How to fix the Labour Party

How to fix the Labour Party

I am considering getting involved in a so-called debate about Lavery, Tricket and Smith’s recent revision of their No Holding Back report, which has been seized with alacrity by the usual suspects, possibly unfairly; it seems more nuanced than its authors and fans suggest but I may not be reading it sufficiently well. I am reminded of the Data Praxis report, Tory Landslide, Progressives Split, which shows how it might have been worse and blames our FPTP electoral system. I precis them by saying,

“Labour lost because, Leavers in Labour seats, switched to the Tories, but more Labour Remainers from 2017 switched; Corbyn (& the manifesto) were now unpopular and thus too many Tory Remainers stayed with the Tories.

Dave Levy

We should also note that Lavery, Tricket and Smith do not mention Scotland; it’s not their expertise but there’s no answer without the Scots.

While looking at what to say, and for help in understanding the problem, I was concerned to be truthful at the state of the red wall parties’ health, but it seems hard to get the local contact rates, which will all be poor nor to get the member/voter ratio. I looked at Labour Together’s report, again to see if they said anything useful about local Party organisation/structure and campaigning. This is difficult to be honest about because of the back office chicanery in Labour HQ on 2017 & 2019 and the myths and maybe truths about how Momentum’s volunteer organisation saved us in 2017 get in the way. They i.e. Labour Together don’t say anything useful or concrete about CLP organisation. We should also note that the Democracy Review did nothing to improve local campaigning effectiveness either. Perhaps we should be listening to Crispin Flintoff on his campaign to fund CLPs properly.

About the Labour Together report, I found this, at Immigration News, which pulls no punches. I say, using their words,

[the] New Labour Together Report investigates Labour’s 2019 Election Defeat with crushing honesty – but glosses over senior saboteurs behind the Labour Leaks dossier. A 150-page report published this week by research group Labour Together serves up some stone-cold truths and analysis in what may have led to Labour’s downfall in the 2019 General Election. “

Olivia Bridge – Immigration news JUne 2020

I have written about “What happened?”, and created a reading list tagged “ge2019” on my diigo feed, and to remind me and others of what wise people said, I also reproduce the Electoral Calculus chart on where votes came and went.

I have made a sankey chart from this, it would seem that this chart is for England & Wales only, but for other source notes, you’ll need to check out the original article.

The Labour Together report is strong on the need to get the strategy right; I think we may need to end the factionalism first and recognise the members must have the first and last word but we also need to resolve the fault lines in our coalition, because much of the pro-Brexit positions came from Labour politicians on the right of the party whose heritage is the “Control Immigration” mug and future road is that of Blue Labour, “work, family, community”. Adopting this sort of rubbish and its racist sub-text will jeopardise Labour’s city heartlands, apart from just being wrong. …

On DMCA takedown of youtube-dl

On DMCA takedown of youtube-dl

The EEF thought fit to comment on an RIAA DCMA takedown using §1201 of the DCMA aimed at a program called youtube-dl hosted on Github; I forwarded it via Facebook with a cryptic, acronym laden comment, and not surprisingly, some of my correspondents suggested I could have been more helpful and understandable. So I wrote an article on Linkedin, although much of it can be gained from the EFF article, however, this version includes a bit on oppressive economics of copyright maximalism, and a comment noting that Github have reposted the repo and revised their process to ensue their policies of supporting developers is fully considered when considering takedown notices. ...

Citizen voting power in the US

The last article got me thinking about the US electoral college and so I decided to describe the relative power of its citizens using a ratio. Here’s the chart, and it’s coloured in so you can get an idea of who it benefits, if anyone. I was surprised that Texas is the most disenfranchised …

The EC votes are equal to the number of Congress representatives + two to represent the Senators. Each state must have one Congress representative. The apportionment of the Congress representatives was done nearly 10 years ago and things have changed. Wikipedia has a page on this and I used their table to build my chart, although if I had looked harder, they have one similar.

There are three causes of this inequality

  1. Each state gets a vote for each Senator irrespective of the number of voters in the state
  2. There is a floor of three votes/state which explains the difference in influence between the states with three EC votes
  3. Some states have grown in population, and others shrunk; the allocations are 10 years old.

Not just the mandate

…, it’s the powers and the term guarantee

The US Presidential Election, how exciting! Others will discuss the politics and political fallout, but I want to look at something else. Many will look at the failings of the electoral college and thus the glaringly obvious anti-democratic inertia of the Senate but like our consideration of Labour movement General Secretaries the problem is the powers not the mandate although in the USA, the mandate i.e. the electoral college, where each state gets one vote per congress representative, and one vote per senator thus preferring the views of people who live in states with a lower population, is problem.

The US Presidential elections have been settled via the electoral college usually on the basis of matching the popular vote, but the popular vote has rarely been decisive. This twitter thread looks at the last few and they rarely better our Brexit margin of 52-48 per-cent. The size of disenfranchised minorities is too large, the power of the winning coalition too broad and the nature of the decisions is such that expressing a change of mind becomes impossible. This is not right nor is it democratic.

In my article, “but democracy!”, I wrote,

Presidential systems based on the US model have [dual mandates] built in, as does the French system and on a smaller scale our system of Executive Mayors.  It should be necessary for a President to build a wide-ranging coalition to win, which should be a protection against the degeneration of Democracy, but history would suggest this is not the case. Where a society is split on critical social & economic issues, or religious or national identity issues, the “winner takes all” nature of Presidential systems and Plebiscites is a centripetal force on the unity of the polity. (This is powerfully identified in Juan Linz’s paper, Democracy: Presidential or Parliamentary, Does it make a difference?) I say,

Only a Parliament can represent the breadth of interests in a complex society, only a Parliament can negotiate popular compromises based on 2nd choices and changing priorities.

Dave Levy – but democracy!

But in both the UK & USA fundamental reform albeit of differing nature is required.

In the USA, the problem is the powers of the Presidency not the mandate, it’s the powers and strangely the term limit, but also the disproportionate power of the US Senate is becoming inappropriate as the growing majority now live in cities. …