Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Historic Warwick: Comrades, Sisters and Brothers, Colleagues - What Has Been Delivered?

That prize clown Luke Akehurst believes that Trade Union Turkeys have again voted for Christmas. This is based on BBC Report which suggests that Harriet Harman is going to make a tub thumping Prezza-like speech at Bournemouth to send delegates home happy.

Luke and Harriet were ecstatic that they had fooled the Unions

But they have also voted to axe "Contemporary Resolutions" at Conference. One of the ways party units can seek to change or make the Party's policies. Others being through lobbying MPs and Ministers on the quiet with the odd EDM or petition thrown in (perhaps the most successful) and the National Policy Forum (NPF) - a delegate body so far effectively ruled by PM and TPTB.

If Luke had been there - at the Party's National Executive Committee (NEC) - his position and his gurning face might well have swayed some of the craven idiots stuck on the NEC by Unions to actually vote for their Union's policy or if they could conjure up the vaguest idea of what this means: for their members' interests.

If what the Unions have achieved through Warwick (a particularly "Historic" NPF session) surpasses all that has gone before - as Luke happily claims - then that really is a VERY SAD indictment on party democracy.

What exactly has been not only agreed but also delivered from the "historic Warwick" agreement? Government hegemony over the unions?

Which admittedly is lovely triangulation to attract support from those who want the unions smashed.

Luke may well argue that whatever has been achieved is more than X years of resolutions and he may even be right. But that means he is saying that for X years the parliamentary party has been riding roughshod over party policy decisions.

Now, don't get me wrong. It is just possible that the NPF or similar IS a better way of making policy IN THEORY. But that's all. IN PRACTICE it is widely derided as undemocratic, unaccountable, manipulated, unlistening, and at the end of the day railroaded by the government.

At this point the undemocratic conclusions are put before conference for an all or nothing vote. That is heavily whipped by the platform's agents in the crowd. It is beyond belief really that only half a dozen people will vote against say a Britain in the World document (in 2005) which says "business as usual" over the likes of Iraq. Even if it does say "onwards and upwards" over international development.

Iraq incidentally which we were not allowed to discuss due to manipulation of the contemporary resolutions list to exclude it.

The ballot would have been rigged in any case.

Contemporary resolutions have not delivered. That much is true. But the National Policy Forum is going to be a whole lot better than it ever has been if the heart and soul of the Labour Party is to find its way onto the page.


grimupnorth said...

My understanding of the situation is that the unions on the conference floor will not necessarily go along with the NEC line. Or am I being naive?????
By the way, excellent post.....

Chris Paul said...

Thanks Grim. Have been gnawing at Luke's toes over at his blog also. I suspect they will get it through. The price needs to be right though. That is what is up for discussion I feel. Not this "modernisation" itself.

NPF needs to be radically reformed and made fit for purpose. Unlike conference it can be and should be LP internal business. Therefore there can be differences of opinion not yes sir, no sire, three bags full sir.

NPF docs must be taken in parts if conference is so minded. The 12 Hours of extra time created at Conference must be used to good effect.

Are you going to conference?

Diablo said...

You Old Labour boys and girls talk in some sort of coded language that is unintelligible to us mere mortals.

Are you saying that at the Labour Party conference next week the topics for discussion have been dictated by the national executive of the party? Does this mean that rank and file members can't raise issues of concern?

Surely this can't be so? I have always thought that the Labour Party was the only major political party in Britain that was the most democratic and allowed its members to express their own views - the old block votes notwithsatnding.

Surely they wouldn't physically remove anyone from the conference if they shouted out something from the floor that criticised a speech by a Cabinet Minister? No, it couldn't happen.

I hope you'll stand up for democracy, Chris.