Welcome to Grassroots Labour
National Executive Committee, 15 February 2011 Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 March 2011 13:08

NEC members were joined by colleagues from the joint policy committee, the conference arrangements committee and the national constitutional committee for an informal discussion with Peter Hain on his party reform project.  He explained that Liam Byrne was in charge of policy development, with shadow cabinet working groups feeding into the policy commissions and leading up to a national policy forum meeting, provisionally on 25 June 2011.  Members were disturbed by reports that LibDems were playing a key role in influencing policy, and he promised to pass this message on to Liam Byrne.

In addition to the review of Partnership in Power, Ed Miliband had asked Peter Hain to look at party organisation at every level, with nothing ruled in or out.  This was an opportunity to consider afresh whether a culture and structures rooted in the early 20th century were still fit for purpose.  He hoped that local parties would discuss the issues in May, after the elections, and respond by the second week of June.  Any rule changes would be considered by the NEC in July for this year’s conference.  He agreed to send the timetable to constituencies so that they can plan ahead.

National Executive Committee, 25 January 2011 Print E-mail
Monday, 07 March 2011 13:04

Harriet Harman opened by thanking the hundreds of volunteers and staff who helped Debbie Abrahams win Oldham East & Saddleworth in challenging political circumstances and awful weather.  Efforts now turned to 5 May, with elections everywhere except London and Cornwall.  Labour would be the people’s voice in tough times, winning the economic argument and highlighting broken government promises on policing, student fees and the NHS.  Far from being negative, this message supported voters’ hopes and aspirations.  Before then, Barnsley is likely to see a by-election:  I was involved in shortlisting, and believe that local members made an excellent choice in selecting Dan Jarvis.

Some members suggested that under the alternative voting system Labour would have lost Oldham through Tories giving the LibDems their second preferences.  Harriet Harman said that she supported AV, but a referendum could only be won if it was held separately from the local elections to allow cross-party campaigning.  Later Ed Miliband also expressed his personal backing.  However a referendum on 5 May was not yet certain.  Labour peers were still fighting to amend the other half of the bill, which would impose 600 constituencies varying by no more than 5% from the average, cutting across council wards and natural boundaries, with very limited public involvement and ignoring millions of unregistered voters.  The NEC expressed appreciation of the peers’ discipline, stamina and dedication.

Report of Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD) AGM 2011 Print E-mail
Friday, 04 March 2011 10:14
CPLD held its Annual General Meeting on Saturday 19 February at Conway Hall in central London.  Given that the date clashed with Ken Livingstone’s Progressive London conference at Congress House nearby, it was good to see so many Labour Party (LP) activists opting to attend our conference. 
National Executive Committee 29/30 November 2010 Print E-mail
Sunday, 12 December 2010 18:20
On the Monday NEC members joined the parliamentary Labour party for their weekly meeting, a first for most of us.  Alan Johnson, after a widely praised Commons performance, drew attention to his New Statesman article and his speech to the RSA where he tackled the Tories head-on over claims that the cuts were Labour’s fault.  The rise in VAT would cost 250,000 jobs and hit the poorest hardest.  Backbench MPs echoed the national policy forum call for simple, punchy campaign messages.  This was followed by informal conversation, and an NEC dinner generously organised by Keith Vaz.
A Living Breathing Party Print E-mail
Sunday, 06 March 2011 12:48

CLPD has launched it vision for a democratic twenty-first century Labour Party.

More information on the report can be found at http://www.leftfutures.org/2011/03/labour-left-launches-its-vision-of-a-new-party-structure-2/#more-3904

and A Living Breathing Party may be downloaded at http://www.leftfutures.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/A-Living-Breathing-Party.pdf

Print E-mail
Sunday, 19 December 2010 18:22

•    AV benefits the Lib Dems.  It has been estimated by the British election study team at Essex University that under AV the number of Lib Dem MPs would rise from 57 to 89, while the Tories would drop from 307 to 285 and labour from 258 to 248.

•    The only countries using AV are Australia, Fiji and the Pacific island of Nauru (The Papua New Guineans dropped it and the Fijians are having their doubts).

•    AV makes coalition governments much more likely.  The Lib Dems will be the kingmakers – they are as likely to go with the Tories as with Labour.  “AV opens the door to a new political world in which coalitions become the norm, and single-party majority government a distant memory.  Defeat for AV could quickly end the Coalition Government.  But success would bind it together – for a long time to come” Vernon Bogdanor, Cameron’s tutor at Oxford.

National Policy Forum Gillingham 27 November 2010 Print E-mail
Friday, 10 December 2010 18:18
The Forum gathered for its first meeting in nearly two years, and I went armed with hundreds of members’ comments on the general political landscape and on current issues.  The overwhelming demand was for effective campaigning messages now and through to next May’s elections.  A full review of policy will take time, but rebuttal of coalition lies and clear alternative approaches, particularly on the economy, were needed now.  We could not let the Tories carry on claiming that Labour ran up massive deficits on unnecessary spending, and their cuts are therefore inevitable.  Instead Labour, under Gordon Brown, saved 500,000 jobs, kept home repossessions to half the level of the last recession, prevented the collapse of the entire banking system, and laid the foundations for recovery.
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