What CLPD wants debated at Conference

There are 14 CLPD model motions. The topic matter covers Macro Economics (inc. Brexit), Climate Change, Social Policy, Immigration & teh Surveillance State and Foreign Affairs and Defence. I have made a bit.ly link to the CLPD’s version of the full text, http://bit.ly/clpdmm2018 and I have made summaries of them and added a few personal comments below/overleaf. From these comments I have made a little video.

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Rebuilding the Benefits system at #Lab18

The comrades in Lewisham Deptford have amended their welfare state/benefits motion.

Supporting those in need: rebuilding the welfare state

We note

  1. the 8 August ONS figures showing that improvement in life expectancy has virtually stopped.
  2. the 6 August Child Poverty Action Group report on how Universal Credit’s flaws are leading to low-income families arbitrarily losing as much as £258 a month!
  3. the July Resolution Foundation figures showing the poorest third’s incomes fell last year, even before inflation.

The situation is shameful. We must reverse the drive, accelerating since 2010, to make welfare less and less about supporting those in need and more and more stingy, punitive and coercive.

Neither Universal Credit nor the existing framework (JSA, ESA, etc) are good. We must redesign benefits in close consultation with recipients, workers and their organisations.

This must be part of a wider anti-poverty program, with a goal that by the end of our first term foodbanks disappear.

We commit to

  1. Ending the benefit freeze; uprating with inflation or earnings, whichever is higher.
  2. Reversing all cuts/reductions; increasing benefits to afford a comfortable, not minimum, income.
  3. Entitlement conditions that are straightforward, inclusive and available to all, including migrants (scrap ‘No recourse to public funds’).
  4. Paying benefits for all children and dependents.
  5. Abolishing all sanctions.
  6. Scrapping Work Capability and similar assessments.
  7. Relevant health issues being addressed using medical professionals with appropriate knowledge of individuals’ conditions and disabilities.
  8. Delivery by paid public servants via networks accessible to everyone, including provision of face-to-face support for all who need it. Reversing DWP cuts and privatisation.
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Pathbreakers?

My copy of the Economic Journal arrived last week, and an article, “Pathbreakers? Women’s Electoral Success and Future Political Participation” by Bhalotra, Clots-Figueras & Iyer caught my eye. Are successful women political role models and do they have coat-tails? The answer in India it would seem is no! They hang around and other women do not follow them, whether out of solidarity, or due to a seemingly unassailable queue it is unclear although it would seem that power does not like to be shared; the problems are institutional and not based in gender biases although where gender bias exists within the party and the general public, men it seems retaliate.

This is pretty interesting. If there are similar factors in the UK, then maybe we should consider term limits and in the case of the Labour Party, it would be an argument for abolishing trigger ballots and having open selections, for women MPs as well as male ones. It would also be best if Labour revoked the introduction of trigger ballots for councillors.

ooOOOoo

Also interesting is their presentation of academic evidence that having more women politicians is good for women and children, but also for men.

Several recent papers document that increasing women’s political representation results in policy choices that are more favorable to women (Chattopadhyay and Duflo 2004, Rehavi 2012, Iyer et al. 2012), and that improve investments in children and lower corruption (Brollo and Troiano 2014, Bhalotra and Clots-Figueras 2014, Clots-Figueras 2012, Dollar, Fisman and Gatti 2001, Miller 2008, Swamy et al 2001). This suggests that women’s under-representation in political office disadvantages one half of society, and may have additional social costs.

Let’s note that lower corruption is a benefit for all, and that some investment houses score companies highly if they have a high number of female directors/mangers. …

e-voting using the blockchain

I have written a couple of things about e-voting, most comprehensively in an article entitled e-voting; I was in a hurry. I came across this twitter thread which reinforces the arguments I make, although he summarises the problems as secrecy and coercion. Matthew also takes a pop at the advocates of bitcoin though and that’s because its complex, not because its private and horrendously expensive.

There aren’t 833837 items in the thread, or at least I haven’t found that many, I make it about 14. Why not check it out? …

Trigger ballot reform

I have had a look at the rule change motions amending rule C5.IV.5, Selection of Westminster Parliamentary Candidates, which will be on the agenda for Labour’s Conference 18. They were submitted last year, and thus scheduled for debate this year. I have written up my thoughts in an article/document.

The critical issues are,

  1. the trigger ballot, reform or abolish
  2. the threshold for not requiring a selection,
  3. the privilege given to incumbents,
  4. the role of party units or branches in a nomination process.

By considering the issue of whether to have a trigger ballot process at all as separate from the protection given to incumbents,i.e. the threshold, I think we gain clarity. Another reason for considering them separately, is that the abolition/retention of the trigger ballot is proposed with thresholds, either having an early termination of the reselection process or for avoiding the reselection processes all together respectively.

Here is a summary of how I see it

Rachel Godfrey Wood has also written a summary of how she sees the amendments although she does not consider the West Lancashire amendment which changes the rules such that, if an incumbent loses a trigger ballot, they are not to be included in the subsequent selection. There’s a good reason for this. If the Conference Arrangements Committee rules that only one of these rule changes can be carried, then passing the West Lancs motion means that there is no change to the trigger ballot process, and it can’t be debated for another five years.

The paper also points at two other rules changes, abolishing the rule on auto-exclusion for supporting a non labour organisation, and on CLP finance, where it is proposed that the CLPs get 50% of the membership fees.

permalink: https://wp.me/p9J8FV-1AO …

Contemporary Motions

In rule 3.II.2.C, Labour’s Rules describe a contemporary motion as one

… which is not substantially addressed by reports of the NEC or NPF to Conference

CLPs & Affiliates may only submit “contemporary” motions to conference. Contemporary, as in timeliness,  is taken as an issue, that has arisen since the publication of the NPF report and more controversially that could not have been raised before. In 2016, the CAC ruled motions on austerity and the economy out of order as these had both been in existence in the spring. The words themselves permit the raising of an issue on which the NPF is silent, such as my proposed anti-surveillance motion. Authors of motions need to take these rules into account.

There is a rule change on the order paper to abolish the “contemporary” constraint and the Democracy Review is recommending the abolition of the National Policy Forum. So this could be the last time we need to worry about this stupidity. …

Labour and Surveillance (#lab18)

In case anyone wants to try and take surveillance and privacy to #lab18. Here are some words.

Investigatory Powers to be subject to Human Rights Law.

Conference notes the report in the Register on 6th August that US Senators are challenging the NSA destruction of 4 years of phone usage records as they believe that this is in order to destroy evidence of illegal collection.

Conference notes the complete absence from the NPF report on the surveillance society and the illegal investigatory powers regime introduced by the Tories in 2016.

Conference notes that the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 legalised the use of bulk powers to allow the UK intelligence services to collect all the UK phone usage and internet usage records.

Conference notes that the intelligence services have made data on UK citizens available to the USA.

Conference notes that the exact terms of the data sharing between the UK & US are unknown

Conference notes that the Investigatory Powers Act has been ruled as contrary to EU law as it contravenes the Charter of Fundamental Rights which is the EU’s commitment to the European and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Conference resolves that a Labour Government will ensure that private and public surveillance technologies will conform to laws that meet the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Conference instructs the NEC/NPF to draw up a human rights based policy for the regulation of British law enforcement authorities and their investigatory powers.

218 words …

Surveillance, ignorance and a chilling effect

The Guardian, not exactly disinterested, publishes a leader on regulating Apple and its competitors. I would argue, Apple is the example of the 5th Industrial Revolution monopoly and we need to learn how to regulate it and is competitors and it is a problem for the US also. The authors  completely miss the fact that there are new forms of oppression, that of surveillance, caused by the datenkraken.

We need new forms of protest and defence even though we’ve know about it forever. It’s for this reason that we established the rights of privacy and free speech as part of the universal declaration of rights.

This quote is important, it establishes commonalities with their predecessors,

All [ the datenkraken] use remarkably few workers to generate their enormous profits. All operate an internal class system, which concentrates power in very few hands. None have any unions worth speaking of. All rely on the unglamorous work being done far from California, usually by subcontractors. All shuffle their profits around the world in an endless game of “Find the lady” with national tax authorities – a factor that should not be overlooked when it comes to asking why they are so immensely profitable. If this is the model of the company of the future, it will have consequences we have not yet learned how to manage.

They finish with,

The downside of the oil-based economy is now obvious all around us. The symptoms of apparently uncontrollable climate change have become undeniable. Cities are choked with polluting traffic while the seas are choked with plastics made from oil. Whole countries have been devastated by oil riches. The digital revolution seems, so far, much more benign. But the loss of trust that social media both causes and exploits may one day be seen as another form of unforgivable pollution.

I think this is weak, the threat is surveillance, ignorance and a chilling effect. …

The innovators dilemma in political parties

On my way to writing the article “Servants, not Masters”, I needed to check my material and links about Emanuelle Avril’s unfinished white paper called, “The (Unintended) Consequences of New Labour: Party Leadership vs Party Management in the British Labour Party”. and was presented to the Political Studies Association 2015 conference, in March so before the 2015 election and consequent Labour leadership election. Eaton’s source identified a failure of the New Labour leadership to renew itself as a cause of it’s failure and Avril’s paper explains why they were always going to be incapable of it.

…. it is true to say that internal consensus and cohesion, as they manifested themselves in New Labour, constituted obstacles to innovation and therefore endangered the survival of the party …

and the ambitions of their successors. … …