IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

How to answer ‘policy made on the hoof’ jibes

07 June, 2019

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

• ALASTAIR Campbell was an integral part of the Blair administration when Labour Party conferences were stage-managed affairs and decisions were taken by Blair over the heads of members.

Campbell and most of the media act as if this is still the case. However, with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader, the annual conference has been reinstated as the sovereign, policy-making body of the Labour Party, building confidence and trust.

On Brexit, the 2018 Labour Party conference accepted that the majority had voted to leave the EU, but that taking back control does not mean fewer rights, economic chaos or risk to jobs. Therefore, Labour would work for a relationship with the EU that guarantees full participation in the single market and would oppose a no-deal Brexit.

Conference reaffirmed commitment to the Good Friday Agreement, including no hard border in Ireland. It declared that Parliament voting down the government’s Brexit deal constitutes a loss of confidence and so there should be a general election, but, if this is not possible, then Labour would campaign for a public vote on the deal.

Taking part, as members, in the democratic election of delegates and the submission of motions to the annual conference is not rocket science – it is the tried and tested foundation of the Labour movement, without which, like Campbell, we can lose our way and act like self-righteous individuals.

So when John Humphreys, Laura Kuenssberg, Emily Maitlis, Andrew Marr and the like act as if Labour’s policy is made up “on the hoof” and they put abstract questions to Jeremy Corbyn, Barry Gardiner and other Labour spokespeople – for example, “Are you now at last supporting a People’s Vote?” and “Are you a leaver or a remainer?” – they rightly respond by standing up for Labour’s conference resolution aimed at unity to tackle the contradictions in the real world as part of preparing for a radical Labour government, “taxing the rich to fund better public services, expanding common ownership, abolishing anti-union laws and engaging in massive public investment”.

DOT GIBSON
Labour Party member, Highbury East ward

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