Letter to my MP - Michael Gove - Brexit, you own it, now prove me wrong

Dear Michael Gove,

Please prove me wrong.

Your government seems set to take an irreversible and damaging step for the country this Friday. You take this step without the informed consent of the country as you have articulated no consistent achievable direction with the big decisions left up in the air apparently not even agreed by cabinet that come after Friday. You have the Parliamentary majority to enable you to do this but as is normal that majority was won on a minority of the national vote. You take the step of exit from the EU without my consent and against my will and the same is true of many others.

Election 2019 - Disappointment, What Happened, What Next

Clearly the election result was very disappointing. Emotionally I’m taking it much better than the referendum. Possibly because it wasn’t as much of a surprise (I hoped it could be better and came up with a number of reasons why it might and the polls turn out wrong but they were broadly right).

Possibly the other reason why I’m taking it better is that I did what I could, unlike in the referendum I got out and campaigned and did my best. Mostly in the target marginal of Reading West (which we didn’t gain but got closer against national trends). We also held Reading East so my decision to work for a gain rather than defend didn’t come at a cost. I decided to go for the gain as it was clear from the start that southern gains would probably be necessary to stop a Tory majority, just holding what we had would mean defeat anyway so I worked for the gain that could have been crucial (although it didn’t happen and it wouldn’t have been crucial in the end).

Where we Failed

Labour Conference Report - Days 4/5

Green New Deal debate

A cheering and unifying day with big news and reliefs in and out of the hall with both Green New Deal motions passing including the one with the explicit 2030 target in it and obviously the Supreme Court judgement dropping during Rebecca Long Bailey’s speech before that debate. I ducked out of the hall to watch the announcement at the BBC stand and came back to hear the end of the speech which was pretty good although I think she misspoke on the location 

During the debate there was a lot of enthusiasm and far stronger speeches for the 2030 commitment but if the only unions with us were the FBU and TSSA the vote would be close. I knew the 2030 commitment would pass when a speaker for Unite announced that they were backing both motions. Combined with the clear CLP support in the room that made clear it would pass which it later did on a show of hands without needing a card vote.

Debates opened on homelessness, local authority cuts and housing. Harrowing, powerful personal stories about the state of the modern UK. The diversity of the speakers and quality of the speeches was very high. That such a platform is provided is I think a powerful part of conference. I haven’t been counting but I suspect more women have spoken than men, with a number of speakers with disabilities too.

Leader’s Speech

Labour Conference Report Day 3

Brexit Votes and Debate

I’m going to jump into the main controversy of the day: the Brexit votes.

I voted for composite 13 (that Labour should adopt a remain position) and I also backed the other motion that confirmed the referendum in all circumstances composite 14 (current policy and was compatible with the remain position one). I voted against the NEC statement (which was before the other votes).

While a strong remainer myself it wasn’t an easy decision for me and I'm slightly disappointed rather than anything more. I’m not fully convinced that the current referendum position isn’t sufficient but I don’t like the NEC statement policy of a special pre-referendum conference very much either (seemed to have been rushed together and I’m not sure it should really be the priority when the campaigning should be starting). The way it was introduced and presented separately in the morning session and being voted on before the main composite Brexit motions didn’t sit well with me.

I’m very confident that the votes were called correctly and the chair just misspoke at one point (when she reversed). From my seat at the back of the hall it looked much more clearcut than some of the ones called as card votes on days 1 and 2. While Unison was backing the remain position the other unions including Unite and GMB were with the NEC. There was sufficient split that a card vote would have been reasonable but from looking at the room and knowing where the big unions were I’d be surprised if more than 40% were backing the remain position so I don’t think it would be good for Remain and it would spread the split story out another day as the result wouldn’t be out until the morning.

Labour Conference Report - Day 2

Another long day. I spent a bit more time out of the hall and found time for some lunch today. The most interesting content is probably the last, the Green New Deal compositing which is potentially newsworthy.

9-10.30 am - Campaign Creator training

More Campaign Creator training on Selections (custom filtering). This should allow to start targeted canvassing even where we don’t have our own data. Might be worth experimenting to see how good the data is and augment the data with some canvassing. I’ll be announcing some sessions soon.

11am-12pm

SERA (https://www.sera.org.uk/about/) event on Tackling Brexit and the Climate Emergency with Hillary Benn, Seb Dance (London MEP) and Mike Buckley (Director of Remain and Reform). The session was packed and I think only two present were leavers (they seem very sparse on the ground generally although that is maybe them keeping a low profile and that there are divisions even amongst remain supporters about the best position for Labour).

12.15-12.30pm - Voting / chaos