Despatches

Despatches! Huh! Trots are encouraging people to join the Labour Party and argue for politics they support. Nowhere does the program discuss the partial, factionally driven disciplinary process and the fact that the Chakrabarti Inquiry has described it as legally unsafe. The suspension of Brighton Party is presented as an unquestioned act of justice as is the right of MPs to be unchallenged.

Despatches! Huh! The ‘evidence’ presented for data protection criminality is nonsensical. How a lawyer can say what they said, I do not know. There may be more that they didn’t publish, but I doubt it.

Despatches! Huh! I would say that the one to one participant in the conversation about the salary source would have an expectation of privacy!

Despatches! Huh! Sasha Ismail, presented as expelled is now one of very few  with  a written statement from the NEC that they belong in the Labour Party; his expulsion has been reversed.

Labour’s Expulsions

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

Chimera

While I felt my essay, highlighting the positive reasons for staying with Jeremy Corbyn would be enough, my feeling that all the politics being within the Left camp which I felt a month ago has been reinforced; last year when Yvette Cooper realised she was losing she rebooted her campaign with a restatement, as she saw it, of the differences in economics & startegy, in retrospect we can see an act of respect for the membership. Smith as his campaign goes down the toilet, takes a different direction. He attacks Corbyn’s supporters otherwise known as the membership and remains silent when people outside the party attack it and its members.

Smith is echoing the calls from some in the PLP who are now asking for unity, even arguing that he is a unity candidate. He is not! His silence if not acquiescence with the smears of anti-semitism, his silence and acquiescence in the externally sponsored attacks on the Chakrabarti report, his attacks on the legitimacy of the membership and smears of entryism, his support for the purges and purgers, his sexism, his laddishness and his nob gags all make him unsuitable to lead and incapable of unifying the party. Furthermore Neal Lawson in his open letter to the Labour Party identified the lack of a body of work as a critical failing, the campaign has exposed this, unlike Cooper last year, he has no political hinterland to dig into.  Frankly his supporters need to consider apologising to the membership for nominating him and putting us through this farce. If there isn’t a better candidate, then they need to shut up; unity is fighting the Tories.

Legacy

Finally got round to watching “Steve Jobs”, this is set from 1984 through 1998, focused on three product launches, the LISA, the Next Station and the iMAC. The film covers his dismissal from Apple, the Innovator’s dilemma, the failure of the Newton and ends with a signpost to the ipod and iphone. I wonder if the depiction of the arguments between him and Wozniak around open vs. closed was true, because android is bigger than ios and the Mac laptops now use  an open source operating system. The Innovator’s dilemma is about when to destructively & innovatively  compete with yourself; the answer being once it’s clear you’ll lose, or preferably just before your competitors do but Apple almost died because it had no product to to replace the Apple II. I wonder if Jobs actually stated that the Newton failed because it required a stylus, and even if’ it’s true. It could have been that it was just ahead of its time; we needed cloud computing or cheaper/denser storage before the PDA was going to work although some might argue that the Macbook is just a PDA with a keyboard and in closing I loved Lisa’s comments that the iMAC looked like Judy Jetson’s easy bake oven.

One Person, One Vote

Writing about the representation of the UK Parliament, reminded me of some work i did in 2014, when looking at the results of the last European Parliament elections. The chart below shows the number of people represented by an MEP by country, the Spanish are the least represented and the Luxembourgois the best, varying from 850,000 to 77,000; that’s eleven times better for Luxembourgois. It should be noted that the 77,000 population it takes to earn an MEP in Luxembourg is similar to the number that the Tories propose for British MPs, except the Tories are planning that MPs only represent electors, not the total population.

votespermep-chart

We can see that the system benefits the smaller nations, and that to be fair with the same rate of representation as the Luxembourgois there would need to be over 6,500 MEPs. It would be very difficult to run plenary sessions of such size as the amount of time available to talk would mean that many would have to remain silent.

Parliament

Someone finally agrees with me, in that the constituency gerrymandering currently going on in Parliament starts from the decision to reduce the number of MPs. Ralph Scott in the New Statesman introduces me to the paper written by Lewis Baston and Stuart Wilks-Heeg showing that the UK has less elected politicians than most OECD states; this is mainly due to the fact that most of the comparator nations have large and active local government layers but also by measuring the ratio of MPs to population, looking at this via a per capita lens changes the perspective. While I admire Corbyn and Ashworth’s line that the Tories are ignoring 2m new electors who registered for the referendum, it is equally powerful to argue that we need more MPs; each of them can know their constituents on a closer basis and the Government will be held to account more effectively. Scott also argues that the representative work of 21st Century MP requires far more work than was the case even 40 years ago when the numbers were last revised. Also we can’t allow the hypocrisy of a Tory Government reducing the cost of representative democracy while stuffing the House of Lords full of cronies, mates and donors pass uncommented on.

Servants

Jason Cowley, reviews the balance of class forces in the Labour Party and the falling stars, Burnham, Balls, Cooper and the Milibands, noting that only two are still MPs. Fascinatingly he looks at the seeds of their hubris, their early sucess and probably hits the nail on the head when he says,

Parties in the end are machines for capturing power and there is a sort of life cycle, and you’ve got to be absolutely vigilant about renewing it. Blair and Brown thought they could renew the machine with very clever people, but with one or two exceptions they were – what is the word I’m searching for? – they were servants, they weren’t masters, they didn’t really have a vision of where they wanted to go.

Earlier in the article, he remarks on the internecine fighting between the Blairite and Brownite factions, but fails to identify the lack of political difference made this just a spat between careerists. I remember the shock amongst left wing friends when we discovered that Brown was not going to pursue a more social democratic agenda than Blair, in the words of one, “there was no plan”, and the fighting ensured that there were no successors. The quote above does however illustrate that a Party Leader needs a vision, they need to know what they want to do. The use of the word “servants” is probably devastatingly accurate.