miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I can understand that the party is in government now, and that we need to be careful.
I can understand that people who have not been to conference before are an unknown quantity, and could cause trouble, perhaps even worse than trouble.
I can understand that the police and insurance companies and venues like this kind of stuff, and we are under pressure to accept it.

What I don't understand is how CRB checking every conference attendee will achieve anything that the physical checks on the door won't. I don't understand why anyone could possibly think this is necessary or proportionate.

And I do not think it's acceptable. I don't think it's acceptable for a party whose leader said he would go to prison rather than accept ID cards to now be letting the police have ANY say, however advisory, in who gets to attend conference. I don't think it's acceptable for two police forces to be CRB checking and storing data on Lib Dem members.

I don't particularly see an issue with myself getting accepted, but it's the principle of the bloody thing. I should not have to ask permission from the rozzers to meet with my party.

So I am conflicted. If I agree to this, if I let myself be CRB checked, that is tacit acceptance of the system. But if I don't, then I can't go to conference to do anything about it.

JazzHands has a suggestion for how this can be solved for this upcoming conference, but for future ones? I suspect this is not just going to be a motion at conference but legislation that is required to bolster the right of members of political groups to free assembly, and that the police should not be allowed to interfere unless there is a credible threat to life and limb, and even then only to prevent injury, but also that insurance companies should not be allowed to require pointless data retention before events can go ahead. Physically checking people are not carrying weapons? That's fair enough. Demanding that they give up a whole slew of sensitive data before they can even go through the physical checks is a step too far.

But none of this solves my problem: I have already paid for registration to conference. I did that in January. Do I submit to the CRB checks and try to make sure this doesn't happen again? Do I refuse to submit data over the internet and instead be subject to police interview once I get there? Do I wait and hope that some solution to this is found before September? Or do I just not go?

The only argument I can see for going at the moment is that if I don't go then the people who think this sort of thing is acceptable have won. And I don't like that thought.

Date: Sunday, June 19th, 2011 02:37 pm (UTC)
shishmish: (Default)
From: [personal profile] shishmish
What I don't understand is why, when a CRB check is predominately done whenever you are interacting with children for a specific period of time, you're going to have one done when you won't be around children during the conference. I mean yes some professions other than those involved with working with children may need them, but just to come in and sit and listen to speeches over a weekend? Seems a bit OTT if you ask me.

I am of the same mentality - I've got nothing to hide but what is the point?

Date: Sunday, June 19th, 2011 02:41 pm (UTC)
telegramsam: Doctor Who in a library (5thdocbooks)
From: [personal profile] telegramsam
If it were me, I would go. In situations like this I think it is better to go and speak up and try to make your voice heard than to boycott and be silent or futilely shout from a distance, because that just lets the opposing site have a monopoly on the conversation.

At least that is my experience in divisive situations like that...

Date: Sunday, June 19th, 2011 04:53 pm (UTC)
nanila: me (me: ooh!)
From: [personal profile] nanila
I vote for going and making a lot of noise about how invasive and inappropriate the CRB check is for this conference.

You could even extend that to the silliness of the CRB system in general. For instance, I've been CRB-checked by Imperial so that I can interact with school-age students who come to the university to hear my outreach talk. But if I go into a school to do the same thing, that school would have to run their own CRB check for me to be allowed to interact with those students on my own. It seems like a terrible waste of money and resources to insist that a person be CRB-checked by every single institution they might wish to volunteer in.

Date: Sunday, June 19th, 2011 06:19 pm (UTC)
staceyuk: Funny Sherlock icon (Default)
From: [personal profile] staceyuk
You could even extend that to the silliness of the CRB system in general. For instance, I've been CRB-checked by Imperial so that I can interact with school-age students who come to the university to hear my outreach talk. But if I go into a school to do the same thing, that school would have to run their own CRB check for me to be allowed to interact with those students on my own. It seems like a terrible waste of money and resources to insist that a person be CRB-checked by every single institution they might wish to volunteer in.


Seconded.

Date: Sunday, June 19th, 2011 11:05 pm (UTC)
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
From: [personal profile] matgb
I've been CRB-checked by Imperial so that I can interact with school-age students who come to the university to hear my outreach talk. But if I go into a school to do the same thing, that school would have to run their own CRB check for me to be allowed to interact with those students on my own. It seems like a terrible waste of money and resources to insist that a person be CRB-checked by every single institution they might wish to volunteer in

Yes, that is in theory changing, the 'vetting and barring' scheme that had all the fuss about in 2009 was supposed to be a simple register of all those either approved or barred from working with kids, one check, you're on it and you're fine to go anywhere while on it, but...

Labour, specifically Ed Balls, really really messed it up, and despite it being a central plank of Bichard's report into the Soham mess, it's now back to the drawing board to sort it out (again).

As it happens in my former life I folloed the original legislation (Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act), workign with my local MP on it was what got me back in touch with him and then back into party politics, etc.

I'm CRB checked for my job, I've been CRB checked for previous jobs, and I'm happy to be checked repeatedly, but I'd rather not, and I really dislike the way this specific was jumped on us at short notice with a very bad explanation, even with multiple sets of questions we still don't know what's actually going on, etc.

Ah well.

Hopefully, with Lynne partially involved in sorting the mess out, we might get a sane, workable system instead of a bureacratic mess.

Date: Monday, June 20th, 2011 06:35 am (UTC)
purplecthulhu: (Default)
From: [personal profile] purplecthulhu
Interesting... And am having a serious small world moment here...

I've done quite a bit of outreach work at Imperial, but no actual lectures to school kids. I've never been asked to do a CRB by them, and if they do then the event they want it for isn't going to happen as I think the CRB process is intrusive, degrading and flawed. It wa something brought in in a hurried panic and with all such things it's bad legislation.

On this particular issue you may be right that going to this conference and ensuring such checks are forbidden in future might be a good approach, but I know some have very specific reasons for not wanting to be subject to these checks.

Meanwhile, and more pleasantly, Hi from Level 10 Blackett!

Date: Monday, June 20th, 2011 06:37 am (UTC)
purplecthulhu: (Default)
From: [personal profile] purplecthulhu
PS Am told that you don't need a CRB check for a talk as long as there is another adult in the room, so your check probably wasn't even necessary.

Date: Sunday, June 19th, 2011 06:41 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I currently have two CRB checks, and I'm far from persuaded of their value, but no-one has ever suggested that you need to be CRB checked to go to conference.

The process isn't CRB checking, it's accreditation - checking that you are who you say you are.

If the police flag up an issue that you might not really be the Jennie Rigg we know and love, the party can then decide what action, if any, to take.

Clearly that isn't a check that can be done at conference itself - once you're there the security people can only check that you are the same person who sent in the mugshot for your conference pass.

I've listened to the arguments against this, including from Dave Page who I've a lot of time for, and so far I really don't see the problem. I hand over more data than this for all sorts of things I and most people do over the Internet and the Government obviously already has my passport and driving license details.

This really isn't a big deal!

Iain Roberts

Date: Sunday, June 19th, 2011 11:34 pm (UTC)
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
From: [personal profile] matgb
I have two, key, specific, different objections.

Firstly, the way this has been announced, dealt with and explained is piss poor, there's a lot of confusion, you say it's not CRB, I've seen others saying its checks via the CRB (which makes sens as it's what it's there for). Specifically, the Reg page says that the police can refuse people. The police do not have the right according to our constitution to determine who gets to attend conference.

I, as both a voting rep and an MDO, that makes part of my job harder, I don't want to ask someone to be a sub rep (I always have to recruit at least one) only to then have them refused for reasons unknown--I'm elected by AGM as both a voting rep and as someone delegated to recruit subs, but they've changed how I do that without informing me in advance, consulting me or giving me a clear set of rules.

Secondly, I have no objection to being checked. I have an objection to finding out I need to be vetted within a week of the deadline for the early booking discount. But I know many people that have much stronger objections within the party. I know some people are specifically against any data being held on them by others (hell, a regular reader and commenter here is an elected rep, but he blocks Google from indexing his websites due to their privacy/retention problems).

The party specifically attracted many of these people, especially due to its strong, and correct, stance on ID cards. ID cards was the one issue that specifically got me back involved in electoral politics, I have a huge amount of sympathy with that.

And the way this was announced without any consideration of issues surrounding trans people, privacy activists, etc was simply awful.

Two different sets of objection, combined with a complete distrust of the security theatre that so exemplified the later Blair years, makes me very upset over the whole thing.

I don't mind being checked. But I have many friends, including well respected activists, who have some DAMN fine reasons to not want this. And I respect them a lot more than I respect the security theatre claptrap that surrounds the whole thing.

I also strongly dislike the way these specific requirements have been announced and handled, it's palpable that FCC weren't even considering many of the objections that came to me immediately I saw the first registration page.

You anticipate objections and deal with them in advance. Especially when you're dealing with politically aware activists with a history of objecting to police databases &c. Overlooking the very valid problems many trans people have is understandable but annoying. Overlooking that many many of our activists were heavily involved in No2ID and were clearly going to kick up a stink?

That's bordering on negligence.

Date: Monday, June 20th, 2011 06:44 am (UTC)
purplecthulhu: (Default)
From: [personal profile] purplecthulhu
You mean 'If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear'?

We all know what a pile of absolute fucking bullshit that is.

You're beginning to make me regret I'm not a LibDem member so that I can't tear up my membership about this.

Date: Sunday, June 19th, 2011 09:05 pm (UTC)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
From: [personal profile] rmc28
I am really unhappy about this too, and not feeling any happier about the people trotting out the "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" and "well, I don't see what the problem is, you should get over it" lines I remember from NO2ID campaigning.

Personally I will have no problem with the accreditation if the records are accurate, and if they are not, I am in a better position than many (white cis well-off Cambridge alumna ...) to make a very loud noise about it until they are corrected. I'm a bit concerned about yet another honeypot of personal data providing a nice juicy target for identity theft, but HMRC already exposed my Child Benefit registration ...

So I am going to conference to speak for those who do have something to hide and something to fear, who can't take the consequences of an error with the assurance I can.

Date: Monday, June 20th, 2011 05:49 pm (UTC)
daweaver:   (Default)
From: [personal profile] daweaver
Earlier this month, I wrote 1300 words on why the police have made a wholly illiberal and wholly wrong proposal, and one of the unintended effects is that the police end up influencing Lib Dem (and hence government) policy. I don't propose to repeat my argument in any depth here.

The bottom line is that classical Liberals tolerate the police, under some sufferance, as part of a greater social good. They will ask pointed questions: Why do the police need this information? What will they do with it? Isn't this just the police dictating who can and can't come to conference? The West Midlands Police has declined to explain why they've set these requirements. I find that lack of accountability most unsatisfactory - both as a LD party member and as a West Mids Police taxpayer.

The conference organisers say that they will have the final decision on who will attend conference. I've no doubt that they sincerely believe this. I find it difficult to conceive of circumstances under which the police say, "you should refuse this person", and the organisers decide to ignore that advice. In effect, that amounts to the police having the power of veto over delegates. And that, I think, is entirely wrong.

This year, I have the luxury of being a non-voting rep, albeit someone who is prepared to substitute in if needed. If I went, it would be to take training, beetle about on the fringes, make up the numbers so the hall doesn't look deserted, possibly - possibly - put in a speaker's card. The local party could continue to stumble on without my being there. The conference could function without me. I'm less sure I could make that last claim if I were voting.

It is awfully tempting to say that I'm not going, and raise merry hell with the ICC, city council, chamber of commerce, by telling them what income and credibility they've lost, and that they've lost from the police acting as they do. It is awfully tempting to go off and do something that is more likely to bring me happiness, without the lingering scent of selling out my principles. Equally, I recognise that these are my principles, and other people have their own.

Date: Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 10:22 am (UTC)
pseudomonas: Ostrakon against Themistocles. (ostrakon)
From: [personal profile] pseudomonas
I'm also feeling very conflicted on this. I have no intention of applying before the matter is resolved one way or the other (waiting for Andrew Wiseman to get back to me on my specific list of objections to his general waffle). I'm not a voting member, though, so my justification for going is largely selfish - and I feel I'm taking advantage of my privileged position of being able to submit to screening without much fear of negative consequences.

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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.



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