Accountability

I wrote this, provoked in a good way by an article by Sacha Ismail in Worker’s Liberty about the Police, Intelligence Services and accountability. It’s a bit of a segue, but I hope relevant.

Criticisms by the Police, their Union, and recently retired serving officers is based on the fact that the cuts in police numbers have turned them from a proactive force into reactive and they no longer know who to talk to and they don’t know their community and their communities don’t know them. Intelligence is drying up.

I agree with your comments on accountability and the introduction of one man management in the establishment of the Police and Crime Commissioners is another step to minimising any democratic control over the police. We note that the City of London Police, now inheriting national responsibilities and the National Crime Agency do not have elected Commissioners and that large elements of the Met. Police control is shared between the Mayor and Home Secretary. The successor organisation to Special Branch still sits in the Met.

The intelligence services need better democratic supervision; I suspect that the demands for this to grow as we discover more about how the Manchester attack was organised. Recent legislative developments such as the passing of the Investigatory Powers Act, the legalisation of mass surveillance and the powers to decrypt secure communications are all related to the issues you raise. It’s about control, not security. Mass surveillance does not make us safer.

We should remember MI5’s profoundly anti-democratic history, organising against Wilson’s Labour Government, the NCCL (Liberty’s predecessor), the Unions, the Labour Party and more recently the Greens. Technically the definition of economic security as grounds for intelligence agency action be removed but the agencies’ traditional contempt for legal restraint would make little difference. The new laws and the new technology make GCHQ spies on us, not our national security enemies and of course they were compulsorily de-unionised in the ‘80s, so the collective brake on illegal behaviour was removed.

I agree, it’s not just about numbers, it is about governance and accountability. Also Digital Liberty issues matter. A surveillance society is not a safer society.

5 percent

I was wondering how much of the Army had been deployed on the streets during the period  of the state of critical threat. The papers said 5,000 on the street, this site states that there are 92,000 regular soldiers (including 2700) Gurkas, that’s over 5%.

Sovereignty

I am tidying the flat, and some of the papers that needed to be tossed led me to update my wiki article “Dictatorship and Plebiscites” where I have added two references to the list at the bottom. One is from the FT, quoting Thatcher’s opposition to them in the ’70s and one from the Labour Party Marxists, which is good on reviewing the thoughts of the great and not so great teachers.

I also added the comment that, her line, and Atlee’s are problematic if we are beginning to question Parliamentary Sovereignty as inadequate to defend the rule of law. Courts have taken to defending the citizen against Government’s which in the UK means against Parliament because the Government controls Parliament, not the other way round. It shouldn’t be sovereign any more.

Dementia Tax

The #dementiatax is still being talked about; mainly the unfairness of having one inheritance tax for dementia suffers and one for everyone else. The private funding of the care is being downplayed. This is PFI on steroids.

Cynic

Out again this morning, one very well informed cynic gave me the leaflet back.

You’re all the same as each other, we only see you when you want our vote

He accused Joan Ruddock of this, and remembered his last conversation with her, so it’s probably been a while since he’s seen any one from the Labour Party. He then proceeded with an accurate demolition of Lewisham Council’s historic housing policies, London Labour’s careerism and the lazy bureaucratic sclerosis of the Trade Unions. He wasn’t someone who gave an opportunity to reply. I suppose the best answer is to ask him to join us, although that’s not an easy path either. I have said below that Government’s lose elections, but its possible that Council’s do too. We’ve certainly seen it bye-elections.

Trade

Don’t know what brought me here, possibly an article on Twitter point at the FT who were somewhat alarmed about the Balance of Payments deficit, which has been running as a deficit for a number of years. It was £38 billion representing about 4.4% of the nations GDP. The PSBR was £114.1 bn., total debt £1,772 bn. which was 86% of GDP.

The continued and historical high deficit should reflect in a higher ratio of foreign owned UK debt. This chart would also benefit from an illustration of the FX rate and the note that the UK voted to leave the EU and gave notice on the intention to quit in March, too late to impact any FY 17 figures.

ooOOOoo

My version of the BOP figures come from https://tradingeconomics.com

Digital Liberty, a baseline

Digital Liberty, a baseline

I am preparing to write a blog on Digital Liberty and the Parties’ manifesto positions. I was looking to see how I categorised the issues so I could create a summary view and I found the motion that was the basis for my previous submission on policy. This text has been recovered from a Labour Party motion carried at the Lewisham Deptford GC at their April ’14 meeting. I used it as the basis for a submission to the LP’s New Britain site which they have, of course shit canned; it was their policy development site. I think the motion stands the test of time.