Sian Lloyd is not alone

As a former Labour Party member I think I can shed some light on why Sian Lloyd was not invited to the wedding of her stepdaughter.

It is likely to be because her relations like many other socialist party members have impaired relationship skills, even if they have good social skills. I have published research on this condition, which I call ‘empathism.’

Empathism affects more women than men, and people with the condition will break off relationships over the slightest of issues – such as differences of opinion on the war on Iraq.

People cut dead by empathics can feel despair at best and rage or suicide at worst. This includes men dumped overnight by their girlfriends who they still have a strong affinity to, but have not been able to get closure with.

If it was personal issues that meant Sian Lloyd wasn’t invited, then maybe she could get comfort in knowing that most people in the Labour Party and politics are the same. If you are not in their little empathic clique you are as good as dead to them!

Why I’m (no longer) Labour

I went to two interviews to become a candidate for the Labour Party in the Westminster elections. On both occasions I wasn’t given the chance, these are the things I said:

  • I joined the Labour Party because Tony Blair convinced me it had changed to become more pragmatic and willing to do what was right and necessarily and not philosophically most ‘left-wing’ and ‘anti-Tory’. I went into public life to make fairer decisions.

Asked about what I thought the issues I thought would be challenging for Labour at the next election (2010), I said:

  • Labour’s rhetoric on immigration is not as strong as the Conservatives
  • Not tackling consumer debt would mean Labour would lose the initiative on the economy

Asked what I thought about some issue loosely related to expenses where Labour was implicated in the press I said:

  • I’m sure the Tories will be found to be hypocrites, as if one is doing it they all must be

At the end of the different interviews, I asked whether they had any reservations about me and they said:

  • “We have never met anyone with as much honesty and integrity as you”, and I didn’t get on the list. I was then told in a letter I lacked “communication” and “team-working” skills.
  • “You wouldn’t be very good on Question Time”
  • “You can’t prioritise as you have too many ideas”

The thing is, I was only in my 20s then, and all I wanted to do was stand in an unwinnable seat for Labour – Torbay – which was where I went to private school for my secondary education. I thought telling them how I identified with Tony Blair’s New Labour project would be helpful, as the people in Torbay shall we say are not exactly ‘lefties’, but more business minded, like myself. And also, however ‘poorly’ communicated, the things I said about the economy, immigration and expenses turned out to be true!

The Labour Party should have invested in me, because all the criticisms they had of me then, only two years from when I would have stood at the 2010 general election, I have addressed them all, in a huge part thanks to my university education, supported by the Disabled Students Allowance, which in fact was increased by the Labour-led Welsh Assembly during my studies, and which I wouldn’t have even had the chance to do without Tony Blair introducing tuition fees to allow my first degree to run, which I didn’t pay much of because I was from a low income family. These are the things I have achieved since my application to the Labour Party to be on its list of potential candidates for parliamentary elections:

  • I set up Glamorgan Blended Learning Ltd, and its Emotivate Project allowed me to demonstrate communication and team-working skills.
  • I have received speaking and presentations coaching, and can now give speeches to conferences and live interviews with the media on TV and radio, without notes.
  • I have received life skills coaching, and can now manage multiple projects at the same time and prioritise and plan effectively.

I think I would be one of the people Kier Hardie would have wanted in his Labour Party; driven to work beyond the situation I’m born into, ambitious and wanting to make the world and my community a better place, willing to work with others to achieve mutual goals, whatever our abilities, differences or weaknesses. I also think if Kier Hardie was in my shoes today, seeing the Labour Party as it is, he would do what he did in his day and what I’ve done now – found our own party.

 

How champagne socialists further the working-class digital divide

A couple of months ago casually said on a Labour Party politician’s page on Facebook that I think it would be a good idea to invite people to tweet during one’s speech at a conference to get live interactive feedback from the audience.

An A2P ensued (Analysis to Paralysis) where the merits of this were debated to its death. One of the things said were “not everyone can afford Internet phones” and “some people may not know how to tweet”.

I tried it at a conference of mainly middle class people the other day, and no one tweeted, but at events open to all, like shows at the former Cardiff International Arena, it is quite common and popular – it would be nice to know the demographics of these Twitter users.

Who are these people who can’t afford Internet phones? They are not the people on low incomes like myself, nor are they the people on benefits who aspire to be rich and imitate the rich at every opportunity (called ‘chavs’). My backronym for chavs might become ‘Cashless, Hopeful and Always Visually Successful’ to describe anyone who to others looks like they have more money than they actually do. I might fit such a definition – for now! It could even apply to middle class families whose children have the latest gadgets, but who do not have enough surplus income to do everything they want to do.

Merthyr Tydfil is known as the ‘Chav capital of Wales’, and is it these people who are keeping Pontypridd which is a couple of train stops away from dying a death, as it provides the goods these chavs want at an affordable price.

These people are most likely to benefit from innovations like I suggested, and it is only snobbish champagne socialists like members of the Fabiens who are holding them back. These typically middle class people think people on benefits can’t afford things like mobile phones, when in fact they are more likely to own them than more conservative techno-phobic middle classes who don’t need them as much.

The digital divide has therefore changed. It is no longer than ‘the poor’ can’t afford the latest technology, as thanks to New Labour’s anti-poverty policies they at present have more surplus cash. They are in fact being held back by an snobbish intellectual elite who rely on maintain the working class to maintain their collective memory of superiority and philanthropy.

The Fabien members of the Labour Party are one such group, who hold meetings to pity the working class while at the same time talking up their important role and wanting to maintain them for their own sense of importance.

The digital divide is no longer between the haves and have-nots, it is between the know-hows and the don’t-know-hows. And it is the working class that are more willing to take risk to know-how than the more conservative classes who don’t need to. So for every new use of technology a champagne socialist denies being created because it might disadvantage the poor, they are actually advantaging the more well off, who wouldn’t know how to use it – people like them perhaps?

Defriending by Stephen Brooks

Stephen Brooks, a Labour Party Member who I have known since my university days, defriended and blocked me on Facebook, just because, it seems, I said that Karen Wikie, Secretary of the Co-operative Party, did not to anything about the discrimination (i.e. breaches of the Equality Act) by the Pontypridd Town Labour Group against me when I was a town councillor. I said she wouldn’t have my support in the forthcoming bye-election selections.

By doing this Steve Brooks has probably broken the law, Section 27(2)(d) of the Equality Act 2010 to be precise. This says that it is victimization to subject me to a detriment just because I raised an allegation that is covered by that Act.

Stephen Brooks should be ashamed to call himself a democrat if he ceases associating with people just because they have a different opinion to him and because they feel discriminated against!

I think if Kier Hardie was alive today, he would probably have a nervous breakdown seeing what his party has become. Does Steve Brooks feel what he did is what he would have wanted him to do?

I think Kier Hardie would respect me more for leaving the Labour Party to form my own in the same manner as him, as he was a principled man like myself, and not like Stephen Brooks and most other influential in the Labour Party, who in my view use the Party to get access to public life for their own interests and not to realise Kier Hardie’s dreams and aspirations.

Three Questions to ask a Labour politician who wants your vote

One thing to know about today’s Labour Party from my experience is that it exists for one purpose and one purpose only – to get more Labour Party members into office. You ask a party member their opinion on boundary changes or vote counting methods and their opinion will nearly always be what would most advantage the Labour Party. If you want to become a Labour Party candidate, then unless you’re very lucky, as I was, you won’t get anywhere unless you say things that imply the Labour Party’s interest will come about those of both the public and your office. When the public elect a candidate on the basis of merit, they are usually looking for someone with integrity who will look after their interests. To test whether your Labour Party candidate has such integrity to stick by the principles, try asking them the following three questions:

Q1. When you were being interviewed to become a Labour candidate, how did you answer the question, “Would you ever vote against the whip?”
Every Labour politician has been asked this. When I stood for the council I answered, “I would vote against the whip if I felt it was in the interests of my constituents. If it was an unpopular decision that was in their interests, I would expect the whip to allow me to speak against on behalf of my constituents even if I voted in favour”. I managed to get onto the list for the council and the Welsh Assembly with this answer, but couldn’t get as far as the UK Parliament or the European Parliament lists. Most Labour candidates say they would never vote against the whip as a matter of expediency, knowing they will then one day do so. Asking them this question in a public place can put them on the spot. It is likely they will have said one thing to the Labour selection panel (i.e. they wouldn’t vote against), but want to say another to the public – probably more like the truthful answer I gave!

Q2. What is your opinion on Clause IV?
Clause IV (pronounced clause four), is the part of the Labour Party rules that says what it stands for. The old Clause IV called for nationalisation, and the new one introduced by Tony Blair calls for ‘competition to be joined with co-operation’ and for public services to be ‘either owned by the public or accountable to them’ – in other words it allows for a mixed model on a pragmatic basis. Most Labour politicians will say ‘I want it brought back’, referring to the old Clause IV. Few will know that Tony Blair changed it, and most will never have read the new one he introduced – I call it the Progressive Clause IV. In fact, most Welsh Labour MPs I know who have read the Progressive version say they don’t support it – I frustratingly ask them “Why are you in the Labour Party when you don’t believe what it stands for, when people like me who do are forced to leave because we are honest and true to our beliefs?!” I still stand by the Progressive Clause IV even though I am no longer a Labour Party member – unlike most people who are current members!

Q3. What do you think of the Leader?
Labour Party members are inherently disloyal. There is always someone ready to take another member’s position when they make a foul up. You will notice than whenever the NEC does not get the candidate they wanted, during the run up to the election there will be a scandal that will force them to resign so the person the NEC wanted in the first place will get in. The same is on a macro-level with the Party’s leader. Whoever got in, there will be a significant number of people in the party who didn’t want them. They will be waiting for the current one to foul up so their preferred one can get in. Also, whoever is picked, on the main when Labour are losing elections or getting a kicking in the press there will be calls for the leader to go. In the Labour Party you are not among friends, as if you make a mistake it is the ideal opportunity for someone to take your place. So asking what a Labour Party politician thinks of their leader, or indeed a colleague, will be a tough one for them if they want to be both honest and complimentary.

Does Labour councillor for Tonteg Jean Hutchinson realise how silly she sounds?

A newly elected Labour councillor for Tonteg, Jean Hutchinson, told me today that the party that my best friend Mark Beech and I set up, The Pluralist Party has no right to call itself democratic because it only has two members. Jean Hutchinson also said that our co-operative, Glamorgan Blended Learning Ltd, which only has four members, can’t be considered significant either.

The thing Labour councillor for Tonteg, Jean Hutchinson needs to realise is it is action on the ground that counts. Jean Hutchinson’s Labour Party can have as many members and councillors that it wants – My grandfather was offered a co-option onto Llantrisant Town Council. As you can see here, he said he wouldn’t sit with those (persons) if they were the last people on earth. If Labour councillor Jean Hutchinson is anything to go by I don’t blame him. She used to be a nice person until she became a Labour councillor. It seems that all women who sit among the persons in the Labour Group on Llantwit Fardre Community Council, who I consider chauvinist bigots, don’t keep their pleasant zeal for that long.

My firm, Glamorgan Blended Learning Ltd, while only having 4 members, has engaged over ten people in the last three years, who have worked on various projects. The artist, who worked on our underpass project in Treforest, is now a senior art teacher at Hawthorn High School. One of our former directors is now on the board of a Plc. And as you can see here, I have gone from being an employee to being a director of three limited companies. Everyone who has worked for GBL has gone on to make a difference elsewhere.

Being someone who listens to Richard Branson’s CD’s I’m convinced small is beautiful. The Virgin Empire is made up of lots of small firms each run by their own managing director. Richard Branson knows from complete experience, what I know from experience and academia, which is that the closer the most senior people who direct the use of the business revenue are to the workers who receive it, the more successful a business will be. I knew this at 15, when a business as part of a school project failed because not everyone was a shareholder and thus weren’t motivated to work for the business. I became a believer in co-operativism when I was 15 by experience, unlike the many members of Labour’s sister party The Co-operative Party who are there in Labour MP Owen Smith’s words for ‘CV points’. I unfortunately agree with him, and their lack of commitment to the co-operative movement was no more apparent than when they expelled me from the party for co-operating with other co-operators who happened to be members of Plaid Cymru. I had co-operated with these persons, who direct the Plaid Cymru Credit Union, in my capacity as director of GBL, yet because I worked with them on Pontypridd Town Council, a body the Labour Party don’t recognise, I was in the wrong in the Co-op Party’s eyes because I should have only co-operated with Labour Party members who did not support co-operativism.

So, can Labour councillor for Tonteg Jean Hutchinson tell me what she has done the last few years as a member of the Pontypridd Labour Party which at most has 600 members? I’m sure it is a lot less that what Mark and I have achieved through our firm, by bringing people together for ad hoc projects, without the inefficient permanent staffing structure other organisations have which reduces what they can give for each pound of turnover they have.

What should Labour’s Clause IV actually say?

Every British political scholar has spoken about the ‘Clause 4 Moment’ in the Labour Party – the point at which Tony Blair changed the Labour Party’s fortunes around by removing the Regressive Clause IV that wedding them to nationalisation, and created a new one, the Progressive Clause IV. I write here about how that had the same effect on me of convincing me the Labour Party was now ready to use Labour values in a 21st century context.

At the election account on Friday, even the Labour MP Owen Smith said he doesn’t believe in the Progressive Clause 4 – hardly anyone in the Labour Party does. This is even more frustrating that I felt I had to leave when on paper I was a member of a party whose progressive vision of pro-business, pro-opportunity, pro-market, pro-freedom I identified with as someone from a family of three generations of entrepreneurs.

Maybe if the people in the Labour Party were to be completely truthful about what they see the Labour Party as existing to do, then Clause IV would look something like this (deleted parts marked, added parts bold):

The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more electoral wins than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the a few Labour Party members; where the rights we enjoy are disproportionate to reflect the duties we owe and where we live together freely, in a spirit of solidarity, without tolerance and or respect for people who aren’t Labour.

A minority? And a Labour Party member? There is a way…

The Labour Party is not a great place if you are one of the people in a minority group; whether young, a woman, Black, or disabled. You might have, liked I did, joined the Labour Party because you believed in the ideals of the left, such as equality, solidarity and tolerance.

If you joined the same Labour Party I did however, you’d be left disappointed.

Chances are you’ll be in a Labour Party branch which few people attend, which are dominated by a small number of retired men. They work as a pack and hand out all the positions to those within their favour. If you’re an idealist, as I was, you’d not want to take part in this game of favourtism, as you want to be chosen on merit. You could, as I did, spend years hoping things will get better, or as I also did, stage a coup at one of the branches in your area where you can form a ‘pack’ with other minorities.

The ‘Treforest method‘ as it is called, is where Labour Party members who want to get on but are held behind by a ruling clique, of which there are many in the party, find people from among them willing to sign up to the party and then once the Branch’s annual general meeting comes around, all turn up unexpectedly and vote yourselves into the key positions. This will make it easier to get the elected positions.

As you can see from the photo above, when I did this in Treforest, only one of the officers was from the previous membership, who took on the role of treasurer. Within 3 years of becoming Branch Secretary I was the county borough candidate, beating one of the established members, Avil Reid, who hates me to this day. She hated me so much that she stood for the town council in neighbouring Rhydyfelin instead of being on the Treforest list with me, which I got elected from.

People think of the Labour Party as a well oiled election machine, but they struggle in many cases to get a quorum at selection meetings, which means they are supplemented with officers from the constituency who can vote in who they please in an almost rotten borough like fashion.

The advantage of this is that it can mean any minority who is able to get enough people to join to support them by turning up to the key meetings stands a chance of getting on in the party, where they wouldn’t otherwise.

 

 

A typical Friday Night at the Pontypridd Constituency Labour Party

Pontypridd CLP Chairman: Does anyone have any ideas about how we can better understand the meaning or cause of life?

[Disruption while the Councillor for Ty Nant questions the Chairman]

Cllr Darwin: I think we descended from apes, we quite clearly share so many characteristics we must have a common ancestors.

Llantwit Fardre BLP Chairman: Shut up Charles you don’t know what you’re talking about!

Freeman Newton: I have a suggestion.

CLP Chairman: One minute Issac, the Councillor for Efail Isaf wants to speak.

Efail Isaf Councillor: Well I think it’s disgusting we’re having this conversation in the first place. No one thought to invite the science minister, and why are we holding the meeting at 5 o’clock in the evening, it must be that the executive want to stifle debate.

Freeman Newton: Can I…

CLP Chairman: One minute Issac. Stephen, you wanted to say something?

Cllr Hawking: Far from being mathematical curiosities which appear only in special cases, I think singularities are a fairly generic feature of general relativity.

Dr Einstein: I agree, the source is not mass. In my opinion mass is part of the energy-momentum tensor, which includes both energy and momentum densities as well as stress.

CLP Chairman: You wanted to say something Issac?

Freeman Newton: I was going to say that a body’s motion can be described as a combination of free or inertial motion, and deviations from this free motion. But Albert and Stephen have moved on since then.

CLP Chairman: Are we ready for the minutes?…