Now that’s a landslide!

It is not usual for a political party to have a post conference bounce, but not like this; there might be something else going on. :)

The full article has the yougov tweet with a 33% lead for Labour, and an electoral calculus seat forecast with only three tory MPs. It's clearly not all down to Labour. To see the graphics, "Read More" ...

Summary impressions of #lab22

Summary impressions of #lab22

 #lab22 was very quite and extraordinarily managed. There was some good chairing by Alice Perry and Dianna Holland, and some dreadful chairing by the rest, Wendy Nichols, Angela Eagle and Gurinder Singh Josan. Does Starmer’s speech sum up what we’ve become?, a mild social democracy domestically (but to the right of Callaghan on public ownership if not on wages and collective bargaining), an atlanticist foreign policy (differing from Ed Miliband & Corbyn), and a vicious internal management regime suggesting continued bad behaviour if they get into government where they’ll control, the Dept. of Justice, Home Office, and the intelligence services.

I make this conclusion from Starmer’s speech; Conference wants more but we’ll see what the front bench does; front benches of both factions have a habit of ignoring what they don’t want. The silence and de-emphasising of benefit cuts is also worrying as is the silence on the hostile environment.

My other fear is that no Labour Government has ever been more left wing than its manifesto, is what they want enough to build a more equal society and do the leadership want that? It could have been worse, many of us were fearing a full on blue labour manifesto and I am not yet cleat that the debt fetishists are in retreat. …

Left Right power

The two key votes on which the relative strength of the factions can be measured are Card Vote 7 reported in CAC2, and in my article, “The Rules debate”, and the vote for the National constitutional committee reported in CAC4.

On CV 7, the pro-CLP vote consisted of 42.2% of the CLP vote, versus 56.8%. For the NCC vote, the Momentum/CLGA candidates got 28.5% of the vote, which was only open to CLP delegates. This is very disappointing and a significant collapse from 2021.

Momentum claim that they won the battle of ideas, we’ll see.

I usually look at the the attendance numbers; for CV7 there were 293,621 votes. The Labour Party reported 432, 213 members as at the qualification date. The reported membership includes those in arrears, which I estimate as 28K. This means that 68% (of the membership) or 72% (of members in good standing) of CLP votes were cast in CV7. Thus I calculate that 101,000 votes missing based on my estimated membership number. This represents about 172 CLPs as far as I can tell and 27% of the membership in good standing. I estimate that 15,000 of those missing will be the London Parties whose delegations were prohibited or Parties suspended. …

Health and NHS

Health and NHS

 I was a delegate from Lewisham Deptford CLP and we had proposed a motion on Health. We composited our words into the motion and got seconding rights. We called for decent GP services and an end to ICSs while the Socialist Health Association motion called for a reversal of privatisation; other CLPs wanted an emphasis on failing mental health services. We got seconding rights, and Louise Irvine of Lewisham Deptford made speech. The motion was of course carried overwhelmingly. It’s the NHS. The words are available in CAC2 Addendum. …



The debate on the composite was introduced by a speech from Lesia Vasilinko, a Ukrainian MP and co-chair of the British Ukrainian Friendship society; the session is on video. Ms Vasilinko’s speech starts at this book mark and I have created a text version (or ) of the speech.

Ukraine has been invaded by the Russian Federation, a country with a track record of military actions in contravention of the UN Charter and a dreadful record in front of the ECtHR. Ukraine has chosen to fight and I support them in their acts of self defence and their right to national self-determination. Conference now agrees.  

Sadly there are some aspects of the motion that divert attention from this act of solidarity.

Within the motion, there is a call for increased investment in weapons production, I argue that we need a defence policy/strategy based on the needs of British and our allies’ security not on the needs of arms manufacturers, which is what we’ve had for too long.  The two topics, defence policy and Ukrainian solidarity should have been disaggregated. By not doing so, the proposers gave people a good reason to vote against the motion which is unfortunate, and a number of delegates did.

The words of the motion make no mention of the Russian peace campaigner, or refuge for Russian draft dodgers. It makes no reference to Ukraine’s recent anti Trade Union laws nor of its record in front of the ECtHR, nor that Ukraine’s rating on the 3rd party democracy indexes is low, albeit higher than Russia’s. Our solidarity must ensure that a post war Ukraine continues on the route to democracy.

Sadly it makes no mention of the UK sanctions, and the need to get Russian money out of British politics. We need to publish the secret parts of the Russia Report and ensure that those involved in funnelling Russian money into British politics are found and held to account particularly for their intervention in the Brexit referendum and funding the Tory party.

Labour List also reports on the motion, their article contains the words of the motion, Composite 13, which are also available in CAC 2 Addendum.

None of this justified a vote against. Russia invaded a neighbour that chose to fight. Ukraine has chosen to fight for its independence, this needs to be supported. …

Starmer speaks

Starmer speaks

This is available on youtube and as text, it is to my mind one of the best he’s given; he’s clearly more comfortable with the role than previously. The last 11 months of a polling lead which was to leap the following day will have helped, but I hope they don’t believe their propaganda that the May 22 elections were a validation of Starmer’s Labour, there were victories and also losses.

I welcome the promise of a sovereign wealth find, made by Rachel Reeves earlier in the week, and on the surface the promise of GB Energy seemed to be a significant step towards state participation in the energy market and would explain, but not excuse, why the delegates supporting the ‘Green New Deal’ were excluded from the composite meeting; it would have been embarrassing if conference had called for the wholesale nationalisation of the energy industry while the Leader announced a half-way house, or as later commentators note suggests a waypoint. Starmer repeated Louise Haigh’s promise made yesterday to nationalise the railways again.

Back carbon capture. Commit to green steel production. New renewable ports. New gigafactories. And insulate 19 million homes.

Sir Kier Starmer – lab22

I am disappointed at the absence of sensible position on the EU and Trade Friction, interestingly, Cooper was allowed to grandstand on cancelling the Rwanda programme, but left it to Kier to announce that Labour would introduce a points based immigration system. Neither mentioned repealing the hostile environment.

In the 80s we had a point system for people coming to the UK for work. you got one point for speaking English, one point if you had a job offer, one point if that job offer was competitively paid, one point if the job was highly skilled and one point if there was no local labour to do the job. if you had five points you could enter the country. The Tories have replaced highly skilled with highly paid, and the inconvenient truth is that British labour shortages or not restricted to highly skilled, highly paid work. The economy needs hospitality workers, agricultural workers,  and care and health service workers. The UK’s exclusion from Horizon Europe is another policy failure that limits UK science’s access to highly skilled research scientists. Any point system will need to ensure that workers across the full range vacancies can enter the country. Any other system will be a barrier to growth. It is clear that many skilled workers originally from Europe have returned to the home countries because they feel unwelcome after the Brexit vote and harassed by the hostile environment which seeks to turn landlords and banks and the NHS into border guards. It needs to go!

I annotated the text speech on diigo and made a copy of those notes on my wiki; I attempted to extract the specific policy promises from the anti-tory and feel-good rhetoric. …

On points of order

On points of order

The platform introduced a new process; points of order need to be justified at the speakers desk, before being allowed to put to conference and the chair. I can understand that; some people are quite irresponsible in the points of order they make, however the rules say,

Point of order – Any delegate may raise a legitimate point of order during a debate. Any such point of order shall be heard at the conclusion of the current speech.

The Chair shall retain the power to rule what is and is not a legitimate point of order, and to instruct a delegate to end an illegitimate point of order.

A point of order will be ruled illegitimate if it does not immediately and directly identify which of these standing orders is in question.

Labour’s Rule Book A9.I.4.C

i.e. the Chair determines if a Point of Order is legitimate not an employee of the party, not even the GS. The power to raise a point of order is an important part of the power relationship between the floor and the platform.

The fact is they aren’t very good; they allowed one point of order on ‘the last speaker was talking rubbish’ and two on ‘the chair is not calling people like me’. They denied me a point of order on the conduct of card vote 13, and they also denied a point of order to a delegate who wanted to remind the chair that delegates have been instructed that they can only indicate they wish to speak if seated and to raising their empty hand. The ‘must be seated rule’ is an accessibility issue and people used to wave the most ridiculous of things, including an inflatable red dragon and in one case their baby. The third point in the rule is in my mind sufficient protection against abuse.

On speaker selection, there is no perfect way, there are more people that want to speak than there are slots and the debate is improved if recognised experts such as TU speakers, or in 2018, Richard Corbett, the leader of the EPLP, and even PPCs. However, in 2018 and I believe 2021, the conference provided accessibility stewards, with uniform tee shirts and great big signs to stand beside disabled speakers who wished to speak. This wasn’t done this year. I have no doubt that more can be done to ensure that, “… speakers are a fair representation of Annual Conference, and that there shall be no discrimination on the grounds of protected personal characteristics.” A9.I.4.E.ii …

Justice Crime and Democracy

Onto Tuesday 26th, the motions on PR, parliamentary sovereignty related to the ministerial code, powers of the electoral commission and prohibiting second jobs, and the abolition of the House of Lords were all carried. The words of the composites are published in CAC 2 Addendum.

The Justice agenda was introduced by Emily – she just doesn’t give a shit, the shortest front bench speech, in which she promised to end criminal impunity and address criminal system failures including the decimation of legal aid.

Steve Reed’s speech was a confirmation of the common speech design, loads of stuff on how awful the Tories are, chuck in an announcement if you have one and finish on everything will be better with a Labour Government, led by Sir Kier Starmer, peppered with the slogan, “Labour: On your side”.

Reed had a side diversion into “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime”, they i.e. the front bench seem to be considering some form of early action to disrupt social inheritance of criminal behaviour, it all reminded me of the “Precrime” unit from Minority Report, brought to you be the people that developed “Prevent”, by which I mean the spooks and civil servants. I have commented on this, see below. …

Meeting the European movement

Meeting the European movement

I attended two meetings hosted by the European movement. The midday meeting had a panel consisting of Hilary Benn, Anna Bird (EM), Will Hutton and Stella Creasy. It would seem to me that Benn is taking a rest from campaigning, although in answer to questions he did make the point that any move to re-join the EU would need to avoid a ‘yo-yo’ effect i.e. that we can only ask to re-join the EU when it ceases to be a partisan issue. He also questions if Labour, even uber Remainers, are ready for another referendum, although I don’t think we’d need one for aligning with the single market. Hutton was vitriolic in his denunciation of the impact of Brexit and mendacity of its advocates. Bird was in-between. There is a recognition that opinion is becoming anti-Brexit, or at least the Brexit we have. But there is no appetite to challenge Labour’s leadership on their inadequate five point plan except from me.

I spoke, starting by stating that this Government was an ERG government and it should be confronted as such. I asked why the EU would agree to mutual professional qualification recognition outside a freedom of movement for labour agreement. They are looking at such a scheme within the EU, but crudely put, why would they take our dollar paid management consultants if we won’t take their hospitality, farm, care, and low paid NHS workers. I also made the point that border controls are not the only way in which immigration is penalised. We need immigrants to work and the Europeans will not be coming back while the hostile environment is in place. Labour needs to commit to repealing it. This is based on both macro-economic common sense and decency!

I was shocked to read, while checking up for this article, that Labour, in the 2017 manifesto,  committed to the “No recourse to public funds (NRPF)” for migrants, which at its ultimate point leads to children starving and even pregnant women denied hospital assistance. This is part of the hostile environment and should also go!

Bottom line, there’s very little appetite to challenge the leadership, not even over the single market and trade friction. There’s a fear over the politics of the freedom of movement and a denial that we need their low skilled people to run the economy and need their high skilled people to maintain our competitive advantage in bio-sciences research and even in financial services.

The evening meeting reinforced that there is little appetite to pursue even a single market agenda. …