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. …

No Deal & cross border data flows

No Deal & cross border data flows

I have just written a blog at linkedin on the impact of a No Deal Brexit on cross border personal data flows. Obtaining an adequacy agreement will take time, one would have hoped that the transition period would have been enough, but without one there will be no adequacy decision on Day 1. Large and prepared entities may be OK as they can use the currently legally permitted alternatives. The US privacy shield may not be avaialable n Day 1, since its an EU agreement. If we leave, we i.e. the UK state may no longer avail itself of the Article 23 powers and the Investigatory Powers Act and the DPA “immigration exception” may cause problems in achieving an adequacy decision. …

Childish Innocence

I can’t remember who reminded me to look this up, but I rather like,

“What childish innocence it is to present one’s own impatience as a theoretically convincing argument!” (Frederick Engels, “Programme of the Blanquist Communards”, [30] from the German Social-Democratic newspaper Volksstaat, 1874, No. 73

 …

This (LibDem) parrot is no more

This (LibDem) parrot is no more

It’s all got very tactical since Jo Swinson was elected Leader of the Lib Dems with Labour people exhorting people to remember their role, and hers personally, in the coalition government. She and the Lib Dems are in the strange and hypocritical position of arguing for a Remain Alliance but rejecting the help from Parties larger than itself.

For those with a memory of the Lib Dems, we know that that the time delay between announcing a policy and asking for electoral support is generally around a nano-second. No matter who leads them, this sectarian approach to other parties and the politics of the voters remains a constant.

But given today’s politics, the only, or at least the easiest, growth strategy for the LibDems is to act as a welcoming repository for Tory Remainers; Swinson’s rejection of a coalition with Corbyn’s Labour and now it seems with the SNP are designed to make it safe for Tories to vote and/or even join them. There are certainly several Tory MPs suggesting that they can’t and won’t support Johnson in a VONC and several of them might well survive in their seats if they were to run as LibDems. The LibDems also owe the Tories a drubbing in the South West.

The other thing to recognise is that the Lib Dems ceased to be a progressive party in 2007, when their Leadership election was between Clegg and Huhne; both were “Orange Bookers”, which was the right-wing economic manifesto within the Lib Dems. It was ideological commitment as well as Parliamentary arithmetic that led to the Lib Dems supporting Cameron’s coalition government. Their internal opponents have mainly left the LibDems. …

The politics of MMT

The politics of MMT

I was prompted to remember some of my recent Macroeconomic reading as someone was asking about Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). I read Reclaiming the State last year, and I picked it up again to re-read the section on International Trade. I have not yet finished it, but I remember thinking that while public finance may not be a constraint on the economy, the long term balance of trade may well be, even for a monetary sovereign. Meanwhile this article “Brexit the slippery slope of left sovereigntism from modern monetary  theory to spiked” at https://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com explores the political inertia that MMT’s exponents may be riding; much of it is based on an interview with James Meadway, once John McDonnell’s economics adviser which is available, at the link below/overleaf. For Coatsey’s regular readers they will be unsurprised at his pugnacious attacks on Faizi’s endorsement of the Full Brexit and Spiked. Schneider’s musing are interesting in that he emphasises that MMT, like Keynesianism  says nothing about inequality and ownership of the means of production. (The interview also addresses the moderation in Labour’s 2017 Manifesto.) …  …

Crown Jewel Sports

It’s been a fabulous month for English sport; England’s Women get to the World Cup semi-finals and England’s men win the Cricket World Cup.

Many will have been following these exciting victories on TV but for the cricket, Sky had exclusive rights, although it seems the final was shared with Channel 4 meaning that the World Cup cricket was seen on “free to air” TV for the first time in 14 years.

It may surprise some that the Law is such that the licensors of certain events must share certain content with free to air broadcasters, but the Women’s Football and Cricket are not considered such “Crown Jewels”.

The value of these sports to the content companies is created by fans and the monopolist control of supply creates overpricing and denies fans access i.e. chokes demand.

The House of Commons have produced a briefing, Listed Sporting Events which both list those events that must be shared in totality and those for which highlight shows must be shared. It also has an appalling statement by the Tory ministers responsible arguing that the market and the content creators should be allowed to control the distribution. The list is controlled by the Govt., and Tom Watson Shadow Secretary of State for Culture announced that Labour would broaden the list to include the Women’s World Cup and the Paraolympics.

Helen Weeks in her academic paper, “TV WARS: EXCLUSIVE CONTENT AND PLATFORM COMPETITION IN PAY TV” first identified to me, the need to protect these sports events from monopolistic behaviour and their otherwise enclosure behind proprietary paywalls as competitive weapons.

ooOOOoo

To me, the existence of this list is a critical statement that for some creative events, not all the value should be accrued by the creators, some of te value belongs to the fans and consumers and they should be able to keep the value they create. It’s an example of where the public interest opposes all rights reserved. …

Democracy for the many

The CLPD has considered for several years the vulnerability to the Left should there be another Leadership election in which the incumbent, Jeremy Corbyn was not able to stand.

The Democracy Review proposed changing the nomination threshold for Leader/Deputy Leader by  reducing the number of PLP/EPLP nominations and introducing effective nominations for affiliates and CLPs. The NEC in its pre-conference meetings rejected the Democracy Review proposal and reduced the PLP threshold to 10% while introducing  additional effective nominations from CLPs and affiliates. Many on the Left think the 10% threshold is too high for a true believer to be on the ballot paper.

Given that the Rule on Leadership nominations, Chapter 4, Clause II.2.B.i.  was changed at Conference 2018, Rule changes to this rule proposed by CLPs and affiliates may not be debated at the next three conferences. R3.III.1.H.

Some people in the CLPD came up with a cunning plan, since the number of motions was to be increased, the Left should use one of its motions to mandate the NEC to bring a rule change to the leadership nomination threshold to Conference 2020. See here.

Max Shanley, partly motivated by the anger felt at Tom Watson has proposed another motion in a similar vein. It is printed in full at the Skwawkbox.

The difference between the two motions are that Shanley’s motion removes the MPs from the nomination process altogether and brings forward the mandate to produce a rule change to this year from the CLPD’s 2020 time-line.

Both these will probably mean that the Unions will vote against it or stitch it up; the work to win the Unions to this has not been done. This was shown last year where the Unions via their reps on the NEC and their votes on Conference floor voted against open selection, against repeal of the three-year rule, and for the current Leadership nomination threshold. i.e. it was the Union votes on the NEC that voted to keep the MPs at 10% of the nomination qualification.

If these two motions are submitted to Conference and if they get through the Union dominated CAC, they may be grouped as a single topic and then subject to a composite meeting. Getting it through the CAC will not be simple as the NEC (or the Office) have been working mightily to keep organisational motions off the Women’s Conference agenda.

I suppose my fear is that the proposal to eliminate MPs from the nomination process will attract the notice and opposition of the Unions who will use their majority on the CAC to bury both.

I would think very carefully before supporting Shanley’s proposal.

Whatever you do on this issue though, you should seek mandates to support the abolition of the 3 year rule which to my knowledge will be on the order paper; you should seek to mandate your Union delegations as well as this will require Union votes to win. …