I am standing to be your voice on the national executive committee. I am a member of neither Momentum nor Progress – simply Labour and my allegiance is tied to the mission and values that we signed up to when joining the party.
What is our mission and what are our values? In essence, we are committed to a redistribution of wealth, social justice and equality. However, some of the key values that underpin our mission have to be progressive, practical and principled.
Our internal party itself must be a reflection of it what it stands for. Otherwise, its risks the erosion of confidence from both members and the wider public. History has taught us that when we fall below the standards we set ourselves and become complacent, we quickly become tarnished by allegations of cronyism and in-fighting.
We currently have the largest party in western Europe and our members hold great trust and confidence in our institution. I am pleased also that our party is making changes to further empower its members. It is the members that make our party – financing, fundraising, campaigning, running branches and constituencies.
My aim on the NEC would be to solidify that trust and confidence and to continue the progress of democratising our party at all levels. No member should feel that our values do not apply to their branch or constituency. Our default approach should always be to develop from the grassroots upwards. Getting it right at the grassroots level of the party is fundamental to its long-term prosperity.
Why is this important to me? Because I am passionate about a party I joined 14 years ago and about what I believe it represents. I come from an ordinary working class background with a deep conscience to improve the lives of ordinary working people and those who are disadvantaged.
I have been practising for 10 years as a family lawyer specialising in child protection, passionately fighting my client’s cases in court and making changes on a case by case basis. What keeps me going is a passion for what I do, to do it well and to make a difference.
Being on the NEC is also about strong and effective governance. As a school governor, I am equipped at being a “critical friend”, asking the tough questions and committing the time to the role to ensure effective management, growth and sustainability of an organisation.
I want to set out and explain six important areas that I want to focus on as your representative on the NEC:
Ensuring democracy in constituencies and branches
Across the Labour Party nationally there are examples of where branches and constituencies are not being run for the benefit of the wider membership. Some members feel that the Labour Party rules are being interpreted too narrowly to their disadvantage, that they are being told what to do and not being listened to. Some feel that their branch is being oversubscribed by members who only attend for selection meetings. These issues cannot be ignored on the basis that they are too remote from the NEC.
Effective accountability within the Labour Party of our representatives
As I have stated above, our members are our party. It is a legitimate expectation that, where possible, officers and MPs listen to their members prior to making key decisions affecting the party and our country.
Officers running our local parties should annually consult the membership on how the local party can be improved.
Ensuring that all new or returning members are given the opportunity of a structured induction
We need to ensure that we maximise the energy, knowledge and experience of all members. To do that, we need to ensure that all members feel welcome and have the opportunity to be involved. Small gestures go a long way in ensuring that our members have a positive experience and invest in an organisation that they feel confident in and which represents their values.
Ensuring that there is a clear framework of rights and responsibilities for members
Members need clarity on where they stand with respect to what they can and cannot do. It’s important that members feel that they can express themselves, be involved and campaign for Labour Party causes without fear of intimidation or expulsion. There is clearly always a line to be drawn on conduct and this must be set out expressly (with examples) for the benefit of members.
Ensuring that talented people within the party have the opportunity to progress and that there is a greater involvement of women from ordinary working class backgrounds
Coming from a working class background with high aspirations, I have always felt strongly against progression based on who you know, where you studied or grew up. Individuals should be judged on where they are going, the values and skills they hold and the passion they have for what they are doing.
Our selections for public office is still geared too much in favour of those with the right connections or finances. Ordinary working class members, particularly women, remain disadvantaged. We need to change the rules to at least provide a level playing field.
If you believe I can be a strong voice for you on the NEC, please nominate me at your forthcoming CLP meetings. My constituency is Aldridge & Brownhills and my membership number is L0056315. You can get in touch with me at [email protected] or 07875 108314.
Adam Mohammed is a Labour activist in Aldridge and Brownhills constituency in the West Midlands.