Labour 2023, National Policy Forum by rule responsible for proposing a programme to Conference took place behind closed doors. TL:DR, the leadership got what they wanted, “there’s no money” and it seems f’all compassion and solidarity. They obviously learnt from their own ambush of Ed Miliband in 2014. This meeting was “behind closed doors” and even the delegates do not have sight of the final document. Full disclosure, I stood for election to the NPF and lost. It was passed unamended at Labour’s 23 conference and thus should be the basis for the coming election manifesto. …

In September, the NPF report was published, [html | mirror] , it seems that reference backs, where specific amendments can be made have gone. I assume there’ll be a yes/no vote on each section. (I was wrong, there was a yes/no vote on the whole document; this occurred before the debates on motions, in fact before the results of the priorities ballot was announced.

I made these comments after the Conference

A bunch of contemporaneous links from the NPF meeting itself.

  • Labour NPF: they key issues dividing the Party also by Katie Neame, her report of Starmer’s speech is very worrying; the nature of the markers reaction to the Truss/Kwatung budget is arguably about the fear of inflation rather than the deficit expansion i.e. the markets don’t believe that tax cuts enable growth. I say more on “Backtracking on Macro”. Also, “We are doing something very wrong if policies put forward by the Labour Party end up on each and every Tory leaflet.” is nonsense. Much of the debt management problem is caused Labour’s promise not to raise income tax, NI nor VAT. The rest of the article covers disputes on a number of issues, and the reticence of Unite, who made their disappointment clear. It is concluded with the typical anonymous statement from a Labour spokesperson. (This is a very economic piece of writing i.e. its hard to meaningfully summarise so I suggest you have a look at it.)
  • Neame also points at Rachel Wearmouth’s twitter thread, which highlights the disagreements with the Unions.
  • Fiscal conservatism is a political choice, Labour should not be making, Mish Rahman reports from the NPF, he says, “All [the left’s efforts] was despite being hindered by the leaderships self imposed policy of no repeals of Tory laws and the ‘fiscal discipline’ which included a plan to avoid making any commitments allowing the front bench to not commit to any spending beyond the budget gained from abolishing non-dom status and a one off windfall tax. We also knew we were dealing with a macho- culty thin skinned control freak leadership and this was more evident when right from the off, every shadow minister told us the same: nothing with spending commitments would be allowed and there will no language around repealing of new Tory laws.” Yet another interpretation of the ‘golden rules’.
  • NPF reportback shows extent of Starmer’s rollback by Rachel Garnham, includes a link to the video of the event. She précises the contributions of the speakers; it would have been worse without the efforts, and we need to take our disagreements to Conference. This article also made it clear that a number of motions were ruled out before the Forum started. The contributors to the video include, Jonathan Farr, Mish Raman, Jess Barnard, Andrew Fisher, Jack Ballingham, Sarah Wooley, and John McDonnell.
  • In Labour List, we have another article, Mcdonnell: Left must mobilise to ‘save the next Labour Government from itself again by Katie Neame, who obviously attended the Momentum meeting. She quotes Mish Raman and Jess Barnard on austerity and equalities. McDonnell claimed that there had been a “curtailment of hope… of transformative change” at the NPF meeting. He expressed concern that “disillusionment could set in fairly quickly” unless an incoming Labour government “starts immediately on a large-scale transformative programme”.
  • The signs from the NPF are clear first-past-the-post’ s days are numbered by Martin and Sousek, reviewing the NPF meeting, trying their best to look for roses in the manure heap. Quoting polls, but the leadership aren’t interested in bolstering their supporters, only pandering to the undecided.
  • Keir Starmer excludes uncosted policies in victory over UNITE and activists from the Guardian, signed by Aubery Allegreti, reads like a Labour to Win press release. It doesn’t say much except that the Leadership won, nothing went to a vote, and that Unite and Momentum are not happy although the GMB says it is, despite, having numerous mandates which have been ignored.

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