At noon today any member of the collective leadership of the Labour Party can have her/his first sight of the draft 2010 election manifesto. Don't expect any leaks here. It's the process that interests me as much as the content. Labour has been struggling with how to make policy, to win elections, since it was founded.
A radical change the process was heralded by the forerunners of new Labour in the early 1990s with the creation of a National Policy Forum. Annual Conference voted to strip itself of its powers to make policy by resolution in 1997 with the launch of the misleadingly labelled 'Partnership in Power' process.
Partnership dissolved into diktat from Downing Street. According to the Rule Book, all Labour Party members should have a vote on the general election manifesto. It was a ludicrous attempt to provide a democratic veneer for a thoroughly undemocratic way of making policy. Some may argue that the absence of a membership vote in 2010 is a further erosion of members' democratic rights.
But let's go back to the processes that have been at work leading up to the drafting of Labour's latest manifesto. Latterly and to his political credit, manifesto coordinator, Ed Miliband has kept an access channel open direct to his own office to enable anyone with ideas to get in touch. Face to face meetings have taken place with the Party's stakeholders in the period since New Yea. Save the Labour Party has been urging members to take advantage as set out in its recent newsletters. Other organisations like Compass, Power 2010 have been engaged in their own manifesto related promotions.
What has been missing are reputable open and transparent polling mechanisms to test the strength of opinion about particular issues, either among members, supporters and potential Labour voters or the electorate as a whole. That needs to be kept in mind for the planned review of policy making after the election.
For now I and my colleagues haven't got long to wait to find out how Labour's values have been set out for the next Parliament and beyond, and make our last minute suggestions. Those who will be attending today's meeting include the Cabinet, the National Executive Committee, affiliated trade union leaders, and representatives from the National Policy Forum - all part of Team Labour. In their turn each of those present represents a wider constituency of members, both individuals and affiliates - and they in turn the communities that Labour seeks to serve across the UK, and internationally.
It could and should be in sharp contrast to the sycophancy and deference that mired the drafting of manifestos under Gordon Brown's predecessor.