More on Free broadband

More on Free broadband

One of the allegedly glaringly popular promises in the last Labour manifesto was the promise of free broadband. I wrote about it a couple of times and decided that though it was desirable, the failure to socialise it both within the movement and society as a whole allowed the promise to be undermined by questions of cost. I concluded the article above by asking “why not free water?”. One of the answers to that is that much government business, which it requires those most likely to not have the internet requires its use, on the one hand, recording business activity and on the other claiming benefits and maybe equally importantly writing to one’s MP or Council. The idea came from two sources, one of them the London CWU who issued a pamphlet, calling for broader public ownership of the telco and postal services on the grounds that private/market ownership was wasteful of wealth and resources, has delayed the adoption of superfast broadband, caused an investment famine and led to a pursuit of short term fashion & profit rather than investing in infrastructure for long term aggregate growth. The Executive Summary is reproduced below/overleaf. … …

Virtuality & the Labour Party

Virtuality & the Labour Party

Somewhere inside my head there’s an article on how businesses weren’t planning for a pandemic as a business continuity risk, most plans were about protecting infrastructure. My most recent linkedin article looks at the under-licensing and data leakage risks exposed by the spontaneous adoption of remote desk top technology but the country has had to adopt a much wider “work from home” practice than previously, stressing those parts of the economy that serve it, including home space and furniture supply. This all leaves unanswered how are democratic decisions being taken? Let’s look at the Labour Party; I wouldn’t want to be the Labour Party apparatchik that allowed 7.IV.H.8 (P41) 2019 to expire. It used to say,

The NEC shall invite CLPs to take part in pilots of staggered meetings, electronic attendance, online voting and other methods of maximising participation. The NEC may immediately give effect to these pilots and may incorporate any resultant rules into this rule book, subject to approval at Annual Conference 2019, when this sub-clause shall expire.

It wasn’t extended at Conference 19, and the rule now no-longer exists and virtual meetings are not permitted to take decisions. Someone’s going to be happy.

If deliberate, it’s another example of the bureaucracy just not giving a shit. …

Why Zoom?

I have posted a blog on Why Zoom? has become so popular in terms of getting consumer mind share.

I wonder if it’s based on Microsoft forgetting its history. I am sure the ultra low cost of using Zoom helps but Microsoft’s entry cost for Skype is the same and at the end, someone has to pay for the server room cycles.

Perhaps in the hypergrowth stage best of breed works but I suspect that an integrated offering will win out in the end.


Rachel Reeves on Immigration

While doing some reading while writing the last article I had reason to have a look at Rachel Reeves views on immigration. She made a speech in 2016 which the independent reports, with a headline of “Labour MP Rachel Reeves: Riots could sweep streets of Britain if immigration is not curbed after Brexit”; this is pretty much exactly what Enoch Powell said in his infamous “Rivers of Blood” speech, which led to his political exile and while I predicted a vicious debate on immigration in the wake of Conference 2016, I didn’t expect anyone in the Labour Party to go this far. If accurate, it’s unacceptable. …

Starmer’s Cabinet and more Brexit failures

Gabriel Pogrund is re-circulating the rumour that Starmer will appoint Rachel Reeves as Shadow Chancellor. My first instinct is that this would be a poor start for a man who claims to want to unify the party, since her record is as a central thinker for those opposing Labour’s turn to the left.

Anyway I have googled her, and she is another ex-Bank of England employee with an impressive education in economics, unless we take the view that it’s academic economist’s lack of heterodoxy that is one of the key causes of the 2008 crash. Obviously this would come lower down the list of causes than the greed of the ultra-rich and the structural contradictions in late twentieth century capitalism.

Her most recent contribution to debate has been a pamphlet called “Everyday Economics” but has also published widely in the Guardian and the Fabian Society. This interest in ideas is an important positive.  There’s nothing wrong with Everyday Economics, it calls for decent jobs, better collective bargaining rights, worker board members, a social wage/services capable of supporting a family and the devolution of economic planning. Not so much a manifesto for Shadow Chancellor more one aimed at the current Business (BEIS) portfolio although she’s been silent on student finance. The critical issues for the Treasury are deficit/demand management, tax policy and monetary policy. Not issues she’s spoken about recently, except stating a need to refocus on wealth taxes although perhaps we could credit her with not wanting to rock the boat except she published a piece in the Huffington Post, albeit after the election, called “Labour ‘Will Be Reduced To 100 Seat Rump If It Fails To Change Direction’, Rachel Reeves Says” and concludes that Jess Phillips was the best candidate to succeed Corbyn as Leader. She nominated her too and of course nominated Owen Smith in 2016.

However, looking at the reviews of Everyday Economics, her focus on the jobs we need is partially accurate, although written before the coronavirus outbreak , since when we all share the wisdom as to what essential workers do and many minds have had to change. It’s clear than not only the funding of the NHS and Social Care services have been undermined by the policy choices taken by the Tories but we can’t ignore that the impact of Brexit on both the UK’s ability to defend. Two of the effects of Brexit will be that our leading bio-science researchers and medical staff will leave the UK as a result of Brexit and many Bioscience companies will either follow them or precede them. Food supply may also be jeopardised by Brexit, either as we import about half of it and the customs checks will fuck it up, or because we can’t get it out of the ground, as we see the growing debate as to whether farm workers are “essential” too. …

With a whimper

With a whimper

There’s a sinister element to the way governments are acquiring emergency powers to keep us safe during the public health crisis. It’s a fact that nearly all governments do this. A comrade Simon Hannah has listed the problems with the UK Emergency Powers  and the civil liberties concerns have been highlighted by Big Brother watch while the data management and privacy threats have been identified by the EDRi and the open rights group (ORG).

The UK powers give the Police unprecedented powers of arrest, although where they’re going to put them I don’t know;  we should be aware that the Courts are now shut and that Parliament has adjourned for a month without even putting any interim measures in place. We may be about to find out the minimal difference between orders-in-council and decree. Strangely for me, it’s the Tory back benchers who’ll be missed as the self-employed support package has massive holes and will disappoint many; and the change in line of the Tory Party is self-generated. Is this fascism? AS Orwell said,

“When I speak of Fascism in England, I am not necessarily thinking of Mosley and his pimpled followers. English Fascism, when it arrives, is likely to be of a sedate and subtle kind (presumably, at any rate at first, it won’t be called Fascism)”

Who knows? We are a different society but the Tory Governments over the last nine years have attacked the constitution, the judiciary, our legal protections i.e. legal aid and retrospective legislation and suspended parliament twice, while being now led by a buffoon.

More worryingly, in Hungary, Victor Orban, has passed even more restrictive laws and is seeking to extend them without a “sunset” clause. Hungary has already adopted  a series of anti-democratic measures due to various so-called threats which have been criticized by the EU Commission and EU Parliament to the extent that the EU is considering sanctions against Hungary; I wonder if they would do so against the UK where our historic reliance on convention is being stretched beyond breaking point by the 21st Century Tory party with its alt-right entryists, consisting of Cameron’s “fruitcakes, loonies & closet racists”.

The collapse of democracy in Weimar Germany came as a result of the Reichstag Fire, when the Nazis burned down the German Parliament Building and on the passage of two Laws. Wikipedia says,

The Enabling Act (German: Ermächtigungsgesetz) of 1933, formally titled Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Volk und Reich (“Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich”) was an amendment to the Weimar Constitution that gave the German Cabinet — in effect, the Chancellor — the power to enact laws without the involvement of the Reichstag. The Enabling Act gave Hitler plenary powers and followed on the heels of the Reichstag Fire Decree, which had abolished most civil liberties and transferred state powers to the Reich government. The combined effect of the two laws was to transform Hitler’s government into a legal dictatorship.

Is it too far fetched to consider this a realistic precedent? As a final thought I leave you with Elliot’s quote,

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.



Parliament is putting itself in isolation by not meeting for another month and so yesterday was Jeremy Corbyn’s last PMQs in the House of Commons. He spoke about the corona virus and it started up a spat on twitter which led me to think about Wilson, the Referendum on the EEC (1977) and how he managed the Party. He put the issue to bed in the Party for 39 years.

Was it because the SDP, whose politics on this issue had won left the Labour Party or that the Left in the Party granted loser’s consent? Also on the Left, many of those that could not compromise with the Party consensus left and joined the extra Parliamentary left.

However the divisive nature of referendums and the idea that MPs could campaign against the Party on referendum issues bedded down and  was shown by Labour’s divisions over the Alternative Vote Referendum in 2011.

But Corbyn will be remembered as an almost man; he saw off two Tory Prime Ministers, but we failed to jump the 2017 hurdle. The 2016 coup against his leadership will be seen as an act of treachery against the Party on the same scale as the SDP split and there are some who will see the mismanagement of Labour’s 2017 campaign as an act of sabotage; in my view it’s a charge to be answered.

Meanwhile, Corbyn’s legacy will be a programme that seeks to create an economy that works in the interests of the majority and not just a plutocratic minority and their servile minions, rejecting Britain’s imperial legacy and its role as America’s Gurkhas will take a little longer. …

Where is BS20001 when you need it?

Where is BS20001 when you need it?

I have been looking at my CISSP notes on Business Continuity and they all state that getting your people into work is as important as ensuring the IT can survive the disaster. Also, people have been reducing the likelihood of a data centre loss and to be frank that’s not what’s happened. No question but that much planning has been found wanting as companies whose strategy in terms of meeting their public duty in the case of a disaster has been to allow competitors to step in. Both Waitrose and Laithwaite’s web sites have failed over the last seven days; these will probably be because of both staff nonavailability and insufficient capacity to cope with increased demand.

I also wrote a piece on my linkedin blog about the vulnerabilities that a sudden switch to mass working from home may cause, looking at vulnerability management, data leakage protection and obliquely vendor management. …