Sunday, 23 September 2007

Milliband's sentence on Branches and CLPs

From his speech on Labour.org:

So local parties will get more support to hold their own discussions on policy and be able to invite in people from the community who can help. Every member will be invited to a regional policy forum with ministers. Every member who takes part will now be kept informed as policy develops.

And now there will be one member one vote.
Not just for selecting candidates
Or electing the leader

But [also] one member one vote on the programme they will stand on.

Reading this I can only see that OMOV will only be granted to those members who can afford to take time off work to attend these forums. How will they be informed of them? If there's a snap election then once again an opportunity to vote on something will be removed from a large proportion of members - so why should we trust this new OMOV? He goes on :-
So what are these programmes?

How we engage people beyond our membership.

Political change, whether it is local, national or international, doesn't happen because of politicians or political parties alone. Debt relief for the world's poorest countries happened because we campaigned and reached out beyond our party. And if we think about the coming years, we need a Labour Party that can reach out again, changing minds and attitudes on issues from child poverty to climate change.

And we need to recognise that real change in communities only comes when people are part of it. Whether it is a new zebra crossing, getting drug dealers off the streets, or better youth services, we can only do it by being rooted in communities we serve.

As a local MP I say to people: I can't solve the problems on my own. I need your help.

So local Labour parties need to be --- as many already are---community organisations showing people the difference we can make by working together.

And there will be new support for local parties to do that. And that's how we will recruit new members and build a stronger party.
At the start of this section he talks about national issues and policy, but when he gets to the grass-roots - the only discussions appear to be about LOCAL politics. This to me heralds the end of CLPs - putting all the power into either the PLP - who will no doubt be funded and supported by the party/big business; or by those elected councillors - who are solely focussed on battling with the opposition in council on local issues only. When will they have time to focus on local forums about national policy?

Parliamentary selections will be controlled by who? Head Office? Where does the ordinary supportive member get his say on national issues in a local forum with friends, comrades and experienced executive committees? Without this backing new members will never develop - or indeed ever understand the machinations of the party.

Is ignorance bliss?

IMHO this is the most dangerous attack on democracy I've yet to witness.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Would your Branch Labour Party be interested in joining a national network of BLPs?