Clause One

Stop the McDonnell amendment

My New Year’s resolution is to stop the hard-left lowering the threshold to stand for Labour leader from 15 to five per cent

First published on ProgressOnline | Featured in the Guardian

2016 was obviously a total disaster for those who want to see a Labour government in the not too distant future. Disappointing local election results, coming third in Scotland, losing the European Union referendum and the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn followed by near silence. Since 24 September 2016 there has been little done to unite the party, nothing done to flesh out of policy ideas, campaign days on grammar schools and the NHS were so poor few voters noticed and the Labour leader appears at prime minister’s question time and that’s about it. Labour finishes the year with a 25 per cent standing in the polls – some 17 points behind an unelected Tory leader that is bereft of ideas and vision. Only 18 per cent of the public like our economy team and just 17 per cent our leader. The Corbyn project has clearly failed and many who voted for him, even the second time, are rapidly coming to the same conclusion. (more…)

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Clause One principles

First published in Progress magazine

Time to convince fellow members of Labour’s founding purpose

The Labour party was founded as the Labour Representation Committee in 1900 by Keir Hardie and others to secure parliamentary representation of labour, because he and the founding trade unions had concluded that marches and placard-waving were insufficient to achieve the political reforms that their union members needed.

That is why Clause One of the Labour party rulebook says the purpose of the Labour party is to ‘maintain in parliament and the country a political Labour party’. It was a commitment to parliamentary and democratic change, a rejection of the syndicalist and revolutionary Marxists’ argument for extra-parliamentary change – currently referred to as a social movement – and it reflected the rejection of the ‘class war’ resolution at the 1900 founding conference of the Labour Representation Committee. Those who argue that Labour should secure change primarily be means of protest alone have challenged Labour’s founding principles every time we have lost power: 1931, 1951, 1979 and again today. It falls to our generation to defend our Clause One principles. But if we get it right, the Clause One socialists will win again (more…)

One tiny change makes Labour unrecognisable

First published on the Times Redbox

Last year I left Labour party conference in Brighton exhausted. Moderates had fended off attacks on Trident and Labour’s defence policy, the rulebook was left largely unchanged, and the mistakes made in full view of the public were all homemade, by Jeremy Corbyn and his Short money-employed staff.

Recently I was back in Brighton for the Labour First/Progress Road to Conference tour. While Labour itself heads to Liverpool this year, conference is back in Brighton in 2017. Could the party be unrecognisable by then? (more…)