NEC Update – February 2021

FEBRUARY 12TH 2021

Last Thursday 11th February 2021, I attended Labour’s full NEC as it met for its bi-monthly meeting. Overall it was a mixed bag, with some positives but also some aspects which left a bad taste in the mouth.

If we are truly an anti-racist party championing equality, then you would assume we stand up for all equality. We can’t just talk – we must walk the walk as well. Members aren’t empowered by empty words and manifestos but action and equality in practice.

On the plus side, we were able to get student reps onto the National Labour Student Organisation working group, while we also were able to prevent an attempt to reduce the number of meetings of the NEC. Although CLP reps are volunteers, it’s important we are given more opportunity, not less to represent members’ viewpoints. We also got good appointments onto the Audit & Risk Committee and the Bursary Panel.

However, the seemingly indefinite delay of the Forde report does not fill BAME members with any confidence. I am already fielding questions about the NEC and whether the Forde report will ever see the light of day or whether it will be ‘covered up for good’.

My serious concerns about our party’s relationship with BAME supporters are simply not being addressed. Are we meant to simply take our BAME support for granted? We are failing to empower BAME members at a time when Keir’s satisfaction rating amongst BAME respondents is in freefall: Ipsos MORI polling shows his net rating amongst BAME respondents has fallen from +53 (June) to +6 (December)

Courtesy @LeftieStats (twitter)

Community organising was a significant part of the Deputy Leader’s platform when elected, as well as part of the recommendations of the Labour Together report however the COU is a casualty of cuts and coincidentally the most diverse unit of the party, which is already severely lacking in terms of diversity. A diversity audit of the party is essential.

The NEC discussion and decisions on Sandwell. This really HURTS. Angela Rayner promised in her BAME Manifesto in the Deputy Leadership contest, that “there is BAME representation on all Regional Boards, including gender balance” she also spoke of “This starts by members accepting that no one knows more about their own racism than the people affected”.

So we asked for gender balance and BAME representation for NEC reps to a selection panel for Sandwell – but what did we get? When we asked that one of the two white men put forward ‘stand aside brother’ in favour of gender balance and the added benefit of BAME representation, they both refused.

It went to a vote and by a narrow majority, gender balance and BAME representation lost the vote. This vote was participated by the NEC Chair of Equalities, the NEC BAME Rep, the NEC Chair, the Chair of The Labour Party / DLOTO and in the presence of the General Secretary. Is this equality in practice and is this empowering BAME representation? Unconscious bias?

Members deserve to know the truth.