“The internal party structures established at the end of the First World War proved more enduring than its architects had expected or intended. Although Labour had increased its vote and membership [the latter to a million people by 1950], the make-up and methods of constituency parties remained largely unchanged. Reports suggested that branches were often moribund and controlled by a small number of overworked enthusiasts. In some parts of the country, individuals applying for membership were told that the party was “full up”. Processes tended to be bureaucratic and based around meetings and minutes. Most members were far removed from centres of decision making. A review of Labour organisation at this time concluded that the party resembled a “penny farthing machine in the jet age”."
“This reform of the leadership election process will invert the current position whereby ballots are sent to every member of an affiliated organisation before they have been asked to confirm their support for the party. In future it should operate the other way around.”
• strong community and strong values
• reward for hard work
• rights matched by responsibilities”.
Perhaps the most important criticism of the Collins Report however is what it misses out. Most prominent here is Labour's day-to-day ruling body the National Executive Committee (NEC), which the unions have a dominant place on and which engages in all the micro-management in the party. This will remain unchanged.
That is a shame. But when it comes to reform, you've got to start somewhere, and these reforms are as decent a start as could be expected.