Starmer vs Johnson, approval ratings

Starmer vs Johnson, approval ratings

Is Starmer thought of more highly than Johnson? The short answer, it would seem is "Yes". I have looked at yougov and re-presented their results here. But if he is more highly thought of, why are the Tories ahead in the polls when nearly 100,000 people are dead from the coronavirus. The charts showing each leader's score since Starmer's election to the leadership, a comparative score and a look at the Party scores are overleaf. I have used yougov's figures. ...

Total Rewrite

judges gavel

I am writing something else about a positive response for the Labour Party to the EHRC’s excoriating report on the Party’s disciplinary process. Unlike many I consider the lack of process and the lack of process controls to be the worst finding, I think that the EHRC has failed to balance Human Rights vs. Equalities law but the Labour Party’s disciplinary process needs to be reformed because it’s dreadful on every dimension. I propose to say,

The Labour Party needs to rewrite its disciplinary code, embedding Article 6, together with the principles of natural justice, innocent until guilty, proportionate punishment, the MacPherson principle, technical & organisational controls to stop the destruction of records or other improper behaviour, robust victim care, fairness to complainants to stop the premature and arbitrary rejection of complaints, rules on how to deal with NEC & Staff, policy about how to exercise the Party’s safeguarding responsibility and inform the police or other responsible persons of any crime, policy on how and why administrative suspensions are to undertaken, prohibiting disguised double jeopardy and guaranteed timescales.

Dave Levy

It’s shameful that a committee i.e. the NEC, where every member is a trade unionist and over one third are activists or full time employees of and within the Unions, that such a piss-poor state of affairs can exist, and do so for so long!

Corbyn & Wadsworth

And the process needs to apply to all complaints, and as I think about it, the grounds for punishment, are currently, ” … [action which] is prejudicial, or in any act which in the opinion of the NEC is grossly detrimental to the Party“, this permits expelling people due to the reputational damage caused by acts of speech, this is wrong. The test should be the contravention of the equalities law or other laws we consider critical such as the PPER or the Bribery Act. i.e. bringing the party into disrepute is not good enough, uncomradely behaviour might be, criminal acts of relevance to politics definitely is, although they should be dealt with, in the first instance, by the police. …

Brexit, the next trade deadlines

Brexit, the next trade deadlines

Brexit is not yet done, this, from the Institute of Govt., shows the upcoming deadlines for further agreement. most importantly in the short term, financial services equivalence and data adequacy. Slightly later in the year, is the new definition for food safety documentation required to export British food to the EU and Northern Ireland.

I might say more when I have studied it, but I have written recently about financial services, and extensively on the need for & likelihood of a data adequacy agreement. …



I am standing for a place on the AEIP National Committee. Its role is changing, and I think I have the campaigning and professional experience to help it develop into what it needs to be. If you are a member, you will receive your vote via email shortly. Please use your vote wisely, and for me 😉

I am a Londoner and committed pro-EU activist in the Labour Party ; I supported remaining in the EEC in 1975, and it’s wrong to leave now. This is a lifelong commitment for me.

The need for AEIP is still as great today as we move into a post-Brexit relationship with the EU and that relationship is governed by a Tory Govt and the partnership council. The issues raised by the alternate mandate remain as live today as they were before the treaty on future relationship was signed. I am quite shocked at how quickly even the stuff the Tories supposedly value is falling apart, from fishing, to exports, to creative artists and financial services, the worst predictions are coming true. It seems too few people understood, Johnson’s anglo saxon summary of his industrial policy. The good news is that we can still conduct politics as the treaty is a living treaty with institutions in which we can build coalitions for a better answer. To do that, we need popular support and AEIP is the best instrument for doing that.

I am used to and experienced in arguing for good policy in the Labour Party; this experience will be useful for AEIP as we develop policy and seek support for it. I have written a lot about the economics and justice of the remain case on my blog, . I have worked in IT for a series of blue chip companies and am a trained economist. I have expertise in macro-economics, and industrial innovation; I served on one of the predecessor Horizon 2020 incubator committees in the noughties. I am a co-author of the European Union’s software strategy and an expert in data protection law. I believe this experience would be of use to the AEIP national committee.

On Europe and the European Union, I believe in the words of my father, a WW2 veteran, that the EU is a project for peace, it’s been too often forgotten. Free movement and the Charter of Fundamental Rights will come to be seen as the greatest losses, the case on economics was won 18 months ago. AEIP needs to continue to campaign for a better Britain. For more of what I think, I have written a lot about the economics and justice of the remain case here, on my blog, …

How to make Labour’s policy and manifesto

How to make Labour’s policy and manifesto

Consultation is currently taking place as part of Labour's review of the way it makes policy.

Below are set out suggested responses to the questions the party is asking in the consultation. They are also attached as a word document here and a PDF file here.

Responses can be made up till 3 February, either on Labour's website here or emailed to here.

These will be more powerful if you could get a party unit to approve a submission, but there is not much time left.

The Labour Party web site offers the ability to upload the document, if you do this do not forget to add the name of your organisation to this document and to the relevant fields on the website. Otherwise, you can paste each response into the relevant question and amend it if you see fit.

The text of the submission is below/overleaf ...

Finance in the City

Finance in the City

I made a blog on linkedin; a lot of money left the City on the 4th Jan, the first day of trading after the end of the UK’s brexit transition period. The article has a bit of explanation and a bit of prediction; more could follow and some of the market infrastructure companies and lawyers may need to do so too. While non European finance will likely remain in London, and provide both volume and gravity, the death of LIFFE showed that things can change.

Bloomberg are not so equanimous, and express their views in an article behind a “please pay us” splash screen; it’s a review of the leading merchant bank’s economists talking about the investment opportunities in the UK now that we have an idea of the new framework defining the terms of Trade. Many are neutral, the headline quotes the ‘bear’.

I am not sure, I suspect that the gravitational effect of world trade in non-Euro shares and the trade in currencies will maintain a critical mass giving the skills and infrastructure the reason to stay in London. What’s gone is gone but we need the Government to get on top of the negotiations on “equivalence”, which will determine the banks’ ability to serve both the EU market and EU citizens in the UK.  …

Happy Fish

Happy Fish

Who’d have thought it? After threatening a no-deal Brexit to protect Britiain’s fishing industry, we discover that the goal would seem to have been to make Britain’s fish happy! FFS! The inconvenient truth is that most of the fish caught in British waters are sold in the EU and given the need for more paperwork at the border, the industry is having such severe difficulty in getting their fish to market that they are keeping the boats in port to save the quota until a time when they can sell what they catch. It seems, however, we still have time and resources to chase the Irish away from Rockall. It may not just be fishing, the LSE predicts that UK Exports to the EU will fall by ⅓, total trade by 13% and GNI by 6%.

There is a murmur of evidence that, what economists call, increased friction at the border is causing supply chain disruption for the super-markets and there are coming shortages in the shops, it could of course just be as people enter the new lockdown they stock up to minimise their visits to the shops but if it’s a customs check thing, then we should note that the UK imports half it’s food. In the words of Corporal Jones from Dad’s Army, “Don’t panic!”.

I am shocked at how fast it seems to be falling apart but can’t deny myself a bit of schadenfreude about the fish but any lost job is shame and will impact the workers and their families and I remember that offshore fishing is the most dangerous job in the country. I wonder when Richard Corbett and Seb Dance will be calling for us to rejoin and whether real industry will join them.

But Labour’s front bench have hitched their fortunes to making the Brexit deal work. Too late to do any good electorally, and too early to avoid the coming shit storm. We are telling our remaining core vote to once again, concede political and moral space to people who don’t support us; given a choice between blue labour and red clydeside, Starmer’s Labour has made its choice and we’ll have to see if it’s the right one. …

Responsible Opposition

In his first speech of the year, Sir Kier Starmer, the Leader of the Labour Party makes a speech on the Tory Govt’s flawed response to the coronavirus pandemic. Is this a redefinition of ‘responsible opposition’? I am not so sure.

Here’s the speech on youtube,

The speech ends at 32.35 and is followed by journalists questions, which are mostly shit and fishing for a bad headlines but he does use the opportunity to expand on whether nurseries should remain open. The words of the speech are on the LP press site.

It’s Ok, as far it goes. …

The press spin is that he focuses on families and parents which some off the right wing press seem to think is a threat. To which I ask why? Single people, old and young are also suffering furthermore, there is no mention of sick pay or redundancy pay and he merely opposes cuts in universal credit. But why exclude some people from support during a pandemic.

There’s no mention in the speech of the education fuck ups, of closing schools late, of letting students enter their courses for a year obviously to be bighted by lockdown and the Williamson’s exam debacle of last summer, presumably partly because his fingerprints are on these decisions although he calls for, possibly, closing the nurseries which would be a relief to the workers there but why aren’t we calling for Williamson & Jenrick to be sacked?

While he looks at the positives of rebuilding the economy, where he name checks high wages and high skills, and it may be premature, but some signals from our borders suggests that Brexit will increase foreign goods’ prices, and may cause shortages and job losses but he’s closed that door on seeing this as a contributory cause to our awful economic state.

He’s still focusing on competence not on corruption, but I like this quote,

The government says it’s trying to balance the health crisis with the economic crisis. Yet we ended  2020 with one of the worst death tolls in Europe and the deepest recession of any major economy.  That’s not bad luck.  That wasn’t inevitable. It’s the consequence of the PM’s repeated delay and incompetence.

Sir Kier Starmer

On the question of competence, as well as Williamson, I think we need to mention the “eat out to help out” campaign and it’s author, Rishi Sunak and the impact it had on spreading the virus. No stats from me today, but I assure you it did not reduce it. Starmer is silent.

I object to the cardboard cut-out patriotism, British science is global and Oxford research team is multi-ethnic/multi-national and again I ask if it will be possible to put such a team together in the future once the full impact of Brexit on immigration, professional recognition and student access becomes obvious. Also platitudes about the best in the world always remind me of Steve Bell’s cartoon about the “best used kebabs in the world”.

After 9 months of responsible opposition, is this enough? Should this be welcomed or not. In my book, it’s late, it does not rectify the errors on schools and the silence on economic support, the silence on the inadequacy of sick pay and statutory redundancy payments. It’s not really enough for me.

I wanted to behave differently to the right in the Labour Party, to give him a chance to stand by his 10 pledges, to respect those Party comrades that voted for him, but I lost confidence before Xmas and this speech is not enough and when taking account of the policy direction on Brexit, immigration and Human Rights, we are still in the wrong place to represent our core constituency and even a majority of the country.

I may need to write more because Anneliese Dodds will be giving the Mais Lecture, which is previewed in the Financial Times (paywall). They say that she will,

 …  call for a ‘responsible fiscal framework’ based on ‘pragmatism, not dogmatism’  … [and] … signal … that the Labour party is backing away from the hard-left economic policies of former leader Jeremy Corbyn, seeking instead to fight the Conservatives on economic competence and protecting the UK’s recovery from the damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It’s all very disappointing although not unexpected. I wonder who the visionary that plans this stuff is? While Dodds has the chops to carry this off, Starmer seems lost. …