John’s Monthly Newsletter September 2018
Below is a brief summary of just some of my activities locally and in Parliament in the last month.
Burston Strike School Rally 2nd
I joined Mick Cash, Mark Serwotka, Gail Cartmail, and hundreds of trade unionists on the village green at Burston, near Diss, Norfolk to commemorate the longest strike in history. In April 1914 teachers Tom and Annie Higdon were dismissed from their posts in the village school. 66 children went on strike and school was boycotted for the next 25 years. The strike school is recognised as an emblem of the Labour movement. Trade unionists donated money to build it and the names of their societies are carved into its stonework
I joined rail campaigners protesting against hikes in ticket prices at Dover Priory Station as part of a national Labour Party campaign to demand more reasonable prices and better services.
A Labour government will renationalise rail services as the franchises ended or failed. The way that we’ll pay for the investment and the cap on fares is that we’ll end the profiteering. All those profits that go into the pockets of people like Branson and Virgin and the other profiteers, we’ll end that leeching of money out of the service and we’ll invest that money. What’s interesting is that there are parts of our railway system that are nationalised by the French the Dutch and others and the profits they are making in this country are going back home to subsidise fares in their own country.
I was proud to join workers fighting for a real living wage for cleaners, security and all outsourced staff at the Ministry of Justice + Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy alongside Richard Burgen and Rebecca Long-Bailey.
Labour Democracy Reception 5th
I spoke at Labour Democracy Reception for members of the Parliamentary Labour Party Discussion about Proportional Representation. Twenty eight Constituency Labour Parties have now passed motions calling for PR at Westminster. Polling has found that over three quarters of Labour voters would support a commitment to this policy in the Labour manifesto. And there are now more than eighty Labour MPs who have said they support PR for the House of Commons.
Lynda Dyers Funeral 7th
Tragically Lynda Dyers passed away this month. Lynda has worked with us on numerous community projects including the Hillingdon Play Association, the Council and local scouts and guide groups. She will be missed by us all.
Mick Woods’ Commemoration
Mick was our local GLC campaign co-ordinator during the GLC anti-abolition campaign and rate capping campaign in the 1980s. A superb socialist. I was proud to speak at his memorial event.
The Road to rebuilding the economy: Broxtowe 8th
Broxtowe was the next stop on our tour around the Country in which we are discussing the development of our manifesto for the next election from the grass roots up. Cllr Greg Marshall PPC and Cllr Steve Battlemuch spoke about the local economy, Peter Dowd set out the national Transformation Fund, Rebecca Long-Bailey spoke about the Industrial Strategy and Cllr Matthew Browne spoke about Community Wealth building.
In small groups we discussed how we can develop the policies that will transform Broxtowe’s local economy because it’s been hit hard by austerity over the past 8 years and the infrastructure that’s needed in skills and education services and our public services.
Community Fun Day
I attended the community fun day organised by the Islamic Centre and DASH at Hayes Cricket Club. Despite the rain, the day brightened up and it was a great success.
The Institute of Employment Rights 9th
I spoke at the Institute of Employment Rights fringe meeting at the Trade Union Congress alongside John Hendy QC, Keith Ewing and Carolyn Jones. I told delagates that Labour is ready to hit the ground running with a programme to irreversibly shift power and wealth to working people. The party will bring water, transport, postal services and energy into public ownership because “we don’t want people being ripped off the way they are at the moment. We will double the size of the co-operative sector and legislate to make companies distribute shares to their workforce, “not individually but on a collective basis, so that over time workers would come to own companies and the economy would be democratised.
Treasury Questions 11th
I called on the Chancellor to show some leadership and make it clear to his colleagues he will not accept a no deal on Brexit. The Chancellor has a critical role to play in bringing some rationality to this debate. The Treasury has calculated that no deal could result in the UK’s GDP being over 10% smaller. The CBI is warning of a “catastrophe”, the National Farmers Union says it would be “an Armageddon scenario”, and, according to the TUC, a no deal Brexit would be “devastating for working people”. With only weeks to go until a Brexit deal has to be agreed, still no answers from the Chancellor on what a no deal Brexit would mean for jobs, wages and living standards.
Trade Union Congress 11th
At the TUC conference I set out Labour’s plans to guarantee millions working in the gig economy and insecure jobs the same rights to sick pay, parental leave and protections at work as the rest of us.
ESA Fatalities Discussion 12th
I hosted a roundtable discussion with MPs and activists to explore and identify the wider impact of the Government’s ESA policies on the economy and society. Research from Liverpool University was presented showing the large scale increase in suicides associated with the Government’s attack on support for disabled people.
Campaign to ‘Change Finance’ 15th
I spoke at the demonstration outside the bank of England on the 10th anniversary of the Lehman’s collapse which was recognised by many as the start of the financial crisis. The lesson of the crisis is to never let the finance sector become the masters of the economy when they should be the servants of the economy. When in Government we will tackle the issue of tax evasion and tax avoidance. We’ll use the resources from the city and a fair taxation system to invest in education, the NHS, the environment, the jobs we need to restore and rebuild the social fabric of our society that has been destroyed.
Campaign Rally in Chingford and Woodford Green
I spoke at the Chingford and Woodford Green rally as part of their 2 day festival building support for the new Labour candidate, Faiza Shaheen. There was a great turnout of activists – Labour Party members – teachers, nurses, artists, solicitors, hospitality workers, old & young, people with disabilities – coming together and fighting for change.
Hayes Canal Festival 16th
The Hayes Canal Festival was a great community event. There was a Great turnout and fantastic range of activities for whole community. Lovely to see people really enjoying themselves.
Co-op Report Implementation Group 18th
I have brought together a group of experts from the co-operative sector and the Co-op Party to develop the detailed plans for doubling the size of the co-op sector in this country.
Skidelsky Lecture 19th
I spoke at the Skidelsky Lecture at King’s College London about how Lord Skidelsky’s recently published book – Money and Government: A Challenge to Mainstream Economics links with Labour’s emerging radical policy platform. Robert Skidelsky expanded on the main theme of his book and how Keynes’s ideas can help us solve the economic and political problems of today.
Labour Party Conference
The Labour Party Conference was a great success, attended by over 13,000 Labour Party members. My itinerary was packed as usual speaking at many fringe meetings. My speech on Monday, in which I set out the economic groundwork needed for the next Labour Government, was well received by delegates and party members. It can be viewed below.