I’m under no illusions about the quality of my writing; these are merely random ramblings and memoirs put online for accessibility and with the hope they may provide some entertainment to someone with little else to do with their time.

So the National Executive Committee of the UK Labour party has banned all official meetings of local Constituency Labour parties.

They’ve also decided to prevent anyone who joined the party after January 2016 from being able to vote, unless a £25 fee is paid.

These feel like moves that have been described by some  as gerrymandering, and I would be inclined to agree. The party has grown by nearly 300,000 in the 6 months from january to the time of writing, and the some of the NEC members know that these people would probably all support Jeremy Corbyn.

The fee appears to be a way to be seen to allow people to vote (the Labour party webpage at joining said you could vote in elections as a member) while keeping the cost high enough to make it difficult for large numbers of people who struggle to make ends meet, to be able to vote.

The banning of all meetings apart from non-party election related meetings (ostensibly under the premise of preventing abuse, bullying or intimidation) seems aimed at preventing constituency parties from voting in favour of Jeremy Corbyn (at the time of writing, 80% of local parties had voted in support of Jeremy, and some of those who had voted against him, hadn’t allowed a general members vote) and preventing them from making moves to deselect MPs that had mutinied against the elected Labour leader in an attempted coup.

So we have a situation that appears to be a party establishment that was put in place under New Labour that appears to be determined to keep out a grass roots new Labour that is determined to have its way. This has gone to the extent of actually shutting down some local parties that dared to vote out anti-Corbyn executives in favour of pro-Corbyn candidates.

This is literally a battle for the future of the Labour party.

Good news is that there are elections coming up for the NEC, where we can vote out some of the New Labour relics and bring in some progressive socialists.

I recieved an email from the national Labour party telling me I could vote in the NEC elections.

A day later I get the email below telling me I cant vote in the local party nomination elections for leader as i haven’t been a member for long enough…what!?

 

All Member Meeting,


Apologies that this is a lengthy communication but we need to share some important information with you about next week’s meeting which will now exclusively be to consider a supporting nomination for candidates in the national party leadership election.

By the time of the meetings the nominations from the Parliamentary Labour Party will be complete and we will know which valid candidates are in the election. At the time of writing they are Jeremy Corbyn and Angela Eagle, but other Members of Parliament may have also have been nominated by that time.

Who can attend the meeting on 23 July?
Only those eligible members who are entitled to vote in the leadership election can attend. So only those members who have been party members on or before 12, January 2016 will be eligible to participate in the meeting. Any members who are showing as being in arrears, will be able to participate in the meeting provided they pay the arrears at the commencement of the meeting, or provide proof that they have since paid the arrears to the national party.

Unfortunately, I have to tell you that according to our records you are not eligible to attend the meeting as you joined the party after 12 January 2016. If you believe our records are incorrect, please contact us urgently (contact details below).

As is normal for these sort of meetings, there will be a membership verification check at the door. No registered or affiliated supporters may attend the meeting unless they are also an eligible member. If you are attending it will help speed up the verification check if you bring your membership card with you to the meeting.

Rules
Full details of the rules governing the process are available online at www.labour.org.uk/pages/leadership-2016-information. According to the media there are potentially some legal challenges to some of these decisions and so it is possible that the rules could change before the meeting. If so, we will do our best to notify members, but frankly you are likely to read it in the media much quicker than we are able to get information to you.
We would like to stress that these rules are set nationally and that we in ‘my area’ Labour Party must comply with them. We are in unprecedented times and in light of developments elsewhere in the country the National Executive Committee have suspended all party meetings other than supporting nomination meetings until the leadership election results are announced on 24 September.

Our local priority must be to ensure our meeting is run in accordance with national rules so that the outcome is valid. ‘my area’ Labour Party Officers even had to obtain specific permission form the Regional Director for South East England in order to meet and make these arrangements.

We will not be able to consider other motions or issues at our meeting. Motions which were due to be debated and other agenda items which were scheduled for 23 July will be deferred until after 24 September. We will also give members the opportunity to discuss the recent events in the Parliamentary Labour Party and National Executive Committee at meetings after that date.

If you are attending the meeting
Please RSVP online at ****** to confirm if you are attending so that we can prepare for the right number of attendees. Please also arrive in good time, as arriving late may prevent you from being able to vote.

The conduct of the meeting is also governed by the election rules. There will be a short period for attendees to read any statements that have been provided by the candidates. No members arriving after this point will be eligible to participate in the meeting or the ballot, so please make sure you arrive in good time.

Members will be able to speak once for up to 3 minutes each and for up to 30 minutes in total. This allows for only a limited number of members to speak and therefore we will have to be strict on enforcing the 3-minute limit. Contributions must be about the candidates’ qualities and not any other topic.

Members will then be asked to vote by secret ballot on their choice of candidate. Please note although we are structured as a single party for ‘my area’, supporting nominations are made by each parliamentary constituency. For that reason, the votes for members from ‘my area’ South and the votes from Members form ‘my area’ North will be counted separately and each constituency will reach its own decision.

We will announce the decisions at the meeting and the national Labour Party will subsequently publish which candidate each of our constituencies nominated. That information will also be included when the ballot papers are sent to eligible voters across the country in August.

Thank You
Once again, I apologise for the length of this communication and hope that I have explained all the information you need to know. I am proud that the behaviour of members in ‘my area’ remains comradely and that we listen to each other respectfully at our meetings. I reiterate that we are obliged to follow nationally agreed rules in order that our meeting is valid and I thank you for your continued support of the local party in these difficult times.

I hope to see you at the meeting if you are eligible to participate. If you want further clarification, please contact us on

Regards

A sad day indeed. But I now understand that no matter what happens over the next few months (the leadership elections take 8 weeks or so and should conclude in September 2016) I should stick this out for the long term; as this is the chance to bring real change to the party and to the nation.

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