North West Labour Party conference was attended by 360 delegates and 700 over the weekend of 5-7 November. Organisers claimed it’s the best attended in years and that 5,000 new members had joined since May — 500 of those Labour students.
A lot of MPs spoke and the message from all was: fight the cuts; link up with trade unions and community groups; be proud of our record in government, but we made mistakes.
They also stressed that the Tories attacks were ideological and that they represented the interests of the rich.
They definitely think that this can be a one-term Tory government.
There was some saying: poor Labour councillors will have difficult choices.
At a Unison fringe meeting Frank Hont (regional secretary) attacked the Labour Party for not supporting the unions and said the relationship needed to change. This is the second meeting I have seen him make a speech critical of the leadership — a welcome change to his usual uncritical support.
Motions on post office privatisation; the axing of the School Buildings programme; and opposing public sector cuts (from Unison and Unite) were discussed.
Speeches calling for the repeal of the anti-union laws and support for strikes were well supported. As were those opposing all cuts and calling on Labour Councils not to implement them.
Following a speech on why we need to restore Labour democratic structures, over 30 people signed up to the Task Force (see below).
The CWU delegation supported the restoration of Labour party conference democracy, and so did the USDAW delegation. The Unite regional secretary criticised the Labour Party for not turning out in Parliament to support John McDonnell's Bill on the anti-trade union laws.
The event felt like a TUC conference, with lots of uninteresting, worthy speeches. However, many said this was the most political conference in years.
The Campaign for Labour Party Democracy has initiated a “Party Democracy Taskforce” to campaign over the next year to in support of a thorough review of Labour’s structures and an open debate about improvements.
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