We decided to stand candidates for all posts. We would state our arguments for why we suited the post in our statements, but would use our speeches to give voice to the factionalism in our CLP. For the first time in a while we could say how we felt without being silenced.
Our speeches would be an opportunity for the left to articulate the experience of being in Holborn & St Pancras CLP, controlled by a right-wing anti-Corbyn faction endorsed by Keir Starmer.Holborn Left
At the end a member who is loosely tied to the right-wing faction commented on how he could have predicted how every vote would go before it happened. He had listened to us and taken on board what we said. Only time will tell whether others have too.
Harriet Evans stood for Vice-Chair Campaigns. She was not elected to the post. “As Campaigns Officer I would be committed to launching a series of grassroots campaigns to reach out to our local communities whose lives have been most affected by the effects of austerity policies in the past few years.” Harriet has been Vice-Chair of her Branch for the past three years and has been involved in various branch-led events and campaigns. Here is her speech.
“My statement notes the kind of campaigns I would like to get off the ground. The question is how to do this. To start with , we need street stalls, socials, open mike sessions, banners and publicity, to appeal to local communities and particularly young people. A grassroots kind of campaigning has to start outside the Labour Party to draw new people in.
We have no shortage of people with ideas and energy to get things going. But at branch level, we need permission from the CLP to launch them. But instead of encouraging our initiatives, we have been thwarted time and again, in Highgate and in other branches. Motions worthy of debate have been pushed to the back of the agenda and some never see the light of day.
We need to have proper discussions about the campaigns and publicity we want, but when we try to raise our voices in GC to say something useful about this we are ignored or shouted down, and sometimes verbally and even physically abused. This is not the kind of behaviour a democratic socialist party can be proud of.
It has to stop. We need to change how this GC operates by voting in officers who can contribute their political imagination in properly democratic debate that cuts across our different political positions, rather than embed them. This has to happen if we are to follow through with our commitment to socialist principles by reaching out to those who would most benefit from them.”