I’ve already written about Ed Miliband’s “brave” speech to the National Policy Forum today, and we’ll be bringing you more coverage of that as this weekend progresses.
However, I do have one questions about the whole NPF event.
A matter of hours ago, voting closed for the NEC and the NPF. We’ll find out who was elected on Wednesday. Therefore the term of office for many of the current NPF reps is coming to an end. They were elected nearly two years ago, and yet this is only their third meeting, which is bad enough (once upon a time the NPF met multiple times a year).
But for the third meeting to be held when their mandate is over and their replacements are all but elected seems perverse.
Could the meeting not have waited a month until the new NPF reps were in post?
I understand issues about scheduling and the cost of venues. I also understand that the results are being revealed earlier than first planned. But regardless, holding a meeting just days before the end of an elected term just seems flawed at best. By the time these reps have reported back to CLPs and activists about their actions this weekend, they may no longer even be NPF reps.
So where is the democratic accountability in that?
If the NPF wants to be a serious body in the party, rather than a punchline, then at the very least we need a timetable for meetings and elections. That seems like an absolutely basic place to start – and a pretty good first item of business for new NPF Chair Angela Eagle and General Secretary Iain McNicol.
If I were a cynic I’d say this were more fixing (and indeed I am a cynic) but I think it’s more likely that this just wasn’t thought through properly…which is a shame, as the NPF is a body that needs to work if we’re to have anything like real membership engagement (and democratic policy making). It needs to work.
We’ll be hearing from NPF reps later to see exactly how well it is, or isn’t working at present.