Stuffed parrots…

I picked this up on my way out of Labour Conference, it’s an interesting review, from a 1st time delegate, a supporter of the Labour Party Marxists. The author talks about the use of late notice and secrecy to manipulate delegates, the lottery of speaker selection, just as well he didn’t see the speaker called in 2014, for waving a baby, and the opacity (and again luck) of reference back on the Policy Forums reports. He talks of the pressure on CLPs to remit their rule changes despite their importance. Worth reading; the platform’s power is no less than it was, we have some way to go.

Stuffed parrots…

Unity

This was written by a conference attendee and shared to me by a friend, I can’t find it on the web, and so can’t link to it. It looks like it was ublished on Wednesday a.m. and I think it reflects Conference quite well.

Wednesday greetings to all in the 5.38 club…well the answer to yesterday’s question is that Tom Watson mentioned Jeremy eleven times in his speech.Anyone who guessed correctly contact Tom who has offered to share his Glastonbury tent next year.

The standing ovation for Watson shows again that more than half the Conference are attending for the first time,possibly are unaware of Watson’s lifelong history as a right wing fixer ,and are desperate to show the media we are united.The same delegates gave an even bigger ovation to Naomi Klein’s guest speech which ripped into Trump and ended with her declaring that the Labour Party is inspiring socialists around the world .

My prize for speech of the day went to Portia from Kensington CLP who movingly roll called friends she had lost at Grenfell and simply told Conference the Tories were responsible and had to go.

Comrades angry at the suspension and expulsion of socialists from the Party forced a card vote when the NEC refused to accept the motion for discussion ,CLPs voted (63%) to refer this back but were defeated by trade union votes .Still the excellent chair Claudia Webbe who is on the Party review promised that this issue and another of Labour Council groups  being held to account by local members would be reported on by the review .

The former MP rebels against Corbyn were reduced to watching from the sidelines ..with one or two MPs disgracefully behaving badly to stewards who rightly did not let them into the delegate zone.The right wing,despite the bitter daily briefing sheets from Labour First,were rarely seen on the rostrum.They have not gone away but there was much speculation that some may split from the Party.

Encouragingly the claim of the right wing Jewish Labour Movement to speak for Jewish Party members has been comprehensively challenged by the new Jewish Voices for Labour and several delegates spoke passionately that the ‘weaponising ‘ of anti- semitism by the JLM has to stop .Claims will no doubt continue but Conference made clear ,supporting the oppressed Palestinians and describing Israel as an apartheid state are legitimate points and are not anti-Semitic.

On the fringe events John McDonnell made the key point that trade union members must work for simultaneous strike action against the pay cap as a means to challenge the Tories and he called on every socialist to campaign for that and join the picket lines .

Conference has throbbed with the passion of new delegates and the overwhelming support for Jeremy and John.Greetings to the Edinburgh delegates I met last night who assured me the Blairite Sarwar will be defeated in the Scottish leadership election ,I hope that is right for a Corbyn supporter leading the Scottish Labour Party is a nightmare of the SNP.

A great week of cementing a socialist hold on the Party and a very strong belief the Tories are there for the taking

Unity

Counting

I am considering some issues relating to the conduct of elections in the UK. In Lewisham Labour we are selecting a candidate for Mayor and the election will be conducted using a simple eliminating ballot, sometimes referred to as an Alternative Voting scheme. This, it can be argued is a special case of a more proportionate voting system; the special nature being that there is only one winner and thus the result is not so proportionate. The rest of this article is a technical description of an alternative vote election, a single transferable vote election and a closed list proportional representation election using the D’Hondt counting system. Continue reading “Counting”

Counting

Osterley

A day out in Brentford and Isleworth campaigning for a Labour Victory; this is the second most marginal Labour seat in London. Fab company, the team came from all over London.

I met my first voter who loved Corbyn but was abstaining because he couldn’t stand the local Labour candidate’s anti-brexit position.

A comrade came across someone who claimed to be a life long Labour voter who was leaving us because we plan to repeal the Tories inheritance tax give-aways. They have set the start point to  £850,000 up from £325,000. This makes a difference in London and plays to my argument that tax bills deter not only those that will pay them, but those that hope to do so too. We tried the triple lock and dementia tax, maybe should have tried the abolition of tuition fees. (I wonder if this is the sort of stuff that the Tories are putting out through their Facebook advertising campaign, now if there was only a crowd sourced rapid rebuttal site that I could post this to.)

Osterley

First Strike & Secrecy

I can’t believe that a refusal to countenance a nuclear first strike is seen as a sign of weakness. I have written several times over the last two years about the dangerous imbalance in the Tory defence strategies. Weak conventional arms means that nuclear annihilation is more likely not less. A military that can only throw nuclear bricks will have to do so. The ballistic missile fleet is a deterrent not an asset. It’s use would mean it’s failed.

One thing I had not considered though is whether the submarines can stay hidden for their 20 year expected life time. This article in Open Democracy quotes the Tory Chair of the Commons Defence select committee who questions whether the current submarines’ technology will be able to keep up with the growing surveillance technology. They supplement this by  citing numerous ex-Defence Secretary’s opposition and add in Colin Powell for good measure.

First Strike & Secrecy

Campaigning

A quick trip around the Lewisham Deptford constituency canvassing for the Labour Party. A couple of accusations about getting Brexit wrong, i.e. the nuance in Labour’s front bench position upsets i.e. pisses off London remainers. Labour’s candidate for re-election, Vicky Foxcroft , voted against the Article 50 notice bill, twice! It makes life easier for people like me; I am glad I don’t live in Vauxhall.

I am surprised at the large number of EU citizens I meet who cannot vote in the general election. Mistakes were made; it’s wrong that people who’ve been here for more than 5 years, in employment, paying tax can’t vote in the general election; nor in the referendum.

One issue came up which I had missed and not expected. The Tories have abolished the council tax support for those on the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Councils have had to develop ways of making up the shortfall, by either cutting (discretionary) services or levying council tax on ESA claimants. There are other laws that stop councils levying the council tax on the wealthier residents, if they have them…. It’s another Tory cut ensuring that Labour councils and the Party take the blame.

I’ll finish by stating that there were a few who say they’ve left Labour because of Corbyn. It’s sometimes hard to determine if this is actually about Brexit, or about other aspects of his politics, but I met one person from Northern Ireland who can’t support him over his record on that subject. Someone else did the talking, but I think these conversations have to start with whether they support the Good Friday agreement or not. From my point of view, the anti-corbynism on the doorstep is less frequent, if more vitriolic,  an occurrence then those who couldn’t support Ed Miliband because they didn’t like the way he ate a bacon sandwich, or something!. Labour supporters who repeat these damaging slurs need to remember the way that Ed was attacked as not being up to it and let’s not forget the attacks on Kinnock either.

A final note, Vicky is well known, although some still ask where Joan’s gone!

Campaigning

Campaigning

How to help Labour’s campaign in Deptford to re-elect Vicky Foxcroft a Lewisham Deptford’s MP.

    1. If not on the electoral roll, register to vote before the 23rd May, here…, if you haven’t got your polling card by 15th, apply again! I didn’t know you could vote if homeless, but it seems you can, the form is here; you’ll still need an internet connection, a printer and an NI number, although alternative proof of identities are acceptable.
    2. Register for a postal vote here …, before the 24th May; you’ll need a printer
    3. Join the Party here …
    4. Donate to the national party here…
    5. Join us on the doorstep, find out where & when here …, or here … we also run phone banks for those who can’t or don’t want to knock on doors
    6. Put a poster, or posters up in your window, or garden, tell us here …, you’ll need to say that you want a poster
    7. Donate to Labour’s campaign in Deptford here …
Campaigning

Paper Tiger

The Tories announce their commitments on defence; they announce that they’ll build a new seaborne strategic nuclear deterrent; while failing to fund enough soldiers, weapons, war planes and surface warships to defend us against the next threat. The Tories have put us in the position where we have a Navy with aircraft carriers without planes FFS, and will rent the ‘planes from the French if we need them; and they’re not the enemy 😉  Today’s subs don’t deter Russia, ISIS nor the Argentine Government in the 1980’s. It’s possible of course that a ICBM in the hands of Fallon would deter someone, but probably not; he’s a joke.

trident-holyloch

Paper Tiger