Momentum South Birmingham statement on the Birmingham Board of the Labour Party meeting, 17th March 2017.

It was with great disappointment that we learnt that the Birmingham Board of the Labour Party had voted at its meeting on Friday 17th March 2017 to retain the freeze date of July 2015 for the selection of local government candidates in the 2018 council elections.

As selection meetings have yet to take place it means that members will have needed to join nearly two years ago to participate. Large numbers of committed and hard-working local members, the very people the party will depend on to campaign in the mayoral and local elections coming up in the next 18 months, have been disenfranchised.

As we have pointed out repeatedly, this is wrong and misguided, and in the context of a national rule of 6 months, utterly ludicrous. No justification has ever been provided for the original decision and it is now self-evident that it was made to exclude the new members, most of whom of course support our leader Jeremy Corbyn and the vision he has for the party and the country.

It is also noteworthy that the decision to retain the freeze date was made by secret ballot, removing any possibility of CLP reps being held accountable by their members. This is cynical, cowardly and utterly against the principle of openness that should govern our party’s decision-making. We are not the Conservative Party and these things should not be decided in secret by a small cabal of ‘grandees’.

Even a compromise position of a 12 month reset from the 17th March was rejected.

9 wards and 3 CLPs have passed resolutions opposing the freeze date and protests were made across the city. It is clear that the vast majority of Birmingham Labour members oppose this decision when they hear of it.

And yet this has all been flatly ignored, which calls into question the very legitimacy of the Board as our party’s local governing body.

With this decision, winning the upcoming local by-elections, the West Midlands mayoral election in May and the “all-up” council elections in 2018 is self-evidently much harder. A disenfranchised membership is not one likely to be out in huge numbers campaigning for candidates they are not even trusted to help select.

MSB

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22 thoughts on “Momentum South Birmingham statement on the Birmingham Board of the Labour Party meeting, 17th March 2017.

  1. Kathy Coutanche

    It’s just appalling what some CLPs have to go through to try to achieve democracy. Our CLP is pro-Corbyn, but, for certain things, we have to act together with the CLP next door. Their EC tries to impose rules upon us when we have to act in tandem. Luckily, we have an excellent secretary who knows how to deal with them.

    Listening to the tales of what goes on next door is sobering. Several of their members were purged by their own Secretary before the 2nd leadership contest. Branch membership details were withheld for months when a new branch was formed. Anyone disagreeing with the EC’s opinions on their FB page is likely to get barred (I have been).

    They also tried to impose a ridiculous freeze date for selections – again, thankfully we have our Secretary! I hope things get better for you. Fingers crossed you can mobilise enough lefties for your AGM (and not get shut down for it).

    Kathy

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  4. Alan Ingram

    How can anyone describe this mockery, theis gerrymandering, this mendacious and utterly stupid act to deprive the members of their vote, democracy?

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  6. Dr Electra Soady

    Part of my letter to the Board members and Keith Hanson for the meeting of 17th March. The letter was withheld.

    ……. I have believed in the Labour Party because of its values of fairness, equality and democracy. Special measures (imposed 30 odd years ago) go against the heart of what I have perhaps erroneously believed to be my Party.

    How can you possibly justify using Special Measures to impose arbitrary, illogical, undemocratic, disenfranchising and discriminatory dictates? And if you persist doing so, should I not resign? How could I continue to vote for a party the Executive of which goes against the very principles of the Party?

    Is it racism? Is it an attempt to prevent voting by members who joined because of Corbyn? Is the NEC and the Board infiltrated by people pretending they are Labour supporters? The latter, however highly unlikely, it is a least a rational guess. I cannot think of another logical explanation and I would be delighted if you provide me with one………

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