Posts Tagged ‘Labour HQ’

Behind the scenes, Labour HQ is in tumult

14/11/2013, 04:04:27 PM

More upheaval at Labour HQ. It is barely a month since the latest restructure saw general secretary Iain McNicol supplanted by the new campaigns director, Spencer Livermore, as manager of the party’s seven executive directors. Now comes the news that the director responsible for fundraising, John McCaffrey, is leaving after just over a year in job and that Chris Lennie, former assistant general secretary, will be returning as a “consultant” to work on external relations.

These latest changes might sound like back-room tinkering, but they are the outward manifestation of debilitating instability behind the scenes in Brewer’s Green. Two points are pertinent.

First, John McCaffrey’s departure could barely be more ill-timed. On the day that the latest electoral commission figures revealed Labour to be £12.3m in debt, the party lost its lead fundraiser.

John McCaffrey was only appointed in June 2012 and had already had a significant impact. Between September 2012 (the earliest it’s reasonable to expect McCaffrey to have made a difference) and September 2013, the party raised £3.5m from individuals, companies and limited liability partnerships. In comparison, for the year September 2011 to September 2012, it was £2.1m.

A 67% improvement in a year is hardly trivial and with the party so deep in debt, it is remarkable that the man who helped drive this growth in donations is on his way out.

John McCaffrey’s ongoing  financial importance was underlined in the small print announcing his departure, “John will continue to work with some key supporters for us as a consultant.” Or in other words, some donors won’t give unless McCaffrey is involved, so the party will have to keep paying him.


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Tom Watson says goodbye to Walworth Rd

20/10/2010, 08:43:50 AM

So “Walworth Road”, one of Labour’s triumvirate of famous headquarters, is to be converted into a hostel for London’s visiting back packers. The planning permission was approved last week. Where once journeying ideologues stomped their feet, hedonistic global consumers will now rest their heads.

Little do those weary wanderlusters know what history they will be inhaling as they bunk up for the night. Backpackers should take comfort that many political journeys have started and spectacularly ended in that great building.

Labour’s rose took root in Walworth Road. And the party’s long and jagged march with the command economy ended there on the day that new Labour took its first tentative steps towards Millbank glory.

Political movements and ideas reached their terminus in the tiny roof conversion that doubled as a boardroom. The Militant tendency was filleted in that building. The decision to close the New Socialist magazine was taken there – a brutal response to the editorial team defiantly calling for tactical voting shortly before the 1987 election. And the longest suicide note in history – our 1983 manifesto – was drafted there.

The Walworth Road I first entered in 1984 was very much like a hostel. You were met at the front door by two striking miners and their table full of Davey lamps and buckets of shrapnel. A huge imposing portrait of Clem stared beneficently down at you in the foyer, as you fumbled with the intercom to persuade Lesley, the grand dame of the reception and secret Conservative voter, to let you enter the main building. The famous, the powerful and the pompous could be left in that little room for an eternity if they crossed her. My God, I admired Lesley. (more…)

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