The Path to Power...
Yesterday I took the train from Stoke to attend the second one day event held by Open Labour ( a centre left grouping within the party) the purpose of the one day event was to reflect upon the general election and 'what next' for Labour.
Open Labour was set up by Tom Miller, Alex Sobel M.P and others including my friend Lynn Morris ( Canterbury CLP)and Ann Black of the NEC.
Open Labour seeks to create a space on the left of the party where members are able to speak freely and openly about policy and feed this back to others. Yesterday's event was kicked off by a speech from Lisa Nandy who spoke of the need for unity but not simply conformity, Lisa reminded us of the Hobsbawn essay written in 1979 titled ' the forward March if Labour halted' and of how we needed to think and act now to build upon the relative success of 2017 if we are to make a success of this 'opportunity' Lisa also stressed her fear that the gains made are not yet secure.
Other contributions came from Ann Black of the NEC, Afzal Khan, M.P for Gorton, Sam Wheeler of Momentum and the main guest speaker Angela Rayner, who spoke with real passion of her journey from a single mother at 16 to the shadow cabinet and the role of the Labour movement in facilitating this. All speakers took question from the audience and spoke openly and freely.
The afternoon was spent in round table discussions with visiting members from around the country around such questions as:
Is the Manifesto the settled politics of Labour,
The path to power, building Labour's coalition
Brexit- which way forward
Alongside wider discussions and reflections on the. Campaigns fought up and down the country.
Each group was facilitated by an Open Labour Management committee member and all discussions recorded and fed back to the room.
The day ended with a key note speech by Alex Sobel M.P (Leeds north west) Alex created Open Labour following writing a letter to the Guardian last year hoping and demanding for a wider debate on the left about the parties future direction.
The great success of yesterday's conference was the very open and democratic discussions that flowed without rancour but with much positivity and evident ideas. If you have the chance to attend such events in the future I thoroughly recommend you do so and on a personal level it was really nice to meet people I have 'known' online for the last couple of years in person and make wider connections in our Labour family.
Disclaimer: note that this is a submission by a member. The CLP have not moved to endorse Open Labour but does encourage members to feed forward their wider Labour experience provided it is positive, works towards a unified Labour and for a Labour Government.