Stepping aside but gearing up

The last year has been a significant challenge to all of us as the pandemic has affected virtually every aspect of our lives. It has brought out both the best and worst in people, as we have seen communities working together to ensure no-one is left behind, at the same time as cronyism and a lack of accountability has become the norm in this incompetent and heartless government.

However, we face even greater challenges ahead as this government rolls out the hostile environment even further, and threatens not only the fabric of our society, but also our democracy. In addition the climate emergency looms on the horizon, a challenge which requires collective action and sacrifice, rather than prioritising profits and individualism, a challenge this government seems spectacularly unsuited for.

I decided to stand down as Chair of NE Beds CLP for a number of reasons, but primarily due to me spinning just too many plates – I want to do fewer things, hopefully far better. I’m very confident that Connell will do an excellent job as our new Chair and I will provide all the support required, should he need it. I can assure you that my commitment to the Labour cause remains undimmed and this will be the case, whoever is leader. I still hope to play some part of Labour’s path back to power, and intend to raise my profile not lower it in the next few years.

While the pandemic curtailed normal CLP activities we haven’t been idle, and I’m delighted that one of my last actions as Chair was to drop off £400 of vouchers to our local food bank as part of our ‘Stop Holiday Hunger’ campaign. CLP’s are nothing if they are not active in their communities.

I attended my first CLP meeting just over four years ago, and since then I have been a candidate in two General Elections, one council election and an internal Labour National Executive Committee election. Not a bad shift, although finishing second can be a little tiresome. Thank you to all those who helped out in the campaigns, you were brilliant.

During my time as Chair I hope I have made all sides of the Party feel welcome, whatever shade of red you are, and I’ll continue to work across political divides for the benefit of the community. I will remain Communications Officer for the CLP, covering our social media output. You can follow NE Beds CLP social media stuff here and here.

I am aware that there are concerns about the new direction of our Party. However, I would urge members to avoid the infighting that does nothing for our cause, but plenty for our opponents. Political purity is all well and good, the difficult but more realistic path is one of compromise and cooperation. To use a football analogy, you may not always like the manager, but you would never think of supporting another team.

While continuing my role as a full-time Health and Safety Rep for the ASLEF union I will be spending more time dealing with transport accessibility issues as well pushing for better, greener public transport network across Bedfordshire. I will continue to write on a variety of issues in my blog which you can find here: 

Stay safe and I look forward to seeing you in person, rather than online, at some point during this year.

Julian Vaughan

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