Labour’s National Policy Forum: the continuing case for its abolition
Labour NEC candidate Pete Willsman has some proposals for internal party reform. These include changes to the National Policy Forum (NPF) to give members greater information on what’s being developed e.g. by shadow cabinet working groups, and power to the NPF to decide what goes to conference for approval.
Pete’s a good guy, properly devoted to democratising the party, but he’s in cloud cuckoo land here.
The NPF does not need amending. It needs abolishing.
It was one of those initiatives that may have seemed like a good idea at the time but it is clear enough now that it and its (willing and often competent members) are more likely to used as a mechanism to fob the membership off with some notion of ‘being in office’ than to provide input into actual Labour party policy.
The stark reality is that the Parliamentary Labour Party and its advisers set policy, often in reaction to political opportunity, sometimes at short notice, always behind closed doors. Anyone notice the idea of an EU referendum discussed by the NPF (not that I’m against it)?
Members and CLPs will be better off without the NPF deflecting their energies, and better served engaging with their MP/PPC to demand the policies they want, and holding the same properly to account if they don’t get them.
Of course, I’m no help to the abolitionist cause. I sought nomination to the NPF ballot paper on just this agenda, but my own CLP declined to nominate me (although others did), instead preferring someone perhaps less likely to rock the boat.
But I’ll be back.