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 10 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? …

Zero day right to justice

Jeremy Corbyn and Laura Pidcock made speeches to the TUC which covered the Party’s commitment to fairness at work. They commit to a worker’s protection agency to enforce the minimum wage and the necessary ban on zero hour contracts.  To these two critical reforms the need to reduce the employment service qualification for access to Employment Tribunals should be added.

I have made a proposal to Labour’s Policy Forum to this effect, although I might be a bit moderate in that I suggest a 3 month period where others are asking for Day Zero. Absolutely, the 2017 manifesto was to implement Day 1 rights as it should be. You can login and vote it up if you like. …

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. 🙄 …