Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/26563

Posted on 5 December 2017 at 16:02 GMT

HDV protest 3 July 2017

HDV protest 3 July 2017   (Click to enlarge)

Haringey Labour council: Blairites deselected

In recent days representatives of Labour's right wing have been fulminating about developments in Haringey Labour Party.
Former Labour Party deputy leader Roy Hattersley even compared the pro-Corbyn Momentum group to the Militant Tendency in the 1980s (now the Socialist Party).
Hattersley demanded similar action is taken against Momentum to the witch-hunt he and others conducted against Militant.
Unfortunately, the approach of the leadership of Momentum has been to declare that the right wing of the party has largely been won over to Corbyn's policies, despite all evidence to the contrary. This alone shows the difference between Momentum and the Militant.
Roy Hattersley admits that Militant was better organised. That organisation flowed from a clear understanding of the role played by the pro-capitalist wing of the Labour Party and the need for the Labour Party membership and trade union movement to deselect them in favour of candidates who stood for the interests of the working class.
Fortunately, Labour Party members in Haringey have not followed the advice of Momentum's leadership, as one of them reports below.

The Times and Evening Standard have carried articles covering recent developments in Haringey Labour Party, screaming about a "purge of moderate councillors" and a takeover by "the Hard Left".

By "moderate councillors" they mean councillors who have cut services, laid off hundreds of staff, and threatened to evict thousands of council tenants from their homes.

But what these papers object to is ordinary members getting organised, holding their representatives to account and using their democratic right to replace these individuals.

The Labour council in Haringey has been implementing a programme of brutal cuts and privatisation since 2014.

But the main focus over the last year has been the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV), a 2 billion privatisation of social housing, which would lead to the demolition and 'regeneration' of housing estates.

This plan has been opposed by the vast majority of Labour Party members, by the local Labour Party general committee meetings, and by a Labour Party conference resolution.

'Social cleansing'

Jeremy Corbyn's conference speech attacked this kind of regeneration as "forced gentrification and social cleansing, as private developers move in and tenants and leaseholders are moved out".

But the right wing leadership of Haringey Labour Group said that they would press on with HDV regardless, and have threatened to discipline the minority of councillors who opposed it.

This has spurred the left in Haringey Labour Party to get organised.

Momentum's leader John Lansman has pronounced that there is now no opposition to Corbyn from the right.

But HDV opponents decided to ignore this advice and organised to democratically deselect Blairite, pro-austerity candidates. This was the approach put forward by Socialist Party members.

HDV protest 3 July 2017

HDV protest 3 July 2017   (Click to enlarge)

Labour Party rules require a 'trigger ballot' before a selection takes place. This gives the incumbent a massive advantage, as challengers do not have access to membership data until a trigger ballot occurs, and only have a few days to campaign between the trigger ballot and the selection meeting.

The right wing relies on an inactive membership. But in key wards, left activists have visited and phoned Labour Party members, convincing them to come to meetings and vote for anti-HDV candidates.

Some ward selection meetings have had more than 100 members voting. In the past many of these meetings would have had barely a dozen present.

Many right-wing councillors were not prepared to defend their record before rank-and-file Labour Party members and once 'triggered', withdrew from the contest, citing 'factionalism' and a 'poisonous, angry and cynical atmosphere' in Labour meetings. But selection meetings have been held in an amicable and fraternal manner.

At the time of writing, 40 anti-HDV council candidates have been selected and only seven pro-HDV candidates have managed to hold onto their seats.

Mixed 'left' slate

The press describe the left slate as "hard left". But several of them have voted for HDV in the past, and opposed Corbyn.

One was previously employed by Terrapin, a lobbyist for the HDV, while serving as the council Labour group's chief whip!

Together with a legal challenge, these reselections put the future of HDV in jeopardy. But the old councillors remain in office for another six months until the May 2018 elections and could use this time to sign contracts, which would potentially bind future councils for decades to come.

Jeremy Corbyn should announce that the old, discredited Haringey council leadership has no mandate to sign these deals, and that a future Labour government will retroactively annul them without compensation.

In May 2018, Haringey is likely to be the first Labour council in Britain with a Momentum/Corbynite majority. This will be a chance to test out the policies of Corbyn supporters in power.

HDV is the most extreme example of the austerity programme that was embraced by the right wing council leadership.

Social services were privatised, day care centres were shut and hundreds of council workers were laid off.

Right-wing councillors claim that there is no alternative to cuts due to the depth of Tory cuts to central government funding for local government.

But they also say that there was no alternative to HDV. Yet Haringey has over 36 million in housing revenue account reserves.

Weak Tory government

The last general election produced a vastly weakened Tory government, which has already been forced to make concessions on a number of issues.

This government could fall within months and be replaced by a Corbyn-led government committed to increasing local government funding.

So newly elected councillors should not only stop the HDV, but also stop cutting council services in Haringey and bring privatised services back in-house.

The Evening Standard warned that what happened in Haringey will be replicated in town halls across the UK and perhaps in Westminster (ie through reselection of Labour MPs).

The hysterical reaction from the right wing of the Labour Party and its supporters in the establishment media shows their fear that the Labour Party rank and file across the country will get organised and deselect right wing Labour councillors who have been carrying out Tory policies.

Unfortunately this is not the case on a national basis. In many areas the same old cutters are being reselected.

Corbyn could greatly speed up the democratisation process if he calls on all Labour councils to stop the cuts now and pledges that an incoming Labour government would underwrite any debt.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 5 December 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Haringey:

triangleNo fudge with the right wing

triangleHaringey protests HDV - but Labour fails to kill it off completely

triangleCorbyn's left must seize the advantage in Labour's civil war

triangleHaringey: now's our chance for a no-cuts council

triangleLabour civil war re-erupts over Haringey regeneration project

Labour:

triangleSave Salford nurseries!

triangleLabour councillors push through savage cuts in Kirklees budget

triangleBlairite mayor faces open election after democratic 'irregularities' - fight for a no-cuts mayor

triangleBuilding the campaign against clearances of the working class

Council:

triangleVictory: Pontllanfraith leisure centre saved

triangleNorthants council crisis - protesters demand an end to cuts and privatisation

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: How can we get Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity policies into our local council?

Labour Party:

triangleCarlisle debate - socialism or social democracy?

triangle100 years since women won the vote

Councillors:

triangleStriking back against academies in Newham

Momentum:

triangleCorbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

Militant:

triangleThe Socialist Party is being evicted - we need you!

Privatisation:

triangleWe can win the fight for the NHS

Austerity:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleBristol anti-cuts campaigners debate alternatives to the cuts

Local government:

triangleLocal government workers' reps reject 2% pay offer

Housing:

triangleRent doubles in a decade: cap rents, build council homes!

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

22/2/18

UCU

Lecturers strike around country in defence of pensions

21/2/18

Strike

German engineering strike puts shorter week on agenda - but could have won more

21/2/18

Cardiff

Cardiff Refugee Rights gig success

21/2/18

Nottingham

Nottingham hospital black alert

21/2/18

East Midlands

Lively discussion at East Midlands Socialist Party conference

21/2/18

West Midlands

Tremendous determination on show at West Midlands conference

21/2/18

Wales

Successful Socialist Party Wales conference sets tone for the year ahead

21/2/18

Bradford

Bradford protests against kids' service cuts

21/2/18

May Day

May Day, May Day! Celebrate solidarity!

21/2/18

Kirklees

Labour councillors push through savage cuts in Kirklees budget

21/2/18

Salford

Save Salford nurseries!

21/2/18

Caerphilly

Victory: Pontllanfraith leisure centre saved

21/2/18

Council

Northants council crisis - protesters demand an end to cuts and privatisation

21/2/18

Leicester

Leicester Uni makes Tory fee tripler David Willetts chancellor - sack Willetts!

21/2/18

UCU

Bosses divided - university pension strikes can win!

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999