LDN: Moving Forward

Last weekend LDN met to discuss its future and potential programme. We were in mixed mood, delighted at Labour’s showing in the local elections across the country and worry about the continued democratic drift of our Party.

LDN — and its predecessor organisations Labour Reform and Save the Labour Party — has always — been committed to practical partnerships and practical politics. We want to champion the cause of Party democracy but also actively explore how we can better facilitate policy discussion and debate.

Over the coming months we will be aiming to focus on two new initiatives both which are designed to commemorate the life of our sadly departed comrade and colleague Martin Cook. 

The first initiative will be focussed around ITC solutions to debate, discussion and policy making and we will be working with some of those who have been leaders in this field. Low cost but powerful ITC solutions offer us the chance to revolutionise participative politics in this country and LDN is committed to supporting the development of new tools and products that could be utilised by Labour and by progressive campaigns across the country.

Secondly, we will be actively seeking to revisit the Save The Labour Party’s LabOUR Commission, Renewal — a to way process for the 21st century. While the Commission’s existing report is a substantive one it was always designed to be an interim.

New of these initiatives will be posted here but if you think either or both of these of interest to you we would be happy to here from you. Contact either:

 

andy.howell@me.com

peter.g.kenyon@btinternet.com

Luke’s Bizarre Dossier!

Our old friend and comrade Luke Akehurst would regard himself as a prolific blogger. He’s recently penned one of occasionally strange pieces, “A dossier I compelled – and not anonymously“. I won’t bore you with the contents but this seems to be a repost to the anonymous dossier that has been going around and which focusses on Progress, to which comrade Akehurst is connected.

Luke’s dossier is really more of a rant and as such doesn’t really concern us. However, at one point he says of LDN:

This has now been replaced by the Labour Democratic Network – LDN  which seems somewhat moribund as it last posted on its blog in November.

Comrade Luke, LDN is certainly not defunct. When the Party can’t manage to convene its own National Policy Forum for over twelve months, at a time when it is having a major policy review, there is clearly work to do.

But one thing. We are committed to action and pronouncements when we have something to say. Sometimes organisation is everything.

Comrade Akehurst would be rise not to confuse verbal diarrhoea with actual action. But then he is a prolific blogger!

It’s always quality that counts Luke, and not just quantity at any cost!

Conference Fringe

Sunday September 25th, 18.00 to 20.00

The Malmaison Hotel, William Jessop Way,
Princess Dock, Liverpool.

LDN will be holding a fringe meeting at conference to discuss the revitalisation of the Party and the role of structural change. We will be looking, in particular, at how we can strength regional representation and the regional identity of the Party but I’m sure we will be debating a whole range of structural changes.

Speakers: Jon Trickett MP, John Merry — Leader of Salford Council, and our own Ann Black from the NEC.

Refreshments will be provided. Attendance is free but it would help us if you could fill in the online booking form.

LDN Conference Newsletter Now Available

LDN’s first newsletter, since changing name from Save the Labour Party, is now out. This will be distributed to all members as either an electronic or a paper version, however, it can now be read/downloaded from this site.

Labour Democratic Network Newsletter — Conference 2011 Edition

Keeping Our Eyes on Boundaries

No, this is not another piece about England’s domination in the test series, bit about the implications of the major Parliamentary Boundary review that will take place before the next General Election.

This Boundary Review has the potential to be far more significant than many of its predecessors  as it will coincide with a significant reduction in Parliamentary seats. Many members seem to have been following the work of Lewis Baston who has produced some review suggestions through Democratic Audit. Lewis’ work has certainly exercised the minds of all who have read it.

Far fewer members seem to have picked up that the Labour Party itself has produced its own alternatives that respond to the new boundary challenge.

The Labour Party has not published its own ideas, even though at least one observer is convinced that they heard a London commitment to do so. However, it has been agreed that Constituency Secretaries should be given details of the recommendations the effect their own patch.

Constituency Secretaries should be able to get hold of the plans for their area from their Regional Officer. Alternatively, they can email Greg Cook directly. Greg is the Labour Party officer who has compiled the alternative ideas/submission.

These proposals could be important to you. The boundary Commission places a lot of emphasis on the submissions that are made to it; they do not come up with proposals in a vacuum. In safe Labour areas it is not unlikely that the Party’s submission will carry real clout.

Greg Cook can be emailed at greg_cook@new.labour.org.uk

Conference Briefing

LDN is launching a Conference Briefing Service for delegates to the 2011 Labour Party Conference which, this year, is being held in Liverpool on the 25th to 29th September. The service will also be of interest to Conference Visitors and to Labour Party members generally.

The 2011 conference will be debating a number of issues that will be fundamental to the future of the Labour Party; these will include the policy review that is being Chaired by Liam Byrne, and the organisational review — Refounding Labour which is being Chaired by Peter Hain.

As I write — at the beginning of August — the final reports of both reviews are not available and we are do not know the timetable for publication. Information about the reviews, and the subsequent motions that will be put to conference, will no doubt seep out during the summer. The LDN Conference Briefing will keep you up to date with developments and will feature articles, blogs and other resources, that are designed to keep delegates up-to-date with conference issues and conference arrangements.

Finally, we are happy to promote or publish you own contributions. Conact us via. conference.briefing@labourdemocraticnetwork.org.

Sign up to the briefing.

 

Conference Fringe: Revitalising membership – an end to London domination?


Sunday 25th September, 18.00 to 20.00.

The Malmaison Hotel, William Jessop Way, Princes Dock, Liverpool, L3 1QZ

Chair: Andy Howell, Chair Labour Democratic Network

Speakers:

Jon Trickett MP

Cllr. John Merry, Leader Salford Council

Ann Black, Member National Executive Committee

Refreshments provided.

Read more about the fringe and the regional challenge

[Read more...]

LDN: Background and Origins

Immediately on becoming leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband — in his acceptance speech — laid down the values and the principles that he felt must underpin Labour’s programme in rebuilding after one of the most party’s most serious election defeats. The speech acknowledged the need to take stock of policy and to deal with our failings in office as well as simply trumpeting our achievements. But the speech also began to set out the new Leader’s vision for a re-vitalised Labour Party one that was firmly rooted in community and based around an active membership.

Ed Miliband quickly instituted two reviews, the first on policy led by Liam Byrne MP, and the second on organisation — The Refounding Labour review — led by Peter Hain. In establishing this review process, Ed Miliband has spoken eloquently and passionately about how vibrant local Labour Parties are key to competing with the Tories.

The Labour Democratic Network was formed against this backdrop of discussion and debate, to work towards the creation of a truly modern and democratic Party. Our themes are values were launched by our Steering Committee in June 2011 and can be read here in The Manchester Declaration.

The Labour Democratic Network is not a new organisation but has been created from Save the Labour Party (STLP). STLP was established in 2003 to foster and promote informed and responsible debate about the future of Labour. Uniquely, amongst Labour Party pressure groups, STLP embarked on a major consultation with Party members through the LabOUR Commission — an independent commission on Accountability, Party and Parliamentary Democracy.

The LabOUR Commission was chaired by initially Michael Meacher MP and subsequently by Angela Eagle MP and its members included senior figures from the Trades Union movement, local government and past members of the National Executive Committee. Technical support to the commission came from a number of experienced academics and from the YouGov polling organisation. The Commission was funded through donations from affiliated Trades Unions, Party units and Party members.

The LaBOUR Commission’s report, Renewal — a two-way process for the 21st century — is, perhaps, the most comprehensive attempt to date to set out a new vision for Labour as a democratic and mass member Party. Many of the ideas in the report, and the recommendations of the Report, retain their relevance as we conduct the Refounding Labour review. LabOUR Commission engaged members through focus groups and through properly constructed research that was conducted by YouGov.

The LabOUR Commission report — Renewal — can be downloaded here.

But LDN’s roots go back even further. Save The Labour Party merged with and absorbed the Labour Reform Group which was established before the 1997 General Election victory at around the time of The Partnership in Power Review, which was the last major review of Party structure and practice.

Over the years, Save the Labour Party and Labour Reform have successfully campaigned for the use of One Member One Vote in selecting constituency reps on the National Executive Committee in electing members of the National Policy Forum. STLP (and Labour reform before it) have been active in securing a broad alliance — the Grassroots Alliance — to argue and campaign for better democratic practice within the Labour Party.

The founding members of the Labour Democratic Network have a wealth of experience within the Labour Party which includes: constituency and branch officers; campaigners and campaign organisers; elected politicians; members of the NEC and the National Policy Forum; and ex-employees of the Labour Party.

 

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Welcome to the Labour Democratic Network

Welcome to the Labour Democratic Network (LDN), a grouping a Labour Party members dedicated to working to ensure that Labour develops as a modern and energetic political party rooted in best democratic practice and tradition.

LDN’s core themes and values are set out in the Manchester Declaration (see below).

More news about LDN activities, campaigns and events will appear here shortly but we would love to add you to our mailing list. (Our mailing list remains unique to LDN and will not be distributed to others).

LDN will be a network based on a commitment to inclusivity. We would be grateful if you would take time to read the Manchester Declaration and then sign up to the declaration — details at the bottom of the declaration.

The Manchester Declaration, 11th June 2011

The Manchester Declaration sets our the core themes and values of the Labour Democratic Network.

Labour Democratic Network (LDN) will work inside the Labour Party with like-minded organisations, pressure groups and individuals in support of the Leader to build a national mass membership Party committed to and living the principles of democracy, community engagement, transparency and ethics as set out in the Party’s constitution.

The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the few; where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe and where we live together freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect. (Clause IV.1).

LDN is open to all Labour members and party and affiliated organisations.

 

Our Core Themes

  • A Healthy and Dynamic Party
  • An Inclusive Party where everyone is welcome, living our values and representative of our communities
  • A Campaigning Party rooted in our communities and making a difference
  • A Democratic Party with open, informed policy debate — a partnership of equals

Our Values A Democratic Party

Where the principle of one member, one vote is embedded with open selections and internal elections, and democratic policy making.  This has to be supported with total integrity of the membership base, appropriate arrangements for affiliated members and the strict neutrality of all paid officers in selections and internal elections.  Individual members supported by a member’s charter guaranteeing their rights.

A Transparent Party

Open submissions to all Policy consultations electronically accessible by all members and a clear audit trail in all policy development.  Right to move and vote on amendments to policy at conference. Online publication of all party accounts for relevant members/affiliates.

A Representative Party Rooted in Our Communities

A mass membership party with more accessible membership rates organised in effective Branches that identify with and are rooted in local communities enabling members to grow and contribute.  As far as possible, candidates for public and party office should reflect the diversity of the community and should always be motivated by our values, wanting to make a difference and championing local people – never for financial or personal gain.

An Active and Dynamic Party

A national party with no no-go areas organised through Branch Labour Parties that are inclusive and welcoming, reaching out and campaigning with communities based on our values of equality and justice, involved in policy debate and development and active in elections supported by their CLPs and paid party officers.

Supporters of the Mancester Declaration
Jack Eddy, South Norfolk
WUiVyDhmY, KgLcIsgHUfUWdaule
Daniel Mann, Manchester Central
Barrie Wood, Torbay
Ryan Picton, Neath
Jonny Morris, Plymouth Moor View
Robin Lewis, Brecon and Radnorshire
Dr David Simones Jones, Hall Green CLP/ UNITE THE UNION 0803
Adam Colclough, Stoke-on-Trent Central
Tom Kirkham, Bolsover
Alex Butler, Nottingham East
Jon Lansman, Bethnal Green and Bow
Alex Grant, Greenwich and Woolwich
Duncan Bowie, Dulwich and West Norwood
Roy Preston, Greenwich & Woolwich
Kevin Matthews, Sefton Central
Lucy Anderson, Holborn and St Pancras
Teresa Merrison, Southend West
Duncan Hall, Skipton and Ripon
Julian Ware-Lane, Southend West
Gareth Phillips, Bridgend CLP
Darren Williams, Cardiff West
Uta Clay, Gower, moving on 1.8.2011 to Swansea East
Grahame Morris, Easington
Dominic Curran, Vauxhall
Paul Smith, Bristol East
David Gardner, Greenwich and Woolwich CLP
Tom Miller, Brent Central
Tom Scholes-Fogg, Blackley and Broughton
Sabbie Rawana, Uxbridge & South Ruislip
Norrette Moore, Uxbridge and South Ruslip
John Garvani, Pudsey
Gaye Johnston, Hyndburn
Sioned-Mair Richards, 
Miles Weaver, Birmingham Ladywood
Caroline Esterson, 
Andy Howell, Birmingham Hall Green
Peter Kenyon, Cities of London and Westminster