SERA co-chairs Melanie Smallman and Jake Sumner write SERA's submission to the Labour Party Democracy Review explaining the unique, long and ongoing relationship SERA and Labour have in tackling some of the most important issues of our time.
On behalf of SERA, Labour’s Environment Campaign, we would like to submit comments to you regarding the role of the Socialist Societies within the Labour Party’s Democracy review. In particular, we would like to highlight the importance of maintaining or strengthening the historic affiliations between the Party and the Socialist Societies, in order to continue to have access to the specialist knowledge offered by the societies, to continue to see the Labour Party championed in various specialist fields and to continue to ensure that the Labour Party touches on the issues that affect members and voters across the UK.
Since its foundation in 1974, SERA has been a fundamental part of the Labour Party. As the only environment campaign affiliated to the Labour Party, we have been able to play a unique role in the environment and in the Labour movement. We are the only green group to put the people and the planet on the same footing and in a political context and over our 45 year history, we have helped develop left of centre policies that help deliver environmental and social justice – policies that include decentralised, community and cooperatively owned energy; a cooperative railway network for Wales; and a new Clean Air Act that was a key piece of Labour’s last manifesto. SERA has spent decades bringing the environmental perspective into Labour Politics and bringing Labour Politics into the environment movement. And we can only continue to do this through our historic affiliation with the Labour Party.
- SERA’s affiliation to the Labour Party means that there is a unique voice for championing the Labour Party amongst environmental organisations and voters
- SERA’s affiliation to the Labour Party gives us a mandate to develop environmental policies that specifically set out to support Labour’s aims and values, a mandate that no other environmental campaigns have and a policy gap that could not be filled by other green groups as a result of the Lobbying Act
- SERA‘s affiliation to the Labour Party gives Labour politicians unique access to expertise that they can trust is not being offered to other political parties, and a safe space in which policies and ideas can be developed and discussed
- SERA’s affiliation to the Labour Party allows us to network environmental champions across constituencies, especially in Local Government, allowing us to support Labour Politicians in networking and sharing ideas and good practice
- SERA’s affiliation to the Labour Party allows those of us who are passionate about the environment within the Labour Party to champion our issues at all levels within Labour, but also creates many voices to champion Labour in the wider world, building support in key marginal constituencies and local authorities.
- SERA has a unique member and democratic voice, as a Socialist Society, and a voice that is beneficial for the party by involving our members and bringing red-green voices within the party together. This is a pillar and foundation of the Labour movement. In turn this enables Labour to be stronger by having a continuous voice on what is a key policy area and able to support whoever is on the front-bench
- SERA provides a compelling platform that enables campaigners, NGOs, unions and others to come together in a different way that helps extend the reach of Labour and brings in and develops Labour membership, and is able to bring people together to support Labour policy in a way that is additional to the party itself (eg important for social media)
We believe that the Labour Party’s Democracy Review should enhance these roles and support and promote the work of SERA and the other Socialist Societies, so that they can thrive and do more of the work they do such as supporting the holding of events at conference, supporting events at regional conferences and inputting into policy, ultimately helping the Labour have the ideas, wider expertise, networks and support to form a Labour Government ready to transform Britain.