The Feldman Review will look at reforming membership categories, federating Associations and centralising record-keeping, inter alia.
These are all good ideas, though the devil is in the detail, and the ideas behind them have been floated on this site in one way or another. For example, Andrew Kennedy has trailed federations, advocating city or county groups.
Party members backed this proposals by 50 per cent to 34 per cent, as long as it is undertaken voluntarily, and supported the centralised membership record-keeping of by 80 per cent to 14 per cent.
But they are also ideas that involve CCHQ taking more power – at least if federation is forced on Associations, which isn’t a way of going about it that this site would supported.
The test for the Feldman Review will be whether it balances moving more powers to the centre, as in these proposals, with devolving some of it to Associations. Some of the questions that members might ask of it are as follows:
- Does it set out a plan to reform the Party Board so that it contains directly elected members?
- Does it have credible proposals to ring-fence money for the medium and long-term – building up support among ethnic minority voters, students, business, the professions, universities, charities, campaign groups, unions, and so on – as well as building up support in “development” seats?
- Does it propose lower costs and more debate at Party Conference?
- Does it offer Association members the prospect of knowing who potential Parliamentary candidates are before they turn up to the final round of selection?
- What does it suggest in relation to bursaries for less well-off candidates and finding more with experience of working in the public sector?