“We should take every opportunity to send a strong message to Keir Starmer that we need radical policies to not only address the multiple crises in which we find ourselves, with women always disproportionately impacted, but also to address Labour’s electoral crisis.”Rachel Garnham. CLPD
Rachel Garnham, Vice-Chair, Campaign for Labour Party Democracy
Labour’s first women’s conference in 26 months takes place this weekend, and while the organisation has been poor, seemingly under-resourced and under-prioritised, with a lack of communication and clarity; and some decisions of the Women’s Conference Arrangements Committee have been profoundly problematic – hence CLPD’s call for a vote against the WCAC report, there is still room for hope.
After decades, we finally get to vote for a new Labour Women’s Committee who can take forward women’s political priorities, provide support for Women’s Branches and Women’s Officers, and provide a model for much needed development of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic and Disabled members’ structures. It is really important we vote for grassroots candidates Solma Ahmed, Ekua Bayunu, Mandy Clare, Tricia Duncan, Pamela Fitzpatrick and Chloe Hopkins to make this happen.
Moreover, some excellent composites have been developed, particularly around Women and the Economy, Palestine and Climate Justice, which provide the necessary policies to not only take serious action in the interests of human rights, putting people not profit, but also to start to rebuild Labour’s drooping electoral support.
This is Labour’s first attempt at an online women’s conference and it was well known that this would make collaborative working and transparent decision-making even more difficult than usual. But it is disappointing to say the least that some of decisions made have sadly served to unnecessarily exclude topics, motions and even wording from the debate, when it would have been justifiable to rule in motions and group motions efficiently to enable more voices to be heard.
Nevertheless, we should take every opportunity to send a strong message to Keir Starmer and his shadow cabinet that we need radical policies to not only address the multiple crises in which we find ourselves, with women always disproportionately impacted, but also to address Labour’s electoral crisis and start rebuilding to win.
Starmer has broken pledge after pledge since his election – most recently seemingly around Social Care, which delegates will have the chance to address this weekend. His broken promises alongside attacking Labour’s former Leader, Party members and local Party officers while failing to properly hold the Tory government to account are leading to electoral disaster for Labour.
We need a strong message from the Women’s Conference that Labour must stand up for women; and the new Women’s Committee must prioritise addressing women’s concerns. In 2019 65 per cent of women aged 18–24 voted Labour – Labour’s recent polling indicates this has plummeted.
Let’s make Women’s Conference a first step in rebuilding that support!