I am going to say it again. Was the “No deal is better than a bad deal” slogan designed to get us thrown out and avoid a second referendum?  As Brexit negotiations become more detailed, with the EU proposing that the Commission and the EU Court act as the judicial guarantor of the EU27 UK residents rights, it’s proving that actually agreeing to leave on the Tories desired terms is going to be hard. There’s also the point that,

if we negotiate any treaty amending the relationships established in EU treaties, we must have another referendum.

The brexiteers have behaved from the day they won as if they were frightened that we would change our mind. Getting thrown out is one way of avoiding a chance to think again.

Little Acorns

I was quite excited to find this article on the BBC site about new MP’s in their twenties. While  they seem to have been selected in seats that unexpectedly switched to their parties, it reminds me that in the 70’s, Exeter University Labour Club, of which I was a member and delegate moved the motion at NOLS conference to change the law to allow 18 year olds to stand for Parliament. It was a long time ago and Mhairi Black would not have been allowed to stand if the law had not been changed and she remains the youngest MP. From little acorns ….

six two

And another Lewisham Deptford GC, this time it’s a Special one, convened to deal with (some) Conference business. So in the best traditions of the Labour movement we started with a rules row.

The Secretary had, unlike in previous years, removed the election for a women’s delegate from the agenda. I felt that by not putting a women’s delegate election on the order paper, the organisation was taking a backward step. I can’t really believe that the feminists have changed their mind, they’ve always been so keen on the “…at least 50%…” rule. The agenda also proposed that the CLP only send three of its 12 delegate entitlement. The Chair now understands that when rulings are challenged, as we say in software testing, we are critiquing the product not the author and is very calm about it. However not everyone else in the room has got that yet and are keen to help him out by ensuring that his line is understood, . We voted on whether to have a women’s delegate or not and voted not to, actually we voted to send one, but not by the ⅔ majority required.

We then had an argument about the delegation size. To my mind it was unfortunate that the proposal from the floor was to fund three delegates, but to send twelve and then make a conditional commitment to the remaining seven that we might find the money. This would mean that people would be standing not knowing how much it would cost them which will exclude people. I have said before that the only way to control cost is to control numbers. I also suspect that 12 is too many, although I’d be interested to know how much we spent on the election.

Policy development is as important as fighting elections as this last election and the impact of the manifesto showed. It’s a shame that even a left leadership seems none to keen to share the making of manifestos with the membership, but their minds have been on other things. Luke Akehurst of Labour First had suggested (or maybe something stronger) that they argue for minimum sized delegations. I am not sure why, I and allies felt it should be larger. In the cold light of day, sending 14 is financially unsupportable, the influence of an individual delegate is tiny, it’s a very large conference and very few people get to speak. It’s easier to be called to speak if you are known to the chair, or your line is known to the chair. While I believe in Conference Sovereignty, there must be a better way of doing this. The final point to make is that now we have ½ million members (or more) perhaps the delegates’ expenses should be funded by head office.

Anyway, after an hour of this palaver, we moved on to the votes. It was close, but the left did well, better than last November at the AGM. The delegation has a left majority, we nominated both Left candidates for the National Constitutional Committee, which is elected at Conference by delegates and voted for a split ticket to nominate Chandwani and De Piero, who beat her running mate on the right slate on the toss of a coin for the CAC positions.

We ran out of time to discuss motions and rule changes of course.

Free Speech

The US Supreme Court has ruled that denying even serious ex-prisoners access to the internet is an egregious breach of their 1st amendment rights. They have struck down a North Carolina state law. Mike Masnick at Techdirt argues that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) § 512(i) will be next. (This is the law used by the legacy music industry to bully ISPs into kicking their customers off the internet as punishment for alleged piracy; and it is alleged as accusation is enough.)

Internal Affairs

One of Blair’s insights was that to appeal beyond Labour he had to be seen to oppose and master his Party. This is why he changed Clause IV and bowdlerised the policy development process. It may be seen in the future, that Jeremy Corbyn has done the same, by facing down the PLP.


We need to thank Lord Buckethead, one of Theresa May’s opponents in her Maidenhead constituency who produced a manifesto consisting of a 15 point plan, seemingly compulsory these days. His promise on the Nuclear deterrent is hilarious.

A firm public commitment to build the £100bn Trident renewal system together with an equally firm private commitment not to build it. They’re secret submarines, no-one would know. It’s a win win.


I went to visit some Labour Party friends in North London last night; several of them have been “auto-excluded” from membership. This has to stop. I have developed a rule change motion [ Download here … ] or

Rule changes are submitted with a supporting text justifying themselves; The text is posted below, but in summary

The problem with the rule is in three words, automatically, support and organisation. Automatically denies the accused natural justice, support has no threshold of proof, ( tweets i.e. 128 character phrases have been taken as sufficient) and organisation can be anything, there’s no qualification of opposition or unacceptability.

If you agree, it would be good to get this on the Conference Agenda, it needs to be passed at an appropriate CLP meeting and submitted to LP HQ by July 7th.

“The Labour Party campaigns in and with communities and their organisations. It also works with other political parties although currently only the Co-op Party. Not all relationships of supporting & joining organisations other than official Labour organisations are prohibited by the rules.

Unity in electoral campaigns and compliance with the rules should be the required level of commitment. Registered supporters are asked to agree with the aims of the party and not belong to an organisation opposed to it. This should be the standard for membership.

Prohibition of support of organisations other than affiliates creates a chilling effect for joining and support of such organisations. It means working with organisations such as Hope not Hate, Liberty, Green Peace or Amnesty International may render members liable to automatic expulsion.

Automatic ineligibility is currently interpreted as allowing expulsion by administrative action. The accused is processed in secret, unable to challenge evidence, present a defence or request an appeal.  These are all breaches of the rights to natural justice. This is unacceptable in a democratic party.

This has been used in a factional manner where long-term members and Green Party converts have been expelled. Disciplinary action taken varies; members of other parties who hold public office wishing to join are usually accepted.

The purpose of this rule change is to end the arbitrary, partisan and secret exclusion of Labour Party members, so that all members that abide by Labour’s rules, are entitled to join and remain members of the Party.”


It seems the Tory submarine offensive, i.e. the secret social media advertising was spent on various anti-Corbyn attacks, which may of course lead them into problems if like some of the attacks on Dianne Abbott was based in lies about him. Their other problem, is that this isn’t what Obama (or the campaign) did; they ran micro targeted messages and it maybe that the crude smear around Corbyn’s anti-nuclear power position helped in keeping Copeland but it could have been much worse although we don’t know it all yet. Remember Zac Goldsmith’s campaign statements about family jewelry and the garden tax smear must have come from somewhere. I had also assumed that the prominence of Labour’s plans to reverse the Tory’s inheritance tax giveaways came from this source.  It wasn’t discovered by reading the Manifesto.