Sunday, September 25, 2022

General Tea Break as a lead up to the General Strike

Liz Truss has no democratic mandate. She was backed initially by only about one third of Conservative MPs, and voted in my a tiny fraction, less than 1% of the electorate. Kwarteng's budget was a budget for the rich that will leave the majority of tax payers worse off. She is an ex-Shell employee who has taken money from fossil fools, and she is going to frack the countryside. With their Police Crime Bill, the Tories are edging ever closer to authoritarianism.

This is intolerable. We cannot wait until a General Election, we need a new Government, one that is led by concern for the long term wellbeing of the people, which means a Sustainability, Democracy and Equality.

#GeneralStrike has been trending on Twitter for a good few days, and a General Strike could cause the downfall of Truss' regime. However, at the moment we are a long way off a General strike.

So let us start with a General Tea Break. Here's the plan



Every Friday morning, at 9 am, people who are conscious of the political threat posed by Truss' regimemeet up at work at the water cooler or someplace, and talk about the political situation for 5 minutes. That's all. Talk about the cuts for 5 mins. Anyone who comes along "Hello, we are just discussing the cuts. What do you think".
After 5 mins they get to work.
As numbers gather, the time slowly extends.

If management comes and says "Why aren't you at your stations?" the response is "We are talking about the cuts. They are going to wreck this country, do you not agree?We were just going back to our stations, but since you are here, we would like to know what you think? Do you think it will end up with a General Strike?"

Management will get the idea, as soon as they realise it is happening in other companies. They will realise we are tooling up for a General Strike, on the QT. They will have a word with the Treasury, which will have to calculate on the economic costs of a General Strike.

I do not promise that this will bring down the Government at a stroke, but it is a useful weapon.
The thing is, it is so small (5 minutes, growing) that waverers will be encouraged to join.


It could go viral.

Friday, September 02, 2022

 Now this is odd. I had an email a few days ago from Blogger saying that 2 of my posts have been removed for "breaking community guidelines". Their letter did not contain the content that had been removed, but I have found one post that was removed from the excellent http://archive.org/. I have sent it to Blogger for review. The post clearly does not offend community guidelines, so the Blogger algorithm has erred.

The other post that was unpublished was titled  'Isl*mophobes and Isl*mists locked in an embrace of mutual h*tred'. I had to use the asterisks because using the full word was getting this present post blocked from publication. So far I have been unable to find it on Archive.org, but the content is as the title suggests, and presumably the complaint came from an Islamophobe or an Islamist. I will continue to search for it.

Blogger have reinstated the Frugal Queen post. It is here. It is worth reading, and the subsequent comments, which are edifying.

I'm still blocked on the Islamophobe post, because I cannot find the original post in order to amend it and put it on Blogger for review



Friday, April 08, 2022

Letter to QUNO 1.5

Letter to QUNO from Meeting for Worship for Ukraine  Draft 1.5

Dear Friends

This correspondence is addressed to you on behalf of the undersigned participants in the Daily International Friends Meeting for Worship for Peace who are in Unity with this request. The undersigned have been regular participants in the daily online Meeting for Worship out of concern for the tragic situation in Ukraine. 

After discussion and consideration, we wish to draw to your attention a simple measure which would provide a continuing and universal incentive for every Government to improve its human rights (HR) performance, and which therefore would to some extent reduce the probability of similar tragedies in years to come.

This is that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, (OHCHR) should publish annually the contents of its Universal Human Rights Index in a quantified and tabular form, providing an accessible listing which would summarise the HR performance in the previous year of all Governments, give their relative position in the range of governmental performance, and give an indication of whether their performance is static, improving or worsening.

This would amount to a modest development of the presentation of the Universal Human Rights Index data already present in the UN website.

The effect of this measure will be to take the HR data out of the recesses of the UN website, known only to students of international politics, simplify it, and bring it forward into the public domain, so that anyone considering travelling to, or doing business with, a particular country, will be able to form a reasonably accurate impression of its HR performance at a glance, with the facility of digging deeper into the data as necessary.

Please see the Appendix to this letter where we present images from the Our World in Data website to give an idea of how the UN data could be presented.

We therefore recommend this measure to QUNO for your consideration. We recognise that you will need to explore and weigh up and test the proposal in detail and we would be happy to discuss this matter with you.

With grateful recognition of your valuable work

 

In friendship

 

(Signed)…………….

  

Letter to QUNO – APPENDIX

These screenshots are taken from tabular data on the Our World in Data website 

https://ourworldindata.org/human-rights > All our charts on Human Rights > Human rights protection, 2019 > Table

The scores displayed there capture the extent to which citizens' physical integrity is protected from government killings, torture, political imprisonments, extrajudicial executions, mass killings and disappearances. Higher scores mean fewer such abuses.  Source: Bastian Herre and Max Roser (2016) - "Human Rights". Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: 'https://ourworldindata.org/human-rights' [Online Resource]

Screenshot of the countries with the best scores:


And these are the countries with the lowest scores:



The live table allows us to scroll through the entire rankings.

This gives an indication of how countries would appear on the UN website. The UN would be able to design its own criteria and parameters.




Sunday, April 03, 2022

Preventing a repetition of the Ukraine tragedy

This is an old draft of the letter. Please go here for the latest draft

Letter to QUNO from Meeting for Worship for Ukraine  Draft 1.4

Dear Friends

We are a group of about 100 friends from many nations, who have been meeting daily online over the last month out of our concern for the situation in Ukraine which has impinged on the human rights of so many people.

We recognise that the invasion of Ukraine is the result of a large number of interrelated factors operating on both sides of the divide.

After discussion and consideration, we wish to draw to your attention a simple measure which would provide a continuous and universal incentive for every Government to improve its human rights (HR) performance.

This is that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, (OHCHR) should publish annually the contents of the Universal Human Rights Index in tabular form, providing an accessible listing which would summarise the HR performance in the previous year of all Governments, give their relative position in the range of governmental performance, and give an indication of whether their performance is static, improving or worsening.

This is a modest development of the presentation of the Universal Human Rights Index data already present in the UN website.

The effect of this measure will be to take the HR data out of the recesses of the UN website, known only to students of the UN, simplify it, and bring it forward into the public domain, so that anyone considering travelling to, or doing business with, a particular country, will be able to form a reasonably accurate impression of its HR performance at a glance, with the facility of digging deeper into the data as necessary.

We therefore recommend this measure to QUNO for your consideration. We recognise that you will need to explore and weigh up and test the proposal in detail and we provide a summary of our discussion in the Appendix to this letter.

With grateful recognition of your valuable work

 

In friendship

 

(Signed)…………….

 

 RANKED HUMAN RIGHTS INDEX (RHRI) : DISCUSSION

The virtual meeting convened by Friends House Moscow has discussed the GloHRI proposal in a number of sessions. This is a summary of the main points raised in these discussions.

 

Description of the RHRI

The proposal is that the Human Rights (HR) performance of every government should be quantified and presented in ranked order and tabular form by the UN, refreshed annually.

The aim of the RHRI is to provide a gentle, continuous, and universal incentive for all governments to improve their HR performance, to reduce the tendency to form into dictatorships, and therefore to reduce the likelihood of a repetition of the invasion of Ukraine.

This aim will be realised by publicising the relative human rights performance of all regimes. At present this data exists on the UN website in searchable form, the Universal Human Rights Index - https://uhri.ohchr.org/en/search-human-rights-recommendations.  RHRI brings this data forward, making it far more accessible, and makes the relative position of each government clear.

The fact that countries are positioned in ranked order will almost certainly evoke complaints from some governments that they have been placed too low in the table. The UN Human Rights Commission can respond by sending in rapporteurs to review the position. While waiting for the rapporteurs to visit, it is very likely that governments will discharge political prisoners and take other actions to improve their position in the Index.

One accepted principle of effective behaviour management is consistency. At present, unwanted behaviour in the international community is responded to on an ad hoc basis, with peers condemning or defending the behaviour according to subjective criteria such as political positioning and trade relations. The RHRI system introduces a measure of objectivity to the international relations environment.

States who are placed low on the Index ranking can be offered constructive advice, being advised, for instance, that allowing a diversity to media and freedom of journalism does not necessarily provide an existential threat to them. This approach offers an evolutionary pathway away from dictatorship towards democracy, and is an attractive alternative to revolution, coup, or invasion, which are the other ways that a dictatorship may come to an end. Iraq and Libya show that a violent termination of a dictatorship does not necessarily end well.

It is possible that the very lowest functioning states could be subjected to a tariff of sanctions targeted on the ruling circles. The problem here is that if the tariff is too stringent, and/or the number of sanctioned states should be too numerous, the integrity of the international community could be threatened. The UN always has to balance the need to maintain unity with the need to influence behaviour in a positive way.

The relative movement of the score for each country is an important parameter, both with regard to the country’s performance in previous years and in regard to its position in the rankings.

It should be noted that RHRI is a useful adjunct , to the Responsibility to Protect, which otherwise has little power short of war.

 

 

 

Some questions raised in discussion

 Many were supportive, some had questions, and a few found the proposal contentious

How can qualitative descriptions be reduced to a single number?

                Academic institutions have been practicing this method successfully for many years. There are a variety of indices for measuring human development, freedom and corruption. The Ibrahim Index of African Governance has been functioning for many years. https://mo.ibrahim.foundation/iiag

Would abusive countries not just ignore their ranking?

                Esteem is very important to humans, possibly more so for some personality types who get themselves in positions of leadership. It remains to be seen how each will respond.

 

What should be measured in the Index?

The present proposal is that the characteristics measured in the present UN Universal Index of Human rights should be used. This would require summarisation and quantification.

 

What is the relationship between HR observance and democracy?

It may be supposed that democracies generally have better HR  performance than autocracies, but this is a matter that deserves further study. It is expedient to keep HR performance and democratic performance under separate consideration in order to avoid reducing acceptance of the Index. “Democracy” is often spoken of in public as a binary thing, but the reality is that democracies exist on a spectrum from strong to weak, good to imperfect.

Is there a model of this proposal in action?

A model of this approach can be seen in the Ibrahim Index of African Governance https://iiag.online/data.html. It is wider in scope than the ranked Index of Human Rights, but is using the principle of quantification and presentation in tabular form.

There are a number of other approaches to measuring Governments’ HR performance, notably the Political Terror Scale https://www.politicalterrorscale.org/Data/ which classifies states into 5 categories.

 

Discussion continues

 

 

 

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