Meals Ready to Eat. Not!

Meals Ready to Eat. Not!

Reuters reports on a meeting between food distribution industry representatives and DEFRA. Using the Army was only one idea expressed, and it’s an indicator of the com9ing food shortage crisis created by Priti Patel & Boris Johnson’s “controlled border” policy and Brexit. One of the massive labour shortages at the moment is HGV drivers, and we can’t get the food to the supermarkets, even if we can pick it from the fields. The problem is compounded by the relatively low wages paid these people . UK PLC is failing because its low wage economy cannot get people to work for it any more.

from team voyas, via unsplash

My evidence for the coming crisis is that. in Tesco’s yesterday, there was no cabbage. and the garlic came from China. (I have grown garlic in my garden in previous years, so there is a food miles carbon cost thing here too..) …

Labour hold!

Labour holds Batley & Spen. Was it good luck, or did something important and positive happen?

The first thing I want to say is that from the reports I have, Kim was an excellent candidate and the fact she was a local important. I am also told that she is good on the doorstep. I think this is important, more important than some would like, I got push back from voters in Lewisham East who didn’t want what they saw as carpet baggers standing.

If it was luck, it was luck the Party made, it seems that the election day ground operation was awesome showing Labour at its best when we pull together. Some make much of Shabana Mahmood’s appointment as national campaign chair, and with such a slim margin everything helps.

There was no Green Party candidate and the Lib Dem voted halved, but where did the 6,500 votes that went to the Heavy Woollen District Independents, a local successor to UKIP, go. It looks like not to Galloway, most of whose votes come from areas that have traditionally voted Labour and are represented by Labour Councillors on the Council and these areas have a relatively high numbers of Muslim voters. Mike Phipps, looks at the campaign and the role of the politics of the middle east and Kashmir on the election. But after this, and after the 6th May, where some softness in the Tory vote in the South was shown, and Chesham & Amersham, we can ask has Boris actually lost his mojo?

Some, it seems are rightly being expelled for supporting Galloway; I agree with this, every campaign he runs leads to bad politics and his result was disappointingly high. Galloway is no longer of the Left despite running as the Worker’s Party. Galloway is and was well funded, Novara Media reports he had 10 full timers and was ‘lent’ three office spaces. He has very publicly supported the Tories & Nigel Farage at the last General Election.

Galloway’s votes will have been shored up by the fact that the Labour leadership is leaden on the issues of islamophobia and peace and justice in the middle east and Galloway just pours petrol on this.  However, this was helped, by the official labour source who spoke to Dan Hodges in the Mail and accused Labour’s Muslim votes of going to Galloway because of Starmer’s line on anti-semitism in the Party. If this was a Labour Party member, they should be sanctioned under the rules, but there’s a high chance it was an MP.

Labour returning to the New Labour colours of purple, once used by UKIP left Galloway free to use Labour’s Red & Yellow colours. Is this a mistake? Some suggest that Ledbetter campaigned on local issues and this was a deliberate tactic to combat the anti-democracy of the populists. It doesn’t work for me.

It’s clear to me that the Labour Party is shit at negative campaigning. We’d best stop it.  The Boris/Modi leaflet was a crass mistake which will come to bite us in the arse in large parts of the country, just as putting a picture of Farage on the final leaflet in the Euro elections was a mistake.

What lessons should we learn from this?

Lesson No. 1, candidate quality counts! Al;though we are still trapped between running a good MP, or running a good campaigner; people that can do both are rare.

John Macdonnell has five lessons for Starmer: show some anger and some outrage, PMQ’s & Parliament are not enough, offer some hope and vision inc. a promise for a national care service, put climate change at top of the agenda, and make the Policy Review a real democratic exercise.  He also proposes concrete steps to unite the Party and end the war on the Left. Personally, I am not sure the pandemic is done and we need to talk about track and trace and financial support for isolation and decent sick pay. The Mirror also says, the result has bought Starmer time, but he needs to use it wisely.

Some of what I say is quite hopeful, there are lessons to learn, and if Johnson’s shtick has passed its sell by date, then this is good news but I will leave the last word to Phil BC, who is less optimistic who says,

It’s fair to say the leadership did everything wrong, and showed they’d learned nothing since Hartlepool and Chesham and Amersham. Kim might have been a personable candidate with bags of energy, but politically speaking she’s weak to the point of being homeopathic. So watered down were her responses to Israel/Palestine and pay rises for NHS workers that she’ll be right at home in Starmerism, which in its best moments affects to do nice things and at its worst pitches to the right of the Tories. And if Keir Starmer was unwilling to take lessons from elections lost, he’s not about to have an epiphany now Labour has won something.

Phil BC – averypublicsociologist.blogspot.com
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CLP rules, can one person hold more than one post?

CLP rules, can one person hold more than one post?

A number of CLPs are holding their AGMs and I have seen the following question asked, if it’s possible/permitted for one person to hold two positions. The rules are at best unclear but I have come to the conclusion that this should not be allowed.

Let’s do the easy stuff first, it is not permitted that one person holds more than one of the positions of Chair, Secretary & Treasurer as these hold separate responsibilities under the financial compliance policy and regulations.

I also assume its agreed that auditors may not hold a position on the EC. This is just basic.

Other than this, the relevant rules say, C7.VIII

  1. The officers of this CLP, the Executive Committee, and two auditors shall be elected at the annual general meeting of this CLP and shall continue in office until replaced or re-appointed.
  2. The Executive Officers of this CLP shall be; chair, vice-chair, vice-chair/ membership, secretary, treasurer, policy officer, women’s officer, BAME officer (where established), disability officer (where established), LGBT+ officer (where established), youth officer (where established), trade union liaison officer (where established, who shall be a member of a trade union in accordance with Chapter 2 Clause I.6.B above), political education officer (where established), communications and social media officer (where established). At least three of the first six officers listed above, as well as at least half of the total number of officers, must be women.

Also

  1. The Executive Committee shall consist of the Executive Officers, branch secretaries or other representatives elected by each branch and { } members upon such proportionate basis of the whole membership as this CLP may decide, subject to the approval of the NEC.

While 1 & 2 are not necessarily clear they set the clear expectation, through their use of grammar, that each officer is a separate person or a specific job share to be elected/approved at the AGM. The failure to permit people to hold two or more posts is also in my mind significant.

Permitting one person to stand and be elected to more than one office on the EC permits games, it allows factions to put, in the extreme case, one candidate for multiple positions and deny properly nominated people the opportunity to serve on the EC. The fact that such outrageous conclusions can occur means that it cannot be permitted or meant by the rule authors. The rules cannot mean that one person can hold six roles, and so cannot mean that they may hold two.

By the way, everyone agrees that even if permitted, someone holding two posts does not get two votes.

In some small CLPs, there may be problems filling a EC, and/or filling one while meeting the gender quota rules. In this case, I recommend that the EC office should be left vacant and the work done as a portfolio role or assigned to a co-ordinator.

Footnotes

  1. I interpret sub clause 6, as meaning that if Branch Secretaries are elected as CLP Officers, the Branch can replace their Secretary on the EC with another person. Others have a different view, that the Branch can choose if they have an EC Rep or send their Secretary.
  2. It seems most people, believe that the Branch Secretary elections are subject to a different gender quota and exclude them from the need to be part of the EC gender quotas as they are excluded from the gender quota requirement by C7.VIII.2.
  3. It should also be argued that the first vice chair cannot be held by the Chair since they have a duty of substitution for the Chair.

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Why inflation?

Why inflation?

Have we returned to the Phillips Curve which described a macro-economic policy choicei.e a trade off between inflation and unemployment? The Bank of England predicts an inflationary blip, and yet labour shortages in the UK seem endemic. The Govt’s policy is to constrict labour supply by restricting immigration which is increasing wage costs and effectively reducing gross national product. It’s not wages that are problem, although in many sectors they remain are too low and subsidised by in-work benefits, but a lack of workers. Time for the QMT loonies to pull their heads in, as explained by Simon Wren Lewis in his near rant on the elitist pessimism of the inflationary hawks.  …

Wiggle room on human rights law

Wiggle room on human rights law

I made a linkedin blog on the ECtHR’s margin of appreciation. I was reading up on the UK’s post Brexit data sharing arrangements with the EU, and under the terms of the GDPR. I was diverted by the ECHR’s doctrine of a “margin of appreciation”.

Broadly speaking it refers to the room for manoeuvre the Strasbourg institutions are prepared to accord national authorities in fulfilling their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Steven Greer Reader in Law, University of Bristol,United Kingdom

Human Rights law is designed to constrain governments but will always require interpretation. The doctrine means that the rights of interpretation are shared between the ECtHR and the signatory states, who themselves will divide this between their courts and executive branch.  

This seems sensible, as I observed, when the British courts were busy interfering with the CPSA in the ‘80’s and undermines the argument of foreign interference because where there is a benefit of doubt, the ECtHR can allow the otherwise infringing government that benefit.

With respect to the cross border transfer regulation, this might make it easier to comply with the law, but there are several outstanding problems. With respect to international data sharing, the most relevant to the doctrine of appreciation and this article is that, the UK is now an ex-member-state and while the Commission argues this means that the UK’s data protection regime is suitable, the fact it is now a 3rd country means that the UK has less legal privileges to exercise its “margin of appreciation” as the powers granted to member states to vary/diminish the protections in Article 23, no longer apply. This was observed and commented on by the House of Lords Select Committee report on Brexit in 2017. See also,

I was reading this article, which makes it much clearer, that the ECtHR looks to defer to national institutions, where it can,

According to the classical position of the ECtHR State authorities “are in principle in a better position than the international judge to give an opinion” on the “necessity” and “proportionality” of a derogation or restriction authorized by human rights law. As a consequence, international courts “should grant national authorities an important degree of deference and respect their discretion” with regard to the implementation of exceptions. Thus, without precluding judicial review of a State’s action in this field, the doctrine intends to “limit the scope of this review” and to impose some degree of judicial self-restraint where an assessment of the attitude of national authorities is concerned.

Theodre Christakis

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On economic migrancy

On economic migrancy

The dirty secret that makes a non-racist immigration policy difficult is that economic migrancy is demand led. Post Brexit, we are short of farm workers, lorry drivers, hospitality workers, and health workers because they’ve gone home and aren’t allowed back in or don’t want to come because of the xenophobia. All of this is causing food shortages, price increases and reduced and delayed health delivery.

On the whole immigrants are younger and of working age; as our population ages we need more people of working age, to produce stuff, deliver services and pay for the pensions of our old and education of our children. The quid pro-quo must be that we offer them citizenship and treat them as neighbours, not to harass them using the hostile environment laws.

A further problem is that the work not being done reduces the tax income of the treasury.

Migrants and young workers pay old people’s pensions.

I salute those who made the single market and freedom of movement the centre of their opposition to Brexit; the facts on the ground today show them to be right, and this is before we consider those Brits in Europe who’ll have to give up their homes and jobs, and those people who travel to Europe for work, such as musicians and actors and others, it’s not just building workers anymore.

If it’s in our interests to welcome migrants, then there’s only one reason for behaving as our government is!

ooOOOoo

The ageing of the global north, and its funding sustainability was observed and publicised by the IMF in the paper,  “Immigrant Swan Song”. For more, from me see tag:immigration

I was thinking of linking to a video clip from “Auf Wiedersehen, Pet”, but the quality on youtube is not good and it’s probably not as funny or insightful as I remember. …

Without Track & Trace, it’s just herd immunity

Without Track & Trace, it’s just herd immunity

Today should have been either Freedom Day or a more mundane, lifting of all lockdown restrictions. It isn’t. It’s been postponed by four weeks. I remain uncomfortable about the Govt’s (and Labour’s) approach and its sole reliance on vaccines. I came across a tweet today from Deepti Gurdasani , who has taken up the issue of pandemic response and, in my mind, talks about the fact that the Govt. are still pursuing a herd immunity strategy and the the failure and loss of trust in track and trace is a critical weakness in the UK response. She also pointed me at the serious escalating evidence of the crippling damage of “long covid”. and at the John Snow Memo.

It seems to be about 1 year old, and says, among other things,

In the absence of adequate provisions to manage the pandemic and its societal impacts, these countries have faced continuing restrictions. This has understandably led to widespread demoralisation and diminishing trust. …

Any pandemic management strategy relying upon immunity from natural infections for COVID-19 is flawed. … Furthermore, there is no evidence for lasting protective immunity to SARS-CoV-2 following natural infection and the endemic transmission that would be the consequence of waning immunity would present a risk to vulnerable populations for the indefinite future. …

Effective measures that suppress and control transmission need to be implemented widely, and they must be supported by financial and social programmes that encourage community responses and address the inequities that have been amplified by the pandemic.

The John Snow Memo

We, i.e. the UK, need an effective and trusted track and trace, which we don’t have, thanks to Hancock and Harding. Without it, we are just using sticking plaster to mend a broken leg! …

About Chesham & Amersham

The Chesham and Amersham by-election. What’s the headline? Tory vote collapses, or Labour loses deposit. A bit of good news and bad news. I doubt that Labour’s leadership will be think that doing better than they did in the Richmond Park by-election is a winning line, nor that we weren’t really trying.

This may be a dramatic reinforcement of what was hinted at on May 6th, that traditional Tory voters in the South of the country are sick of Johnson’s UKIP retread party. It’s a shame that they didn’t wake up in time to save Dominic Greive’s seat and the 150,000 dead from CVB19; it’s not a national trend as Ben Houchon’s strong mandate in Teeside shows. Houchan’s victory also undermines the argument that the red wall is collapsing because Labour are the establishment as do the victories in Preston and Manchester.

Chesham & Amerhsam was a remain seat, 55% – 45%.

Here’s a chart, showing among other things, Labour’s 2017 vote and its historic second place.

There have been some famous by-election upsets in the past, although few with a lasting impact. I wonder if this is any different today. The politics is, and voter loyalty is much weaker than it was fifty years ago.  …

About CLP affiliate delegates

About CLP affiliate delegates

I was asked on a Facebook Group, if it was normal for Constituency Labour Party affiliates to change their delegate nominees after a Labour Party branch AGM in order to install people that had lost in the election at their branches. I replied, possibly at length, and have decided to reproduce what I said here. I wrote,

Is it normal? Dunno, but in my view it’s indicative of cheating and this isn’t the first time I have heard of this happening. If the certification of the delegates is not signed by the affiliating entity’s secretary, I would doubt that the unit has met or voted to send delegates. The key here, in generating my suspicion is the timing, the affiliate will only have days, and in the other case I have seen, the fact that the individuals named were not active or retired steel workers.

The rules on what may affiliate are named in C7.IV. Trade Union regional committees may not affiliate. New affiliates must be accepted more than 60 days before the AGM. Only socialist society branches may affiliate.

The rules require that all affiliates name the unit affiliating. It would seem normal to expect that the unit’s secretary would be named so that the CLP can fulfil its communication responsibilities, but it is not, most Unions do not inform the CLP of the affiliating branch’s secretary. I have at times sought to disaffiliate those affiliates that will not tell us who their secretary is and whose notification was not signed by the unit secretaries. I did not succeed. The affiliation should be on letterheaded paper (or digital equivalent) and certifiably dated.  

With respect to socialist societies, only local branches may affiliate. Ask for the branch name, the branch secretary and the date of the meeting at which the decisions were taken. I have helped deregister delegates who were nominated other than by local branches and rejected a soc. soc. affiliation on these grounds.  (In fact, I joined two of the socialist societies to ensure they kept to the rules. I approve of those organisations, it wasn’t parasitic entryism. In fact, I am still a member of the LME.)

I recommend that a CLP adopts the policy that any money sent to the party by affiliates without cross referencing a delegate nomination is treated as a donation. i.e. refuse to recognise affiliations without delegate nominations.

However trying this with a Union will probably bring the attention of Regional Office who may seek to ‘persuade’ you that what you’re doing is against the rules and that you or your party will be suspended. Ask for any instructions in writing.

I have previously expressed similar views on this blog in articles entitled, Phantoms, Secretaries and Localism. …