That’s you that is!

I am beginning to find the debate on Brexit with with local party comrades very frustrating, specifically those who believe that leaving the EU is a path to a better society; my frustration with the triangulators is different.

During the Referendum, everyone who didn’t like the EU voted No, with views from what has become Norway+ to those who want to leave on WTO or no terms. In a very short while, if not already, the terms of leaving become/became specific and they will need to decide whether these terms are suitable. It was fantasy against a reality, or more accurately several fantasies against a reality and the leaver’s fantasy has disappeared.

The choice between a specific exit and remain is different and they will need to make a new choice, they will need to make a judgement as to the specific terms on offer are satisfactory, that is unless you take the view that disruption caused by leaving the EU on any terms will cause a mass rising of “left wing” revolutionary conciousness. This argument is rarely made outside the Socialist Party.

Terms written by the Tories for purposes of party unity are unlikely to or shouldn’t satisfy socialists and yet we still find some of them supporting “Brexit” without stating their terms, strategy or how they’ll make society better or what their better society would look like, except that a Corbyn led government will make things better, irrespective of whether their policy will make this more likley or not. On the other hand, we have a bunch of Labour MPs other than the usual suspects, who are preparing to break the whip, and break Party Conference policy if offered May’s deal or No Deal.

As a left, we should unite to stop the Tory Brexit.

I repeat what I said, without quoting David Baddiel this time, if we leave, it’ll be bad, or very bad and everyone who can be blamed will be.

I ask, “What will they say to those who lose their jobs or suffer other oppressions, including deportation, restriction on medical treatment or restrictions on movement, such as being unable to visit their family, or bring them here, because of Brexit and I do not mean this as how to express empathy; what will you suggest they do to make their lives better through political action and why would they listen to you?”

ooOOOoo

For more, see also, The ground is shifting …

Dark clouds over the sea

Dark clouds over the sea

A friend and Labour Party member writes,

Problem is the next election won’t be fought on our ground or the manifesto it will be all Brexit. More precisely the fall out and ongoing shambles that will be Brexit. It will be a very fluid and febrile political environment. That will make normal politics difficult and in my view setting the campaign agenda will be next to impossible. It will be a relentless buffet at the hands of the wider political winds. All due respect by the Party is kind of shit at reactive PR and messaging.

The economic fall out of what I now about 75% anticipate will be a no deal crash out on 29th March will be crippling. I predict the UK economy shrinking by enough that we drop out of the G7 inside 3-5 years. I also anticipate unemployment in the several millions maybe as high as 5/6 million across roughly the same period. Some of this could be alleviated if Tories used big time stimulus spending by way of PQE type money creation. Although that gets capped to an extent by currency values declining and the overall productive value of the UK economy. But it is more likely the Tories will decide super austerity is the answer and start slashing and burning every aspect of the Public sector. As Parliament is Sovereign and there won’t be an EU there is no limit to what they can do. I predict a labour market that will look a lot like the US one inside a relatively short period. I have worked in the USA, (actually in banking, boo, but I did hate it). You can be fired at will and have no legal recourse.

Now factor in Scotland having Indy Ref 2 (they will) and most likely waving good bye (with 40-50 non Tory MP’s gone). Scotland leaving is another major economic shock and the shift from sterling being valued as a petro currency to being based on the English/Welsh/NI economy will weaken it again. NI is not self sustaining economically and it is very vulnerable to the areas that a hard Brexit will hit hardest. Agri Business is 10% of NI GDP a hard Brexit is going to cripple it. Sheep farming will be wiped out in NI and dairy and beef will be badly hurt. NI won’t be a productive part of the UK economy and it is unlikely Wales will be either. The whole weight will be England and the SE will dominate that at the expense of the North. We will be in an economic position that will be at least as weak as it was in the early 70’s after the oil shocks and probably worse because our economy is now so heavily service and finance based and Brexit is going to hit them very hard.

I could go on but you get the picture. Politically Tory slash and burn may shift public mood to wanting a change and give us a chance. I am not entirely convinced that will be how it plays out. In times of fear and crisis people want leaders who offer the answers and seem strong and certain. In truth that is the worst kind of leadership but it is a natural human reaction to seek it at times of crisis. The prolonged Brexit crisis may push voters towards a strongman type right wing leader rather than Labour so I don’t see unfolding Brexit disaster as necessarily delivering up conditions for a Labour GE win. It might but it might not.

Even if we got a GE win in say 2021/22 the idea we will be in any kind of position to push the big spending priorities in the manifesto is unicorn thinking. If we still have the Fiscal Credibility Rule and apply it then we will more likely be delivering Labour austerity. If we dumped the FCR we might be able to use greater stimulus spending by PQE but without productive growth and an economic base this is a more limited option. No point printing money to build bridges or infrastructure in economic wastelands. It would only push a short term boost. The longer term rebuilding of the economy from Brexit will be very difficult and in my view will be a 3 to 5 decade project. The options will be a slow rebuild and restructure over 30-50 years or the other option that will quite likely arise as a political force will be to re-join the EU. Problem with that is we don’t get the same conditions as now we might have to join the Eurozone. That changes the dynamic and makes re-joining far less attractive. If we could avoid the Euro maybe but unless it is reformed it is not a good economic deal for the UK (what will be left of the UK).

Again sorry to be pessimistic and bum everyone out. This is why I have been so cross about Brexit and the Leadership approach to it. I personally think JC doesn’t get the right info because of the bunch of Stalinist twats around him in LOTO. Whatever the cause it is what it is and most likely the die is now cast for a hard Brexit. How to ride that torrent in the near to medium term is going to be very difficult and sorry to be critical but I don’t have a huge amount of confidence in the Party’s ability to be strategic and nimble enough to cope with it effectively.

 …

A giant juke box

A giant juke box

This (European) Commission and Parliament must be the worst ever. Previous Parliaments have stopped ACTA & TTIP, previous Commissions have sanctioned Microsoft and Intel but it seems that this regime is going to commit two huge mistakes in regulating the new techno-economy.

The European Council has made the proposed Copyright Directive even worse! The link tax and the upload filters are still in place but the protections for authors and researchers have been weakened. The duties on social media sites with respect to licensing material are onerous to the extent of impossibility but then the law was always designed to transfer money from the datenkraken to legacy publishing businesses and turn the internet into a commercial jukebox. It’s so poor that despite,

As the entertainment industry representatives have said repeatedly during this fight, they are after nothing less than a fundamental reshaping of the Internet, where our ability to use networks for employment, family, civics, politics, education, collaboration, romance, and all the other purposes we put them to are subordinated to the use of the Internet as a glorified jukebox and video-on-demand service — where killing every EU competitor to U.S. Big Tech is an acceptable price to pay if it means transferring a few points to Big Content’s balance sheet. corydoctorow @eff

even the music companies now no longer want this law as it is.

The other piece of legislation is the Public Sector Information (PSI) Directive in which the Government’s have weaked the principle that public money buys public domain. For more see Glyn Moody on Tech Dirt, EU’s New ‘Open By Default’ Rules For Data Generated By Public Funding Subverted At The Last Minute.

Julia Reda, the Euro Pirate Party MEP writes on how to stop the Copyright Directive and points that the final votes in the Parliament will take place in the run-up to the Parliamentary elections. Not sure if the UK is taking part in them, or if there will be a selection for the candidates in the Labour Party, there wasn’t in 2012, they forgot, but I shall be writing to the Labour MEPs asking them to vote to support freedom of speech and a free internet.

You might want to too! …

Trade & Brexit

Trade & Brexit

A friend posted a link to Larry Elliot’s article, “Ignore the free-trade evangelists. Brexit can create a fairer economy“, suggesting its critique of international trade implied some sunny upland in a post Brexit world. The article is sub titled “Free market economics created a world fit for multinationals. But we need less frictionless trade and more local control”., using a global context argument and yet diminishing the regulatory power which we share with the rest of the EU. The EU have sanctioned Microsoft, Intel, Apple & Google. The EU killed the ACTA & TTIP trade agreements. (Although not CETA, the Canadian version of TTIP). That is local control.

In no post-Brexit world, where we will take years to join the WTO and make new agreements with the 92 countries whose agreements we will have voided, will there be a vibrant British or Sterling economy, Elliot, and his fans are with Prof Minford in permitting if not encouraging the so-called legacy manufacturing industry to off-shore.

We should note that our Balance of Payments has been in deficit for, well forever really but is current running at £100bn p.a. about the same size as the crisis debt/deficit level that the Tories, supported by both the LibDems and rump New Labour used to justify austerity.

The UK will be poorer, and this misery will not be shared evenly and people will get angry. Anyone, with their hand dirty will be blamed. …

Emergencies

Emergencies

More on emergency motions, mainly about the Labour Party’s rules, but may apply to other Labour movement organisations.

An emergency motion can be accepted after the convening notice for a meeting has been published. This means that attendees or potential attendees will not know that a motion is planned, especially if the relevant officers do not formally or informally publicise receipt of a proposed emergency motion. In both AMM and Branch & Delegate (B&D), an emergency motion can be proposed by one member. Emergency motions permit the weakening of the notice rules.

To be deemed an emergency there is a two part test; basically is it late for good reason, and can it wait?

To be deemed an emergency, it must prove that it is relevant to an event that occurred after the convening notice was published otherwise the proposer should/must have given the membership notice of their motion via the Secretary. i.e. the proposer needs to justify why no notice could be given. This is worse in a B&D GC;  an emergency motion can be proposed by a delegate without reference to their nominating organisation and other delegates cannot get mandates for the emergency motion, particularly if no notice has been given.

None of the above addresses the second part of the test which is to qualify as an emergency, the motion must be such that being delayed to a meeting at which notice can be given and mandates issued would nullify the impact of the motion.

This is why organisations need a test as to the bona fide nature of the “emergency” requiring the passage of a motion.

ooOOOoo

It should be noted that the very low threshold required to place an emergency motion on the order paper can lead to abuse. Because emergency motions are taken before motions that have been submitted in good time, a small minority can hijack the agenda of meetings by persistently submitting emergency motions. This denies those that have behaved well the opportunity to see their motions and ideas debated. (My local GC has motions that have been waiting for nearly two years, and it took months to discuss abolishing the Mayor and even longer to vote to oppose blacklist and for the council to embargo companies that use them.

A final thought, since motions of no-confidence, be it in an MP or a CLP EC have no effect in the rules, can they ever be considered emergencies? They will always fail the 2nd test. …

May to Corbyn: ping pong

I got my blog on Corbyn’s letter to May out just in time, she replied yesterday as I was writing it. Opinion be divided as to what she says, the Guardian commented and published a copy of the letter which I have mirrored on this site and below/overleaf.

The Guardian documents her refusal to countenance a customs union and everything else falls from there on in. She is seen by the BBC as encouraging further talks on the backstop i.e. let’s go back to my plan which parliament has already rejected and waste some more time.

The open letters and the lack of agreement makes it seem like two seals fighting, by which I mean the amount of noise.

I am however surprised at her warm words around the Common European Arrest Warrant, she must know that its corollory is the CJEU & the Charter of Fundamental Rights. … …

Nothing to see here

This came through earlier in the month, despite the Tory Party being fined, it seems that Craig McKinley, the Tory candidate for Thanet South, in 2015 is not guilty of electoral fraud, it was all down to his local campaign official. I didn’t think that was how the law worked; I didn’t think it was possible to find an Agent guilty and a candidate innocent but hey ho, we live and learn. Of course, they can’t order the election to take place again because it already has. The Secret Barrister wrote about the decision not to prosecute, the Tory’s candidates and agents over their “Battlebus” expenditure, he or she states, the CPS chose not to prosecute because evidence of corruption was likely to be too hard to prove, but,

…  In relation to the lesser offence of failing to deliver a true return, the CPS concluded, perhaps charitably, that for for the same reason it was not in the public interest to charge any of the agents or candidates with that offence.

They made an exception for the Thanet South election where they decided to prosecute. …  …

What is to be done, with Lewisham Council?

Finally I have submitted my thoughts on Lewishams’ Democracy Review. Lewisham Democracy Review by Dave Levy V1_1. My initial thoughts were published in this article on this blog. Three things,

  1. I am shocked at the true legal position, we elect a dictator, with no recall, & no term limits. Executive Mayor’s are not just a first-amongst-equals “Leaders” with a different mandate, it’s an alien form of government, lifted from the US & France and designed to reduce the accountability of the decisions from voters and their political parties. I am equally shocked at the extent to which the Mayor’s power’s are delegated to full time staff.
  2. I have recommended that they abolish the Mayoral system, and in the expectation that this will be rejected,
  3. 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.

The deadline is Sunday.

A URL for the document is http://bit.ly/2DA5aho, a SURL for this article is https://wp.me/p9J8FV-1IN …

More on the Copyright Directive

I need to thank the Register for publishing this article, “Looming EU copyright rules – tackling Google news article scraping, installing upload filters – under fire from all sides“. It’s written from their seemingly normal editorial line of, how shall we put it, “Copyleft Scepticism”. I am usually on the other side of this debate, but the language in this article is less offensive than usual. Actually it reminded me of a couple of issues which to me have dropped below the horizon, partly because whenever new tech. competes with old media the people who get lost and forgotten are citizens and users. In this article, below/overleaf I write about some of the less obvious side effects of the Link Tax, the cost of Licensing content for small users, question why we permit copyright protection for news, the corollary of weak fair use laws,  the corollary of the economics of upload filters, and the impact of the growing unpopularity of Google. I published my diatribe on the bad economics and moral vacancy of the copyright business in on this blog in a post entitled, “A failure to serve Fans”. This article is meant to be a bit more targeted and a bit off-piste. … …

History today

Last night, the House of Commons voted to reject the Theresa May’s EU withdrawal agreement by a historic margin. The press reaction is summarised in the Guardian.

Labour have tabled a motion of No-Confidence in the Government, which the Tory/DUP are likely to win but if it weren’t for the Fixed Term Parliament Act, May would be gone. I may still happen, but the so-called “Men in Grey Suits” seem to be scarce and taking to ground however, I think that she’ll resign as Prime Minister.

The debate on Brexit now moves to No Deal, New Deal or Revoke Article 50 notice. The first is unacceptable and catastrophic, the second requires a new Prime Minister and time i.e. an extension of the Article 50 time period and the latter needs to be genuine. It may be past the time for a referendum. …