Community creates value

Community creates value

Cory Doctorow comments on Games Workshop’s latest legal initiative against its fans, I chose some quotes from the article, including the allegation that they behave like sociopaths and created their IP in exactly the way they're pursuing others for. I conclude with, the probably not original statement, "Open source campaigners have always argued that community creates value, here's another battleground where it will be tested.".

Labour’s lost millions?

But this is unfortunate timing … As the FT reports on the Tories foreign funding, FT reports on the Tories billionaire foreign funding (£), and the Guardian reports on Labour’s righteous attack where Annaliese Dodds is put up to make this point on the day that the Times, runs the story (£) , another unfortunate leak, for which we will have no leak enquiry, that Labour is doing the same.

This is a multi-million pound problem, rich donors cannot solve this problem, even if was desirable. Labour needs £2.7m per month to cover its running costs. Sorry about the paywalled articles. …

Labour’s money, where’s it gone?

Labour’s money, where’s it gone?

The Labour Party has launched a redundancy programme which may or may not be linked with plans to consolidate English based staff into three English hubs. It’s doing this because it’s short of money reportedly down to one month’s reserves. In Dec 2019, it had reserves of £16 million. How did it move from the richest party in the country to this? The short answer is that it’s lost a lot of members and lost a lot of “Short” money. The rest of this blog article looks at why it's now short of money.

Shenanigans at London Labour 2021

Shenanigans at London Labour 2021

At London Labour Conference, the staff used a number of tricks to ‘control’ the zoom meeting. They closed the meeting early having failed to silence Katheryn Johnson, the outgoing Chair of the CAC and they also excluded Craig for asking questions about expulsions and the Forde Enquiry and there are rumours that they chucked out some delegates for ‘inappropriate’ background images by which I mean ones with the slogans ‘reinstate Jeremy Corbyn’ and “where’s the Forde Inquiry”. I am also concerned that not all people present in the meeting were validly nominated delegates and know that we were one delegate short as they had made a mistake, again, in calculating our delegate entitlement. During the first day, the Chair, failed to ask the mover of our motion to speak in summing up, and then proposed to move to the card vote. I was concerned that this would stand and tried to move a point of order; this was not possible. This is not the first time that London Region have used control of the meeting to ensure that meetings avoid taking decisions they don’t want taken. The rest of this blog looks at four of Labour’s Rules which have probably been broken.

Rule C9B.IV.9 Procedure at Regional Conference shall as far as practicable be informed by the Standing Orders agreed at the last session of Annual Conference.

The standing orders agreed at the last session of Annual Conference are in Chapter 17 and so the following two rules apply.

Rule C17 I.2.N.i Any breach of or question to the rules or standing orders may be raised by a member rising to a point of order.

It was not possible to raise points of order.

Rule C17.I.2.O.ii Any member acting in an unruly or disruptive manner, in contravention of the standing orders, may be removed from the meeting by action of the chair. The chair shall put such a motion to the meeting, which to be carried shall require the support of two-thirds of those present and voting.

People were excluded other than via this procedure.

C2.II.8 Members have the right to dignity and respect, and to be treated fairly by the Labour Party. Party officers at every level shall exercise their powers in good faith and use their best endeavours to ensure procedural fairness for members. …

Natural Justice

After the proscriptions decision by Labour’s NEC, I had a quick look at the Report of the Charkrabarti Inquiry again, as she was very firm on natural justice.

Another matter which has been brought to my attention is the frequency of resort to the power of interim suspension in cases where an allegation that a member has acted in breach of the rules is before the General Secretary and/or his staff. Indeed, an early lesson that any new General Counsel might offer his/her colleagues is on the application of the vital legal principles of due process (or natural justice) and proportionality.

Shami Chakrabarti (Page 18)

She considered conforming to the principles of natural justice so important that she proposed to write conforming to them into the rules. Another shame that this was not implemented.  …

Yet again, a purge!

Yet again, a purge!

So Kier’s planning that Labour proscribe four organisations allowing the Party Bureaucracy to auto-exclude its supporters. Two of the organisations (LIEN, Resist) are basically outside anyway, one (LAW) is practically defunct which leaves Socialist Appeal, who are irrelevant to the left right struggle in the Party. I have written extensively about the failure of these rules to conform to the rules of natural justice and that I have friends who have been unjustly and arbitrarily auto-excluded. Rule 4.I.2.B is contrary to the ECHR’s right to a fair trial.

The first point to make is that this is a defined collective offence. No personal culpability of anti-party activities is to be assessed. Secondly, we are in stupid position where people can self-id as BAME, women and disabled, but not as socialists, although as I discovered recently, the word socialism does not appear in the rule book. Thirdly, they won’t stop here, Neil Coyle argued that Jewish Voice for Labour should be next but the real target is to cow Momentum.

Finally, it’s a piece of theatre, designed to create the momentum that Blair created by fighting the Left. The Miitant were expelled 40 years ago and Clause IV amended in 1996, (25 years ago). Politics have changed. History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. The end game of this strategy is obvious to see, a Labour Party run by people without vision and without hope (as it was in 2010), whose only sense of journey is to attack their core support; today, that is the young city dweller who is/was a Remainer.

I quote Phil BC, from his blog, who says,

Anyone with a leftwing, socialist bone in their body should stand against this petty purge. And remind ourselves again that we’re not dealing with just another Tory-lite Labour leader but an existential threat. Starmer is more likely to lead the party into complete collapse

Here’s a petition to oppose the purge, a statement from Unite & Momentum and a statement issued by left members of the NEC. …

More Brexit missed or almost missed deadlines

More Brexit missed or almost missed deadlines

This article, or one very similar to it first appeared on AEIP's Brexitspotlight. The 3rd deadline of the post Brexit Future relationship passed on the 30th June. The deadlines were on the issues of cross border data adequacy, northern Irish meat product movement, the end of equivalence for share depositaries and the end of the grace period to allow EU citizens resident in the UK to apply to stay. It looks like the security depository equivalence was sorted in Sept. 2020 and the EU have granted a three month extension on moving chilled meat from Great Britain to Northern Ireland as required by the treaty’s Northern Ireland protocol[1]. The Commission flagged the agreement of a data adequacy ruling earlier in the year and finally agreed it with two days to go. The parliament is more sanguine. The EDPB is also more cautious, and we expect the CJEU to be so too. Whenever the CJEU has ruled, it has ruled in favour of citizens, whereas the ECtHR gives nation states significant leeway. For more see here, or read more ....

Wiping the phone at the Treasury

Wiping the phone at the Treasury

I wrote a piece on the Guardian story about the Treasury losing the Perm Sec’s texts and posted it on linkedin. One particularly disturbing feature of this story may be that messages from David Cameron about Greensill Capital have been lost. On the linkedin blog, I looked at the story from an IT Security and employment law point of view rather than looking at the political corruption angle. I suggest that for an organisation with a public record, FoI or compliance liability that SMS and whatsapp or any messaging product without central logging should not be used. I suggest that wiping the phone instead of a password reset especially when the device has not been lost might be a bit extreme. I hint that peer to peer messaging without a super user is also inappropriate.

I argue that this is a symptom of the growing contempt that politicians and now it seems bureaucrats have for their record keeping responsibilities which are mandate by statute law. It is likely that the use of personal IT i.e. phones and emails if not laptops/workstations is becoming endemic destroying and designed to destroy audit trails of behaviour. I note and have commented elsewhere on the failure to pass the email & records relating to Johnson’s decisions with respect to Jennifer Arcuri’s trade missions and grants.

I note that such behaviour if undertaken by more junior staff would probably involve disciplinary action. I have dealt with cases where people have been investigated under the disciplinary policy for misuse of their personal IT in the office and also for the destruction or unauthorised amendment to business records. These have usually been considered gross misconduct cases which can lead to dismissal, but most of my members are blue collar workers.

With respect to the Treasury, I wonder if the texts have been truly lost, if they have, it’s either a policy failure, i.e. a failure of the control design or a deliberate breach. Someone should be accountable, just as they should at the GLA. The irony here i.e. at the Treasury is that it looks like the responsible person for either of these failures is the same person. The Permanent Secretary is meant to be a check on the, certainly, financial probity of ministers and occupy an important role in implementing a segregation of duties and avoiding  toxic combinations. These controls are designed to stop fraud and corruption. These ones seem to have failed. …

Nelsen & Others vs. Evans

Nelsen & Others vs. Evans

During the week, Judge Butcher delivered a disappointing ruling in Neslen & Others vs Evans. Diana Neslen and her co-plaintiffs were suing the Labour Party over their treatment under the disciplinary code. This is  reviewed at the Mirror, Morning Star by Ammar Kamzi, who has also posted a blog article, , and presented in judgement form at Bailli.

Most disappointing is the idea that the accused do not need to know the charge against them, merely the gist and that the Labour Party’s investigation policy can be secret. I have argued before that the absence of a policy to guide investigators was just deplorable, but the Judge seems to think it’s OK.  Apart from being against the Party’s values, this would all seem to be in contradiction of ECHR Article 6.

I might read the judgement and comment further. I’d be interested to know if C2.II.7, a member’s right to fair treatment was deployed.

I feel disappointed that I took my foot of the accelerator over the need to incorporate the ECHR into Labour’s Rules.

Some of us who had more hope in judicial review may need to think our strategies. …