Legacy

Finally got round to watching “Steve Jobs”, this is set from 1984 through 1998, focused on three product launches, the LISA, the Next Station and the iMAC. The film covers his dismissal from Apple, the Innovator’s dilemma, the failure of the Newton and ends with a signpost to the ipod and iphone. I wonder if the depiction of the arguments between him and Wozniak around open vs. closed was true, because android is bigger than ios and the Mac laptops now use  an open source operating system. The Innovator’s dilemma is about when to destructively & innovatively  compete with yourself; the answer being once it’s clear you’ll lose, or preferably just before your competitors do but Apple almost died because it had no product to to replace the Apple II. I wonder if Jobs actually stated that the Newton failed because it required a stylus, and even if’ it’s true. It could have been that it was just ahead of its time; we needed cloud computing or cheaper/denser storage before the PDA was going to work although some might argue that the Macbook is just a PDA with a keyboard and in closing I loved Lisa’s comments that the iMAC looked like Judy Jetson’s easy bake oven.

Legacy

One Person, One Vote

Writing about the representation of the UK Parliament, reminded me of some work i did in 2014, when looking at the results of the last European Parliament elections. The chart below shows the number of people represented by an MEP by country, the Spanish are the least represented and the Luxembourgois the best, varying from 850,000 to 77,000; that’s eleven times better for Luxembourgois. It should be noted that the 77,000 population it takes to earn an MEP in Luxembourg is similar to the number that the Tories propose for British MPs, except the Tories are planning that MPs only represent electors, not the total population.

votespermep-chart

We can see that the system benefits the smaller nations, and that to be fair with the same rate of representation as the Luxembourgois there would need to be over 6,500 MEPs. It would be very difficult to run plenary sessions of such size as the amount of time available to talk would mean that many would have to remain silent.

One Person, One Vote

Parliament

Someone finally agrees with me, in that the constituency gerrymandering currently going on in Parliament starts from the decision to reduce the number of MPs. Ralph Scott in the New Statesman introduces me to the paper written by Lewis Baston and Stuart Wilks-Heeg showing that the UK has less elected politicians than most OECD states; this is mainly due to the fact that most of the comparator nations have large and active local government layers but also by measuring the ratio of MPs to population, looking at this via a per capita lens changes the perspective. While I admire Corbyn and Ashworth’s line that the Tories are ignoring 2m new electors who registered for the referendum, it is equally powerful to argue that we need more MPs; each of them can know their constituents on a closer basis and the Government will be held to account more effectively. Scott also argues that the representative work of 21st Century MP requires far more work than was the case even 40 years ago when the numbers were last revised. Also we can’t allow the hypocrisy of a Tory Government reducing the cost of representative democracy while stuffing the House of Lords full of cronies, mates and donors pass uncommented on.

Parliament

Servants

Jason Cowley, reviews the balance of class forces in the Labour Party and the falling stars, Burnham, Balls, Cooper and the Milibands, noting that only two are still MPs. Fascinatingly he looks at the seeds of their hubris, their early sucess and probably hits the nail on the head when he says,

Parties in the end are machines for capturing power and there is a sort of life cycle, and you’ve got to be absolutely vigilant about renewing it. Blair and Brown thought they could renew the machine with very clever people, but with one or two exceptions they were – what is the word I’m searching for? – they were servants, they weren’t masters, they didn’t really have a vision of where they wanted to go.

Earlier in the article, he remarks on the internecine fighting between the Blairite and Brownite factions, but fails to identify the lack of political difference made this just a spat between careerists. I remember the shock amongst left wing friends when we discovered that Brown was not going to pursue a more social democratic agenda than Blair, in the words of one, “there was no plan”, and the fighting ensured that there were no successors. The quote above does however illustrate that a Party Leader needs a vision, they need to know what they want to do. The use of the word “servants” is probably devastatingly accurate.

Servants

Gerrymandering

The Boundary Commission for England reported overnight and published their proposals for change in the Parliamentary Constituency boundaries. The rules given were to reduce the number of seats from 650 to 600, to equalise the Constituency sizes, except for the Islands and to work from a new electoral register based on individual registration. The impact is well summarised on on various sites. In England, it is expected that Labour will lose over twice as many seats as the Tories.

The Labour attack line has been to argue that the the Boundaries commission datum line fails to take account of the 2m new voters registered since Xmas to vote in the referendum. This is important, as is the argument that Constituencies should be sized to take account of the population, not merely of voters, although an additional member (proportional) system would equalise the worth of votes and maintain a constituency link. Labour and others have pointed out the hypocrisy of reducing the number of elected MPs allegedly to cut the cost of politics while stuffing the House of Lords with cronies, apparatchiks & fund raisers.  Few have argued that the House of Commons would benefit from smaller constituencies since voters and represepentatives could get to know each other in a way that rarely happens today.

I do, and the inequity in this so called reform starts from the plan to reduce the size of the House of Commons.

Gerrymandering

Hegemony ends

As both the New Labour Project and it’s ideological predecessor, Social Democracy lose their hegemony because neo-liberalism can no longer deliver the growth and the 1% won’t pay their taxes, people need to reconsider. I have comrades at the Co-op party conference, the time has come again for their ideas, it needs to be central, and posed against shareholder fiduciary duty. Capital Markets efficiency is no longer the key to economic growth, it’s about Labour productivity and Human Capital. One reason why copyright reform is also needed.

Hegemony ends

Reselection

A member of the Labour Party, when talking to their MP, if they’re lucky enough to have one, cannot ‘threaten’ the MP with re-selection. Even declaring an implacable intent to vote to reselect in the mandatory trigger ballot is not a threat. It’s merely a statement of intent; branding this a threat is an arrogant piece of self-entitlement.

Reselection