Labour Party members in Stroud Green last week debated a motion on Syria during which it was asserted: “There is evidence that the Assad regime is preferred by Syrian people.”
The controversial motion prompted a lively discussion, which included comments from the floor claiming that; “There is no evidence of popular protest or dissent agaisnt the Syrian government”; referred to “The purported chemical weapons attack…” and a statement that “The Russians were invited in by the legitimate Syrian government.”
Stroud Green Labour Party branch has been dubbed Ground Zero for the Corbyn revolution. It was here – in what was then called South Hornsey – that Corbyn began his 44 year long career as a full time politician when, on 2 May 1974, he was elected as a councillor. It was here, too, that the Corbyn membership surge created what is believed to be the biggest branch in the country with well over 600 members.
Stroud Green delivered a good result for Labour in last week’s local poll. Despite being on the west side of the borough – where the Lib Dems surged back to take 7 seats off Labour – the party held all three seats here comfortably.
But this week’s branch meeting was no congress of the victors. For a start just 36 members turned out – well down on recent attendances which have been closer to 60 and 70. And the meeting itself started badly as the room booked was plunged in darkness. Moving to an upstairs room resulted in a squabble and a walk out by one of the councillors.
Once the meeting started there was a demand that no reports of anything that was said appeared on social media.
The meeting then moved on to the question of the council. Despite being hailed as the country’s first “Corbyn council” after large numbers of moderates were either deselected or quit, it seems that many on the left remain unhappy. Members were treated to complaints that the Labour group had ignored members’ wishes in electing Momentum board member Joe Ejiofor as leader and then went on to pass a motion demanding that the council Cabinet be elected annually by councillors.
Complaints that Jeremy Corbyn has been unwilling to allow MPs to elect his shadow cabinet cut no ice.
But there was plenty of time to discuss the Syrian people’s support for Assad and his Russian allies.