Honesty, good faith and genuineness

A friend asked me to look again at Evangelou vs McNicol, which I did, by looking at Evangelou vs Mcnicol Appeal Judgment 20160812

The clause that interests us all is,

24. In the present case, there is no challenge to the rationality of the eligibility criteria and the freeze date, and they are only said to be unauthorised on the true construction of the contract. It is, however, relevant to note that a discretion conferred on a party under a contract is subject to control which limits the discretion as a matter of necessary implication by concepts of honesty, good faith and genuineness, and need for absence of arbitrariness, capriciousness, perversity and irrationality: see Sochimer International Bank Ltd v Standard Bank London Ltd [2008] EWCA Civ 116, [2008] Bus LR 134 at [66] and Braganza v BP Shipping [2015] UKSC 17, [2015] 1 WLR 1661, and the cases on mutual undertakings and bodies exercising self-regulatory powers mentioned at [47] below.

I have written about this previously on the ruling, and about irrationality, however I have previously focused on the absence of of arbitrariness, capriciousness, perversity and irrationality, but looking at the current so-called evidence definition for proscription hearings, I come to the conclusion that  equally important are honesty, good faith and genuineness. I should always have started there! …

Labour in London, not so good

Labour in London, not so good

Even now, on Saturday morning, it’s probably too early to say what the local elections mean politically. I feel I made a mistake commenting too early last year.

Over the last two days, the story has been that Labour did well in London; there are two punctures in that balloon, Harrow and Tower Hamlets. I believe these losses are caused by a sickness in both the Labour Party and possibly in society itself. In the Labour Party left-right factionalism allied to ultra-communalism/ethno-nationalism has broken both the Party and its connection with its electorate. When one stirs in two spoons of careerism this becomes deadly to the Party and to democratic politics.

I thought Harrow was vulnerable from looking at the Mayor & GLA results last year, as the early declaration of the Harrow & Brent seat results in the GLA elections (last year) had given us all a squeaky bum moment. Given that both councils were Labour, it was expected that there would be a strong vote for Sadiq; there wasn’t. Closer examination of the results suggested that Labour would  Harrow council; I thought that the polling predicted swing to Labour across London would be enough to save it. I was wrong.

The Tower Hamlets result is the culmination of 11 years of bad politics in both the Labour Party and Tower Hamlets; the community is now split on ethnic grounds. Some say it was the poor policies of Mayor Biggs, particularly on liveable streets/low traffic networks which was seen by many as serving the interests of a middle class party against the interests of brown (& white) working class who needed the mobility. In addition, the cuts, in public nurseries, and the notorious ‘fire and re-hire’ programme of the Mayor were unpopular with the Party and the community. This loss is made worse, for Labour, by last year’s referendum in TH to retain the Mayoral system in which Bigg’s Labour campaigned to retain it. My feelings on Mayors is well publicised but it’s possible that Aspire would not have been able to do so well if there wasn’t a ‘whole boro’ mandate being sought.

In Harrow, Labour lost to the Tories, and TH to Aspire. Harrow is over 52% ethnic minority and over 26% Indian, Tower Hamlets has over 55% ethnic minority and over 32% Bangladeshi.

While it is easy to name names in those two borough Labour Parties the true sickness is in Labour’s governance. London Labour has colluded with the leaderships of these two borough parties, specifically the MPs, and in the case of Tower Hamlets for over a decade. This is reinforced by McNicol’s attempts to use senior regional staff as weapon in the factional war, and then Evans’ redundancy programme. I believe that there are only two field/campaign staff left employed by London Labour.

Big governance decisions are not being taken with a view to building a democratic campaigning party or even a democratic parliamentary party. Wrong things have happened and are still happening.

There are plenty of people arguing that by prioritising a ‘blue labour’ policy vector, that Starmer’s Labour is telling the new members of Labour’s coalition that it has nothing to offer them and in doing so jeopardises the support of the young, workers, renters and ethnic minority voters. The relatively good results for the Lib Dems and Greens (& Aspire) shows that people do have somewhere else to go, and some have found out.  …

Labour & NATO

nato flag and badges

The Times ratchets up the argument in the Labour Party about NATO by repeating threats against those, including MPs, who take a more critical view of its history. A friend writes to me.

… it’s an interesting debate as to the role of NATO. The destruction of Libya and role in the Balkans doesn’t do wonders for its reputation. Yet I see Kier is concentrating on those MP’s who possibly question NATO’s role in conflict.

Haven’t we got more pressing priorities with this government both at home and abroad?

In my humble view the rhetoric of this government is very dangerous and upping the ante with Russia. Our leader needs to be urged to urge rapidly [that] Truss and Johnson to tone down their words of incitement.

We are an outlier in Europe after Brexit they are making us an outlier with our NATO partners.

This is not about opposing arming Ukraine or opposing NATO but opposing childish bellicose language from our Government to mask its other areas of scrutiny


It is a serious problem that Labour’s front bench seems more concerned with fighting it’s left wing, and not opposing the stupid, uber-military virtue signalling by this Government, led by a lazy man-child who if he has any sense of military strategy has learnt it from playing Risk. I think that the Tories’ boasting and grandstanding is unhelpful to the people of Ukraine and designed for home consumption but is in fact dangerous; it’s the Tories’ equivalent of ‘come on if you think you’re hard enough’. For the record, I believe that NATO is necessary, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shows that. Finland & Sweden’s reaction is obvious and if they decide to join should be supported.  …

Memories are made of this

Shrimsley in the FT reckons (£|θ) Starmer has long way to go to emulate Blair. He argues that if Starmer doesn’t define himself, then his enemies will do it for him. An interesting insight given what his advisors are leaking (£) to the Times. Shrimsley also argues that Blair focused ruthless on voters, not members or activists although I wonder if that trick can off pulled again but the biggest jog to the memory was the pledge card; and Labour cynics just thought it was important to say anything other than “to secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their labour by the public ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.

This shows how far we’ve come, in 1997, I wished for more radicalism, today, this would be welcome, although as a harbinger of the government’s programme, nothing on housing nor employee protection.  …

Is there a Starmer Project?

Is there a Starmer Project?

Oliver Eagleton has had a book, “The Starmer Project” published by Verso. Eagleton is the assistant editor of the New Left Review and has been doing the circuits to get the book some publicity. I placed my order late last week. It has been previewed by Eagleton himself on Novara Media, and reviewed by Richard Seymour in the New Statesman (£).

Eagleton compares Starmer with Blair, and finds him wanting as, he argues, does Blair, whom he suggests is exploring a Macron like personality based centrist project. Eagleton argues that despite Blair’s essential centrism, his politics had an optimism, originality and Blair was a great orator although, on the downside, he accuses Blair of introducing a crime for each day of office and he went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq and lost 5m votes between 1997 and 2010. He argues all that’s left for Starmer is the authoritarianism and the need to expunge left social democracy as a political option for Britain. Eagleton also notes that Starmer’s cleaving to the Tory agenda is a result of Labour’s unwillingness and lack of ambition to rebuild/build a winning electoral coalition. Eagleton also did an interview with Caitlin Doherty of Jacobin which reprises these arguments and also reinforces the argument that Starmer is a bureaucrat, which is one of the reasons that Starmer’s attack lines are about managerialism and competence, and not on policy values. It’s a sad observation that the anti-corruption legal remediation comes from NGOs such as the Good Law Project.

Seymour writes a pen picture of Starmer’s route to today, his youthful leftism, his early days as a human rights lawyer, his slow route to becoming the DPP and his record in that role. Seymour summarises the position in 2015 as

By the time Starmer launched his political career in 2015 as Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancras, his radical days were behind him. He was a middle-of-the-road Atlanticist with close ties to the state. A number of “activists”, including City financier Paul Myners and Guardian journalist Polly Toynbee begged him to stand in the Labour leadership contest in 2015. He declined, backing Andy Burnham, with whom he was politically aligned, while favouring economic austerity and a tougher line on immigration. 

Seymour – New Statesman

I cannot believe the hubris of suggesting an MP with no time in the House of Commons stand for Leader; it’s on par with appointing people with no election campaigning experience to senior roles in the Labour Party’s organisation and field operations teams.

Seymour looks at Starmer’s role in Corbyn’s cabinet as the shadow spokesperson on Brexit. This is where I part company with Seymour. Labour’s slow move from a worker’s Brexit to a second referendum was driven by three things. The first, the unacceptability of the Tories terms, whether May’s or Johnson’s. Neither Labour Conference nor the 2017 manifesto agreed to “Brexit under any terms”; Fisher, its author, always reminds people, that Labour supported the results of the referendum, provided the terms were acceptable. Secondly, the majority of Labour’s members and voters wanted a second referendum and wanted to remain, much of Labour’s astonishing performance in 2017 was due to remainers having nowhere else to go with only Labour offering any hope of either better terms or remaining. This support within the Party for the EU and the obvious economic damage is what led Corbyn’s closest and longest term allies to come to the conclusion that the Tory Brexit had to be stopped. They became more public after #lab18 and Starmer’s speech. The third factor is that an influential faction within the Labour Party wanted Brexit on any terms; it proved impossible to persuade them to co-operate with the Party and its whip and their parliamentary allies were encouraged by senior members of Corbyn’s office. The reality was that there was no path to Lexit and while Seymour presents Corbyn as seeking to find one, it was never on the table and I question Corbyn’s commitment to it; LOTO were freelancing. May would not or could not compromise enough to get Labour on board and Seymour is silent on the role of Labour’s so-called Lexit MP votes in the meaningful votes (or on medium) in the Spring of 2019 which in retrospect can be seen to have sunk any chance of remaining and although not known at the time sank Corbyn’s leadership. If anything, Starmer’s ’18 speech prolonged Corbyn’s leadership; his interventions on immigration were unhelpful to the Remainer’s cause and to Corbyn.

I have no doubt that many of those inside the Labour Party campaigning for a second referendum did so in bad faith and in the hope of bringing Corbyn down, but not all and the so-called praetorian loyalists who wanted Brexit played into their hands and eventually legitimised the votes of those who voted for Johnson’s Tories for the first time because they too wanted Brexit.

Starmer in his election run for leader did not mention Brexit or the EU and neither did his 10 pledges. This was an obvious clue for those for whom Brexit was the critical issue. Throughout the Corbyn leadership, Starmer has been poor on immigration for instance insisting on toughening up the words in the ‘17 manifesto, other events are listed in Seymour’s review. He was not a serious remainer. Many Labour remainers will have voted for Starmer, but must be disappointed although the clues were there. Some of them have left.

I sort of wonder, why did he lie in his 10 pledges. Has he been captured by the progenitors of New Labour? Or as Seymour says, is triangulating with the Tories where he always wanted to go. Seymour also suggests that oddly like Johnson, the ambition to get the job, is more than the ambition to do something good. There is no doubt he has powerful friends and allies who sustain him in his uber-factional, yet politically empty project.

To get more of the story, we’ll have to wait for Michael Chessum’s book, “This Is Only the Beginning: The Making of a New Left which is not yet available; I am also hoping that Michael looks at the efforts of Labour RemaIN as Labour’s self-destruction over Brexit probably started within that campaign, or even in the seventies when Wilson allowed the Cabinet to do what they liked. This established the precedent that unlike elections, Labour members could campaign against the Party. …

Natural Justice in the Labour Party

Natural Justice in the Labour Party

Skwawkbox has been reading the new rule book and reports on the new rule (C2.I.4.D/P14) which seeks to protect the expulsion process from judicial interference and a duty of fairness.

D. Neither the principles of natural justice nor the provisions of fairness in Chapter 2, Clause II.8 shall apply to the termination of Party membership pursuant to Chapter 2, Clauses I.4.A and C.

Labour’s Rule book 2022

Chapter 2.II.8 guarantees the right to dignity and respect and a right to be treated fairly by officers of the Party 😊

Clauses 2.I.4.A and C are new rules and create an offence of a proscribed act (A) which are listed in …(B), and the evidence which is deemed to prove these acts (C). The acts are related to standing against the Labour Party, or pursuing a vexatious law case against the Party.

It seems to me that the rule may have the opposite effect to its design.

The exclusion of the right to natural justice is only applicable to auto-exclusion on the basis of grounds listed in C2.I.4.B; these do not include being a member of a proscribed group, nor committing the acts defined by NEC resolution proscribing them such as selling a newspaper, writing for it or being interviewed by it.

The attempt to exclude the duty of fairness and the language used, while refusing to accept the constraints of the Nolan principles is shocking. It’s so bad that I was asked if it had actually gone through conference, and the answer it has. It was listed in CAC 2 for Conference 21. Conference was asked to debate and pass 37 pages of amendments with 4 hours notice of the text. I have drafted a rule change to prohibit this abuse.

I add, that given the current NEC and General Secretary’s view of the rules, there are only three,  (or on Medium) which count.


The buck stops … over there

The buck stops … over there

Not all is happy in the Labour Party in Westminster & Southside. It seems that people are not happy with David Evans performance as GS. Personally, I agree, but in this tweet, and the politico article it quotes, “Labour Sources” identify his speed on implementing change, inability to raise private funds and the mishandling of staff cuts. It interests me that the response and culpability for the data breach is not on the charge sheet nor the complete administrative balls up at Conference 21.

I have two things to say. On fundraising, it is not David Evans who has driven people or Unions away and the idea that the Labour Party can run on large donations alone is a fiction that has never been possible.

When Blair’s people tried it, despite adopting a pro-business position on Trade Union reform and selling other policy positions such as the attempted exclusion of Formula 1 from tobacco advertising ban, they ended up illegally hiding donations as loans, and selling peerages. They finished up by borrowing tens of millions of pounds from banks to fight elections, a debt that was only finally paid off after the Corbyn surge. Such largesse from the banking sector is unlikely to be forthcoming for an opposition party, except possibly from abroad which is equally illegal. …

Sophie’s choice

I had the pleasure of meeting Rachel Reeves (MP Leeds West) last weekend; she was guest speaker at a Lewisham Labour fund raiser and I was fortunate enough to be able to ask her a question as she was leaving with her sister, Ellie (MP Lewisham West & Penge). I asked where she got her mandate to say we are not going to rejoin the EU in 50 years. She said that it came from Keir and when I said that I’d ask him the same question, she said that we have to win back the Red Wall seats and that even hers remained in jeopardy unless we had a firm position. I did say that “not in 50 years” will lose votes in London, wish I’d made it clear that the “policy” may be posing a choice between the two sisters’ seats.

There’s an interesting asymmetry in the estimated Brexit votes between the two seats, Leeds West 53% leave, Lewisham West and Penge 35% leave. …

Not for 50 years

Not for 50 years

Starmer gave a speech in Newcastle in which he says there is no case for rejoining the EU for 50 years.

This is nonsense, if we want the UK to be more than an offshore money laundering factory, then re-joining the EU is inevitable.  It will only happen when membership becomes a non-partisan issue, or its partisan opponents are once again an irrelevance. The queues and delays at Dover, the developing maritime routes between Eire and continental Europe, and the declining trade balances as our export trade with the EU dies, all require remediation. To these problems we can add the labour shortage-based inflation as the plutocrats’ essential services, i.e. sandwich & fast food shops and restaurants can’t find staff and the people’s essential services are under funded and failing.

The short to medium term task for those who want to rejoin is to show & highlight Brexit’s failings, show how these failings are as a result of the Tories’ deal and that a better deal is possible. I outline my first five steps (my blog, Labour’s policy forum, medium). Other’s have points to add, but by offering a better future, we will win people to the position that we can do better than what we have. We need a better deal and we need to build a stable majority for a better relationship with the EU and see where it goes. Other’s have pointed me at this which is a better way of dealing with the policy issue.

Some argue that the EU’s own developments will strengthen opposition to the EU in this country but more importantly it’s possible that we will have problems meeting the EU’s requirement to have  “stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities;”; the House of Lords (and maybe Parliamentary Sovereignty & FPTP) and the “Hostile Environment” are all problems. The most rapid short-term changes in the EU today are its adoption of the Budget Conditionality Regulation, designed to sanction Hungary and Poland; this is because of their attacks on the independence of the judiciary, behaviour being repeated by our Tory government. Progressives should welcome this chance to examine and improve our democracy.

The problem with Labour under new management ‘s slogans, Fix Brexit and “Not in 50 years”, the latter a slogan used by both Starmer and Rachel Reeves is they do not allow Labour to criticise the current deal, and it looks like it’s designed not to. It also inhibits arguments for reform of the Brexit deal; this also looks to be by design. It denies Labour a role in scrutiny in Parliament or in the deal’s scrutiny structures. It’s also is trolling the membership and the majority of Labour’s voters. Their loyalty is not as strong as that of the old trade unionised workers, and New Labour lost 5m of them between 1997 and 2010. It adds to the evidence that they want to disassemble the new class coalition that voted for and is voting Labour. A quick look at politico.eu’s, poll tracker shows what happens when Labour loses the support of its remainer core vote as it did in the summer of 2019.

 That Starmer’s 10 pledges have been broken is probably priced in but interestingly he was silent on the EU and Brexit, and his Labour under new management is a policy vacuum, merely following the Tories on COVID, much of its authoritarianism and now on Brexit. Someone should explain that triangulation involves minimising the differences not eliminating them because people can tell the difference between the echo and the shout, They’ll trust the Tories to do Tory things before they trust Labour. Triangulation legitimises your opponents politics and policies. It’s not a strategy for principled people.

This comes from a mindset where focus group driven triangulation  remains cute, it is an electoral strategy based on letting down and ignoring those who vote for us. Last time we did that, we lost 5m votes and laid the ground for 2019 when the old steel and pit towns finally voted Tory. …

A note on Emanuelle Averil’s “The (Unintended) Consequences of New Labour …”

A note on Emanuelle Averil’s “The (Unintended) Consequences of New Labour …”

I have been influenced by the white paper “The (Unintended) Consequences of New Labour: Party Leadership vs Party Management in the British Labour Party..., a white paper to the PSA” by Emanuelle Averil on New Labour, its managerialism and the destruction of its activist commitment and influence. It was published in 2015 before the General Election. I read it in 2017 and strangely ended up sitting next to her at Conference ’19. What she said in 2015 is increasingly relevant in 2021 as Starmer tries to reimpose the controls established by New Labour. Use the "Read More ..." button for a series of quotes from the paper, which I originally posted on diigo and remember that New Labour lost the 2010 election partly because it was unable to renew itself. ...