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.