A glimmer at the end of a tunnel

A glimmer at the end of a tunnel

The Guardian reports a change of leadership in the SPD. The winners are Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken, from the left of the SPD. They have called for major policy concessions from Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), and say they are prepared to pull the plug on the partnership. We should remember that the decision by the SPD to re-enter the coalition for a 2nd time in 2017 was controversial within the Party and followed the decision in 2013 not to attempt a coalition albeit with a tiny majority with Die Linke & Die Grüne. When discussing the proposal of “Remain & Reform” with respect to Brexit, it has become clear to me that European Socialists in the European Parliament need to end their commitment to the Grand Coalition and look to their left for a majority, athough we’d need to avoid the fuck-ups that led to Labou halving it’s EU Parliamentary Group earlier this year. This is most unlikely to happen while the SPD is wedded to an alternative. (They should learn from the sectarianism of Merkel and the CDU in her imposition of Von der Leyen as President of the Commission.)  There’s a glimmer of hope that the German SPD is changing it’s mind.

Image rightsfrom DW, (c) picture-alliance/dpa . This picture is cropped, and stored and processed for reasons of addressability, longevity and performance. This has not been made available. …

And in Brussels

We may get our first Socialist President of the Commission since Delors who left office in 1995. (Actually, if playing trivial pursuit, you might get bonus points for saying that that Manuel Marin of the PSOE was the last socialist President of the Commission since he played this role after the European Parliament sacked the Santer Commission in 1999.) It’s not something that you get to read about at the moment, that the EP confirms Commissioner appointments and can sack them. …

Should you stay or should you go

Alastair Campbell, Blair’s Director of Communications has been expelled (or auto-excluded) from the Labour Party probably under rule 4.I.2.B. He stated that he voted for the Lib Dems in the European Parliamentary elections. This was done as per the rule, with no right of defence, no hearing and no right of appeal.

The rule states,

2.I.4.B A member of the Party who joins and/ or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party, or supports any candidate who stands against an official Labour candidate, or publicly declares their intent to stand against a Labour candidate, shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a Party member, subject to the provisions of Chapter 6.I.2 below of the disciplinary rules.

The rule is in three parts, the first is about “political organisations” and the second about behaviour during elections, the third governs the exclusion & readmission process.

As Shami Chakrabarti points out, we cannot expel or in anyway sanction people for the way they vote, but it seems the NEC are having second thoughts; we’ll see what happens, but whatever they do, they need to recognise that the no defence, no appeal part of this rule put it in contravention of the rules of natural justice. If they let Campbell off, as they did with Andrew Fisher, this will be rightly seen as one rule for the powerful and one for the rest of us.

The rule should be re-written to add clarity as to which organisations or class of organisations lead to sanctions; I would argue this should be limited to fascist organisations or borrow from the NUS no-platform policy and add to that all other political parties. The rule should be rewritten to have a right of defence, and right of appeal although I recognise in some cases there is a need for velocity. (Or maybe just abolish it and define campaigning for another party as “conduct prejudicial” and dealt with by the NCC processes which are in need of reform themselves.)

I argue that all 2.I.4.B auto-excluded should be given amnesty as not only is the rule contrary to natural justice it was applied factionally and in bad faith.

It should be noted that the Labour Party has other rules to protect itself, it can refuse to allow people to join or it can sanction them under its Chapter 6 processes if actions are prejudicial or grossly detrimental. …

Europe and Brexit, yesterday & tomorrow

Europe and Brexit, yesterday & tomorrow

I look at the European Parliamentary election results. It wasn’t a good night for Labour last night and but not as good for the Brexit Party as they might have hoped. This article was written mainly on Tuesday and backdated to Monday 27th. It looks at the impact on the European Union, how the earth moved in the UK,  and the dreadful and inept campaigning decisions taken by the Labour Party. It finishes with a brief look at the immediate reactions in the Labour Party not least the twitter spat between Paul Mason and LOTO. For more, see below/overleaf. …

Vote Labour again

Welcome to the Brexit merry-go-round!

I have been reading the news as have you all. Labour’s promised vote seems to be plummeting, in London in 2017, we got 61% and in the Mayoral election, Sadiq Kahn got 41% of first preferences. Polls are suggesting that Labour is on about 24% in London, although they could be wrong.

Labour supporters should vote Labour.

If you are a Remainer, and we win, these MEPs will sit for 5 years holding a Commission accountable.

Labour’s MEPs will be the Party of European Socialists and will pursue the objects of the PES Manifesto, which is largely influenced by Labour’s agenda of anti-austerity economics and social solidarity. Labour MEPs will vote for the Socialist candidate for the position of President of the Commission.

In London our candidates are good people. Claude Moraes has an exemplary record as European Legislator acting as Rapporteur (i.e. author) for the GDPR which redefined the right of Privacy in Europe. He has been Chair of the Civil Liberties committee, Seb Dance is probably best know for the he’s lying stunt but has been campaigning on environmental rights, Katy Clark used to be an MP and was a strong civil rights campaigner and Laura Parker is an articulate socialist who would strengthen Labour’s parliamentary team; she has been part of the team that has led Momentum to its “remain” supporting decision.

We talk of beating Farage; this is not just important in the UK for our own political health but the number of MEPs in the European Parliament matters. Historically Farage has sat independently with allies but apart from the Fascist parties from France & Hungary. These far-right parties are likely to be joined by the Alternative for Deutschland and the Italian hard right. The idea of an alliance of the political right of such size is frightening and all democrats should do their best to oppose these people. i.e. coming first or second matters in the UK.

The alternative for many seems to be the LibDems. If elected, they will sit with the ALDE group led by Guy Verhofstadt, who has been the European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator; he has given up partly because he feels that ALDE will be more powerful without a strong Labour delegation. The British LibDems are no longer part of a British progressive alliance and ALDE cannot be trusted to fight the far-right.

  …

First thoughts

The table in this article lists the EP constituencies and the first seat quota, and when looking at the ComRes opinion poll LAB 33%; CON 18%; BRX 17%; CHUK 9%; LD 9%; UKIP 5%; Green 5%; SNP 4%; Other 1%, it is implied that only Labour, the Tories and the Brexit Party would win any seats, in England

Votes are generally geographically concentrated, so the SNP’s 4% of national polls, translates into a much bigger number in Scotland. In 2014, they won two (out of six) seats with just under 30% of the vote.

The south east region has 10 seats and the lowest quota. It also has very strong pockets of Remain votes in both the Brighton and Oxford but also along the railway lines in Surrey & Hampshire. It’s 1st seat quota is the lowest and it elected four UKIP MEPS in 2014. (I should look up how many voters there are in each region but we are working in percentages today.) It elected one Green, one Lib Dem and one Labour MEP and three Tories, one of whom has defected to Change UK, the party once known as the Tinge.  They may keep their seat here as Tory Remainers may find the LibDems and Greens a step too far. I wonder if Labour can pick another one up but otherwise across the country i.e. England, if ComRes are right, everyone except Labour, Tories and the Brexit Party is going to struggle.

The constituencies vary in size from three to ten seats; the single ten seat constituency is the most proportionately sensitive.

The last seat in each election is also interesting as it is evaluated on those votes left; parties with seat already declared have “exhausted” their votes but there are no transfers. In seats like London, it was a choice between the Greens and the Lib Dems as Labour, Turies and UKIP has exhausted their votes and their final seat quota’s were lower than the other two parties first round quotas. …

And they’re off

So it looks like there’s going to  be a European Parliamentary election, and people are publishing polls, the table below shows the number of seats in 2014 and the 1st Quota. Last time’s results are reported by the House of Commons Library here ….

Last time in London Labour won 4 seats, the 1st, 3rd, 5th & 7th on the back of a 36% vote share. With the right manifesto we might do better. The Greens got the last seat with 8.9% of the vote. (The last seat is always intresting, because there are still wasted votes in a D’Hondt count. …

You might be able to vote for me

Yesterday, I applied to be one of Labour’s candidates for election as an MEP in London.

In London, we need to remain aware of London’s vote to Remain in the EU and the criticality of getting the citizenship terms in the withdrawal agreement right to meet the needs of resident EU citizens and their families. I support Labour’s policy of Remaining if the departure terms are inadequate.

I voted Remain, and have since then argued that Leaver’s should negotiate the terms of exit they think are right and then ask us again if that is what we meant. I believe that Remaining in the EU is better for the people of this country than leaving on May’s terms (or on no terms). I have argued elsewhere in this blog that leaving the EU is either Catastrophic or Pointless. I oppose austerity, racism and climate change. I am a socialist and I voted for Jeremy Corbyn as Leader in 2015 and 2016, and Dianne Abbot in 2010.

I am aware that under Labour’s rules, I am unlikely to get a place on the slate that would lead to me being elected, but I am passionate in my desire to make the case for Labour in this election.  Should I be elected, I would hope to be part of a Labour Group that argues against austerity and look to work particularly with the SPD to move Labour’s allies in Europe towards an economy that work “for the many and not the few”.

 

Our manifesto needs to address the short-term issues of whether we quit the EU or Remain, racism & immigration policy and also the longer-term issues of investment, austerity and climate change.

My professional and trade union experience are a great basis for being an MEP, which is one of the most demanding public offices that Labour seeks election to. My IT industry knowledge is applicable to many areas of EU competence as society seeks to build a democratic regulatory environment to live with the datenkraken.

From 2008 to 2009, I served on NESSI, the EU’s investment incubator for the EU’s R&D grants for internet and computing. (If elected and should we remain, I would hope to help business, education institutes and local authorities improve their bidding capability for this money.) I became one of the authors of the EU’s software industry strategy. This public service reminded me of the good that public policy can do.

I am currently a Branch President in the GMB. The bulk of my work is personal case work and acting as an accompanying rep. I am a trained workplace rep and am experienced in negotiating and have knowledge of employment law. This also requires high levels of empathy and the ability to listen. In the ’80s, I was part of a leadership of work place branch I organised strike action as part of national pay campaigns and other solidarity action with the Civil Service trade unionists derecognised at GCHQ and with the Miners.

My working time in the Civil Service taught me about how to manage and participate in the policy to execution cycle, a critical skill in public policy and service delivery.

I have an Economics degree and am a member of the Royal Economics Society.

I have lived and/or worked in London nearly all my life. I have been a member of five London CLPs over that time, both North and South of the River and in both inner and outer London. I have been a member and activist in four Unions (CPSA, SCPS, APEX & GMB), and remain an active Trade Unionist. All of this has allowed me to meet and learn from the diverse populations across London.

I am just an ordinary working person, I have worked all my life and since 1986 in the private sector, I have known the fear of unemployment and been unemployed. I have experienced the struggle to get my kids well educated and into secure work; I have been a lifelong user of the NHS.

I can represent ordinary Londoners because I am one.

ooOOOoo

Short Link: https://wp.me/p9J8FV-1MF …

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! …

Facebook & the European Union

Techcrunch reports that the European Parliament have called for an audit of Facebook’s systems in the light of reported data breaches. Will Facebook be added to the long list of US Tech companies successfully regulated by the EU albeit mainly over monopoly issues. (Google, Microsoft, Intel, Oracle). This is shared power, that the UK will lose should we leave the European Union. …