Why I am running to be a local government representative on the Labor NEC – LabourList

The results of May’s local elections were mixed for Labour. They showed what our party can achieve in local government when we have a positive offer and the support of councilors and local members. In Worthing, for example, we saw the council turn Labor for the first time thanks to an enthusiastic militant base, a progressive manifesto and a united local party. Meanwhile, in other councils such as Westminster and Wandsworth, we have seen historic labor gains through years of effort and hard work by local campaigners, councilors and candidates engaging with local communities and developing local alternatives to Conservative government for the few.

But in too many other parts of the country, Labor stood still or backed down. We lost key councils and town halls across the country and failed to make any meaningful net progress on the 2018 results. In particular, we saw a worrying loss of support among some grassroots voters, including including Muslim voters, who have become increasingly alienated, as evidence compiled by the Labor Muslim Network shows. Part of the problem is a tendency to reduce local elections to a popularity test of national leadership, leading to the promotion of talking points at the national level rather than explaining to voters what labor councils can actually achieve. It does a disservice to our hard-working councilors and undermines the efforts of progressive councils to protect and empower working-class residents here and now.

Despite austerity and the Conservative government, what local councils do can have a big impact. So much has been achieved by progressive local governments in places like Preston, Salford and Islington, which have successfully implemented policies aimed at meeting people’s needs and retaining wealth in local communities, rather than generating private profits: bringing services in-house, building social housing at council rents and building community wealth.

Unfortunately, these achievements have been actively ignored by national leaders, despite the social and electoral gains that have accompanied them. To be truly transformative, insourcing, social housing provision and community wealth creation requires the support of national party and ultimately government policy – ​​and this is where the National Executive Committee comes in. (NEC).

Matt White and I are standing up to represent Labor public office holders in the NEC because we believe turning the tide in local government requires a change of approach. If elected to the NEC, we will use our role as local government representatives at the Clause V manifesto meeting to demand that the Labor Party adopt policies enabling local authorities to meet the needs of the working class through a increased public funding, increased powers to build social housing and redistributive taxation.

And we would push for other changes in the way our party works too. We would ensure that the rulebook is adhered to and we would oppose undemocratic seams like those seen in the recent parliamentary selections for Wakefield and Stroud. It is simply not fair that hard-working local councilors, let alone council chiefs and deputy chiefs, are barred from standing for parliamentary elections by the central party for bogus reasons. We must also allow local parties to continue to manage local government selection processes, without the heavy-handed, top-down interventions we have seen over the past two years.

We would support constitutional changes preventing business lobbyists or property developers from becoming councilors in order to build trust in labor councils and send a clear message that we will stand with our communities against the interests of property developers. . We would also ensure that backbenchers are properly represented in CEN. In too many councils, power is concentrated at the top, with backbench councilors having minimal voice.

We have the experience and commitment to represent Labour’s public office holders. Matt campaigned successfully against the appalling Haringey Development Vehicle – a plan to privatize land and demolish council housing – and since being elected Labor Councilor in 2018 he has worked alongside colleagues to radically change Haringey’s approach: replace privatization with insourcing and building council houses at municipal rents. I have been involved in campaigns highlighting abuse by taxi drivers, working with unions and drivers to speak out against the appalling exploitation suffered by people in the service sector.

We support community wealth creation, the construction of social housing at council rents and real respect for municipal workers, we oppose racism and all forms of discrimination, and we support a green new deal for our communities at local level. We are proud to have the support of Momentum and the Socialist Labor Councilors Campaign Group. We’re on the ballot and we’re asking you to vote when the ballots are out soon – please check our website to stay up to date and to learn more about what we stand for. Please vote for Aneesa Akbar and Matt White.

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