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Showing posts from April, 2017

Technological Disruption - an issue that should be considered in the next parliament

I have been concerned about the impact of technological disruption for some time as you can see if you click on the link.  More recently the Bank of England have started to share my concerns

Technological developments enable human societies to run with much less human work.  However, they have a number of hazards.   Although we cannot change things over night to deal with this we must make some progress working out how to respond.

As I see it the issues are

1.   Finance and Equality
One of the reasons why we are developing a more unequal society is the impact of technology.  There are low paid jobs essentially boosted by the living or minimum wage and then there are jobs that require rarer skills that don't.   We do need to work to avoid growing inequality here.

2.   Security
Peoples lives were much more secure after the second world war and moving into the 1990s.  However, with technological change lives have become less secure.    We need to be aware of this and look for solutio…

Farron: I want to be leader of the opposition

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has made an audacious bid to replace Labour as the main opposition, in an interview with the i newspaper.

Tim Farron said: “I want to be the leader of the opposition. Jeremy Corbyn is a perfectly nice man, but is demonstrably the worst leader in British political history in terms of effectiveness. “As things stand, a feeble Labour opposition will mean the Conservatives will have untrammelled power. "Britain needs a decent strong opposition and I'm asking the British people to give that job to me."

The importance of keeping the City rubbish and litter free

I am often ridiculed by the Labour Party for my concern about rubbish and fly tipping. It is, however, important to note that research performed by the university of Groningen has proven that the presence of litter, graffiti and fly tipping has wider effects.

They did research by testing whether or not people committed crimes when an area was tidy and graffiti free against when it was very messy.  One of the tests, for example, was to leave a 5 euro note in an envelope sticking out of a letterbox.

They discovered that when the area is messy more people stole the letter.  This obvious has wider ramifications.  

My campaign to make sure that ordinary people have the facilities to force local authorities to follow the law has continued now until the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee of the UN.  They have agreed that the UK has a case to answer.

If you are interested in more information about this best look at their website where all the case papers can be seen (including picture…

Constituency office issues

There will be a debate about how MPs operate during this election. Because both of the candidates that can win have been MP for the same seat it is possible to compare how they operate.

I, for example, ran a weekly advice bureau in the same place every Saturday (apart from bank holidays).  That took 1/2 hours and I saw at a peak 35 people or groups of people.  When people visit the bureau they normally come either on their own or with someone.  It was normally 20-25 groups.   That enables identifying what their issue was about and potentially enough to resolve it.

More complex issues then were given an appointment on Fridays (note that is is a Friday when my labour opponent planned to go to Bristol to promote  her book).

I also used my own finances to ensure that there was a specialist welfare rights advisor.  My office was good at handling such issues, but some require specialist support.  Although I myself have a lot of experience in this area it was a good idea to provide this.   …

Gender Issues comparison of candidates

John Hemming believes that an MP should represent everyone in their constituency.  This should be regardless of their race, religion, gender, abledness, sexual orientation or anything else.  It should be everyone.

When he was an MP he worked on issues relating to men, those relating to women and those relating to non-binary people. Everyone.

For example here is John Hemming on a demonstration outside the courts with the campaign group Women Against Rape (it related to the case of a mother who had her child removed from her because the mother was raped).




Jess Phillips, who campaigns on women's issues, notwithstanding the questions asked about her appointments in her parliamentary office, had the following response when asked for a debate on issues specifically relating to men:

May is preparing to raid pensions to pay for a hard Brexit

Responding to Theresa May's refusal today at PMQs to guarantee the triple lock for pensioners, introduced by the Liberal Democrats in coalition, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Susan Kramer said:

"Theresa May is preparing to raid pensions to pay for her hard Brexit.

"The Conservatives must clarify their position now to pensioners across the country.

"The triple lock was one of the Liberal Democrats' biggest achievements in government, lifting many pensioners out of poverty. Now this progress risks being undone.

The running of the parliamentary office

It is important that people are paid fairly for the work that they do.  It is, of course, possible to compare the appointments to the Labour Candidate's Office and my parliamentary office.

Extract from another blog:

By comparison my office manager was a woman that I did not know before she was appointed to her initial role working for me - she applied directly from university and was not actually a member of the party when she applied.  She was the highest paid member of parliamentary staff.

My view is that people should be treated equally regardless of their gender.  However, when it comes to walking the walk on equal pay Ms Phillips seems to have appointed men to the senior high paid roles and women to the junior low paid roles.

Update Ms Phillips has responded it appears:

Sadly this is a sort of Donald Trump style response "fake news". What is Fake? Is John O Shea really not working for her office. Is her husband really not working in the office. Who is the commu…

The UK Constitution and the Role of Referenda

There is quite a bit of confusion about the UK constitution.  The last revolution was in 1688.  It was a popular revolution and the new constitutional document (the Bill of Rights) was created as a document outside parliament.

Hence there was not really any legal continuity between the previous parliaments and that parliament.  It was key because it created a constitutional monarchy.

Other constitutional statutes such as Magna Carta 1297 and other statutes were adopted, but the Bill of Rights underpins all of that.  That all comprised the constitutional settlement of 1688.

That is why it is my view that referenda are not alien to the UK constitution and that there is a role for referenda particularly in dealing with constitutional issues. We do not have a parliamentary system which has direct continuity from 1251 not least because of the revolution of 1688, but also previously.

Where, therefore, there is a poplar demand for a referendum on a constitutional matter then logically parlia…

John Hemming has backed the Lib Dem Plan to keep Housing Benefit for 18-21 year olds.

"800 young people face losing housing benefit under government plans.   We oppose this cut.  There are already people living in tents in this city and I believe that the estimate of 55 rough sleepers is an underestimate."

"The government don't understand that not all 18-21 year olds can stay with mummy and daddy.  Sometimes they fall out with their parents or end up without parents.  Sometimes they are leaving care.   If the governments plans continue we could end up having hundreds more rough sleepers.  The government don't seem to understand that not everyone's life is that easy. "

"I dealt with rehousing a young person who was 18 a couple of weeks ago where he faced living on the streets.  Under the governments plan he would end up on the streets."

"I did not, however, photograph him unlike my Labour opponent - who photographed homeless people …

Communists for Corbyn

An interesting press release from the Lib Dems

The Communist Party are fielding no candidates for the first time since 1920. The party has said members will be 'campaigning for a Labour victory', commenting on the news,

Alistair Carmichael MP said: “From 1920 to 2017 the Communist Party of Great Britain elected 5 MPs. They have obviously concluded they can continue in that tradition by backing Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. I think that they are probably right about that.”

Ends

Notes to Editors - Communist Party MP’s elected are as follows:
1946 - Willie Gallacher (West Fife) and Phil Piratin (Mile End) 
1935 - Willie Gallacher (West Fife)
1924 - Shapurji Saklatvala (Battersea North)
1922 - Walton Newbold (Motherwell)