The London Labour Party’s youth wing met for its AGM at the end of March, but not in the usual central London surroundings. In an apparent attempt to dissuade members from participating, the day conference was held in Zone 5, making the journey up to two hours long each way for young members living on the other side of the capital.
A London Young Labour source told The Red Roar this was one of a series of moves designed to keep centre-left members away from the votes taking place. Registration was apparently only open for a few days and not properly advertised, meaning just 135 members voted for the groups chair, compared with the 350 young members present at last year’s event.
The anti-democratic organising led to the embarrassing sight of guest speaker, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, addressing a near empty room at the end of the day.
LGBT Labour, which remains a moderate stronghold, were denied a speaking slot, and just one woman was chosen to ask a question to the candidates for Chair. Meanwhile, PPC Pamela Fitzpatrick was invited to speak despite protests from young Jewish members.
The elections for the new London Young Labour Committee were described as “a shambles”. The ballot papers were missing a candidate, so voting was delayed while new ballots were printed. Halfway through the printing, it was discovered that the new ballots were also wrong, so a third set were printed. Delegates were then told they needed to re-register for the conference in order to finally vote. The Red Roar understands that many gave up and left by that point.
The conference therefore didn’t have time to debate or vote on all but one of the motions tabled beforehand on climate change, Brexit, protecting migrants’ rights, or repealing anti-trade union laws. Perhaps this was deliberate, after last year’s AGM committed to supporting freedom of movement, to the chagrin of the pro-Brexit far-left. None of this would have happened, had the outgoing Chair enacted his pledge to bring in an online One Member, One Vote system to elect the committee. Of course, this would have taken control over who participated out of the hands of the far-left and opened up the possibility of them losing power.