E-Voting

At my last Union branch meeting, we heard from Gemma Short of the right to strike campaign. As one part of her presentation she mentioned that one of the Unions’ response to the recent Trade Union laws is to demand that they can run strike ballots (and the mandatory political levy and elections) using e-voting technology. I have been thinking about this for a while and its fans need to take stock; there’s some inconvenient truths.

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Labour’s Democracy Review

Labour List reports the initialisation of the Labour Party’s “Democracy Review, together with some snide comments about its pace, suggesting that it is designed to  cement Corbyn’s leadership and succession rather than ensure it reports to the membership in time to debate the changes before conference.  They also publish the document passed at the OrgSub, also available as a mirror from this site.

The review will work in three phases, liberation organisation and autonomy, organisation & structure.

The first phase, about the Liberation Groups is planned to end by 12th Jan. One of the drivers for this is almost certainly the need to have new systems in place when the NEC Youth Rep is to be elected, and the need to rerun the election for the BAME representative on the NEC. From my conversations though I know that our BAME members have more to say.

The paper says there will be a hub, presumably a wiki at which members, CLPs and affiliates will be able to access the consultation questions and respond, there will also be an email address, (presumably for those without a browser) which is less satisfactory as any contributions become secret. The paranoid amongst us, assume that by not having a closed membership open wiki, where members can set the agenda, they are building a means of control.

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The Data Flow implications of Brexit

Project Fear or Project Reality about Brexit continues and while risks to banking, air travel, radio-therapy and the pan-European integrated manufacturing supply chains are all making the headlines, there is also a serious problem with maintaining data flows particularly of personal data, which underpins both secondary & tertiary sector industries.  This article looks at the threat to trade involving data flows posed by Brexit and looks at the likely shape of US/EU data flow and privacy regulation.

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Labour’s Housing Policy

At #lab17, new policy on housing was passed, including most dramatically the promise to ballot existing tenants and leaseholders before destroying current social housing stock. The text of the motion, Composite 5, is posted below with a YouTube clip from Jeremy Corbyn’s Leaders speech in which he refers to the new policies.

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Rules again!

I got to Conference early today to watch the debate on finance and the rules. This article talks about the rules debates, the balance of forces on Conference floor, what I hope is the end of the debate on racism in the Labour Party and a footnote on the continuing arguments about expulsions, purges and justice.

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Labour’s New Brexit

Today, Labour Conference debated the International Report of the National Policy Forum and a statement on Brexit from the National Executive Committee. I believe the NEC statement was issued to delegates only, on the morning of the debate, which while not unusual is unacceptable. A campaigning comrade, Sacha Ismail posted the words to his Facebook timeline, and I have posted them below. Kier Starmer summed up the debate, and I have posted a video of his speech, which I then comment on. It was a weak speech, which disguises the weakening of Labour’s policy and moves it towards a pro-Brexit position.

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Stop the Purge

I dropped into the “Stop the Purge” meeting earlier tonight, in time to hear Graham Hadfield from Brighton and Alan Runswick from Wallasey tell their stories. Their stories can be found elsewhere on the web. Both CLPs were suspended, and Brighton broken up. Individuals have been suspended or expelled. The expulsions have been under Rule 4.I.2.B. Pam Fitzpatrick from Harrow spoke about the witch-hunt of her son, a supporter of Socialist Appeal, who was suspended, reinstated, then expelled. He actually went to court to get a restraining injunction and that failed; he has been unable to raise the  money to take it further through the courts. Tony Greenstein, still suspended and claiming to be the longest suspended member spoke of the anti-antisemitism campaign and the consequent suspensions. I also spoke. 

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Bundestag 2017

As the results from the German election trickle through, it’s not good news for many. The headline results are that the “at best” right wing populists, the Alternative for Germany has entered the Bundestag. Merkel’s centre right alliance, CSU/CDU and their government partners the centre left Social Democrats (SPD) both lost seats with the latter announcing that despite the arithmetic working that they would look to return to opposition. This leaves Merkel looking to form a “Jamaica” coalition with the Free Democrats & Greens. We’ll see. I wonder if this like the wake up call in the UK, at the 2014 European Parliamentary elections is a signpost of worse to come.

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Mild Shenanigans

There’s been a bit of a fuss over the Labour Party’s decision not to prioritise i.e. choose to discuss motions submitted by the membership and affiliates on Brexit. There were proposals to support the single market/customs union and to support free movement of labour. The Trade Unions agreed to ensure debates on the economy, Grenfall and industrial policy took place and it was left to the CLP delegates to determine if Brexit would make it to Conference floor. CLPD & Momentum, claiming to be supporting the Leadership, asked that four, admittedly important, subjects were debated and not Brexit. Many of my friends argue that the Brexit debate was being engineered by Corbyn’s opponents to embarrass him. It’s not true of all who argue for Labour’s current policy, defined in Lab16 Composite 1, of defining red lines and obtaining a second mandate if those lines were not met, are looking to embarrass the leadership.

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Racism in the Labour Party (again)

Stories have been circulating about how the Labour Party might change its rules to ensure that racists are excluded and that racism is eliminated from the Party. As is usual this is being conducted in secret. It is reported that the Jewish Labour Movement have submitted a Rules amendment designed to make suspending or expelling racists easier. The NEC is considering forwarding the motion to Conference.

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Search Prominence in Politics

In 2011, Andrew Rhodes wrote a paper entitled, Can Prominence Matter Even in an Almost Frictionless Market? He models consumer behaviour in frictionless markets and the role of search engines and their paid placement on the search results page. I have had a look at the article because I am the target of one of Lewisham Labour’s candidates for Mayor’s google ad-campaign. I look at what Rhodes did, and ask a couple of questions about how applicable his model and assumptions are.

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Sunset, finally?

Simon Phipps comments on Oracle’s decision to close down the SPARC and Solaris business units. He  was close to the politics of Sun’s “Dash to Open” in the mid noughties. My feeling is that Sun had failed before Schwartz was appointed; there was no longer room for differentiated hardware company; Oracle’s failure to monetise the SPARC product line may have been caused by management hubris, but the long term economics

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Paul Bell for Labour Mayor

I am supporting Paul Bell to be Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Lewisham.

I urge you to vote for him here, his manifesto is here, or otherwise available via his campaign website.

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