British Labour Party

Martin Spellman mspellman at
Sat Jan 4 07:54:34 MST 2003

	The block vote was originally introduced to stifle socialist activists
within the Labour Party. Those were the days when the old 'quadrumvirate':
the Miners; Engineers and the two big general unions (GMWU and TGWU)
dominated the trade union movement and were resolutely right-wing. It was
also regarded by middle-class individual LP members as a brutal intrusion by
working class organisations into Labour Party business (as when Frank
Cousins was General Secretary of the TGWU around 40 years ago and supported
nuclear disarmament).

	Decision making in the Labour Party now is laughable. It is very hard to
explain, let alone justify. Any reasonable person examining it would have to
conclude that it was a very curious and contrived process. It is such that
it is impossible to make any change that the leadership do not want. It was
bad enough before and if the worst came to the worst the parliamentary
leadership just ignored the decision. What every happened to the bold
campaigns of the 70s to democratise the LP? But you can't even have a
'thorough debate' because who are you going to have it with? Blair is beyond
control, even of the Cabinet (another outfit he has made an empty shell).
Neither is there a public organ to facilitate discussion: 'Labour Weekly'
was abolished in Neil Kinnock's time. 'Tribune' is a paper no one reads.

	What I want to know from people who think that political change is going to
come from or via the Labour Party is 1) how is this going to be effected?
(i.e. why will it succeed this time when it failed before under better
circumstances) and 2) What did Blair's changes to LP policy and organisation
in the 1990s signify?

	The turnout for the anti-war demonstrations has shown there are masses of
politically aware people who wouldn't touch the LP (or the ultra-left sects)
with a barge pole. This is where the future lies.

Happy New Year everyone, as the biggest British Naval Force since the
Falkslands war assembles in the Med for an 'exercise'.

Martin Spellman

> "The way the Executive is elected and decisions are made is now a
> tortuous and elitist process designed to give the Leader no problems."
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Ah no, that individual members of the Labour Party can elect members of
> the Labour Party NEC is a positive step, the continued use of block
> votes by the leadership of affiliated unions is unacceptable. Too often
> have unions in the past backed the leadership when it comes to the last
> ditch. If decisions are tortuous, if it means thorough debate, that's
> not a problem depends what the result is. The elitist process?

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