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.