The key lies in empowering individual party members and giving them a stake in a Labour government. One member, one vote (OMOV)was a step in the right direction and so, too, was the Road to the Manifesto ballot, but this trend needs to be taken much further. The Labour Co-ordinating Committee's proposals include: a members' charter setting out what rights and levels of service individual party members should be entitled to; much greater direct contact with individual members through question-and- answer sessions with Labour cabinet ministers; wider use of the Internet; a much greater emphasis on political education through the establishment of a University of Labour; the extension of OMOV to elections for constituency officers, party conference delegates and council candidates, and a reformed NEC which is more representative of grassroots members.
New Labour's own internal democracy should prefigure the democratic renewal which a Blair government will embark upon for Britain.
Local parties should remain the central organisations within New Labour but they should be open participatory bodies not hierarchical bureaucracy- driven federations. That means getting rid of traditional General Committees, and instead putting the emphasis on local ward branches, all-members meetings, local campaigning, community regeneration, political discussion and political education.
The LCC's proposals do not claim to be the final word on party reform. The more proposals there are for giving party members a stake in a New Labour government the better - which is why Tribune's reported initiative is to be welcomed.
Chair, the Labour Co-ordinating Committee
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