A question

To Labour’s Leadership/Deputy Leadership candidates: What confidence can you give us that you will put a stop to the toxic culture of bullying & slander that comes from many parts of the factional disputes, often covered up, as shown most dramatically by Bex Bailey, by Labour Party full-timers, who in some cases act with impunity in breach of the law and the rules? …

The Trade Union Gateway

Sadly, Clive Lewis didn’t make it onto the Labour Leadership ballot paper, and we move onto the next stage. The candidates now need support from the affiliates or from 33 CLPs.

The affiliates rule is,

At least 3 affiliates (at least 2 of which shall be trade union affiliates) compromising 5 per cent of affiliated membership

Some of them, LIsa Nandy, Emily Thornbury and Jess Phillips, I am talking about you, will have some difficulty reaching this threshold, there are now only 12 Unions affiliated, six of which are above 5%. …

What happened?

What happened?

So what happened? Where does it leave me and my allies? I have been doing a lot of reading much of which I have bookmarked on my diigo feed, tagged GE2019. I wanted to write something deep, insightful and original, but others got there first. The result has two highlights, the loss of seats in the East Midands, North East, East Coast, primarily leave seats, primarily seats that have voted Labour forever but secondly an overall loss of votes to “Remain” parties. Labour’s so-called Lexiters were quick out the gate blaming Labour’s promise for a second referendum as the core cause of the loss of these seats. Reality requires a deeper look; it also requires the recognition that some of those seats will have been lost because remain supporting labour voters chose to vote elsewhere. Would the result have been better or worse if we had not promised the second referendum? How many of these seats did we lose by less than the Green/LibDem vote? How many of the seats in the Leave voting majorities that we held, might we have lost if remain supporters had been less committed to us? It could have been worse! For a more detailed insight I need to wait for the Electoral Commission spreadsheet.

Labour had been losing presumably Remain support since May 2019 when the NEC decided to campaign in the European elections on, an “I don’t know what” position. It’s the problem with the leadership position, it was clearly anti-Tory deal but too many surrounding the Leadership either wanted to leave on any undefined terms and were not prepared to offer a “final say” choice to the people who issued the mandate. In the European elections, Labour lost four times more votes to remain parties than to the Lexit parties a vote share we never recovered. The chart below shows Labour’s loss of poll share over the year.

 

Labour’s move to where they were, was too slow and too grudging; its opponents legitimised voting Tory by making the issue existential. It certainly doesn’t make the idea of an eection rather than a referendum look too smart and Labour’s Lexiters need to say what terms of departure were acceptable or unacceptable. (We now need to address the aftermath of agreeing the Withdrawal Agreement’s citizenship clauses which we must oppose.)

The facts suggest it wasn’t just Brexit that caused these losses. DataPraxis published their analysis in a report called Tory Landslide, Progressives split and present evidence that the key causes were Jeremy Corbyn, although this can be difficult to unwind from Brexit, that this time the manifesto didn’t cut through, there remain those for whom Brexit was the key issue and these sit on both sides of the remain/leave debate. Labour fell into the trap that “soft brexit” satisfied neither side of a split society. Corbyn and Labour were no longer the insurgent.

It should be noted, often around the other two issues, that Tory remainers stayed with the Tories despite the extreme terms of departure being offered by the Tories.

The loss of the Leaver’s loyalty has been a long time coming and is documented by Phil Burton Cartledge, in his blog article “The working class politics of Brexit“, and by much of Paul Mason’s writings, but most recently in “AFTER CORBYNISM, WHERE NEXT FOR LABOUR?“. The working class fantasised of by the Labour Party no longer exists, and much of what it’s become is no longer loyal to Labour, nor can be won via an economic offering. In 2017, the manifesto was key in winning votes to Labour; this time it was not believed. Too much was added as an afterthought, if rectifying WASPI injustice, free railway travel and free broadband were so important, why weren’t they in the initial launch. For too many, it became seen to be unaffordable, the message against anti-austerity was lost as were other crucial parts of the promise although Mason argues, much of the “traditional working class” are no longer listening to these i.e. economic promises.

These three factors suggest to me that 2017 was the anomaly.

Another factor to be considered was Labour’s organisation and campaigning. The seat prioritisation was plainly wrong, polling data was ignored, the data in many of these seats/constituencies was dreadful because they hadn’t been worked and their membership as a proportion of vote is also low; Labour’s famed ½ million members didn’t and don’t reach to these places. We have been losing members since 2017 yet ignoring this. We must recognise that one of the reasons that people are leaving and those that stay have stopped listening to the “Left” is because the Left’s political culture is so unattractive.

In summary,

  1. The second referendum promise did not lose this election for Labour; without it, we’d have done worse in the North as well as in the Cities.
  2. The collapse of Labour’s votes has been decades in the making; 2017 was the anomaly.
  3. Labour lost more votes to remain parties than they did to the Tories
  4. The manifesto’s vote winning power was dissipated by late promises and failed to cut through; it was a disincentive this time.
  5. Corbyn lost us votes, much of it due to his personal history and some of it a failure to take sides on the Brexit debate.
 …

Lies, damn lies and …

This time it’s about voter share but it reminds me of a debate I had about the quote in the title. We felt the and was actually an OR, Another piece of post election analysis that can’t wait. There is a chart being circulated showing Labour’s vote share with the startling result of 2017 as it’s last data point. This makes it pretty useless. They also commit the error of not publishing the complete vertical axis, which has the effect of exaggerating the visual differences and then it seems extend the charts using faces. Anyway, here’s my version …

We should remember that 1992 is 25 years ago, another generation. Without the 1992 data point the argument that 2017 is the anomaly in a declining labour vote is more compelling.

Here’s the meme I am critiquing.

 …

Free and fast broadband; it wasn’t to be.

Free and fast broadband; it wasn’t to be.

It’s time for me to consider the election results; I think in terms of ideas I am set back four years  but in this blog article I want to look at Labour’s manifesto for the Arts, callled a Charter for the Arts. One of the criticisms that being made of the campaign is that unlike 2017, the manifesto was not seen as signpost for better times. It was seen as a classic shopping list to bribe a winning coalition, and constructed without thought or knowledge of how to pay for it. The promises need to be bound into a single promise, and the details need to be the result of debate and consensus in the Party. Much, including the Arts manifesto seemed to be an after thought, an insight underlined by it’s late publication.

Policy for creative industries has not been debated at Conference in my memory, and the NPF reports have been weak although the 2017 manifesto played with ideas around the “value gap“; this document does not repeat this. Corbyn’s introduction is radical, as you would expect, establishing Art as the property of and the right of all.

The manifesto promises to defend and extend free access to museums and art galleries, invest in diversity in the arts, ensure lottery money is fairly distributed, that schools are invested in to support the arts, and possibly most radically, but equally unprepared, promised free broad band for all.

The decades old commitment to free access to museums and libraries, the productive macroeconomic arguments and the failure of the market to deliver nationwide fast broadband are all good reasons to make this promise but we allowed it to hang on the question, “Why free? We don’t do it for water!” and I don’t have an answer to that. (Although we do it for museums, galleries and libraries). …

Tomorrow’s polling day

Vote Labour tomorrow, there are many reasons to do so.

a

I have not been well and not got out as much as I’d hoped, can’t really say how I feel and what I know. My part of Deptford seems solidly pro-Labour, if not always enthusiastic; I went to Harrow East, with hundreds of people. It was empty! But if doorstep work makes a difference, the Tories can still lose this.  …

Can MPs be ranked?

Can MPs be ranked?

I look at, with help, ranking MPs, by work effort and incomes. Change.org have produced a an index claiming to illustrate the assiduousness of the MPs in the last parliament. They document their methodology on one of the site pages. and publish their data file. It claims to measure, constituency presence, parliamentary activity and constituency campaigning including their use of … err … change.org. They state that they have reviewed Hansard to get some of the results and such research will be valuable.

They present the results as an index which exacerbates the difference between MPs results. I have presented the results as frequency distribution which shows a clustering around the mean average of 25 and reverses the effect of the index which equalises the gap between a pair of data points when the difference can be exceedingly small.

Another tool of interest, is http://richest.mp, by SetReset which they describe as a data essay. The fact is that Boris Johnson has overtaken Jeremy Hunt and trousered £1.7m, and except for Hunt, the top 5 are all cabinet members. Some books generate a lot of money, sadly mine, didn’t but being a cabinet member is full time, and financial assets should be in a blind trust

There are some strange results in the change.org study, for instance the Sinn Fein MPs vary from 60th to 280th which since they don’t attend Parliament is interesting. This is caused by the category weighting where they weight constituency presence at 60%, and the other two categories, including Parliamentary activity at 20% each; voting records earns up to 8% of their total score. They also normalise this behaviour and that of ministers but there remain some further unlikely results. ( I am sure that many MPs would argue that their score on social media, which emphasises twitter and email and the web site “writetothem” is also unfair, or of limited relevance.  Many MPs devalue writetothem and similar tools inc. Change.Org because they belive, often with justification that correspondence is as a result of 3rd party campaigns. )

  …

Life continues

Life continues

The noise about Ubuntu Linux has increased over the last couple of days, much of it critical. I have been aware that the Open Source militants have for a long time had a down on it and Canonical for bundling proprietary software with the distro (coadecs and now graphic card drivers) and they have taken some odd diversions in their path to today ( Amazon Search Bar, I am talking about you), but it has a a commitment to a usable free desktop and server operating system and it’s not owned by a proprietary software company and is not a competitive weapon in the systems market, unlike say Red Hat who “own” Fedora, RHEL and Centos. The industrialisation of Red Hat was funded by IBM as a competitive weapon against Solaris and HP/UX and who now own it and offer it as their O/S of choice for their Intel servers.  At a meeting I attended, Richard Stallman expressed his tests as: does it do surveillance, doe it have restrictions (against the four freedoms) and does it have backdoors and documents his then use of GNewSense, a Debian derivative. He also argued, correctly, that one can’t know if the software is free of these defects unless one can read the code. I wonder how many of these Linux distributions meet these tests today?

My review of the meeting might be worth having another look at, unlike some of what I write, it has aged well. …