A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Brown on Party Reform

Good stuff from Brown yesterday on Party reform.

A word of caution though - whilst the proposals for "establishing policy forums in every constituency, as well as regular questionnaires to members, and "citizens' forums" designed to improve Labour's campaigning edge and engage local people outside the party" are the right way forward for CLPs that are already doing the basics, in too many areas - particularly those where Labour is either in a very safe position or in a weak third place - our organisation has atrophied to a level where the basics of party organisation are not taking place.

We need some base line targets to bring every CLP up to a minimum level of activity so that we remain a truly national party:

- every CLP to send a delegate to Annual Conference (at the moment only about 2/3 do)
- every CLP to have regular political debate, campaigning and social events, even if this happens in a cluster with neighbouring seats - I've heard anecdotally of some CLPs that only meet once annually to elect a Secretary, or quadrenially to select a paper general election candidate
- every seat in every election at district council and above to have a candidate - no more situations like this May when over 30% of council seats had no Labour candidate
- target minimum membership levels based on a % of the Labour General Election vote

this kind of capacity building requires organisational muscle - more full-time organisers - but if we can't fund those then perhaps between General Elections we need to do the pay back for the Key Seats strategy - after all the times that Key Seats have been given support by safe or non-Labour seats, between General Elections this should happen in reverse, with a systematic effort by Labour MPs and key seat activists who have had support to go back into areas where the party structure is less healthy and help re-energise it.


Anonymous Ian G said...

I'm in agreement with just about all of that.

As you quite rightly say, organisation in some areas has fallen apart to the extent that they'll need massive support to get to the point where they can fulfil those basic functions.

That help simply hasn't been forthcoming for the duration of my involvement in the party, and it's going to require radical change to put it in place.

11:57 am, June 11, 2007

Anonymous Peter Kenyon said...

Dear Luke

Glad to see you are picking up on the Good News from Oxford too.

Your post raises a host of questions, all of which are worthy of comment and pursuit.

Just starting with OMOV for NPF elections. There is no way in which NPF delegates for the next two years (ie before the General Election) can be elected by OMOV.

In my own CLP we have agreed to run an all-member ballot before Conference to give all the London region candidates an 'airing'. Our members will then have an opportunity to get to know who is standing and through the ballot decide Cities of London and Westminster's preferred NPF representatives.

12:05 pm, June 11, 2007

Blogger Dave Brinson said...

Every ward having a Labour candidate is a great target, but we need one hell of a membership drive to achieve that. In Eastbourne we got one candidate for every (three member) ward, but that meant that many of our voters would cancel that out by voting for 2 lib dems. Wealden next door only managed 6 out of 55 seats.
Uphill struggle ahead...

11:02 pm, June 13, 2007


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