Lammy on the EU/FTC

Lammy on the EU/FTC

Two days ago, David Lammy, Labour’s Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs made a speech (mirrored) to a seminar hosted by “UK in a changing Europe”, in which he makes a searing attack on Johnson’s Govt, highlighting the myopia of the defence white papers, and the sectarianism of their approach towards Northern Ireland, and towards the EU. He concludes by stating that Brexit is over, we’re out but that a Labour Government will seek to improve the terms of the Trade & Co-operation agreement, albeit without renegotiating the deal, and without rejoining either the customs union or the single market.

Overleaf, the article includes my statement that Brexit is not over, it also talks of Labour's five points and its inherent 'cakeism' on freedom of movement, it notes the cowardice still within the Labour Front bench and it also looks at the security implications of Brexit, I conclude, 'It looks as if the right of the Labour Party have not read this and are still playing triangulation within the Overton window. There is an uber-Remainer vote to win, it’s young, it works and is often not white. The policy goals are insufficient and they are chasing the wrong votes.' I link to a video of the speech. ...

Human rights and the ECHR

Human rights and the ECHR

The Govt have published their response to the consultation on Human Rights Act. The responsible minister is Dominic Raab, for whom it has been a long term aim to weaken people’s access to legal remediation, well for anything actually. Raab co authored, The Assault on Liberty. In this case, the target human rights and their 1st target is the right to a private and family life, arguing that honouring this right makes deporting people harder, articulate bu Jim Carrey in 'Liar, Liar', I point at my article on the GMB London Region’s evidence to the consultation, I concluded that too much attention was being placed on the relationship between the various institutions and insufficient on what might occur if a sense of impunity were developed in the administrative organs of the State. The article concludes with some quotes and links to Prof. Mark Elliot's contribution to the debate. There's more overleaf ...

Coming soon, at #Lab22

Coming soon, at #Lab22

Two Labour Party comrades have managed to submit rule changes to LP Conference; one is an attempt to ensure that the LP takes decisions conformant with the European Convention on Human Rights, the second is an attempt to constrain the NEC's powers to make the rules up when conducting selections. The text can be found in this CLPD doc for the first (or below/overleaf), and in this document for the second, (or below/overleaf).

Please get mandates to support these rule changes. ...

Another fine hole!

Another fine hole!

So it appears that Sir Keir Starmer is going to return to his comfort zone on immigration. Ruling out that a Labour Government, led by him, will agree a freedom of movement of workers with the EU, except of course, Eire, Malta and Cyprus, although given some of his comments in the Union, he may well be willing to sacrifice the UK/Eire Common Travel Area.

I don’t know how many times I and others need to say this. We need foreigners, particularly young foreigners to come to this country to work and pay taxes. If they don’t come, the work doesn’t get done, which is one reason there’s a labour shortage. The search for a ‘fair immigration’ policy that restricts incoming workers is like looking for a chimera. We now have an earnings limit that means that teachers and nurses cannot enter the country to work. It’s an economic act of self harm and panders to racism.

Starmer isn’t very good at economics and this is trolling his base. He assumes they have nowhere else to go; the last people to think this were wrong and he is too. …

An old idea, whose time has come

An old idea, whose time has come

Has the single market pendulum swung? Tobias Ellwood MP, a Tory, lifted the lid? The GMB voted to recognise that we could do better than the terms agreed; it seems I was preceded (or maybe not) by Ann McMorrin MP, who was rebuked by a courageous un-named Labour spokesperson. McMorrin was followed today, by an article from Stella Creasy, arguing that Labour’s silence on the crapness of the Brexit deal leaves the whole of the narrative to the Tories, although crapness is not the word used by Creasy. This is compounded in my mind by Starmer’s decision to vote for the withdrawal deal! The Creasy article is to my mind very good, and here are two quotes,

For fear of saying the wrong thing, many in Labour claim it is better to say nothing at all about Brexit. But such reticence does not honour those who voted Leave – or Remain. Each wanted their vote to mean something better than chaos at the borders or businesses in peril. Post-Brexit, there are many ways forward for the UK and the EU – and most don’t end in a trade war as a distraction from a prime minister’s personal misconduct

Aneurin Bevan once argued that “silent pain evokes no response”. The same is true of silent politics. It will damage our national interest for generations if hostility about the UK working with the EU seeps into public life without dissent. To be able to do business with the biggest trading block in the world, stand shoulder to shoulder against Russian aggression and tackle climate change, terrorism and social injustice, Britain needs us to speak up now. Keeping stumm is not in anyone’s interest except Johnson’s.

Stella creasy – The Observer 19 June 2022

She’s right, we need to talk about the post Brexit deal and the single market; and if the Chair of the Labour Movement for Europe won’t then there’s little reason to expect others to do so as the treatment of McMorrin shows.  …

GMB22, impressions and a sting in the tail?

GMB22, impressions and a sting in the tail?

What is my general opinion of the Congress? I believe it was even more managed than at my last Congress in 2019.

The most important tool of management is the CEC recommendation. The CEC positions vary in degrees of support, from Support, via Support with Qualification to Refer and Withdraw. If the qualifications, request to refer or withdraw are refused, then the CEC opposes.  It is my view that the CEC were very cautious in making recommendations, especially between refer and support with qualification. They don’t seem to operate on the principle that ‘other people have good ideas’.

A second important tool of management is using, I should say persuading, regional delegations to refuse to support a branch position leaving an often inexperienced and/or uncommitted delegate to take their motions to the rostrum with an unknown level of support and a known level of hostility. We must note that not all branches are represented at Congress. Also, all delegates except your own region are prohibited from taking an agreed position and have to listen to the debate before deciding which way to vote. Maybe a rule honoured in the breach.

In the so-called interests of speed, there are no speeches from the floor in favour of motions, (although CEC special reports get nine regional contributions which invariably support the CEC position), and also in the interests of speed, they are no longer taking votes on referrals to the CEC, which I consider to be a problem as the ideas in the motion no longer have a Congress mandate.

There were 291 motions published in the original agenda, of which many will have been marked as existing policy and therefore not allocated time for a debate, and five days were planned. In the final agenda, there were 17 composite motions, which reduce the number of total motions to be debated and many more were withdrawn during the conference. The CEC proposed eight reports thus generating 72 speeches in favour of their position.

One aspect of platform management was the withdrawal of most motions on the Labour Party affiliation and its disciplinary process and those motions critical of the CEC on branch finance. The CEC will have notified the delegates that they were opposing, and its possible that the authoring branch weren’t represented in the regional delegation or that the branch delegate didn’t agree with the motions. I have seen this happen at Labour Conference where delegates oppose words proposed by their branches/CLPs.

On the positive side, there were three great speeches which were notable for their militancy and for their reception. Katy Maxwell, from GMB Scotland, moving Composite 8 on Anti-Trade Union laws, the delegate who asked about seemingly missing Shadow Front-bench’s support for the rail-workers and Una Byrne in seconding EM2 on the Rwanda Transportations.

These were all well received; there may be appetite for more militancy from the GMB rank & file than would seem to be welcome from the platform. …

GMB agrees to “Oppose Refugee deportation to Rwanda”

My branch proposed an Emergency Motion on the Rwanda deportations, here is the debate, sorry about the sound,

and here are the words,

EM2. Oppose Refugee deportation to Rwanda

Congress notes that on the 14th April, Priti Patel announced that the UK and Rwanda would sign a deal allowing the UK government to send unprocessed immigrants to Rwanda. On the 10th April,  the High Court refused an application to stop the Govt’s planned removal of people seeking asylum by offshoring them to Rwanda despite the UN warning the Home Office off the likely illegality. This decision was unsuccessfully appealed on Monday 13th June 2022.

The move to offshore those seeking asylum is racist , breaches human rights and our international duties to welcome refugees which are embedded in  treaty commitments.

We instruct the CEC to raise awareness of the High Court’s decision on 10.6.22 ensuring our members working in detention centres and work ancillary to the detention centres are informed of the justice and rights of those in their care.

Congress agrees to support the actions of any members in the detention centres and other impacted businesses if they choose to refuse to perform work effecting the deportations

Congress calls on GMB sponsored MPs to campaign to reverse this programme, and for the Labour Party to oppose any parliamentary resolutions enabling this programme. They must recognise that many/most of the transportees are unprocessed asylum seekers fleeing threats of death and war.

London Central General

The CEC issued a qualification which is important to understand the position of the Union.  …

The finance debate

The finance debate

One of the key debates, at least as far as the platform was concerned was the debate on whether to freeze the subscriptions again. The CEC had made their task harder by deciding to reduce the branch capitation payments. Until earlier this year, branches by rule, retained 10% of the membership fees paid by their members. The CEC implemented a 25% cut to these payments. They proposed a special report confirming their actions and amending the rule to permit this to occur. The initial agenda had 19 motions critical either of the adjustment, or of the way it had been done and one in favour; it had seven motions calling for alternative subscription fee structures. By the time of the debate, the only survivors were the motion supporting the CEC, one removing regional committee discretion, one postponing it to later in the year and one criticising the way in which the CEC had behaved.

The article overleaf is quite long; the conclusions are that the CEC got their way but to my mind didn't tell the whole story, which they may come to regret.

Sick Pay

We sent a motion on Sick Pay to Congress, this was debated and passed this morning. Our key demands were to remove lower earnings limit so everyone has access to sick pay because 2m don’t have access at the moment because they don’t earn enough and also to increase the rate, to at least the level of a 'real' living wage. We also asked for something to happen in Parliament and for the CEC to report back to Congress. There was a similar motion put by another Region and they were combined into Composite 7. Another deleagte from London Region made the speech; the motion was carried. The composite words are overleaf ...