Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Consultations, Consultations, Consultations

There are three consultative documents which are supposed to be circulating in the Labour Party at the moment, although I suspect that few members know about them all.

First, there is a document entitled "Partnership Into Power". There are only nine days left for comments on this document to be submitted. See here.

Secondly, there is the document "Refounding Labour." Technically we have until 24 June to send in our responses, but on the following day the National Policy Forum meets in Wrexham to examine proposals drawn from all the various submissions! Here is our own summary of "Refounding Labour", whilst here are the responses raised at our last discussion meeting. We aim to finalise our responses at out next meeting on 12 June. But then we also need to discuss the following.

Finally, there is a document entitled "New Politics. Fresh Ideas" by Liam Byrne which is supposed to have been circulating in the Labour Party since 27 November. It states that the "first phase of work will last until summer 2011 and a document arising from the work will be presented to the coming Labour Party Conference" and will then be developed via the work of the National Policy Forum.

Furthermore, under this procedure Ed Miliband has asked Shadow Cabinet Members to set up working groups and expert panels to explore "the big questions that confront our country". This work is to be fed into "New Politics, Fresh Ideas". Ann Black who is an National Executive Committee Member is making valiant efforts to discover what these groups have been up to. She states "I am still pursuing the shadow cabinet policy review groups. Thanks to Comprehensive Future for circulating a list for one of Andy Burnham’s groups; warm appreciation to Harriet Harman for full information on the international development review and its six expert taskforces; and rather less for Douglas Alexander, launching “Britain and the BRICs” * in Beijing through a press release which gives no indication of who else is involved. Another 17 are still unknown beyond short summaries."

But at least we can try to respond to (or go beyond) the four broad questions which Liam Byrne asks, these are -

1. How we grow our economy and ensure good jobs and a sustainable future?
2. How we strengthen families, communities and relationships?.
3. How do we put power in people's hands, over politics and public services?
4. How do we secure our country and contribute to a better world?

It should also be noted that Liam Byrne's document states at the start that Labour's "values are non-negotiable." But as Labour's aims and values are supposed to be reflected in Clause IV of the Labour Party's Constitution as amended in 1995 to fit in with a vision of New Labour, then surely they are still amendable if that is what the membership wants.

There will be plenty to discuss on the above matters at our coming meeting as currently advertised in the right-hand column.

* BRICs = Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa who are seen as the coming economic challenges to the dominance of the USA.


  1. The following comment is from JON WILLIAMS.

    If we need a better example of private companies making a mess of what should be a public service look no further than “Southern Cross”! A company that sold its property assets with no regard for residents is shameful and disgraceful. Company Directors no doubt pocketing a large bonus which I’m sure won’t be paid back now they’re on the verge of bankruptcy. If the board had resident / worker representation, a different point of view, perhaps they’d have been a different outcome.

    There is more of the Southern Cross story and in the Torygraph! It's a petty (New) Labour seemly allowed the private sector free rein operating care homes.

    "The American private equity group that sold the shares, Blackstone, made an estimated profit of £1 billion.

    The woes of the company have helped to foster a view that the private sector cannot be trusted to deal responsibly with fundamental welfare issues such as elderly care.

    That such a seemingly complex and fragile financial structure could have been set up on the foundations of elderly care sits very uncomfortably with those outside the City

    This is where the issue of regulation comes in. Under Labour, the private sector was allowed to expand wildly in the care home sector without restrictions on its financing"

  2. Another important contribution from JOHN WILLIAMS is given below.

    I wonder if any of the following information contained in the web links below should be included in Refounding Labour submissions.

    The Labour Party that is supposedly short of money, already has internal resources in the party to undertake the tasks mentioned and changes that could ultimately be left in the hands of people who are not members! Yes indeed who is Refounding Labour – I hope it doesn’t involve consultants

  3. Sorry. the above is from JON WILLIAMS not John Williams.

  4. I see now Labour have given instruction that the new Secretary when selected must look at funding issues and move away from the Unions, why not give Blair the job and then offer lordship, hold on they tried that.

    Anyone care much whether labour gets back in again, not me, after 48 years in the party I've moved on.

    Now the big talk is on Blue Labour taking up Conservative idea's, what to try and get in by becoming the Tories, then we might as well vote Tory, better the real thing then a copy.

    Purple labour well what can you say on that bunch Bring back Blair.

    Not sure I really care much anymore blue purple or pink it is all the same to me Conservatism.

  5. Anonymous : I joined 54 years ago although at the time I disagreed with the direction Gaitskell was taking us. Over time, of course, matters have got worse. But as I believe in being involved in political activity including party political activity; on the later where else but in the Labour Party can I push for democratic socialist values? For Red Labour against both Blue and Purple Labour.

  6. That's your choice my choice was to walk away, being severely disabled I felt if I had shown up at conference Labour might have decided to open up concentration camps again.

    To many people have walked away, my local party has gone from hundreds to six people attending meetings, and thats mostly people who have interest in something or other.

    I see nothing in Labour which would make me look at the party these days.