Rumours of a growing divide between activists and union bosses are overstated. But there are issues to be worked out—and they cut to the heart of party democracyby Richard Seymour / September 27, 2018 / Leave a comment
At one point, it seemed the big news from Labour conference was going to be that the constituency activists and unions differ significantly on priorities.
Admittedly, this isn’t really news at all. The Momentum leadership unwisely staked a bid for the national secretary post on this very difference.
The schism, though, worried Len McCluskey, who declared himself “slightly shocked” by the size of the division. The report of the Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC), which determines what will be on the agenda, split conference down the middle.
Over 90 per cent of constituency activists voted it down, while a similar share of union delegates backed it. Eventually, the report was passed by 54 per cent of delegates, apparently leading a few disappointed CLP activists to chant “shame on you” at those backing it.
Why? The issue this year is less Labour’s political agenda than who decides it and how. Members want to be sovereign.
The priorities ballot certainly showed differences of emphasis. For example, union deleg…