My daily brexit rant; the argument that Breiteers have a mandate which must be respected is fatally damaged by the fact that it looks like the leave campaign cheated, by excluding British overseas voters, 16 year olds, EU residents in the UK, they spent too much, illegally colluded and spent abroad to avoid electoral commission jurisdiction. They cheated!


Labour & Brexit

On Labour & Brexit: up till last week, Corbyn & Starmer were talking about negotiating the best Brexit terms, in Starmer’s words,  no worse than membership. Corbyn’s interview over the weekend raised the possibility that Brexit would mean exit from the Single Market. This has caused a furore in the Labour Party and amongst some of its new friends.

This heat of this debate was raised by Barry Gardiner’s article in the FT stating that in a post EU existence the Customs Union was a problem but McDonnell says that nothing is off the table, and Starmer in a speech to Labour in Business repeats his six criteria and again states that nothing is off the table.

On Tuesday, my branch of the Labour Party debated this and voted, in part as a reaction to this debate, to remain in the Single Market and to take the issue to conference. In my speech, I seconded it, I argued that Conference had a policy, which I have mirrored here which was to ensure that the exit terms ensured no diminishing of workers, consumer, citizenship and migrant rights and that if the terms of exit breached these conditions that a second mandate (from Parliament, a General Election or Referendum) must be sought and that remaining in the EU is to be considered. This policy was established after the referendum. The 2017 Manifesto, approved by the Clause V meeting stated that,

Labour accepts the referendum result and a Labour government will put the national interest first.We will prioritise jobs and living standards, build a close new relationship with the EU, protect workers’ rights and environmental standards, provide certainty to EU nationals and give a meaningful role to Parliament throughout negotiations.

So three days later, I can accept that outcomes are important not structures and that an EEA/Swiss style deal might be acceptable to me provided we seek a second mandate.

I added that Labour are in opposition, and that the most likely way to get a third election is to defeat the Tories in the House of Commons. Stating that we would do in Government is premature and we are unclear which faction of the Tories will vote with us or abstain. It would be more sensible to retain our ambiguity on these issues.

In terms of timing, we, i.e. the British People, are running out of time. It may well be that the only option available by the time government falls is to revoke the Article 50 notice. Pretending that we can negotiate a Brexit deal & transitional agreement in 12 months is almost certainly a mistake.

Labour & Brexit

Open Selection

More rumbling about so called de-selections; they are open-selections, a sitting MP is guaranteed a place on the ballot paper. The NEC, it seems, has agreed that the 80 target seats will have open selections. Does that mean that incumbents don’t have to face trigger ballots? I think those imposed earlier in the year should have to face an open selection and get a local mandate.

Open Selection

Red Lines

Corbyn went on the Andrew Marr show and said that Labour would come out of the single market and end freedom of movement of labour because it had destroyed opportunity in the UK. (I haven’t yet seen the interview but I have read a great deal of comment.) I have linked to Darrel Challoner’s essay on Corbyn’s comments on immigration in the comment to this article.

He is not in Government, I will judge him by the way he opposes the one we have.

But Labour’s conference policy is to have red lines on employment, consumer and migrant rights and to oppose a deal that doesn’t meet those lines. We need the single market (and the EU court)  to guarantee those red lines.

If he gets this wrong, he’ll fracture his internal leadership coalition, the old stalinists advising him and he, himself should be very careful. There’s a high price to be paid for getting this wrong.

Red Lines

Student Debt

Over the last few days, the Tories and their media allies have been attacking Corbyn & Labour since they sense he has backtracked on his promise to look at Student debt accrued by historic tuition fees. As momentum post,

Since Corbyn is opposition, his actions can’t be judged but the central truth is that the only hope is with Labour. It surprises me that the Tories consider this to be an attack line worth pursuing, whatever they say they look worse.

Student Debt


This was published in Oct, last year. A look at the literature on the impact on wages and the public finances of EU migration.

Does immigration harm the job prospects of the UK-born? Brexit and the UK labour market

Two quotes worth highlighting,

Research on the impact of immigration to the UK has detected no negative effects on the average wages of UK-born workers (Dustmann et al, 2005Manacorda et al, 2012).


Research also shows that EU immigrants have contributed positively to the UK fiscal budget. This is perhaps not surprising given that on average they are younger and more likely to be in work than the UK-born and therefore tend to pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits.

But you can’t reason people out of positions thy haven’t reasoned themselves into.


Do we really need Facebook?

There are a couple of things that have made me reconsider Facebook. This manifesto details multiple practices most of which are illegal in Europe and undesirable everywhere. The European regulations will become more rigorous next year. Their behaviour includes, un-consented endorsements, mining the phone camera store to obtain meta data, and identifying other people in the pictures, and controlling the phone mic. Salim also states, that they

…  track your location, and use that to discover private things about you, like if you’re sick (because you’re at the doctor or a specialist), who you sleep with (who’s beside you at night), where you work, if you’re job-searching (1-hour meetings at competitors offices), etc.

This is before we consider the fact that messenger and what’s app both know who you talk to, and in the case of messenger can read your texts for content and meta data. They also upload your address books to try and sell Facebook to the unconnected.

They sell the data to corporate and political entities.

He also talks about the filtering of messages, such that you don’t always get posts from friends; it’s not even reliable. They block people at very low volumes of complaint which opens the process up to abuse by colluding with denial of service attacks designed to censor opposite opinions.

This all leads to you act as observation points for those that don’t want to be on Facebook. We are the agents in the corporate surveillance society.

There’s more, you should read the original.

Do I have the courage to remove it from my phone?

Do we really need Facebook?

Votes heal

Why can’t the Labour Party recognise that fair votes heal? If you’ve done your best and lost, then it’s easier to accept the will of the majority. While it’s always been a ploy to manipulate the short lists for selections, there’s an ugly rumour going round that Lewisham’s Mayoral Selection committee plan to propose a short list of two, one woman and one man to put to the members.

The big picture is that the candidate will be chosen by a one member, one vote; members should be given a diverse choice of competent candidates. Proposing a candidate that doesn’t come from such a competition, is contemptuous of the electorate, and dangerous for the Party as the experience of Gordon Brown and Theresa May, who both avoided their membership confirmation have shown.

Labour’s rules emphasise fairness to candidates and members in several places.


Chapter 1.VIII.N NEC & Equalities Policy, sets out our equality goals, supporting the representation of working class, women, ethnic minority, LGBT and disability candidates and the NEC’s duty to pursue it.

In Chapter 4.I.1 they declare the that fair elections will be held, obvious it would seem but the Judges quoted this in the 2016 cases. The rule applies to internal officer elections, but if they can import freeze dates into internal elections from Chapter 5, then the overall duty of fairness from Chapter 4 can be applied to Chapter 5 (Candidates for Office) selections.

Under Chapter 5, rule 5.I.C.i requires a fair selection and rule 5.I.E. Candidates representative of our society states,

i. The Party will take action in all selections to encourage a greater level of representation and participation of groups of people in our society who are currently under-represented in our democratic institutions. In particular, the Party will seek to select more candidates who reflect the full diversity of our society in terms of gender, race, sexual orientation and disability, and to increase working class representation.

Chapter 5, also has a rule, 5.I.H. called “Transparency in procedures”, which states that

i. Procedural rules and guidelines for these selections shall endeavour to be clear, simple and easy to administer by Party units. Support shall be provided to those administering the selections process.

Transparency, and that word is why I publish the rule title would suggest the rules are published in advance and available to all. It would seem that this rule has not been so well read.

I was of the view that a rule exists that states there must be at least three candidates for a single post selection, but I can’t find it today; I must have seen it somewhere, perhaps its in some of the procedural guidelines for parliamentary selections, which not all members get to see.

Finally rule 5.III.7 documents the disputes process for non inclusion, to be resolved by the Regional Appeals Board, or the LCF on the process of the selection.

Votes heal


The ballot for Labour’s Conference arrangements committee have opened, emails with unique passwords are being sent this week. There are two slates, one supporting the current Leadership, and one representing New Labour continuity. I have voted for Seema Chandwani & Billy Hayes. I suggest you do too.