John’s Monthly Newsletter October 2018
Below is a brief summary of just some of my activities locally and in Parliament in the last month.
Marx Memorial Library Lecture 2nd
I was honoured to be elected Vice President of the Marx Memorial Library. Following the election, I delivered a lecture on the Economic Policy of the Labour Party to a packed lecture theatre at the Library. After the meeting, which was chaired by Islington Councillor and MML trustee Claudia Webbe, I addressed a crowd outside the venue, who were unable to be seated inside. We are now a mass movement again… this is one of the most exciting periods for the socialist movement that we’ve had in this country since the end of the Second World War’.
Heathrow Judicial Review 4th
I joined my constituents and environmental campaigners outside the High Court to support the legal challenge against the Government’s plan for a 3rd runway at Heathrow. We were successful and a full High Court hearing will take place in March next year.
Bakers Rally Leicester Square 4th
I joined the striking fast food workers in Leicester Square to give my solidarity to the campaign and my support to the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union – BFAWU.
Labour stands with all those striking today for a wage they can live on and for protections at work. The next Labour government will protect worker’s rights from day one, introduce a £10 an hour living wage and give workers a share in their companies. I was pleased that Ali Millani, our PPC for Uxbridge joined us in support of this action.
Carnival meeting 5th
We held our carnival committee meeting with Hillingdon carnival officers to review this year’s carnival and to plan the carnival for 2019.
Pudsey Town Seminar 6th
Pudsey 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. Mohammed Taj, Sarah Woolley, Cllr Judith Blake and Jane Aitchison spoke about the decline of the local economy over the last decade. Ted Howard, spoke about how Community Wealth building turned the local economy around in Cleaveland, USA and ways in which that model had been adopted in Preston.
In small groups we discussed how we can develop the policies that will transform Pudsey’s local economy including community transport, insourcing by large employers, the use of pension funds to invest in the local infrastructure.
Interview with Sophie Ridge 7th
In Response to Sophie’s question about Ridge question about Sir Richard Dearlove’s being troubled by Jeremy Corbyn’s past accusations I said that I think the former head of MI6 should ‘spend his retirement with a bit of humility’ in quiet contemplation of the role he played with regard to the Iraq war.’ We also spoke about the alleged end of austerity which has been announced this week for the third time and it’s not yet happened. At the same time we find out that members of the cabinet are being briefed that families will loose £200 per month on Universal Credit.
PPC Launch Meeting in Finchley and Golders Green 11th
I participated in a question and Answer debate with Jenny Manson at the launch of her campaign to become labour’s Prospective parliamentary Candidate for Finchley and Golders Green constituency. Jenny is a good friend and will make an excellent candidate. She is a fine socialist and a splendid advocate on behalf of our movement.
Hayes Job centre 12th
I visited hayes Job Cenre to meet the staff and discuss the local DWP service, especially in the light of the roll out of Universal Credit in our area. Helen Lowder and I discussed with the office managers how we can assist in supporting constituents.
FBU Centenary Commemorative Event 13th
I attended a special Centenary Memorial and Commemorative Service at Southwark Cathedral to honour the men and women who have served the public, shaped the modern fore and rescue service over the past 100 years, especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. It was a very moving service. I was the founder of the FBU group of MPs and have been proud to support the firefighters union over the years.
London Film Festival 14th
I attended the showing of the film the Lucas Aerospace Plan, and spoke on the discussion panel. The plan is an example of how workers themselves can develop alternative technologies to secure jobs and the economy.
Hari Singh Book launch 16th
Looking Back with Delight: A Memoir. I wrote an introduction to Hari Singh’s biography and was pleased to speak at its launch in Parliament. Hari is a constituent and strong supporter.
Hayes Park School visit to parliament 17th
A group of students from Hayes Park School years 3,4,5,and 6 came to visit Parliament. After a tour of the Palace of Westminster I caught up with them in the education centre. We had a lively discussion about local issues, the role of an MP and how Parliament works.
Interview with Robert Peston 17th
I spoke with Robert Peston about the anger that has arisen after the Brexit Secretary suggested the choice on Brexit will simply be a take it or leave it. By trying to deny MPs a meaningful vote on their Brexit deal May and Raab have blundered into turning this issue into a fundamental question of parliamentary sovereignty and democracy in our country. Any self respecting MP would never allow this to happen. We will not accept a no deal Brexit and we will not allow the Prime Minister to undermine the sovereignty of Parliament to save her own skin.
Gloucester New Economy Conference18th
I spent the morning in Gloucester with Fran Boait, Parliamentary Candidate for Gloucester witnessing the devastating effect austerity is having upon the local high streets and residents. So many empty shopfronts. In the afternoon I spoke to a packed audience about Labour’s plans for ‘a new economy for the many’ at Gloucester’s New Economy Conference.
Friends of Lake Farm
I chaired the Friends meeting at which we discussed the maintenance of the park, the development of the BMX facilities and our next volunteers day planting new trees.
Apple Day and Macmillan Coffee Morning 20th
I attended the Apple Day and Macmillan Coffee Morning hosted by the Friends of Cranford park. As well as enjoying apple juice pressed from local apples in the secret garden there was a short ‘walk and talk’ in the Community Orchard. There were lots of other activities including a display of apple juicing and an apple peeling competition.
Stand Up To Racism International Conference 20th
I spoke in the afternoon plenary ‘Building a movement Against the Far Right Racism’ at the Stand Up To Racism International Conference. Following the Windrush scandal, this conference gave delegates the opportunity to discuss joint work in challenging the government’s inhumane ‘hostile environment’ strategy which has caused suffering to communities across Britain, and the institutional racism made apparent by continued deaths in police custody and lack of justice & housing for survivors of Grenfell.
Pre budget speech at Bloomberg 25th
I used my pre-budget speech to talk about the catastrophic failure of the Tory party to manage the economy over the past 8 years. We need a change of Government. Labour stands ready to form a Government and I stand ready to bring forward a Labour budget that will create the prosperous and fair sustainable economic settlement that we need.
Russell Group Board 25th
I spoke with the Executive meeting of the Russell Group Board about how universities fit into Labour’s overall economic vision and their role in knowledge economy. Members were very concerned about post-Brexit continued membership of E U Funding programmes, access to staff and ability to attract talented students from around the world to ‘grow our share of the global market’.
Andrew Marr Show 28th
click here to hear my interview with Andrew Marr about starting the process of reversing austerity when labour are in Government.
The Chancellor, Philip Hammond’s autumn budget gave Increases in the personal allowance threshold and the higher rate income tax threshold. In response Labour supported the allocation of additional tax benefits to middle and low earners but set out our own tax plans in which the top 5% of earners will pay more but 95% will be protected. The so-called national living wage is still well below the real living wage. Schools were given £400m for “little extras”. Potholes, on the other hand, got a £420m boost, while public transport remains underfunded. It is expected that the Home Office and Ministry of Justice will continue to suffer deep cuts, and Universal Credit is going nowhere despite heavy criticism from users and benefit experts. Local government, where arguably funding is most needed in order to restore the health of frontline services, was forgotten.
click here to view my video of the failures of the Tory budget.
Response to the Budget 30th
Four weeks ago the Prime Minister promised to end austerity. She raised people’s hopes. She raised the hopes of teachers that they’d no longer have to rely on begging letters to parents to fund the running of their schools. She raised the hopes of police officers that the safer neighbourhood teams would return to tackle the scourge of the rise in violent crime. She raised the hopes of local councillors that they would have the resources to support local families in need at a time when a record number of children have been taken into care.
Those hopes were dashed. At best, they got what the chancellor described as ‘little extras’. No wonder there are so many teachers, police officers, local councillors who feel bitterly disappointed at the Prime Minister’s broken promise. Yesterday’s budget was not the end of austerity. Even with yesterday’s budget, two thirds of the planned welfare benefit cuts will still be rolled out.
A short video clip and my full speech can be viewed here
Bloomberg post-Budget briefing 31st
I undertook my usual post budget briefing in which we exposed that austerity is not over but continuing a pace. This will result in continuing low wages, stagnating business investment and low productivity.
Youth Work Summit 31st
I spoke at the youth Work Summit in Portcullis House which was hosted by National Youth Agency which was attended by over 130 organisations and leading practitioners from the youth work sector. It is a critical time for youth work in the face of immense challenges from austerity and cuts to youth services and loss of many youth workers, yet there is increased public awareness and demand for strong youth services – including somewhere to go and something to do for young people in communities – as a result of the crisis in knife crime, mental health and loneliness in particular.