Monday, July 03, 2006

Your voice at the heart of the Party

Remember - if you want me to keep working on your behalf on the NEC, you, your friends, family and everyone else you know in the Labour Party must vote for me.

July sees the biannual election for 6 ordinary party members to represent your interests on the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party.

I came onto the NEC 12 months ago when Shahid Malik became the MP for Dewsbury, taking his vacant seat.

It is almost unheard of for ordinary party members to be elected to the NEC on their first attempt, I put my success down to two things;

1. my work right across the country in 14 active years of membership has brought me into contact with thousands of ordinary party members like me, many of you I count as personal friends.

2. I do not stand on a slate, I don't vote in a block, I don't go on the Today programme or in The Guardian criticising our Party or our members, I work hard in the community and respect others who do the same, in that sense I am entirely independent.

An active party member, in the General election last year, I took holidays so that I could work in key marginal seats across West Yorkshire. I had a very busy autumn conference in Brighton, delivering training in "Fighting the LibDems" and was thrilled to present the NEC general election report to the conference, making my maiden speech between Ken Livingston and Dennis Skinner - what a billing!

In February in Blackpool at the centenary conference, I chaired a session on involving women in politics with my old boss, Meg Munn MP, the Minister for Women. I delivered training in "How to get members active" As as member of the Education Policy Commission I sat in on key policy forums with party members during the debate on the Education Bill and fed in your views.

I also gave training on behalf of the North West Regional Party to St Helens and Warrington Labour Group in "Fighting the LibDems" - a favourite topic of mine as you know.

I have fought strenuously to promote our sister party, the Co-operative Party at every opportunity within the NEC, links need to be strengthened and I believe that holding our annual conference in Manchester this year, where the Co-op is very strong, will really help with that. I went to their fundraising dinner early in the year to raise funds for the City's very successful local election campaign.

I am also now a Councillor on Liverpool City Councillor, having defeated a LibDem with 19 years service. May 5th 2006 was one of the proudest days of my life. (I fully expect my next training on Fighting the LibDems to be a sell-out with standing room only!)

Being a Councillor in one of the most deprived wards in the country means I am ideally placed to see how Labour proposals will affect those who really rely on us to deliver strong policies for them.

The Labour Party will not let me have a list of the names and addresses of every LP member so representing you has its challenges! I cannot come and knock on your door on polling day, or phone you up from the phone bank, and ask you if you have voted yet.

So this blog entry has to take the place of that door-knock or phone call.

If you want me to carry on my work for you and if you want to give me the opportunity this time to serve the full two year term instead of just half of it, you must search out the ballot paper that the Party will be sending you week beginning July 3rd, fill it in and send it back - or phone your vote in.

As the posters said in the 2001 General Election, if you value it, vote for it!


Snedds said...

Being anti-war and anti top-up-fees, I for one am glad that Labour MPs share my values and are willing not to toe the leadership line permenantly within the Commons.

The only people with a right to deselect an MP should be the electorate, and most specifically in the case of a Labour MP, their CLP. Putting such a power in the pocket of the NEC is hardly a sign that the party is in any way democratic.

For this reason, I for one will not be casting any of my 6 NEC votes for you, although some of them will definitely go to the CLGA

Anonymous said...

Actually the NEC has always had that power.

And Louise, that was a slogan in 2005. I know it feels like a long time ago, but it's only 14 months.

A soft socialist said...

Why did you make the decision to stand independantly. You sound quite similar to some of the candidates on labour 1st.

LouiseB31 said...

Anonymous - I did wonder if it was 2005 or 2001, and obviously plumped for the wrong one.
Did you know that all major parties have used each other's slogans over and over again for one hundred years? I saw a presentation about it once. Even "new Britain" is not really a Labour slogan as I recall, it fascinates me because I have never really been part of the marketing side of things so can only observe!

I too thought the NEC had always had that power, which is why I bought it up in the NEC - TB answered by saying that was a matter for the NEC, which puzzled me a bit as we were all sitting right there. I will have to bring it up again and see what our role really ought to be and whether we are following it.
Thanks for your observations

LouiseB31 said...

Adele - I was independent in the last term of office and will be independent in this election too. Of course if you dont join a group you miss out on the group mailings and the group support, be it moral or financial, but I could never really agree with either side enough to ally myself with them.
I have argued in favour of increased membership subs if it stopped redundancies amongst dearly needed organising staff when the Grass Roots people were in favour of holding subs down. But then I have argued with the "right" for failing to find co-operative solutions for our national issues (like housing/stock transfers, physical punishment for children and animal welfare for instance).
I think it best to have the freedom to speak and vote from an independent ground, rather than as member of a known group.
It has meant I have had only a tiny percentage of constituency nominations in comparison with the candidates with a big machine behind them, as the figures will show.
But it does mean that the individual support and votes I have received and will receive are heart-felt and really meant.
Thanks for asking the question, this is precisely the kind of thing I was hoping for in this post

Anonymous said...

Louise, register with Bloggers4Labour and get posting to get yourself noticed.

Thrashiui said...

Louise you've got my vote!

Thrashiui said...

Louise you've got my vote!

El Tom said...

Louise, I can't describe quite how much I disagree with your position on party loyalty. We can't just have proper debates on policy during leadership elections. If we are to stay on top of the tories and fibbers, who can debate policy any time they like... we have to keep evaluating our own positions. That means dissent is often necessary.

I definitely think that the first duties of MPs are to constituents and coscience, then to the values of the part they are from... 'the party leadership' comes pretty far down my list.

Imagine how much more popular (and correct!) we would have been if the Iraq vote was won. Imagine all of the innocent people we saved from prison by opposing the unchecked 90 days detention.

There are many issues where basically, the leadership is wrong. Should MPs still vote with them, knowing this. I say No.

I don't know who I'm voting for yet; but I do know that what you are proposing represents a jackboot stamp on the head of party democracy, so, I am afraid, I cannot vote for you.

Anonymous said...

Kate Hoey should most certainly go.
Having views is one thing, chairing an organisation (the 'Countryside Alliance') that is dedicated to the downfall of Labour in power is another thing.

A soft socialist said...

Perhaps the NEC could do something about that.

LouiseB31 said...

A hornet's nest seems to have been stirred up concerning the inclusion of my name on some kind of official slate that has been circulated by some MPs.

I would just like to point out that I knew nothing about this, and had "they" (whoever "they" are in this instance) asked me if it would be okay to add my name to the list, I would have said no.

I am independent, I remain independent, I promise!

Henry G said...

I read in Tribune this week that you are part of the leadership's slate for the NEC. I thought I read that you were to be independent and not get into this faction business.

I haven't voted yet, and was considering you, but now I'm not so sure. Please can you clarify your position?

LouiseB31 said...

Henry, I hope my earlier post clarified this for you. I have told Tribune I was not asked about being included on an establishment slate. I am and intend to remain, independent. Only a fool would turn away from support, from any quarter, so if they think I will be good for the party then I suppose I should be flattered, but it is not my intention, as it has not been for the last 12 months to be an apologist for anything and everything that comes out of the centre. I think my record proves that.

Sava said...

I really think you should do something about it

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