Sunday, 24 July 2016

Promotion

I've been posting a few things on facebook over the last couple of days.

No enquiries yet, but I am getting hits to the facebook page for my driving school.


Friday, 22 July 2016

No more heroes anymore

This post is to do with the Labour Party, but I want to start off by talking about driving instructors.

It's a nalogy, you see, although I'm sure there are better nalogies around.

To be a good instructor, two things need to be in place:

1. you need to know your subject.
2. you need to be able to put what you know across to someone else.

If either of these are missing, the quality of tuition will lack something. Neither, on their own, suffice. I suppose the same applies to most jobs.

I've just started finding work for one of the people I've been giving instructor training to. I have a responsibility towards her, and I will do my best over the coming weeks to provide her with the work she needs. In return, she will give me money. The relationship between driving schools and the instructors that work under their auspices is a little bit complicated. When you work for a school, it's as if the person or organisation that own the school is your boss. This is partly true. The School can stipulate certain things. How much to charge. How to conduct lessons. What to wear. Being self employed, the instructor can acquiesce, or they can find another way of generating work for themselves. But they are self employed. They pay the school they work for to provide the pupils they need. So in a sense, she's my boss. It just doesn't feel that way. She's on a trainee license, but so far, the couple of people I've been able to pass on to her seem happy enough with what they're getting. She'll get better and more confident with what she's doing as time goes on, but there is a point here. The name doesn't matter.

People who want driving lessons just want to know the person sat next to them is competent. True, sometimes people phone me because I taught their friend/sibling/etc, but generally, they've got in touch because I'm showing up on their web searches, and my website says I'm a good instructor (well, duh!). Paul Sharp the person just isn't that important.

Neither are politicians (or rockstars or writers for that matter) It's what they believe, and how effective they are at bringing what they believe into effect that matters. I suppose if I lived in North Korea or some other place and time, this would be a seditious point of view.

So to Jeremy Corbyn, and the movement that has coalesced around him.

Today, someone sent me a link to a New Statesman article.

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2016/07/lilian-greenwood-mp-look-my-record-if-you-think-my-resignation-was

It makes uncomfortable reading for anyone that wishes to dismiss any attacks on Corbyn as ideologically motivated. After reading it, I went to the TheyWorkForUs website, which details the voting records of MPs.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24774/lilian_greenwood/nottingham_south/votes

On the whole, her voting record is on the progressive side of things. So for me, her opinion carries some weight. Corbyn might be ideologically closer to me than almost everyone else in parliament, but that doesn't mean he's an effective party leader.

I'm not a Corbynista. Not wholeheartedly anyway. Yet I've joined the Labour Party, and shelled out an extra 25 quid so that I can vote to keep him as party leader. Not because of Jeremy Corbyn, but because of what he represents.

I first joined the Labour Party back in the mid 1980's. I quickly became involved in the more radical side of things. With the Miner's strike, The Poll tax, and the Liverpool City Council dispute, there was a lot to get involved in, and it was the activists on the Marxist end of things that were actually doing something about it.

Being honest with you, I got as far as about page 4 of the Communist Manifesto before putting it down with a yawn. Still, the far left were organising, marching, putting leaflets through letterboxes, engaging, fighting! That was enough for me. And we had some victories. The Poll Tax battle was largely won, mainly through the actions of grassroots activists. The Liverpool City Council won concessions, at least while the Government were busy tacking the National Union of Mineworkers.

Labour responded to the rightward shift in British politics by shifting rightward themselves. They closed down the youth section, and expelled a lot of the most active and committed people from the movement in their headlong rush to capture the centre ground. I left the party. It didn't really have anything to offer me anymore.

Since then, we've had a grey consensus of centre right politics for a generation. One lot had a more progressive social agenda than the other, but economically and politically, if you weren't centre right, you were effectively disenfranchised.

The appearance on the Leadership ballot papers of a left wing candidate, and his subsequent election have been a catalyst. Not just for me, but for hundreds, or thousands of people like me, who'd become increasingly cynical and apathetic about politics.

And that's why I've rejoined. Not because Jeremy Corbyn is the new Messiah, but because suddenly there is a mass movement within the Labour Party to wrest control from the right wing.

It's straightforward enough really. There needs to be a left wing mainstream party, as well as a right wing one, otherwise people don't have a choice. If you're right wing, and in the left wing party, you're in the wrong place.

I hope, whatever the outcome of the Leadership election, the thousands who joined will stick with it, and use their voices to change the party from within. We need, over time, to change the stock of MPs, and the people who constitute the internal heirarchy of the Party.



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Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Real Reality Vs Constructed Reality.

For the first time in, what? 25 years or so, I went to a branch meeting of the Labour Party tonight.

Except I didn't.

The National Executive Comittee has decreed that during the leadership campaign, there will be no party meetings, because of all the bullying and intimidation.

So what I went to tonight was a meeting of Labour Party Members. Not a Labour Party Meeting. A meeting of people who just so happen to be Members of the Labour Party.

There were close to 80 people there. I suspect normally at monthly branch meetings, they get perhaps 10-15 or so. Still, these are volatile times, and given that this is Angela Eagle's constituency, it's inevitable perhaps that people around here are going to be more energised and politicised.

Every seat was taken. People were standing around the edges of the room, with more stood outside the door.

Because it wasn't a "proper" meeting, some of the formalities were dispensed with. They didn't bother with the minutes of the previous meeting, for example, and just got down to business.

The business was 3 motions. The first one agreed with a statement Angela Eagle made during the final days before the Brexit vote, in which she praised Corbyn's energy and commitment, and stating that this meeting was in support of Jeremy Corbyn's continued leadership.

The meeting was well ordered. There was a chair, who gave everyone a chance to speak, and who asked those who wanted to interrupt to not do so. She kept order, and everyone abided by what she had to say. Some people were long winded. Some were eloquant. Some were disjointed. Support for Corbyn was not universal. Antipathy towards Eagle was not universal either. Both sides had their say. There was disagreement, but no personal attacks, or threats, or any unpleasantness on either side.

A show of hands was called. The motion was supported, by 66 votes to 11.

The second motion stated that this meeting has no confidence in Angela Eagle. Same pattern. Both sides had their say, and it was all well mannered. This time the vote supported the motion by a similar but slightly smaller margin. This time there were two abstentions.

The National Executive Committee has put a proviso in place that people who joined the party less than 6 months ago will not get to vote in the leadership election. I'd assumed that this was part of the bargaining that took place at the NEC meeting to get Corbyn on the ballot sheet, but it turns out that after this was achieved, Corbyn and his faction left the meeting, which continued, in his absense, to impose this condition.

The third motion was an emergency motion opposing this condition. It too was debated politely, and passed unanimously, or at least without opposition.

It was stated that a Guardian Reporter was nearby, and that when the meeting had finished, anyone that wanted to, from either side of the debate, could meet him or her at a pub nearby and make their views known.

The meeting went on from a little after 730 to just after 9pm. Once it was over, some adjourned to the pub. I went home.

So, about that bullying and intimidation...

Well, a brick was thrown through the window of the Labour Party office sometime during the night when Eagle announced her intention to run for leadership. She immediately called on Corbyn to rein in his supporters. The assumption being that the bricking was carried out by a disgruntled Corbynista. It could have course have been carried out by an agent provocateur, or by a passing drunk, or of course, by a disgruntled Corbyn supporter. There's a lot of anger over how the Parliamentary Labour Party have acted over the last week or two after all. Corbyn condemned the brick, and it's throwing, but he has no power to act over the bahaviour of individuals. This is taken as demonstration of his inability to lead.

So anyway, I wonder, if the press report on tonights meeting, will it be the one I went to, or something else? Labour is, if the narrative is to be believed, a hotbed of entryists, anti-semites, and homophobic thugs.

Update:

Here's what came out of the conversation attendees had with The Guardian:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jul/14/labour-grassroots-rebel-against-nec-restrictions-on-leadership-contest

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Friday, 8 July 2016

Bang!

"Bang!"

1,000,000 black people: "We shall overcome..."

"Bang!"

999,999 black people: "We shall overcome..."

"Bang!"

999,998 black people: "We shall overcome..."

"Bang!"

999,992 black people: "We shall overcome..."

5 black people: "Fuck We shall overcome. Bang!"

The responses I've seen from Liberals is to condemn the shooting of police officers.

Is it counterproductive? Surely.

Is it inevitable? Yep.

In a sense this is not about Race. It's about Class.

Liberals support the underclass all the way, unless they threaten the status quo.

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Saturday, 2 July 2016

New New New Labour, or something.

Well, shit. I just joined the labour party. Been a while. That Eagle woman better watch out. That's all I can say.

A year ago, I joined the Greens, just to add a tiny incremental weight to their numbers. I suppose I'm now a member of two parties at once.

Ever read "The Life Of Pi"? The protagonist became, simultaneously, a Hindu, an Christian, and a Moslem, with no theological qualms. The leaders and shapers of the theologies he'd signed up to, however were less than comfortable with his open acceptance of the many.

A part of me daydreams of being an MP. I join my local CLP (constituency labour party) and in some stirring speech at a local meeting, I blow the crowd away with an impassioned speech about principles and integrity etc.

Then I remember that I'm shit at that sort of stuff.

So if my membership is accepted, I will go along, keep my powder dry, and do what I can on the QT to get someone less Blairite as my local MP.

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