By Matthew Barrett
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The results of the recent elections to Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC), the Party's governing body, were announced yesterday. While the results cannot reasonably be said to represent a "lurch to the left", since five out of six of the NEC members were simply re-elected, and the sixth, a Blairite, replaced another Blairite, it's still worth considering the very left-wing ideals and activities of the members of the NEC.
The most popular candidate, with 31,682 votes, was Ken Livingstone. There's been enough written about Livingstone over the years for me not to have to revisit much of it here, but suffice to say his council tax rises, flirtations with dictatorships like Cuba and Venezuela, and mismanagement of City Hall mean he is unlikely to be the one to tell Ed Miliband to take a sensible policy option.
The second most popular candidate was Ann Black, a trade union member since 1979, with policies to match the era. She is sceptical about Trident, and has a list of unaffordable, unrealistic, and out of touch policies:
"Personally I support properly-funded public services, comprehensive education, better employment rights, freedom from discrimination, joined-up transport, environmental sustainability, respect for local government, pensions and other benefits linked to earnings, and a positive role in Europe."
Black also recently wrote:
"We must tackle the tabloids on welfare, crime and immigration: people who want to be really nasty to scroungers, yobs and foreigners will vote Tory anyway, so we might as well take the moral high ground and give ourselves something worth fighting for."
The next successful candidate was Ellie Reeves (younger sister of Ed Miliband's Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rachel Reeves MP), a trade union lawyer who recently attended a "very lively Karl Marx pub crawl".
With 22,236 votes, the former leader of Tower Hamlets' Labour Group, Christine Shawcroft, was also elected to the NEC. Earlier this month, Shawcroft described herself as being "on the extreme left of the Labour Party":
"It would have been an occasion for much mirth if the various Trot groups that were around in the ’80s had been told that I would end up on the extreme left of the Labour Party. That I have done tells you a lot more about how far the Party has travelled to the right than it does about me. I certainly don’t feel the need to be constantly burnishing my ideological purity. I’m much more interested in trying to connect with the Party’s rank and file."