The Labour Party are running three hustings meetings in September for you to hear from the five candidates to become Labour's candidate for Mayor of Lewisham. Attendees will hear from each of the candidates in turn telling you why they should be your preferred candidate followed by a Q&A session. ....


Today I added Labour’s Social Media Code of conduct to my Labour Rules page. I cannot find this in member’s net, and would be unsure about publishing it if it were there. I have made a mirror copy which comes from Labour List. The key phrase would seem to be,

Harassment, intimidation, hateful language and bullying are never acceptable, nor is any form of discrimination on the basis of gender, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

Two other points of interest, include the rule that anonymous online accounts are not to be used for the purpose of abuse and that people,

 …. with privilege, whether due to their volume of experience, party position or status in society should have regard to how their actions may be felt by those in different circumstances to themselves.


Community & diversity in Lewisham

I am supporting Paul Bell to be Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Lewisham.

This morning he made the following statement on community and diversity.

An injury to one is an injury to all – Stand up for migrants’ rights!

I’m standing for Mayor with a clear pro-migrants, international solidarity stance and policies.

A strong stance on supporting migrants’ rights is essential for two reasons. Firstly, because as socialists we must believe in human compassion, in welcoming the oppressed, and in human rights and equality for everyone. And secondly because British and migrant workers have the same interests, and we cannot fight for these interests if we allow the elite in this country and their political representatives to divide us. We must stand together in solidarity or we will all continue to lose.

We cannot allow our migrant sisters and brothers to be targeted. That’s why, despite my disdain for the neoliberal policies the EU pursues and promotes, I voted “remain” in the referendum. I’m proud to have signed up to the Labour Campaign for Free Movement, which pledges to defend and extend free movement, and I’m pleased to see at least one of the other Labour mayoral candidates has followed me in doing so.

We must never go back to the situation pre-Corbyn where the Labour Party pandered to, and let us be honest helped create, anti-migrant feelings. A Labour Lewisham council led by me will take a clear stand for migrants’ rights. We will be a powerful voice for migrants’ rights in the Labour Party, labour movement and wider society.

And we will do our bit locally too: there will be no more applications to the Controlling Migration Fund and proposals to harass rough sleepers, many of them migrants, will be dropped. The council will do everything it can to hinder rather than cooperate with immigration raids. We will provide services by working with grassroots charities which seek to empower migrants, including those with no recourse to public funds (NRPF), instead of continuing to commission larger organisations which pay their CEOs six figure salaries and are actively collaborating with the government’s anti-migrant agenda.

An injury to one is an injury to all, that’s why my vision for Lewisham is one that will serve the needs and interests of British citizens and migrants alike.


Fair Votes

Fair Votes

The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) has produced a report on the general election. It’s subtitled, “Volatile Voting, random results.”  First Past the Post (FPTP) claims to be designed to deliver Governmental stability, but in the last three elections, it has failed to do this twice. Furthermore it exaggerates local & regional differences, e.g. Scotland, Wales and the SE, where the leading parties margin of victory in terms of seats is higher than it’s vote warrants and the losers are under-represented. In this article, I have summarised what I see as the main themes and illustrated what ERS believe to be the impact of implementing a fairer voting system. I also make the point that different systems will cause different behaviour and I finish with a look at Germany’s PR system and a call for smaller constituencies in the belief that it will lead to a better relationship between MPs and their electors. …


Kier Starmer, Labour’s spokesman on Brexit, announces that Labour supports a transitional deal, on Single Market terms [Guardian]. [Labour List]. Given the time the Tories have wasted, there’s no time but to have a transitional agreement and the only options are the so called off-the-shelf agreements of which the EEA (which includes most of the single market) is the only one that might apply. I would suggest that this is a recognition of the weight of views in both the Labour Party in the country at large and in the PLP. They must have heard of the July meeting of the New Cross Labour Branch where left and right united around a motion supporting remaining in the single market.

We are not out of the woods yet since the terms will be negotiated by the Tories and I am still of the view that any transitional agreement, must by law be approved by a referendum. (It would seem I am in a minority of one).

The Labour List article, makes it clear that Starmer is talking about the nature of a transitional deal; if the Tories cave in (due to pressure from their Bremainers) and agree to an EEA transition, this may ensure Labour led by Corbyn will support the deal, and fail to vote to withdraw the Article 50 notice.



I went to the British Library’s exhibition on the Russian Revolution yesterday. Whatever your politics, there are important lessons for everyone in the Revolution and the experiment of the Soviet State. I learned two new things.

The Constituent Assembly was elected using the, at the time, world’s most democratic mandate consisting of all men & women, even those with no property qualification above the age of 18. The electoral commission that wrote the law were executed, allegedly by agents of the Cheka the day before the assembly met.

There was a typewritten letter from the British Ambassador in St. Petersburg, which he wrote after speaking to Will Thorne, a leading left activist and MP. The letter advised the Government not to give Sanctuary to the deposed Tsar and his family for fear of Bolshevik revolutionary activity in the United Kingdom. (They don’t teach that in school, and I’d often wondered why the Royal Family refused to allow them to come to Britain). …


The nature of Executive Mayoralties continues to exercise me. Wikipedia documents the fact that there are two authorities that have changed their mind and re-established council control after trialling an Executive Mayoralty. These are Stoke and Hartlepool.

Both offices were originally won by independents, with Stuart Drummond, originally standing as  H’Angus the Monkey winning three terms in Hartlepool before the office was abolished by referendum. In Stoke, the independent was defeated on his attempt to win a second term. Phil Burton-Cartledge, a blogger that I follow and resident of Stoke documented the Mayoralty’s sunset on his blog.

Stoke, uniquely,  adopted the Mayor & Manager model, and their first Mayor only served for two years and was defeated by the Labour Party at the end of his short 1st term. The Labour Mayor pursued the same dented shield policies on cuts i.e. cuts and council tax rises as the previous incumbent. The council and more importantly the Labour group were split with some Labour councillors taking their opposition into the chamber i.e. they voted against the Mayor’s budget, however it takes a ⅔ majority to overturn a Mayor’s budget and the Labour dissidents were disciplined by the West Midland Regional Labour Party. It should be added that some members of the factional majority were also unhappy with the system; one factor of course may be the lack of Cabinet, its roles, influence  and expenses. It seems that the Government abolished the Stoke model and that a choice had to be made between a Leader & Executive Mayor. I cannot discover if the referendum was called by Council Resolution or by petition; 9300 signatures would have been required. The people of Stoke, after a what Phil reports as  a desultory campaign in the referendum voted to return to a more democratic structure based on a collective leadership, with a Leader & Cabinet.

I think this is an interesting story offering evidence or insight on points 3, 5, 7 & 9 in my anti-mayor manifesto. …