Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ed Cuts Us In Half

Our Discussion Group submitted six set of ideas for the "Refounding Labour" Consultation. The closing date for submissions was Friday, whilst yesterday Labour"s National Policy Forum (NPF) met in Wrexham to start examining the ideas which had been submitted to it.

The meeting at Wrexham started with a keynote speech from Ed Miliband. Unfortunately, Ed seems to have kicked half of our proposals into the long grass before the NPF got down to its work. His comments undermined our following three proposals.

(1) We proposed that the NPF should be scrapped as its operations are not understood by the bulk of Labour Party Members and it operates under a system which is talked about as being one of "smoke and mirrors". We wanted its work to be open and democratic and undertaken by the National Executive Committee and Annual Conference.

Instead, Ed Miliband wishes to keep the NPF, but to reform it on the following basis - "If local parties get enough support for a particular cause, it should be debated at the National Policy Forum or conference. Here's the offer: the more support from the public you get for your ideas, the more weight they will have."

(2) We proposed that Clause 4 of the Labour Party Constitution should be amended to remove its New Labour's commitment to a "Dynamic Economy" based on "the enterprise of the market and the rigour of competition" and to substitute a commitment to a "Sustainable Economy which pursues high quality public services operated democratically for the public good."

However Ed Miliband argued in the opposite direction saying "New Labour got us back in touch with the hopes and aspirations of the British people. It was right to change Clause 4."

(3)We argued that there needs to be a change in the make-up of the Parliamentary Labour Party, for parliament at the moment contains too many members of a “political class” where MPs often have more in common with each other across the political divide than they do with their own voters.

Whilst Ed Miliband made no reference to this area in his Wrexham Speech, yesterday morning's Guardian claimed that his position as disclosed to them was that - "All parliamentary candidates and councillors are to be asked to sign a code of conduct committing themselves to be in regular touch with the public." We had rather more than that in mind.

But we still have three more points left on the board and will be keeping an eye on their progress.

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