For a kinder politics

Three claims in particular distress me about the claims being made by MPs leaving the Labour Party to create an Independent Group.
1. that Labour are putting their policy views ahead of the needs of the country;  
2. that politics is broken;  
3. that politics needs to address the needs of our times, (of the 21st Century), and it doesn’t.
To which –
1. that Labour are putting their policy views ahead of the needs of the country;  dressing up differences in vision for the country as betrayal is often cited but is anti-political;  and charges like this were made against New Labour when we were in power too; 
2. that politics is broken; party politics deciding affairs is the fundamental test by which you assess whether we have a free society;  party political allegiances are under strain at the moment, but that’s cos the referendum took away simple party loyalties away from MPs and cos the decision to Leave was ambiguous about how to leave; 
3. that politics needs to address the needs of our times, (of the 21st Century), and it doesn’t;  except this is another anti-politics charge that has been made for decades, indeed probably from the time of Cock Robin.  And my main response to them is that Labour’s policy responses are much stronger responses to the challenges of today.

Polls are reporting lower scores for the Conservatives and for Labour with 10 points or so for the Independent group, to which I’m either surprised  or underwhelmed and I’m not sure which.  Cos on the one hand, 10 points is a lot and on the other, the SDP had much higher scores when its was launched in 1981.  
It is perhaps inevitable that social media responses – where people can make statements without being held to account – might be more trill than is warranted, but the trillness Is not not good for us in the Labour Party, as has been shown by –
– the Parliamentary Labour Party giving those leaving a round of applause, clearly believing they have been treated badly and that many of them are receiving poor treatment too; 
Tom Watson’s statement, with a particular emphasis on Luciana Berger being a victim;
– most tellingly, John MacDonnell dropping plan A (Monday – they all need to resign as MPs and stand for fresh elections) and adopting Plan B (Tuesday – the national party needs to listen to the concerns raised)
– Barry Gardiner expressing regret at the treatment of Luciana Berger MP by anti-Semites from the front bench.

Because there has been conduct in the party and from outside the party against MPs that has been too brutal.  Some of it has been anti-Semitic.  A lot of it has been macho.  Some of it – e.g. votes of no confidence in their MP by branches using emergency motions and thus not informing all branch members – has been wrong in principle and according to the rules of the Labour Party.  
So we should acknowledge that we can improve.

If we’d adopted a listening approach – 
– we could have refrained from saying MPs who have changed parties should resign their seats – 1) only 4 out of the most recent 64 have; 2) we need people in Parliament to be voting on Brexit; 3) people get elected as individuals; and everyone who stands know that they stand on that basis; elected representatives are just that and are not delegates to be withdrawn;  and there are no mechanisms yet designed that can make a delegate approach work; 
– we could have refrained from saying people have made decisions to leave lightly – cos people who have been elected have invested significantly in the Labour Party and for years, and cos they have deep convictions too;  indeed the testimonies of roots and life stories was the strongest part of the launch on Monday;
– we could have refrained from suggest they are careerist – especially when I think they’ve done something that will end their careers as MPs at the next election; and because people say this of all representatives;  it’s actually a dig at the way a free society decides who decides and a way of stopping people think about the issues;
– we could have refrained from saying MPs are mandated by the party national manifesto, cos before the Summer of 2015, loads of MPs were congratulated by not standing by the manifestos of Blair and Brown;
– we could have refrained from saying a vote for a Labour candidate was a vote for the Labour manifesto; cos whilst a win gives the party the opportunity to implement the manifesto, we certainly don’t say vote for the manifesto or don’t vote for us at all; and in 2017, we actually said, don’t vote for Theresa May, she’s not a good PM, has had a terrible campaign and she des not offer string and stable government.  
And we could do without those rolling out defences of those who have been anti-Semitic (e.g people haven’t been, or the favourite – “I’ll say what I want when being critical of Israel and no code is going to stop me”); cos the Labour Party has a problem (and it’s annoying cos we are supposed to be the best at being anti-racist).

These analyses look cruel, shrill, out of touch and condoning of very poor bullying and racist behaviour. Having a tin ear rather than listening.

Smarter to celebrate the ambition we have – including re-implementing levies on banks that have cost public services £5,000 million and created the space to campaign against further proposals to cut Corporation tax by 2% at a cost public services £8,000 million.


Chainey Place

150 new homes on the final part of the Hicking Buildings site and re-using the front wall of a Victorian warehouse.
Known previously as Hicking Buildings phase 3, Chainey Place draws its name from how the area, once very boggy, was bridged by walkways held together by chains.
The building had few complaints at the Planning committee cos of the care taken to re-use existing attractive wall, use of bricks for decoration, a strong main entrance and a curved corner where the building will be most prominent – on the corner of the Crocus Street and London Road junction.
Although quoted as having no complaints, I did ask for section 106 money to be made available to place a half multi-use games area and a separate goal on the green off Arkwright Walk.

Register to vote

Labour members in Nottingham city centre are encouraging people to register to vote.
One recent campaign session highlighted just how many people have moved in since the current new register was compiled.
So –

✅2019 has local elections & possible General Election and / or a possible Referendum
✅students can & should register at their term time address as well as their permanent home address
✅EU & Commonwealth citizens are now guaranteed a vote in local elections on 2nd May

Meanwhile, Broxtowe Borough Council actually volunteered to require extra i.d. for people to vote when the evidence of impersonation is minimal. (And we wonder when people say that the EU referendum was in part an expression of frustration by people who felt ignored, when for some years people have been being squeezed out. )
No doubt, the majority parties running Broxtowe Brough Council want to reduce the number of Labour supporters who vote.

And this is what is now being published to seek compensation for the new restrictions.
Money being used to make up for new, rules tackling a problem that barely exists.

Nuclear Power and Garden Bridges

So, made the mistake of picking a TED X talk on nuclear power, and how this particular activist had become pro-nuclear power. (No mention of the £72,000 million clean up bill for Windscale which still, no-one seems to be reacting to.) 
Ah, says the speaker, hardly anyone died as a result of Chernobyl and Fukushima. Fine, or as Tony Blair would say, all very well, but tell me which town would volunteer to have one on their doorstep?  
Think I’ve said before that I get frustrated about the complaints of £42,000 million which puts The Midlands and The North on the high speed network.  
But the latest scandal is the notion that the country will pay £24,000 million to clean up the platforms etc. from North Sea oil drilling – surely the oil companies are going to pay for that?
Then there’s Amazon etc. not paying tax.  
Meanwhile, the £54 million lost on the London Garden Bridge has made the news this week. 
This, despite Brexit – or the distractions of “was Winston Churchill a villain?” (like, don’t bite).  
Meanwhile, youtube keeps offering me more speeches on why nuclear power is the way forward. This despite future nuclear power stations planned for the UK now being dropped cos of expense. (Hinckley Point (C) next, please.) To be safe, it’s too expensive.
Final thought – £179,000 million being spent on new nuclear submarines, even though the Conservative Chair of the Defence Select Cttee said its tactical advantage is soon to be lost.

Universal Moral codes

Help your family and your “group”, return favours, be brave, divide resources fairly and respect other’s properties – can get along with these.
But being deferential? to superiors? Nah. Unless they’re trying to get at understanding others’ knowledge and experience and drawing from it. Ditto, address and etiquette.
The whole is qualifiable too.
Bit of sexism at the top – the mother loves, the father protects.
Adopting local conventions can’t be at the expense of universal human rights.

As published via the Daily Telegraph (8th Feb. 2019)