The danger of a false nostalgia

The danger of a false nostalgia

In the FT, “Britain will do a Brexit deal on Europe’s terms“, looks at the asymmetry of negotiating power and the role of khaki tinted nostalgia in shaping the Brexiteer’s negotiating position. I particularity like the line, “More broadly, Britain’s Leavers were guilty of swallowing their own propaganda.” and the article finishes with a skewering truth, that Britain “won” the second world war only with and solely because of the help of the USA and in this dispute, they will be on the side of the EU; whether all of this will make Johnson’s government agree a deal on Europe’s terms is another question. They might be too stupid and too proud and too frightened of the Tory party’s cleansed backbenches. …

Another stitch in time

Another stitch in time

Duncan Shipley Dalton writes, at the end of an exposition on the impact of the Human Rights Act on the Labour Party’s rules and my proposal to incorporate the ECHR directly into the rule book,

McDonnell is now proposing the left need to have a proper manifesto for Party reform with a clear plan of restructuring and reforming the Party. Would have been nice if that had been done when those like Dave [,that’s me that is,] and CLPD were pointing out these things years ago! Assuming McDonnell means it and is not just trying to divert energy to stop the current boat rocking it is a worthwhile idea. In my view the whole Rule book should be re written. It is a mess. A top to bottom rewrite to democratise the whole thing. Take away the kind of NEC discretion that gets abused , Local Govt selection rules, PPC selections, officers, Regional Officers etc. It means though a movement of ‘real’ democratic power to members. Jeremy and others talked about it but were not very good at giving actual power to members. The current leadership seem to be graduates of the Mussolini/Kim Jong Un school of democracy, so it is hard to see them agreeing to relinquish any real power to members. It is the right thing to do but it is hard to see it happening in the currently circumstances.

@baronvonduncs
 …

Ed Murrow on McCarthy’s witch hunt

No one familiar with the history of this country can deny that congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating, but the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one and the junior Senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law.

We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men — not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular. This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy’s methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities.

As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn’t create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it — and rather successfully. Cassius was right. “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

Good night, and good luck.

Ed Murrow
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On DMCA takedown of youtube-dl

On DMCA takedown of youtube-dl

The EEF thought fit to comment on an RIAA DCMA takedown using §1201 of the DCMA aimed at a program called youtube-dl hosted on Github; I forwarded it via Facebook with a cryptic, acronym laden comment, and not surprisingly, some of my correspondents suggested I could have been more helpful and understandable. So I wrote an article on Linkedin, although much of it can be gained from the EFF article, however, this version includes a bit on oppressive economics of copyright maximalism, and a comment noting that Github have reposted the repo and revised their process to ensue their policies of supporting developers is fully considered when considering takedown notices. ...

A new Labour Left

A new Labour Left

I have been ill over the summer; I wish I had written this earlier as the wheel tracks of the political debate in the Labour Party are probably too deep for these thoughts to take hold, or maybe not, some of the articles bookmarked here suggest some deeper thinking is going on. This blog article examines the inter left dialogue and what might be done to promote a greater left unity. It notes the number of people who voted for Starmer and Corbyn, it’s a lot, and suggests that these people are key to the future platform pursued by the Labour Party. We need a majority that will build a fair and principled discipline system and a democratic policy development process that allows out membership to lead the party.

Inside the Labour Party, Corbyn’s coalition is broken and is not going to be put back together. The political strategy, vision for Labour and culture of that part of the old left majority now coalescing around #starmerout, and articulating, still, that Starmer lost the election due to his part in pushing the Remainer position, their pandering on the issue of immigration and their disgusting organisational practices creates a pretty insurmountable barrier. It’s a rose-tinted view of the last four years which is neutralised by the facts and arguments in this article, Starmerscepticism: An Unsentimental Approach.

Keir Starmer, like Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader because the membership thought he was the most left wing candidate that could win. Looking at the results of the Leadership election, we can see that the Left lost over 175,000 votes since 2016. This means that 10,000s of people voted for Corbyn in 2015/6 and for Starmer in 2020. Another metric showing the Left’s loss of grip is that only five MP’s lost their reselection battles, and some won them handsomely. Corbyn’s internal voters were no longer following Momentum nor its sectarian and careerist passengers nor the Unite leadership.

A new left majority is not going to be reconstructed without talking and listening to those who voted for Starmer. Many of them will have done so because of his 10 pledges, which promises a significant policy continuity with the Corbyn leadership.

Telling people they’re idiots or just even wrong is not a good start point for convincing them but then there are those who are not interested in building a new majority; it’s the being right that counts for them.

Dave Levy i.e. me

Building a new majority with power has been made harder by the decision to use STV as the electoral system for the CLP division of the NEC. The sectarian nature of this decision is shown by the fact that it is the only division to which this is applied; most egregiously it has not been applied to the Councillor division. It has been done to weaken the power of the Momentum led left, in the hope that Progress/Labour First will benefit from this manoeuvre; they are running a slate under the banner of “Labour to Win” which includes a couple of re-treads who have a poor record in defending member’s rights, unless in the case of Johanna Baxter, that member is Iain McNicol.

What do we do next? Support and/or motivate the CLPD in returning to its primary cause, campaigning for Party democracy and support the Grassroots Voice 6, which is the only broad slate. After the election, we’ll see just how powerful the groups are and how attractive an independent appeal can be made, particularly by Crispin Flintoff.

 While I find much to be attracted to in the Open Labour platform, their political practice, by their divorcing of accountability to the platform by choosing their candidates by all member’s ballots, reinforced by those they chose or confirming support for powerful incumbents in the case of Alice Perry makes building coalitions through supporting their slate difficult. Ann Black & Alice Perry should be unacceptable to those on the left and those who want a Party built on respect for the membership. Ann Black, in particular, has a long track record of voting to exclude and discipline members of the most trivial of reasons and her period as Chair of the Disputes Committee culminated in the 2015/2016 purges. Black also voted for all of McNicol’s gerrymandering proposals for the 2016 Leadership election including the exclusion of 125,000 members. She was joined in both these activities by Johanna Baxter. (I am unclear of Perry’s voting record on these issues but she has voted to sanction or refer to the NCC over 1000 members.)

GV6-slate

I shall thus vote for the Grass Roots Voice slate of six candidates, which remains an alliance and is supported by a broad range of Left caucuses, including Momentum, CLPD, Grass Roots Black Left , Don’t Leave Organise, Jewish Voice for Labour, LRC and Red Labour.

I shall be looking for ways to talk to members of Open Labour who support the 2019 manifesto, want to stand up for human rights and want a disciplinary system complaint with the principles of natural justice applied to all members irrespective of their faction and/or alleged offence. We can only build a united party if we turn our backs on political victimisation, and the tactics of bullying, slander and corruption and implement a member led party where all members are valued and their rights respected.

ooOOOoo

It’s important to express your preference as accurately and completely as possible, i.e to state as many preferences as possible, although your vote will count for very little after a couple of transfers. The last person to be elected, the 9th, is interesting, but if you have voted for a complete six candidate slate (that is winning seats), it is highly likely that two of those slates will be contending for the 9th seat and so your vote will not transfer to another slate/candidate. Despite this, I will pick up Crispin Flintoff, who organises “Stand Up for Labour” and is campaigning for fairer CLP funding and Mark Macdonald who is a lawyer and wrote the opinion/advice that Corbyn had to be on the 2016 leadership ballot paper.

I do not have votes in the Disabled or Youth divisions.

This has taken too long to write and post; arguments about the nature of the post-Corbyn left as been reignited by Newsnight last night where among other things, Dianne Abbott points out the remarkable silence of Starmer on Brexit since he was elected. Much of the conversation about this is not healthy for the Labour Party but those who voted for Starmer need to begin to ask if he is as committed to the 10 Pledges as they want. …

Labour, human rights and the #spycops bill

Labour, human rights and the #spycops bill

I am pretty disappointed with Labour’s decision to abstain on the 3rd Reading of the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill. It’s truly disgraceful and allowing the State’s secret policy to operate with impunity jeopardises important human rights such as the right to a fair trial and the right to organise (freedom of association) not to mention the rights to privacy although the investigatory powers act of 2016 put these on the bonfire. Most of its opponents focus on murder, torture and rape, but the destruction of the rule of law and its application to the police is an on-ramp to these crimes, the principle of an accountable police and prosecutor is the key.

However, Labour is not good on these issues, more recently the PLP led by Burnham & Starmer colluded with the IPA 2016, supported the retention of ‘economic’ security as a lawful purpose of the intelligence service’s activities and when I proposed the supremacy of human rights law as a conference policy, it got 2 votes on the NPF web site and my CLP has always sent other, yet important, motions to conference while CLPD’s support was ineffective as they pursued their doomed attempt to rewrite the Leadership election rules. I posted my moving speech to this blog. I am not sure if this is because many people consider the NPF to be a waste of time, or that support for human rights law is weak in the Labour Party, because you can’t eat or burn human rights.

Please vote up my NPF proposal, if its still open and if you can, the software is, to use a technical phrase, a bit shit. Also you might like to share my motion via social media.

ooOOOoo

Hansard have reworked the way in which they report votes, here is their record of the 3rd reading vote, the page opens on the not recorded page.

The Legislation tracker is here, the Lords Committee stage starts in 24th Nov and the Report stage & 3rd reading are not yet planned. If the Lords amend the Bill then it will return to the Commons for what is called the “Consideration of Amendments” where usually the Commons tell the Lords to “go away” (4,3). …

Abstention is not opposition.

Where’s Starmer? I didn’t think that “responsible opposition to the Tories” meant serial abstention. It’s not opposition! Labour has abstained on the Overseas Operations Bill and the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill; they also abstained on a LibDem resolution in the Lords to block evictions as the lockdown provisions expired. I should also add that Starmer’s “No ifs, no buts, get them back to school” is likely to haunt him and us. At least he should have added, when you’ve made it safe. The PLP have been absent on Brexit too. Abstention is not opposition.

 …

The UK & War Crimes

The UK & War Crimes

The Socialist Campaign Group broke Labour's whip on the 2nd reading of the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill 2019-21; the instruction was to abstain. The highlight reason for voting against the bill is that it decriminalises or more accurately makes it more difficult for prosecutions for criminal events undertaken by members of the armed forces while on active service overseas including allegations of torture, although not sexual assaults. Notoriously, three members of Labour's front bench were dismissed from these positions for voting against it. It would seem pretty black and white, but the decision is complicated by the 2nd Reading/3rd Reading issue, although with a Tory majority of 80, hoping for amendments in Committee is a long shot, but perhaps not in the Lords. This is further complicated by disagreements over the impact of text of the Bill and the intersection of International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law. This article looks as the Bill, the International Laws it seeks to amend, the problems it seeks to solve, and the decision to insert the AG into any prosecution decisions. ...

Saving Jobs

Yesterday Rishi Sunak announced the next stage of support for the economy to see us through a coronavirus winter and mitigate some of the job destruction inherent within Brexit. It seems to be a short term working subsidy. It is described in the Guardian in an article entitled, “Covid scheme: UK government to cover 22% of worker pay for six months”. It requires employers to pay workers 55% wages for 33% hours. Below/overleaf, I also look at Richard Seymour and Rebecca Long Bailey's comments. ... ...