Labour’s Conference Lost

I was privileged to attend Labour’s Annual Conference in Liverpool as a voting delegate. The Conference was the book-end of a summer in which the Labour Party re-opened the debates about programme and strategy which many had thought finished last year. This article reports my experience and views; it is quite long, about 2750 words and is broken up into sections, Unity and the membership, some comments on the politics of Conference, a short section on the future, also covering the Tuesday atmosphere and Wednesday’s Leader’s speech. This is followed by a commentary on the Rules debate and the surrounding shenanigans; the main part of this article/report is concluded with comments on the state of the debate on Immigration and Brexit.   … » Read more …

Last Chance

Given Dianne Abbott’s appointment as Shadow Home Secretary I feel there is an opportunity to change and challenge Labour’s position of abstention on the Regulatory Powers Bill. There is some urgency to this as today is the last day in which Peers can place amendments to the 3rd Reading.

The arguments in favour of passing the RPB is that the current surveillance laws are inappropriate for today’s technology and the current regulatory regime is insufficiently powerful. The arguments against are that the legalisation of past illegal practice and the authorisation of new powers are a massive breach of the rights to justice and privacy, there is zero proportionality and the proposals are of unknown effectiveness.  … » Read more …

hashtag lab16

redflag

I have been at Labour Party Conference for the last week, as a Delegate; it’ll take me some time to get my thoughts and words together.   … » Read more …

Digital inclusions & democracy

25% of the UK population don’t have broadband, this is higher amongst the poor and the old; it generally costs more than the BBC Licence. Also not all internet users are Facebook users. Facebook (& other social media providers) cannot act as a guarantor of identity in government and political business, partly because they’re proprietary, closed source systems and thus users, citizens and judges do not know what the code does. Digital inclusion is still one of the key political issues to be addressed in the internet age, governments and political parties need to step very carefully when they use social media platforms as a means of understanding people’s views; this is before we consider the anti-democratic nature of survey’s and referenda, you can only answer the questions asked, usually in a binary or scalar fashion. It’s not good enough …..oh yeah & open source.  … » Read more …

A second referendum

I was an early supporter of the idea of a second referendum; but it can only be done if the terms of exit are negotiated in good faith, which means by the Tories, and more specifically by the Outers. When initially planned as an article I proposed to enumerate the key leave campaigners revoking  their promises, as I did in my storify, “Referendum Reprise”. Farage on the NHS, Hannam on Immigraton and Johnson proposing EEA membership. My feeling was that May won’t let them, which is why she has appointed Johnson, Davies and Fox to negotiate the departure  … » Read more …

The Brexit Vote & Immigration

The referendum became a vote on immigration and opened doors to Britain’s darker places; however the forces of light have not reacted well.  I am still hopeful that facts and reason will prevail, but recent history does not auger well.  … » Read more …

Labour’s Expulsions

This has been written over a period of months, and it has never seemed the right moment to publish it as winning the case for justice and then the leadership campaign seemed more important but the issues raised by Jill Mountford’s expulsion just do not go away. In our local party, we have been discussing it since it happened, continuously voting, when permitted for an explanation, an appeal hearing and latterly in support of the Chakrabarti Inquiry recommendations establishing the principles of natural justice, due process and proportionality, all missing from Jill’s exclusion and the subsequent actions. During the leadership election the issues come to the fore as Tom Watson, the Courts and then Owen Smith turn up the heat. The temperature is now raised again by the Despatches programme and its trailers in the Murdoch press. This article talks about why she should be welcomed, as an individual and in principle, the rules of natural justice and the rules of the Labour Party. Jill Mountford was expelled through administrative action for allegedly supporting the AWL. Jill had rejoined the Labour Party in the aftermath of the 2015 General Election  … » Read more …

the same old things

Over the weekend, Dan Hodges, a right wing commentator, who claims to be ex Labour, wrote a piece stating that Owen Smith had lost the Leadership election. Essentially he argues that relying exclusively on his alleged superiority in winning an election is bogus, because he can’t. His argument was that while many Jeremy Corbyn supporters are maybe prepared to compromise to win the next election, they are not prepared to compromise to lose. This is pretty insightful for Hodges. What he and many in the PLP underestimate is the massive anger felt by many of the 200,000 Labour Party members who fought the 2015 general election being asked to concede the political offer to an inadequate front bench, an eventually demonstrably inadequate manifesto and an inadequate campaign.   … » Read more …

What the Courts said about Labour’s Rules

This is what I think happened in the Courts who have I believe let the Labour Party’s members down.  … » Read more …

Labour’s Leadership Part Deux

This is awful, worse than last time, probably because Corbyn’s opponents know this is their last chance.   It’s also completely unnecessary and a diversion from the task of opposing the Tories in Parliament made more acute by the Referendum result. I shall continue to support Jeremy Corbyn for four reasons and this blog looks them; about the policy platform, the electoral strategy, together with a vision about the desired role of Labour’s members and finally, sadly abuse and cheating. Possibly most importantly, it’s about the role of the membership in the Party, because as John McDonnel and Chunky Mark have said, “It’s not Jeremy Corbyn they fear, it’s you”, a Party of ½ million and still growing.  … » Read more …

The PLP’s mandate

I am fed up hearing about the PLP’s 9m vote mandate. Firstly, the total labour vote is ~8.7m. Secondly just above 5m voted for winning candidates i.e.the members of the PLP, the other 3.7m voted for Labour candidates that lost and thirdly, they won because they were Labour candidates, and that is chosen by the Party membership.  … » Read more …

More on Brexit

Many the implications of the vote to leave the EU has been exercising my mind. I have finally got my notes & thoughts to publish my initial views on the politics of the aftermath; this article attempts to limit itself to the events and thoughts of the first week after the referendum. I have published them as at the date I started my storify where I collected the sources I wanted to quote. This is because it is one of a planned series, I plan to follow up with a piece on immigration, one on Labour Party and Left unity and one on the mutation of capitalism and politics.

One of the reasons for my delay was that I was asked for a number of quotes in the IT trade press which took some writing time. I have posted the complete quotes as three articles in linkedin pulse, on Cybersecurity, Privacy & Trade and the single market, covering innovation, TTIP & Privacy and net neutrality.  … » Read more …

Here come de Judge

The highest levels of international judiciary have been busy over the last week, I report and comment on the Microsoft vs. FBI on linkedin Pulse, in an article called “Citizens Win”. It was quite simple in the end, the law under which the FBI was seeking search warrant powers was not on of the post 911 laws, but an earlier one and the US District Court says that the law grants no power of inspection abroad. The spooks are going to have to apply for an Irish warrant. In Europe however, Tom Watson’s & David Davies’s judicial review on DRIPA have reached the Advocate General. This reported by Tom Watson here, and by Glyn Moody here. Watson writes about the need for strong judicial review of the search warrants, and Moody brings up that mass surveillance can only be used in the fight against serious crime.   … » Read more …