Thoughts

When I felt the need to start shouting on Facebook, I needed a somewhere else to put my less well formed thoughts and diary-like notes. Firstly I experimented with ello, but I later transferred my ello to a wordpress blog site, ello.davelevy.info in July 2016, to make it easier to share and integrate. I moved these posts to this site in March 2018. I categorised my entries in that blog as “thoughts” and category thoughts remains in place. I occasionally still use it. I documented the ello blog as page on this site, and with a carousel entry on the home page.

I continued to use ello for sillyness and stuff and there is a link to it at the bottom of all pages, in the black panel.

Comments are now auto closed after 14 days, there is be a social login plugin to allow you to comment using your own social network logins.

Articles on the thoughts blog are more likely to be unfinished, often representing work in progress, or ideas with insufficient time invested.

Today, I transferred this content from a page to this post. …

Abolish Performance Reviews

I recieved in my inbox an article on Adobe’s experience on abolishing their annual appraisal process. One reason was cost, they calculated it took the equivalent of 40 FTEs to run the process which illustrates the distraction of management time. The article quotes quality guru W. Edwards Deming who says,

It nourishes short-term performance, annihilates long-term planning, builds fear, demolishes teamwork, nourishes rivalry and politics.”

They replaced their previous stack ranking system with a more flexible and empowered system, divorcing formal performance from salary/bonus decisions.

It proved to be more popular with managers and staff, with one employee reporting

… that a feeling of relief has spread throughout the company because the old annual review system was “a soul-less and soul crushing exercise.”

One side effect was that involuntary terminations increased but voluntary terminations reduced, It ought to be a happier place to work. …

Freedom of Information

I have been looking at a couple of association/organisation constitutions, both of which have rules controlling the way in which some people, by which we mean those in a minority, can communicate information about the conduct of business to members and/or the public. On thinking about it, I wonder if these rules fall foul of the ECHR Article 10 rights, the freedom of speech right. While the US version is famous, and rightly so, it is much more explicit about speech and publication, the European version, talks of the right to receive information.

Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.

  …

Nought, Nought

I was just writing a little piece involving some elementary charting and was reminded that my statistics teacher, Dr. Frank Oliver, will be turning in his grave. I looked him up and he sadly passed away and is seemingly not remembered for much, apart from winning an award for the nation’s most boring lecturer by presenting one on “Cofficiency Correlations”. One wonders if, in the days of  the rock star status of, Carol Vorderman and Rachal Riley, it would have attracted such attention; it seems to me to be part of the legitimisation of the idea that you can opt out of maths. My thoughts reminded me that bar charts & histograms must have 0,0 illustrated, their bars must be the same width and that line charts (or graphs as we called them) cannot be used interchangeably with bar charts. He will be remembered by some as an enthusiast for scientific economics, as a Labour County Councillor, and strangely for those that know or knew it, the Warden of Mardon Hall, allegedly the inspiration for Rowling’s Gryffndor House.  Google also reports his legacy as a benefactor to Exeter’s classical music world; it wasn’t an aspect of his life that I saw much of, possible because of a lack of interest. …

The subversion of democracy by big data

The subversion of democracy by big data

The fabulous Carol Cadwalladyr brings us the next instalment of undoing the surveillance states control over our democracies.

In an article “The Great British Brexit Robbery”, she and the Guardian showed how the Tories and the Brexit Leave Campaigns had used US Data Aanlytics companies to influence the Brexit referendum. It is alleged that the personal data was obtained illegally, its processing was illegal and that it was an undeclared election/referendum expense. The evidence was sufficient for the Information Commissioner’s Office and the Electoral Commission to launch investigations.

Over the last two days, Facebook have suspended Cambridge Analytica & one other company and the latter’s Principal for breaking their terms and conditions and in one case a breach of contract not to pass data on. The story is reported in the Guardian in a story called, “‘I made Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’: meet the data war whistleblower” , which documents the contractual paper trial. This happened two years ago and it is alleged that Facebook knew of it then. It is a crime in many jurisdictions, including California to not notify either the regulators or the data subjects of a breach/leak of personal data.

Sadly 🤔 they have been accused of misleading the House of Commons, select committee inquiry into Fake News. It has been denied that Cambridge Analytica had Facebook data in a verbal submission. Its Chair, Damian Collins, is quite forthright, accusing Facebook of sending under informed representatives to answer the committee’s questions. The word wilful ignorance comes to mind.

As Brits, we need to see if crimes were committed during the 2015 & 2017 General Elections and/or the Brexit Refrendum but this can’t be good for Facebook’s reputation.

ooOOOoo

I wish we still had Storify, this is one for them.

The image is from the Guardian on the story on Parliament’s reaction. …

At the GC again

Reporting on the Lewisham Deptford General Committee is still not happening so here is a report from me, about what happened yesterday.

The Executive Committee had agreed to hear a guest speaker, Natasha Kennedy who came to speak about Trans-rights. If you’ve missed it, this is a debate centred on self-id occurring within the country as the Tory Government had proposed to change the law to permit a form of self-id, allowing trans-sexuals to choose their own gender identity as opposed to the current law which requires the agreement of a Doctor. The Tories, I believe, have changed their mind, but the Labour Party has agreed, as we do with membership of our BAME forums, to allow self-identifying trans-women to benefit from the positive discrimination measures that exist within the party. This is not without some controversy. Anyway, Natasha presented one side of the argument and shared her experiences.

Another thing you might have heard about is Labour’s Democracy Review. This is being conducted in three phases and the current phase is about local parties. Ammar, our Chair, summarised the problems as follows,

  1. How can the Constituency Labour Party (CLP) better reflect the local community?
  2. What changes (if any) are needed to the way we work at Constituency level?
  3. How do we get our increased membership more involved in the Party?
  4. How do we get more people into the Party?

He then asked people to call our their answers, with between a 15 sec and 30 sec comment? While not “in the traditions of the movement”, this worked very well. Many more people were able to speak and to comment on what they wanted. In retrospect, it worked well. Because of Ammar’s framing questions, we did not speak about the Socialist Societies, but I have documented on this blog, what I think and submitted my ideas to the Democracy Review.

Here is my complete matrix

Question solution 1 solution 2 solution 3
How can the Constituency Labour Party (CLP) better reflect the local community? Reduce the membership fees Listen to the membership & engage with community organisations.
What changes (if any) are needed to the way we work at Constituency level? Adopt the Nolan Principles[1] Increase the share of membership fees remitted to CLPs Develop forums for Disability and LGBT
How do we get our increased membership more involved in the Party? Listen to them & share power i.e. show how their ideas can change Labour Do more Politics Stop shaming people about doorstep work
How do we get more people into the Party? Make our public officials accountable, i.e. make member’s voices count inside the Labour Party Stop Expelling them and refusing membership to people with campaigning history

I managed to get the Nolan Principles into the CLP submission, and when someone else raised a criticism of the Stakhanovite doorstep warriors, they were politely cheered. The CLP also agreed to ask for much more money from the subs and to reduce the membership fees.

We then turned to the motions, many of which are still left from last year.

We passed emergency motions supporting the UCU strike, and calling on the London Region rule changes to be implemented for this year’s conference.

[1] Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty & Leadership

ooOOOoo

These are personal notes taken from the meeting and not to be taken as a formal record. i.e. all opinions are my own etc …

Block Votes

On my way to the pub, after the local labour party General Committee, someone described weighted voting as “block votes”. In truth that’s all it is and was; a delegate or representative has a vote in proportion to their mandate.

I think we were talking about the Local Campaign Forum, where it seems that Deptford has more members than the other two participating CLPs combined. Perhaps we should have more delegates. …