Posts Tagged ‘clps’

It’s time to change how we operate

24/06/2011, 10:45:27 AM

by Richard Costello

With the refounding Labour review closing today I feel that it is important for us to consider the real issues in our party. We will never win again unless we confront the elephants in the room and for me the major issue is the role of constituency Labour parties CLPs.

Too often, instead of empowering members, CLPs create the feeling of powerlessness and inferiority in our membership – discouraging involvement in our movement. As a party we talk about making the country more meritocratic, well why don’t we start by making the Labour movement a meritocracy.

Many of us remember our first Labour party meetings, the story always seems to be the same, like a tale from a John O’Farrell book. You enter a drafty hall, which is half empty, there is probably a rickety table at the front where the chair and secretary sit and a horseshoe of seats, despite there only being two or three members in attendance. Those members are male, elderly and white, hardly representative of the people’s party.

Acronyms seem to be the order of the day with: CLP, CAC, NPF and NEC being branded about at alarming regularity, with no explanation of what they stand for or actually mean. Worse still there is a rigid agenda that is followed to the letter, despite the glaring mistakes in it. The biggest mistake being that there is no politics or time for open discussion on the agenda.

Despite this we persist and turn up to the meetings, somehow get involved in campaigning and move on from there. Many members do not though. The equally common story is of the young member who turns up once never to be seen again, put off by the rigidity, pointlessness and confusion that typifies Labour meetings. Those people are not just lost members, but lost talent and lost ideas. If Labour is to win again we need all the help we can get. The CLP in its current, archaic guise does not help to facilitate that. (more…)

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