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Labour Party Jargon Buster: Use our glossary of terms at Conference '22

Labour Party Jargon Buster: Use our glossary of terms at Conference '22

Labour Party Conference (PA Images/Alamy)

10 min read

The Labour Party is big on acronyms and niche patter – especially at Conference. To help you understand your comrades in Liverpool, Sienna Rodgers has created a glossary of terms

Affiliate Trade union or other organisation that is formally affiliated to the Labour Party and pays affiliation fees. Can also refer to affiliated supporters of Labour – members of affiliated organisations who sign up as supporters of the party.
ALC (Association of Labour Councillors) Organisation affiliated to the Labour Party that represents all Labour councillors.
ASLEF (Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen) Trade union for train drivers and other railway staff. Affiliated to the Labour Party, and on the left of the party.
BAME Labour (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Labour) Used to refer to both the old socialist society and the separate new structure within Labour that includes all BAME members and has representation on the NEC.
BFAWU (Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union) Trade union for food industry workers. Disaffiliated from the Labour Party in 2021 in protest at Keir Starmer’s leadership.
BLP (Branch Labour Party) Local party unit comprising members across one or more electoral wards. There are typically several BLPs in a CLP.
CAC (Conference Arrangements Committee) Body that determines the shape of the agenda for Labour Conference. Those elected to the CAC play an important role in deciding the timetable and topics debated.
Card vote Used at Conference for rule changes and for policy when the chair believes a show of hands was unclear.
CfS (Campaign for Socialism) Scottish group that campaigns for left-wing policies and candidates in the Labour Party. It is affiliated to Momentum.
Clause V Meeting that signs off the Labour manifesto before a general election. Chaired by the Labour leader; attended by NEC, NPF and shadow cabinet members and trade union representatives. More influential in the case of a snap election. Takes its name from Clause V of the party rulebook.
CLP (Constituency Labour Party) Local party unit comprising members across a parliamentary constituency.
CLPD (Campaign for Labour Party Democracy) Left-wing group that has campaigned for changes to the party rulebook for almost 50 years.
Community General trade union representing workers in sectors from steel to footwear, plus the self-employed. Affiliated to the Labour Party, with centrist politics.
Composite motion Motion after it has been through a process to merge a number of motions on the same topic.
Compositing meeting Meeting at Conference where delegates from local parties and affiliates that have submitted motions on the same topic combine them to form a single motion. Also attended by the relevant shadow cabinet member or their team.
Constitutional amendment Another term for rule change.
Corbynite Supporter of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
Crank Insult directed at those regarded to be on the fringes of the party or those thought to be obsessive about particular, often internal, issues.
CWU (Communication Workers Union) Trade union for workers in postal, telecoms, tech and financial services. Affiliated to the Labour Party, and on the left of the party.
Delegates Members chosen to represent others. Local parties and affiliated organisations send delegates to Labour Conference.
EC (Executive Committee) Core group of elected members in a local constituency party or branch party.
FBU (Fire Brigades Union) Trade union for firefighters and emergency control room staff. Affiliated to the Labour Party, having disaffiliated in 2004 and re-affiliated in 2015. On the left of the party.
FPTP (First Past The Post) Voting system, used for UK general elections, under which the candidate with the most votes wins.
GLU (Governance and Legal Unit) Staff unit of Labour that deals with governance including complaints against party members.
GMB (General, Municipal, Boilermakers’ Union) General trade union with members working in a wide variety of sectors, from energy to social care. One of Labour’s three biggest affiliates alongside Unison and Unite.
GSO (General Secretary’s Office) Labour’s general secretary, currently David Evans, and their team.
JLM (Jewish Labour Movement) Labour’s only Jewish affiliate organisation and one of its oldest affiliates. Chaired by Mike Katz and Margaret Hodge MP.
JPC (Joint Policy Committee) Steering group for the NPF. Made up of NEC members, NPF representatives and MPs.
Keith How critics of Keir Starmer sometimes refer to the Labour leader.
Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW) Group formed in 2017 to campaign against what it considers to be politically motivated anti-Semitism claims. Proscribed by the Labour Party.
Labour First Activist group described as “old Labour right”. Supportive of the current party leadership. Run by Luke Akehurst.
Labour group Group of Labour representatives on a council.
Labour Left Alliance (LLA) Left-wing group proscribed by the Labour Party.
Labour Students Body representing student Labour members. Disaffiliated by the NEC under Corbyn but being refounded as a new democratic organisation with OMOV elections.
LAWS (Labour Animal Welfare Society) Socialist society.
LCF (Local Campaign Forums) See LGC.
LCID (Labour Campaign for International Development) Socialist society.
LGA Labour (Local Government Association Labour group) Organisation that represents Labour groups across England and Wales in the cross-party Local Government Association.
LGC (Local Government Committee) Committee constituted to coordinate campaigns within an area and secure the return of Labour councillors. Also responsible for shortlisting council candidates. LGCs are the replacement for LCFs.
Living rent free Expression used to accuse someone of being obsessed with something or someone.
LOTO (leader of the opposition’s office, or leader of the opposition) Currently refers to Starmer and/or his team of aides.
LtW (Labour to Win) Activist group supportive of Starmer’s leadership. Combines older groups Progressive Britain and Labour First.
Momentum Activist group representing Labour’s Corbynite left. The dominant organisation for Starmer critics.
Motion Piece of text expressing support for or opposition to a policy proposal or aim.
MU (Musicians’ Union) Trade union representing musicians working in the United Kingdom. It is affiliated to the Labour Party.
NCC (National Constitutional Committee) Labour’s disciplinary body that now deals only with complaints not involving protected characteristics. It is made up of 25 elected members.
NEC (National Executive Committee) Labour’s 39-member national governing body, which oversees the implementation of the party rulebook and the overall direction of the party. Plays a key role in candidate selections and in agreeing party manifestos.
NPF (National Policy Forum) Body of more than 200 representatives – from local parties, regions, trade unions and socialist societies – tasked with shaping Labour’s policy agenda.
NOLS (National Organisation of Labour Students) Old name for Labour Students – abandoned in the 1990s but often still used.
NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) Small trade union for miners. It is affiliated to the Labour Party.
OMOV (One Member One Vote) Voting system under which every member of the electorate gets one vote, as opposed to an electoral college with block votes. Often used to explain Labour’s current voting system for leadership elections.
Open Labour (OL) Activist group representing Labour’s “open left”, commonly thought of as “soft left”. Labour front bencher Alex Sobel is a co-founder.
Org Sub (Organisation Sub-committee) Sub-committee of Labour’s NEC, which meets monthly and includes all NEC members. Responsible for party rules, constitution, membership, selections and other key functions.
Outcard Leaflet posted through a letterbox by a canvasser when there is no answer from door-knocking.
Pad (political adviser) Shadow cabinet members (usually) each get a pad, funded by the party rather than the taxpayer.
Party programme Set of policies agreed by Conference with a majority of at least two-thirds support, as determined by a card vote. The Clause V meeting decides which parts of the programme go into the manifesto.
PCC (Police and Crime Commissioner) Elected official responsible for overseeing police forces. Sometimes, as with London’s Sadiq Khan, the PCC functions lie with the mayor.
PFCC (Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner) Elected official responsible for overseeing police forces and fire services.
Phonebanking Talking to voters over the phone. Usually done by volunteers who are provided with a script. Members can do this remotely or in groups at a venue arranged by an organiser.
PLP (Parliamentary Labour Party) Group comprising all Labour MPs and peers.
PPB (Party Political Broadcast) Television or radio broadcast made by a political party that is allocated a slot free of charge.
PPC (Prospective Parliamentary Candidate) Candidate who has been selected to contest a parliamentary seat.
Polling day The day polls are open for an election, typically between 7am and 10pm.
Priorities ballot Vote that allows Conference delegates to decide which 12 policy topics are debated.
Progressive Britain Organisation representing the Blairite wing of the Labour Party. Also known by its old name, Progress, used before it merged with think tank Policy Network in 2021.
PR (Proportional Representation) Electoral systems under which outcomes are proportional to votes cast, as opposed to first past the post.
Quorum/quorate The minimum number of members required for the decisions of a meeting to be valid. A meeting is quorate when a quorum is present.
Reach Labour’s platform for digital ad audiences.
REC (Regional Executive Committee) Also known as a regional board. These bodies, which include representatives from local parties, elected representatives and affiliates, typically meet quarterly to discuss Labour’s work in the region.
Reference back Term used on the Conference floor. Refers to giving delegates the opportunity to force a review of a specific section of a policy document being considered by Conference.
Resist Group led by former Labour MP Chris Williamson. Proscribed by the Labour Party.
SCG (Socialist Campaign Group) Group of Labour MPs on the left of the party.
SERA (Socialist Environment and Resources Association) Socialist society on the environment.
SHA (Socialist Health Association) Socialist society.
Slate Pressure groups such as Momentum and Labour to Win will put up slates of candidates for internal elections. 
Southside Labour’s headquarters in London.
Socialist society Membership organisation affiliated to the Labour Party.
Soft left Between the right of the Labour Party and the left.
Standing orders Set of rules for a local party, the national party or Conference.
Stronger Together Labour’s policy-making process with stakeholders under Starmer. Chaired by Anneliese Dodds.
STV (Single Transferable Vote) Voting system, a form of proportional representation involving ranked choices. Now used for NEC local party representative elections.
Tankie Name for Stalinist, often used as an insult.
Tribune Can refer to the publication, which is on the left of the party, or to the group of MPs, which is ostensibly soft left but also includes centrist MPs.
Trigger ballot Process by which local branches decide whether to automatically reselect their sitting Labour MP as the candidate at the next election or trigger a full selection.
Trot Name for Trotskyists, often used as an insult.
TSSA (Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association) Trade union for transport and travel industries. Affiliated to the Labour Party. On the left of the party.
TUC (Trade Union Congress) National federation of trades unions, comprising 48 affiliated unions and 5.5 million members.
TULO (Trade Union Liaison Organisation) Also known as Labour Unions. Includes all trade unions affiliated to Labour.
UBI (Universal Basic Income) Policy proposal that would see everyone in a certain area given an amount of money by the government.
UBS (Universal Basic Services) Policy proposal that would see everyone have unconditional, free at the point of use access to essential services.
Unison Trade union with more than 1.2 million members – mainly public service workers in sectors including local government, education and health. One of Labour’s three biggest affiliates.
Unite Trade union with more than 1.2 million members in construction, manufacturing and other sectors. Affiliated to the Labour Party, and on the left of the party. Historically Labour’s biggest funder.
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) Trade union representing workers in retail and related industries. Affiliated to the Labour Party, and allied with the current leadership.
YL (Young Labour) Labour’s official youth wing for members aged 14 to 26.
Warwick-style process Policy-making process that empowers the NPF over Clause V.

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