News has just reached The Daily’s ears that the meeting of Labour’s National Policy Forum that had been planned for November will not now go ahead.
An email from Patrick Loughran, the Party’s Director of Policy, has gone out to NPF members today, saying:
Given the fact that we have held two weekend meetings already this year and there is no immediate business for the NPF, the NPF officers have agreed not to hold a meeting in November as was previously considered earlier in the year. Instead the Joint Policy Commission will meet in November to consider the schedule of meetings for 2007 and I will inform members of this decision at the earliest opportunity.
While Mr Coughlan says that a November meeting had been “considered” the NPF’s actual members largely thought that the arrangement was a little firmer than that. It seems that financial considerations may limit the weekend meetings of the NPF in future and have bitten a bit earlier than expected.
While there is a good case to consider ways of working beyond the traditional mini-conference bubble of the NPF and the associated financial outlay, you would have thought that this might include ideas like electronic forums for debating – and voting – rather than simply suspending the NPF and allowing the already powerful Joint Policy Commission to dominate.
Some cynics have compared the decision to a Government announcing that there are no decisions for Parliament to make right now so they might as well go away and come back next year. We can only say – don’t give anyone any ideas!