Welcome to Grassroots Labour
Charter for a Democratic Conference Print E-mail
Sunday, 14 April 2013

Charter for a Democratic Conference

1. At least 50% of conference time should be reserved for contributions in policy debates by delegates

· At last years conference, time was allocated as follows: Platform speeches (including Leader’s Q&A & US Professor) 50%, sofa panels 8%, Delegates (moving motions & debate) 18%, awards/obits 4%, conference arrangements/voting/admin 4%, Policy Forum seminars 16%.

· The balance between PR exercises and the opportunity for debate and decision-making is wrong - showcasing PPCs does not have to happen at the conference rostrum.

· Conference doesn’t have to be entirely in public – some sessions could be members only without press.

· Delegates contributions matter most and are given least time – the fringe is the right place for panel discussions and videos.

· CLPs have voted with their feet – 1 in 4 CLPs absent in spite of free passes – using the full weekend would improve attendance.

· Speakers should be randomly chosen by the Chair, subject to ensuring balance of CLP/union and gender.

National Executive Committee, 19 March 2013 Christine Shawcroft Print E-mail
Thursday, 04 April 2013

Report of the NEC meeting held on 19th March 2013 at 1 Brewers Green.

There was a great deal of chopping and changing with the agenda, as we were visited by Ed Balls and Jon Cruddas as well as Mr Miliband giving the usual Leader’s Report, and they were all available at different times. However, the meeting was dominated by discussion of the following day’s budget, and by the National Policy Forum/Policy Review reports.

Shadow Chancellor’s Report

Mr Balls was much better than last year; the words “too far, too fast” never crossed his lips. He said that Osborne is downplaying expectations after last year’s “omnishambles” Budget. Commitments to develop infrastructure have not been carried out, and the £7million pledged for childcare doesn’t begin to cover the £7 billion which has been cut so far. He had warned that the Tories’ plan wouldn’t work, and it hasn’t. Only Italy and Japan have had lower growth than us, and we’ll pay a long term price with youth unemployment so high. In response to NEC members asking about commitments to a mansion tax and the restoration of the 10p tax rate, neither of which have been through the NPF process, and calls to repeal the bedroom tax, Mr Balls replied that we couldn’t make commitments that we can’t deliver, and won’t be making manifesto commitments now, two and a half years from the General Election. This was a theme to which we returned with Mr Miliband.

CLPD Annual General Meeting 2013 Print E-mail
Tuesday, 12 March 2013

CLPD AGM 2013 was held on Saturday 23 February, from 11.30am at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL. Read the report here

National Executive Committee,November 2012 Print E-mail
Wednesday, 05 December 2012

National Executive held on 27 November at Labour HQ

Every November, Labour’s national executive has an extended session to discuss aims and objectives and a work plan for the year ahead. In the past this has been a two day Awayday session of mind numbing tediousness. To save money, the two days was cut to one. To my surprise, this year’s presentations were so interesting and informative that the NEC felt that we needed to revert to the two day session!

I confess that I didn’t have high hopes of Iain McNicol’s management restructuring, having lived through so many of them before, but it was clear from this meeting that the new executive directors are a very able group of people with lots of very good ideas. The sessions on Strategy and Planning, and Field Operations were particularly useful, and it was just a shame we didn’t have time to discuss them properly.

National Executive Committee, 19 March 2013 Ann Black Print E-mail
Thursday, 04 April 2013

The meeting opened with campaign updates from Tom Watson and Iain McNicol. More organisers are being trained and deployed, and more staff recruited in the regions. The county elections are hard to predict, with many boundary changes, but some gains are expected: even Tory heartlands have been hit by falling living standards, with high streets dominated by pawnbrokers and payday lenders.

Parliamentary selections are going ahead in target seats after the organisation committee decided which will use all-women shortlists (AWS) and which will be open. Inevitably some were disappointed, though Colne Valley members took a positive approach and boosted approval of their AWS from 14% to 48% in a local online poll. Open selections are not the only way to increase diversity: new black and Asian MPs can be and have been selected from AWS. (However I do not recall agreeing that retiring women MPs would automatically be replaced by women, as Iain McNicol stated.) And the real crunch will come when Labour MPs stand down and the safe seats become available.

National Executive Committee, 22 January 2013 Print E-mail
Tuesday, 05 February 2013

The NEC congratulated Margaret Beckett MP on becoming a dame, and former Chairs Michael Cashman CBE and Norma Stephenson OBE on their recently-awarded honours.

Ed Miliband again highlighted the One Nation theme which would frame policy through to the election; in tough times everyone must pull together. Labour’s position on Europe remained constant, with a referendum if and when significant powers are transferred, while David Cameron’s in-out vote in five years’ time regardless of circumstances created uncertainty and was bad for business and for Britain. Further, the Tories want to repatriate employment rights, which protect millions of workers, and the European arrest warrant, which helps to fight crime across borders. They might get a short-term bounce, but published polls showed that people care more about jobs, wages and the cost of living.

National Executive Committee, September / October 2012 Print E-mail
Sunday, 21 October 2012

NEC Meeting, Tuesday 25 September 2012

Ed Miliband previewed the themes of his conference speech: continuing to attack the Tories for unfairness, incompetence and failure even in their own terms; showing how Labour could make a difference now; developing an economy that works for everyone; and giving a sense of the kind of country Britain could be with Labour in government.

Members asked for policies to win back our former supporters. Ed Milband agreed that undermining employment rights would not save jobs, and said that Labour was being effective in criticising the Tories’ universal credit. I welcomed his commitment to an economy that works not only for working people, but also for pensioners, children and the disabled. Others expressed concerns about tenants being forced to move or pay higher rent if they had “too many” bedrooms, and praised the Labour government in Wales for correcting GCSE English grades for 2,500 students who sat the examination in June. Responding to alarm that the arctic ice is melting at record rates, Ed Miliband pointed out that the latest Tory environment minister does not even believe in climate change: whatever happened to Vote Blue, Go Green?

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