And here is a tedious piece in the Independent, arguing that economic rationalism is ubiquitous and will ensure the “sharing economy” fails. The author uses an example of a Tokyo based umbrella rental scheme, which failed because people didn’t bring them back. she could have referred to Oxford’s first municipal cycle rental scheme. There are many examples of collaboration schemes which are based on trust that work. The whole of the economics of micro-credit schemes and to some extent the open source software movement prove this. In these cases, trust is made personal, and peer to peer software can help this trust.

Her thesis is wrong on two counts. The sharing economy isn’t. It uses IT to partition lumpy resources, for examples rooms in a house, or seats in a journey and to then monetise them. The second feature of the current sharing economy, is that the platform owner appropriates the surplus value. The umbrella rental scheme should have studied New York’s answer where people sell them for $5 and understood its demand; no-one needs an umbrella when it’s not raining and an umbrella can’t be shared.

The second piece. aligned with or derived from the observation that the platform appropriates surplus value is that many of the so-called sharing economy enterprises are very greedy. Why would anyone put themselves out to help them, including their suppliers?



There’s a thread in one of the Labour Party forums on Facebook, and probably in many places arguing that Delegates to Conference cannot be mandated. The fact is that the rulebook is silent. However even where no instruction on how to vote is issued, a Delegate needs to interpret the wishes of all those that sent them; they won’t be sent again otherwise. This may not matter in factionally riven CLPs but the concept of mandate is common in the Unions, and where issued they should be adhered to.

The agenda and the specific motion text, except for CLP proposed rule changes for LP conference is not available until Conference meets and so any mandates have to be in principle. There are some elections that take place at Conference and if the delegates organisation has made nominations then they should treat it as a mandate. I know I did last year. Our CLP also issued an instruction on how to vote in the priorities ballot.

The question we should be asking is how to involve the maximum number of members in policy making. …


While May’s away, the mice they play. The Cabinet are on manoeuvres about the need and desirability of a transitional agreement in the case of concluding the Article 50 Brexit negotiations. As I have said a couple of times, this requires extreme clarity as to whether a transitional agreement  is in the words of the European Union Act 2011, a “Treaty amending or replacing the TEU or TFEU“. If so, either a Referendum, or a Parliamentary vote that one is not required must take place. …


My daily brexit rant; the argument that Brexiteers have a mandate which must be respected is fatally damaged by the fact that it looks like the leave campaign cheated, by excluding British overseas voters, 16 year olds, EU residents in the UK, they spent too much, illegally colluded and spent abroad to avoid electoral commission jurisdiction. They cheated! …

Labour & Brexit

On Labour & Brexit: up till last week, Corbyn & Starmer were talking about negotiating the best Brexit terms, in Starmer’s words,  no worse than membership. Corbyn’s interview over the weekend raised the possibility that Brexit would mean exit from the Single Market. This has caused a furore in the Labour Party and amongst some of its new friends.

This heat of this debate was raised by Barry Gardiner’s article in the FT stating that in a post EU existence the Customs Union was a problem but McDonnell says that nothing is off the table, and Starmer in a speech to Labour in Business repeats his six criteria and again states that nothing is off the table.

On Tuesday, my branch of the Labour Party debated this and voted, in part as a reaction to this debate, to remain in the Single Market and to take the issue to conference. In my speech, I seconded it, I argued that Conference had a policy, which I have mirrored here which was to ensure that the exit terms ensured no diminishing of workers, consumer, citizenship and migrant rights and that if the terms of exit breached these conditions that a second mandate (from Parliament, a General Election or Referendum) must be sought and that remaining in the EU is to be considered. This policy was established after the referendum. The 2017 Manifesto, approved by the Clause V meeting stated that,

Labour accepts the referendum result and a Labour government will put the national interest first.We will prioritise jobs and living standards, build a close new relationship with the EU, protect workers’ rights and environmental standards, provide certainty to EU nationals and give a meaningful role to Parliament throughout negotiations.

So three days later, I can accept that outcomes are important not structures and that an EEA/Swiss style deal might be acceptable to me provided we seek a second mandate.

I added that Labour are in opposition, and that the most likely way to get a third election is to defeat the Tories in the House of Commons. Stating that we would do in Government is premature and we are unclear which faction of the Tories will vote with us or abstain. It would be more sensible to retain our ambiguity on these issues.

In terms of timing, we, i.e. the British People, are running out of time. It may well be that the only option available by the time government falls is to revoke the Article 50 notice. Pretending that we can negotiate a Brexit deal & transitional agreement in 12 months is almost certainly a mistake. …

Open Selection

More rumbling about so called de-selections; they are open-selections, a sitting MP is guaranteed a place on the ballot paper. The NEC, it seems, has agreed that the 80 target seats will have open selections. Does that mean that incumbents don’t have to face trigger ballots? I think those imposed earlier in the year should have to face an open selection and get a local mandate. …

Red Lines

Corbyn went on the Andrew Marr show and said that Labour would come out of the single market and end freedom of movement of labour because it had destroyed opportunity in the UK. (I haven’t yet seen the interview but I have read a great deal of comment.) I have linked to Darrel Challoner’s essay on Corbyn’s comments on immigration in the comment to this article.

He is not in Government, I will judge him by the way he opposes the one we have.

But Labour’s conference policy is to have red lines on employment, consumer and migrant rights and to oppose a deal that doesn’t meet those lines. We need the single market (and the EU court)  to guarantee those red lines.

If he gets this wrong, he’ll fracture his internal leadership coalition, the old stalinists advising him and he, himself should be very careful. There’s a high price to be paid for getting this wrong. …

Student Debt

Over the last few days, the Tories and their media allies have been attacking Corbyn & Labour since they sense he has backtracked on his promise to look at Student debt accrued by historic tuition fees. As momentum post,

Since Corbyn is opposition, his actions can’t be judged but the central truth is that the only hope is with Labour. It surprises me that the Tories consider this to be an attack line worth pursuing, whatever they say they look worse. …


This was published in Oct, last year. A look at the literature on the impact on wages and the public finances of EU migration.

Does immigration harm the job prospects of the UK-born? Brexit and the UK labour market

Two quotes worth highlighting,

Research on the impact of immigration to the UK has detected no negative effects on the average wages of UK-born workers (Dustmann et al, 2005Manacorda et al, 2012).


Research also shows that EU immigrants have contributed positively to the UK fiscal budget. This is perhaps not surprising given that on average they are younger and more likely to be in work than the UK-born and therefore tend to pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits.

But you can’t reason people out of positions thy haven’t reasoned themselves into. …