The debate on the composite was introduced by a speech from Lesia Vasilinko, a Ukrainian MP and co-chair of the British Ukrainian Friendship society; the session is on video. Ms Vasilinko’s speech starts at this book mark and I have created a text version (or ) of the speech.

Ukraine has been invaded by the Russian Federation, a country with a track record of military actions in contravention of the UN Charter and a dreadful record in front of the ECtHR. Ukraine has chosen to fight and I support them in their acts of self defence and their right to national self-determination. Conference now agrees.  

Sadly there are some aspects of the motion that divert attention from this act of solidarity.

Within the motion, there is a call for increased investment in weapons production, I argue that we need a defence policy/strategy based on the needs of British and our allies’ security not on the needs of arms manufacturers, which is what we’ve had for too long.  The two topics, defence policy and Ukrainian solidarity should have been disaggregated. By not doing so, the proposers gave people a good reason to vote against the motion which is unfortunate, and a number of delegates did.

The words of the motion make no mention of the Russian peace campaigner, or refuge for Russian draft dodgers. It makes no reference to Ukraine’s recent anti Trade Union laws nor of its record in front of the ECtHR, nor that Ukraine’s rating on the 3rd party democracy indexes is low, albeit higher than Russia’s. Our solidarity must ensure that a post war Ukraine continues on the route to democracy.

Sadly it makes no mention of the UK sanctions, and the need to get Russian money out of British politics. We need to publish the secret parts of the Russia Report and ensure that those involved in funnelling Russian money into British politics are found and held to account particularly for their intervention in the Brexit referendum and funding the Tory party.

Labour List also reports on the motion, their article contains the words of the motion, Composite 13, which are also available in CAC 2 Addendum.

None of this justified a vote against. Russia invaded a neighbour that chose to fight. Ukraine has chosen to fight for its independence, this needs to be supported. …

Democracy and the rule of law first!

Democracy and the rule of law first!

Friends are considering if we/they should support Ukraine’s request for fast-track membership of the EU. I believe that Putin’s target is the EU and that its response must be robust but the criteria for membership includes a robust democracy, a market economy and an administration committed to the rule of law. Ukraine does not meet these three criteria.

From my work in CTOE on the COFOE, I have come to the conclusion that one of the weaknesses of the EU’s treaties is that while the principles of proportionality and subsidiarity are essential parts of the treaties, they only express a relationship between the EU and the member states. This needs to change such that the member states need to guarantee subsidiarity within themselves and to their citizens. The current treaties do not do this.

This is needed to ensure that the promise of subsidiarity is met, that decisions are taken as close to the citizen as possible. It annoyed me greatly, that Cameron was bleating on about subsidiarity while acting as the elected dictator of one of the most centralised states in Europe. This deficit and lack of mandate on the institutions of the EU cause problems for independence or ethnic minority movements within the member states, such as in Spain and Hungary. Ukraine also has an significant ethnic minority population and its democracy needs to offer them the same security and human rights as the majority.

Ukraine is deemed by Transparency International as the second most corrupt state in Europe, it is third worst in front of the ECtHR and is deemed to be a Hybrid State by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s democracy index. The only way in which Ukraine could join via a fast track is if the EU were to relax its standards on human rights and the rule of law. It is unlikely to do that as it is in the same argument with Poland and Hungary and is busy changing its rules to allow it to financially sanction them.

Democrats need to defend and improve the democracy of the EU, and its member states. Our solidarity with the people of the Ukraine needs to be expressed through other means.

Image Credit: CC European Parliament 2010 BY-NC-ND MEPs Voting …

Ukraine, war & Britain

Ukraine, war & Britain

I wrote a piece two days ago, focusing on what UK  citizens and residents of good will should do about the war in Ukraine but feel I need to clarify.

I congratulate the Ukrainian people and their armed forces for the defence they have put up. It proves to me that the UK, because that is what I know , was fooled by the hybrid war conducted by Russia who weakened the UK’s will to resist its imperial adventures and defend its own democracy. Russia funded the Brexit campaign and much of the Tory Party; Brexit is a massive weakening of the European self defence capability as we can see by the EU’s speed in responding to the Russian invasion compared with the UK’s pedestrian pace. Russia’s propaganda presented us with a view as to the invincibility and overwhelming numeric superiority of the Russian Army.  This imbued in some British people, including me, a moral cowardice. This cowardice, equivalent to appeasement in the 30’s will have been reinforced by the moral subversion of NATO due to its US led adventurism in the Middle East.

NATO is the only alliance that can act but to call it a great achievement is hubristic and sectarian overstatement. Today’s NATO is not the same organisation as it was thirty years ago. The need for NATO will be proven if Sweden and Finland seek to join but all its fans need to recognise that the US is not the reliable and generous ally it once was. Trump explicitly questioned the US commitment to Article 5 and Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan was not agreed by NATO.

The Ukrainian state is not pretty, it has the 3rd worst record in front of the European Court of Human Rights, and is judged by the EIU democracy index as a Hybrid State. In terms of both metrics the Russian record is worse. NATO member Turkey is the second most frequent breacher of the ECHR. But the Russian invasion is a war crime which it seems will now be investigated by the ICC. Good!

Throughout this we must not forget the brave Russians who are expressing their opposition to the war.

At home, a government that speaks for me must

  • Implement effective sanctions
  • Set up effective and generous refugee acceptance programmes
  • Purge itself of Russian funded corruption
  • Develop a defence policy that defends us against real threats not fake ones.

I would add that we should rejoin the EU but that will not happen until it ceases to be a partisan issue, however this will take much less than 50 years. …

What is to done about the Ukraine in the UK

What is to done about the Ukraine in the UK

Writing a piece on the invasion of the Ukraine is taking longer than I expected, the big issue is now quite simple, Russia should not have invaded the Ukraine; it’s a war crime and yet the response of British politicians has been, on the whole juvenile, selfish, narcissistic or cowardly. The rest of this article, overleaf looks at the glacial pace of the imposition of sanctions, the corrupt receipt of Russian money, the dreadful defence policies, and a failure to welcome refugees. In addition, I mention the need to offer solidarity to the nascent Russian ant-war movement. I also call out Starmer's über factional and misplaced response. Use the "Read More ..." button for the rest of the article ...