Vauxhall CLP Chair's Report 2012
This is my last Chair’s Report because I am not standing this year. I have served as your chair for eleven years this month. Although this might sound like a particularly long prison sentence, I do hope that you have not felt that way about it!
Our last AGM was in February 2011. I was pleased that we elected an able and enthusiastic team of officers, at both CLP and branch level. We needed to, because we had to do our part in winning Labour votes for the London elections in May this year. We did well, massively boosting London Assembly member Val Shawcross’s majority and we helping put Ken Livingstone within striking distance of beating Boris Johnson. The mayoral election result was a shame but we did well in Vauxhall. It was heartening to see so many activists out campaigning; we’ve never had a London election like it. After May, much time was spent preparing for the CLP to break up along new parliamentary boundaries but that is now unlikely to happen. Meanwhile campaigning and membership recruitment have continued.
When elected Chair in 2001 I had just been a parliamentary candidate and I had ideas about how and where to lead our CLP. I promised you that whatever my views I would chair in a fair manner without favour. I started by moving us comprehensively to the Labour Rule Book. I have helped develop branches and worked for you in the LCF. I’ve also focused on ironing out potential problems and encouraging members. In each meeting I have sought to apply the rules clearly and to treat everyone equally. If I’ve had a bias, it has been towards new members and against disruption and long speeches!
We have key aims as Vauxhall CLP we must not forget. The first is to secure the selection and election of Labour candidates to Parliament, the European Parliament, the London Assembly, and the Council. Without representatives we can achieve little. We need also to contribute to the wider life of the Party, through contributing to policy discussions at every level. I have encouraged us to become more practically involved with our neighbours. We’ve worked on community projects and invited guests to our meetings. There is much more we could do. We still have to do more to encourage women, BAME, and younger members. The question is, are we prepared to change to make it happen?
We can do much in politics when we have good relationships with each other and with the electorate. But this takes time. It means starting by thinking the best of and supporting each other as much as we can. If we cannot live out our values in our relationships, why are we spending so much time convincing voters they are such a good idea?
It has been a privilege and honour to be your chair. Thank you. I hand over to the new chair and officer team confident that together we can achieve much more in the future.