Jarred Anderson wrote an interesting little piece on Pulse, questioning how the right to be forgotten can be implemented in the block chain; in my view a false dichotomy since the right to be forgotten is being applied to search engines and the regulators’ need to prove non-repudiation will probably override citizens rights to privacy. It is even more interesting that he catalogues the jurisdictions implementing a strong right to privacy as Argentina and the EU; both places with histories of fascist, neo-fascist, stalinist regimes and murderous secret police forces.
While I am sympathetic to the advocates of a “progressive alliance” working for a government committed to a Parliament elected by proportional representation, I do not think unilaterally, or even in conjunction with the Greens, withdrawing Labour’s candidate from the Richmond bye-election as proposed by is the right thing to do. Labour should of course consult its local membership and consider the candidate chosen by the LibDems but Labour’s voters in Richmond, who vote Labour for local councils, the Mayor of London, and the GLA deserve to be able to express their preference on the ballot paper. It is arrogance to think they can be directed!
A short piece in the Guardian about the USA, arguing that ownership of guns is not a human right. These are arguments that most Europeans and probably most US citizens would approve. One of the problems in the US, is the “paradox of the Republic”; a Republic guarantees rights and protections to its citizens only, it refuses to recognise the universality of human rights. Human Rights are universal, the basis of world citizenship.
I really can be a dense sometimes. When rump new labour resigned from the Shadow Cabinet last July. there were two noticeable absentees, Tom Watson and Jonathan Ashworth, both people one would expect to have supported the coup. Watson we assume failed to put his job on the line because getting it back would have involved fighting another Deputy Leadership election which he may well not have won. Ashworth was famously removed from the NEC earlier this month, this would have happened at the point he resigned from the Shadow Cabinet. I suspect that he didn’t do so in order to stay on the NEC. Which way did he vote on the freeze date, the rigging of the registered supporters class, the membership of the star chambers, and the gerrymandering of the NEC membership?
The article, Crying Wolf at Open Democracy calls out the double standards of the Commons Home Affairs Committee report on Anti-Semitism and the dangerous and missed opportunities. In particular it notes the honesty and forward looking nature of Labour’s Chakrabrti report into anti-semitism in the Labour Party and questions the motives of those who voted for the Commons Committee report which spends an inordinate amount of time, conducting an inaccurate and inadequate review of anti-semitism in the Labour Party and its recent responses. The article also looks in detail at the history of the development of and needs for a working definition of anti-semitism. It does not quote David Schnieder’s but it does make the point that the definition chosen from the EUMC is questioned and never adopted by its authors and is considered to be too censorious of critics of the Israeli government. This is a comprehensive, temperate and critical treatment of the report. I recommend it be read by anyone interested in evidence based and just policy making.
I have just commented on a piece at Left Futures on Brexit. The original correspondent wrote a piece arguing to remain inside the EU customs union, which would involve the acceptance of the Free movement of Labour.Many of his correspondents failed to recognise that Labour’s Policy is to require a second mandate once the terms of exit are known. I reprised my arguments on immigration policy expressed here, asking what more we can do?
If we had the legislative freedom to restrict immigration from the EU, what would you do? Which of the current entrants would you stop?
If after, empowering trade unions, setting a minimum wage, creating new industries and jobs, introducing tax equity, building more houses, controlling rents, building and running more great schools, abolishing student tuition fees, re-establishing the EMA, reinvesting in skills training, abolishing zero hours contracts, mandating local vacancy advertising, creating a migration stabilisation fund, we find that people still want to “Control Immigration”, what do we do next? This is a genuine question; I can’t see how to triangulate/accommodate any further.
Actually, I would not oppose implementing stricter border controls, mainly documentation standards (in proving that EU entrants have come to work or join family members who have done so) on entry, and would support increased contributory principle for some in-work benefits, although I consider the latter to be mainly gesture politics. On the other hand I believe we should repeal the requirement that foreign workers must earn more than £35,000 to get a work permit, the previous test of market rates was more appropriate and should restore the UK citizen’s right to marry who they want and bring them here to live together. None of this takes on board what one might one to say on the entry of overseas students, freedom of academic exchange and refugees, all of which our government is failing to address with any vision or decency.
Another thought on Labour’s rules, anyone with a conviction for breach of election law requires special permission from the NEC, to become a candidate for elected office. This may put Iain McNicol, the Party General Secretary in a difficult position since the Electoral Commission have decided that Labour broke the law when reporting its election campaign expenditure. Fortunately for him, this rule does not apply to being an Officer of the Party, but it does expose once again the fact that the complaints and disciplinary procedure needs review and a reinforcement of the segregation of duties. Apart from the weaknesses identified by the Chakrabarti report, we can see that we need a specific process for complaining about the General Secretary.
In all the excitement in reporting the politics of #lab16, I forgot to mention the massive pride that the Labour Party is now debt free since we now have ½ million members. Not many people know that ~98% of membership fees are held/kept by the national office; it’s obviously time to rethink this.
In the Labour Party, an affiliated member must be invited to their LP branch meetings and CLP all member meetings, speak but not vote.