Posts Tagged ‘members’

Welcome new members – here’s some leaflets to deliver

13/05/2015, 11:54:08 AM

by James Noakes

20,000 new members since the election is something the Labour Party should be pleased about but we also shouldn’t squander this opportunity. Aside from updating the introductory email as the current one from Ed asks them to work for a Labour victory in 2015, there are some things we can do to make the membership experience better.

Ask not only why they join but what they want

We live in an age where membership experience of any organisation is increasingly driven by expectations. Except in political parties. Some people are driven to become very engaged and want to be out there flying the flag and canvassing, others want to be part of the policy process whilst there are some who just want to make a donation and receive some literature every now and then. It may come as a shock but not everyone joined to deliver leaflets or attend meetings akin to those of the People’s Front of Judea.

The party can save time, effort and annoyance if we just focus more on this crucial area. Imagine being a CLP secretary who is told that 200 new members have joined. That’s a lot of (somewhat enjoyable) work. Imagine though if the secretary was told 180 of them have no interest in meetings, leaflets or canvassing. It makes for a better directed approach.

Find out who they are

Even as an elected councillor there have been few occasions when I have been asked about my profession and what I could add. People come to the party with skills – life and work skills we can really make use of but invariably fail to do so. I’m not just talking about ‘professional’ skills or in depth knowledge of a particular subject field – though that is important to tap into. Sometimes it is a bit more straightforward. A colleague of mine worked in the pools industry and was used to stuffing envelopes at a ridiculously fast pace (and had friends who could help too). It was silly it took to so long to ask her to coordinate that!

Remember that they need help too (more…)

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AV may be dead, but our obsession with marginals needs to go too

14/05/2011, 02:43:21 PM

by Ben Cobley

So the AV referendum is come and gone. Life has quickly gone back to normal without many of us giving the whole blasted charade much more thought.

That is in many ways a blessing, for while plenty of energy was injected into the campaigns, they quickly reverted to the sort of down-and-dirty tribal mud-slinging that we already get more than enough of in party politics. Once the campaign went down this route, the coalition of Tories and Labour tribalists on the No campaign was always going to triumph.

For Labour, there is now a temptation for us to shrug our shoulders, be thankful that we did not have a disastrous split, and continue as we were.

However that would be a mistake; there are lessons to be learned. The debate on AV gave us an opportunity to think deeply about the way we do our politics both within the Labour party and in the country as a whole– and for some of us it cast a light on the present way of doing things that was far from flattering.

The lessons to be learned also tie in with those issues arising from disastrous Scottish election results and the disappointingly piecemeal gains in southern England, which remains a desert for Labour. They are about how we do our politics –particularly the way that we willingly turn our backs of whole swathes of the nation in a quest for short-term advantage in a few marginal seats. (more…)

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We must reach out: An NEC member reports from Gillingham

28/11/2010, 05:03:32 PM

by Johanna Baxter

One of the main reasons I stood for the NEC was to try to ensure that members have a bigger voice in our policy making structures.  So, having taken up my seat after Oona’s elevation to the Lords, I was pleased that I hadn’t missed the first meeting of the National Policy Forum since conference.

I would have preferred the opportunity to have consulted members about the key topics for discussion prior to attending but, being a newcomer to the NEC, I didn’t receive my paperwork until Friday afternoon which left no meaningful opportunity for me to be able to do so.

Feeling somewhat underprepared I braved the freezing weather and headed out to Gillingham early yesterday morning.    My nerves were calmed slightly after bumping into the NEC’s Vice-Chair, Michael Cashman MEP, at Gillingham station who, even in our brief discussion, couldn’t have been more welcoming.

I had been struck by how little time was devoted in the agenda to debating policy – just two hours out of a seven hour day.  There were five workshops in all – constitutional reform, the economy, the funding of higher education, the NHS and welfare reform – with representatives invited to attend up to two.  I selected to attend the discussions on the economy and welfare reform.

The business plenary, introduced by NEC chair, Norma Stephenson, kicked off the day.  This short five minutes was devoted to the election of the NPF Chair (Peter Hain) and Vice Chairs (Affiliates; Billy Hayes, CLP & Regions; Simon Burgess, Elected Reps; Kate Green).

In his opening speech Peter said the agenda was more reflective of what representatives wanted: fewer plenary sessions and more workshops than in the past.  Peter also acknowledged that there needed to be more resources for NPF representatives (he was considering an NPF intranet on which information could be shared and policy positions discussed), and more information, and responsibility, for party members.  He announced that fellow NEC member, Ellie Reeves, had been appointed Vice Chair of the review into our policy making process, confirmed that there was no pre-set agenda for the review and that all contributions would be considered.

Next up Harriet Harman introduced Ed Miliband and spoke of the 45,803 new members who have joined the party since the general election. (more…)

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We’ve had dissent and discipline, it’s time for debate and dialogue

05/11/2010, 03:00:08 PM

by Jessica Asato

This week I did something 99.9% of the population didn’t. I took part in a Labour party branch discussion about reform of partnership in power (PiP) – the party’s policy-making process introduced in 1997.

Liam Byrne has been put in charge of leading the review process which will conclude in June next year and changes to policy arrangements will be agreed by party conference. As Pat McFadden states at the start of the consultation document, “now, in opposition, the time is right to have a fundamental review of our policy making process”. Actually, I don’t quite agree with that. We should have reviewed and improved policy making when we knew the top of the party was failing to communicate with the membership and nipped it in the bud. If your footsoldiers are unhappy about the direction of the top brass they will be less willing to do their best in the fight on the ground.

In fact, a number of things about the document don’t quite make the grade. It states “Partnership in Power has in most people’s eyes been considered a success”. What, seriously? No one at my branch meeting seemed to think it had. Even its assertion that PiP helped to “deliver election winning manifestos in 2001 and 2005” is pushing it a bit far when a) most of the new policy in those manifestos were formulated in the Downing St policy unit and b) PiP also helped to procure an election losing manifesto in 2010. (more…)

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Wednesday News Review

22/09/2010, 07:31:25 AM

Last day of voting

Supporters of each of the five candidates for the Labour leadership are making a last-ditch effort to secure votes before polling closes. MPs, MEPs and party members have until 5pm to cast their ballots, and votes are expected to be cast electronically via the Labour website right up until the last minute. Voting for members of trade unions and affiliated organisations closed on Tuesday. Polls suggest that shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband had closed the gap on brother David as the race came to the wire. But bookmakers Ladbrokes still made shadow foreign secretary David 1-2 favourite on Tuesday night, ahead of his younger brother on 6-4. – The Press Association

Today voting ends in Labour’s leadership contest. Mirror readers who are Labour members have until 5pm to vote. It takes just a minute online. I will be a leader who will make sure that Labour will again be a party which stands up for the hard-working majority in Britain. We all know what happened under 18 years of Tory rule. And just look at what they’ve done in their first few weeks – hiked VAT to 20%, slashed Tax Credits, frozen Child Benefit, threatened Winter Fuel Payments, axed new school buildings. Cameron promised compassionate Conservatism, but is showing that for the majority there is no such thing. – Ed Miliband, The Mirror

Left Ed, Right Ed

According to his critics, he’s a dangerous left-wing radical who, if he ever became prime minister, would take Britain back to the Socialist 1970s. According to his supporters, he’s the man who will lead Labour away from Blairism and reconnect the party with its core supporters and traditional values. Both his detractors and supporters are in agreement that Ed Miliband – who could well be Labour leader when the results of the party ballot are revealed this weekend – is the candidate for ‘change’. Miliband himself has as his campaign slogan: ‘Call for Change’. But if we look beyond the rhetoric and the sound-bites, a very different picture emerges. The reality is that Ed Miliband is not so much the ‘change’ candidate, but a politician who will deliver more of the same neo-liberal policies that both Conservative and Labour governments have followed over the past 30 years. – The First Post


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We need to build a party ready to win, argues David Miliband

26/07/2010, 10:00:36 AM

Labour has a responsibility to win again.

John Prescott, who epitomises the permanent campaign, wrote here that the correct response to the anger we feel is to get organised. I could not agree more and agree strongly with the ideas he set out. The Labour leadership election will rightly focus on the policy lessons we need to learn from our defeat – and there are many – but when the debate is over, Labour will have to re-emerge as movement with both the right ideas and organisation to win again.

We should recognise the remarkable lengths that party activists go to. Their hard work saved Labour from catastrophe and meant that we got a 1992 result on a 1983 share of the vote. But despite their commitment, and this hasn’t been said enough in our contest, we lost badly. We won just 12 seats in the Southern regions of England. 4 million Labour voters and 180 Labour seats have been lost since 1997.

The seeds of our defeat were sewn long in ago in the loss of council seats, activists, members and supporters across the country. The leadership of our party invested too little in organisation. We lost the link between the voices and experiences of local members and the policies we campaigned on nationally.

Labour’s new leader will have just over 200 days to get machine and movement ready for the Welsh, Scottish and local elections. If I was that leader I would put us on a war-footing from day one. This coalition seems cosy but I suspect some Liberals are already looking for an escape route. I don’t want us to be caught napping by a surprise election or for us to still be selecting candidates with a few weeks to go before an election. We need good people in place as quickly as possible, especially in those Lib Dem seats which have become competitive again after their decision to join the Tories. The Liberals, for so long the party of relentless opposition campaigning, should now reap what they have sown.


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