I want to propose a change to Labour’s Rules to ensure that a due process is defined for any expulsions for “supporting” the wrong people. To me, the critical weaknesses of the current rule, apart from its potential for corrupt usage is the chilling effect that banning the support of “political organisations” will have and the lack of due process in evaluating if someone has actually “supported” a political organisation other than Labour. The rest of this article illustrates a possible change and asks advice whether to amend Rule 2.I.4.B or to delete it; I plan to take one of these options to the CLPD AGM to seek support. …


I can’t remember what brought this up; it may have been considering local government cuts. It was certainly raised in my mind during the Indy Ref., but financial autonomy for local government is not good enough. This is true at a UK borough level and also at an international level within the EU. Poorer places need more social expenditure and have a lower tax base (or lower addressable charitable income), if the social wage and decent care is to be offered and some of these things should be seen as a right, we need to practice an old truth,

From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.

It can be applied to communities as well as people. In the context of the EU, when the UK joined a Regional Fund was created which may now have morphed into the R&D budget, in the UK, Central Government has always given money to local authorities and these payments have always been politically biased. Some have also spoken recently of a Transfer Union, because social services and income transfers remain social goals but cannot be funded by locally fragmented economies It’s one reason why, between Scotland and the rest of the UK, there exists a quasi legal objective funding agreement.

Since these funding/subsidy agreements are not legally underwritten, they have become political tools to reinforce electoral power. It’s another reason why the UK needs an entrenched basic law. Paul Cotterill has argued that the “Localism Act” gives local authorities the ability to resist aspects of Brexit and the long term EU treaty commitment to subsidiarity is also a potential legal route to establish the rights of local authorities to define their needs and collective remedies. It’s a shame that it looks like we’re leaving because there’s little doubt that Parliamentary Sovereignty is past its sell-by date, we need a basic law to guarantee citizen’s rights against the government and the only one we have is the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. …


John Bercow has got himself in trouble with Tories again by threatening to block Trump speaking in Westminster Hall and then noting that he voted to “Remain”. A bunch of Tories are racking up the pressure by talking of no-confidence  but

the job of the Speaker is not to be impartial between the Government and the Opposition, but to be the speaker for the Commons, against the Government.

Bercow’s pursuit and enthusiasm for this part of the job has earned him many friend on the backbenches from MPs of all colours and many enemies in the Tory Party from Government ministers and those that aspire to be so. He should see this one off. …

The Digital Economy Act (again)

The Digital Economy Act (again)

The Digital Economy Act 2010 showed the long term goal of the entertainment industry, they want to criminalise file sharing. At the time, individual acts of copyright infringement were civil acts and the copyright owners had to pursue them through the courts, one at a time. This is expensive, slow, uncertain and most importantly expensive, compared with the cover price of a CD or DVD. The DE Act did that, it also sought to automate the justice system and in order to do that it weakened innocent until proven guilty, by prescribing defences and also placed a charge on going to court to argue not guilty. It really was a shit piece of legislation. However, the Law stated that the costs of surveillance and discovery had to be shared by the copyright owners and the internet service providers. The Courts struck down this part of the Law, (see here … for more)  …


I have just posted on the new Digital Economy Bill and it leaves me with two questions and final thought.

Since the law talks about risk of loss, can we argue that content over 14 years has no value as argued in “Forever minus a day!”, and that there is thus no risk of loss. Since the crime or culpable act is “making available”, and it’s recognised that a hyperlink does not “make available”, only the target publisher does that, surely non seeding bittorrent users are also not “making available” and neither is streaming consumption.

I considered putting a link to this register story, about automated justice but felt that the story I told, didn’t need the help, although it is relevant as their looking to make prosecution cheaper at the expense of fair. …

Scylla, Charybdis & Brexit

A quick note on the Labour Party, Brexit and Corbyn.

Owen Jones has, it seems, finally broken with Corbyn and mischief makers are suggesting that Corbyn’s decision to whip the PLP in favour of Article 50 Bill, even if not amended is a potential disaster for Corbyn’s majority amongst Labour’s membership. Others are claiming that he has navigated the issue with the skill of Odysseus passing the threats of Scylla and Charybdis; they argue that any position other than soft brexit is destructive to Labour’s chances of winning in 2020 and that Labour has a duty to respect the results of the referendum. Some of these new democrats have a long history of supporting a brexit anyway.

As members and voters we do not have to respect the result of the referendum, we did not respect Section 28,  and we will always campaign and vote and persuade for the politics we believe is right. When I say we, there are obviously people in the Labour Party who design their policy programs exclusively in order to win but since I believe that leaving the EU will damage the economy for all but the ultra-rich,  create a less tolerant society, damage the rule of Law and diminishes my rights I have no intention of shrugging my shoulders and say that’s all right then.

He is not pursuing the Party’s policy, which is to seek a second mandate if the terms agreed by the Government are unacceptable. Voting for the 3rd reading if the Bill is not amended with the opportunity for Parliament to have a meaningful say on the terms of the deal is not Party policy, and announcing that is what the PLP will do before the amendments are voted on is in my mind extremely poor tactics.

We should also say clearly that if we want to defend workers and consumers rights we need the EU Court and thus the single market is a red line. This is not negotiable with the Tory party which is why they are happy with a shit deal or no deal; it’s the only way they can avoid the court. No ECJ is their red line. Our minimum acceptable standard requires the court and we should say so; we have better law with judges of every other nationality on our supreme court, including. perhaps especially including those from the newer democracies.

However the split in the Party is not only about Brexit. There are some that continue to “triangulate” with UKIP and their caveman allies in the Tories. The code words being about “listening”. We cannot go there. Some call this strategy, asking where do we get the votes to win; but it’s not from the racist elements of UKIP or the Tories. These strategists are taking us to a racist sewer and, are where they are, because they do not do the work in opposing racism. I will not go there but even Corbyn is being pressured to drop his pro-migration line.

After the 2015 election and the disgraceful stitch up the previous year that confirmed the then front bench the right to do what they wanted, leading to the reasonable manifesto, the poor pledge card and the ludicrous “Ed Stone”, I promised myself that I will never not say what I think and never allow the Labour Party to silence me using a “Unity” card. The Party should listen to its members first.

In reality the old Labour electoral coalition is broken, by New Labour in 1997;  it’s time to take sides. We’ve been loosing votes since 1997, 3m between ’97 and 2001.

Therefore I continue to support his imperfect leadership but also those MPs who are voting against the Bill.  I continue to support the 10 point plan and there is to my mind no-one else in the PLP who would be better electorally. It was New Labour that told the organised working class to fuck off; why would they come back for a rehashed austerity programme written in the ’90s which is all that’s on offer. …


This is magnificent. “A Howl into the Void” by Simon Indelicate. A high minded diatribe against brexit. I have book marked it at Diigo and selected some quotes and made some notes there. This is a bit more me.

Personally, I am big fan of swearing, I think at times it can be the most accurate and emotional way to express yourself, and your choice of words speaks for me.

You state that you think it’s done, and while Labour’s parliamentary party is busy shooting itself in the nether regions, we remainers still have cards to play. The Tory remainers have to stand up and surely they must and hilariously we have the European Union Act 2011 which places a referendum lock on treaty changes with EU. So being kicked out, might not invoke the Act but a transitional arrangement probably would. Given it was passed to appease the bottom feeders, this is very funny.

I enjoyed the theoretical power of your talk of the Demos, must admit, I haven’t heard any of the Brexiters discuss this in this way; it’s more xenophobic than that …. Ooh foreigners! We don’t want foreign judges interpreting the Laws of the Mother of Parliaments when in fact that’s exactly who we do want doing this, the children of post fascist western Europe and the children of post Stalinist eastern Europe have a better idea of how to build a liberal society than the lazy children of the nazi appeasers.

You say,

“We’re European because (quite literally for those of us under 42) we were born European – it’s as intrinsic to us as being English (and let’s be honest, that’s what you mean) is to you.”

You should add, that for some of us over 60, this is a life time’s project. We knew we were voting for “Ever Closer Union” having been taught by our war veteran parents what the alternatives were.

I also like,

“It feels physically illegitimate to us that any vote could strip us of these rights. It feels unconstitutional in a bodily sense…..

“Our people are Europeans and your poxy provincial mandate doesn’t come close to the bar that would need clearing if we are to have our birthright stripped from us. It’s not a majority of us, it’s a majority of you. It’s only democratic to support it if you accept that we are only British. We don’t accept it. We’ve been European too long. I don’t honestly think that that many of us even knew that this was how we felt.

You finish talking about democratic commitment, and must be noted that these fuckers gerrymandered the electorate to meet, in your words, their poxy provincial mandate; we even denied the spouses of narrowly defined British citizens the right to vote and we are now expelling them, we denied 16-18 years olds the right to vote, we denied ex-pats and their spouses the right to vote.

I agree this will never end, but I haven’t given up, every other time a polity has voted to fuck up the Union, the Union has survived and they have remained.

There is no better Brexit terms than remaining, and we might still win if we win a second mandate as they die and youth earns the vote.

Finally, well done for writing the article without talking about economics, immigration or the democratic credentials of the EU vs. the parliamentary sovereignty, with its hereditary monarchy and appointed House of Lords. FFS. Obviously I find it hard to leave it alone but if more of us had spoken about the nobility of the cause for longer we might have won and might still do!

In solidarity! …


It becomes clearer. It seems that Labour’s amendments to the Article 50 Bill are committee stage amendments and thus can’t be debated if the Bill fell at the second reading. While I think that supporting the Bill is wrong, especially if unamended, the real test will be at 3rd Reading …

Dented Shield

Both Bruce Schneier and The Register cover Trump’s issuing of a “Executive Order”, known in the English language as a Decree called “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” in which he instructs Federal agencies (nudge nudge, wink wink) to ensure that their privacy policies apply only to US citizens or lawful permanent residents and that Privacy Act protections are not to be applied to, well, the rest of the world. The Register, doesn’t quite call this a “Fuck You, EU” and Schneier is more balanced offering counter opinions, but it does question the US commitment to the Privacy Shield which as the Register points out is itself questioned by many EU law makers. …

3rd Reading

Is it true that Labour’s amendments to the Article 50 Bill are Committee stage amendments and will only be debated now that the Bill has passed its 2nd Reading? So let’s see what happens to the amendments. What will Corbyn and the PLP do if none of them pass? Despite all the calls that the referendum result is the final democratic voice of the people, Labour’s Conference position is clear; we should only leave if the deal is acceptable and Parliament should demand the last word when we know what the deal is. …