Labour needs more NI input…

I recently heard Kate Hooey speak on a formal occasion at Queens. She was one of the early movers in the Civil Rights movement as a member of the Northern Labour Party and spoke very warmly of student leader Michael Farrell. Now she’s in the forefront of calls to Labour’s NEC to allow local people not simply to organise, but put up candidates in Northern Ireland.

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  • Henry94

    It would split the unionist vote even more so I would say go for it.

  • Crataegus

    It really should be allowed to happen.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    It should indeed. It’s definitely not ‘hooey’.

  • slug

    I am glad to see this move by the NEC. This is the first I have heard of it.

    Labour has therefore now agreed to organize in Northern Ireland, for the forst time, which is the next logical step from Labour accepting NI members.

    It’s an important milestone and the 200 member threshold is quite reasonable.

  • slug

    The lack of a Labour party to vote for has been something of a gap in the local political scene.

    I imagine that this step does not mean that there will be Labour candidates – is that retained in NEC hands? But but it is a step towards that.

    I have no doubt that a party with labour values and linked to the trade union tradition would have a lot to contribute to policy discussion, at a time when we need informed policy discussion.

  • lib2016

    Another sad attempt to provide an acceptable face for the Union – will they never learn?

  • Overhere

    (Slug)I have no doubt that a party with labour values

    LOL are we talking about the same Labour Party here !!

  • Crataegus

    lib2016

    No it is about being able to vote for or against a political party that, in the real world, actually governs this place.

  • Labourman

    The right to stand candidates will still lie with the NEC, as it does with all regions and for all elections contested by the Party. The NEC met on the 30th, appropriately, as the NEC agreed to review such decisions at each January NEC.

    There would be no sense in standing in elections until we are in a position to be competitive.

    Negotiations will now open with the Irish Labour Party to agree some form of joint approach. The focus will be on the Labour movement and building Labour values.

    I am sure that Andy will understand the desire of Party members to move forward.

  • Rory

    “I have no doubt that a party with labour values and linked to the trade union tradition would have a lot to contribute…”

    Perhaps it would indeed, Slug. The only problem is that New Labour holds labour values in contempt and while it has links with trade unions for purposes of retaining financial support it would be laughable indeed to suggest that it has any connection with trade union tradition.

  • Nevin

    “It’s definitely not ‘hooey’”

    Now, now, BG, don’t be taking the Michael out of Mick ….

  • slug

    Labourman

    Thanks for the info. Seems a sensible approach. As I said, the most important thing is to have a party that stands for labour values. Something we lack.

    Can I ask whether you are confident that the 200 number threshold will be no problem?

  • slug

    Rory

    Although one can criticise Labour under Blair, it’s also trus that the next leader, Brown, has been very protective of the welfare state and the health service while combining government investment on those key public services with the longest sustained period of economic growth in the last 200 years. That is not a record to be sneezed at.

  • Kate has been tireless is arguing that Labour should organise here and contest elections. If they did they would have to think rather more about their policies for here at a devolved level and at Westminster. By not organising they can behave like colonialists. But at least one national party aspires to govern the whole of the UK. The Conservative Party locally has already announced 6 candidates in the forthcoming Assembly elections and will be announcing more soon. And we require none of our candidates to sign a pre-nuptial agreement.

  • slug

    Jeff

    Interesting to read the Conservatives profiles on your website. These are largely fresh faces – good to see new people coming into NI politics.

  • slug

    PS my hope is that Labour could bring a lot of fresh faces into NI politics too.

  • Labourman

    The 200 will not prove a problem once we have something for people to join locally. While it will not translate in whole, there are already over 10,000 Trade Unionists in NI paying the political levy ( and that does not count Unison for some reason ).

    This will be about a new vision for our society, moving away from the continual sectarian zero-sum politics. It’s up to everyone to turn their disaffection into action.

    If you want to be part of the future, I would invite you to visit https://www.labour.org.uk/joinbydirectdebit .

  • Overhere

    For petes sake stop the tories getting a foothold in Ireland, what do they have to offer you over there. After all Scotland got rid and do not seem in any great hurry to welcome them back. Can you imagine in the far distant and hellish future the leader of the Tories, some woman with crash helmet hair do and the screach of an NI accent waving a handbag. Dear lord I think I will have to go and have a lie down

  • Overhere

    I am also sorry to say that every thing Hoey has touched here seems to go down the swanney like her opposition to the hunting bill.

  • Labourman

    Local Labour would not have got where we are today if we were relying solely on Kate Hoey, supportive though she may be.

  • Julian Robertson

    “Another sad attempt to provide an acceptable face for the Union – will they never learn? ”

    No, just the right to vote for the government which takes ourn taxes. Its called democracy.

  • Julian Robertson

    “Can you imagine in the far distant and hellish future the leader of the Tories, some woman with crash helmet hair do and the screach of an NI accent waving a handbag.”

    A mature contribution. Well done.

  • Overhere

    Thank julia nice to see a sense of humour breaking free now and again naval gazing can get so depressing at times

  • noel adams

    Several posts refer to Labour as just anothes unionist party thats why progress needs to be maid so the old two communites model can be confrunted labour ideals are bigger and better than current politics in deed members of british and irish parties are looking to the time when issue politics are the norm.

  • Token Dissent

    This would be an excellent development. If only it had happened 60 years ago…

    There is a strong union tradition that includes many people who – rightly – don’t feel at home with any of the local parties. While Rory is correct in criticising New Labour, many from this tradition still believe that Labour is the only viable left-of-centre option.

    I also have a lot of time for Hoey – including her stand on hunting, health cuts and spending on sport. However, I think her memories of Michael Farrell’s role are a little rose-tinted.

  • Crataegus

    Labourman

    Negotiations will now open with the Irish Labour Party to agree some form of joint approach. The focus will be on the Labour movement and building Labour values.

    If you can pull of some sort of balance in relations it will be very much to your credit. To their credit the Greens appear to have tried this already, but on another thread it seemed clear that their have completely screwed up. Sadly their seem to be an Irish National Party in all but name as their links to their colleagues in Britain are purely token. I hope that Labour can produce a much better balance in relationships so that it becomes increasingly easy for those of different traditions to join and increase the potential for cross community support and issue based politics.

  • StarHound

    I will be very surprised if any Labour candidate here picks up more than 200 votes, to pluck a figure out of the air. It is fanciful to suggest that trade union membership, or even the number who pay the political levy could translate into votes for a Labour candidate.

    The basic focus politics here will continue to be the border issue for the forseeable future. I doubt that many Unionists would trust the Labour party and Nationalists will continue to see the Labour party as a Unionist party but I suppose that’s choice in a democracy.

  • Crataegus

    Starhound

    You would not expect them to do well in this election as they have no time to build a base and 200 – 250 would seem about right to me. However in future Council elections they could do some damage IF they actually get organised.

    Like all small parties if Labour floats you boat then vote for them and use your transfers. There is nothing to lose. Always give your preferences to the type of politics you actually want. There is no need to vote 1, 2 or 3 to keep someone out the transfers will do that effectively.

  • PaddyReilly

    I suspect that the Labour vote is likely to be as large as the Conservative: 2718 in the 2005 Westminster election, 1164 in the 2005 Council elections. This works out at 64-151 per Westminster constituency.

    From a NI point of view, it wouldn’t do any harm and might do some good, but from a Labour Party point of view, the expense of deposits etc is not justified.

    Hooey’s suggestion is indeed hooey.

    This would be an excellent development. If only it had happened 60 years ago…

    Man dear, have you never heard of the NI Labour Party? Or was that meant to be ironic?

  • Brothers, and indeed, for it is the C21st, sisters, whose legs are better: Kate’s or Arlene’s?

  • StarHound

    Where is the evidence of any great demand from voters for the Conservatives or Labour to put up candidates?

    When voters have had the choice in the past they have hardly flocked to these banners so I feel that they will remain on the fringes.

    I not too comfortable with the idea that seems to underpin a few posts here that this is somehow a ‘better’ style of politics than local parties. This seems patronising to say the least and ignores the results of countless previous elections.

  • Token Dissent

    PaddyReilly, I am indeed aware of the great efforts of the NILP, they weren’t howvever integrated within the British Labour Party. Instead the BLP preferred to play lip-service to them, and (along with the Conservatives) did its’ best to “stay out of the Irish bog” – not even discussing Northern Irish affairs in Westminster.

    My point is that an attempt at political integration was viable within the Labourite tradition.

  • Rory

    The Labour Party is not pro-Union. The position of the party is that that it is for the Irish people to decide. However that does not mean that New Labour is pro Irish unity. It is not. No more is it for labour values, nor trade union strength. It is essentially for increased profit ratios for big business and lower taxation on those increased profits (and indeed with the wonderful new Inland Revenue policy of turning a blind eye to off shore trickery, no taxes at all).

    This all to be paid for by forced low wages and drastic reductions in government spending on health, education and essential social services while Brown’s increasingly disastrous PFI’s are permitted to run rampant like Russian gangster oligarchs under Yeltsin in an orgy of waste, destruction, pillage and plunder.

    While I have no doubt the robber baron tactics of New Labour would be most welcome among some business interests with an eye on the NI pudding and their expertise would be valued among some burgeoning politicoes, I cannot see the wily old populace somehow being deluded by them. Any credentials that they once had with labour crumbled to dust with Blair and Brown was his willing henchman and the holder of the purse.

  • noel adams

    Get real Rory tell folk which local budget has been cut by Labour. I remember 2002 budget when Gordon announced an increse in N.Ireland spending fron5.8Billion to8.9 Billion over 3 years BBC did a devolved angle and SNP and PC put up a spoksperson but not one MP from here could be found.

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