Prime Minister Gordon Brown's speech to IPPR yesterday was well-crafted. But for me it omitted simple reality checks for the Labour Party - a democratic socialist party. Our politics demands among other things mutual respect, meticulous record-keeping and a willingness to accept the outcome of a vote when decisions are required. New Labour lacked all three. Our Labour leader's speech lacked any reference to those requirements too, in the context in which I think they are relevant to the task Brown set out:
So we will change both the Commons and the Lords, because we are so profoundly committed to the renewal of parliamentary democracy. We will ensure that the new politics will be delivered in the House of Commons, and we will do more to restore the relationship of mutual respect between MPs and those who elect them.
I see this as work in progress between now and the election. But if we neglect the machinery of government, the patronage exercised by the Prime Minister, the deployment of the Whips, political party infrastructure and so on, Labour will continue to fail to convince.
That is why as a member of the Labour Party National Executive Committee, I am calling for any member of the Labour Party's Special Selection Panel to be debarred from applying to run as a PPC in the General Election in less than 100 days time. It will simply be seen as 'parachuting' by the local electorate.
That's why having seen an internal report on Stoke Labour Parties, I am calling for an urgent review to enable members to unite to fight the BNP, and the other opposition parties.
That's why Save the Labour Party continues to campaign for an ethical, solvent, democratically run, mass membership organisation. Many say, rightly, it never has been. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't aspire to those goals. On the contrary, a radical manifesto presented to the electorate in less than 100 days time by such a party would be far more credible with the electorate than farcical efforts to revive 'New Labour'.