Contemporary Motions

In rule 3.II.2.C, Labour’s Rules describe a contemporary motion as one

… which is not substantially addressed by reports of the NEC or NPF to Conference

CLPs & Affiliates may only submit “contemporary” motions to conference. Contemporary, as in timeliness,  is taken as an issue, that has arisen since the publication of the NPF report and more controversially that could not have been raised before. In 2016, the CAC ruled motions on austerity and the economy out of order as these had both been in existence in the spring. The words themselves permit the raising of an issue on which the NPF is silent, such as my proposed anti-surveillance motion. Authors of motions need to take these rules into account.

There is a rule change on the order paper to abolish the “contemporary” constraint and the Democracy Review is recommending the abolition of the National Policy Forum. So this could be the last time we need to worry about this stupidity. …

Labour and Surveillance (#lab18)

In case anyone wants to try and take surveillance and privacy to #lab18. Here are some words.

Investigatory Powers to be subject to Human Rights Law.

Conference notes the report in the Register on 6th August that US Senators are challenging the NSA destruction of 4 years of phone usage records as they believe that this is in order to destroy evidence of illegal collection.

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

Conference notes that the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 legalised the use of bulk powers to allow the UK intelligence services to collect all the UK phone usage and internet usage records.

Conference notes that the intelligence services have made data on UK citizens available to the USA.

Conference notes that the exact terms of the data sharing between the UK & US are unknown

Conference notes that the Investigatory Powers Act has been ruled as contrary to EU law as it contravenes the Charter of Fundamental Rights which is the EU’s commitment to the European and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Conference resolves that a Labour Government will ensure that private and public surveillance technologies will conform to laws that meet the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Conference instructs the NEC/NPF to draw up a human rights based policy for the regulation of British law enforcement authorities and their investigatory powers.

218 words …

Surveillance, ignorance and a chilling effect

The Guardian, not exactly disinterested, publishes a leader on regulating Apple and its competitors. I would argue, Apple is the example of the 5th Industrial Revolution monopoly and we need to learn how to regulate it and is competitors and it is a problem for the US also. The authors  completely miss the fact that there are new forms of oppression, that of surveillance, caused by the datenkraken.

We need new forms of protest and defence even though we’ve know about it forever. It’s for this reason that we established the rights of privacy and free speech as part of the universal declaration of rights.

This quote is important, it establishes commonalities with their predecessors,

All [ the datenkraken] use remarkably few workers to generate their enormous profits. All operate an internal class system, which concentrates power in very few hands. None have any unions worth speaking of. All rely on the unglamorous work being done far from California, usually by subcontractors. All shuffle their profits around the world in an endless game of “Find the lady” with national tax authorities – a factor that should not be overlooked when it comes to asking why they are so immensely profitable. If this is the model of the company of the future, it will have consequences we have not yet learned how to manage.

They finish with,

The downside of the oil-based economy is now obvious all around us. The symptoms of apparently uncontrollable climate change have become undeniable. Cities are choked with polluting traffic while the seas are choked with plastics made from oil. Whole countries have been devastated by oil riches. The digital revolution seems, so far, much more benign. But the loss of trust that social media both causes and exploits may one day be seen as another form of unforgivable pollution.

I think this is weak, the threat is surveillance, ignorance and a chilling effect. …

The most left wing person that can win

I am reading Alex Nunn’s “The Candidate” and as exciting as the race for MPs nominations, and the struggle for supporting nominations in the CLPs and Unions are, one turning point is seen as the vote of the Tories Welfare Reform Bill. One thing missing from the narrative so far is how huge the task of winning in 2020 seemed to be; Labour had seemingly gone backwards and the task seemed insurmountable. I was reminded then and again in reading the book of an anonymous quote from a senior labour politician who said in 2010, that the Labour Party ” … will elect the most left wing person they think can win”. It was just in 2015, there wasn’t much confidence that any of them could do so! …

Making Labour’s Policy 2018

And now you can read Labour’s National Policy Forum Report … available from this site, I got it from Seema Chandwani who hosts it on here blog, and publicised it on twitter.

Wonder when it’ll be published by the Labour Party. …

Leaving our opt-outs behind

It’s one of my fears over Brexit that the loonies will take us into a transition period without an agreement on anything other than the withdrawal terms, about which they are still haggling, and that should we change our minds, we’ll have to reapply and lose our opt-outs, which include Schengen (common borders), the stability & growth pact’s enforcement regime, a promise to join the Euro (we don’t have to) and our famous rebate on contributions. In transition, we lose our Council seat with its veto, our Commission seat, our MEPs and our Judges on the Court. We definitely become rule takers. …

Power in Momentum I

I have been preparing a little blog article on “Power in Momentum” which has been overtaken by yesterday’s decision by the “Officers” of Momentum to withdraw support from Pete Willsman as a candidate for Labour’s NEC. The article, among other issues, examined the power structures and came to conclusion that with the exception of the powers allocated to OMOV ballots, for which the rules mandated IT still does not exist, every decision and power is granted to the National Co-ordinating Group which meets in secret, doesn’t publish it decisions or its membership and has unlimited delegation powers although it doesn’t publish its instruments of delegation either. (I begin to question if it is genuinely a membership organisation.) One has to wonder why they decided to delegate the decision to the Officers rather than the Chair alone, but it’s a sign of hope that they couldn’t trust the whole NCG even after they purged the remainder of the democratic opposition in the last round of elections.

I have already voted for the #JC9 but do not consider Pete Willsman’s comments to be anti-semitic, and I am not alone, and consider that the Left needs all nine of its slate to be elected. I would urge anyone that has not yet voted that supports the Corbyn leadership to vote for all of the #JC9. …

Online Democracy

In Labour’s Democracy Review, they argue for more IT and remote access and online balloting, they say

Carers, disabled members, shift workers, women and young members have argued it is the poor, disadvantaged and already under-represented who are least likely to have the time and resources to attend meetings. These points have been made particularly at the disability events we have had.

Who the fuck do you think are least likely to have internet access?

In the HuffPo article, they argue that Momentum is an example of how digital engagement creates activity and energy.

In my book, Momentum has some questions to answer about it’s on-line democracy. (It’s closed source, and its IT Security Controls are not public and its segregation of duties is not published, and probably non-existent. )

In my short essay, http://davelevy.info/e-voting/, I say,

Bruce Schneier, in a 2004 essay, posed four requirements, that voting systems be fast, accurate, scalable and anonymous. To these I add, transparency.

E-voting systems struggle to meet the Schneier’s first four criteria and yet the last is possibly the most important; critically losers must trust that the result is accurate.

I say [much] more in articles on this blog tagged e-voting. …

Labour & anti-Semitism II

This has been written by a campaigning comrade and I reproduce it here, I disclaim authorship to avoid allegations of plagiarism.


Even before the release of the NEC’s new Code of Conduct on antisemitism, JVL was working as part of a consortium to prepare the ground for a challenge to the IHRA definition which, as you know, has attached to it controversial examples of conduct that it says may be considered to be antisemitic.

On June 15, a statement signed by 27 prominent Jewish figures was published in the Guardian calling for clarity about what antisemitism is and what it is not. This was followed on July 6, just after release of the NEC code, by a supportive statement from an unprecedented array of political and cultural figures.

When the NEC adopted its new code, and was immediately vilified, dishonestly, as rejecting an imaginary “internationally recognised definition of antisemitism” allegedly embraced by the entire Jewish community, JVL produced briefing notes for PLP members and a model motion for CLPs, as well as publishing online an avalanche of authoritative critique, most of it from expert Jewish sources defending the NEC code as superior to the IHRA document. I recommend looking at the JVL website for the full range of material.

Particularly helpful are an examination of the two documents by Brian Klug, a world expert on antisemitism, an explanation by another leading authority, Antony Lerman, of why fighting antisemitism has to be part of a wider antiracist struggle, and a Global Jewish Statement demonstrating how the IHRA document undermines legitimate campaigning on behalf of Palestine. This discussed in a comment piece in the Independent explaining the background to the global statement. …