Silence peasants, in the Labour Party members' views don't count
Don't take my word for it. I have just caught up with Ann Black's latest NEC report. This is available in parts (for easier reading) on the Labour Democratic Network website.
On policy making she wrote:
Policy-making seems to have moved not only beyond the NEC but beyond the national policy forum and conference. Near the end I discovered four glossy booklets entitled “Towards a new economy”, “Britain’s role in the world”, “Restoring responsibility, strengthening our communities” and “Fulfilling the promise of Britain”. Maybe the papers came from the elusive shadow cabinet working groups. They appear hastily compiled, with inconsistencies, identical quotes attributed to different people, and repeated paragraphs, but they make interesting reading.
This begs a critical question. Why should any CLP bother to send delegates to Conference? As for hapless National Policy Forum delegates, what is the point?
There are remedies. The NEC could reshape Conference and make it a deliberative assembly. Until CLPs organise, nothing will change. Except of course the number of CLPs sending delegates to Conference will probably continue to decline. Just like membership.