Monthly Archives: December 2015

And now Spain turns to the Left

The mould has been broken in Spain. Yesterday, in Spain’s general election, yesterday, the two Parties that have dominated Spain’s post fascist democracy both lost seats and votes. The new parliament has no natural majority. The PSOE, in particular, has some interesting challenges in front of it and the next few weeks and months may act as a signpost for the politics of Europe.

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On an informed citizenry

I was invited to attend Tom Watson’s speech building on much of his campaigning work and presented in the New Statesman as reclaiming civil liberty for the Left, although sub titled by him as “David Cameron is governing from the shadows”. In this article I review the speech; I try to report on it and to comment by adding some personal views and insights, in some cases new ideas provoked by Tom’s speech. It was quite a long speech and it takes a diverse route to get to its polemical heart which is that Democracy is the choice by an informed citizenry of a government, subject to the rule of law and that the Freedom of Information Act is one of the pillars of this contract and should not be diminished or repealed.

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Working with others

No 10.

In this blog, Hopi Sen, allegedly a Labour Party member argues to fight Corbyn and the party until the day of the election and to resign from it for the election so as not to breach the rule prohibiting campaigning against it. This could only be suggested by one of the majority of LP members who only read the rules they want, or more accurately only quote the rules they like.

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Consequences and accountability

There’s no such things as unintended consequences, just poor planning. Last Wednesday the House of Commons voted to authorise RAF bombing of Syria. In the following hours, RAF jets attacked civilian oil installations in Syria. This was reported as using high level free fall bombs. Were there reports of civilian casualties? The government announce an increase in security for the Queen. The government of Syria announces that the RAF attacks are illegal acts of war. Seventy two hours after the vote, Londoners were attacked on the tube, albeit in only one incident with a knife. At the time of writing, there has been no fatal casualties from the London incident.

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Safe Harbour

Barcelona Harbour

Last month the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled the US Safe Harbour treaty to be insufficient for European data protection law purposes. How important this is, is subject to debate. One of the principles of European Data Protection law is that personal and confidential data must be “adequately protected”. The CJEU has stated that the US Safe Harbour agreement offers insufficient and uncertain protection to European personal data.

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Out of Sight with the Fabians

I attended my first South London Fabian Society earlier tonight. This is part of my search for a place to think and refresh my enthusiasm for ideas and electoral politics. The speaker was a man called
Richard Brooks, who had worked as a senior policy adviser to the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. He is the author of the award wining for his Fabian booklet, Out of Sight, “How we lost track of thousands of NEETS, and how we can transform their prospects”.

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