Labour Rules referring to Gender Balance

The Labour Party lays out its commitment to ensuring equal representation of women in positions of power within the party, which is codified and applied to all levels of the party within Chapter 15, Model Procedural Rules, Clause 1, O iii. of the current Labour Party Rule book, which states:

This Party unit accepts the principle of minimum quotas for women at all levels of representation within the Party and shall take steps to ensure that 50 per cent of any delegation shall be women and, where only one delegate is appointed, a woman shall hold the position at least every other year.

In my experience, this commitment encounters a surprising level of resistance from ordinary party members (particularly when you’re enforcing that equality at the disadvantage of an existing member).

To save everyone else the trouble, I’ve gone through and extracted (to the best of my ability) all of the rules that refer to the party’s commitment to gender equality, they are:

Chapter 7, Rules for CLPs

  • Clause VIII, Officers, 2
    “The Executive Officers of this CLP shall be; chair, vice-chair, vice-chair/ membership, secretary, treasurer, women’s officer. At least three of these officers shall be women. This CLP may, with the approval of the NEC add other Executive Officer posts drawn from amongst its Coordinator roles subject to the gender quota being amended appropriately.”
    see page 30 (print) or page 33 (pdf)
  • Clause XI, The General Meeting, 4
    “It shall be the duty of the General Meeting of this CLP to ensure that at least 50 per cent of their delegates to other Party bodies (where delegate entitlement is more than one) shall be women.”
    see page 31 (print) or page 34 (pdf)

Chapter 8, Rules for Branches

  • Clause IV, Officers and Executive Committee, 1
    “The officers of this branch shall be chair, vice chair, secretary and treasurer. At least two of the officers shall be women. This branch shall appoint two auditors and other functional officers as required.”
    see page 34 (print) or page 37 (pdf)
  • Clause VII, Miscellaneous, 1
    “The general provisions of the constitution and rules of the Party shall apply to this branch.”
    see page 34 (print) or page 37 (pdf)

Chapter 12, Rules for Labour Party Local Campaign Forums

  • Clause V. Officers and Executive Committee, 3
    “The officers shall consist of a chair, vice-chair, and secretary. At least one of the officers shall be a woman.”
    see page 44 (print) or page 47 (pdf)

Chapter 13, Rules for local government Labour groups on principal authorities

  • Clause V, Group Officers, 1
    “The Labour group shall appoint group officers at the annual meeting in accordance with the group standing orders, and in a manner that ensures equality of opportunity and encourages underrepresented groups to come forward. As a minimum, the gender balance of the officer group will reflect the gender balance of the Labour group as a whole. Any deviation from this will require consent from your RD(GS).”
    see page 49 (print) or page 52 (pdf)
  • Clause VI, Group Executive, 1
    “Where the Labour group chooses to appoint a group executive, the group shall do so at its annual meeting in accordance with the group standing orders, and in a manner that ensures equality of opportunity and encourages under-represented people to come forward. As a minimum, the gender balance of the Labour group executive will reflect the gender balance of the Labour group as a whole. Any deviation from this without explicit consent of the RD(GS) may lead to disciplinary action.”
    see page 49 (print) or page 52 (pdf)

Chapter 15, Model Procedural Rules

  • Clause 1, O iii.
    “This Party unit accepts the principle of minimum quotas for women at all levels of representation within the Party and shall take steps to ensure that 50 per cent of any delegation shall be women and, where only one delegate is appointed, a woman shall hold the position at least every other year.”
    see page 58 (print) or page 61 (pdf)

The Propaganda of Poetry

Listening to an amazing episode of This American Life discussing the Columbian Governments Christmas propaganda campaigns against the FARC. Listen here:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/this-american-life/id201671138?mt=2&i=359313987

Helpful Staff at the Arnolfini

So this is what happens when you pass your phone over to the bar staff at the Arnolfini Cafe/Bar. Not only do you get a really nice photo of you, your friend and her family, you get a photo of the erstwhile photographer as well. #priceless.

You’ll be glad to know this wasn’t the only good part of the service. There was a great range of foreign beers (Will enjoyed one), the coffee was good – great Americano – and they brought the little ones free babycinos (without us asking). The food was yum (and the portions generous; particularly of the kids pizzas, thankfully they had pizza boxes so Gee could take the substantial leftovers home!). Plus (as you can see in the photo above) the kids had drawing books and pencils, which despite us arriving in the lunch rush a server took time out to bring them over, chat to and engage the kids, which was really nice.

I’m looking forward to going back… In the meantime I’m hoping our local contemporary art gallery, mima, take a leaflet out of the Arnolfini’s book when they re-design their cafe next year.

Max Richter: The Leftovers

The Leftovers was for me one of the breakout TV shows of 2014. If you haven’t watched it, then you should and if my recommendation is not enough to entice you then take a gander at this trailer from season one:

But that’s not why I’m writing this evening, it’s because as I was watching the second episode of season two I felt compelled to reach across to my phone and imdb it solely to find out the composer of the soundtrack.

It’s surprising how a well-crafted sound can make and/or break a TV series and just how frequently the delicate, sympathetic touch of a talented composer can so deeply enhance our experience of a show; or how regrettably this skill is overlooked by the viewer, hovering just below the our sightlines.

I don’t, for example, think that Battlestar Galactica would of been quite so brilliant had it not been for Bear McCreary’s rousing soundtrack, which set the perfect pace, my particular favourite being his allegro.

Or sometimes it can just be a single moment that can define a series, where a piece of music is selected that so perfectly weds a scene – here I’m thinking of Episode 13 of the Big C “Taking the Plunge” but it still has the power to make me cry each time I watch it (see here, better still watch the series).

Or finally the fact the opening sequence to My So Called Life still plays in my head any time I think of the show, and I still think of the show all these years later, but that’s the only thing thats left a permanent imprint.

I was not surprised to find out that Max Richter is the composer responsible for the Leftovers, I knew it felt familiar in its brilliance, its poised subtlety. I think the opening sequence to the Leftovers gives you a small taste of the richness within:

Thanks to my old friend Daniel Tóth for introducing me to Max, his music has given me many years of pleasure and will do I expect for many years to come.

Durham Lumiere Tickets

It’s a real shame that Artichoke and Durham County Council chose to place online tickets with Ticketmaster who are charging an admittedly small ticket price of £1 a ticket, although not so small once you add £2.95 for postage (a standard DL is 51p 1st class), so £3.95 for a ticket when they’re free if you pick them up in a series of locations across Durham, rather than using Eventbrite and just asking for a donation that would of raised significantly more money for the event.

Just think if they were getting a donation £2 (twice what they’re actually getting) plus gift aid at 25 percent would mean an increase of 125 percent in donations. And all for the want of not embracing the innovative, the now and going with the establishment (i.e. the largest ticketing sales company in the UK). With a reported 175,000 visitors in 2013, half of which surely live outside County Durham they could of raised an additional £175,000 or £218,750 with gift aid.

Instead based on 2013 visitor attendance (and assuming 1/2 the people can’t get to a free ticket office) they’ll raise £87,500 or £109,375 inc. gift aid (assuming tickets through Ticketmaster qualify as donations for gift aid), a total opportunity cost of -£109,375 with a private firm pocketing £258,125 to print and send tickets to people effectively publically subsidised at the expense of ACE and local authority investment in the event. WTF?!

A real failure in imagination. And people ask why arts funding in this country is broken. Just take a look.

My So Called Life

I’m not quite sure what reminded me of the greatest teen-drama ever made this evening (and the only one I bought, or rather had specially imported from the States as they never saw fit to sell it here), but I found myself on YouTube watching this:

And if I had ever got round to ripping my DVDs into mp4s I almost certainly would have dipped back in (yeah I don’t own anything with a DVD player anymore, though I sensibly backed up my raw DVDs before I got rid of the last one).

It was only one season long and was released when I was very much a teen, but it covered every possible point of teen angst (even my own) so perfectly it’ll forever hold a privileged corner in my heart.

What I was really astonished to find out (and yes these trips of nostalga are often fueled by google) is that our own Rayanne Graff (the teenager your parents hoped you didn’t emulate) had ended up married to lord, or rather an Earl…

And yes I know, it’s a Daily Mirror link, but I only click such trashy links, when enticed by “Where are they now” headlines about old favourite shows… (it’s not like the Guardian regularly publishes such “news”…)