Why We Need To Send Pro-Corbyn Delegates To Conference
The 2018 Labour Party Conference is drawing near, and it is more important than ever that we ensure the delegates we send from Hackney South & Shoreditch CLP will use the opportunity we give them to help democratise the Labour Party. Our CLP has taken a strong position on a number of issues over the past year, including calling on the Council to support the most vulnerable in our society and not increase council tax contributions for those suffering hardship, as well as lending our voices to the campaign to stop proposed cuts to funding for SEND children. We have considered the use of public space by developers and corporations in Hackney and the importance of defending the right to freedom of speech. Our left slate was selected by consensus amongst the Hackney South Grassroots Left; these people will not only support the direction the Party is heading in, but they will reflect the decisions made by our CLP and act as our voices at Conference.
As a recent first-time delegate, I know just how exciting it is to be at Conference as a participant, involved in shaping our policies! It is also a serious responsibility. We ask that our delegates report on their experiences and explain their votes. We want accountable representatives.
Last year a delegate asked how much the compliance unit of the Labour Party cost to run, but this figure was not provided separately from staff costs. Another delegate said we should look at the balance of funds and particularly at how little CLPs are allowed to keep (5%). Another person said that they had received little funding for campaigning in their marginal seat, with their candidate having to buy their own Labour merchandise. It was generally agreed that a review on the allocation of money was needed. This year, Conference will examine these and other pertinent questions in the Democracy Review. Delegates will have the opportunity to influence important decisions, not just in the Conference hall, but at the delegate only policy seminars chaired by shadow ministers. These are a wonderful chance to engage in debate with senior Labour politicians and make them aware of how national plans might affect us locally. Many of the bodies that govern our Party have been slow to respond to calls for democracy and have sometimes attempted to halt our movement by trying to make it harder for candidates like Jeremy to gain support in the future. The Conference Arrangements Committee allows short-notice motions from themselves, but CLPs and delegates must submit a year in advance. We don’t think these attempts to stop people having a say are fair. A strong voice at Conference sends the signal that we want democracy and debate from the grassroots up, not the top down!
The more delegates we send, the more voices we have! Going to Conference can be an expensive business and it is unaffordable for many in Hackney South CLP. We want as many people as possible to have the chance to participate, particularly newer members who support the direction of travel. For years we have sent a small number of people – often senior Hackney figures – who have been asked for little feedback. This is why we on the left have been raising money to send as many delegates as possible.
Let’s open it out, let’s support Jeremy and the direction he is taking the party towards, please come along and help send our left slate.
Without your vote nothing will change so please come out and vote for democracy in the Labour Party at the meeting on the 22nd March, 7.30 pm.
This blog was written for Momentum Hackney by a previous delegate to Conference.
Hackney South CLP are crowdfunding to send a substantial number delegates to Labour Conference. Please donate, if you’re able to, to the CLP crowdfund to make sure the CLP is able to send as many delegates to the Labour Conference as possible. If you are not in a position to donate, please support by sharing the crowdfunding link, https://www.gofundme.com/south-hackney-delegate-fund, and encouraging others to donate.
Hackney South and Shoreditch CLP’s delegates for conference will be picked through voting at the March CLP General Meeting, to be held on Thursday 22nd March 2018 from 19:30 at The Salvation Army Church and Community Centre, 70 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 4RT. The meeting is an All Member meeting, meaning any member of the Hackney South CLP can turn up and vote for delegates.
It is extremely important that Corbyn supporting Labour members of the CLP turn up to the meeting, on time, and vote for candidates that will represent the CLP at conference in a way that supports the Labour Party continuing to travel in the democratic and socialist trajectory as outlined and established by Jeremy’s leadership campaigns and the 2017 manifesto.
In that respect, Momentum Hackney have decided to support the Hackney South Grassroots Left Slate for conference delegates, you can find more information on who is on the slate, how the slate was formulated and why we support it here.
Momentum Hackney will be hosting a phonebank on to get out the Corbyn-supporting vote for the Hackney South CLP conference delegate meeting in order to support the HSGL Slate so as we can pick delegates that reflect the desire of the CLP and wider membership to support Jeremy Corbyn’s vision for Labour. You can find the details of the phonebank here.