Lies, damn lies and …

This time it’s about voter share but it reminds me of a debate I had about the quote in the title. We felt the and was actually an OR, Another piece of post election analysis that can’t wait. There is a chart being circulated showing Labour’s vote share with the startling result of 2017 as it’s last data point. This makes it pretty useless. They also commit the error of not publishing the complete vertical axis, which has the effect of exaggerating the visual differences and then it seems extend the charts using faces. Anyway, here’s my version …

We should remember that 1992 is 25 years ago, another generation. Without the 1992 data point the argument that 2017 is the anomaly in a declining labour vote is more compelling.

Here’s the meme I am critiquing.

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Free and fast broadband; it wasn’t to be.

Free and fast broadband; it wasn’t to be.

It’s time for me to consider the election results; I think in terms of ideas I am set back four years  but in this blog article I want to look at Labour’s manifesto for the Arts, callled a Charter for the Arts. One of the criticisms that being made of the campaign is that unlike 2017, the manifesto was not seen as signpost for better times. It was seen as a classic shopping list to bribe a winning coalition, and constructed without thought or knowledge of how to pay for it. The promises need to be bound into a single promise, and the details need to be the result of debate and consensus in the Party. Much, including the Arts manifesto seemed to be an after thought, an insight underlined by it’s late publication.

Policy for creative industries has not been debated at Conference in my memory, and the NPF reports have been weak although the 2017 manifesto played with ideas around the “value gap“; this document does not repeat this. Corbyn’s introduction is radical, as you would expect, establishing Art as the property of and the right of all.

The manifesto promises to defend and extend free access to museums and art galleries, invest in diversity in the arts, ensure lottery money is fairly distributed, that schools are invested in to support the arts, and possibly most radically, but equally unprepared, promised free broad band for all.

The decades old commitment to free access to museums and libraries, the productive macroeconomic arguments and the failure of the market to deliver nationwide fast broadband are all good reasons to make this promise but we allowed it to hang on the question, “Why free? We don’t do it for water!” and I don’t have an answer to that. (Although we do it for museums, galleries and libraries). …

Tomorrow’s polling day

Vote Labour tomorrow, there are many reasons to do so.

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I have not been well and not got out as much as I’d hoped, can’t really say how I feel and what I know. My part of Deptford seems solidly pro-Labour, if not always enthusiastic; I went to Harrow East, with hundreds of people. It was empty! But if doorstep work makes a difference, the Tories can still lose this.  …

Can MPs be ranked?

Can MPs be ranked?

I look at, with help, ranking MPs, by work effort and incomes. Change.org have produced a an index claiming to illustrate the assiduousness of the MPs in the last parliament. They document their methodology on one of the site pages. and publish their data file. It claims to measure, constituency presence, parliamentary activity and constituency campaigning including their use of … err … change.org. They state that they have reviewed Hansard to get some of the results and such research will be valuable.

They present the results as an index which exacerbates the difference between MPs results. I have presented the results as frequency distribution which shows a clustering around the mean average of 25 and reverses the effect of the index which equalises the gap between a pair of data points when the difference can be exceedingly small.

Another tool of interest, is http://richest.mp, by SetReset which they describe as a data essay. The fact is that Boris Johnson has overtaken Jeremy Hunt and trousered £1.7m, and except for Hunt, the top 5 are all cabinet members. Some books generate a lot of money, sadly mine, didn’t but being a cabinet member is full time, and financial assets should be in a blind trust

There are some strange results in the change.org study, for instance the Sinn Fein MPs vary from 60th to 280th which since they don’t attend Parliament is interesting. This is caused by the category weighting where they weight constituency presence at 60%, and the other two categories, including Parliamentary activity at 20% each; voting records earns up to 8% of their total score. They also normalise this behaviour and that of ministers but there remain some further unlikely results. ( I am sure that many MPs would argue that their score on social media, which emphasises twitter and email and the web site “writetothem” is also unfair, or of limited relevance.  Many MPs devalue writetothem and similar tools inc. Change.Org because they belive, often with justification that correspondence is as a result of 3rd party campaigns. )

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Life continues

Life continues

The noise about Ubuntu Linux has increased over the last couple of days, much of it critical. I have been aware that the Open Source militants have for a long time had a down on it and Canonical for bundling proprietary software with the distro (coadecs and now graphic card drivers) and they have taken some odd diversions in their path to today ( Amazon Search Bar, I am talking about you), but it has a a commitment to a usable free desktop and server operating system and it’s not owned by a proprietary software company and is not a competitive weapon in the systems market, unlike say Red Hat who “own” Fedora, RHEL and Centos. The industrialisation of Red Hat was funded by IBM as a competitive weapon against Solaris and HP/UX and who now own it and offer it as their O/S of choice for their Intel servers.  At a meeting I attended, Richard Stallman expressed his tests as: does it do surveillance, doe it have restrictions (against the four freedoms) and does it have backdoors and documents his then use of GNewSense, a Debian derivative. He also argued, correctly, that one can’t know if the software is free of these defects unless one can read the code. I wonder how many of these Linux distributions meet these tests today?

My review of the meeting might be worth having another look at, unlike some of what I write, it has aged well. …

Does NATO have a useful future?

Does NATO have a useful future?

This was posted by Stephen Bush, in his morning mail; it’s part of a longer article and referred to the Nato Summit.

The big, unspoken agenda item is: what happens to Nato when the commitment of the United States to Article Five – that an attack on one Nato member is an attack against all – is up for grabs? Donald Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds shows you just how much consideration he will show to his allies, no matter how many times they might roll out their head of state for tea and cake.

Once the US commitment to Western Europe’s security was unquestioned, some might argue the price was high but France & Germany have resisted acting as proxies for the US; one can see clearly that while Macron is not necessarily acting in good faith, the EU as the sole organsation capable of speaking for Europe needs to consider its defence policies, expenditure and alliances. While there is no plans for an EU Army, it is planing to co-ordinate some design and expenditure programmes. …

A glimmer at the end of a tunnel

A glimmer at the end of a tunnel

The Guardian reports a change of leadership in the SPD. The winners are Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken, from the left of the SPD. They have called for major policy concessions from Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), and say they are prepared to pull the plug on the partnership. We should remember that the decision by the SPD to re-enter the coalition for a 2nd time in 2017 was controversial within the Party and followed the decision in 2013 not to attempt a coalition albeit with a tiny majority with Die Linke & Die Grüne. When discussing the proposal of “Remain & Reform” with respect to Brexit, it has become clear to me that European Socialists in the European Parliament need to end their commitment to the Grand Coalition and look to their left for a majority, athough we’d need to avoid the fuck-ups that led to Labou halving it’s EU Parliamentary Group earlier this year. This is most unlikely to happen while the SPD is wedded to an alternative. (They should learn from the sectarianism of Merkel and the CDU in her imposition of Von der Leyen as President of the Commission.)  There’s a glimmer of hope that the German SPD is changing it’s mind.

Image rightsfrom DW, (c) picture-alliance/dpa . This picture is cropped, and stored and processed for reasons of addressability, longevity and performance. This has not been made available. …

Back me or …

Back me or …

A couple of days ago, the Guardian brought to my attention that a major political candidate for Prime Minister gave a Conference speech, where they demanded their party back them or sack them. They got a standing ovation, I assume for their courage and clarity. The Leader is Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the Leader of Germany’s CDU, the major party in the country’s coalition government. Can you imagine how the press would report such an event in the Labour Party? …