To the extent that such things matter, I have at last tracked down the BBC Wales report on Peter Hain's appointment as shadow secretary of state for Wales, and as National Policy Forum chair(man). According to the BBC report yesterday, Hain said:
"I am also very pleased that Ed Miliband has appointed me chairman of the National Policy Forum, which will form Labour's new agenda for government, and as his representative on the party's National Executive Committee."
As has been recorded on Left Futures, Hain has already made a significant contribution to Party thinking on behalf of its members. He risked the wrath of No.10 Downing Street when Leader of the House of Commons to join a Save the Labour Party platform in Portcullis House with the late Professor Sir Bernard Crick and Gaye Johnston.
As an unrepentant pedant, and lonely member of the Labour Party Rule Book appreciation society, I had been hoping that our new Leader would take a close interest in the devices that help bind society together and proceed according to the book. Chapter 1 Clause VIII. reads:
1. The NEC shall comprise......
E. three frontbench Members of Parliament, at least one of whom must be a woman, nominated by the Cabinet (or Shadow Cabinet in opposition)
So I look forward to confirmation from the General Secretary of receipt of the minute of the shadow cabinet nominating amongst others Peter Hain as a frontbench member of the NEC. The Labour Party machine must be squealing with pleasure that corners are still being cut. As for the resurrection of Peter Hain applauded by Jon Lansman on Left Futures, a word of caution is in order. The National Policy Forum has never been properly constituted in the Labour Party Rule Book. It lacks agreed procedures or a budget. Leadership is required to ensure the new NPF, Joint Policy Committee, and the policy commission can command the respect of all three constituent parts of the party, MPs, individual members and affiliates.
I'm not sure Peter Hain has done either himself or our new Leader any favours by his remarks on BBC Wales. I would have advised the Leader to have set out his thoughts about party renewal and future policy making after completing his Shadow Cabinet appointments, and whom he was inviting to lead on those issues on his behalf. I'm sure his nomination of Peter Hain would have been warmly welcomed, especially if Peter had the prior endorsement of the Shadow Cabinet.
As matters stand we appear to have the imposition of a place person courtesy of patronage as NPF chair. Oh, dear.