CLPD Newsletter No.64

Campaign for Labour Party Democracy - Web Archive

CLPD Newsletter

No.64 (National Policy Forum Documents Edition) July 2002 (pdf download)

Challenge New Labour's Assumptions

As part of the new cycle of policy-making under 'Partnership in Power' the Labour Party National Policy Forum has published five documents:

>> A modern Welfare state

>> Improving Health and Social Care

>> Britain in the World

>> Prosperity for all

>> Democracy, citizenship and political engagement

The documents claim to initiate the consultation process that will lay the basis for the party's next general election Manifesto. Every document is divided into sections covering different areas. At the end of each section or paragraph are questions to which members are encouraged to respond. A list of some of these questions also appears on the last page of each document. [Page numbers in brackets after the questions relate to the illustrated edition of the NPF Consultation Document, (February 2002)].

Preemptive questions

Many questions are phrased in a way which seems to take for granted that members share the assumptions of the authors. Nevertheless, CLPD urges supporters and sympathetic members to take part in local policy forums, or at local constituency level, to discuss the documents and draw members' attention to the preemptive character of the 'consultation'. It will also give them an opportunity to raise fundamental political issues arising from the questions. If this is done by a sufficiently large number of those taking part, the party's control freaks may not be able to stifle members' criticism and more members will begin to realise that the party leadership offers no solutions to the problems the country faces.

Many who attend local policy forums see the documents for the first time at them. This reduces the value of the discussion. It is vital therefore to ask for the documents to be made available before the forum meeting. Otherwise the discussion at the workshops is focussed almost entirely on pre-set questions which appear at the end of each document, without any reference to the main body of the text.

The Campaign for Labour Party Democracy is encouraging submissions as these will influence the redrafting of the documents which are subsequently agreed by the National Policy Forum. Some of the issues contained in each document are outlined in this CLPD newsletter together with suggestions for answers to the questions.

>> Deadline for submissions: 3 October 2002

>> Submissions should be sent to The Policy Unit, The Labour Party, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 4GT.

>> Please send a copy to CLPD, 10 Park Drive, London NW11 7SH

Archive contents CLPD home page