National launch of Labour Business LFIG
I spoke alongside Tom Watson, Angela Eagle, Seema Malhotra, Bill Esterson and Anthony Watson at the launch of Labour Business, which is the new name for the Labour Finance and Industry Group (LFIG) which is the largest and oldest and only business group affiliated to the Party as one of its 22 socialist societies. The event was attended by about 100 business leaders, trade unionists, Parliamentarians and Councillors.
Black List Support Group 11th
I joined blacklisted workers outside the High Court celebrating their legal victory against the major construction firms. I chaired the first ever meeting of the Blacklist Support Group back in 2009 with less than 10 people present – but now we have won a famous victory as companies forced to pay compensation. However “compensation is one thing, justice is another”
Construction firms at the centre of the blacklisting conspiracy were forced to make a grovelling apology “for the distress and anxiety caused to workers and their families”. A six page agreed statement (attached) was read in open court which reads like a history of blacklisting in construction from the 1960s, covering the covert operations of the ‘Services Group’ within the notorious Economic League until the discovery of The Consulting Association blacklist in 2009. Senior company directors including Cullum McAlpine are named in the statement which ends with an apology from the firms.
While welcoming the agreed statement for putting on public record the shameful activities that have tarnished the reputation of an entire industry, blacklisted workers remain extremely sceptical about how genuine the apology really is. Even now the firms cannot bring themselves to use the toxic word ‘blacklisting’, despite the British Parliament passing the Blacklist Regulations 2010 in order to outlaw the disgraceful practice as a direct response to the Consulting Association scandal.
All Our Welfare Book Launch
I took part in an exciting discussion and panel debate about the future of the welfare state at the launch of Peter Beresford’s challenging and valuable rethink of the welfare state: All Our Welfare: Towards a participatory social policy. Other panel members included, Julia Unwin CEO of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown who wrote the foreword, Suzy Croft a long term palliative care social worker and Peter Bereford.
Digital Charter Rights Launch 12th
A cross-party campaign for the People’s Charter of Digital Liberties was launched in Committee Room 16 at the Houses of Parliament. The campaign for the People’s Charter of Digital Liberties emerged from the 23rd March 2015 People’s Parliament/Cybersalon about Snowden’s NSA/GCHQ revelations. During the evening, both the panel and the audience repeatedly stressed that the NSA/GCHQ’s mass surveillance was an infringement of our human rights. Inspired by this insistence, Cybersalon began the process which would lead to this campaign for the People’s Charter of Digital Liberties.
Autism Equality in the workplace book launch
I attended Janine Booth’s launch of her excellent book Autism Equality in the workplace at the ex-Services Club, Harvey Road, Leytonstone E11. At the meeting I announced a neurodiversity shadow minister would be implemented to ensure these issue were given the same prominence as tackling racial and sexual discrimination following I received an email from Monique Craine. We want to represent the whole of society fairly. At the moment we are focusing on LGBT, we’re focusing on women, we’re focusing on race, etc. But what about neurological diversity as well? And I think that’s come on to the agenda.
Speech on EU at TUC 17th
At the TUC I set out the vision of Europe I have – a vision based on hope and solidarity. One where we protect and advance worker’s rights, get to grips with climate change, protect our industries like steel and reform the institutions of the EU from a position of strength as a Labour Party in the EU and set out the progressive case for remaining in the EU.
Mirror EU Referendum Debate
I took part in the Mirror EU Debate with Nigel Farage and Peter Mandelson among the guests to put forward the vision for Britain and Europe where we protect workers’ rights, tackle tax avoidance, get to grips with climate change and protect our industries like steel.
UCATT National Conference 19th
At UCATT’s National Conference in Scarborough I spoke about how when Labour are in power we will tackle tax avoidance and evasion and invest in skills for jobs. I pledged that the next Labour Government will take action to tackle umbrella company exploitation. I believe umbrella companies should be scrapped. I also informed conference that I will ask a team of experts in “employment and company law” to fully examine all of the issues surrounding umbrella companies and to develop detailed policies to tackle this form of exploitative contract.
TUC’s Disabled Workers Conference 20th
I addressed delegates on the second day of the TUC’s disabled Workers Conference and took questions from the floor. I was pleased to endorse the manifesto for Disability Equality and urged support for the DPAC Campaign over the coming year.
Verasaikhi Fundraising Event
I attended the Hillingdon Sikh Welfare Association fundraising Versaikhi celebration. It was great fun. I am proud to say that we have worked together for 20 years. I especially thanked Mr Jasuir Rayat, a key founding member of the group.
Annual State of the Economy Conference at the Imperial College London 21st
I made the opening speech to the 800 delegates at our first Economic Conference setting out our radical reforms to surpass even the Atlee government. The party will revive plans for rent controls and urge councils to follow the lead of areas like Manchester to offer cheap, local authority-backed mortgages, Labour would make it a mission to ensure families and young people on ordinary incomes aren’t locked out of home-ownership as they are under the Tories. I also announced plans for a mayors’ economic forum to allow the elected local leaders to share ideas along with a new economic and innovation forum to bring together businesses, unions and government.
This was followed by a keynote speech from Ha-Joon Chang talking about a balanced and sustainable economy. There were 5 workshops in the morning – What would a fair tax system look like, Europe, Britain and the economic challenges ahead, Economics within a carbon budget, Alternative models of ownership and a finance sector fit for purpose.