Is it a plot? Or is it just being practical? On a day when Taliban Tories were venting their spleen on the airwaves about Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) being parachuted in or 'imposed by Conservative Central Office in the wake of the Liz Truss affair, I found myself in a Labour Party National Executive Committee meeting confronted by a laid-round paper proposing changes to our own PPC selection procedures.
Labour led the way in British politics to get more women and BAME candidates selected as PPCs and elected, not just to the Westminster Parliament, but the European and Scottish Parliaments, the Welsh Assembly and local councils throughout the UK.
Following parliamentary expenses scandals, deselection, resignations, rumours of stitch-ups, parachuting in and the unsolved mystery of ballot-box tampering inside Labour Party HQ, there is now a log-jam.
It should be broken on Monday 23 November. The newly established Special Selections Panel, with delegated powers, will hold its first meeting at 1pm. Its first task will be to establish more open and transparent criteria for deciding which seats should be All Women Shortlists, and where BAME candidates should get a preference. The timetable for selections once authorised has been slashed to five weeks.
From 1 January 2010, the Panel will also have the power to decide the shortlist of candidates. Here's the rub. Will this be an opportunity to recruit fresh talent, or seen as one for the 'powers that be' to slot in old lags as lobby fodder for favours past and present? In debate, the NEC was unanimous that constituency labour party members should continue to vote for their PPC, and have a predominant role in shortlisting. The only exception might be a very late PPC withdrawal after an election has been called and nomination day looming.
So my advice to any CLP in the log-jam is get vocal, make sure your elected constituency representatives on the NEC are fully briefed.