Campaigning for Trish Beadle, 27th Sept

Update from Mark White

We were out again on Thursday on the final road group in the Hambleton estate. This was a smaller canvass – 115 houses. We had a lot of people not answer but we did get 14 Labour promises. Mark shouts out his thanks to Philip Smith, Marcus Missen, Sally Hughes, and Richard Walter. We are in Carlton Minniott on Sunday morning at 10:30am; please note that the meeting place has changed – we will now meet outside the Vale of York pub in Carlton Minniott.

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Please see the CLP Calendar for campaign activities

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.

Campaigning for Trish Beadle, 20th Sept

Update from Mark White

We were out in Hambleton east again on Wednesday evening. We called at nearly 200 houses (including some that we missed on Monday) and we have a large number Labour promises and people are taking posters.

The next event is the street stall in Thirsk Market Place on Saturday (September 22nd) morning starting at 10am until 3pm, and the next canvassing session is in in Hambleton East on Thursday September 27th – meet outside ATS Tyres on Long Street at 5:45pm for a prompt 6pm start.

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Many thanks to Philip Smith, Deanna Pearce, Andy Hart, Sally Hughes, Marcus Missen and Janet Guy.

Please see the CLP Calendar for campaign activities

Campaigning for Trish Beadle, 18th Sept

Update from Mark White

We almost completed the road group In Hambleton East last night; it was 187 houses but we fell 39 short when it became too dark to see the board! It was fruitful though, we gained 43 Labour promises and seven people took posters to put up.

My thanks to Trish Beadle, Philip Smith, Deanna Pearce, Richard Walter, Andy Hart and to Barbara Hawkins who came over from Richmond CLP.

We are out again on Wednesday and a couple of the regulars can’t make it so I really, really need some help. If you can make it then please do as we have 201 houses to knock.

We are meeting at the junction of Dowber Way, St Mary’s Walk and Herriott Way, Thirsk at 5:45pm for a prompt 6pm start. Please come and help.

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Please see the CLP Calendar for campaign activities

Campaigning for Trish Beadle, 5th Sept

Update from Mark White

First canvassing session of the Thirsk by-election tonight. Thanks to Trish Beadle , Philip Smith , Richard Walter, Mick Johnston, and Deanna Pearse. We knocked 168 doors and found a fair number of Labour promises and our core messages were positively received. All this and a photo too! The nights are shortening so we could really do with help to get round.

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Please see the CLP Calendar for campaign activities

Thirsk By-election, 4th October 2018

Hambleton District Council announced that there will be a by-election in Thirsk on October 4th due to the resignation of one of the Tory councillors.  Trish Beadle will be standing as our Labour Party candidate in the election (in the 2015 election she received 778 votes standing as an Independent) and we are now on an election footing. As you will be aware, it is one of the key objectives of the Vale of York branch to elect at least one Labour councillor to the District Council and now we have our first opportunity. We have been campaigning in Thirsk for two months now so this happens to be the best ward for us to contest. We will soon draw up a campaign plan and manifesto but we already know that the campaign will be four weeks at most so we will need all the help that we can get.

Please attend the next branch meeting on Monday September 3rd at 7pm at theto become involved in the campaign.

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We will be leafletting and door knocking so it is a good opportunity to practice door knocking before the main District Council elections in 2019; we will provide training and support before your first session. I estimate that we will need to run at least two, possibly three campaigning sessions each week of the four week campaign so every volunteer will make a big difference.

Look forward to seeing you,
Mark White, Vale of York Branch Chair.