John’s Monthly newsletter October 2016
Below is a brief summary of just some of my activities locally and in Parliament in the last month.
Bank of England 3rd
We held our regular meeting between the Shadow Treasury Team and Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England. This is a confidential discussion but a general discussion about the economy, its prospects and the role of the Bank of England. It’s always a constructive discussion and we’ve had a good working relationship with Mark Carney as the Governor. It is my view that he should remain in his position until he chooses to leave. I know there is speculation as to whether he will leave early. I hope he stays on.
RSB Meeting 3rd
I met with the Chief Executive and officials of the Royal Bank of Scotland to discuss a range of individual cases that have been brought my attention by MPs and to discuss the general approach of RBS to deal with some of the problems that have been identified about the treatment of their customers. A particular issue I raised was the Butterfields Estate where the RBS was funding the sale of the estate which would eventually lead to a number of the residents there losing their homes. I sought to maximise the pressure on RBS to ensure there was a settlement that would enable the resident to remain within their homes at a decent rent.
Care not Cash Book launch 4th
I spoke at the book launch of “Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state” at the Wesley Euston Hotel alongside Professor Peter Beresford and the author Mo Stewart. In her book Mo peels back the layers of deception, and the confused thinking that underpins the destruction of social support for disabled people. She highlights how some of those assessed as fit for work died just afterwards, others died later and some committed suicide. She shows where and how the policies originated and destroys all claims that they were based on solid research.
Celebration of the greatest festival "Dashain" 8th
I was delighted to participate with the Hillingdon Gurkha Nepalese Community in their Celebration of the greatest festival "Dashain" and 10th Anniversary of the community at the Botwell Social Centre.
Red Shed - Wakefield 9th
I spoke at the Red Shed, Wakefield’s Labour Club about the tax system, explaining that if every organisation paid its way through the tax system that money would be available for public services. The tax avoidance system in this country is scandalous and a fairer settlement for Local Government was needed to provide the services required for the growing number of elderly and needs of disabled people. I also outlined plans to include labour’s 600,000 members in creating policy. I was very pleased to receive a Red Shed T shirt and Glass.
'Creating Freedom' Book Launch 10th
I attended an unmissable evening with the artist and award-winning filmmaker Raoul Martinez who explored how to change the world and reclaim the ideal of freedom which he contends in his major new book, Creating Freedom, has been lost with free will, free markets, free media and free election being just myths .
In this conversation Raoul talked about on economics, philosophy, politics, criminology, psychology and environmentalism, as a way we can reshape our world and regain our lost freedom.
Greater London Pensioners Association 11th
I spoke at the Pensioners meeting about Labour’s anti-austerity campaign and the impact Tory policies were having on our pensioners.
Launch of RMT Seafarers Campaign 12th
I supported the launch of RMT’s campaign to reverse the decline in UK seafarers since the 1980s. The SOS 2020 campaign is demanding action from Government and industry to address the ageing workforce, inferior employment and equality rights, lack of Ratings training and de-regulated shipping registers which are driving the crisis in seafarer jobs and skills in the UK.
Improving the UK refractive surgery standards public engagement session 12th
I attended this meeting with Sasha Rodoy, a longstanding campaigner calling for the UK government to regulate the refractive eye surgery industry. The meeting was chaired by Bruce Allan, Chair of the College’s Refractive Surgery Standards Working Group. The discussion focused on the feasibility of addressing two additional goals for UK refractive surgery - Developing A national data set and an improved system of redress.
Sheffield TUC 14th
I spoke at the launch meeting of Sheffield TUC "Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise Campaign". Sheffield was recently exposed in an important research document as being the lowest paid major city in the country. Minimum wage and zero hours contracts are at such a level that Sheffield would benefit from the Living Wage applying to all workers more than anywhere else in the country. I congratulate Sheffield TUC for realising it must take the responsibility for leading a fightback against the low wage, non-unionised labour market in their city.
Stand up for Labour 16th
I spoke at a fundraiser for Brentford & Isleworth and Ealing Central & Acton CLPs at the Questors Theatre in Ealing alongside Ruth Cadbury and Rupa Huq. We were very well entertained by Jeremy Hardy, Norman Lovett and Shappi Khorsandi. A great evening and hopefully lots on money raised.
I, Daniel Blake 18th
I was very proud to be invited to the anti” premiere of Ken Loach’s amazing film I, DANIEL BLAKE at the Leicester Square Vue. This heart rending film exposes the treatment of people who are unfortunate enough to lose their jobs or in search of housing. It demonstrates the brutality of the existing system and the need for reform in particular the way in which people with disabilities are treated. We are calling for the scrapping of the work capability assessment which we know now from independent research has resulted in 590 suicides with thousands more suffering as a result of the loss of benefits from sanctions. We are also calling for the scrapping of the government’s proposals of cutting £30 per week from employment allowance recipients.
Lake Farm Academy 20th
I attended the friends of Lake Farm meeting in which we discussed the future of the park and our concerns about the lack of protection for the park in the future. In particular an area next to the new school which we are worried might well be built upon resulting in further erosion of the park and green belt within our area. This is an issue the Friends of lake Farm will be taking up in the future to protect our open space.
Walkabout in East Avenue 21st
I undertook a walk about in East Avenue to meet with local residents and talk about some of the issues of concern within the area. There were real problems with refuse collection and street cleaning. These are the issues I will be working on with the local ward councillors to ensure the Council fulfils its duties in keeping the area clean.
Labour Assembly Against Austerity' 22nd
I spoke in the closing plenary at Labour Assembly Against Austerity's 3rd conference which was held at Student Central (previously ULU) about It's only Labour's economic vision that can create the high-skill, high-wage, high-investment economy of the 21st centuryIt's only Labour's economic vision that can create the high-skill, high-wage, high-investment economy of the 21st centuryIt's only Labour's economic vision that can create the high-skill, high-wage, high-investment economy of the 21st centuryLabor’s economic vision that will create the high-skill, high-wage, high-investment economy of the 21st century
Canal Tow Path Consultation 23rd
The Canal waterways trust have undertaken a survey on the future of toe paths along the canal in Hillingdon. I am concerned that we ensure there is proper investment along the toe paths in Hayes. We are now attracting more and more boats which are mooring informally within Hayes Town Centre and I continue my campaign to establish residential moorings within the area. I am also campaigning to guarantee there are proper mooring rings at the Ballymore mooring so that we can ensure more barges moor within the area which not only improves the visual outlook for local residents but also increases security.
Treasury Questions 25th
During Tresuary qustions I asked the Chancellor to clarify his Department’s exact calculation of the outlook for public finances if access to the single market is not achieved? Philip Hammond’s response concluded that we will have to wait until 23 November when the Office for Budget Responsibility will publish its forecast. This once again proves that far from fixing the roof while the sun shone, this country was scandalously economically ill-prepared and politically totally unprepared for the Brexit decision.
Brexit Speech 28th
I gave a keynote speech at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) in London, where I said that only a Labour Government can make an economic success of Brexit, as the Conservatives are not prepared to do the economic heavy lifting that is required to prepare our economy for leaving the EU. British people did not vote for a “Bankers’ Brexit”, which is all the Tories are offering as they look to cut special sweetheart deals for big business and bankers, whilst ignoring manufacturers and SMEs.
I also set out our economic plans to rebuild and transform Britain, so that no one and no community is left behind, by taking back the economic levers of power that the EU currently have at their disposal, such as the reform of state aid rules and an end to enforced privatisation and deregulation, as part of the negotiations for a new relationship with the EU.
During the speech I must have been thinking about my once a week cooked English breakfast that I’m allowed under my diet regime and I mistakingly referred to a chaotic breakfast instead of chaotic BREXIT. Needless to say that this was taken up by some of the media and it has now appeared on several TV Programmes. At least the speech made some people laugh and I have to admit I really enjoyed the joke.
Red Flag Rally – Nottinghamshire National Union of Miners 28th
I spoke at the Red Flag Rally which was held at the Festival Hall in Ashfield. The main focus of the rally was the miners’ pension’s debacle that was first brought up in the form of a motion at an LRC meeting back in 2007. Nottingham NUM has tirelessly campaigned on this issue along with the National union for a renegotiation of the terms of the scheme.
East Midlands Labour Regional Conference in Derby 29th
I pledged that Labour could invest up to £19.5 billion in the East Midlands when I addressed Labour’s East Midlands Regional Conference in Derby. The package forms part of Labour’s proposals for a £500bn investment boost for the whole country, bringing jobs and growth to every region and backed up with a new National Investment Bank and network of regional banks.
The extension of Nottinghamshire’s Robin Hood Line would be one of the first projects Labour would invest in alongside many other much needed transport improvements across the region. We want to see long-term patient investment to create the jobs of the future in new technologies, renewable energy and in transport infrastructure fit for the 21st century. This funding boost for the East Midlands would go to the areas that need it most so that no-one and no community is left behind.
Labour Representational Committee Conference 29th
I was elected president of the LRC, a position I am proud to hold, at the annual conference. I outlined in my speech the economic issues that are facing the Country and also the economic programme that we are developing in the Labour Party to confront the next election. My views is that the election could come as early as May and as a result of that we need to ensure we have our economic programme ready to campaign on in the coming months. We need to convince people that we have the credibility to manage the economy effectively in the interests of all people. I also emphasised the fact that the Governments own position with regard to BREXIT was falling apart rapidly as individual Government Ministers in cabinet were falling out and that Theresa May was having difficulty not just controlling individual ministers but actually getting on top of the brief and setting out a vision for our future relationship with Europe.
Mitzvah Day 31st
Mitzvah day is a day in which the Jewish community comes together to work with other members of the community. It’s a wonderful celebration of joint community activity addressing some of the concerns that people have within our society and how we can all work together to tackle these issues. I was pleased Mitzvah Day this year was celebrated by individuals making cupcakes. I made a cup cake in red blue and yellow which I thought would emphasise the cross party nature of the event but I ensured there was a red rose on top.
3rd Runway meeting at Heathrow School 31st
As a result of the announcement of the Governments proposals to build a third runway at Heathrow which will devastate our local community, I convened a meeting of over 200 local residents. We planned firstly, how we continue our campaign in opposition to the development of the third runway and then how we link up with the Local Authorities and others who will be mounting a legal challenge against the Governments decisions. How we participate in the consultations that will take place over the next year and how we would mobilise opposition in Parliament and elsewhere to make sure that whenever a vote comes on the future of Heathrow we will prevent a third runway going ahead. I am absolutely confident that yet again we will be able to beat Heathrow Airport’s proposal in the Courts and also politically as a result of the campaigning pressure that we will exert as a community seeking to preserve its villages and homes but also mobilising the widespread green movement on the issue of climate change.