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Labour NEC: Tendance Factional Guide to the Candidates.

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NEC Elections for CLP and BAME rep's - South Lakes Labour

Labour List today offers a survey of the Over 170 members standing in Labour’s NEC elections. 

Our top-team of experienced cadres has been working hard overnight on our own guide to the Candidate Statements 2020.

Slates, commonly known as ‘factions’.

Labour to Win.

This is the slate of   Progress and  Labour First.

Progress scores a few points for left-wingers in two areas, it “opposes Populism” and takes an anti-Brexit line. However, it was “founded in 1996 to support the New Labour leadership of Tony Blair”. It defines itself as a voice for “Progressives“. This is a term with a long history, back to the American ‘”progressive era” (1890s to 1920s)  fellow-travellers of the old Communist Parties. At present it is used by people as varied as American liberals (those called ‘left-wing’ by Trump supporters) , backers of the former Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, and France’s centrist President Emmanuel Macron.

The word today is without serious local attraction or resonance in British politics and the left in the rest of Europe.

Most of the ideas of Progress are as vacuous as the SWP’s hopes for revolutionary socialism, “Most of all, we believe the United Kingdom is a country of which we could all be truly proud. It contains all the ingredients for a country that could help people to get on and make the most of life.  What we need are new ideas, new leadership and a commitment to change the way that Britain works. We have faith, that given the potential that our country has, we all have real reasons to be hopeful about the future of our community, our country, and our world.” (Our ambition for our country).

Labour First is a factional instrument of the old Labour Party right. “Labour First is a network which exists to ensure that the voices of moderate party members are heard while the party is kept safe from the organised hard left, and those who seek to divert us from the work of making life better for ordinary working people and their families.”

Its factional record is poor (New Statesman 2015),

Labour First, founded in 1988, is a pre-Blairite pressure group seen as the voice of the party’s traditional right. Headed by campaigner and former councillor Luke Akehurst, this faction supported ABC (Anyone But Corbyn) in the leadership election, while Akehurst himself backed Yvette Cooper. In the deputy race, it emphasised its ties to Tom Watson

They claim to be Keir Starmer’s best friends. This kind of claim to closeness to the winner  is familiar on the left amongst the groups that discovered  warmth for ‘Jeremy’ after many years of attacking the Labour Party as a pro-capitalist organisation.

Left-wingers are certainly right to accuse this alliance as drag backwards to the kind of centrist politics that lack bark and bite. They are expected to try to perform the role of left groups in demanding an ever-growing list of demands on the Labour Leader to follow their own ‘moderate’ politics, not his, or those of the largely left-leaning Labour membership.

A factional point to note is that the Progress/Labour First  list supporters do not advertise their slate’s existence in their candidates’ statements.

Luke Akehurst (perhaps their best known candidate) says simply, “I recommend also voting for Baxter, Paul, Payne, Singh Josan, Tatler, and Black, Griffin, Sherriff.”

This contrasts with the rival left list,

Gemma Bolton says,

I am supported by the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance. I am fighting for a socialist Labour Government that will deliver the radical change we need.

Please also support Yasmine Dar, Ann Henderson, Nadia Jama, Laura Pidcock and Mish Rahman.

Their principal rivals are backing the above.

They are the

Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance (CLGA).

The first point to note is that the CLGA was originally a genuine ‘centre” and “left”alliance (Note, the Tendance was involved in this).

The Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance’s founding groups were originally Labour Reform, a centre-left democratic group within the Party founded at a meeting in Birmingham in November 1995, and the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, the left wing democratic grouping, who subsequently brought in other more left-wing groupings from within the Labour Party. Private talks with trades union representatives to build a broader base had failed on union demands and this initiated the inclusion of a much broader Left group from the grassroots, including Labour Left Briefing [Liz Davies] and the then-Editor of TribuneMark Seddon. Successful efforts were also made to include the Scottish Left.

While the original CLGA Co-ordinator, Tim Pendy, (Labour Reform), is at present languishing in the wilderness of the red-brown Full Brexit, and something called the ” Democratic Left Movement” many of the players are still around on the left, notably Ann Black.

Labour List sums up the present line-up

The CLGA comprises Momentum, which is the biggest membership organisation, the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD), thought to be the second largest, plus the Labour Representation Committee (LRC), Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) and Red Labour.

The smaller groups include the Labour Briefing Co-operative, Labour Assembly Against Austerity, the Labour Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Kashmiris for Labour, Grassroots Black Left and new joiner Labour Women Leading (an alternative to the Labour Women’s Network).

Jewish Voice for Labour has some admirable activists in it – and this is said from first hand acquantaine.
But its reputation is associated with these positions (conveniently summarised on Wikipedia, though extremely well known to many).

JVL has defended former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone,[5] supported Jackie Walker[36][37] as being a victim of a “vituperative campaign… based on this sliver of quasi-fact”,[38] deemed accusations of antisemitism against Moshé Machover as “ill founded”,[39][40] opposed and condemned the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth[41][42] as being “punished in advance of investigation and hearing of the case”,[43][44] welcomed the lifting of Derby North MP Chris Williamson‘s suspension[45] and called the National Executive Committee‘s ruling not to endorse him as a Labour candidate for the 2019 general election a “dangerous development for everyone who stands for justice for Palestinians and for democracy and freedom of expression in Britain, including within Labour”.

Many people would defend Moshé Machover and, perhaps, Marc Wadsworth. Those behind Livingstone, Walker, and, above all Chris Williamson, will be fewer in number.

It is to be doubted if their endorsement will help the slate win wider support.

On their candidates not many people on the left, and certainly not socialist internationalists and democrats will wish to be associated with Yasmin Dar’s past  participation public celebrations of  the Iranian regime’s anniversary.

The other candidates of the CLGA,  Ann Henderson, Nadia Jama, Laura Pidcock and Mish Rahman have serious supporters.

The AWL comments,

 Laura Pidcock has taken a pro-Brexit position. What about broader internationalism? Yasmine Dar has repeatedly attended Islamist events celebrating the “Islamic revolution” in Iran, i.e. the Islamist counter-revolution that crushed Iran’s workers, women and national minorities.

Lara McNeill and Ellen Morrison are both linked to the Stalinist left in Young Labour and have been actively involved in witch-hunting the socialist left and shutting down democracy in sections of the party and left where they are active.

Smaller Lists.

Another  group of candidates are running with the Tribune label.

This is not associated with the magazine of that name, now owned by ‘left populist’ US Jacobin. The UK ‘Tribune’ specialises in attacks on Keir Starmer and claims that the ” Israeli “secret services” are involved in Labour Party politics (“The shame of the new ‘Tribune’ and its editor“)

Tribune group of MPs

The Tribune group of MPs, not to be confused with Tribune magazine, has endorsed three ex-parliamentarians as NEC members’ section candidates. This is the grouping in Westminster that was reformed in 2005.

The Tribune group is chaired by Clive Efford. As a whole, it was not critical of Jeremy Corbyn during his leadership, apart from the party’s handling of antisemitism at that time. It fully supports Keir Starmer.

  • Theresa Griffin – Former MEP for the North West (2014-2020)
  • Paula Sherriff – Former MP for Dewsbury (2015-2019)
  • Liz McInnes – Former MP for Heywood and Middleton (2014-2019)

Open Labour is particularly worth noticing,

CLP rep candidates:

  • Ann Black – Former NEC member (2000-2018), South East regional board member, Oxford & District secretary
  • Jermain Jackman – British singer (winner of The Voice UK), founder of the 1987 Caucus (a collective of young Black men in Labour)

Experienced Cde DW says there are good  reasons to back these candidates:

… Dave Anderson, the former Blaydon MP who stood down in 2017 and appears to have distanced himself from any faction, and a fascinating note from one Aram Rawf who says “In twenty years I have gone from being an asylum seeker on the back of a lorry to being a Labour councillor.” What he does not say, is that he won office for Labour in the hostile environment of Thanet, the place that Farage coveted for his abortive career on the green benches

Labour List covers some of the other Independents (see article), though far from all.

Surely one outstanding candidate should have been included?

Brian Precious.

The Tendance recalls the Cde’s writings on Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe,

 L and M assert that social antagonisms emerge when identities are threatened, rather than when they are fully constituted – contra the classical Marxist (Hegelian) formulation of a general antagonism and showdown between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat in advanced capitalism. L and M proceed to critique the Marxist understanding of antagonism in terms of “contradiction” , rejecting it on the basis that, for such a conception to be viable, it requires the presence of things which are absent in an antagonistic situation: namely, fully constituted identities: Logically, in order for proposition A to be contradicted by proposition not A , we must, in the first place, have “fully A” and “fully not A” .But in antagonism, identities are in a state of flux: Two things which are in antagonism to one another are in a situation where the “partial presence” of one of them prevents the coming to full presence of the other, and vice-versa. Think of looking at one thing close to your eyes and another thing far away; you can’t focus on them simultaneously: The sharpness of one produces the blurring of the other.


Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe have deepened, enriched and updated the revolutionary tradition.


Now Cde Precious says,

Our 12.12.19 debacle was caused by a disastrous shift in our Brexit policy and a ferocious media campaign attacking Jeremy Corbyn personally. Antisemitism was massively exaggerated so as to be weaponized. This created the fear and intimidation typical of a witch hunt, as in Arthur Miller’s “” The Crucible “”.

On 12.12.19 we went down to our worst defeat since 1935. The big difference between our 2017 near-victory and our 2019 disaster is the change in our Brexit policy. It is long past time we faced up to this elephant in the room.

On 23.6.16 many Labour voters didn’t suddenly become xenophobic little-Englanders. They voted leave as they saw the EU as a threat to jobs, services, houses and democracy.

Only Labour has the policies to answer these worries. I am totally committed to our 2017 manifesto and our 2019 manifesto without the suicidal Brexit shift.

Still crazy after all those years!


On the wilder fringe Skwawkbox has yet to issue his instructions on who to vote for in the NEC elections and has decided to devote himself full time to attacking the Labour Party Leader.




Written by Andrew Coates

July 15, 2020 at 11:32 am