Froth about the Swiss style deal with the EU

Froth about the Swiss style deal with the EU

The Times broke a story (£) on Sunday that the UK would start to seek to improve relations with the EU and seek a “Swiss style” deal with the EU. This has caused some bad reactions in the parliamentary Tory party and the detritus of the Leave campaigns, with even that political zombie, Nigel Farage, offered us his advice.

A number of so-called experts add their voices on the impracticality of a “Swiss” style deals for reasons  of the size of UK economy, the absolute lack of will by the EU to repeat the Swiss treaty model and, for some, the democratic deficit that single market membership without the right to appoint CJEU judges, MEPs, commissioners and having a seat (and veto) at the Council would entail.

Opinion both expert and popular is now of the view that the UK must rejoin the single market; even some previously silent Remainers are finding their voices.

The Government spooked by the reaction from some of their backbenchers and Brexit supporters are trying to calm the political seas. The fact is that the language of a Swiss style deal is an attempt to linguistically soften the blow to the Brexit project. The idea, based on some truth, that the Swiss have more say than the rest of the EEA countries on sovereign issues is something that the Tory advocates of the single market are seeking to persuade rump Brexiters as acceptable.

Any road to change will be via the EU-UK Trade and Co-operation agreement. We will have a single agreement, unlike the Swiss, which will be developed to include the customs union, single market and CJEU supervision of regulatory compliance.

Image Credit: from wikipedia, cropped and passed through an ‘inks’ filter originally by John Fielding CC 2012 BY-SA …

What I said about #lab22!

What I said about #lab22!

i have finished my write up of Labour Conference ’22. The articles can be found using a wordpress search on tag:lab22, This tag also includes some articles I wrote before the conference previewing its agenda.

I have written a piece on most of the debates and speeches and added a couple of pieces on left/right power the European Movement meetings and the conduct of the chair[s].  …

Adversarial Justice, maybe not all its cracked up to be.

Adversarial Justice, maybe not all its cracked up to be.

I am working my way slowly through “Stories of the Law“, by the Secret Barrister and came across this,

Such as whether adversarial criminal justice is all it is cracked up to be. Whether to much – truth, dignity – is sacrificed on its alter. Whether a system that does not have as its stated aim the pursuit of truth, but instead rewards the best game player in a winner-takes- ll contest, can really be said to deliver justice in a sense understood by anyone outside of legal circles. And whether, if we have abandoned –  or never even prized – truth as a guiding principle of our trials, we’re doing the gross injury to Enlightenment principles with the result that all of us – defendant , victim and society – are wronged.

The Secret Barrister

I wrote this too soon. In the following paragraph, SB, makes the argument that inquisitorial systems have one fundamental weakness

Such cases demonstrate the fallacy of assuming the state is able to neutrally seek truth as opposed to aligning on its own theory and embarking on ex post facto buttressing of that narrative. And this is a criticism often levelled inquisitorial systems by those who work within: not withstanding their oxymoronic designation as ‘neutral’ prosecutors, the prosecutor and the police may bow to natural inclinations to take a partisan position against the suspect and construct a case against him.

The flaw runs deeper than the motivations of individual investigators, however: inquisitorialism is compromised by the inherent susceptibility of the state machinery to political influence not at the level of high conspiracy, but the subtle pressures the government bring to bear on the administration of criminal justice. The ubiquitous ministerial intuition that cost savings can be made without public outcry by shearing the justice budget, cutting a few corners here and there,  has been demonstrated at length. You do not need to be modelling a tin foil hat to recognise the politicians incrementally dispense with systemic safeguards, increasing the incidence of wrongful convictions, to bank transitory credit for being ‘tough on crime’; often as a reflex to media campaigns to improve conviction rates for particular offences.

The Secret Barrister

Featured image : Richter benutzt dunkelbraun-goldenen Hammer vor weißem Hintergrund CC 2.0 Marco Vetch 2018 BY …

Reeves and Immigration

There I am sitting in my living room, considering that maybe Starmer and Reeves domestic policy promises weren’t so bad, playing with my phone when a clip from Sky News comes on with Rachel Reeves, saying that the problem with the Tory immigration policy is there aren’t enough deportations. This is the moral sink that competing on competence takes you. Labour’s Conference Policy at lab19 and lab21 is clear and based on an anti-racist, internationally legally compliant, rights based, compassionate, and humane approach. We must do better than this.  …

Now that’s a landslide!

It is not usual for a political party to have a post conference bounce, but not like this; there might be something else going on. :)

The full article has the yougov tweet with a 33% lead for Labour, and an electoral calculus seat forecast with only three tory MPs. It's clearly not all down to Labour. To see the graphics, "Read More" ...

On points of order

On points of order

The platform introduced a new process; points of order need to be justified at the speakers desk, before being allowed to put to conference and the chair. I can understand that; some people are quite irresponsible in the points of order they make, however the rules say,

Point of order – Any delegate may raise a legitimate point of order during a debate. Any such point of order shall be heard at the conclusion of the current speech.

The Chair shall retain the power to rule what is and is not a legitimate point of order, and to instruct a delegate to end an illegitimate point of order.

A point of order will be ruled illegitimate if it does not immediately and directly identify which of these standing orders is in question.

Labour’s Rule Book A9.I.4.C

i.e. the Chair determines if a Point of Order is legitimate not an employee of the party, not even the GS. The power to raise a point of order is an important part of the power relationship between the floor and the platform.

The fact is they aren’t very good; they allowed one point of order on ‘the last speaker was talking rubbish’ and two on ‘the chair is not calling people like me’. They denied me a point of order on the conduct of card vote 13, and they also denied a point of order to a delegate who wanted to remind the chair that delegates have been instructed that they can only indicate they wish to speak if seated and to raising their empty hand. The ‘must be seated rule’ is an accessibility issue and people used to wave the most ridiculous of things, including an inflatable red dragon and in one case their baby. The third point in the rule is in my mind sufficient protection against abuse.

On speaker selection, there is no perfect way, there are more people that want to speak than there are slots and the debate is improved if recognised experts such as TU speakers, or in 2018, Richard Corbett, the leader of the EPLP, and even PPCs. However, in 2018 and I believe 2021, the conference provided accessibility stewards, with uniform tee shirts and great big signs to stand beside disabled speakers who wished to speak. This wasn’t done this year. I have no doubt that more can be done to ensure that, “… speakers are a fair representation of Annual Conference, and that there shall be no discrimination on the grounds of protected personal characteristics.” A9.I.4.E.ii …

Justice Crime and Democracy

Onto Tuesday 26th, the motions on PR, parliamentary sovereignty related to the ministerial code, powers of the electoral commission and prohibiting second jobs, and the abolition of the House of Lords were all carried. The words of the composites are published in CAC 2 Addendum.

The Justice agenda was introduced by Emily – she just doesn’t give a shit, the shortest front bench speech, in which she promised to end criminal impunity and address criminal system failures including the decimation of legal aid.

Steve Reed’s speech was a confirmation of the common speech design, loads of stuff on how awful the Tories are, chuck in an announcement if you have one and finish on everything will be better with a Labour Government, led by Sir Kier Starmer, peppered with the slogan, “Labour: On your side”.

Reed had a side diversion into “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime”, they i.e. the front bench seem to be considering some form of early action to disrupt social inheritance of criminal behaviour, it all reminded me of the “Precrime” unit from Minority Report, brought to you be the people that developed “Prevent”, by which I mean the spooks and civil servants. I have commented on this, see below. …

Kier in conversation with Gary Neville, of the Couch

Lucy Powell interviewed Gary Neville who is it seems an important footballer and manager, and Kier Starmer who is an aspirant prime minister and Arsenal Fan. The video is here, and here are some noted I made,

“In a football team, we need to align personal goals with those of the team and it’s the same in politics” It’s a shame that the PLP four years ago weren’t able to operate according to that dictum.

My notes say, that Banker’s bonuses were capped at 100% of salary unless approved by shareholders in which case 200% bonus can be paid, taking most of them into the disputed supertax bracket. What I find astonishing is that banks would want to pay more than 200% of salary as a bonus. As others have said, it encourages risk not business building investment.

Starmer says we are the party of fiscal responsibility and aspiration; the Tories don’t talk of aspiration. One thing I would say about Starmer, is that he is one of the few British politicians that understand the anger felt by people who work hard and yet still can’t pay their way. Strangely the only other one I have heard attempt this is Rebecca Long Bailey and neither do anger well. It’s important that that anger and sense of justice is articulated. Starmer’s right, the Tories have walked away from this; it’s something that Thatcher had, but Rees-Mogg’s Party can’t. …

Labour’s Money 2021

Labour’s Money 2021

The Labour Party posted ( mirror ) its 2021 accounts to the Electoral Commission site earlier this week. The papers, the Independent and the Guardian rapidly picked this up. They and Labour List focused on the first deficit in years and the loss of 91,000 members. I look at the numbers and and add the observation that individual donations are very weak, and donations as a whole remain dominated by Trade Union donations. I finsh with a series of questions I think need answering. For more, including charts, 'read more', ...

Energy Prices

Energy Prices

There is a consensus that Energy profiteering is at the centre of the OECD’s inflation crisis. This is exacerbated in the UK due to privatisation and asset stripping of the gas and water companies. Brexit hasn’t helped. This article reviews a number of policy options from left and right. For more, use the 'read more' button ...