English Revolution


I have just seen the first of Melvyn Bragg’s documentaries in a two part series called “Radical Lives”. This was about John Ball, a radical priest in England who in 1381 supported the Peasants Revolt. The documentary does a fine job in describing the feudal economic and racist oppression by the scions of the Norman invasion. The original poll tax was levied at this time and the reaction from the peasantry was swift and violent. They rose up and marched on London, sacked the Tower of London and executed several leading government officials.   … » Read more …


Left & Right Wing Rights


One of the big stories from the Tory Party conference is the resurrection of the proposal to leave the European Council’s Human Rights court. Several correspondents elsewhere question both the moral sense and the political tactics of pursuing this policy. David Allen Green has created a page on his blog to act as an index on the pro and anti views and includes links to the Conservative Party proposals and press release; the views of most lawyers are against the proposed reforms.   … » Read more …


Commoditisation killed Sun Microsystems


Eric Raymond,  wrote a short article on his blog, “Commoditization, not open source, killed Sun Microsystems”, which I commented on. This blog article says a little bit more than I felt I had room for on someone else’s blog, and I probably abused his hospitality there. I have thought long and hard about this, because I worked there and thought it i.e. the company was worth saving. Here’s what I said on Eric’s blog, and a bit more.  I start by saying that the first thing about Sun’s failure is that it all depends on where you want to start; Sun’s failure was baked in long before the 2000 fall from profit.   … » Read more …


It’s not just the West Lothian question


This made me laugh, Vernon Bogdanor, one of Britiain’s foremost constitutional scholars writes about Cameron’s proposals for English Votes for English Laws. He points out that Ulster Unionist votes deprived Labour of Commons majorities in 1946 and 1964, he neglects to point out that they also voted with the Tories in the confidence vote that brought down the Callaghan Government. Interestingly short memories the Tories and their press supporters have. It adds to the evidence that the Tories aren’t interested in democracy; this is about entrenching Tory power.  … » Read more …


Redbrick on borrowing to build houses


It seems that Balls’ promise not to borrow includes not excluding local authority housing borrowing from the national debt. This is the common OECD practice; the UK is the only country in the OECD that includes public sector housing borrowing as national debt. (Housing debt is paid for by housing rent, not taxation and thus can/should be excluded.) The Redbrick blog comments here.

Alice Perry, one of the London National Policy Forum representatives, reported that Labour’s National Policy Forum has agreed to write the debt out of the National Debt, which would allow local authorities to borrow to build. (I reported on the NPF here.)   … » Read more …


Two sides to the coin


I decided to go for a drink at the creative unions reception. On my way over, I saw the ‘free cash’ sign. I think it was an advert for an ATM without charges rather than a campaign statement. When choosing a search engine, or curating a social network list it’s important to ensure you don’t only mix with those with whom one agrees. The reception consisted of a mix of speeches and sets. The speeches were by John Smith, Harriet Harman and Tony Burke. Smith, or was it Harman,   … » Read more …


Say No to TTIP


So off to a meeting on TTIP, chaired by Larry Elliot, one of Britain’s foremost economic journalists introducing a panel consisting of Polly Jones of the WDM, Judith Kirton-Darling, one of Labour’s new MEPs and a member of the EP Trade Committee, Dave Prentiss, (UNISON) , Gary Smith (GMB) and one of the national officers from the University & Colleges Union who was standing in for their General Secretary, Sally Hunt. (Was it Greg Barnett?). The meeting was kicked off by Polly Jones of the WDM.   … » Read more …


Booze & Borrowing

google search, from trip advisor, cropped

Had a swift pint in the Nag’s Head, and the TV reported Ed Ball’s speech, in which he promised no more borrowing. Just have to wonder where the Bloomberg man has gone. Though Cowards Flinch reported it here, however, Jon Lansman, I think is more accurate in this article. When writing my thoughts about the NPF I withheld much of what I thought the impact on the Party would be but this speech is the natural corollary of the victory of Labour’s “Right Keynesians”. I think we all know if the National Policy Forum, the Conference or the Party were to vote, this isn’t what we would decide. The leadership, or parts of it are still triangulating, and don’t realise that the deficit does not matter as much as jobs and wages, which are more important. People need hope, and we can’t undo the damage the Tories are doing without growth. My fear is it’s too late to change the politics of the election.  … » Read more …


The struggle of the class

from wikipedia

I stayed up the People’s History Museum after the meeting and had a quick wander round the standing exhibition. Since it’s a museum of the working class, it’s stronger on the period after the industrial revolution and focuses on the coming of the franchise, the foundation of the trade unions and the Labour Party and the suffragettes. I did however stop at their exhibitions on Thomas Paine and even earlier the Levellers. It opens with two panels on corruption of power and the secret societies which were the precursors of the trade unions, both of which are becoming more accurate by the day.   … » Read more …


Song, Stage, Subsidy and Copyright (of course)


I walked down to the People’s Museum where Unions 21 were hosting a series of meetings, the one I was planning to attend was about policy for the encouragement of SMEs in the creative industries and had been convened by the entertainment unions, the Musicians Union, Equity and BECTU, (Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union) each represented by their General Secretaries. The meeting was opened by Helen Goodman, Labour’s shadow spokesperson on Culture Media and Sport.She opened with the mandatory eulogy to the attendees, that we have the most successful creative industry in the world.   … » Read more …