Labour Party leader Tony Blair sought to kill off the art of resolution writing by imposing a new method of policy-making, misleadingly called Partnership in Power. The system was adopted by the 1997 Annual Conference after a historic UK General Election victory. Hapless members or at least their Conference delegates, carried along by the euphoria, suspended critical judgment and signed away collective freedom of expression.
In future policy was to be made through commissions, and deliberations of the National Policy Forum (NPF). The NPF was and remains dominated by leadership placepersons or self-appointed loyalists. That is despite the introduction of one-member-one-vote elections for constituency Labour Party delegates, in the full face of leadership opposition in 2009.
The last remaining vestiges of resolution-writing persist in the form of Contemporary Issues (no more than 10 words) with a 250-word backgrounder aka a resolution, or an Emergency Motion.
So how are members of a local Labour Party branch expected to get their heads round a seemingly complex issue like devolution and the aftermath of the Scottish independence referendum? From a leadership point of view, we are not expected to. Fullstop. Shut up and accept the leadership line. To a greater degree that works with the Parliamentary Labour Party.
So there in a few sentences is a process-driven insight into calls for devolution. Treat people like idiots and there is a risk of revolt.
The resolution I published yesterday here followed concerns raised pre-Conference by branch members about the lack of debate inside the Labour Party about of either demands for devolution or action required post-referendum, and my own reflections since. One of my comrades who was most keen to see the issues discussed emailed me after the result of the referendum highlighting the results for independence in local authority areas that form part of the so-called Labour heartlands in Scotland.
Risks to the Labour vote in Scotland in the run-up to the 2015 General Election can not be understated. To rise to the challenge, Labour leader Ed Miliband needs to hear from disparate voices inside his party and those that support Labour's values.
Resolutions are one way of providing such expression. Amendments are a transparent means of highlighting differing points of view to that proposed.