First they came …


First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the sick, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not sick.

Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Pastor Martin Niemoller

This is based on speeches made by the anti-nazi German priest Martin Niemöller and sourced from Wikipedia; most versions of the poem seem not to include the sick, the so-called incurables, but I wanted a longer version and think its more relevant to the UK today. …

Vote for me!

I am standing for election as Lewisham Deptford Labour Party’s Secretary. I have been a member a member of the Labour Party for over 40 years and am an active Trade Unionist in the GMB. I made a video to explain why.

I am on the Left of the Party, a democratic socialist and voted for Dianne Abbott in 2010, and for Jeremy Corbyn in 2015 and 2016. I was and remain convinced that the Labour Party needs and needed to turn to the Left otherwise it will suffer the fate of its European sister parties. I support Corbyn’s 10 point plan and the 2017 manifesto together with the progressive changes made by the last two Conferences.

We need a tolerant member led party, that shows people that belonging counts, and that together, through working together we can make our society a better place. The stigmatization of views one disagrees with as right-wing, ultra-left or other political or criminal labels is sectarian, destroys debate and the party’s internal democracy. Neither a better Party no a fairer society cannot be built from such a debate or the bad behaviour it legitimises.

I served as Secretary in 2015, was part of the team that guided our successful election campaign, elected Vicky Foxcroft as our MP and ensured that the rapidly rising number of new members were welcomed, I defended those members that Labour’s bureaucracy sought to purge and together with the incumbent Chair, Gill Hart, ensured that the member’s voice was heard in the Leadership election by convening an All Member’s Meeting to make nominations. This did not happen the following year, when the CLP leadership was led another team.

I have worked all my life, except when made unemployed. I have felt the fear of being without work with a mortgage to pay, I have felt the fears of tuition fees and debt for my children, I understand the fear created by the education system and its post code lotteries. I have felt the fear of bullying employers threatening my job security. Labour’s priorities must be winning the next general election and bring hope for an economy, housing market, labour market and education system for the many not the few.

I voted “Remain” in the referendum and oppose a Tory Brexit. I believe that any Brexit is pointless if soft, or a catastrophe if a hard or no deal brexit. I strongly believe that remaining in the EU and seeking to reform it is th best option for the peoples of the United Kingdom. I support migrants rights, no matter their reason for entry; I support Lewisham Labour’s commitment to be a sanctuary borough.

I am committed to an outward looking party that campaigns in our communities and on the doorstep in public elections; we need a CLP organisation that is election ready. we should work with local Unions to defend our services, fight to return a Corbyn led Labour Government and will hold our comrades that hold public office to account to the promises they made to us and their voters.

I would urge your support for Rebecca Lawrence and other members of the Lewisham Deptford Left Slate, Solidarity, Tolerance & Respect …

Facebook & the European Union

Techcrunch reports that the European Parliament have called for an audit of Facebook’s systems in the light of reported data breaches. Will Facebook be added to the long list of US Tech companies successfully regulated by the EU albeit mainly over monopoly issues. (Google, Microsoft, Intel, Oracle). This is shared power, that the UK will lose should we leave the European Union. …

Power in Momentum

I wrote a piece on Momentum, kindly published by the Clarion, which they finally published early in October.

Momentum democracy: how the organisation ignore its own flawed rules

It looks at the untrammelled powers of the National Coordinating Committee, the lack of the on-line voting portal promised, the lack of clarity on whether non-members of the Labour Party were grandfathered into membership, the necessity for a national conference (with no powers), the unlimited delegation powers of the NCG to officers and committees and the constraints its aims, objects and ethics place upon it. I also talk about the lack of transparency in its IT and finances.

I hope you find it useful. …

Mass Action or Court Action

I have today posted a limited review of Orgcon17 which happened last year. One of the most provocative presentations was this one, “Is the law the best way to stop mass surveillance?” While it documents the heroic struggle by a small group of fiercely motivated lawyers, it’s incredibly slow at the time, the court cases considered in 2017 related to 2015 laws and by the time the rulings came through the law in question had been replaced, but while pursuing legal action, mass action is hard, although and other petition sites allow the building of an on-line communities.

The presentation made me think about the numerous, trade union legal actions on collective bargaining issues, most notably their pursuit and criminalisation of Uber. In these cases, the use of the law is a sign of weakness, albeit of both sides, but demos and voting aren’t enough to change politicians minds on issues they consider peripheral. …

Summer of 15

From the summer of 2015, through to the summer of 2016, with time off for winter ski trips[1], the Labour Party Head Office ran a purge of the Party’s membership which otherwise grew from about 180,000 to 550,00, a growth of 206%.

This note describes the impact of the purge. These numbers do not include the 125,000 (about 25%) excluded from the leadership election in 2016 by the imposition of a freeze date, nor the tens of thousands rejected as registered supporters.

These numbers have been constructed using Christine Shawcroft’s data (see here on the CLPD site)  and survey techniques[2],[3]. The data values have been normalised[4] between those categories where data is available and those where the values have been derived via survey.

We should bear in mind, that the guilty have been deemed so by the bureaucracy with some oversight from the leadership of the NEC Disputes panel; no hearing, no defence and no appeal.


[1] I dunno, I made it up, I have no idea how many of Labour’s Compliance team ski.

[2] The survey work was conducted by someone else.

[3] The sample was constructed via advertisement and opt-in. It is possible that it under-estimates those whose investigation was terminated or finished with no further action.

[4] My stats professor will be turning in is his grave. …

More on Convoy’s Wharf

Vicky Foxcroft our local MP has put in an objection to the current plans proposed for Convoy’s Wharf. The deadline for comments on Convoys Wharf is the 10th – tomorrow!! This is a massive development sold by Boris to developers for £106 million in 2013. I have commented previously on this project on this blog, but you can add your views to the planning application.

Here’s Lewisham Council’s Planning Site, you need to register on the planning portal to comment. It takes 5 minutes.

Vicky argues that there’s insufficient social housing, that the focus on two bedroom properties doesn’t meet the need of local families and that the community projects mandated by the Mayor of London have been ignored. …