There’s a reason we made the UN

There’s a reason we made the UN

This is what happens when I don’t real time blog, I get distracted but its a bad day for news. The usual knob heads are ramping up the acts of piracy in the Persian Gulf and blaming Iran. Earlier in the week, a motion virtually supporting an illegal military intervention in Venezuela was debated at GMB Conference. Some people need to be reminded.

Aggressive war is illegal, “regime change” as a goal of military action is a war crime.

States have a right of self defence, any other action needs the approval of the UN Security Council. The UN and the rule of law are our best hope for a better world.

It’s not good enough to say “it’s broken” and our moral judgement cannot supplant this Law.

I have quoted some bits of the UN Charter, below/overleaf.

ooOOOoo …

Ships, Steel & Gas

Ships, Steel & Gas

I have worked as a London (or Thames Valley) white collar worker for all my working life but the GMB is strong in manufacturing and energy. We had several debates of special interest to Shipbuilding, Steel, and Energy, especially the Gas industry and there was also a motion on fracking. For more see below/overleaf.

Ships

The shipbuilding motions refer to public procurement policy and reference concepts echoed in the “Just Transition” movements, about not leaving communities nor workers behind. While looking for a picture to decorate this article, I came across an article, entitled, “Another RN supplier goes under – the closure of Appledore shipyard”, which documents the impact on the community but critiques Babcock’s commercial strategy. In reading the article, it makes clear that Appledore was part of the Aircraft Carrier supply-chain and so their commissioning prolonged the life of the shipyard. GMB Congress also highlighted the failure of the Government to “Buy British” for the latest generation of Fleet auxiliary ships. I have written several articles mirroring arguments about  what I consider to be the mistakes of renewing Trident and the building of the new Fleet Carriers. I think the Union needs to engage in these arguments i.e. what do we need and can they be built in multiple sites. It’s not just about how many hospitals could have been funded; what defence assets are we missing to fund the subs & carriers. The country needs to also address retraining and skills reuse. Labour’s promise of a National Education Service, with free, life-long learning available to all is an important part of keeping the UK’s skills relevant and renewing them. The debate can be found on youtube.

Steel

The fate of what remains of British Steel was also debated, and I reflected on this earlier this month on this blog. A motion had been submitted to Congress over the winter, again calling for a “Buy British First” policy and this was supplemented by an Emergency Motion calling for the Scunthorpe Steel Works to remain open. [Video of the moving, in several ways, speech]

 

Nothing was mentioned about the Government’s handling of tariffs. (A mistake I would have thought).

Gas

The future of the Gas industry was debated via Composite 15.

While in entering the debate, I assumed that I’d have a problem with the GMB position as too often Unions take a no change position, the composite is well argued and highlights certain critical facts, although not others. (Electricity cannot be stored at scale, Gas can, electricity leaks over the grid. Hydrogen is not a fossil fuel.)  The science of innovation with respect to the use of Hydrogen has not been documented either by the GMB branches nor by Friends of the Earth. (I am trying to chase it down; I have written to SGN who had a stand in the exhibition space.) There’s no question that if Momentum and Friends of the Earth get their motion to Labour Conference, the Just Transition Unions will vote it down, unless they compromise on Gas & Nuclear. The GMB motions states that there is scientific consensus that gas heating in the home is part of a transition to a carbon neutral economy.

I think we need a better understanding of the science.

I read a lot about this in order to write this report, and my notes are on my wiki.

Fracking

A motion on Fracking, basically opposing it, in the light of recently discovered facts and regulatory changes was withdrawn at the request of the CEC.

ooOOOoo

The words of the Gas and Fracking motions are posted on my notes are on my wiki. …

GMB on Brexit

GMB on Brexit

The national committee of the GMB is called the Central Executive Council, and it produced a statement on  the subject of Brexit. The statement opposes a No-deal Brexit and calls for a final say public vote on any Tory deal to,

.. decide whether this is better than our current deal with the EU.

I was called to speak on the statement and my speech is on YouTube, as is the whole debate.

The statement was made available on the morning of the debate; I wish I’d had more time to consult members & colleagues. …

You can’t say that!

GMB Congress 2019 is a rules revision conference and one important rule change passed earlier in the week was to restrict the number of motions and rule amendments that a single branch can propose to three motions and two rule amendments.

One of our delegation spoke against the rule change arguing that restricting the number of motions would diminish Congress because branches would be choosing not to send motions, the difficulty that large branches with multiple employers in representing all their members was mentioned. A video of the debate is here.

On reflection, the idea that 2500 motions would be proposed is foolish, there were 435 motions on the order paper when there was no restriction. (I understand that one branch put in a shed load, but they obviously thought it important.)

I would add that, since the CEC, through its power to recommend “support with qualification” can uniquely move amendments to every motion, this change (of restricting a branch’s voice) will increase the CEC’s power over the agenda and the results. Also the CEC can table non emergency business, as special reports after the closing date for motions and so amending these is procedurally difficult. No system is perfect, but I agree that this is a retrograde rule change. …

There’s a reason that votes are secret

I didn’t win again, but in another part of the business a comrade asked for a motion to be voted on via secret ballot. This is what the rules say

C15.I.2.M.ii   Ballot votes shall be held at meetings to select candidates and where otherwise provided for in the Party constitution; and where requested by any member supported by at least two others.

The Chair was advised that the request for a secret ballot required the agreement of the meeting, I have looked and can’t find such a rule. The purpose of this rule is to avoid intimidation and coercion. I did ask where this was defined, but got no answer.

We have now set a precedent that secret ballots can only be agreed by the whole meeting. It’s a charter for bullies. …

Vote for me!

There is a vacancy for the position of Secretary of Lewisham Deptford CLP. I have been nominated by my Branch and plan to stand. If you are a delegate to he CLP’s Geneneral Committee, then this is why I think you should vote for me.

I stand for a member-led party, a party where all are welcome and speak without fear, where the rules are applied fairly and with justice and where all who agree not to campaign against us in elections can join.

I believe in the 2017 Manifesto, but recognise it could be improved.

I believe that in a member led party, members have the right to criticise its leadership when they believe them to be wrong.

I believe that Brexit is a right-wing project, that there were never any good terms to leave on and that now the Labour Party needs to unite to oppose the Tory’s Brexit, whether by a General Election, Final Say referendum, or by Parliamentary vote to revoke. I believe that many of those who still say GE first actually want to leave. Labour must declare itself a Remain party, anything else jeopardises its future as the EU Parliamentary elections prove.

I believe that we are going to have to work hard to win voters back from the EU Parliamentary elections, but this can be done be being relevant which means improving the council’s performance, continuous campaigning and emphasising the investment and tax policy focuses of the 2017 manifesto

I voted for Diane in 2010 and Jeremy in 2015 & 2016.

I’ll seek to establish means of accountability between the Council Group and the Party’s  membership.

I have fought in 10 general elections and have appetite and energy to fight more. I have been in Deptford for nine years, I have been secretary of two branches and am a previous secretary of the CLP, I have held other positions on the EC. I am an active Trade Unionist, a branch official and accompanying rep. This EC lacks a memory which is why we are continuously repeating debates we have had previously; I can help to provide that memory.

I have often spoken at the GC, and my views are known across the constituency.

I’ll try to meet and balance the needs to develop policy, educate ourselves, campaign for change in our community and to win elections.

When I stood last year, I made this Video with Rebecca, while the political situation has changed, my views on organisation and culture have not.

 …