British Steel

Our minds have been distracted or mine has anyway, but British Steel became insolvent last week. Of course a huge blame game is started. Have the Chinese been ‘dumping’ steel on the rest of the world? Could the Govt. or the EU have protected it? Did the single market aid rules stop the Govt doing so?

Is China dumping? This article at the Conversation says “Yes”, big time!

This article at fullfact.org, “Is the UK calling for EU duties for Chinese steel?” deals with next three questions. The EU have raised duties but for many years the UK Government has been resisting more; they wished to avoid retaliation and for ideological reasons. There’s probably some “don’t give a shit” there too. It would seem that this is another policy area where New Labour failed to support its natural people.

The calls for renationalisation are now, rightly growing …

You might be able to vote for me

Yesterday, I applied to be one of Labour’s candidates for election as an MEP in London.

In London, we need to remain aware of London’s vote to Remain in the EU and the criticality of getting the citizenship terms in the withdrawal agreement right to meet the needs of resident EU citizens and their families. I support Labour’s policy of Remaining if the departure terms are inadequate.

I voted Remain, and have since then argued that Leaver’s should negotiate the terms of exit they think are right and then ask us again if that is what we meant. I believe that Remaining in the EU is better for the people of this country than leaving on May’s terms (or on no terms). I have argued elsewhere in this blog that leaving the EU is either Catastrophic or Pointless. I oppose austerity, racism and climate change. I am a socialist and I voted for Jeremy Corbyn as Leader in 2015 and 2016, and Dianne Abbot in 2010.

I am aware that under Labour’s rules, I am unlikely to get a place on the slate that would lead to me being elected, but I am passionate in my desire to make the case for Labour in this election.  Should I be elected, I would hope to be part of a Labour Group that argues against austerity and look to work particularly with the SPD to move Labour’s allies in Europe towards an economy that work “for the many and not the few”.

 

Our manifesto needs to address the short-term issues of whether we quit the EU or Remain, racism & immigration policy and also the longer-term issues of investment, austerity and climate change.

My professional and trade union experience are a great basis for being an MEP, which is one of the most demanding public offices that Labour seeks election to. My IT industry knowledge is applicable to many areas of EU competence as society seeks to build a democratic regulatory environment to live with the datenkraken.

From 2008 to 2009, I served on NESSI, the EU’s investment incubator for the EU’s R&D grants for internet and computing. (If elected and should we remain, I would hope to help business, education institutes and local authorities improve their bidding capability for this money.) I became one of the authors of the EU’s software industry strategy. This public service reminded me of the good that public policy can do.

I am currently a Branch President in the GMB. The bulk of my work is personal case work and acting as an accompanying rep. I am a trained workplace rep and am experienced in negotiating and have knowledge of employment law. This also requires high levels of empathy and the ability to listen. In the ’80s, I was part of a leadership of work place branch I organised strike action as part of national pay campaigns and other solidarity action with the Civil Service trade unionists derecognised at GCHQ and with the Miners.

My working time in the Civil Service taught me about how to manage and participate in the policy to execution cycle, a critical skill in public policy and service delivery.

I have an Economics degree and am a member of the Royal Economics Society.

I have lived and/or worked in London nearly all my life. I have been a member of five London CLPs over that time, both North and South of the River and in both inner and outer London. I have been a member and activist in four Unions (CPSA, SCPS, APEX & GMB), and remain an active Trade Unionist. All of this has allowed me to meet and learn from the diverse populations across London.

I am just an ordinary working person, I have worked all my life and since 1986 in the private sector, I have known the fear of unemployment and been unemployed. I have experienced the struggle to get my kids well educated and into secure work; I have been a lifelong user of the NHS.

I can represent ordinary Londoners because I am one.

ooOOOoo

Short Link: https://wp.me/p9J8FV-1MF …

A giant juke box

A giant juke box

This (European) Commission and Parliament must be the worst ever. Previous Parliaments have stopped ACTA & TTIP, previous Commissions have sanctioned Microsoft and Intel but it seems that this regime is going to commit two huge mistakes in regulating the new techno-economy.

The European Council has made the proposed Copyright Directive even worse! The link tax and the upload filters are still in place but the protections for authors and researchers have been weakened. The duties on social media sites with respect to licensing material are onerous to the extent of impossibility but then the law was always designed to transfer money from the datenkraken to legacy publishing businesses and turn the internet into a commercial jukebox. It’s so poor that despite,

As the entertainment industry representatives have said repeatedly during this fight, they are after nothing less than a fundamental reshaping of the Internet, where our ability to use networks for employment, family, civics, politics, education, collaboration, romance, and all the other purposes we put them to are subordinated to the use of the Internet as a glorified jukebox and video-on-demand service — where killing every EU competitor to U.S. Big Tech is an acceptable price to pay if it means transferring a few points to Big Content’s balance sheet. corydoctorow @eff

even the music companies now no longer want this law as it is.

The other piece of legislation is the Public Sector Information (PSI) Directive in which the Government’s have weaked the principle that public money buys public domain. For more see Glyn Moody on Tech Dirt, EU’s New ‘Open By Default’ Rules For Data Generated By Public Funding Subverted At The Last Minute.

Julia Reda, the Euro Pirate Party MEP writes on how to stop the Copyright Directive and points that the final votes in the Parliament will take place in the run-up to the Parliamentary elections. Not sure if the UK is taking part in them, or if there will be a selection for the candidates in the Labour Party, there wasn’t in 2012, they forgot, but I shall be writing to the Labour MEPs asking them to vote to support freedom of speech and a free internet.

You might want to too! …

More on the Copyright Directive

I need to thank the Register for publishing this article, “Looming EU copyright rules – tackling Google news article scraping, installing upload filters – under fire from all sides“. It’s written from their seemingly normal editorial line of, how shall we put it, “Copyleft Scepticism”. I am usually on the other side of this debate, but the language in this article is less offensive than usual. Actually it reminded me of a couple of issues which to me have dropped below the horizon, partly because whenever new tech. competes with old media the people who get lost and forgotten are citizens and users. In this article, below/overleaf I write about some of the less obvious side effects of the Link Tax, the cost of Licensing content for small users, question why we permit copyright protection for news, the corollary of weak fair use laws,  the corollary of the economics of upload filters, and the impact of the growing unpopularity of Google. I published my diatribe on the bad economics and moral vacancy of the copyright business in on this blog in a post entitled, “A failure to serve Fans”. This article is meant to be a bit more targeted and a bit off-piste. … …

Democracy in the EU and the Trilemma

While writing up the last article, I also looked at “Labour’s Brexit trilemma: in search of the least bad outcome” on the Open Democracy web site. It refers to Rodrik’s trilemma., which was designed to examine the Bretton Woods currency regulations and the international trade regime it spawned.  I have marked up the first of these article with what I think are the interesting bits on diigo which can be viewed here. The OD article adopts the trilemma and sees a Lexit option as maximising (national) democracy and national control of economic policy and poses it against a “remain and reform” position which it argues maximises economic integration.

My biggest problem with the trilemma, which was designed to describe the Bretton Woods global currency regime is that it seems to believe that the UK’s democracy is superior to that of the EU. Within the EU, British Citizens are protected by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and EU’s Court, which as I an others have mentioned is chock full of the children of the opponents of fascism and Stalinism. It is also a republican construct without a House of Lords, without First Past the Post and without a hereditary Head of State. The people elect the European Parliament, the biggest party in the Parliament nominates the President of the Commission, the members of the Council and Commission are nominated by member state governments and the latter are confirmed and can be removed by the Parliament.

The Open Democracy article, also asks some tough questions of the Lexiters, not the least important being what makes you think that a more independent UK can manage Capital and the economy more effectively; it is clear that the Bexiters in the Tory Party don’t believe this. It also points the impossibility of being independent; the WTO places constraints on Trade Policy and if we want to sign a Trade Agreement with the EU, most of their same red lines will exist. …

Brexit and Labour’s 2017 Manifesto II

In my article “Brexit and Labour’s 2017 manifesto“, and on my wiki article, “Stability & Growth Pact”, I talk about the reasons supporters of Labour’s 2017 manifesto might believe that they need to leave the EU to run fiscal deficits, nationalise critical businesses and offer state aid. I had come to the conclusion that our current terms of membership allowed the UK to pursue whatever macro-economic policies it chose and to be able to pursue its nationalisations. There would seem to be some questions on state aid and some people have raised the issue of the Railway Directive and its possible impact on the single market and nationalisation. A campaigning comrade of mine, from Southampton Itchen CLP has researched these issues and produced the following report, overleaf,  which he also published on Facebook wall.

He concludes, the notion that all EU activity is driven solely by Neo-Liberal ideology is in my opinion a mistaken assumption. In many instances there are additional rationales underpinning the EU rules that go beyond mere market obsession. The EU has pressed for more open networks in telecoms and energy but open access across national energy networks is critical for renewable energy production being made viable on a grand scale. Whereas in the water sector, where it is not feasible to create overlaying pan-European services, the EU has never shown any interest in legislating for open networks.

I would not go so far as to suggest the EU does not have an over optimistic view of the market system or tend to assumptions about private sector performance vs public sector that are not sustained by the economic models relied upon and it is possible to have a good discussion about Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage.

On the other hand, free market supremacy is a pretty widespread assumption in the modern western world. The victory of the Neo-Liberal ideology has been to shift public perceptions to accept the ‘private good, pubic bad’ mantra as a gospel truth. That human beings in the EU broadly accept the same mantra is not really a surprise. The challenge to us as socialists is not just to reshape the UK economy to provide for greater equality and justice but to begin to reshape the underlying assumptions about human and market behaviour that underpin much of the capitalist economic system. …

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. …

Big Copyright strikes again

Big Copyright strikes again

This time in the European Parliament. They want upload filters and to tax ISSP’s reuse, but you can do something about it.

Last week a committee of MEPs voted 15 – 10, reported here by one of its members, Julia Reda, the sole Pirate Party MEP, in favour of the EU Copyright Directive’s disastrous Article 13. This misguided measure will introduce upload filters that would change the way that much of the Internet works, from free and creative sharing, to one where anything can be removed without warning, by computers. They also voted in favour of Article 11, which Europeanises a German & Spanish law and places a monetary liability on internet software service providers who use snippets of news articles originally published by for-profit publishers.

This article explains why the measures are wrong, and points to the campaign sites. It was amended on the 5th July after the vote to report the result, which was that the Parliament voted to re-open the discussion in plenary.

Here are the votes, interesting splits. …

Crisis in Catalonia

Crisis in Catalonia

I made a storify about the Crisis in Catalonia when the Spanish Police disrupted the Referendum in Catalonia. This story includes an article by Owen Jones and two by Craig Murray, together with one or two other articles that I hoped might help me understand what was happening. I transferred this to the blog, as at the original date of publication, once Storify announced they were abandoning the service.  …