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Notice of AGM

INFORMATION ABOUT THE AGM OF BRIGHTON PAVILION CLP

The AGM of Brighton Pavilion CLP will take place on the evening of Wednesday 6 December 2017 at Friends’ Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton BN1 1AF.

Candidates and Voting

Valid and confirmed bona fide General Committee (GC) delegates in post for the AGM will be eligible to stand for election as Officers or to the Executive Committee and to vote at the CLP AGM.

NB: GC delegates elected at branch AGMs take up post with the CLP AGM.

Elections to the Executive Committee

Elections will be held for the voting members of the Executive Committee (EC), comprising:

A.  Officers:

  1. CLP Chair
  2. CLP Secretary
  3. CLP Treasurer
  4. CLP Vice-Chair
  5. CLP Vice-Chair (Membership)
  6. CLP Women’s Officer

B.  Four further Executive members

C.  One Trades Union member

NB: In addition, one delegate is appointed by the Co-operative Party (where it is affiliated to the CLP) as a voting member of the EC.

The Trades Union member of the EC will be elected from and by the trades union delegates to the GC only.

At least three of the elected Officers and a minimum of half the Executive Committee must be women.

Nominations for Sections A and B

Any branch or affiliated organisation can nominate any bona fide GC delegate as a candidate for sections A and B.

For the avoidance of doubt, nominations are not restricted to any branch or affiliate’s own delegates, but may be made from among all valid GC delegates who will be in post from December 2017 on.

Nominations for Section C

Only trades unions affiliated to Brighton Pavilion CLP can nominate candidates for section C.

Nominees for Section C must be bona fide GC delegates from trades union branches who will be in post from December 2017 on.

Auditors

The AGM will also elect two auditors for the CLP, at least one of whom must be a woman.

Other Business

The AGM will receive interim accounts and annual reports from Officers and the EC, formally adopt a constitution for Brighton Pavilion CLP and deal with any motions proposed to the AGM, plus any other urgent business of the CLP.

Deadline for Receipt of Nominations and Other Business

All nominations will close at 11am on Wednesday 22 November 2017.

Nominations and any other proposals for the AGM should be submitted to the CLP Secretary by email to secretary@pavilionlabour.org.uk by 11am on Wednesday 22 November 2017.  If an acknowledgement is not received within a reasonable period, please re-submit your original email to the CLP Secretary and copy the CLP Chair at chair@pavilionlabour.org.uk .

Late nominations and proposals will not be accepted.

Questions

Any questions about the AGM can be emailed to the CLP Secretary at secretary@pavilionlabour.org.uk or posted to:

The Secretary

Brighton Pavilion Labour Party

11 Dorset Street

Brighton

BN2 1WA

We are Labour crop (2)

 

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Thornberry & Burgon speaking in Hove

The General Committee (GC) of Brighton Pavilion CLP has agreed to move the date for our Annual General Meeting (AGM) so that members will be free to attend this important fundraising event for all local Labour Party Branches across Brighton & Hove, kindly organised by our friends and neighbours in Hove and Portslade CLP.

 

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This event is ticket only and there are 500 tickets, available through the Old Market website priced at £30.

A limited number of tickets are available to low income/unemployed members for £5. Please phone Damian Wylie, (Fundraising Officer, Central Hove, Brunswick and Adelaide Branch) on 07581 504670 for details.

Peter Kyle MP and Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP will be attending, and we are very pleased to announce that Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry MP, and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice Richard Burgon MP, will be very special guests.

The evening will combine speeches, entertainment, with music from Jazz For Labour, a raffle and a special buffet supplied by The Real Patisserie.

Book your tickets now!

 

Labour members support Fair Trade – protest at Sainsbury’s 28 October

Continuing the theme of reports from October’s meeting of our General Committee (GC) – here is something we didn’t get to as we didn’t reach “any other business” – but it’s a fair bet that delegates would have been unanimous in their support if we had.

Sainsbury’s is ditching the Fairtrade mark from some of their own-brand tea and replacing it with a ‘Fairly Traded’ label.  They’ve decided to abandon Fairtrade and pilot their own scheme.

Tea farmers will no long be able to decide for themselves how to spend the money that they have earned through the Fairtrade mark.

Please come along at 2.30pm on Saturday 28th October for a photo outside the Sainsbury’s at Ann Street (just off London Road, past St Bartholomews), bringing with you a cut out of the green cup shown below, which you can print out here.  Or just bring your favourite mug!

 

Please also sign this petition to tell Sainsbury’s not to ditch Fairtrade.

Fairtrade grren mug

 

A positive debate about Brexit in Pavilion Labour

October’s meeting of the General Committee (GC) of Brighton Pavilion Constituency Labour Party, began with a briefing on Brexit organised (very well) by two members of our Executive, Ian McIsaac and Anne Thompson.  Members split into groups to discuss various aspects of the referendum result and the European Union.

A majority of members had supported “remain” in the referendum (in line with 69% of the voters in Brighton and Hove) and were still in favour of remaining within the EU – but a sizeable minority had voted “leave” or now felt that the UK should leave the EU. Delegates with varying opinions and a range of different knowledge and understanding about the EU engaged in wide ranging and comradely discussion.

This constructive exercise set the scene for an equally comradely debate around policy motions which divided opinion on the GC, but which ended with clear policy being adopted which reflected the majority “pro-remain” position of local people and Party members.

Brighton Pavilion Labour Party understands that the national Party needs, in developing its policy, to take account of the wide range of views about the EU and “Brexit” among labour supporters across the country – but we need to reflect the views of Party members in our locality in order to play a constructive role within that process.

Enemies of the Party, and its leadership have tried, on more than one occasion to make use of the issue of “Brexit” to attack the leadership for the cautious approach which they have adopted since the outcome of the referendum.  The balanced and friendly debate between Labour Party members with different opinions at Brighton Pavilion GC demonstrates that the time when this important issue could be used mischievously to cause dissent within the Party has passed.

EU Ref result
Brighton & Hove residents voted strongly to remain in the EU Referendum of June 2016

This is the first resolution which was agreed, proposed by Preston Park Branch:

This CLP calls on the national Labour Party to adopt a policy of retaining membership of the Single Market through remaining in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Customs Union.  The Treasury estimate that moving from the soft Brexit of the EEA to the hard Brexit of a Canadian-type deal costs an additional £16 billion in lost tax revenue each year (equivalent to 4 pence on the basic rate of Income Tax). If we default to WTO rules, then the annual, additional tax loss may be as high as £25 billion. Existing Labour Party policy of seeking ‘access’ to the Single Market, or stressing ‘function not form’, is too risky as the UK may not be able to gain comparable benefits to Single Market membership in negotiations. The current approach risks major economic harm and cuts to public services in future years.  This CLP calls on our Chair to send this resolution to the Leader, to adopt this motion as CLP policy and to encourage CLP delegates to support the position of retaining membership of the Single Market and Customs Union in any relevant vote at Party Conference.

Schengen-Zone

And this is the second resolution, eventually agreed by 29 votes to 27 with 9 abstentions, following a lengthy debate, which was proposed by Hanover and Elm Grove Branch:

This branch notes that:

  • The Article 50 Bill passed through parliament without significant amendment committing the UK to withdrawing from the European Union
  • It is now expected to take around two years for negotiations on Britain’s exit to be completed
  • Brexit Secretary David Davis has promised parliament a final vote before the conditions of withdrawal are put to the European Parliament, although this will be a ‘take it or leave it’ choice, the alternative is likely to be to leave without a trade deal and rely on higher World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs.
  • The people of Brighton and Hove voted three to one in favour of remaining in the European Union.

This branch believes that:

  • Labour is an internationalist party that considers peace and prosperity in Europe is best served through membership of the European Union.
  • The outcome of the EU Referendum in June 2016 is noted. The referendum was on a broad principle with no details of what leaving the EU means.
  • False promises were made, especially about funding to the NHS. The franchise was limited with 16 and 17 year olds, who are most likely to be affected by Brexit, denied a vote.  And in normal circumstances a constitutional change would be expected to require more than a simple majority.
  • A second referendum asking whether the British people support the terms and conditions of leaving the EU should be held before it is sent to the European Parliament for ratification.
  • The status quo should prevail in event of a ‘No’ vote rather than the adoption of WTO tariffs. It should then be up to parliament whether renegotiations take place.
  • While supporting the Labour party position, as set out by Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer in his six tests before supporting the final Brexit deal, we believe that should include a firm commitment to remaining in the Single Market and to protecting the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU.

This branch therefore calls on Pavilion CLP to:

  • Adopt this motion as its submission to the Labour Policy Forum.
  • Support a campaign for a second referendum on the final terms of leaving the EU and in the event of a ‘no’ vote, stay with the status quo and revoke Article 50 rather than fall back on WTO tariffs.
  • Support Keir Starmer’s six tests, strengthening its commitment to remain in the Single Market and to protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU.
EU Ref UK map3
Voting in the EU Referendum of 23 June 2016 was 52% leave (blue) to 48% remain (yellow) 

Pavilion no longer facing oblivion?

Significant changes in the proposals (for new boundaries for Parliamentary constituencies) from the Boundary Commission have been published today.

Now they propose that the parliamentary constituency of Brighton Pavilion will continue to exist (yay!), but we shall lose Regency (sob!) to a renamed “Hove and Regency” constituency while gaining Moulsecoomb & Bevendean from Kemptown, which still gets stretched out along the coast.

These revised proposals are less absurd than the last lot, but members (and branches) are still encouraged to have a good look and make representations during the last phase of the consultation between now and 11 December 2017.

Proposed constituencies_17.10.17 (2)
The revised boundaries for the Brighton & Hove parliamentary constituencies move Regency ward out to Hove and Moulsecoomb & Bevendean ward into Pavilion

There is no guarantee that these proposals will proceed of course, since the Tories will need the support of the Democratic Unionist Party – who are themselves waiting for revised proposals for their part of the world.

Look at the positive difference our responses have made already!  You can find the proposals online here.

We’ve saved the Pavilion. Now all we need to do is keep the historic heart of Brighton.  It seems that the Boundary Commissioners don’t realise that Regency is where Brighthelmstone began.  Perhaps we ought to tell them about our history now before it’s taken into Hove.

Map of Brighton as it was in 1779  (Nash's Guide to Brighton, 1885)

Labour will Defend Our NHS from STP attacks

October’s meeting of the General Committee (GC) of Brighton Pavilion Constituency Labour Party agreed a motion reaffirming the policy of the local Labour Party (adopted last year by the former District Party) to oppose the so-called Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) which are being used to devastate our National Health Service and advance the privatisation of healthcare in this country.  This builds upon previously agreed policy to support other campaigns of Sussex Defend the NHS.

STPs are presented as sensible proposals to bring together health and social care (and even some within the labour movement have been taken in) – but if you want to understand the threat which STPs pose to our NHS you can read the truth from Keep Our NHS Public and Health Campaigns Together.  As expert campaigner John Lister says “an aspirational window-dressing of positive ideas camouflages the unpleasant content of STPs like a sophisticated air-freshener masking the real scent of sewage.”

A large majority of delegates at the GC caught that real scent in our nostrils and agreed that Labour representatives at every level should be doing what they can to obstruct and delay STPs (in line with the previously established policy of the Labour Party across Brighton and Hove) and that we should be consulting widely with local people in order to campaign to defend our NHS.  With a failing Tory Government on the ropes, propped up in Parliament only by a dodgy deal with the DUP, everything that we can do now to obstruct and sabotage the STP plans will make it easier for an incoming Labour Government to restore a fully funded NHS entirely within the public sector.

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Pavilion Labour’s Amanda Evans leading the early 2017 NHS march through Brighton with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP and Lloyd Russell-Moyle from Kemptown Labour

This is the text of the motion which was agreed:

This Labour Party utterly condemns the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) now being imposed upon the NHS across the country, and deplores the implementation of the STP locally.  By allowing unlimited private sector access, we believe that STP brings us much closer to US-style healthcare and is another step towards the Tories’ ultimate aim of destroying our NHS.

We note that, in April 2016, Brighton, Hove & District Labour Party resolved to “do everything we can to defend our NHS”, specifically encouraging “all Labour Party branches and members to take whatever action they can to:

  1. Protest against STP to elected representatives, the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the Health & Wellbeing Board (HWB), and in the media.
  2. Call on the CCG and the HWB to organise public meetings on STP.
  3. Obstruct and delay the implementation of STP where in a position to do so.”

This Labour Party believes that the participation of any Labour councillor in the implementation of the STP is in direct contradiction to this agreed policy of our local Party.  Party members made it clear that, at the very least, we expected elected representatives of our Labour Party to refuse to co-operate with the STP.

This Labour Party calls on every member of the Labour Group on Brighton & Hove City Council to propose and do everything in its power to ensure that the Council:

  1. Establishes, and widely publicises, an immediate public consultation on the full implications of the STP.
  2. As part of this public consultation, makes public all proposals for any disposals of properties by the Greater Brighton Economic Board.
  3. Pending the organisation of this public consultation, immediately calls a halt to all activities related to the sale of properties and the implementation of the STP.
  4. Undertakes full impact assessments covering all aspects of the STP and its consequences locally.

This is our NHS.  As the great Nye Bevan said, if we don’t have the faith to fight for it now, it will be gone forever.  This fight requires all of us, everyone.

Bevan quote
The great Labour MP Nye Bevan, who was responsible for founding the NHS in 1948, warned that we would always have to fight to keep it.

 

 

Labour Conference will always be welcome in Brighton and Hove

October’s meeting of the General Committee (GC) of Brighton Pavilion Constituency Labour Party overwhelmingly passed an emergency motion proposed by our Regency Branch, making clear that Labour Party Conference is welcome back to our city.  This responded to unfounded allegations to the contrary repeated at the Tory Party Conference and in Parliament.

Regency Branch includes the Brighton Centre, where our Party held its most successful Annual Conference in many years last month.  Local Party members are concerned to make clear that – contrary to stories in the Tory Press, which have been seized upon in desperation by failing “lame duck” Prime Minister Theresa May, to smear the Labour Party – the great success of Labour’s 2017 Conference was welcomed by local people in Brighton and Hove.

We hope that all Labour Party bodies locally will join us in expressing support and solidarity for our Party.

#Lab17 crop
Our 2017 Conference at the Brighton Centre showcased Labour – Western Europe’s biggest political party – united and moving forward with policies to transform Britain to benefit the many not the few

This is the text of the motion which was agreed:

We reject completely Theresa May’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference where she makes a desperate attempt to distract from her own party’s failings by smearing our Party Conference with unfounded allegations.

Regency Branch Labour Party and Brighton Pavilion Constituency Labour Party are pleased to have hosted a truly inspiring and hopefully unifying Labour Party Conference last week.

As well as the lively and good-natured proceedings of Conference itself, we welcomed more than 400 wide-ranging Fringe meetings and over 200 hours of the stimulating and inspiring “The World Transformed” festival, all conducted in the spirit of inclusivity, equality and diversity that is the hallmark of our city.

As a branch and a Constituency party we see hosting Conference as both a privilege and an enhancement to the life of our beautiful city and enthusiastically anticipate the return of Conference in future years, commencing, we hope, in 2019.

Liz Davies on FMH steps
Labour Conference 2017 in Brighton was so popular that many fringe events had to run overspill events outside the main meeting, like this one at the Friends’ Meeting House

 

Labour stands with the CWU against Royal Mail

Yesterday (Saturday 14 October) our General Committee (GC) met. This was a well attended meeting with delegates representing all our seven branches and other affiliated organisations. Over the next few days we will report here from the meeting, which took a number of important decisions.

One motion, agreed unanimously, was to support postal workers in the Communication Workers Union (CWU) in their dispute with Royal Mail.

Moving the motion, Constituency Vice-Chair, Phil Clarke stressed the importance of the Labour Party standing shoulder to shoulder with trade unions fighting for workers’ rights – and, in supporting the motion, Constituency Secretary, Claire Wadey, pointed out that the CWU had supported the local Labour Party during the General Election campaign.

It is a disgrace that the laws of this country enable a judge to grant an injunction to stop a strike which has been supported overwhelmingly in a ballot of the workers in dispute – but the CWU have made clear that the dispute goes on – and the Labour Party in Brighton Pavilion will be ready to support the CWU when the strike comes.

Below is the text of the motion which was agreed:

Brighton Pavilion Constituency Labour Party wishes to unreservedly show its support to the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and its members in their dispute with Royal Mail.

The CWU has received great support from its membership, and the public alike, and this CLP declares its abhorrence to the heavy-handed approach of Royal Mail in disregarding legally binding agreements, and trying to impose working arrangements that will affect the workforce, and just as importantly, the general public.

This CLP will stand shoulder to shoulder with the CWU in the days, weeks and months ahead, until Royal Mail becomes the employer the staff deserve, and shows it has the ambition to become the service the public demand.

CWU postal workers

The Labour Party believes Royal Mail must be returned to public ownership.  Please sign here if you agree with us.

 

 

Labour Conference 2017

First time delegate Michael Brown reports:

DAY ONE: Protecting The Community

The family gatherings I am used to attending usually end in a sing-along of some description. I blame failed musical ambitions and a taste for real ale. This Labour Party get together on the South Coast was unusual in that it started with one.

The now familiar refrain that is Seven Nation Army set to the chant of Oh Jeremy Corbyn was chorused to the heavens by the massed ranks of the Labour membership as they stood to applaud the opening of Conference 2017. The man himself, watching bemusedly from the stage had the good grace to look a little embarrassed as he accepted the tribute with a smile and a wave. Personally, after the electric summer Jeremy has had, I would have not been surprised to see him join in full voice while ripping off his shirt and insisting that Tom Watson parade him around the room at shoulder height. You will perhaps be disappointed to learn that this didn’t happen. Instead, the deputy leader stood at JC’s side and displayed equal good grace in appearing to be overjoyed as the throng echoed on.

After such a kick-off, it would be true to say that the rest of conference lived up to expectations. There was surprise and delight in equal measure. It was inclusive and inspiring. Sure, disagreement and dissent did materialise – conference is a family gathering after all, but the after effects of the general election result and all the super heated positivity it has created failed to lower any high spirits. We were even blessed with sunshine – the alignment of that particular star with what is normally a wet September weekend perhaps a metaphor too far for the newly energised Labour Party. Apologies for any further clumsy analogies – my only excuse is that I am a newcomer to the party conference scene.

It fell to Lloyd Russell Moyle, the recently elected and Tory ousting MP for Kemptown to welcome all to Brighton. Drawing on Labour’s national 2017 successes as a parallel with Brighton and Hove Albion’s arrival in the Premiership, Lloyd gave a consummate performance which did not betray the nerves he said he felt on being asked to open the show. There were however no calls from the floor for Jeremy to manage the Seagulls! A team that perhaps could do with a touch of the Corbyn effect!

Labour-Party-Conference-in-Brighton-United-Kingdom-27-Sep-2017
...but none for Theresa May!

The chair (Glenis Willmott) was then moved to speak on the wider climate of politics; Trump, Macron and the rumblings of the far right in Europe as a backdrop to the UK scene; in which the rejection of UKIP, austerity and the resurgence of Labour under Corbyn has given hope to all – and it was hope with a capital H that proved to be the on-going theme of all four days of conference.

Conference Arrangements Committee

Download Day 1 CAC report and guide here

On to the main order of business for day one – Harry Donaldson the Chair of the Conference Arrangements Committee outlined the responsibility of all delegates;   To decide which 8 subjects  from all the contemporary motions submitted by trade unions, socialist societies and CLPs would be prioritised for debate for †he remainder of Conference 2017. A responsibility that would create lengthy discussions healthier than a fully funded NHS with no private sector interest!

Dianne Abbot was the headline act of Day One, but before the queen of Hackney graced the stage, the first of the speakers from the floor were invited to make the first contributions:

There were voices from Bristol West, Birkenhead and Manchester Gorton who had reservations about Sadiq Khan’s invitation to speak at conference. All expressed views that London gets enough airtime. That the regional voices of other elected Metro Mayors  would be refreshing for conference.

Just as we were all appreciating the subtext, thinking here of Khan’s criticism of Corbyn in the run up to the general election, a further delegate invited to the podium urged for Sadiq’s appearance on the grounds of his large personal mandate when elected to the office of London mayor. This received a mix bag of emotive outpourings. Cheered in some sections and jeered in others, the chair rightfully called the floor to order. This delegate has some sympathy; Khan’s victory was hugely symbolic as both the first Asian and first Muslim mayor of London and no one should forget the divisive and despicable campaign staged against Khan by his mayoral rival Zak Goldsmith.

Democracy broke out in a deep red rash: Harlow CLP challenged conference to consider the North Korea USA stand off. Stroud CLP questioned why there was only one motion on the issue of education, while Guildford South spoke against trigger ballots.  Islington North reminded all that the membership is as important than any single MP. Several points were made about disabled access, and conference did seem to be ill prepared for this – the most poignant of which was the chair of Disability Labour who found herself in what must have been the embarrassing position of criticising her own party. All of this debate proved to be a dynamic precursor for the days to come; some  serious challenges would be issued to policy and party bureaucracy from the gathered membership in the hall. Underlining to this observer that this party is a very healthy, very vibrant beast that is genuinely for the many, and not just the few.

dianeabbottbrighton-0
Will the real iron lady please stand up.

When Diana Abbot did arrive, she was greeted with a standing ovation that was so much more than an appreciation of all that she has achieved in politics. This was also a very palpable gesture of solidarity against the personal abuse this particular MP had suffered during the general election campaign.

Diana has somehow pre-empted the mood of the crowd in her speech: declaring to further adulation the words “I’m still standing” Getting into her stride along the day’s theme of Protecting The Community, she spoke to the cuts in public services in the face of terror atrocities – committing Labour to reversing them. She spoke to the fact that austerity undermines law and order as much as it does health and committed Labour to recruiting 10,000 new police officers. She spoke movingly of Grenfell and promised 3000 more firefighters, and an end to deregulation – the fire brigade, she said, will be the lead agency for assessing and signing off risk in building regulations – as opposed to the private sector. She would end indefinite detention for immigrants and delirium ensued upon guaranteeing the rights of the 3 million EU nationals resident in the UK. The announcement of a full enquiry into Orgreave resonated profoundly – the potential correcting of an injustice more than three decades old spoke to the very reason the Labour movement was born. Download her full speech here.

Highlights: Other speakers from the floor Day 1: Daniel Harris from Hove CLP told a moving story of how his mental health issues had catapulted him into homelessness. His passionate exhortation to build more social housing than Labour has yet committed to was hugely appreciated in the hall. Meanwhile  Lauren Stocks a blue haired future red firebrand described the experience of anxiety, pressure and mental health issues arising in the personal narratives of those young people studying their GCSEs. The record books have yet to confirm whether or not Laura was the first person to use the word bollocks from the podium at any party conference – A story which made it all the way to the Daily Mirror Watch here.

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi – A Jewish delegate from Chingford CLP spoke eloquently about how legitimate criticism of the government of Israel in their conduct towards Palestine did not amount to anti-semitism, a topic which seemed to dog conference proceedings, at least according to some sections of media. Most inside the hall would agree that the tone of the debate on the Israeli / Palestinian issue was passionate rather than prejudicial.

Other speakers:

Andrew Gwynne Shadow Secretary of State for Communities; Download Andrew Gwynne Speech Here, Ian Lavery MP and Labour Party Chair, Ian McNichol General Secretary Labour Party, who made the first of what would be several name checks to Momentum over the course of conference, Mike Payne GMB and chair of Wales Executive, Rt Hon Carwyn Jones who opened up in Welsh and received an tsunami of appreciation when, in a testament to devolution, he informed conference that there is no privatisation in any hospital in Wales.

BUSINESS CONCLUDED:

  • Announcement of policy directives – see Dianne Abbot, Ian Lavery and Andrew Gwynne speeches.
  • Agreement by vote to focus conference around Rail, Social Care, NHS, Housing, Grenfell, Growth and Investment, Workers Rights and Public Sector Pay. Our delegation from Brighton Pavilion had voted for Rail, NHS, Housing and Learn Direct – we felt that an educational theme needed introducing to proceedings:
  • votes20170930_000036
  • The Conference Arrangements Committee report was agreed.

DAY TWO: Oh Emily Thornberry

Brexit, the economy, jobs, living standards and equalities.

Download the CAC Report for Monday 25th Sept

The molten hot topic of Brexit and Internationalism has liquified politics and it burnt a few fingers here!  Underlined by a well attended pro remain demo outside the Brighton Centre the day before, the  subject was prime focus for the reconvening of conference.

brexitdemo
No free movement for Brexit protestors!

Glenis Willmott, leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party in what was her last major speech ahead of her retirement as an MEP spoke of her fight to remain in Europe. She underlined the need to extend that fight to any exit deal that threatens the peace in Northern Ireland, or undermines the peace of mind of EU nationals in the UK or those Brits who have carved out lives in Europe, or attacks workers rights and safety standards. Download Glenis Willmott speech here.

Emily Thornberry opened her conference address with a cheeky reference to Corbyn’s now infamous mistimed high five gesture as the general election results came in, and with comic prowess she described the Brexit process as a paternity test that Boris Johnson did not wish to take. She spoke to the precarious state of peace in the world,

Emily-Thornberry-Brexit-Labour-conference-1076738
Not another high five Emily please!

calling out the world’s human rights abusers and sabre rattlers; openly referring to Trump as akin to a rogue dictator while calling for a Labour government to challenge international injustices. A stark contrast she said to the spineless unwillingness of the Conservatives to take on such a mission. Download Emily Thornberry speech here.   Keir Starmer criticised the failings of the Tory Brexit negotiators which need no repeating here. He spoke to the need of a flexible approach that swept no options off the the table, suggesting that remaining in a form of customs union with the EU would be one of the possible end destinations for Labour Download Keir Starmer speech here.

John McDonnell was in combative mood, and in the main he delivered a Tory bashing speech for the gallery! Stand out points for me included the IFA study which indicated that writing off student debt would cost £10 Billion by 2050, and that action was needed now by the incumbent government.  Calling out the scale of profits made from PFI deals in the past six years; some £831 Million, was also revelatory and eye watering.  His subsequent announcement that companies based in tax havens should not own shares in PFI’ schemes as well  as confirming that, under Labour, all PFI contracts will be bought back in house inspired conference to its feet. Download John McDonnell speech here.

Sadiq Khan: Download Sadiq Khan speech here.

Debbie Abrahams: Download Debbie Abrahams speech here.

Speakers from the floor: A common theme emerged of how the problems of the global economy have been visited upon migrants in context of Brexit  – the emotive testament from an Italian migrant from Hackney CLP told how unwelcome she and her family now felt in post referendum UK touched all who heard it. Ian Page from Bath CLP went so far as to state that, as the evidence for remaining in Europe was overwhelming,  a reconsideration should be on the cards. This was in contrast to  Daryl Hannah from Hove CLP who reminded conference that, as democratic socialists, the result of the referendum should be respected. Turkey and Palestine were both mentioned. Jean Butcher from UNISON informed conference that supply chains spread poverty around the world and reminded us all to of Dr Martin Luther King’s quote – before you eat breakfast in the morning you have depended on half the world. It’s true – I had a banana and a coffee; from the Caribbean via Columbia to Brighton.

The beast of Bolsover; the legendary Dennis Skinner was also called from the floor. He gave a typically barnstorming performance in regard to where the money will come from to fund our manifesto promises – his advice, to emulate the private sector and borrow it:

BUSINESS CONCLUDED:

Reference Back. There were two instances of note:

  1. Nottingham South called for Brexit policy to be ‘referenced back’ to the National Policy Forum; the delegate concerned wanting the UK to remain in the customs union and the European Economic Area. Conference overwhelmingly voted against the delegate and this was reflected in the votes by the Pavilion contingency.
  2. Taunton Deane referenced back a section of the National Policy Forum on welfare demanding the scrapping of all planned welfare cuts. The Pavilion delegation voted overwhelmingly to support Taunton, and it seemed, from our vantage point,  that the rest of conference did too. However the chair recounted several times inducing a fair bit of tension, before the vote was carried in favour of Taunton to send that section of policy to be reconsidered by the forum. Much cheering ensued.

Votes – acceptance of the international policy commission report; Economy, Business and Trade Policy Commission Report; Work, Pensions and Equalities Commission Report

Affiliates vote only: Contemporary Composite 1 – Growth and Prosperity Contemporary Composite 2 – Public Sector Pay Contemporary Composite 3 – Public Sector Pay Contemporary Composite 4 – Workers’ Rights


DAY THREE: In the black with a white elephant

Early years, education and skills; investing in the future; health and care

Download CAC Report for Tuesday 26th Oct

A big day for conference democracy.  Voting in the ballot for two seats on the National Constitutional Committee, alongside other votes to decide a number of CLP and NEC rule changes would lead to dramatic interludes on the conference floor, and no less than  two Pavillion delegates made it onto the podium to express some firm views: Both were well supported from the floor.20170926_131715.jpg

Boris Johnson’s attempt to gatecrash Lab17 dressed as a white elephant did not fool conference security.

Diana Holland, national treasurer gave an overview of party finances, confirming to all that the party was now, largely thanks to a massively expanded membership, out of debt, mortgage free, and in the black to the tune of over 6 million quid – nice work!

Our very own Amanda Evans, resplendent in a very distinctive hat, and in her role as local treasurer stepped up to the lecturn and demanded to know why, given we had just heard the national party was in such fine fettle financially, that a stall in the exhibition hall was denied to us on the grounds that ‘the national party could not afford to give the space away! Adding insult to injury we found yet another Labour Party merchandise stand, to add to the other Labour Party merchandise stands present, in the space ordinarily reserved for the local hosts – us! The question went unanswered but the point was well made.

Pavilion secretary Claire Wadey moved an emergency motion on the issue of the ongoing suspension of local member Greg Hadfield during the fallout of the 2016 Brighton and Hove District Labour Party elections.  Claire eloquently described the lack of information coming back from the NEC over an unnecessarily  prolonged period of time as ‘justice delayed, justice denied’. Momentum had pressed for support of Pavilion’s motion and there seemed to be a lot of support in the hall – prior to Claire moving the motion I distributed leaflets outlining the full nature of our complaint and here again there was much sympathy. However, following a dramatic card vote, we lost in the hall.

DOWNLOAD BRIGHTON EMERGENCY MOTION

The main speakers today included Rebecca Long Bailey who spoke excitingly of being at the brink of the fourth industrial revolution, and how the pace of technological change calls for new models of ownership, alluding to how intellectual property rights and the fundamentals of business are structured to benefit the few over the many. Download Rebecca Long Bailey speech.

Angela Rayner, my favourite member of the shadow cabinet was sensational, referring back to her own start in life as a young mum of 16 with no qualifications. Speaking to how Sure Start had been instrumental in giving her the confidence to get to where she is now. Her promise to rebuild Sure Start with an injection of £500 Million was both personal and emotive.

Naomi Klein, The author, activist, and eagerly awaited speaker to this conference was up next. Speaking to the global uncertainty in the world and how the new left movement centred in the UK continues to provide hope to the poor, oppressed, and under privileged people of the world. You really should watch this particular speech…

Tom Watson’s moment on the podium was remarkable in that he whipped the throng into (yet another) chorus of Oh Jeremy Corbyn. I later saw the Fire Brigades Union General Secretary Matt Wrack speak at a fringe event organised by the Labour Representation Committee. Matt joked that Tom Watson had not bothered to learn the words to that song until the general election results had come through – hilarious!

OTHER BUSINESS CONCLUDED:

Places on the National Executive Committee:  Anna Dyer and Emina Ibrahim, also known as ‘the left candidates’ won 71 per cent of the vote at conference – a landslide. Both candidates were supported by Brighton Pavilion.

National Policy Forum report on education:   A paragraph was ‘referenced back’ by  show of hands because it failed to clearly commit to proper democratic control of schooling, with no clear refutation of academy type education.

NHS: Another section of the National Policy Forum was ‘referenced back’ because of a  glaring oversight that had gone unnoticed by all except one delegate in the room. The current policy committing to make the NHS the ‘preferred provider’ to the NHS, when in fact it should have read, the ONLY provider! The show of hands in support of this reference back was overwhelming!

Rule Changes:

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The NEC recommendations for voting to rule changes can be seen above while the actual results of votes can be downloaded in full here: CAC Report of Ballot Results and Statement-3


DAY 4: The leader’s speech

Oh Jeremy Corbyn, Oh Jeremy Corbyn, Oh Jeremy Corbyn etc etc!

JC day today! The grand finale to four days of finely tuned debate was preceded by a selection of policy seminars in which delegates were invited to help shape ongoing Labour policy.

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Waiter!

The Brexit seminar was well attended and the panel included Emily Thornberry, Kier Starmer, Glenis Willmott and Barry Gardiner – the full shadow Brexit team. Gardiner spoke to the notion that rising GDP is concomitant with rising inequality which Starmer underlined, drawing on the Tory agenda for post Brexit Britain as deregulation, deregulation, deregulation. Adding a poignant thought on why the phrase ‘take back control’ had such resonance with the public at the time of the referendum as a phenomena that Labour better needed to understand; the list of things that might have made it onto such a list would be potentially very long, but the issue of immigration caught Labour on the back foot he said, and the vote was further bound up in freedom of movement. The clarification of Labour’s policy on the customs union and freedom of movement as announced in Starmer’s earlier speech was very welcome. A delegate from Carlise CLP made the observation that her local council bins policy got more scrutiny that the EU trade deal proposals, a phrase which both Starmer and Gardiner threatened to steal for future usage.

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The big one!

The Work, Pensions and Equalities seminar hosted by Deborah Abrahams and Diana Holland was not short of delegates wishing to contribute. Pavilion’s Juliet McCaffrey spoke to the need to consider the Gypsy and Travellers community in equality legislation, and your very own correspondent suggested an equality idea that Diana Holland later complimented, and said would be considered as future policy: The legal obligation for all corporations to hire a Diversity and Inclusion manager to guard against unconscious bias in such equality issues as setting of pay, promotion and hiring, and to minimise gender pay gaps while expanding equal opportunities – BOOM!

Jeremy Corbyn – Oh Jeremy Corbyn – Oh Jeremy Corbyn etc, etc…

Corbyn quickly found his stride, plainly the endless campaigning has done wonders for his stage presence, and ability to capture a room. Ruminating on how some political theorising states that elections are won from the centre ground, he suggested that this might be true as long as you accept that the political centre of gravity has now moved – to the left. Check the leader out…

Conclusion.

Phew!

Debate, democracy, drama – tick

Energetic, educational, entertaining – tick

Inspiring?  Absolutely.  Frustrating? Sometimes. Would I come again? Hell yes.

To paraphrase Corbyn in his conference address, the Labour party in its current vibrant form is now the mainstream. As I looked around the packed hall teeming with talent, ideas, energy  and the will to challenge party bureaucracy, it seemed hard to refute that  Labour is the government in waiting.

Michael Brown

 

Get involved – your Labour Party needs you!

If you are reading this and are not already a Labour Party member, now is the time to join – but these comments are addressed to those of you who have already taken that step.

Now that you are a Labour Party member you have the right, and the opportunity – but also the duty – to get as involved as you can in our Party so that we can transform our society.

IMG_20170603_150619675Politics is far too important to be left to politicians (even the best socialist politicians) and your opinions matter as much as anyone else’s.  You can find details elsewhere on this site about your local branch meeting, where you are welcome to come along and share your views.

Brighton Pavilion Labour Party is deeply committed to democracy in our Party – and that means that you can express your opinions, framed as a motion which can be voted upon at your local Branch Labour Party.  If it is supported by a majority, your motion can then be debated at our monthly General Committee (GC) meeting and go forward to form Labour Party policy.

Soon we will have a new Local Campaign Forum for Brighton and Hove which will organise the selection of Labour candidates for the local elections due in May 2019.

There is no special magic to being a Council candidate or a Councillor, and if Labour Party members (like you) are going to have a democratic choice when it comes to selecting candidates then Labour Party members (like you) need to start thinking about putting yourself forward.

Joining the Labour Party is an important way of expressing support for and solidarity with the socialist policies set out in our 2017 General Election manifesto – but becoming more deeply involved in the activity of the Party is an even more important step to take.

Your Party needs you.

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