Party Conference Update, Tuesday 25th

I enjoyed yesterday; the atmosphere in the hall was really energised. The day was dominated by standing ovations – two for Kier Starmer; three for Emily Thornberry and three for Diane Abbott plus several during the Palestine debate, although perhaps the latter should be described as carnival. It was extraordinary to see a sea of flags waving as Harlow CLP moved the motion.

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I did want to speak in the Brexit debate (as did our colleague Charlie Rowley from York Central) but neither of us were picked. It was a good, calm and rational debate on both motions plus the Windrush motion, one that I scarcely recognised from the radio this morning – should I be surprised?

Mick spoke in his ‘reference back’ on Fracking and this was carried overwhelmingly at the end of the day. Mick and I have noticed that whilst Fracking doesn’t appear to be at the forefront of conference business this week there is nevertheless, a strong theme that climate change is right at the top of the party’s agenda. This was evidenced by Rebecca Long- Bailey’s speech yesterday and in a Policy Forum debate that I attended where Barry Gardiner re-iterated that the business and trade forum strongly recognised that the emphasis on Growth and GDP at the cost of sustainability was not a valid approach and he reminded us that he had introduced the Fracking ban.

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At the fringe events Keir Starmer gave his analysis of the reasons that the Brexit negotiations have been so ineffective. He observed that the Tories have approached it from an ideological perspective without first having assessed the needs of the British people or economy. He had worked on the Good Friday agreement and used that example to underline how the Tories had fundamentally failed to understand that the issue was not in any way a technology issue and that it was about Irish history and sensitivities.

Mick has proposed that the NEC convene a meeting of front line CLPs and we await an answer; as he said to the platform yesterday “it wasn’t a rhetorical question”. We have the view that Fracking is an issue for CLPs but not for affliates, especially Unions, but Mick was approached by a representative of Unite who specifically wanted him to know that Unite had supported the reference back.

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It’s the Jeremy’s speech today; I won’t be sitting on the floor in the dark on Thursday morning to write an update so please watch on TV, and I hope to be back on the floor next year. It’s been a really good experience – thanks for selecting me to be your representative.

Party Conference Update, Monday 24th

A very different day to yesterday.  The spirit of the day was unity with almost complete calm after the results of Sunday’s card votes were announced – Card votes 6 and 8 were carried (Leadership elections and Westminster candidate selection – both of which we opposed).  The response on the fringe to this appeared to be focused on Westminster selection with a lot of talk about accepting the position – that of 30% ‘trigger’ ballots – and encouraging the majority of CLPs to use the method thereby normalising the process to both neutralise the narrative that it is a method of ‘purging’ some MPs and, secondly, to keep up the pressure for ‘open selection’ to remain on the agenda. As an aside, the motion on open selection was brought by a group International Labour who have 3,500 members on five continents and conduct all their business by video conference.  So, no excuse for rural constituencies perhaps?

I was particularly interested in Carwyn James’ review of where Welsh Labour (Llafur Cymru) have been implementing Labour policy and succeeding. The morning session included a stirring call for unity from Unite and an emergency motion from Matt Wrack from the FBU on the latest treatment of the Grenfell survivors (Matt is becoming one of my stars of the conference)

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Most of you will have heard John McDonnell’s speech but Mick and I saw him at a fringe meeting in the evening and he calmly gave a compelling account of how the tiny Socialist Campaign Group of MPs responded to being told by the Prince of Darkness that they were going to be put in a ‘sealed tomb’ forever. Their response led directly to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign manifesto; subsequently to last year’s General Election manifesto; and is now developing into a programme for government. I loved his line, delivered deadpan, that he told his SCG colleagues in 2005 that: “we must develop our policies as if we were going into government tomorrow; they thought that I was on drugs”.

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Party Conference Update, Sunday 23rd

The day began in fiery mood when the Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC) report for the day directed that the issue about Westminster candidate selection be included in the debate on parliamentary democracy and that the proposal to be debated was not open selection but rather, a lowering of the ‘trigger’ threshold to 30%. Conference erupted on the issue. A show of hands to accept or reject the order of business showed an extraordinary divide; from where I was standing it looked like CLPs voted about 90% to reject but the affiliates section was almost unanimous to accept. As the voting arrangements are 50% each there was a card vote that resulted in the order of business was narrowly accepted but it was a raucous first hour.

DnyVO2mXUAYemMf.jpg-large 2018-09-25.jpegThe debate that followed focused on two of the eight proposals: the debate on open selection and the proposal to change the entry criteria for the Leadership and Deputy Leadership ballots to be 10% of MPs and MEPs plus 5% of CLPs or 5% of Affiliates. These went to card votes and Mick and I voted against both in line with the SGM debate. Mick spoke in the debate to ask the NEC to reconsider mandating that CLPs convene a minimum of eight General Meetings a year; pointing out that rural constituencies like ours would find this difficult as many members have far to travel. In the summarising at the end this point was addressed and we were assured that this is an ‘aspiration’ and that the NEC is looking at ways to help facilitate more engagement in rural CLPs and at offering help with technology options – on-linemeetings as an example. Mick’s contribution generated a discussion with a journalist from the Yorkshire Post and – as we walked through Albert Dock at about 10:30 in the evening – a fellow delegate that couldn’t remember the speech but had definitely noticed his ‘fabulous’ legs.

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Most of the morning for Mick and I, plus two colleagues from York Central and Outer, was spent distributing leaflets in support of our Fracking contemporary motion. Now you can’t actually do this within the conference and Mick was told not to. Of course, he took no notice whatsoever and carried on until his second warning. We didn’t get on the agenda but we did our absolute best and my thanks to Charlie and James for their help. We polled 72,890 votes and came sixth on the list but fifth as Brexit got through in the Affiliates ballot- so close with four going through.

We attended two evening events: the Yorkshire and Humberside regional reception where John McDonnell spoke. He reminded us that our region is key to winning the next General Election – something that the day’s rumour mill was saying that the Tories are planning – as we hold a number of key target seats that must be won. For us Scarborough and York Outer are on our doorstep. He encouraged everyone to campaign hard in these seats holding out the prospect that, for the first time in a long time, when we win the GE then a Socialist will walk through the doors of Downing Street.

DnzT_PsX0AMbD3S.jpg-large 2018-09-25.jpegThe second event was a debate on Brexit. We were both disappointed in that event as the platform was strongly advocating a second vote but at the end, when a question from the floor asked what the questions would be, there was no clear answer given. Some on the platform wanted three questions; some wanted two. As it happens, the Brexit compositing debate was taking place at the same time and that has produced a motion close to the one that our CLP chose and debated and close to the Kier Starmer position.

Other points made in the day was that the party is debt free and that we already have funding in place to fight a General Election.

A long day then and I thought that my reflection in the bathroom mirror this morning showed that I had aged more than one day since I last looked. More tomorrow and look out for more tweets.

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Standing ovation as John McDonnell says that we will be proud to call our Government policy, Socialism.

David Milliband says his party has ‘no strategy’ on EU withdrawal and should back Final Say referendum

David Miliband has accused Labour of a “dereliction of duty” over its refusal to back calls for a final say on Brexit.

Speaking on the eve of the party’s annual conference, the former foreign secretary said Labour had “no strategy” for Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

The issue is expected to dominate the gathering in Liverpool, with Jeremy Corbyn facing mounting pressure to support a public vote on whatever deal Theresa May negotiates with Brussels.

Grassroots activists hope to use the conference to force a change in policy towards backing a final say referendum.

t comes after Theresa May admitted negotiations were at an “impasse” and warned that the UK would leave the bloc without a deal unless EU leaders agree to compromise.

Mr Miliband, a former Labour leadership candidate, told BBC Radio 4 Today: “Labour has got to be much, much stronger. The truth is that waiting for the government to foul up is no strategy at all. The country desperately needs a strong government but it also need a strong opposition.

“Labour’s tragedy over 20 years – and I include my own period in this – is that there was almost a complacency about Europe. The Tory tragedy was to be obsessed about Europe and the Labour tragedy was to be complacent about Europe.”

He added: “Finally the complacency is breaking, at least at the constituency level of the Labour Party, but it’s an absolute dereliction of duty for the Labour Party leadership not to embrace the fundamental principle that since the Brexit that people were sold two years ago is not available, it’s essential that the Brexit deal the prime minister does is put to people.

“The most corrosive thing in the long term will be a Brexit on terms that were missold.”

Mr Miliband predicted Ms May would “eke out” a “paper-thin deal” with Brussels and then “use the threat of no deal and the disaster that represents to try to bludgeon people to support it”.

T&MCLP News Bulletin #27

Help us win Thirsk By-election. Act Now!!

The Vale of York Branch is working flat out to score a historic victory over the Tories in the Thirsk by-election on October 4th. Most households in the ward have been leafletted and the campaign now continues with knocking on doors. This is the critical phase where we identify potential voters who we can get to the polling booth on October 4th. Council by-elections have notoriously low turnouts and with Tory voters not exactly highly motivated at the moment a big turnout from Labour voters would win it. Every voter canvassed gets us nearer to winning.

65_800x800.jpgIt is in the interests of all Thirsk and Malton members that we win Thirsk but only two members from outside of the Vale of York Branch have been along to campaign so far. Now that the focus is on door knocking we need more members involved if we are to get to the whole electorate. Look at the dates in the calender straight away and please put at least one in your diary. (Details attached). With just over two weeks to go you must act now to make a difference. We also need volunteers on election day to do a stint taking number at the polling stations. Call Mark White 07831 306795, Phil Smith 07789 513791

Monday Sept 17th
@ 18:00: Door knocking in Hambleton East – meet outside ATS Tyres on Long Street, Thirsk
Wednesday Sept 19th 
@ 18:00: Door knocking in Hambleton East – meet at junction of Dowber Way, St Mary’s Walk and Herriott Way Thirsk
Saturday Sept 22nd 
@ 10:00 : Street stall in Thirsk market square
Thursday Sept 27th 
@18:00: Door knocking in Hambleton East – meeting place to be confirmed
Sunday Sept 30th 
@ 18:00: Door knocking in Carlton Minniott – meet outside the Vale of York pub on Carlton Road
Monday Oct 1st 
@at 18:00 : Door knocking in Norby – meet at the Black Swan, Northallerton Road
Tuesday Oct 2nd 
@ 18:00 : Door knocking – Location to be confirmed
Wednesday Oct 3rd 
@ 18:00: Door knocking – Location to be confirmed
Thursday Oct 4th – Election Day
@10:00 – 22:00: Get Out The Vote – meet at 6A, Saxty Way, Sowerby

Crisis at Broadacres Housing Association.

In 1993 Tory controlled Hambleton Council gave all its council housing to Broadacres Housing Association. The Association has now been slammed by the Government regulator, the Homes and Communities Agency as being Non Compliant with governance standards. ‘The provider does not meet our governance requirements. There are issues of serious regulatory concern and in agreement with us the provider is working to improve its position.’ This arises from concern that liabilities of Broadacres’ speculative businesses could spill over to threaten the council housing that Hambleton Council gave it. Voters may want to know what Hambleton Council are going to do to protect the tenants of the houses that they gave away.

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Are You Coming to Conference?  

If you are coming to Annual Conference in Liverpool for a few days you may like to get in touch there with your delegates, Mark White & Mick Johnston, or with other Thirsk and Malton members who may be there as visitors. If so you can do this through our Conference WhatsApp group. Just let me know and give me your mobile number and I will add you to the group. We are hoping to give you daily reports from Conference but you can watch the whole of Conference LiveOnline                         

Farewell Gathering for Jill Knight.

Friends of Martin and Jill Knight are invited to a farewell gathering for Jill on Saturday 22 September, 2.00 to 5.00 at the Worsley Arms, Hovingham. Please let Martin know if you will be attending: 01653 628977.

Best wishes, Mick Johnston, Constituency Secretary.

Bulletin 27 2018-09-17

T&MCLP News Bulletin #26

5th. September  2018

Thirsk By-election 4th October 2018

We have a great chance to take a seat on Hambleton District Council from the Tories.  Our candidate Trish Beadle stood as an Independent in the 2015 District Council election and polled 778 votes without any support; a testament to how well known and respected she is in the ward. The Tory in second place polled 1,423 votes. Combining Trish’s popularity with our ability to get numbers out on the streets supporting her we definitely can win.  As a result of the campaigning that Vale of York Branch have been doing over the last two months we already have  100 Labour promises.

The Branch has created a campaign plan for the next four weeks, culminating in all day Election Day effort to get out the vote. In a by-election, when turnouts tend to be low, this will be crucial. The plan starts with a door knocking session on 5th September starting 6.00 and meeting up at Blytheway Stores, 10 Sutton Rd, Thirsk YO7 1DJ. This is followed by two or three leafletting and door knocking sessions every week up to 4th October. The full campaign programme is attached with contacts for each event. This is a well organised campaign being run by a keen local team. With your help we can win this one, which would be a huge step forward in giving voters proper representation and raising the profile of the Party across the Constituency.  Every member should do their best to get to at least one of the campaign events. If you haven’t campaigned before the Team will look after you and pair you with an experienced campaigner. This is also a wonderful opportunity to get experience of campaigning ahead of the 2019 Council elections when we will be contesting a large number of seats. Call Mark White  07831 306795, Phil Smith           07789 513791 or Trish Beadle   07526 435103 for further information.

Conference Mandating Decisions

Annual Conference. The mandating meeting on 1st September was well attended with 30 members present. Following a high quality and thorough debate the following decisions were made mandating the delegates:

On leaving the EU. A motion supporting the Party’s current policy of opposing any deal which does not meet Keir Starmer’s six tests and working for an early General Election with a manifesto commitment to a people’s vote on any new deal negotiated by an incoming Labour Government. Carried 16 For, 9 Against, 5 Abstensions.

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Climate Change & Fracking. Motion calling for national campaign against fracking. Carried unanimously.

Motion for Conference. Climate change & fracking was chosen by 22 For, 3 Against, 5 Abstensions.

Democracy Review. The proposals were supported unanimously.

Rule Changes. The change making parliamentary reselections automatic was supported. 10 For, 9 Against.

Full wordings will be placed on the website.

Women’s Conference. A small but enthusiastic group discussed the topics on the agenda for Women’s Conference and agreed to cast our votes for Social Care and Social Security to be discussed at Conference.

Also highlighted the need to get more women involved in the branches and on the Constituency Exec and agreed to consider what could be done to achieve this. The Women’s Officer Rosie Adam said that she would like each branch to appoint a Women’s Officer. Agreed to hold a Conference report back meeting.

Best wishes, Mick Johnston, Constituency Secretary.

Bulletin 26 2018-09-05

Update to the Conference Mandating Meeting

4th September 2018

On the first of September, Thirsk and Malton Constituency Labour Party members met in Malton to discuss the constituency’s motion to be sent to the Party Conference to be held in Liverpool from the 23rd to the 26th of September.

There were motions put forward by members concerned with Brexit and Fracking and Climate Change. After a full discussion on both topics, the conference decided to put forward the motion concerning Fracking and Climate change.

Although the meeting recognised the concerns put forward by members on the impact that Brexit would have on the lives of constituents, it was felt that there would be many similar motions put forward by other constituency Labour Parties and that this constituency would be better served by building on its success at the last Labour Party Conference in getting a pledge to ban fracking into the last Party manifesto.

The full text of the motion is:

Action against climate change and fracking

Conference notes:

1)  7th August. Doctors accuse Tory Energy Minister of using Lancashire people as fracking ‘guinea pigs’ despite scientists’ uncertainty over impact on human health.

2)  9th August. Report that four days in London may be as detrimental to health as smoking three cigarettes a day. In Britain 40,000 premature deaths a year because of air pollution.

3) 13th August. Report ‘2018 will be fourth hottest year on record’. The heatwave caused devastating fires and drought.

4) 28th August. Report that air pollution causes reduction of intelligence.

5) Investment in renewables fell by 50% in 2017.

Conference supports:

1) Paris Agreement goal of keeping global temperature rises below 1.5°C

2) Action to raise living standards and build a cleaner future.

a) Taking the big six energy supply companies into public ownershiP
b) A public program of insulating 12 million homes by 2030
c) Taking rail and buses into public ownership
d) Major expansion of public transport
e) Banning combustion engine car sales by 2030 and supporting the UK’s car industry to make electric vehicles

3) Our manifesto pledges to clean up illegal levels of air pollution and ban fracking.

4) Our strategy for 60% of energy to come from low carbon or renewables by 2030 creating hundreds of thousands of new green jobs.

Conference condemns the government’s reckless pursuit of fracking and neglect of renewable energy. Conference notes that the National Policy Forum ignored submissions calling for a campaign against fracking and therefore calls on the Party to lead a co-ordinated national campaign to halt fracking pending election of a Labour Government.

Alan Avery

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Thirsk & Malton Constituency Labour Party
Tel 01751 474043
avery_uk@yahoo.com

 

Mandate Your Conference Delegates

1st September 2018

Your delegates to Labour Party Conference, Mark White and Mick Johnston, are committed to representing your views as well as we possibly can. Conference may be difficult this year with a number of potentially divisive issues, the most obvious being antisemitism and the EU although other very important issues will be on the agenda. Please help us by coming to this Special General Meeeting to debate and vote to determine this Constituency’s policies.

You can, if you wish, submit proposals for a ‘Contemporary Motion’ to Conference but note that the criteria for these (attached) are very tight. If you would like to put forward any motions for debate at this meeting, whether a possible Conference Contemporary Motion or to establish Constituency policy on a Conference issue you must get the wording with proposer and seconder to Mick no later than Monday 27th August.

Late Motions will not be accepted but amendments to anything on the agenda may be put forward for debate at the meeting. Mick will circulate an agenda with any motions received prior to the meeting and will send out the National Policy Forum Annual Report and any other relevant stuff as soon as Mick gets it.

The meeting is from 11.00am to 1.00pm at Ryedale Community and Leisure Centre, Bowling Lane, Off Scarborough Road, Norton, YO17 8EG.

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Link to: CLP Events Archive

Regional Conference Biggest Ever

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Our six delegates and another 400 members enjoyed a morale raising and optimistic Regional Conference. Over here we can lose sight of the strength and quality of MPs and speakers we have in  Yorkshire.

Keynote speaker was John Trickett MP for Hemsworth who is in charge of the Party’s preparations for the next election. The next manifesto will include £10 an hour minimum wage, legislation on TU rights, refinancing the public sector, an end to privatisation of the NHS, funding for municipal socialism, deveolved power s for the North.

Rachael Maskell MP for York Central confirmed the commitment to nationalise the rail system and added a commitment to give control of bus transport back to local authorities, a national walking and cycling strategy and a review of freight transport to get a shift from road to rail.

John Grogan MP for Keighley said a devolved Yorkshire should be run by a cabinet of Council Leaders. Judith Blake Leader of Leeds Council said it was wrong for George Osborn to present himself as champion of the Northern Powerhouse. It was after all John Prescott who first proposed and then championed the idea. Richard Corbett and Linda McAvan MEPs and Paul Blomfield Shadow Brexit Minister spoke on Brexit. See Linda’s report. 

Other speakers Melanie Onn MP for Grimsby, John Healey Shadow Housing Minister, Loiuise Haigh Shadow Police Minister, Emma Hardy MP for Hull West, Bill Adams TUC, Mark Burns-Williamson West Yorkshire PCC, Joanne Thomas USDAW, Alex Sobel MP for Leeds North West, Thelma Walker MP for Colne Valley. A rousing speech from Richard Burgon Shadow Secretary of State for Justice brought Conference to a close.

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