Member’s rule change proposals

Member’s rule change proposals

I met up with some people who had seen Labour’s Conference Agenda items and they said that the following rule amendments were to be debated, or at least rules on the following topics. N.B. I have not yet read these, so my comments may be a bit off.

  1. A proposal to amend the so-called three year rule on rule changes, allowing popular changes to be debated within the current three year moratorium.
  2. There will be a rule change about OMOV for Executive Mayor’s and Council Leaders (& Deputies).
  3. An amendment to re-establish Clause IV, the rule not the group
  4. A proposal to permit amendments to motions at Conference.
  5. A rule change to clarify the rules on access to membership data lists.
  6. A rule change to permit BAME only shortlists; I have not read this rule change but am aware that this is likely to require legislation.
  7. A rule change on democratising the LCF, barring councillors and increasing the size, and having 25% of delegates as TU delegates.
  8. A proposal to submit  both a rule change & a motion. Again I have not read this so I don’t know if it changes the number to be submitted beyond one of each.
  9. A motion changing the rules to ensure the transparency of public official’s/candidate’s finances
  10. A proposal to revise revision of disciplinary rule, C2.I.8. (I have not read this, but it’s a clue to search it out and read it.)
  11. A proposal on greater diversity in CLPs.

It seems the NEC will be proposing to amend the disciplinary process. The desire is to create a fast track process but the fear is that they are proposing to fatally weaken the legally necessary separation of powers/segregation of duties between the NEC and the NCC. Obviously one needs to read it, but this sounds like one to oppose.

Rules are currently proposed to be debated on Saturday afternoon. Delegates will need all their credentials, including their card vote books which are *not* sent by post. …

What I said on the surveillance state

What I said on the surveillance state

I took my “surveillance society/human rights law” motion to my CLP GC last week. This is the speech I intended to give, it runs for about 2 mins; I had to cut it down.

In 2013, Edward Snowden, a contractor at the US’s National Security Agency blew the whistle on the NSA, and it’s five-eyes’ allies attempt to bug the whole of the internet, exposing the lengths that the intelligence services were prepared to go in building a surveillance society.

A debate exploded about the legality of their activities and we came to see the importance of their failed attempts under both Labour & Coalition Governments to legalise their activities with the Communications Data Bill versions 1 & 2.

In 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union struck down the Data Retention Directive as in violation of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights; in the UK a law was rapidly passed to leave the rights of the intelligence services in place.

Over time these surveillance powers have been extended by via both Legislation such as the Immigration Act, the Counter Terrorism and Security act which authorises Prevent and by “voluntary” agreement such as the #getitrightfromagenuine site programme.

This has been capped of by Theresa May’s Investigatory Powers Act, which has since been declared in contravention of the Charter of Fundamental Rights because the captured information can be retrieved for reasons other than serious crime and these retrievals are not reviewed by a Judge.

To this list we should add the Data Protection Act’s immigration exception, which means that immigration data is not subject to the GDPR rights of accessibility and correction.

At the centre of this is the intelligence service’s desire to treat everyone as suspects and to infringe their privacy without proving “reasonable suspicion”.

This is also about political power and how to exercise it; these measures are designed to take power away from us, from citizens and our neighbours.

If you look at the laws that underwrite the surveillance society, Immigration, Counter Terrorism and the DPA Immigration exception, you can see that the first victims of the surveillance society are migrants and ethnic minorities.

We should say and conference must state that freedom of expression and the right to privacy are universal human rights, that the current surveillance and investigatory powers regime is in breach of these rights.

It’s time for Labour to get on the right side of this debate, for too long the portfolio has been in the hands of fans of, or those that fear the securocrats.

250 words is too short to make the whole argument which is why I propose a commission to develop the policy further.

This motion is unlikely to be passed elsewhere so it’d be great if you voted for it and agreed to send it to conference.

The motion carried but we decided to send a great motion on social care. Does anyone have time to put it to conference? …

Council Power

Council Power

I wrote to one of Lewisham’s Councillors on the results of the Democracy Review and pointed them at things I have written and published, on Mayor’s and power in the council.

  1. https://davelevy.info/lewishams-democracy-it-could-be-better/ … what i thought was needed
  2. https://davelevy.info/what-is-to-be-done-with-lewisham-council/ … summarising what I said, i.e. my submission
  3. https://davelevy.info/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Lewisham-Democracy-Review-DFL-V1_1.pdf … my evidence, in which I recommend a series of reforms to improve the accountability and transparency of the Mayor, Council and senior officials including a recall mechanism, term limits and much improved monitoring of personnel, decisions and programmes.
  4. https://davelevy.info/abolishing-executive-mayors/ also hosts the LGIU paper which talks about returning to the Committee System.

And here are my notes about what they said; http://wiki.davelevy.info/lewisham-councils-democracy-review/ which includes comments on power & communication.

For completeness, https://davelevy.info/dictatorship/ my manifesto for abolition of the Mayor. …

Confidence

Two things about Johnson’s decision to prorogue. Firstly, the Queen appointed him without asking for a demonstration that he has the confidence of the House. While not against the law/conventions of the Constitution, given he now asks for Parliament to be prorogued for the longest period in decades it might have been wise to confirm that he has that confidence. Secondly, the House of Commons has only sat for one day since he became Prime Minister, and he prorogues it before it sits again. 🙄 …

A very British Coup

A very British Coup

So it seems the ruthless Johnson Regime plan to suspend Parliament to stop it holding them to account for their Brexit do-or-die policy.

We are in Charles 1st territory now! The English Civil War was fought to make the Government subordinate to (some of) the people’s representatives and it was the King who eventually lost his head in attempting to ensure that his Government could rule without reference to the elected House of Commons. One of the procedural/structural 450 year old reforms was the development of the post/role of Speaker; the reason the Speaker is dragged to the Chair on their election is that standing up to the Crown was originally personally very dangerous.

In these circumstances, the Speaker can and should just tell the Government that the House of Commons will continue to meet.

We should note that control of the Met. Police, who control the doors is shared between the Home Secretary and the Mayor of London, but we need to give MP’s some help by showing our solidarity with them as they return to the House of Commons.

Please write to your MP, and sign these petitions,

  1. https://www.anothereurope.org/petitions/defend-democracy/
  2. https://www.bestforbritain.org/queenproroguepetition
 …

Retweets, likes and bookmarks

Retweets, likes and bookmarks

Twitter have, it seems, changed the way and thus the semantics of the way in which we can tag ours and others tweets. One can no longer parse the history of one’s own likes but we now have bookmarks which can. Up until now, I have said that, “… comments are mine, retweets are not agreement, likes likely to mean ‘read later'”. I’d best change this.

From now my policy is “comments are mine, retweets, likes and bookmarks do not signify agreement”.

Retweets everyone can see, followers get this in the feed, and the author is notified.

Likes, the author is notified and the like count incremented.

Bookmarks  can be browsed. …

On ward boundaries

On ward boundaries

I attended yesterday’s meeting on Lewisham’s Ward Boundaries and discovered the source of much confusion. The meeting had been called by the Boundaries Commission, and the discontent was caused by the Council’s proposed evidence to the LGBCE, which I review on my wiki.

The council propose to split up Ladywell, Whitefoot and Lewisham Central and the howls of rage from Ladywell Labour can be heard in Harrow. I left the meeting early once the very smooth Chair from the LGCE made it clear that the decisions were theirs i.e. the Commission’s and that the Council was only one submission and that he was taking no responsibility for the Council’s proposals. (Although Chris Best, the Deputy Mayor spoke towards the end of the meeting, and if I’d have been there, I’d have learnt first hand how the Labour Group had sought to consult the Labour Party, or not depending on who you believe.)

One thing I learned, was that I had never realised that the view of the Ladywell Kebab shop from the Ladyywell Tavern is a community icon and that it must be within a local government ward called Ladywell.

Another lesson is that the proposal to split Ladywell Ward up is like the partition of Ireland. (I looked for a picture to illustrate this point and did a google for images using Northern Ireland peace line as the argument; images reminiscent of Berlin come up. I am not impressed with this as an argument unless its defenders think the council is going to wall off a part of the ward and have armed entry points; I think not).

I was deeply underwhelmed with the idea, proposed by an ex-Councillor that numbers of voters in Lewisham Central used in the Council proposals should be purged of all EU citizens, how this helps I can’t imagine, and I think we should be expressing support for our EU citizens. When I say I can’t imagine, I understand very well, the best way of minimizing the change is to reduce the projected population growth and it may be that this is over estimated as the new properties in Lewisham Central, Convoy’s Wharf and the other sites in Evelyn may have a large off-roll population due to them being empty, or occupied by non voters.

I am confirmed in my view that Deptford needs more councillors and it was suggested outside the meeting that while the Council propose to keep exclusively 3 seat wards, the Commission will prioritise the equalising of the power of the vote i.e. keeping the voters/councillor ratio even across the borough and will likely introduce smaller wards to do it i.e. some wards will be served by two councillors.  This in my opinion is not good because wards with less councillors will get less investment, and the amount of case work should be a factor in determining the number of councillors.

I am also confirmed in my mind that it is not possible to have three councillor wards throughout the borough, equal voters/councillor and respect the Parliamentary boundaries. The council proposals only meet one of these goals. …

On ward boundaries in Lewisham

‘The borough of Lewisham has changed substantially since the last ward review in 1999 that was published in 2002. In those 20 years, our borough has seen significant housing development and population expansion, particularly in the central and northern wards.

The Council have made proposals and are having an open meeting to discuss this at the town hall.

See also http://wiki.davelevy.info/redistricting-lewisham/ …