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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) has produced a report on the general election. It’s subtitled, “Volatile Voting, random results.” First Past the Post (FPTP) claims to be designed to deliver Governmental stability, but in the last three elections, it has failed to do this twice. Furthermore it exaggerates local & regional differences, e.g. Scotland, Wales and the SE, where the leading parties margin of victory in terms of seats is higher than it’s vote warrants and the losers are under-represented. In this article, I have summarised what I see as the main themes and illustrated what ERS believe to be the impact of implementing a fairer voting system. I also make the point that different systems will cause different behaviour and I finish with a look at Germany’s PR system and a call for smaller constituencies in the belief that it will lead to a better relationship between MPs and their electors.
I made a storify after the election, and its terrorist disruption about the, mainly Tory response in blaming the internet. I don’t make the point that the Northern Ireland “troubles” were pre-internet but I do talk about the Tories, and May’s instinctive response is to censor and silence dissidents. I also point to Amnesty Internationa;’s critical report on the UK’s surveillance laws. I transferred this to the blog, as at the original date of publication, once Storify announced they were abandoning the service.
I made a storify about the Government’s proposed Data Protection Law, implementing the GDPR. I transferred this to the blog, as at the original date of publication, once Storify announced they were abandoning the service.
Over the summer, most Brexit/Remain players have been on manoeuvres and Jeremy Corbyn’s appearance on the Marr show together with various clarifications have ensured for Labour at least membership of the single market has become a focus for what a post-brexit relationship would look like. In my opinion, if we were to stay in the single market via the European Economic Area, we might as well stay in and keep our MEPs, Council Seat (& Veto), Commissioner, Judges, the rebate, our opt-out from common borders (Schengen) and our indefinite opt-out in joining the Euro. I support these things, and staying in, I understand why Brexiters have now come to oppose the single market.