Britain CLPD AGM

posted 23 Feb 2010, 06:43 by M MacDonald

Report of The Campaign for Labour Party Democracy Annual General Meeting

By a member of the CLPD

The Campaign for Labour Party Democracy Annual General Meeting was held on Saturday 20th February and attended by about 60 people. A large majority were older Labour Party activists but there were a few younger faces. The mood was good as they were celebrating some victories at last October’s Labour Party Conference. The most important of these was the introduction of elections for the National Policy Forum. This was carried with the support of the trade unions in the teeth of massive opposition and pressure from the Party leadership. These elections are likely to favour the left who more and more are winning the individual ballot elections to the Party’s National Executive Committee. In the elections for the current Labour Party NEC, of the six seats reserved for constituency representatives the left won four of them with 60% or more of the ballots returned. Also the number of CLPD model motions submitted to last Autumn’s conference was the most for about 25 years.  

The CLPD has about 250 activists which has remained steady over the years despite the massive fall in overall party membership caused by disillusionment with the Labour Government’s policies. There is a general mood of optimism in the organisation that the dark days of the left inside the party are coming to an end and that after the election there will be an opportunity to rebuild.
Everyone of course was preparing for the elections coming up on 6th of May. And a lot of speeches were emphasizing how much popular suspicion there was in the population about the Conservative alternative. Labour could stiil win if it adopted a radical programme but this was obviously unlikely to happen. There was also considerable discussion about what would happen if Labour was defeated and what effect the forthcoming avalanche of public spending cuts would have on the mood of local people generally and the public sector unions in particular. Significantly, a motion was carried at the meeting to open up a discussion on a new socialist clause for the Labour Party’s constitution. The old one, Clause Four, had been removed after a major campaign by Tony Blair after he became leader in the mid 1990s. This new policy could provide an opening to introduce new socialist ideas inside Labour. 
There was also a special session on democratizing the link between the unions and Labour. This is opens up the potential of politically organizing inside the unions.