Conference rule changes turn a chapter

Last weekend’s Scottish Labour Party conference approved a rule change that completes the Revitalise reform programme that started in 2003/4.

Conference amended Clause 17, which deals with amendments to the Scottish Policy Forum (SPF) reports.

The issue was raised again a few conferences ago by a Glasgow CLP, with particular credit to Jim McKechnie who has doggedly pursued the issue. The wording of the CLP amendment wasn’t quite right, but the SEC agreed to look again at this issue.

It is indicative of different times with regards to party democracy that I moved the amendment on behalf of SEC, more than ten years after I drafted the original proposal.

So, what does it mean.

This summer we start the SPF process that will lead to a radical manifesto for next Scottish Parliament elections.

At present when the SPF present the final report to conference delegates can only accept or reject as a whole. So if delegates thought the report was generally great, but had a problem with one proposal, they had no option but to reject or accept. Now they will be able to move an amendment on the final document, which will result in a final document that has the support of conference

This rule change is yet another indication of the real change in our internal democracy, mirroring the real change we want to see in Scotland as a whole.

Conference also made some major changes to our women’s organisation and new equalities measures. These are covered in this Holyrood Magazine summary.

Your Britain

UK Labour’s new on line policy forum is up and running. While much of the debate will be about English issues there is enough reserved content to keep us interested. We should also get involved because there is a commitment to run a similar forum when the Scottish Policy Forum starts its consideration of the policy programme for the next Scottish Parliament elections.

On a quick look they appear to have made a decent start. Of course it’s got a long way to go before we see if it achieves the aim of making policy-making more inclusive and less top down. Will party members, constituency parties, and affiliates really have some influence or will the difficult to find tracking system merely trace the path of their views into the abyss? We should also remember that not all party members are able or willing to engage on line. The party meeting also gives an opportunity for debate in a way that is limited on a web site.

So I would encourage Scottish members to  have a look at the “challenge” statements already on the Your Britain website. They are organised in policy areas:

International

Let us have your views(revitalisescotlabour@gmail.com) so we can learn the lessons when the Scottish process starts.