Internal elections 2018 – National Council (directly-elected) statements

Thirteen candidates for fifteen places (we will soon reopen nominations)

Barbara Segal
Nominated by Kate Hudson

I was a founder member of Left Unity and have been a member of the NC for most of that time. I have also been responsible for maintaining the membership and subs records throughout, supplying details to other officers as required and dealing with membership queries from members.

I am a member of a number of local and national campaigns and am an active member of Bristol Radical History group, local public transport groups and Bristol Trades Council. I am on the national committee of Red Rope, a socialist walking and climbing club.

Membership of the NC helps me to carry out my role in the membership team more effectively, as it keeps me abreast of policy decisions in the party and enables me to feedback information received from members.

While the positive developments in the Labour Party have been welcomed by everyone in Left Unity, they have also provided us with challenges. A Labour victory, with a socialist leader and a lot more progressive policies, is now a possibility, and this has led many of our former members to join Labour. Those of us remaining in Left Unity believe that there is still a need for a broad party to the left of Labour, one with distinctive policies, particularly those focusing on inclusion and internationalism, including free movement. But if we are to make an impact in these new conditions we need to involve more of our members, review our structure and re-evaluate our priorities. I would like to participate working towards this.

Pete McLaren
Nominated by Marion Wakelin, Liz Peck


  • I am an independent socialist who has been committed to Left Unity since its birth, founding the branch in Rugby.
  • I have been a member of the LU NC throughout its existence, attending virtually all meetings.
  • I regularly report on line from NC meetings and, if elected, will continue to do so.


  • Since expulsion from the Labour party in 1992, I have fought to build unity across the left as part of the process of building a new, mass, open, democratic socialist party. LU can play a vital role in that.
  • I moved the successful resolution at 2014 Conference committing LU to open discussions with other left parties to avoid electoral clashes and form pacts.
  • As an officer of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, I was subsequently in an ideal position to help broker the deal enabling LU branches to stand as LU-TUSC: the majority of LU 2015 General Election candidates stood on that joint ticket.


  • The re-election of Jeremy Corbyn was very significant, as was Labour’s 2017 General Election challenge, but the Labour Party has not fundamentally changed: it remains split, undemocratic and its councillors implement cuts
  • Despite that, we must build unity with the Labour Left and help support Corbyn’s opposition to austerity
  • It is vital that we demonstrate there is an alternative to austerity – Labour Councils are implementing massive cuts without a fight, despite Jeremy’s victory. The working class must unite to protect services.

The jury remains out on how Labour will develop.  We need a new socialist party which opposes austerity, privatisation, war and all forms of discrimination and bigotry.  Let’s help build that, with, or without, support from Labour.

Len Arthur
Nominated by Wales Branch & Vera Arthur

Comrades, we are still paying for the financial crisis which we had no hand in creating: as Lenin said somewhere ‘capitalism will survive so long as the working class can be persuaded to pay the cost’. The international rightward shift in politics is about trying to make sure we do pay.

It is the job of a socialist organisation like Left Unity to speak out and reveal these dangerous trends. More than that, the party should be prepared to support and help organise a fightback offering an alternative in every way possible.

In Wales I’ve worked closely with comrades to help bring Left Unity Wales into being, providing a democratic and accountable way for all members to take an active part and for us to work in complete public openness: As a current directly elected member of the NC I’ve contributed to all the main debates and helped develop our international work particularly with the European Left.

We face a difficult time with so many members joining the Labour Party. I still believe our radical socialism and internationalism as set out in our manifesto provides us with a coherent base to remain as an organisation outside of the Labour Party but working closely with socialist within to help ensure Corbynism evolves into a radical direction in terms of policy and action. Moreover our independence is critical to develop our politics in theory and practice for the longer term. Sustaining this will mean an urgent review of how we work and organise ourselves.

Doug Thorpe
Nominated by Andrew Burgin & Kate Hudson

I have been a member of Left Unity from the beginning. And am currently on the NC

I am active in Housing Campaigns, including the radical Housing Network and the StopHDV campaign in Haringey and have written on housing issues for Left Unity and Transform.

I have been Branch Organiser for the North London Branch and have been active on the London Regional Committee.

I believe Left Unity can be sustained and built (moderately in the current situation) as a radical socialist current linked to the European Left, with the project of participating in the creation of a socialist party in Britain

I believe I can play a valuable role on the National Council

Bob Williams-Findlay
Nominated by Bob Whitehead and Kate Hudson

I’m seeking re-election back onto the National Council because I believe over the last year I’ve made a significant contribution to its work and therefore assisted Left Unity as a whole. I’m vice-chair of Birmingham Left Unity branch and therefore know the difficulties a small political organisation such as ours is going through in the present climate.

Why should you vote for me?

Internal activity within Left Unity remains a problem with various caucuses no longer functioning. However I’m determined to make sure LU re-group under a workable constitution that enables us to represent the diversity of our members and supporters of our policies and practice.

If re-elected I’ll push for the Disabled Members Caucus for example to be opened up to other disabled people who cannot commit to LU but are nevertheless willing to support our work and policies. This year I have written the pamphlet, Disability Politics and Social Oppression in the Age of Austerity, to promote the views and positions agreed by the Caucus. I continue to represent LU at local and national disability campaigning events.

In Birmingham I supported our work around solidarity with the Bin Workers where LU made a significant contribution. I’ve used my analytical, writing and campaigning skills around anti-cuts campaigning and challenging the local authority.

I believe I’m justified in saying the National Council has benefitted from my experience of leading local and national bodies but more importantly, the fact I’m skilled at politically working within social media and engaging in current political debates which I’ve taken into National Council discussions. I’m of the view that we’re entering a critical phase of struggle nationally and internationally which will present many challenges for Left Unity and I want to support the organisation by making a direct and committed contribution to our work.

Dave Landau
Nominated by Kate Hudson

I have been a member of Left Unity since its founding conference.  I have been a member of Islington Branch and branches formed by merging with others.
My principle contribution to Left Unity was to draft our policy in opposition to immigration controls through a number of conference resolutions and drafting parts of our publications on that question.

I have been an active socialist for most of my life. In the 70s I was a shop steward (AUEW)  in the Standard Telephone factory, in a fierce struggle with the both the bosses and racists trying to undermine the unions in the factory – eventually uniting people in a big pay rise and equal pay for women in the factory.

I have been involved in anti-racist and anti-fascist work over the last 40 years, principally on a local community level, first in Islington and then in Redbridge.  I have been involved in numerous anti-deportation campaigns and was one of the founder members of No On is Illegal in Britain, and helped to write the No One is Illegal Manifesto and a series of pamphlets about immigration and the environment, the work place.

I have been a member of the Jewish Socialists’ Group for more than 20 years, challenging both racism both within the Jewish community and against it.

I am currently a member of UNITE and President of Redbridge Trades Union Council (nothing presidential about it, I just chair the meetings!).

I want to join together with comrades inside and outside LU and inside and outside the Labour Party to build movement not just to advance reforms to make things better and roll back attacks but to overthrow the capitalist system itself and replace it with a society based on need and human solidarity.

Bianca Todd
Nominated by Kate Hudson

I am a founding member of Left Unity and have worked hard both locally and nationally. I am committed to the principles of social justice, equality and fairness which are intrinsic to the values which underpin the wider labour movement and which are essential for building a better world for all.

My skills lie around utilising a co-creative approach, developing collective solutions to weld communities together, securing social change with a grassroots, action and words approach.
I have been an officer of the party and would welcome the opportunity to continue to play an active role in the party as a member of the national council and to continue to support the development of Left Unity.

Darren McCourt
Nominated by Bob Whitehead, Sharon McCourt, Kate Hudson

I am a member of Birmingham branch, a founding member and have been on the NC last year as the representative of the West Midlands.

I wish to continue representing my region on the NC. Left Unity is the only party I have ever been a member of, not being involved in politics before. We need a party that will represent the ordinary people who need a party that offers an alternative to the right-wing propaganda being offered by Trump and Brexit.

I understand the danger of the times we are living in and believe whole heartedly that we have to continue to build Left Unity.

I would like the chance to carry on doing this as part of the NC as I do believe that I contribute at national level alongside doing all I can here in Birmingham.

Jim Hollinshead
Nominated by Kate Hudson

I am standing for election to the NC because I believe LU has a crucial role to play in championing the ideas of Socialism, not for a ‘kinder, gentler’ capitalism, or for ending the crisis of capitalism, but ending capitalism itself!

I have been a socialist for over 43 years, since discovering Marx as a teenager. I have been a workers representative for most of that time, first as a steward for council workers in Liverpool, playing I believe a not insignificant role in the battles of council workers and councillors with the Thatcher government during the 1980s. I also served as GMB branch secretary and later as secretary of the GMB stewards committee, and Liverpool City Council Joint Shop Stewards Committee. I am currently Chair of my UCU branch.

I was kicked out of the Labour Party during the Kinnock witch-hunt period and was active in the campaign for Lesley Mahmood in the Walton bi-election of 1991. I still maintain that I have been kicked out of far better parties, and was a founder member of LU. I am co-chair of the Liverpool Branch.

Ann Bennett
Nominated by Vera Arthur

I have been actively involved in Left Unity since its inception, and prior to my membership with Left Unity I was an active trade union shop steward and health and safety officer, was LP youth officer (when it had YS section) and was a member of the LP for over 40 years.

My belief and commitment to a socialist transformation sustained me, even during the grim Blair years. Watching the LP weaken its commitments to socialism has been shocking and challenged my ideals. But thankfully I have the comradeship and commitment of Left Unity politics and manifesto to sustain me.

I’ve never been an armchair socialist and I don’t intend to start now. I want to play an active role in building socialism.

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