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 …

Vote Labour again

Welcome to the Brexit merry-go-round!

I have been reading the news as have you all. Labour’s promised vote seems to be plummeting, in London in 2017, we got 61% and in the Mayoral election, Sadiq Kahn got 41% of first preferences. Polls are suggesting that Labour is on about 24% in London, although they could be wrong.

Labour supporters should vote Labour.

If you are a Remainer, and we win, these MEPs will sit for 5 years holding a Commission accountable.

Labour’s MEPs will be the Party of European Socialists and will pursue the objects of the PES Manifesto, which is largely influenced by Labour’s agenda of anti-austerity economics and social solidarity. Labour MEPs will vote for the Socialist candidate for the position of President of the Commission.

In London our candidates are good people. Claude Moraes has an exemplary record as European Legislator acting as Rapporteur (i.e. author) for the GDPR which redefined the right of Privacy in Europe. He has been Chair of the Civil Liberties committee, Seb Dance is probably best know for the he’s lying stunt but has been campaigning on environmental rights, Katy Clark used to be an MP and was a strong civil rights campaigner and Laura Parker is an articulate socialist who would strengthen Labour’s parliamentary team; she has been part of the team that has led Momentum to its “remain” supporting decision.

We talk of beating Farage; this is not just important in the UK for our own political health but the number of MEPs in the European Parliament matters. Historically Farage has sat independently with allies but apart from the Fascist parties from France & Hungary. These far-right parties are likely to be joined by the Alternative for Deutschland and the Italian hard right. The idea of an alliance of the political right of such size is frightening and all democrats should do their best to oppose these people. i.e. coming first or second matters in the UK.

The alternative for many seems to be the LibDems. If elected, they will sit with the ALDE group led by Guy Verhofstadt, who has been the European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator; he has given up partly because he feels that ALDE will be more powerful without a strong Labour delegation. The British LibDems are no longer part of a British progressive alliance and ALDE cannot be trusted to fight the far-right.

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Charter for a better Building Society industry

I was tidying up came across some paper work documenting the Charter for an open & democratically accountable building society industry. When googling it the only reference I came across was the labour Party’s policy forum mirror. If a member of the Labour Party or otherwise have a login to the Policy Forum site, site you might like to vote it up; it has more comments than votes but it also plays to the issue of control of the banks.

History teaches me that mirroring the charter here is probably a good idea, because I can no longer find it on the BSMA site. …

Labour and the Surveillance State

I am planning to get a motion on the Justice and the Surveillance State to LP Conference, I asked for help in this article on this blog, and I believe the final words for CLPD are very similar to my version 2. Here they are,

Investigatory Powers to be subject to Human Rights Law

Conference notes the absence from the NPF Report 2018 of the surveillance society.

Conference notes the continual use of surveillance powers in the private and public sectors authorised by law, or government programme including:

  • Investigatory Powers Act 2016,
  • Immigration Act 2014
  • Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015
  • Digital Economy Acts 2017/2010,
  • Data Protection Act 2018

Conference notes that the IPA 2016 and DEA 2010 were both interdicted by the CJEU as contrary to Human Rights Law and/or the EU acquis.

The intrusive programmes include Prevent and ‘get it right from a genuine site’.

Conference believes that freedom of expression and the right to privacy are universal human rights, that the current surveillance and investigatory powers regime is in breach of these rights.

Conference resolves that a Labour Government will ensure that private and public surveillance technologies and systems will conform to laws that meet the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights, including a need to prove reasonable suspicion before collecting evidence and the right to a fair trial with the principle of innocent until proved guilty.

Conference calls on the Labour Party to draw up a Human Rights based policy for the regulation of British Law Enforcement authorities and their investigatory powers. This to include the abolition of Prevent, the repeal of the 2014 Immigration Act and the repeal of the immigration data exception established by the DPA 2018.

Conference instructs the relevant Policy Commission to launch a consultation on Surveillance and Justice to report to Conference 2020.

If you can get it to Conference that would be very helpful.

I have put the words in a word document,  Motion on Investigatory Powers for Lab19., or in a .pdf if you prefer, Motion on Investigatory Powers for Lab19. …

The Shires vote, and so does Lewisham

Last night was election night for much of the country, although on the whole not in London and it seems, not in Northhamptonshire. It’s been a confusing set of  results and I’ll need to think about what it means; I don’t plan to be as quick as either the Leader of Sunderland council nor his remainer opposites, when I find out who that is. But in Lewisham London, Labour held the two seats up for election.

Congratulations Lionel & Kim

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Labour’s road to here

Labour’s road to here

There has been much a-wailing and gnashing of teeth as the Labour Party NEC decides what Labour’s Euro manifesto should say; they have reiterated Conference ’18 policy, to oppose a Tory Brexit by all means including a Referendum.

I was asked elsewhere when we established and then stepped away from the six tests; The six tests were confirmed at Conference 18 although the phrase “respect the referendum” which was inserted to the 2017 Manifesto presumably through the Clause V meeting, has not been approved. I have over time tracked the development of Labour’s Brexit policy as set out by Conference.  The first is about #lab16  which says we’ll stay if terms set by the Tories are unacceptable and states that we’ll accept any mandate including a vote in Parliament. I cover the  the #lab17 stitchup but while it’s weaker, it’s still fundamentally about no worse than in, (read the comment for the bad news), and I record the words of #lab18, last year,  which opposes a tory brexit by all means, prioritises jobs, the economy and the Northern Ireland border. I also talked about the abandonment of the six tests, in this article, called “Consenus” and the low profile insertion of the Common Arrest Warrant as a requirement. …

Meaningful Votes

Meaningful Votes is a role-playing game, written by Richard Barbrook, where player’s (or teams) represent parliamentary factions and replay the last 3 months in Parliament to see if a different outcome might have been possible. The factions have different power (ie. votes in Parliament) and the different goals i.e. different Parliamentary goals which are enforced by the scoring system. You can also win points through your rhetoric. At least some factions score higher if they are on the losing side of some votes. Heckling is encouraged.

We played this with Lewisham West and Penge CLP.

Richard suggested that people play a faction with whose views you disagree because the learning experience is better. I played the “Lexiter” faction and certainly clarified my ideas about who they are and what they represent, an alliance of rump Bennites and Blue Labour and that’s before we just consider the careerists & triangulators, who are frightened for their seats or for a majority. …

A first domino?

Carol Cadwalladr and others are speculating that the US Federal Trade Commission plan to fine Facebook $5bn for its privacy law breaches. This is reported today in the New York Times, in an article, Facebook Expects to Be Fined Up to $5 Billion by F.T.C. Over Privacy Issues. This documents the breaches which focus on Cambridge Analytica and the Brexit time span and the laws. $5bn is a lot, the EU only fined Google €1.5bn. I posted the NYT article on Facebook with the following comment.

But he still won’t come to the UK to testify to the DCMS select committee, although I have sympathy with the argument that if we aren’t investigating our citizens who have broken the law, why should he put himself at the front of the queue.

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War & Schools

In this article in the Guardian, Richard Norton Taylor looks at the UK defence budget, quotes its critical parliamentary scrutiny, the NAO and defence select committee through the prism of an examination of value for money; It costs too much, the nuclear subs and aircraft carriers are of questionable value and as suggested by Conan’s “Riddle of Steel”, weapons need to be wielded by people, we don’t have enough and they are not well enough educated.

It’s almost as if the ruling class and their educational policy makers have forgotten that the greatest educational reform acts were passed in response to the challenge to the nation of then recent wars. …