Council Power

Council Power

I wrote to one of Lewisham’s Councillors on the results of the Democracy Review and pointed them at things I have written and published, on Mayor’s and power in the council.

  1. https://davelevy.info/lewishams-democracy-it-could-be-better/ … what i thought was needed
  2. https://davelevy.info/what-is-to-be-done-with-lewisham-council/ … summarising what I said, i.e. my submission
  3. https://davelevy.info/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Lewisham-Democracy-Review-DFL-V1_1.pdf … my evidence, in which I recommend a series of reforms to improve the accountability and transparency of the Mayor, Council and senior officials including a recall mechanism, term limits and much improved monitoring of personnel, decisions and programmes.
  4. https://davelevy.info/abolishing-executive-mayors/ also hosts the LGIU paper which talks about returning to the Committee System.

And here are my notes about what they said; http://wiki.davelevy.info/lewisham-councils-democracy-review/ which includes comments on power & communication.

For completeness, https://davelevy.info/dictatorship/ my manifesto for abolition of the Mayor. …

Confidence

Two things about Johnson’s decision to prorogue. Firstly, the Queen appointed him without asking for a demonstration that he has the confidence of the House. While not against the law/conventions of the Constitution, given he now asks for Parliament to be prorogued for the longest period in decades it might have been wise to confirm that he has that confidence. Secondly, the House of Commons has only sat for one day since he became Prime Minister, and he prorogues it before it sits again. 🙄 …

A very British Coup

A very British Coup

So it seems the ruthless Johnson Regime plan to suspend Parliament to stop it holding them to account for their Brexit do-or-die policy.

We are in Charles 1st territory now! The English Civil War was fought to make the Government subordinate to (some of) the people’s representatives and it was the King who eventually lost his head in attempting to ensure that his Government could rule without reference to the elected House of Commons. One of the procedural/structural 450 year old reforms was the development of the post/role of Speaker; the reason the Speaker is dragged to the Chair on their election is that standing up to the Crown was originally personally very dangerous.

In these circumstances, the Speaker can and should just tell the Government that the House of Commons will continue to meet.

We should note that control of the Met. Police, who control the doors is shared between the Home Secretary and the Mayor of London, but we need to give MP’s some help by showing our solidarity with them as they return to the House of Commons.

Please write to your MP, and sign these petitions,

  1. https://www.anothereurope.org/petitions/defend-democracy/
  2. https://www.bestforbritain.org/queenproroguepetition
 …

On ward boundaries

On ward boundaries

I attended yesterday’s meeting on Lewisham’s Ward Boundaries and discovered the source of much confusion. The meeting had been called by the Boundaries Commission, and the discontent was caused by the Council’s proposed evidence to the LGBCE, which I review on my wiki.

The council propose to split up Ladywell, Whitefoot and Lewisham Central and the howls of rage from Ladywell Labour can be heard in Harrow. I left the meeting early once the very smooth Chair from the LGCE made it clear that the decisions were theirs i.e. the Commission’s and that the Council was only one submission and that he was taking no responsibility for the Council’s proposals. (Although Chris Best, the Deputy Mayor spoke towards the end of the meeting, and if I’d have been there, I’d have learnt first hand how the Labour Group had sought to consult the Labour Party, or not depending on who you believe.)

One thing I learned, was that I had never realised that the view of the Ladywell Kebab shop from the Ladyywell Tavern is a community icon and that it must be within a local government ward called Ladywell.

Another lesson is that the proposal to split Ladywell Ward up is like the partition of Ireland. (I looked for a picture to illustrate this point and did a google for images using Northern Ireland peace line as the argument; images reminiscent of Berlin come up. I am not impressed with this as an argument unless its defenders think the council is going to wall off a part of the ward and have armed entry points; I think not).

I was deeply underwhelmed with the idea, proposed by an ex-Councillor that numbers of voters in Lewisham Central used in the Council proposals should be purged of all EU citizens, how this helps I can’t imagine, and I think we should be expressing support for our EU citizens. When I say I can’t imagine, I understand very well, the best way of minimizing the change is to reduce the projected population growth and it may be that this is over estimated as the new properties in Lewisham Central, Convoy’s Wharf and the other sites in Evelyn may have a large off-roll population due to them being empty, or occupied by non voters.

I am confirmed in my view that Deptford needs more councillors and it was suggested outside the meeting that while the Council propose to keep exclusively 3 seat wards, the Commission will prioritise the equalising of the power of the vote i.e. keeping the voters/councillor ratio even across the borough and will likely introduce smaller wards to do it i.e. some wards will be served by two councillors.  This in my opinion is not good because wards with less councillors will get less investment, and the amount of case work should be a factor in determining the number of councillors.

I am also confirmed in my mind that it is not possible to have three councillor wards throughout the borough, equal voters/councillor and respect the Parliamentary boundaries. The council proposals only meet one of these goals. …

On ward boundaries in Lewisham

‘The borough of Lewisham has changed substantially since the last ward review in 1999 that was published in 2002. In those 20 years, our borough has seen significant housing development and population expansion, particularly in the central and northern wards.

The Council have made proposals and are having an open meeting to discuss this at the town hall.

See also http://wiki.davelevy.info/redistricting-lewisham/ …

No Deal & cross border data flows

No Deal & cross border data flows

I have just written a blog at linkedin on the impact of a No Deal Brexit on cross border personal data flows. Obtaining an adequacy agreement will take time, one would have hoped that the transition period would have been enough, but without one there will be no adequacy decision on Day 1. Large and prepared entities may be OK as they can use the currently legally permitted alternatives. The US privacy shield may not be avaialable n Day 1, since its an EU agreement. If we leave, we i.e. the UK state may no longer avail itself of the Article 23 powers and the Investigatory Powers Act and the DPA “immigration exception” may cause problems in achieving an adequacy decision. …

Childish Innocence

I can’t remember who reminded me to look this up, but I rather like,

“What childish innocence it is to present one’s own impatience as a theoretically convincing argument!” (Frederick Engels, “Programme of the Blanquist Communards”, [30] from the German Social-Democratic newspaper Volksstaat, 1874, No. 73

 …

This (LibDem) parrot is no more

This (LibDem) parrot is no more

It’s all got very tactical since Jo Swinson was elected Leader of the Lib Dems with Labour people exhorting people to remember their role, and hers personally, in the coalition government. She and the Lib Dems are in the strange and hypocritical position of arguing for a Remain Alliance but rejecting the help from Parties larger than itself.

For those with a memory of the Lib Dems, we know that that the time delay between announcing a policy and asking for electoral support is generally around a nano-second. No matter who leads them, this sectarian approach to other parties and the politics of the voters remains a constant.

But given today’s politics, the only, or at least the easiest, growth strategy for the LibDems is to act as a welcoming repository for Tory Remainers; Swinson’s rejection of a coalition with Corbyn’s Labour and now it seems with the SNP are designed to make it safe for Tories to vote and/or even join them. There are certainly several Tory MPs suggesting that they can’t and won’t support Johnson in a VONC and several of them might well survive in their seats if they were to run as LibDems. The LibDems also owe the Tories a drubbing in the South West.

The other thing to recognise is that the Lib Dems ceased to be a progressive party in 2007, when their Leadership election was between Clegg and Huhne; both were “Orange Bookers”, which was the right-wing economic manifesto within the Lib Dems. It was ideological commitment as well as Parliamentary arithmetic that led to the Lib Dems supporting Cameron’s coalition government. Their internal opponents have mainly left the LibDems. …