From Jon Rogers, our Chair
I would like to wish all our members well for the festive period – and for a good 2018!
After the traumas of 2016 internationally (Trump’s election), nationally (the referendum result and second Labour leadership election), and locally (the suspension of the city-wide Brighton, Hove & District Labour Party), 2017 has brought hope.
Locally we have spent the year rebuilding our Party structures, beginning with our Constituency Labour Party in February and concluding with the inaugural meeting of our Local Campaign Forum for Brighton and Hove in November. Throughout the year our branches have grown in experience and activism, and our frequent street stalls have kept Brighton Pavilion Labour Party in the public eye in a positive way.
Nationally, Labour under Jeremy Corbyn defied the doomsayers with a strong performance in the snap General Election. Theresa May called the election to provide a “strong and stable” Government and ended up having to bribe the Democratic Unionist Party with taxpayers’ money in order to cling to office.
We can go into the holidays with hope and optimism for the coming year – but we must also find the grit and determination which will be required to build and develop our campaign for socialism, locally and nationally.
Last week our friends and comrades in East Brighton branch chose Nancy Platts as their candidate to contest the council by-election which will be triggered when Lloyd Russell-Moyle (whose defeat of Simon Kirby in Kemptown was a local highlight of election night) resigns as a Councillor to focus on his work as a Member of Parliament.
January will therefore give us all the opportunity to travel to Whitehawk to ensure that Nancy and Labour hold Lloyd’s seat on the Council – and that will just be the beginning of a busy year of campaigning. If you go in for New Year’s Resolutions please consider resolving to increase your campaigning activity. You can start as soon as you like with our campaign days to Stop the Tory Train Robbery on 2nd January and to halt the rollout of Universal Credit on 13th January.
Our Local Campaign Forum will meet again in the New Year to endorse a timetable for the selection of Labour candidates to contest all the seats on Brighton and Hove City Council in May 2019. I hope that many Party members will consider putting yourselves forward as candidates, so that we have a wide and diverse field of candidates to deliver a socialist Council for our City.
I also hope that Party members will engage with the process of making policy for Labour locally so that we develop a local manifesto which is as radical and popular as our General Election manifesto – and that we will then take our socialist message out onto the doorsteps in our thousands.
In 2017 we began to rebuild the Labour Party in Brighton Pavilion – in 2018 we need to turn outwards in order to develop and campaign for the policies which can transform our society. With our eyes fixed on the prize of a socialist Council in 2019 we also need to campaign for socialist policies in the here and now, and remain ready for a General Election which may not come until 2022 – but could come at any time.
With thanks to all the emergency, NHS, transport and leisure industry workers who will be keeping the rest of us safe, well, mobile, fed and entertained over the festive break.
And with special thanks to Labour members for supporting our Party during 2017. I look forward to meeting more of you in 2018.
Very best wishes, Jon Rogers
Chair, Brighton Pavilion Constituency Labour Party