives including the 60th anniversary of the NHS. There are also proposals to set up a BAME e-academy to assist with electing more BAME candidates.

As it’s the 60th anniversary of the NHS I suggested that as well as celebrating it we should also be encouraging people to give blood, support fund raising etc. Many already do this but the NHS would benefit from highlighting it. So don’t be surprised if you are asked to give blood at conference.

There were also reports from LGBT Labour about their activities at Pride events up and down the country. We also heard that BAME Labour is very active,

After the disputes committee, where for once I didn’t pick up any extra work we had the organisation committee.

The first main item of business was the up date on parliamentary selections where it was agreed that Sunderland Central and Finchley & Golders Green be all-women shortlists. North West Leicestershire and Crewe & Nantwich be open. Differences are beginning to show about how we implement all-women shortlists and how we ensure that under-represented groups are promoted, a subject we’ll be returning to.

All MPs reselections have been completed. Of the 68 remaining selections, 34 are under way. We agreed to look at how to improve the functioning of the Party in Stoke where we face a big challenge with mayoral elections next year. We had a big discussion about the situation in Glasgow and the selection of a by-election candidate. The campaign is under way and we have a very good candidate in Margaret Curran. I’m hoping to get up and help next week.

It was good to hear the result of the elections for the MP/MEP section of the NEC which saw Dennis Skinner, Dawn Butler and Michael Cashman elected. Young Labour had concluded a year long review of their structure with recommendations which accepted for a more democratic structure. There was some discussion of a paper on elected mayors which recommended that the Mayor be the leader of the Labour group. We could see problems with this and referred it back for discussion.

We then discussed possible rule changes at Conference, most were relatively uncontroversial but there is one which may well upset CLPs. The current position is that in a general election year CLPs will receive the campaign portion of the membership sub, approx 50% of each members sub. This was promised to CLPs as compensation for the 50% increase in standard rate subs 7 years ago.

Put simply the party nationally can’t afford this rebate. At the minute Trade Unions
are stumping up magnificently but can’t do it all on their own. So the recommendation to conference is to drop the rebate.

Anyway – that was 6 hours of meetings and then when I got to Euston I had to wait an hour for the first off-peak train. A good tip is that the Bree Louise public house round the corner, sells a nice pint of ‘London Pride’ (£3 a pint) and you can get 50p off if you have a CAMRA card – you live & learn!

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