I was watching Tony Robinson discuss the changes that Labour need to make. One of his big concerns was that the Labour Party should become more open and participatory and turn its back on the centralising and authoritarian model under which it has operated since the birth of New Labour. He suggested that the coalition was already working in a more open fashion and that the electorate would approve. He reasonably pointed out that in order that the Lib Dem and Conservatives keep all their member on board this strategy is not only good of itself but essential..
I have earlier reflected on how the coalition negotiations were carried out-at least on our side-in a very positive way. The level of communication and the skill of our negotiators won the overwhelming approval of members and supporters. The holding of the special assembly was a master stroke-altho' I must admit I was a tad sceptical initially that it was such a good idea. Many Conservatives were seemingly very jealous of our approach. the lord alone knows how the Labour Party would have reacted if the negotiation had gone further. I suspect we would screams of anger from their members if we were holding a conference to confirm the deal and they had nor even been consulted! Mind you I guess that there would have been a good deal of pressure from our side to get some formal wider endorsement from the Labour Party-that was certainly one of the lessons that the likes of Richard Wainwright took from the experience of the Lib/Lab pact. And as others have noted we have learnt from our past mistakes and the triple lock regulations required by the Lib Dems was in part a reaction to the disaster of the merger policy statement.