Many members were dismayed by the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn. A small number have notified me that they have resigned; others may be considering resigning. Please do not resign. That is exactly what those opposed to the socialist policies that Jeremy represents want. If you want the Party to keep campaigning for the socialist policies embodied in the General Election manifestos you must stay and fight for them. No other Party can do this. In spite of its majority in parliament the Tory Party is vulnerable, It seems intent on restoring its reputation as the Nasty Party and is leading the country into an economically chaotic future without a plan. The one chink of light for the Tories is the prospect of a divided and weakened Labour Party. Don’t give them that comfort. Making the world a better and fairer place was never going to be quick or easy.
There have been requests from some of our members for the Constituency to call for re-instatement of Jeremy Corbyn but feedback received so far suggests that our members are pretty evenly divided on this. In addition, while the grounds are not yet clear, Jeremy Corbyn is now subject to disciplinary procedure. It would be inappropriate for a Constituency to seek to influence the course of an ongoing disciplinary investigation. What we can insist on at this stage is transparency and due process. The Constituency Committee has a scheduled meeting next week and will be discussing what, if any, action we should take. If you have views you would like the Committee to take into account, including whether you would like a Zoom general meeting on the subject, please let me or Anne know your views as soon as possible. Views posted in the Constituency’s Private Facebook Group would also be useful.
Equality and Human Rights Commission Report
You should have received an email from Kier Starmer with a link to the Equality and Human Rights Commission Report on its Investigation into Antisemitism in the Labour Party. Please read it.
The bones of it are that, having looked in detail at a third of 220 documented complaints of antisemitism, the Commission found two cases, Ken Livingstone and Pam Bromley, which placed the Party in breach of the 2010 Equalities Act. Livingstone resigned in 2018 and Bromley was expelled in February this year. The Commission also found 18 borderline cases and refer to many other examples of social media posts by ‘ordinary’ members which were antisemitic but for which the Party was not legally liable. The Commission also found the Party in contravention of the Equalities Act by virtue of indirect discrimination through the widespread practice of ‘political interference’ in the investigation of cases and in the failure to provide adequate training for personnel involved in conducting investigations. The Commission also exposed gross disfunction in the way the Party has dealt with complaints and discipline over the last ten years. This maladministration is a scandal which has been largely kept from members by the lack of transparency of the proceedings of the Party’s National Executive Committee which is responsible for management and governance.
The EHRC recommendations are all concerned with practical requirements to make the process of dealing with all complaints fair, efficient, subject to effective scrutiny and compliant with the Equalities Acts and principles of natural justice. The report also calls on the Party to take wider steps to prevent antisemitism in future. It is my view and that of the Constituency Committee that the sooner the full recommendations are implemented the better.
Tory Stalinism on Planning and Housing.
We have submitted formal detailed objections to the Government proposals for drastic changes to the planning system. These would sweep away much of the existing controls on development, slash the scope for local councils and communities to influence what development takes place, weaken environmental protection, reduce funding for affordable housing and double the number of new houses to be built in Ryedale and Hambleton.
We have instead called for a simplification of the current system which would make it easier for local communities to influence plans and get development that meets actual local needs. We have also called for scrapping of the current system for financing infrastructure and affordable housing which puts the cost on buyers of new houses pushing already high house prices up even further. We have called for a fundamental review of the system of funding and providing new affordable homes to ensure that the right number and type of homes is actually delivered for those who need it in the places they need it. Our full submission is on our website and the Government proposals are here Planning for the Future
Hambleton Local Plan Hearing Livestream
The hearing in public of the Hambleton Local Plan is currently in progress; it started on 20th October and ends on 18th November. The proceedings are all public and livestreamed. We made a detailed submission on housing issues and I am attending a number of sessions to back these up. On Friday 6th November I’ll be attempting to highlight issues around affordable housing. The livestream link, hearing programme, Local Plan and other documents can be found HERE.
Zoom with Thangham Debbonaire and Rachel Reeves
TThese policy discussions have been arranged specially for you and members of Scarborough and Whitby Labour Party. Both take place from 7.00 to 8.00pm including questions and discussion.
November 10th. Thangam Debbonaire, Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, looking at the Regeneration of Rural Communities and the role of the Green New Deal
November 25th. Rachel Reeves, Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, will speak on Labour’s Work on Post-Covid Recovery and Reconnecting with Voters with a vision for a more equal country.
These meetings are for Party members only and preregistration is required. To register just email Jim Pearse email@example.com saying which meetings you would like to attend. You will then be sent details of how to join the meetings.
Covid-19 Lockdown Two
As we go into Lockdown Two I’d like to wish everyone well in coping with it. Perhaps a good time to make contact with comrades, particularly those living on their own or who are particularly vulnerable. Also a gentle reminder that more and more people are at risk of destitution and that the Foodbanks continue to be a vital source of support for many.
Best wishes, Mick Johnston Secretary of Thirsk & Malton Constituency Labour Party