Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Listened in Liverpool-Friday May 21stIt was a

It was a baking hot Friday in Liverpool-the first, and perhaps only, hot day of the summer, so it was great to see 24 members from across Merseyside come together to discuss the election, the Great Betrayal and the leadership election.
After congratulating Liverpool and St. Helens labour groups on taking control of their local councils and Julianna Berger MP on increasing the Labour majority in Liverpool Wavertree, the point was made that being in Liverpoll (and Scotland) was like being in a labour bubble where we didn't lose the election. Unfortunately we did and we need to work out what that means for us.
We had a good general discussion with everyone able to contribute. Points made included:
* Disunity at the top had been a problem and we need to move on from the Blair/Brown devide.
*The leadership election needs to be conducted in an amicable fashion-elections have the potential to devide as well as unite.
*The Party has been too centralised and this needs to change- supporting members in their efforts to build support for Labour in their areas. Conference is too stage managed and this needs to change, linking in with changes in policy making.
* Government sometimes lost sight of the politics, becoming too administrative. On Merseyside too much cosying up to Lib-Dem councils.
* need to genuinely respect local democracy- can achieve great things. No child killed on Sefton roads in the last 8 years!
*Nothing wrong with targets-its how they are arrived at that matters.
* Unbelievably, the Lib Dems are applying for Short money-only available for opposition parties.
* need to acknowledge mistakes eg 2008 Transport Act.
Joe Benton MP spoke very powerfully about the need for the Party to be a broad church and to re-examine our values. He felt we had become complacent in power.
We all agreed that the party needed to re-vitalise itself with greater community engagement, more political discussion and a much more out-going approach recruiting members and more involvement in policy making.

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