I have to correct the impression given by the local Labour Party secretary’s letter last week (Facts should be correctly stated) that sought to argue that my previous letter had contained a number of ‘factual inaccuracies’.
Dr Husbands ignores the broad thrust of my argument which was that there was a need for Labour Party unity and that the in-fighting both at national level and local level should stop – whoever the perpetrators were.
Instead the secretary focuses on the minutiae of the local issue which concerned the denial of a legitimate vote in the leadership election of a local trade union member and his (Dr Husbands’) role in it.
In fact Dr Husbands’ argument is only loosely about the facts and is shot through with his own interpretations.
On the facts. The secretary’s clarification of the membership status is clearly correct, however, this is largely irrelevant to the issue.
The person concerned was entitled to a vote under the new party rules as a life long trade unionist and union levy payer irrespective as to whether he was a full party member or not.
In respect of the role of the local executive. It is not credible to argue that the decision to exclude was made by the national executive ‘independent of local parties’ when all local party executives had been asked, in writing, to advise on the acceptability of new members and affiliates by the then deputy leader of the party.
A submission with the authority of a constituency secretary, apparently resulting from a local executive meeting, was bound to be crucial to the decision.
On the question of the vote at the meeting.
The vote to reject the motion and thus support the executive’s action as pointed out by Dr Husbands was by 13 votes to 11.
Of the 13, 12 were local officers of the party either at constituency or branch level.
The executive were thus able to convince only one of the ordinary members of the validity of their case.
I believe my statements were, therefore, justified and factually accurate.
On the question of the level of attendance the secretary’s comments are particularly objectionable.
Having denied the discussion of motions put to two previous general meetings and having failed to provide the membership with the so called ‘facts’ (by refusing to circulate relevant papers prior to the meeting) the secretary goes on to presume to know what the members not present at the meeting would have concluded had they had the facts. Astonishing!
As a direct result of the executive’s action the membership as a whole remains totally unaware of both the facts and the action taken.
The executive should now circulate the papers (the facts) in support of their case to at least those members on email (the majority of the party) which could be done at zero cost.
In his final statement the secretary regrets that l have raised this issue in the press.
I do too, but it results from a continuous refusal of the executive to respond to legitimate questions raised by members leaving little option but to air concerns in this way.
Finally, my plea for party unity and an end to interpersonal animosity has again fallen on deaf ears. Sad but factually correct.
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