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.

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

On Investigatory Powers, yet again

Time for another go on getting some decent policy against the surveillance state and against privatised investigatory powers. Here’s my first draft.

Investigatory Powers to be subject to Human Rights Law

Conference notes that the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 legalised the UK intelligence services to collect telecommunication usage data on all UK residents, now ruled as contrary to human rights law.

Conference notes the Immigration Act 2014 and Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 requires numerous private & public sector organisations to collect personal data about their customers, users or charges.

Conference notes that all immigration enforcement data has been exempted from the Data Protection Act 2018.

Conference notes that the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places surveillance duties on specified authorities including educational & healthcare institutions.

Conference notes the complete absence from the NPF report 2018 on the surveillance society and the illegal investigatory powers regime introduced by the Tories in 2016.

Conference believes that freedom of expression & thought and the right to privacy are universal human rights and the current surveillance and investigatory powers regime is in breach of these rights.

Conference resolves that a Labour Government will ensure that private and public surveillance technologies and systems will conform to laws that meet the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights, including a need to prove reasonable suspicion before collecting evidence.

Conference calls on the Labour Party to draw up a Human Rights based policy for the regulation of British Law Enforcement authorities and their investigatory powers. This to include the abolition of Prevent, the repeal of the 2014 Immigration Act and the placing of UK Borders under the auspices of the Data Protection Act.

I’d like to work something about “getitrightfromagenuinesite” in, since that’s allegedly voluntary and yet still surveillance and I should try and work something in on black listing and the public and private sector surveillance of Trade Unions, but the above …

Delete all … insert

I was asked where the “rule” that an amendment cannot be destructive came from. I have to say, that I don’t know but I haven’t read Citrine, so I googled it and came across, “The vest pocket Chairman” by Heathwood and Horseman hosted by libcom.org. They quote Citrine as saying,

Amendment. An amendment should be a proposal seeking to improve a motion—not merely to improve the wording but to propose a better course of action. Amendments should not be negative nor merely destructive.

Lord Citrine, in his A B C of Chairmanship,* divides amendments into five categories. These are :-

(a) Those adding words to the original motion.
(b) Those deleting words from the motion.
(c) Those deleting words and substituting others.
(d) Those deleting most of the motion and substituting a counter-proposal.
(e) Those which amend an earlier amendment.

The rules for moving and discussing an amendment are the same as those for moving and discussing a motion, except that, as a rule, the mover of an amendment has no right of reply to the discussion.

An amendment must be relevant to the terms of the original motion, and must not be frivolous. An amendment should offer a concrete alternative proposal to that contained in the motion.

An amendment should not negative the motion. Anyone wishing to do that can do so simply by voting against the motion.

I have also found the following words,

Direct Negative. An amendment which proposes the direct opposite of a motion is a “Direct Negative” and should not be accepted. The proper course for movers of a direct negative is to oppose the motion.

and

Negative Motion. A motion in the negative cannot be accepted. All motions must be positive.

This article permits omnibus motions.

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I have uploaded the document here … as my blog seems more long lived that many other web resources. …

What now for Labour?

From Composite 1, #lab16

…. believes that unless the final settlement proves to be acceptable then the option of retaining EU membership should be retained. The final settlement should therefore be subject to approval, through Parliament and potentially through a general election, or a referendum.

This is Labour’s Conference Policy .. frankly I’d take any means of remaining now that we know the only terms available are unacceptable but I believe a lot of people would be very unhappy if Parliament instructed the Government to Revoke the A50 notice without a popular vote despite the fact that this Parliament’s mandate is more recent than the  Referendum. …

Three things about TIG

A couple of thoughts on the new “The INdependent Group of England” (TINGE).

The word Independent has a specific meaning under electoral law and there are no barriers to its use; if they seek to use such a name in a general election they will find the space crowded and there will be restrictions on what they can do.

Much has been made of the argument, “they stood on Labour’s manifesto”, it’s unlikely that the Labour defectors did; there was an ‘shadow’ election address which despite it being blessed by Southside, didn’t mention the manifesto or even the Labour Party.

“The Independent Group” doesn’t say the same as “Social Democratic Party”, Owen Jones looks at the political foundations of the latter and compares it, unfavourably, to today. The vacancy of their ideology and policy portfolio is illustrated in Chris Leslie’s interview in the New Statesman. The arrogance and the politics make it hard to remain disappointed. …

History, tragedy & farce

History, tragedy & farce

The splitters have been joined by one more Labour MP, and three Tories. Paul Mason comments with sense on the New Statesman, “To save his project, Jeremy Corbyn must bring Labour’s old guard on side“; it would seem that he agrees with me, it’s important to minimise the split, and constrain it to careerist malcontents. In a video, Tom Watson argues correctly that this is not a time for anger or glee and that we need to remember our, or Jeremy’s, promise of a kinder gentler politics. We must convince other doubters that only Labour can make the changes in society that are needed. This article looks at these responses and also examines the history and electoral impact of the foundation of the SDP last time, and its predecessors, specifically in the light of Dick Taverne’s decision to resign immediately and defend his seat. …

The Magnificent Seven, not!

The most important news yesterday was the announcement by Honda that they were leaving the UK. I don’t know if this could have been stopped short of revoking Article 50, but that’s 3,500 jobs going in Swindon plus those in the UK supply chain. However the noisiest story was the resignation from the Labour Party of 7 MPs. I am disappointed that its come to this, and sad to see those I know go. The story was made more poignant by the re-admission of Derek Hatton to the Labour Party, much to the excitement and condemnation of the right-wing commentariat. He was expelled, or auto-excluded, 34 years ago.

The priority of the Party is to bring on and win, a General Election, to fight poverty and redress the power imbalances that exist in our society. If the seven still want this, then this is not the way to achieve it.

All that’s left is the allegation’s of anti-semitism, and the allegation that Labour is institutionally anti-semitic. Sadly for them all the evidence is that the LP is getting better, and yet only done so as the Left has won leadership of the Party, in the NEC and full time officer cadre. Why was Chakrabarthi’s report not implemented? It was written in 2016 and shelved by McNicol and the Tom Watson manipulated NEC majority. I can’t explain the delay in processing complaints, but Jennie Formby, the General Secretary wrote to the PLP to explain the state of play and the improvements made since the Left took the NEC and she was appointed.

I am not of the view that the Loyalty pledge being circulated helps in anyway, it doesn’t really come from a desire to do ‘kinder, gentler politics’. Much of the complaints about the ‘your mum’ style of social media correspondence is true; I have left a number of forums due to the puerile and hostile comments made by people claiming to be Corbyn supporters; we need to do better but I will not allow the allies of the departed to claim a monopoly of martyrdom. The vitriol placed upon Corbyn supporters from 2015 onwards by very senior members of the party is equally unacceptable, not to mention their unjust exclusion from membership of many good activists.

It’s not a good look, but we should remember that the PLP have already lost seven members, O’Mara, Hopkins, Woodcock, Fields, Onasanya & Lewis. The weaponising of the disciplinary process is a bad thing, and except for Fields, all these people were or are under investigation or found guilty of unacceptable behaviour under Labour’s rules, or in the case of Onasanya breaking the law. Two of these MPs were elected in 2017 where clearly the due diligence placed upon the new candidates was insufficient; it’s another set of lessons to learn, but I am not holding my breath. We should also look and see who was in charge of the candidate selection in 2017.

Woodcock has been an MP for nine years, but of the others, Hopkins & Lewis have served 22 years since 1997, and Frank Field for 40 years. They are not the only MPs to have served for so long, but the Party has changed, several times and has now adopted a new trigger ballot mechanism which will make the decision to hold open selections easier.

History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy the second as farce. … Karl Marx

It’s sort of interesting to look back at the formation of the SDP and its prequel, the struggles around re-selection that occurred in the short period that it was permitted. Dick Taverne was de-selected, resigned from the Labour Party, fought a by-election won it, and won re-election in the first election of 1974, sadly for him there were two general elections in 1974. Eddie Milne was also deselected, and successfully fought to retain his seat in the Feb 74 General Election and also lost it in Oct. Much of what drove the SDP was careerism, a number of MPs were losing the support of their CLPs, the rules were becoming more accepting of reselctions and the deference once offered them was declining but there was some political steel in the SDP, they were mixed economy social democrats who supported membership of the EEC. I am really not sure that the not so magnificent seven have any politics of this scale. Do we really think that like Taverne, they could win their seats against Labour, and it can be of no co-incidence that this has happened only days after Ummuna’s CLP voted to transition to all member’s meetings and both his and Gapes’s CLPs are about to have their AGMs.

Given what they say about Labour, it’s hard to remain merely disappointed and I can’t see them coming back

Those of us who remain need to learn to genuinely undertake a kinder gentler politics and stand by our values of equality and justice. …

Emergencies

Emergencies

More on emergency motions, mainly about the Labour Party’s rules, but may apply to other Labour movement organisations.

An emergency motion can be accepted after the convening notice for a meeting has been published. This means that attendees or potential attendees will not know that a motion is planned, especially if the relevant officers do not formally or informally publicise receipt of a proposed emergency motion. In both AMM and Branch & Delegate (B&D), an emergency motion can be proposed by one member. Emergency motions permit the weakening of the notice rules.

To be deemed an emergency there is a two part test; basically is it late for good reason, and can it wait?

To be deemed an emergency, it must prove that it is relevant to an event that occurred after the convening notice was published otherwise the proposer should/must have given the membership notice of their motion via the Secretary. i.e. the proposer needs to justify why no notice could be given. This is worse in a B&D GC;  an emergency motion can be proposed by a delegate without reference to their nominating organisation and other delegates cannot get mandates for the emergency motion, particularly if no notice has been given.

None of the above addresses the second part of the test which is to qualify as an emergency, the motion must be such that being delayed to a meeting at which notice can be given and mandates issued would nullify the impact of the motion.

This is why organisations need a test as to the bona fide nature of the “emergency” requiring the passage of a motion.

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It should be noted that the very low threshold required to place an emergency motion on the order paper can lead to abuse. Because emergency motions are taken before motions that have been submitted in good time, a small minority can hijack the agenda of meetings by persistently submitting emergency motions. This denies those that have behaved well the opportunity to see their motions and ideas debated. (My local GC has motions that have been waiting for nearly two years, and it took months to discuss abolishing the Mayor and even longer to vote to oppose blacklist and for the council to embargo companies that use them.

A final thought, since motions of no-confidence, be it in an MP or a CLP EC have no effect in the rules, can they ever be considered emergencies? They will always fail the 2nd test. …

Labour’s new Red Lines

Labour’s new Red Lines

Here’s Labour’s new Brexit Red Lines on Brexit, which includes the text, and here is Paul Mason, Stephen Bush and Paul Cotterill.

Mason and Cotterill think it’s a move towards remain or a final say, and this is especially true if the Tories reject the offer. Mason feels that it puts the Tories in a difficult position but if they reject the offer, it puts Labour’s parliamentary Brexiters in very difficult position. Cotterill feels it’s the on ramp to a 2nd referendum and is especially excited by the requirement that the commitments to be made in the political declaration are to be backed by legislation. Bush considers it to be move towards soft brexit which maybe very attractive to the Labour sponsors of Common Market 2.0. He also says, that with the exception of free movement, it is specific and achievable and so, is on the Brexit off-ramp in a way that the six tests were not. He also notes that the new Red Lines are silent on free movement, which he argues is a better position than that previously held.

Is this good or bad?

I think I am with those who think it’s clever and resets the question in Parliament, which needed to be done. It interrupts May’s attempts to run down the clock and offer the Parliament or even the people a choice between her deal and no deal. It increases the odds of a final say between, May’s deal and Remain. In terms of an outcome, it’s nearly acceptable, although it now moves into the pointless end of the spectrum.

My one true fear is that it means Labour accepts the withdrawal agreement which will throws those Brit’s living in the EU under the bus, and the will permit the Tory government to implement another Windrush by placing EU citizens in the UK, having lived here for months or years under the same hostile environment applied to other alien immigrants and subject to uncertainty about their rights to remain. For me this might be a price too high!

There’s more below/overleaf …  …

Sovereignty

While I suspect that Labour’s Democracy Review team changed the sovereignty relationship between CLP ECs and GC/AMMs for good reasons, the number of stories of ECs suppressing the membership’s ability to make policy and run their parties being legion and in some places it seems not to have stopped but making it work will be difficult as the amount of time required to hold the new officers and committee to account is significant. My last EC spent hours discussing the Facebook usage policy 🤔, and since everything is factional, stuff gets discussed at detail twice.

I almost wonder if it was deliberate; the GC/AMMs will spend so long discussing administration that they won’t have time to discuss policy or hold the leadership and the PLP to account. …