Next week is the deadline to submit feedback on Mr Brown's "Extending and Renewing Party Democracy" document, it's so good it could of been crafted by the marketing department at Game.
Anyway Comrade Skevington has organised a meeting of the General Committee to discuss the issue.
Summary of proposal one: A commitment to give greater support to local Labour Parties in holding Policy Forums and creating a duty on the NPF to better consult, engage and involve party members in policy discussions.
Well that sounds nice, what that greater support is I'd love to know. These "Policy Forums" seem unnecessary to me, local parties can pass resolutions on policy fine on their own thanks.
Number two: Strengthen the NPF with a regular work plan and meeting schedule, an open and constant dialogue with ministers and a greater ability to provide feedback to party members and stakeholders.
I love the word stakeholders in there. The first time I read it I was sure it said businessmen itching to get their fingers in a bigger share of the public pie.
The NPF is a waste of space, it isn't accountable enough and falls under the influence of full-time party bureaucrats too easily. The annual conference should be the policy making forum.
Number three: The JPC will take on an enhanced executive function in relation to the operation of the NPF and the PiP process, meeting every two months. A new group of JPC Officers will lead the committee and have regular meetings with government ministers to ensure ongoing dialogue.
Sounds like pushing more executive power to a body made up of members of the government to me.
Number four: Annual Conference to be given a more substantial role in directing and monitoring the work of the NPF. 12 NPF representatives will be directly elected by Conference in order to reinforce the links between the two institutions in light of the new contemporary issues process.
Hmmmm OK, we get to elect more people on the NPF.
Number five: A new contemporary issues process through which party units would be able to submit issues, following proper consultation, for consideration in the priorities ballot at Annual Conference. Each issue that succeeds in the ballot will be debated at Conference and be included in a work programme in the relevant policy commission.
No deal, this makes the annual conference even more powerless. Forcing matters the conference wants to raise through a filter is a terrible idea and preventing CLPs from moving resolutions is probably the biggest assault on party democracy ever.
This is nothing short of an attempt to silence criticism of the government by the party.
Number six: The final policy documents agreed by the National Policy Forum will be the subject of an OMOV ballot.
Support for local parties and Labour Groups to consult and engage their communities.
A bit wishy-washy and the full text has the word policy forum in it again, I'm starting to hate those two words.
All in all, I think the document should be rejected, it's part of the continuing push to centralise more and more power. This would be a good start for a draft of what should go in its place:
1) We recognise the annual conference as the most democratic national body of the Labour Party.
2) We therefore suggest that all policy making should be debated and discussed openly at the annual conference, and then the will of the majority carried out.
3) We demand more power be passed to the annual conference allowing it to enforce the will of the Labour Party upon the Labour leadership and a Labour government.