Three hundreds and thousands

First published on ProgressOnline

300 the film is a bloody portrayal of valiant warriors battling invading hordes, outsiders wishing only ill on the heartland, which in turn unites, inspired, against its common, outlandish enemy.

300 the number is a clear reminder of the difference a few votes can make here and there in the election to Labour’s National Executive Committee, which has just begun.

Had Luke Akehurst – standing for the NEC again this year – won just a few hundred more votes in 2014, then he might well have found himself able to vote at this week’s historically important meeting of Labour’s ruling body. He was within touching distance of Darren Williams, who took the place of disgraced Ken Livingstone, forced to resign from the NEC after the Chakrabarti report.

Luke was also 3,000 votes behind moderate NEC rep Johanna Baxter – and a full 10,000 behind Ellie Reeves, both of them running together again in this year’s race.

Candidates always win support from different sources and the spread is in some ways not unusual. But when the difference between being on the NEC and being just outside of it might come down to a small number of votes, it is a reminder of what so many of us constantly say to people on the doorstep: voting matters. And every vote matters.

This year Luke, Johanna and Ellie are running together along with Bex Bailey, Parmjit Dhanda and Peter Wheeler. Theirs are the voices that want to see an electable, transformative Labour party, able to change society precisely because it wields power.

If Labour were in power now, we would not have the forced sell-off of council homes, proposed by George Osborne, backed by David Cameron and voted for by Theresa May.

If Labour were in power now, we would not have had the illiberal Trade Union Act, strangling the ability of unions to do their job and harming the people Labour is meant to represent in the process.

If Labour were in power now, we would not be leaving the European Union. That alone speaks for itself.

When you vote in the NEC election, make sure to cast all six votes and to do so for all six of these candidates. Because doing so could make the difference not just to Labour, but to the country.

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Richard Angell is director of Progress. He is voting for Luke Akehurst, Bex Bailey, Johanna Baxter,Parmjit Dhanda, Ellie Reeves and Peter Wheeler

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