Once again 2011/12 has been a successful year for the CLP recognised regionally, and nationally as the exemplar campaigning local Labour Party. We have been approached by region to support various local campaigns and give them the benefit of our expertise and enthusiasm in the up coming Council elections. This is because we turn up to meetings and contribute and above all we say what we will do, and deliver on our promises both to Party members and constituents. We played a major role in the Boundary deliberation process as well as having the highest local turnout to regional training events.
The key to a successful CLP lies in the strength of the Branches, and we are lucky to have the benefit of three vibrant and active such local organisations. Cottingham Branch kept the show on the road when things were extremely tough for the Labour Party and we owe them a debt of gratitude for continuing show us the way. Without their dedication there would be no viable Labour showing in this area at all. Their campaigns on flooding and local supermarket development are the templates in effective local activism making a difference to their community. Howden Branch is our newest branch and had a big success in leading the very effective campaign against Charlie Bayram, putting Labour firmly in the running to take the seat at the next election. Central Branch, helped by members across the CLP pulled off a stunning result in Tranby, producing a 24% swing to us, unseating Lib Dem Mary Kingston, and were within a handful of votes of electing two councillors. Tranby Chair Dan Palmer and his team deserve special plaudits for this stunning achievement.
Cllr Josh Newlove is a credit to his Branch, this CLP and the Labour Party as a whole by the vibrant and dynamic way in which he represents his constituents in Anlaby. As well as his high media profile and appointment as Chief Whip in County Hall, Josh’s enthusiasm for his community shines through whether it is seeing off the bullying tactics of a multi national corporation when he and his team saved the village chemist, or protecting a young single mother from a rackmanite Landlord, Josh’s leadership shows that politics matters and makes a real difference in people’s lives.
As a CLP we have been involved in local campaigns surrounding the trashing of Public Sector Pensions, and especially around issues in the NHS. Bill Watt’s hard-hitting presentation on the disaster unfolding in our NHS galvanised many members to get involved with campaigns such as 38 degrees.
Our press campaigns, and innovations in blogging and the social media have enabled us to reach out beyond our core meeting attendees as well as into the wider community as a whole.
Our highly successful and well attended debate on the future direction of the Labour Party organised and chaired by Danny Marten is another example of where our strengths lie, not just on a practical, but on a philosophical level we are taking the lead.
We know where our challenges lie, and our ability to not only identify but action improvement will see our CLP move forward to more success this year.
On a personal note I feel proud to serve our great Party in any capacity but feel especially lucky an blessed to have the opportunity to continue to serve such a brilliant CLP and membership as Chair in the future
Dermot Rathbone, Chair, Haltemprice and Howden CLP February 2012.