Ann Black for the NEC — Fighting Against The Polarisation of the Party

We live in unprecedented political times. Never in my lifetime, have both major parties been so internal divided. We all know that the Tories have had long term problems with the Euro ‘bastards’ but back in John Major’s time Labour had re-grouped and was re-building towards the 1997 election. Earlier Labour’s last dramatic Civil War  was conducted while the Tories were strong. But where both parties are being torn apart where does that lead us?

There is little point worrying about the Tories but we should all be very worried about Labour. A few weeks ago I went out to eat with a friend who no longer lives permanently in the UK. He is a great supporter of Corbyn and spent much of the evening banging on about ‘Blairites’ as some of these folks tend to do. But at one point he suddenly realised I was serious in my concerns and worries. He simply hadn’t appreciated how polarised I now fund the Party. Divided parties — or leaderships in schism — simply don’t succeed in their ambitions.

Labour’s NEC elections look to be dominated by two competing slates, that supported by Momentum and the other being supported by Labour First. Both slates see to envisage a fight to the death. Many Momentum activists seem convinced that ‘dealing with the Blairites’ will solve many their problems. Many of their opponents cut their teeth fighting Militants some years ago now and they are up for the fight again. Yet, in reality, the tim ‘Blaire’ means virtually not in today and Momentum are simply not Militant.

Successful political parties are always coalitions. These internal coalitions create a broad front which can then attract others in the wider electorate. If our party continues to polarise then I’m not saying we can’t win a General Election, certainly this shambles of a government can be defeated. However, it is looking very likely that the next election —like the last two — may not lead to a decisive Parliamentary majority. In such  circumstance we might see this as a victory but how would a Leadership that struggled to work across the range of its own members and activists deal with other progressive parties?

In this context the importance of the NEC might be lost but this elections seem critical in the rarified atmosphere of the Leader’s Office. Ann Black’s record on NEC is there for all to see and I’ve written about this before:

In Praise of Ann Black — The Mythology of the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance

Trevor Fisher — in these pages — has taken a focussed look as Labour’s current status as a ‘broad church’:

Is the Labour Party a Broad Church Any More?

It is the view of Progressive Politics that a strong centre in the Party will be critical as we move forward. Centrist views will be those that glue the Party together. Important centre left voices will also provide the agency for discussion across the polarised wings of the Party.

So, our view here on Progressive Politics is that a vote for Ann Black is a positive vote for the future of a healthy party, one that is inclusive and respectful of all opinion within it. We believe that Ann can win this election and retain the seat that she has held for many years. But regardless of whether she makes the cut or not a healthy vote for Ann’s candidature will make the slates think and will re-enforce the nature that there are many in the Party who do not share the polarised views of the two wings.

There will be many — and I include myself in this number — who can never get too excited about NEC elections but on this occasion it is important to make sure you cast your vote. And if you are inclined to support one slate or the other consider giving one of your votes to Ann.

Vote for Ann Black. Vote for an experienced candidate with a track record of working with all in the Party. The future success for our Party at the ballot box will be built on supporting diversity and acknowledging the on-going truth that Labour succeeds as a broad church.

Ann will be touring the country over the next few weeks, to meet members and to stress the importance of the Party’s diversity.

Friday 27th June — Birmingham

Monday 30th June — London

Friday 3rd August — Manchester

Saturday 11th August — Leeds

 

Ann Black for the NEC Facebook Page

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