Mild Shenanigans

Mild Shenanigans

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.

Officer Class

Some comrades, mainly it would seem from Brighton, where suspensions and expulsions are still in place protested about McNicol’s continued employment calling on him to resign.

mcnicol must go

Joanna Baxter, an ex member of the NEC, raised a point of order complaining that it was abusing staff.

He isn’t staff, he is an Officer of the Party and holds office “at the satisfaction of the NEC and Conference”. This is an important distinction. There’s no recall, no means of subjecting him to the rules and there’s no term limit.

Margin Call

Just re-seen Margin Call. What a fabulous film. Wll I say that, it took a second watching to come to that conclusion. It opens with an HR raid on a Bank’s trading floor, and of course they take their phones. It’s one reason why I have two. I don’t depend on my employer to phone a cab home.

It is a fabulous, well informed script, possible except their concentration on current packages and not the severance packages, although the first guy out’s package seems not so generous, although he gets to keep his options. His boss, gets offered a lot more, as do the Traders that perform the fire sale.

There’s a lot of paper and notebooks. The boardroom scene has some fabulous acting. The economics is shite, if you want a film that explains it, see the Big Short or Rogue Trader.


Labour Conference starts on Saturday! I thought I’d document my experience and lessons from the compositing meeting that I attended last year. I was badly stitched up last year and here are some lessons.

The motions to be included in the composite motion will be issued in a CAC report. Read them all, it will be a clue as to the dividing lines between the organisations. Some of them will be identical.

Work out who’s on your side and then make sure they’re represented by someone who cares. In my meeting last year, delegates were voting to exclude words in their own motion.

Take some words into the meeting, the front bench will. In our case, they used five words from our motion, one of which was “the”. Once in the meeting its too late to recover if they propose egregious surgery.

Speaking rights are valuable; you may be able to swap words for speaking rights, it was tried in our meeting but it’s not easy; you can only buy one vote in this way. (Two actually since there’s mover and seconder).

Understand the meeting procedure, Citrine is no help. The Chair, a member of the Conference Arrangements Committee, wasted time, took no amendment motions to re include excluded words and didn;t ask for votes against, since he knew that the majority of the meeting had voted in favour.

The Chair is not neutral, you need to understand their agenda and the new CAC doesn’t take over ’till the end of Conference.

However, and I wish I had known this last year, the meeting can agree to put more than one motion through. You might need to be a large Trade Union to get away with it but at least one of last year’s meetings put through two motions.

Antisemitism (in the Labour Party)

I have just written a blog article on one of the rule changes likely to come up at #lab17. 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.

  1. The new rule proposed by the Jewish Labour Movement makes racists acts liable to disciplinary action and It removes the free speech defence from racists acts. It may also define holding beliefs as a racist act.
  2. Other policies of the Labour Party, the [potential?] adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism would make criticism of Israel an antisemitic act; the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee in it its report Antisemitism recognised this in its proposal to explicitly create a free speech defence for debate about Israel.
  3. I wonder where the rule changes proposed by the Chakrabarti Inquiry have gone. They would be a better basis on which to eliminate racism from the Labour Party.


Boris has written in the Telegraph about the state of the Brexit negotiations, and this is commented in at the FT. The FT leads with the timing, as Mrs. May is planning a big speech in Florence on the EU shortly. Many Tories are also drawn into commenting on loyalty and timing.

On the issue of substance, Boris repeats his usual drivel including contradicting Government policy and re-committing to the £350m/week on the NHS from saved fees. It worries me that the Tories are still looking at avoiding payment of our outstanding fees.

Of the three issues that EU insist are initially dealt with, citizenship rights, outstanding dues and the border with Eire. It’s the money that’s the easiest to comprise on. I believe that short of single market/customs union membership there is no good answer to the border question, but if the Tories want a deal, then they’ll have to compromise on the money even if only to get some room to be awful on citizenship.


I have just been using Whatsapp for a medium sized chatroom for a month or so.

I’d summarise my views in the table below.

Pro Con
Encrypted on the wire
Distributed Admin
No threading, no pinning, no tagging
No rules based archiving/deletion
Tight integration with user’s address book.
High storage usage if using calls, video and images

The good is that it’s encrypted on the wire but not one the device. It’s real time, so better than SMS. You can use a laptop with it’s superior cut & paste to use whatsapp. I’d add as a comment than its user interface can be a bit idiosyncratic. Chatrooms can have multiple admins, which can be good, but can also be misused. (Is this the same as Facebook, which can lead to groups being hijacked.)

The lack of threading, pinning, and tagging, makes conversations hard to follow. (I suppose we could create our own tags and then search on them as text strings, but messages can’t be tagged this way be the recipients, although they can be “starred”.) This can make threads very difficult to track as there will be often a couple of threads concurrent at any one time and once rooms get big the conversations become a bit unmanageable.

The inability to delete messages on the basis of time periods would be useful. I tried Snapchat and found that deletion on reading was a bit too aggressive for my needs.

Your correspondents need to be in your address book, which is reasonable in a 121 conversation, but in a multi-admin chatroom it’s harder to manage and everyone has to do it; it’s a high admin. cost.

Whatsapp stores its messages received on the phone, this includes any real-time voice messages, store and forward voice messages, videos and images, It’s why URLs may be better; I am not sure if the thumbnails are stored locally. People with old phones, large picture and/or music stores may find access to storage constrained. (It reminds me of the old usenet netiquette rules about respecting bandwidth and other people’s devices and costs.

I wonder if slack or google groups are better although Google Groups uses SMTP which is v.hard to encrypt in any usable fashion.