Democracy and the democracy review

Submitted by SJW on 22 May, 2018 - 8:38 Author: Will Sefton

The Labour Party Democracy Review is now in its third and final period, inviting submissions on the following issues: “Electing our Leadership, How we Make Policy and The Way We Work.”

It still remains unclear how the findings of the review will be presented and what the status is of the various rule change motions remitted last year on the advice of the National Executive, or when they will be considered.

Meanwhile Momentum is carrying out a consultation of its membership on which proposals it will forward. They have asked its members to answer “Yes” or “No” to 13 questions. Longer policy proposals the questions are based on are also available for members to read. Almost all the questions are uncontroversial as the average score of over 90% for each one demonstrates.

But voting yes or no on whether disabled people should be represented on the NEC or whether the party should have an “institution that allows representatives of members and trades unions to help develop party policy on a rolling basis?” is not clear-cut.

Conference should be the sovereign decision-making body of the Labour Party. Reform of the existing and deliberately undemocratic National Policy Forum is not a substitute for this.
CLPD also has a set of proposals it is recommending to member — to be put forward by individuals or through local Labour Parties.

On electing the leadership, like Momentum they favour reducing the threshold needed for nominations for electing a leader where there is a vacancy. They also say that MPs and elected representatives should have no more sway than ordinary members or the affiliated unions. CLPD continue to support the Party having registered supporters, a scheme started under Tony Blair to try and weaken the influence of the electoral college but since abolished by the Collins review.

While the most prominent advocates of abolishing the scheme are those in Labour First, they are not wrong. They see it as a way to stop the groundswell of support Corbyn received in the two leadership elections.

The category is bad because it was an attempt to further atomise the membership and replace collective decision making and organising with passive polling.

CLPD proposes a good policy for the replacement of the Local Campaigning Forums with Local Government Committees. LGCs would provide much more control for members over the actions of Labour council groups.

They will provide the kind of scrutiny and ability to influence policy that has been so lacking and meant that many Labour Councils run almost completely at odds with local members.

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