Thursday, December 07, 2017
Savaged by an anonymous (dead) sheep?
I was going to blog thanks to those members of Brighton Pavilion Constituency Labour Party (CLP) who attended last night’s Annual General Meeting (at which I was re-elected as Chair) for the comradely conduct of the meeting – but my attention has been taken by the report in the Argus of last week’s inaugural meeting of our Local Campaign Forum (LCF).
This is an odd story (as one online commentator on the Argus site has pointed out) since it mixes sensible factual reporting of the functions of the LCF, and the (surely inoffensive) aspirations of the officers of that body, with a concocted story of controversy based entirely on the reported comments of a single anonymous individual (though seasoned liberally with extracts from an earlier post here).
So, on the one hand the Argus explains that “the LCF runs the process to select potential council candidates. Anyone who wishes to be selected as the Labour candidate in any of the city wards must first put their name forward to the LCF” (which is true) and reports that “no qualified candidates will be refused a place on the panel, but that efforts will be made to encourage as many candidates as possible to stand, including more LGBT and ethnic minority candidates than have stood in recent years” (which is certainly what the officers of the LCF want to see).
On the other hand, the headline describes the election unopposed at an inaugural meeting of people who (in common with the majority of local Party members) support the politics of the Party’s national leadership as a “take-over” and quotes an anonymous source characterising this as a “grab for power” by a “Stalinist group”. Our anonymous friend either has a very lively imagination or was the wrong side of one too many drinks when they gave their views to the local paper.
Whilst I am always in favour of newspaper reports which quote from this little blog, the truth about the LCF (of which I was honoured to be elected Chair without opposition) is both more boring and more exciting than the Argus – and its secret interlocutor – would have you believe.
It is more boring because it will not be the site of internal strife within our Party, but a vehicle for encouraging the participation of Party members, as candidates and in selection processes, as well as for encouraging the campaigning which we will need to get to a socialist Council in our City.
And it is more exciting because we are going to build a large and diverse pool of potential candidates from whom we will be selecting representatives who will be part of the continuing transformation of our Party and our society.