Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Don't be Conned

The next couple of months will be important for Party members as we consider the lessons of thirteen years of Labour Government and work out how to best defend and advance the progress made-not just over the last Government but by every Labour Government since 1945 because thats what's being threatened by this coalition.Lets not be mistaken,the aim of the Tory hand inside the Lib Dem glove puppet is to roll back Labours welfare state. They are using the smoke-screen of "having to cut the deficit" to fundamentally re-order society.

We need to be on the front-foot in opposing them and to do that we need to get our politics and our campaigning right.

We need to be proud of the many achievements our Government made.The Tories and Lib Dems seek to trash our record in order to justify their own dirty work by blaming it all on our economic and social policies-So NEVER FORGET-in an economic crisis caused by bankers greed in the states and The City ,Gordon Brown and the Labour Government took the decisions that staved off economic collapse and introduced measures to protect people from unemployment and repossessions. If the Tories had been in Northern Rock and other banks would have collapsed with disastrous consequences for every family in the country.

Labours core policies of economic intervention and industrial partnership are what this coalition opposes because they are ideolgically committed to free market solutions. That's why both the Tories and the Lib Dems opposed the minimum wage in the first place and that's why that "nice" Mr. Cable has cancelled the loan to Sheffield Forgemasters.

To be proud of our legacy doesn't mean we didn't make mistakes. In the grown up world people make mistakes, acknowledge them and learn from them( I don't think there will be much demand from the members for re-introducing ID cards!) It isn't heresy to admit this-No-one expects a Labour Government to be perfect-Very good will do and people are already seeing the difference between us and this shower.

That said I'm proud of what our Government achieved and .proud to have worked for its re-election.

One of our key tasks before the next election will be to win back the support of skilled workers: Engineers; IT workers; Lorry drivers-theC2's in the jargon. Always a key part of Labour's core vote and a group we did very badly amongst at the last election. The feelings of this group were best summed up about a year ago by an engineering shop steward I know "I've never been so well paid and I've never been so badly off" Partly this is related to the costs of housing and bringing up young families and we need to re-assess how our economic policies affect this group of supporters.

A general Election may well be nearer than many think and the first task of any new leader will be to review our policies to ensure we are speaking tothe Britain that exists in 2011/2012

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Labour leader Hustings

I have been in touch with the General Secretary of the Labour Party asking that the procedures board extend the hustings into August and that the Party organise an official hustings in every region of the country. I feel that that's the minimum that party members are entitled to! Its vital that we are seen to be listening to, and acting on, the views of Party members in areas like the Eastern Region and the South West with their particular concerns.
The leadership election has to engage with our membership and anyone who would like to support my campaign is asked to send me an E-Mail.

John Hutton

It was very disappointing to see John Hutton agreeing to work with this Government to front up what will obviously be an attack on public sector pensions. Labour Party members are entitled to expect those who had a prominent role in our Government to play a key role in protecting our gains. Leading the opposition to this coalition not providing a fig leaf for it. We can leave that to the Lib Dems

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Leadership hustings Salford Thurs June 24th 7.30pm

It looks to me like the leaderhip election is wide open-and thats a good thing. The result will be decided in countless meetings of party members and supporters up and down the country. Our neighbouring CLP- Worsley- have organised one for this Thursday and all Labour members are welcome. Dianne Abbott and Andy Burnham will be there in person. David Miliband will be represented by Ivan Lewis MP and the campaigns of Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have also been invited. It should be a good meeting-lets ensure there's a good turn-out

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Belfast Wednesday June 16th

I was invited over to Belfast for a meeting of Labour Party members in Northern Ireland-it's always a pleasure to visit Belfast. Members in Northern Ireland waged a long campaign for official recognition and last year were finally organised into a single Constituency Labour Party.They have been steadily growing in numbers and in the last month experienced a 20% increase in membership.They recieve good support from a number of unions,especially Unite and the GMB and are very keen to contest the assembly and local elections next May. These elections are held under STV so there are no problems with splitting the centre left vote.

There was a vigorous discussion about the importance of these elections. If the party is to do well we need to fight them properly and start the hard work now. To do that they need to be authorised by the party nationally. The meeting unanimously agreed to seek that sanction and I agreed to do all I can to help them.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

England V. USA Saturday June 12th

Saturday night was the big match and we had a good turn-out for our branch fund-raiser. Hot Dog and chips and a world cup quiz including a section called " name that pie" set the tone for a very enjoyable evening-the only thing wrong was the result and the fact that we were watching it on ITV HD so missed the goal. Thanks to Patrick and all the staff at "The Seven Oaks."- a top pub in Chinatown.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Leadership election- ballots and hustings

It was good to see Dianne Abbott make the short list and a pity that John McDonnell didn't. Lets be clear- I believe the election of either as Labour leader would be an unmitigated disaster for the Labour Party- buts that's just my personal view and they have every right to stand for election and if the members agree with them and not me then I have to accept that. Thats the nature of democratic debate.
I have said before that one of the jobs of the NEC is to defend the rule book as agreed by conference, we cant make the rules up as we go along. What I believe we now need to do is to change the rules to ensure that when there is a vacancy for leader we have a relatively low threshold of nominations to maximise nominations combined with a relatively high one when we have an elected leader to discourage the sort of self-indulgent challenges we saw in the 1980's
The leadership debate will be crucial for us as a party and its' vital that the membership are fully involved. There will be official hustings in every part of Great Britain and hustings for every sector of the party( I have just noticed there isn't an official LGBT hustings which strikes me as an omission so I will raise this with the General Secretary)
There will also be plenty of other hustings and campaign meetings by the candidates.
I give below the dates and locations of official Hustings-more detail should be on the Labour Party Website.
Sunday June 12 Scotland
Saturday June 19 Leicester BAME
Saturday June 26 Newcastle
Sunday July 4 Cardiff
Saturday July 10 Southampton
Friday July 16 London and South
Sunday July 18 Birmingham
Sunday July 26 Leeds- Women
Saturday July 31 Manchester

I have just noticed in typing this list that there are no official hustings in Eastern England or The South West and no all inclusive ones in Yorkshire (brief pause while I hit the roof!).
Lets be clear - the minimum members should be able to expect is an all member hustings in their region. Bame,Womens, Youth and LGBT, not to mention disability, hustings are all vital but they should be in addition to the regional and national hustings. In the South West we lost ten seats, in the East we lost ten seats, in the South East we lost twelve. Our representation in the Southern part of England has been shredded and without it we will never have a Labour Government. Are we saying Labour Leadership candidates have nothing to learn from party members in Norwich, Brighton or Exeter!
I will be contacting the NEC officers and other NEC members to increase the spread of official hustings and will let you know how I get on-but feel free to get involved. Write toRay Collins at The Labour Party, 39 Victoria st. Westminster SW1h 0HA

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

NEC Elections-Some good reasons to vote for Peter Wheeler

CLPs are now nominating for the NEC elections and members will receive their ballot papers in August.

I am standing for re-election and hope for your support.

On the NEC I do my best to ensure the views and opinions of members are respected. I have always been loyal to our party and its leadership-I firmly believe that unity is strength- but have never been frightened of standing my ground when I believe our members are not being properly valued.

There are a lot of good reasons I can think of to vote for me and I list four below.
1. Northern
I am the only clp rep who doesn't come from London or the home counties I do my best to
ensure that the views of members in traditional Labour areas are heard in the NEC debates.
I hope members in London and the home counties would agree that that viewpoint needs to
be represented.

2.In Touch.
I am always available by phone or E-mail if members have problems or issues to raise.
I travel the country (at my own expense) to report back meetings from Scotland to Devon,
Belfast to Ipswich and all points in between. I know its vital that we have strong representation
in every part of the country, people everywhere need Labour Councillors, Labour MPs and
Labour MEPs and without their support we will never have a Labour Government. I work
closely with friends in these areas to help re-build the party.
3. Trades Unionist
I am an active Trade Unionist. I believe Trade Unions are vital for people at work and have
always played a key role in building a fairer society.
Until last year I was a full time official for Unite, representing members in engineering and
manufacturing. I know the reality of industrial relations on the shop-floor and in the office.
The party's relationship with the unions has been crucial in keeping us alive in difficult times
and keeps us in touch with the reality of life for millions of people.
We need to strengthen our links at a local level with MPs taking a lead role in building
relations with local work-places and trade union organisations.
4. Labour
I am a down to earth, plain speaking, traditional Labour supporter. I have never been a
member of any other party-if you cut me in half you would probably find Labour written
right through me ( as well as Manchester City FC! )
I come from Salford and joined theLabour Party at the age of 16. I play a full part in my local
branch and CLP and always try to turn out for by-elections and any other campaigns. I am a
council tenant- which gives the NEC a different perspective in discussions about housing-and
live the same sort of life as millions of our supporters.
I have strong Labour values: fairness, social justice, hard work, empathy, solidarity and trying
to ensure that everyone gets a fair chance in life.
The next two years will be vital for us as a party-we need to re-group,elect a new leader, learn
the lessons of our period in Government and ,above all ,lead the campaign to protect the gains
we have made in Government.We need to ensure that the party is in a position to fight a
General Election whenever it comes and I am determined to ensure that a larger more
valued membership is fully involved in that process.

GMB Congress Southport Monday June 7th

Went up to Southport yesterday to hear the first of the leadership hustings at the GMB Congress. All six candidates were invited but Ed Balls couldnt make it due to urgent parliamentary business.

It was a question and answer format followed by short speeches. All of the candidates spoke well in answering a wide range of questions from GMB members. The tone of the debate was just right with candidates alternatively listening, defending the Labour Governments record and acknowledging where we hadn't got it right. Lets hope the debate carries on in this way.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Labour party NEC elections 2010

Nomination papers are now with Consituency Labour Parties for them to nominate candidates for the constituency section of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party. There are 6 places and the elections are held every 2 years.

Every CLP can nominate up to 6 people and the nomination papers have to be back at the Labour Party Head Office by July 30th.

Ballot papers will be sent to members in mid-August at the same time as the leadership election. All members will get a vote, either by post or online.

This will be a hard fought election and I would welcome your support

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Claremont Labour Party

The revival continues! Having won the seat for the first time in ten years, we are attracting new members at a record rate. We have had more new members this month than all of last year and at our first branch meeting we had double our usual turn out. We have almost completed delivering our thank you leaflet to the entire ward and are making our preperations for a years hard campaigning on behalf of local people. Well done to Sareda, our newly elected councillor.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Don't blame me..

The in-demand revival of a late 1970's classic. Show your friends and neighbours just where you stand-and get them to join the Labour party at the same time!
Up-dated versions of the 'Don't blame me, I voted Labour' badges and stickers are now available:
Badges £2
Stickers £2
Generous bulk rates available for
CLPs and branches-allowing you to raise your own funds!
All proceeds to distressed Labour Party funds-make cheques payable to Peter Wheeler
6, Victoria House, Victoria rd. Salford M6 8LF
Tel: 07880 790182

Leadership election

The party is now at the start of a crucial leadership election and its important we have a proper debate, which genuinely involves the membership. So far there has been none of the rancour that marred our 'debates' in the early '80's and its important it stays that way.
I supported the recommendations at the NEC to allow for a full debate which ends at conference. We are a little bit shackled by rules written for a different time to limit the potential for annual divisive challenges and I think there is a case for a lower threshold for nominations when we do not have an incumbent leadership. However one if the NEC's jobs is to defend the rules as agreed by Conference so I feel we had little alternative but to stick with the current arrangements.
I do feel its important though that we have the widest possible choice and I would urge MPs to take this into account when making their nominations.
Above all, lets ensure we have a spirited and comradely discussion and never take opur eyes off the fact that our job is to protect the people who will suffer most from this government.