Mushroom Therapy

I have just bookmarked Crispin Flintoff’s video made for Stand up for Labour, as part of his campaign to get the Party to spend more on the CLPs by means of remission of a higher proportion of the membership subs.

From 29:30 Dave from Milton Keynes, kicks off a discussion about the management and reporting of the Party’s finances. Two NEC members, Gurinder Singh and Jon Lansman comment on the exclusion of the NEC from the management of money. It’s really quite shocking. …

Labour Leak – Closing the Stable Door

Labour Leak – Closing the Stable Door

This blog article is one of several albeit the first published on the labourleak. It focuses on fixing the problems identified and implied in the #labourleak in a holistic way. It looks at the controls, briefly on why they failed, how the private sector manages, the question of Union collusion, IT standards & controls, the disciplinary process, the NEC and if genuine professionalism can possibly improve the quality and honesty of the decisions taken by the Labour Party; it concludes by proposing that the rules be changed to place a duty on all role holders to conform to the Nolan Principles, and that whistle blowers have better protection, but on the way recommends that the Labour Party use a series of external certifications, ask the Auditors to to inspect that payments and receipts are handled according to the Party's financial control rules, increase the professionalism of the staff and NEC committees, all of this to guarantee to its members and staff that good practice and not arbitrary actions are the guiding principles of judgement and decision.

More Masonry

Paul Mason comments on the Labour Together report; the article examines how to reassemble a majority voting coalition, he argues it’s not just policy, it’s campaigning culture and this I agree about; he also argues that we must be ready to go into coalition with the SNP as we cannot win sufficient Scottish seats while Scottish Labour holds a unionist position. I think he maybe right about economism being sufficient but is too hopeful about Momentum, certainly the election campaigns to its national committee itself suggests that neither its leadership nor its challengers are ready to learn the lessons on political culture that he advocates. The Left needs to recognise why Corbyn’s coalition has fractured and learn how to rebuild a new one otherwise it’s in a minority in the Party and country. …

Labour’s next council slates

It looks like the Labour Party plan to go ahead with Candidate selections for the 2021 local authority elections and possibly the 2022 whole council elections. This is despite the lockdown, and due to the 2019 Conference Rule changes which planned to change the committee structures that manage this process, the bureaucracy’s response was to suspend the old committees and prohibit their AGMs. For most areas, this wouldn’t have mattered, since AGMs must take place after May and the meetings would have to have been postponed due to lock down although the size of the meetings would have made meeting and voting via video conference possible.

I have written previously about the rule change, in this article, which includes a link to the rule change which should now be incorporated in the current Rule Book.

I am worried about the transition to the college based LGCs and I have written a “principles” document, to highlight some outstanding issues and challenges, which includes the size, the electorate for all 3 colleges, candidate eligibility, counting abstentions, conflict of interest, the nature of the due diligence and that TU & CLP delegates are included in the selection committees and that the Procedures Secretary is not a councillor. However it seems that the selections will be done by the incumbent LCFs, so we can postpone those worries.

One area of concern, irrespective of the committee structure, is that the due diligence of candidates is often onerous and factionally biased, I believe it is necessary that candidate assessments may only withhold an endorsement on the grounds that a candidate is not eligible to stand, fails to meet the Labour Party’s eligibility rules, states that they will not conform to the rules on Group conduct and/or other Labour Party rules or for other good reason; the holding of opinions on policy shall not be a reason for non-endorsement.

Two further issues, which ideally required rule changes are the existence of trigger ballots, which it seems for Councillors are not going to be held, but we are unclear what will happen to the Borough Mayors.

The other issue is about conflicts of interest. At the moment the rules only state that familial or marriage relationships are considered conflicts of interest. We should seek to ensure that business relationships, some other commercial relationship such as a rent agreements, a supervisory/supervised relationship in employment or any other issue which might reasonably deemed to exist are declared and appropriately managed. I have written a rule change on this but it is a direct textual amendment to Appendix 4, and Conference can’t amend the Appendices, and there isn’t going to be one. The rule change can be amended to be valid by amending Chapter 5.

Labour Briefing published a scorecard on the LCF’s and found it wanting, an article called, “Local Government Committees – Has the NEC scored an own-goal?“, it seems we won’t find out. This article was written late last year after Conference changed the rules to introduce the ⅓, ⅓, ⅓ based LGC. …

Unanswered Questions

The terms of reference allow the Forde Inquiry panel to look at any issue it chooses. I have written to them and asked that it considers the following,

  1. Did anyone unnamed in the report take part in the activities identified by the report? If so who?
  2. Did ‘improper behaviour’ occur during the decisions taken in the selection process for candidates for the 2017 General Election? If so, by whom?
  3. To what extent did the ‘improper behaviour’ identified by the report also apply to complaints of bullying, slander, racism and the manipulation of selection processes for council and MEP candidates?
  4. To what extent were the selections, staff appointments and performance management processes improperly influenced by racism or factional advantage?
  5. Were Party funds spent in accordance with the Party’s financial control procedures and correctly accounted for? (Why did the Party run a £1.4m surplus in 2017, a year in which a General Election was held?)

If for whatever reason, it decides not to investigate these areas, I would ask that it highlights them as matters of concern and recommend that these areas are investigated by follow up independent panels. …

Why Labour lost, again

Why Labour lost, again

On Friday, Ed Miliband released his report into Labours GE 2019, you can find it here, Paul Mason and Phil BC comment on it here (Paul), here (Phil) & here (Phil again)., and the tanks, cranks and so-called Lexiters see this as a reason for attacking Starmer and Labour’s majority Remainers.

This, “The Man or The Manifesto? Labour Together Report Shows Uphill Battle for the Party’s Survival” on immigration news is also worth reading. …

Black Lives Matter

Over the weekend, there were many protest demonstrations about racism in the UK under the slogan #blacklivesmatter

There was violence at the demo in London, a police horse bolted after the police had decided to charge a bunch of protesters; it injured a protester, several statues inc. that of Churchill were defaced. In Bristol, the statue of Edward Colston a slaver, later a Tory MP and philanthropist was pulled down and thrown in the Avon. Both these actions have started debates, about Churchill, slavery, museums and how we do history in the UK.

The establishment was quick to apportion blame on the protesters, with Johnson calling them thugs, and Priti Patel yet again disgracing herself, but this is to avoid examining the racism within British society, the Tory led state and the Tory Party itself. Only when we, i.e. the people of the United Kingdom, have satisfactorily resolved the Windrush scandal, the hostile environment and, most recently the suppression of the report into BAME propensity and deaths from CV19 can the Tories have anything to say about anti-racism demos.

The Labour Party has its own demons to exorcise, apart from the record of the Attlee government in India and Africa, more recently there is the allegations of racism at the most senior levels of the Party towards its leading black MPs, and Keir Starmer, albeit in a longer interview criticised the Bristol demonstrators who had pulled down the Colston statue. He has been rebutted by Marvin Rees, the black Mayor of Bristol, who also criticised the Govt’s priorities and Dawn Butler, the black MP for Brent Central.

Len Duval, the Leader of London’s GLA Labour group issued a statement, in which he says, this must be a turning point. Anyone who disagrees is just not listening to their friends, co-workers, family and neighbours.

This is a challenge for everyone in the UK, together we can make a better society and move towards eliminating racism within our society.  …

Culture for all

Culture for all

Tracy Brabin, in her statement, “Culture for All” says,

When times are dark, culture and creativity provide a light. That’s why I’m proposing a vision of Culture for All to be at the heart of Labour’s forward journey.

She has great ideas on Football, the BBC, diverting the festival of Britain funding, access to the creative industries,and comments on nepotism, class bias and the impact of other informal networks, together with the impact of the growing gig economy relationships in the creative industries.

For instance on football, which she identifies as important community resources and hubs, she says, “We need to tackle the mostly undemocratic ownership and control of football clubs, and the way that sport is organised, so that fans and communities are properly engaged.”

While she recognises the stake holding interests of fans in sport, she doesn’t spend the words on talking about them in terms of acting, music nor film? Although she does say ” … Campaign to put more digital cultural content online. Just as the National Theatre has done in response to Covid-19, so too must we support our regional arts institutions in reaching new audiences.”, although this is also weak on the contribution of value by fans.

There is a good section on health and well being

On digital she says, amongst other demands, the UK needs, “a new properly resourced internet regulator to tackle online harms, abuse and misinformation” is needed and Labour should “Make the case for a Digital Bill of Rights so UK citizens have greater control over their own data”. She does not repeat the free broadband promise on which I comment positively here, and less positively here.

This is a thoughtful review of what we could do, it might be a shame she lost the shadow spokesperson position, but she remains Shadow Spokesperson (Minister) on Cultural Industries.

ooOOOoo

This does not repeat big media’s bollocks on the “Value Gap”, which is an unmeasured & unmeasurable concept aimed at appropriating the value created by fans and commentators and implementing a trickle-down approach for artists and performers. It appeared in one of the NPF reports.

Featured Image: cropped from Tracy’s twitter feed …