A refreshed Labour Party
We have witnessed a big rise in numbers and members’ activity in our CLP. We are holding new types of events and trialing new formats for fund raising and member engagement. The energy and buzz is growing across the wider North West region.
Several factors play a part in this - our defeat in the last election, brutal Tory policies and, of course, a fresh Labourleadershipteam. Our party’s membership has increased from 201,293 at the time of the election to 388,407 in January 2016. Do people think that if one of the other three leadership candidates won we would have seen a similar increase in our membership?
In 2014 John McDonnell was on the panel at a fringe event at party conference, along with Angela Rayner, now our MP for Ashton, and Ian Hodson, President of BFAWU. The debate was exciting. John McDonnell is a great public speaker. He listened carefully to the contributions from each speaker and explicitly answered all questions from the public. So we were delighted when he was appointed Shadow Chancellor. Just a few months later, John is consistently taking the Tories to task - for example on Chancellor George Osborne offering “mates’ rates” of corporation tax to Google.
Our CLP has seen a sizeable growth in youth members. Following many years when political party membership has been historically low, it is exciting to see people of all backgrounds and ages joining our party.
The Labour leader won fairly and squarely under the new election system with 59.5% of the vote. The same people who are resentful about the current leadership fail to highlight why any candidate they were supporting lost so badly. What do thesepeople have to say, not just to those members who voted for Jeremy Corbyn, but also to the 152 Constituency Labour Parties that nominated him, alongside unions like Unite, TSSA, BFAWU, Unison, CWU and ASLEF? Is not talk of a ‘coup’ insulting to the many people who volunteered and voted for Jeremy Corbyn? What about the Fire Brigade Union members who left under the leadership of Tony Blair but overwhelmingly chose to reaffiliate under the new leadership in November2015?
While some revel in wasting precious time fighting internally, the Tories continue to unleash the most savage attacks on working people and their rights, including selling off even more council housing, attacks on human rights, NHS privatisation, yet more harsh cuts to local government and rigging the electoral system by removing many from the electoral register.
We should focus on winning the upcoming council elections as well as supporting our London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan MP and Bristol mayoral candidate Marvin Rees. Making personal attacks and calling for coups against the leadership helps only the Tories.