Accountability

I wrote this, provoked in a good way by an article by Sacha Ismail in Worker’s Liberty about the Police, Intelligence Services and accountability. It’s a bit of a segue, but I hope relevant.

Criticisms by the Police, their Union, and recently retired serving officers is based on the fact that the cuts in police numbers have turned them from a proactive force into reactive and they no longer know who to talk to and they don’t know their community and their communities don’t know them. Intelligence is drying up.

I agree with your comments on accountability and the introduction of one man management in the establishment of the Police and Crime Commissioners is another step to minimising any democratic control over the police. We note that the City of London Police, now inheriting national responsibilities and the National Crime Agency do not have elected Commissioners and that large elements of the Met. Police control is shared between the Mayor and Home Secretary. The successor organisation to Special Branch still sits in the Met.

The intelligence services need better democratic supervision; I suspect that the demands for this to grow as we discover more about how the Manchester attack was organised. Recent legislative developments such as the passing of the Investigatory Powers Act, the legalisation of mass surveillance and the powers to decrypt secure communications are all related to the issues you raise. It’s about control, not security. Mass surveillance does not make us safer.

We should remember MI5’s profoundly anti-democratic history, organising against Wilson’s Labour Government, the NCCL (Liberty’s predecessor), the Unions, the Labour Party and more recently the Greens. Technically the definition of economic security as grounds for intelligence agency action be removed but the agencies’ traditional contempt for legal restraint would make little difference. The new laws and the new technology make GCHQ spies on us, not our national security enemies and of course they were compulsorily de-unionised in the ‘80s, so the collective brake on illegal behaviour was removed.

I agree, it’s not just about numbers, it is about governance and accountability. Also Digital Liberty issues matter. A surveillance society is not a safer society.

Accountability

5 percent

I was wondering how much of the Army had been deployed on the streets during the period  of the state of critical threat. The papers said 5,000 on the street, this site states that there are 92,000 regular soldiers (including 2700) Gurkas, that’s over 5%.

5 percent

Sovereignty

I am tidying the flat, and some of the papers that needed to be tossed led me to update my wiki article “Dictatorship and Plebiscites” where I have added two references to the list at the bottom. One is from the FT, quoting Thatcher’s opposition to them in the ’70s and one from the Labour Party Marxists, which is good on reviewing the thoughts of the great and not so great teachers.

I also added the comment that, her line, and Atlee’s are problematic if we are beginning to question Parliamentary Sovereignty as inadequate to defend the rule of law. Courts have taken to defending the citizen against Government’s which in the UK means against Parliament because the Government controls Parliament, not the other way round. It shouldn’t be sovereign any more.

Sovereignty

Cynic

Out again this morning, one very well informed cynic gave me the leaflet back.

You’re all the same as each other, we only see you when you want our vote

He accused Joan Ruddock of this, and remembered his last conversation with her, so it’s probably been a while since he’s seen any one from the Labour Party. He then proceeded with an accurate demolition of Lewisham Council’s historic housing policies, London Labour’s careerism and the lazy bureaucratic sclerosis of the Trade Unions. He wasn’t someone who gave an opportunity to reply. I suppose the best answer is to ask him to join us, although that’s not an easy path either. I have said below that Government’s lose elections, but its possible that Council’s do too. We’ve certainly seen it bye-elections.

Cynic

Trade

Don’t know what brought me here, possibly an article on Twitter point at the FT who were somewhat alarmed about the Balance of Payments deficit, which has been running as a deficit for a number of years. It was £38 billion representing about 4.4% of the nations GDP. The PSBR was £114.1 bn., total debt £1,772 bn. which was 86% of GDP.

The continued and historical high deficit should reflect in a higher ratio of foreign owned UK debt. This chart would also benefit from an illustration of the FX rate and the note that the UK voted to leave the EU and gave notice on the intention to quit in March, too late to impact any FY 17 figures.

ooOOOoo

My version of the BOP figures come from https://tradingeconomics.com

Trade

Mandates

In this article at fullfact.org, the authors explore the success and otherwise of Prime Ministers that become so mid term, vs. those who become so by winning a general election. They do so over a 100 year period, including that between the wars where the long term decline of the Liberals as the voice of the working class, and the establishment of universal suffrage meant that long term changes in the politics of the UK were occurring, I examine the former here.

I decided to examine the data from 1945, which “as any fule kno”, is when politics starts and history ends! I have developed the chart below, although I recommend looking at fullfact’s as they take a different visual approach.

I define winners as those who became leader while in opposition and became Prime Minister as the result of a general election; their bars are above the line. Inheritors are those who become Leader while their Party is in Government and thus become Prime Minister; their bars are below the line. The length of the line shows how long they served. I use hatching to illustrate the success or failure of the inheritors. There are no successful Labour inheritors, the Tory successful inheritors have a dark hatching, and the inheritors that lost the next election have a light hatching.

What can be learned? Not too much I think, the circumstances of each of the leaderships are so different. It interests me that both May & Brown were anointed without an internal competition, where as Major was elected in a competition against the best of his generation, or at last the best that was left after 10 years of Thatcherite purges, and we should remember that he resigned and forced a second leadership competition, although both of these were held under rules that only permitted MPs to vote. It’s possible that the evidence shows that primaries are important.

None of this talks or considers the roles of those Leaders who never won an election, Gaitskill, Foot, Kinnock, Smith,  Hague, Howard, & Duncan Smith, although the question is whether inherited incumbency is a poisoned chalice?

Of the six inheritors, only two won their next election, but a lot of it is a long time ago.

Mandates