but with a whimper

but with a whimper

Momentum now allegedly has a political election for its NCG; I not so sure of the relevance or the politics. Forward Momentum aka Fix Momentum main promise is to ‘democratise’ Momentum in the name of the members but more realistically in the name of disenfranchised Momentum local groups and have now developed a policy manifesto in some obscure manner and allowed themselves to be founded with a purge authored by the same people that founded LAW in the same way and in doing so split the campaign against the witch hunt, a trick they followed up with by behaving in a similar sectarian, party-building fashion so that the LRC walked away from the Labour Left Alliance.

Momentum Renewal are an articulation by the rump of the office, post Parker and Lansman, with their London Stalinist & trade union, mainly Unite, bureaucrats’ support, often the same people, together with their careerist MP hangers on. They also claim their priority is to have a single left slate for the next set of elections so let’s hope they have learnt from the mistakes & arrogance made by Momentum over the last 12 months in sending negotiators without a mandate , a starting position demanding everything,  and a hit list of other left wingers.  They claim to want an outward looking focus for Momentum, rooting it in community campaigns, the cynical would say it’s a diversion, asking people not to get active in Labour Party caucusing, and leave it to their betters.

The truth neither side get is that Labour’s Left is not Momentum and that Corbyn’s coalition is broken.

Too many have been taught that the victory of ideas is measured by the size of your majority on committees – it ain’t so! Ideas need resonance in the movement and the population.

We can now clearly see that Momentum’s brand is weaker than Corbyn’s which is why so many people joined it and others lied in claiming they supported him. The behaviour of parts of Momentum in the tolerance of bullying and slander is disgusting and matched or encouraged by some so-called supporters of Jeremy outside Momentum and some of their opponents in the PLP. So much for a “Kinder, Gentler Politics!”.

I will also mention that the value of the database is much less than once it was. They have not kept it up to date, people move politically and geographically, and it was built to support and inform people about Jeremy’s leadership campaigns. Many people signed up to it for that purpose, and never conceded concepts of leadership to its NCG, Officers Committee or even its Chairman (sic). (I’d best check, I’ve not heard from them for a couple of months, wonder if I have been purged; I stopped giving them money over a year ago after the office rigged the 2nd Lewisham Momentum AGM in a row.) …

E2E & Zoom

E2E & Zoom

The Zoom CEO stated at an Analysts Conference that they planned to introduce End to End Encryption (E2E) for their paying customers. At the moment, zoom does not do E2E encryption, they are encrypted between the user device and Zoom’s servers, but zoom’s servers can be tapped. This means that GCHQ can’t see what’s happening, but the NSA & FBI can. (This assumes that GCHQ can’t break properly configured TLS.) In the end, doing zoom rather than skype or google hangouts, if you believe them to be more secure, is like going to a meeting and trying to spot the special branch cop, preferably before you’ve fucked them. The rest of this blog discusses the issues of the device security, technical complexity, and the problem of user identity. See below/overleaf …  …

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

George Floyd, a black man, was killed by a Minnesota policeman while using clearly unnecessary force in trying to detain him. This started initially a US wide protest movement which has spread throughout the world. There was a demonstration in London earlier this week and many Labour local councils lit their buildings with purple lights to show their solidarity with Floyd and the world’s black population. The act of police brutality, repeated in many US cities and states coming during the pandemic which is hitting ethnic minority communities the worst has led to a massive uprisings, and demonstrations.  Below/overleaf are tweets from Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham and David Lammy MP who spoke on Newsnight bringing it home to the UK.  …

Down the plug’ole

Down the plug’ole

I had a look at the 2020 Leadership election and the 2016 results. There was a 4% drop, about 20,000 less, in people voting in 2020, from 2016 and yet, Rebecca Long Bailey, the standard bearer of the Left, got just short of 178,000 less votes than Corbyn. In a static electorate, the Left went backwards, by a lot!

This does not auger well for the next set of NEC elections. The rump left, which includes Momentum must begin to talk and listen to those who changed their minds and build unity within the Party around Starmer’s 10 pledges. …

Can’t make it up

Can’t make it up

A note on LinkedIn on why managements need IT usage policies to prove their compliance and to act legally and fairly towards their employees. I suggest that ISO27001 is useful as a technical standard and COBIT as an organisational one.

This was written in the light of a couple of cases I had to deal with as an accompanying rep. or as an advisor.

You can’t claim that users are not performing if you can’t prove the IT systems work as documented. You can’t pursue a conduct disciplinary against people operating a policy. You can’t fulfil FOI or SAR requests if the data retention policy is suspect. You can’t be sure that corruption has not occurred if there is inadequate segregation of duties.

Having policy will help the organisation answer the following questions. Is our software supported?  Why and how was that data deleted? What should be logged? Who has permission to read, amend and run these programs and/or this data? Are our vendors signed up to our IT security goals? Why do you not know this?

This is all defined in these standards, and the GDPR makes certification to good practice evidence of good will. ISO27001 and COBIT are the big boys in town to prove technical and organisational protection.

You can’t make it up anymore. …

Some IT technology & economics history

Some IT technology & economics history

I have finally installed a version of CA-Superproject under W98/Virtualbox and the experience reminded me of a couple of things, about the software, about its final custodian, Computer Associates (CA) and also some critical software project management issues. I have written a more formal note on Linkedin and this is my mirror/pointer to that; the rest of this article precises that article.

I like it because it was good with both time and money, it had a PERT/CPM interface and thus was good with task dependencies, it was good with cash flow,  had some Earned Value Analysis tools and it had some powerful calendaring tools.

Its death is partly as a result of the victory of the integrated suites and while CA may have assembled the components to offer such a product, they lacked the engineering capability to integrate the products into a single compelling offering and both the technical marketing capability and marketing will & power to sell into the desktop market. They also lacked an OS and thus were locked out of the OEM market.

They were not the last to fail to understand that the economics of software requires the volume of the desktop, and today the pocket. In the end, the desktop market was too hard to compete in, for a company organised to sell high ticket software bundles to business. This article in the NYT shows how CA was captured and trapped in a licence sales model.

Superproject was designed at time when Labour was fungible, this is less true in the software engineering business and assembling a team of three engineers where often/usually the individuals assigned cannot substitute for each other is a more difficult scheduling problem. Managing this problem is hard and to my knowledge no project management software does this well.

One of the reasons that the more simple MS Project took over was, I believe, the poor project management techniques used in information systems project engineering although Microsoft’s ownership of the mindshare of the project management community cannot be discounted. By poor techniques, there was very little understanding of how to place a value on interim deliverables in software projects and performing “earned value analysis” was hard or impossible. The limited fungability of Labour was another problem that neither product solved. When we consider that time i.e effort is money and that much work cannot be speeded up by assigning more people to it, we had new problems to solve and needed new tools. The truth is that neither MS Project nor Superproject answered these questions.

Another product, not good enough to survive which ended up in the graveyard curator’s possession. …

Fallout from a Road Trip

Fallout from a Road Trip

The press have been full of the story of Dominic Cummings’ trip to Durham (from London) while he was isolating due to CV19 infection. “Led by Donkeys” have their own inimitable take on this; they took it to Cummings’ London home. However, he has been supported by various members of the Cabinet, including the Attorney General, probably in an act of prejuidice, in the legal sense, and capped off last night, by Boris Johnson who took the daily press conference, for the first time in a while and, not for the first time told the nation to fuck off. It seems that what Cummings did is responsible and legal. Johnson also restated that the Govt. planned to re-open the schools, starting with the youngest, against the will of most parents and most school workers. Johnson’s press conference was followed by an extraordinary hostile tweet from the Civil Service twitter account, allowing us to draw the conclusion that Johnson is “arrogant & offensive”; I mean it’s not exactly news.

What the Tory Government fail to recognise is the elitism and arrogance of this behaviour. A number of twitter users have expressed their anger and sadness that they were able to see, visit and comfort their dying relatives, even when living much closer than Cummings’ 500 mile round trip. It took me a while to realise how important it is to spend some time with the dying to properly say goodbye. As a child, I had been protected from family deaths and had thus learned not to see them as important events; I even almost missed saying good bye to my mother, through choices of my own, and can now see how important the visits to my dying father in the ICU were. My solidarity goes out to all those who have lost relatives and others precious to them during this crisis, I know that my grief would have been harder to overcome, if I had not been able to see my Dad although I only know this looking back helped by the insights and grief expressed by those writing today. The grief will hurt for a longer time then if they’d been able to visit them. I am sorry for your loss. …

Technology lessons

Technology lessons

It seems there is insufficient evidence to prosecute Boris Johnson for misconduct in a public office; the police had been investigating him as a result of his alleged relationship with Jennifer Arcuri  in the light of decisions taken by the Mayor’s Officer to support her business. It should be noted that he did not declare his relationship as a potential conflict of interest. His day-time visits to her home, so presumably during working hours, were, it seems, for ‘technology lessons’; it reminds me of the private eye euphemism of “Ugandan discussions”. One disturbing part of the affair is that the emails seem to be unavailable., possible in contravention of the GLA’s & Mayor’s statutory record keeping rules and duties. The rest of this blog looks at alternative legal approaches to investigating if wrong doing has occurred; it highlights the role of ISO 27001 in specifying good IT Management and Security practices and that compliance/certification may be seen as part of a legal defence against liability for a security breach. Without good IT Security controls, essential audit questions cannot be answered.

In order to help consider how that might have happened, I have just written a short note on how ISO 27001 deals with deletion. It is clear that the rules and means of making data deletions need to be specified and controlled. ISO guidance on “Asset Management” specifies good practice for data management and the section on “Logging & Monitoring” details how business actions need to be, well …, logged and monitored. Without these tools, we cannot know who took any actions, and who instructed that these actions occur. I talk about the well known exception to the storage principle, that data needed for disputes or compliance must not be deleted until these needs aee no longer in place. If these tools, are not available, perhaps we should be asking, why not? Who said that these controls were too expensive? The GDPR establishes that using a certified code is an important indicator that the organisation has “adequate technical and organisational protection”.

While Johnson’s relationship with Arcuri is not what led me to look at the Bribery Act, I wrote a short note on that and discovered that a bribe is

[any] act designed to obtain or having the effect of obtaining advantage through the ‘improper performance’ of another person.

Now it’s over to the GLA’s Oversight Committee. …

On Labour’s Money

On Labour’s Money

I was looking through the LP’s finance report presented to#Lab19, which has the 2018 7 2017 figures in it. I had previously discovered that at the end of 2018, the Labour Party had £20.8m “cash in hand” and so it had become a surprise to me that we had only spent £8m on the General Election, when we had spent £11m in 2017.

But this time round I found some other things that piqued my interest

  1. The Labour Party made a surplus of £1.4m in 2017, the year of a General Election that we lost by 2,500 votes. Why is this?
  2. Income from Affiliations is the third largest source of income, after membership fees, and the front bench “short money” grant.
  3. On the expenditure front, they spent £3m (6%) on “Grants and payments to CLPs”.

For context, total income in 2018 was £46.3m and membership fell by 8.1% (45,914) from 564,433 to 518,519.

Here’s a chart of the sources of income,

 

  …