Help Labour win!

We have a General Election coming, here’s what you need or can do to get involved. Help Labour return Vicky Foxcroft as a Labour MP in Lewisham Deptford. The timetable of events is here, on Lewisham Council’s Web site.

  1. If not on the electoral roll, register to vote before the 27th November i.e , here…I didn’t know you could vote if homeless, but it seems you can, If you can’t provide an address, you are advised to contact your local Electoral Registration Office i.e. Lewisham Council for advice before the 27th Nov.
  2. Register for a postal vote here …, before 17:00 pm the 26th Nov; you’ll need a printer
  3. You may apply for a proxy vote until 4th Dec.
  4. Join us, in Lewisham Deptford on the doorstep, find out where & when here …,, we also run phone banks for those who can’t or don’t want to knock on doors, contact us via this web form.
  5. Put a poster, or posters up in your window, or garden, tell us here …, you’ll need to say that you want a poster and tell us where to deliver it.
  6. Donate to Labour’s campaign in Deptford here …
  7. Join the Party here …
  8. Donate to the national party here…
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Brexit and workers rights

Brexit and workers rights

Is EU employment protection laws better than the UK’s? Here’s the TUC, and here’s the Institute of employment rights.

The IER says,

Brexit is forever, and an honest appreciation of history should alert us to the dangers, just as optimism about a Labour government should temper our concerns. It is worth noting that UK labour standards tend to be more robust – and more or less on a par with European standards – in those areas presided by EU labour law instruments (e.g. working time, equality law, business restructuring). Whereas they tend to fall below European standards in areas such as unfair dismissal where, as noted in 2011 by the Beecroft report ‘[t]here is no EU concept of “unfair” non-discriminatory dismissal, so there are no other EU constraints on what the UK can do in this area’

i.e. so much for the power of the organised working class, and interested in what they say about unfair dismissal as it’s underwritten by an article in the Charter of Fundamental Rights yet protection seems weaker, primarily because the UK requires workers to have two years longevity but this is important evidence that the employee rights are stronger where there’s EU Law as is the case for working hours, equalities and health & safety.

They conclude,

… we provide an account of the constitutional foundations of European labour rights in the United Kingdom, as well as the extent to which British labour law is informed by mandatory European standards. It is unquestionably the case that without the EU influence, British labour law textbooks would be very much thinner, lighter and cheaper.

The IER concludes by pointing out that the Govt. proposals now avoid the commitment to keep a level playing field on worker’s rights and that the need to sign an FTA with the USA will be a driving force to weakening these rights.

The TUC document says,

“There has been some recent concern that the European Commission’s social policy agenda has become increasingly restricted. For example, recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) cases have limited the ability of unions to organise industrial action in cross-border disputes, and in some Eurozone countries the Commission has actively undermined sector-wide collective bargaining agreements.

However, set against these concerns are the significant employment rights gains that continue to accrue to UK workers as a result of our EU membership. These are wide ranging in scope, including access to paid annual holidays, improved health and safety protection, rights to unpaid parental leave, rights to time off work for urgent family reasons, equal treatment rights for part-time, fixed-term and agency workers, rights for outsourced workers, and rights for workers’ representatives to receive information and be consulted, particularly in the context of restructuring.

They conclude

“While recent EU-led improvements in employment protection have been more limited than in the past, and some EU activities have served to reduce the existing settlement, the overall contribution of EU employment rights to the UK workforce is substantial. The gains UK workers achieve as a result of our membership of the EU include improved access to paid annual holidays, improved health and safety provision, rights to unpaid parental leave, rights to time off work for urgent family reasons, equal treatment rights for part-time, fixed-term and agency workers, rights for outsourced workers, information and consultation and significant health and safety protection. Given these benefits we conclude that EU membership continues to deliver wide-ranging protections to UK workers. Furthermore, evidence also suggests that in the years ahead, remaining in the European Union may provide significant opportunities to extend employment protections for working people.

The conclusion is obvious. …

Where’d the votes go?

Where’d the votes go?

Within the Labour Party, there is a debate about the position to be taken with respect to Brexit due to electoral considerations.

Here is a chart showing the polling results; what interests me is the change of fortune on the 9th May. On the 1st of May, Labour’s NEC refused to change it’s policy of an election before a referendum on remain. At the time, Labour were first in the Polls, two months later, we lost half our MEPs and slipped to 2nd losing between 10 – 15% of our predicted vote share.

 

How accurate are the polls?

Here are three links which talk about the methodologies used by the polling companies, the “House Effects” even tries to quantify the statistical bias in these methods. Fact is some polls favour Labour, some favour the Tories, but non have recently said that Labour is ahead. Sadly my favourite seat predictor at flavible is currently offline, but provided we stay above 25% and the Brexig Party & LibDems overperform, the most liklely result is a Labour minority govenment.

Others have argued that the methodology biases put the polling houses into two classes, neither are owned by the Tories but the bias is clear. Lets hope that those who say that we can still out campaign the Tories are right, but they won’t be as shit as May and we won’t take them by surprise on social media.

We need to remember how most polls got it wrong in 2017 and ‘House Effects’ examines that.

It’s going to be hard.

ooOOOoo

  1. ‘House effects’ and how to read the polling tea leaves…, at Southampton Politics
  2. Latest voting intention and the difference between the polls, at UK Polling Report
  3. A Journalist’s Guide To Opinion Polls at the British Polling Council.

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Brexit Ground Rush

Brexit Ground Rush

It’s an exciting day about Brexit, Johnson’s announced a deal, and thumbscrews are out in the House of Commons. Jüncker has declared that if the deal is accepted by the UK Parliament, then we move to a transition on 1st Nov. Farage has kicked off, since it’s not Jüncker, nor the Commission’s call. The EU Council, who’s call it is starts meeting today.

We’re on a demo on Saturday to show that we the people still support remaining in the EU, although we need a government to write the next referendum rules to include all citizens impacted inc. those between 16-18. I also have to repeat that while much heat and noise has been focused on the Irish border, the Citizenship clauses of the withdrawal agreement are unacceptable and have not changed. …

Which Union

Which Union

A number of people are becoming active in politics and are asking which Union should they join because if a LP member, you must join a Union if eligible and must pay the political levy if the Union has a political fund. Anyway, if at work, it’s a good thing to do, for yourself and for others.

People join Unions because of where they work and who they work for; the principle is that as socialists and trade union militants, we should/must defend industrial unionism. In much of Europe, the Unions are even closer adjuncts of the political parties than in the UK and this is not a good thing.

I describe my rules and offer a web site URL below/overleaf. …

Can’t hear you

Hard to say how I got there, but I was considering the usefulness and representative nature of the student movement and Youth Parliament and segued onto Lewisham’s Young Mayor, which seems to be a bit shit due to its narrow focus. I know that in other boroughs they have a young council and so more than one person can get engaged with the politics of change but I recognise that part of the value is the election, engaging people through voting although there needs to be some accountability otherwise the lesson is that politicians don’t listen. …

More on Points of Order

More on Points of Order

I missed most of Saturday but bumped into a friend and we discussed the culture around points of order, it seems there had been a few. I wrote about this last year and in that article I observed that “Point of Order: You haven’t called me, or people like me” isn’t a point of order. While talking to my friend, I remembered my transition from CPSA to SCPS; in the former, there were points of order all the time, and in the latter not, in fact, I still remember the strange faces I got when I moved my first point of order at SCPS. In some places it’s done, in others not.

I sort of wonder if the proximity of the average member to the student movement is a factor and the very high number of first time & young delegates. At GMB Congress, this year, there was only one point of order over 5 days, and they gave notice to the President and were called to the rostrum as an emergency agenda item. Also, I was asked if we i.e. London Region should move one on the CEC position on Venezuela. I demurred as the disruption makes one unpopular.

It’s sort of clear that conferences have a high or low point of order rate. It would seem in Parliament, the rate has gone up, much of them nonsense and in Parliament, they have a culture of allowing interruptions, so you don’t need a point of order to make your point. In fact, and it’s very rude to everyone else in the room, it is at times, or even mostly, used to jump the queue to make a point rather than wait to be called to speak.

I should also say, that, “Point of Order: the last speaker is talking bollocks” is unlikely to get you anywhere, as this little clip shows!


In fact, the Labour Party’s rules, at Conference, now make it clear that a point of order must start with a citation as to the rule that has been broken; eventually, they required people that want to make one, to quote their rule to the speaker desk before the point of order would be accepted. Good! People should consider, that all that can happen is that the Chair agrees with you, unlikely, or says that you are wrong and tells you to sit down, at whch point you can challenge the chair’s ruling for which you need a ⅔ majority. 🤔 Wonder if that would force a card vote!

I finish this little note with the observation that the acronym for Point of Order is POO!

Image Credit: Lenin: Right outside the Finland station (Finlyandsky vokzal), sits this statue of Lenin, looking out over the river. He might be raising his hand to catch the Chair’s eye to make a point of order. From flickr CC 2008 Stephen D Strowes BY-SA …

Democracies don’t have Executive Presidents

The Economist Democracy Index classifies only 20 countries as “Full Democracies”. (This includes the UK, which I question if it’s a full democracy.) Of these the majority are Parliamentary systems with constitutional monarchs. Here’s a chart showing the frequency of regime type by class; I have made the classes myself. I tried to have three, Parliamentary, Presidential Republic and Republican Parliamentary Democracy. The latter being republics with Presidents indirectly elected and mainly concerned with Govt. formation.

In the Constitutional Monarchies and the Republican Parliamentary Democracy systems, the Assembly (or lower house) appoint and hold the Govt. to account.

In the Presidential Systems, the President’s appoint the Cabinet and act as Head of Govt. & Head of State. These consist of Costa Rica and Uruguay. (I currently class Austria as a Presidential System as the President can dismiss the Govt., however the Pres. is Head of State, not Head of Govt. and the latter would seem to require the consent of the Assembly).

The weak presidential systems the President is directly elected but there is a Prime Minister accountable to the Assembly.

The Parliamentary Democracies are as far as I can tell, indirectly elected presidents with Prime Ministerial Govt. accountable to their Assemblies, this includes Germany.

Direct Democracy is Switzerland, which of course is different! They have no President, no King, a collective head of state & a government elected by the Assembly.

The democracies of the world don’t use Presidential systems. …

Proof

There are two ways to construct a theory, one is to observe the facts and draw conclusions, the second is to conceive a theorem and then prove its truth. The reality is that no matter how one builds one’s theory, it needs to be tested against reality. …

Confusing

While there is not a lot of theory for HR professionals, one piece of good practice is to separate performance management systems from pay assessments in order to encourage employees to admit their weaknesses. I wonder why no-one does this? …