Why Labour for a Green New Deal’s motion must be given a hearing

Chris Saltmarsh
© DrimaFilm/Shutterstock.com

This is getting silly now. For the second year in a row, Labour’s conference arrangements committee is attempting to rule Labour for a Green New Deal’s conference motion out of order.

Just like last year, the committee has argued that the motion should be ruled out because it covers more than one subject area. Winning the appeal last time and passing our 2019 motion both set clear precedents for motions of a similar breadth. Despite this, we see another attempt to stifle debate on the conference floor.

The argument for ruling out these Constituency Labour Parties’ (CLPs) motions centre on a narrow view of the climate crisis. It is impossible, however, to treat the climate as an isolated issue. To build a fairer and greener society, we need to be bold: that means looking at the economy as a whole, and tackling the interconnected drivers of the climate crisis in a system-wide strategy.

Our motion is rightly ambitious in scale, but it does focus on one subject: public ownership in the green new deal. Every line of the motion speaks to this topic. We call to bring key sectors of the economy into public ownership – including energy and transport – so that we can deliver a rapid transition to clean energy. And we call for worker and trade union leadership in delivering these transformations. These are essential step toward winding down polluting industries, while protecting – and creating – good jobs for ordinary people.

This is how Labour offers a real solution to the cost-of-living crisis. By bringing the energy sector into public ownership, we can address soaring gas prices in the long term. Rather than bailouts that boost energy firms’ obscene profits, or one-off windfall taxes that leave the status quo untouched, we need to overturn the profit-seeking agenda pushing ordinary households into poverty.

The CAC decision reflects resistance in the Labour leadership to public ownership. Despite being one of Keir Starmer’s ten leadership pledges, the Labour leader quickly went back on the promises that got him elected. From Labour members to Tory voters, these policies have enormous support. Yet Starmer and his supporters are determined to clamp down on giving them a hearing in the party.

As Liz Truss is set to allow energy bills to double next month, the cost-of-living crisis is only set to get worse. If Labour is to offer the alternative that’s urgently needed, the party must embrace a bold vision that tackles the climate and cost-of-living crises together. This would be the basis for an election-winning coalition – one that builds a fairer future for people and planet.

So, I am urging the conference arrangements committee to think again. For the sake of democratic debate and bold policy, stick to last year’s precedent. Overturn this decision at appeal. It is only by debating these vital questions that we can come to the best position for our movement and maintain Labour as the party of climate and economic justice. To show your support, members can write a letter to the CAC urging them to overturn their decision.

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