An act of misdirection


And so now the “Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill” is now law. The fallout from Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle pretty much drowned it out, but we need to ask how much of the rush towards the law is actually caused by the Euroscepticism of the Tory Party. The European law dimension will return to Parliament before the general election and the firing of the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve who may have been one of the chief obstacles inside the cabinet may have been a necessary step to securing the laws passage. They would have looked foolish having got the LinDems and Labour on board and failing to get the Attorney General.  What was the cause and what was the effect?  … » Read more …


What did the IPPR really say?

I wanted to write this up but it’s jolly long. Here is their home page for the report, “The Condition of Britain”, and here is a link to the summary.   … » Read more …


Oh Shit! You mean spying on everyone is illegal?


Better change that then! In April, the Court of Justice of the EU, ruled that its 2004 Data Retention Directive mandating Information System Services Providers to store all their records for 12 months was declared incompatible with the EU’s Fundamental Charter of [Citizen's] Rights. It and all the national laws implementing the Directive need to be reviewed to see if they remain legal. Last week, the Government announced that it planned to introduce new laws to plug the gap. This is to be called the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill/Act. (DRIP) which they plan to pass in less than ½ a week using emergency provisions and the agreement of the Labour front bench.  … » Read more …


Can they really make Iron Man?

How awesome! The US Military having already made Batman’s surveillance machine, is now looking to recreate Iron Man.   … » Read more …


Cruddas Affair


It’s getting to be an old story now, but the other week, the Sunday Times, having obtained quotes by subterfuge and without permission, ran a story that John Cruddas, Labour’s policy review chief had criticised the likely way in which the Leader’s Office would deal with what he saw as Labour’s rich and detailed policy reviews; he may have been most interested in the reviews he’s running himself, and less so in the long term policy commissions and the National Policy Forum processes, the latter of course being the process the membership are most invested in. The criticism’s are also reported in the New Statesman.  … » Read more …


Nails in the coffin


Investor State Dispute Resolution, the EU & TTIP

I have just submitted a short comment opposing the inclusion of Investor State Dispute Resolution (ISDR) clauses in the EU’s negotiating position on TTIP, and urge you to join me. I used this web site, at While their tag line, “Fighting for people before profits” is reminiscent of Lewisham’s rag bag of careerists and trots, both ISDR and all the non-tariff extensions to TTIP should be opposed and the concept of putting people before profit is equally laudable.  … » Read more …


That’s not why we won, or lost


In London, Labour won 50% of the seats in the European elections, won control of  four more councils and increased our majorities in the others. This rather fucks up the right’s desired narrative that UKIP won the elections. The argument that London rejected UKIP because we are younger and better educated is deeply unhelpful and yet still reinforces UKIP’s story that they are the only party fighting an oppressive metropolitan elite. Funny that. It is ignored that Labour also did well in Manchester, Liverpool and North East.  … » Read more …


Cameron’s pigeons are coming home to roost.


Back in 2005, in order to win his position as Leader of the Conservative Party, he offered his eurosceptic loonies the policy position of leaving the European Parliament’s main conservative alliance, the European People’s Party.  The Tories then created their own euro-caucus mainly with the Polish Justice and Law party and while in 2009 the ECR refused to ally with the anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party and Italy’s Lega Nord, the new group meant that the Tories were no longer in the EPP and thus excluded from the European centre right’s central debates and policy making. (It should be noted that both the Poles and the UK are outside the Eurozone, making the EPP, more eurozone centric and the ECR less relevant to the EPP.) So while having a hissy fit and as a result of brutal self-interested calculation, Cameron cut himself, and thus the British people, off from the EPP and the German CDU  … » Read more …


About Political Strategy


Neil Foster writes that polls prove that it’s policy and the offer which determines the way most people vote. We need to remember that polls only measure what’s happening today but Foster’s corollary is that the offer needs to be sound and also that the government’s record is put under intense scrutiny. I should add that the policy offer needs to be believable. I have written a personal manifesto against triangulation and in favour of leadership and collective honesty by the political parties in my blog article “If only”. The poll is one piece of evidence that most agree.

I feel that Labour’s European campaign missed the opportunity to oppose austerity, and in doing sp failed to confront the ideology behind the Tories economic policies. We failed to engage in any vision as to the future of either Britain’s future or that of Europe. We have some way to travel.

The fact is that strategy must follow values! Triangulation legitimises your opponents politics and is not believed. No-one now believes that the NHS is safe on the Tory’s hands, and no-one really believes that Labour will be tougher on welfare or immigration. The policy offer and mandate must be based on an honest and truthful conversation with the electorate. It would seem that’s what they want.  … » Read more …


Sort orders and Strasbourg


I thought I’d share some more thoughts on the European Pariament Election results. The article looks at some sort order silliness on the London ballot paper and then looks at the success or otherwise of the European People’s Party and the gains and losses in the European Parliament by euro-party. In London, the Liberal Democrats came 5th, failing to win a seat, but next after them was a party called 4Freedoms. This was the first on the ballot paper. It was in fact the slate of the European People’s Party, a role once held by the Tories but Cameron had the Tories walk out of the EPP, thus denying them the opportunity to win votes in the UK and denying them another 20 seats on top of their No. 1 spot; they won 214 seats. This may become important as the European Parliament votes and elects its leadership. The reason for putting themselves on the ballot paper is twofold, one, some expatriate Europeans may prefer to vote for a Christian Democrat slate rather than the Tories and it gave their lead candidate, Jean Claude Juncker the opportunity to collect votes, if not seats.  … » Read more …