John’s Monthly Newsletter August and September 2019
Below is a brief summary of just some of my activities locally and in Parliament in the last month.
North Hyde Road GP Practice 31th
I visited North Hyde Road GP Practice, which has grown significantly since I opened it 18 years ago. The practice was successful it securing a grant to expand and improve the current premises to create more space, parking and improve the overall quality of the GP Practice to ensure they can provide the best care to patients and to offer more services in the community meaning patients do not need to attend hospital. The practice is however, struggling to secure planning approval to go ahead with the expansion. I am helping all I can.
Harland and Wolff Shipyard 5th
On a visit to Northern Ireland I was pleased to be able to express my solidarity with workers at Harland and Wolff Shipyard. The jobs that are being sacrificed are needed by the workers and by the community. These skills are needed for the future. I called on Boris Johnson to act like a Prime minister and nationalise the yard to stabilise it and protect these jobs, skills and capacity for the long term future of the area.
The annual James Connolly lecture at Féile an Phobail.
I spoke at the James Connolly Lectures about public Ownership, restoring Trade Union rights, Industrial democracy, universal basic services, a fairer taxation system, ending privatisation, the green industrial revolution and of course Labour’s rejection of a no deal Brexit. A video of my speech can be viewed here
In Conversation with Graham Spires and Ian Dale 7th
I did two “in conversation” events at the Edinburgh Festival talking about Labour’s policies and the society we aim to create.
Memorial Service for Jit Singh Kamboj 28th
I attended the memorial service of my neighbour Jit Singh Kamboj. Jit was one of the very first Indians to move to Hayes and has lived in Acacia Avenue since 1961. He will be sadly missed by our community.
Protest against suspension of Parliament 28th
I spoke at the “Stop the Coup” Demonstration outside Parliament. Whatever side you are on in the Brexit debate the message is simple. In a democracy MPs are allowed to debate and disagree, vote and take a decision. In closing down Parliament the Prime Minister has effectively closed down democracy. A clip can be viewed here
Pre-spending Review 29th
In my pre-spending review speech in Parliament I criticised the Government’s approach as an exercise in crude electioneering based upon opinion poll politics. It’s no longer about long term planning and economic management. When in Government labour will undertake a 5year spending review. The full speech can be seen here
Spending Review 2019 4th
In my response to the Chancellor’s spending review I highlighted that this was not a spending review as we know it. The Tories have checked the top three or four issues in the polls and cynically judged just how little money they have to throw around to try and neutralise the concerns people have about those issues. To come to the chamber and then try to fool MPs with references to people’s priorities is beyond irony. We have had austerity for 9 years.
A full fiscal event would have meant new economic forecasts, the need for a fiscal framework to give departments security over the Parliament allowing them to plan ahead after years of cuts. Instead we got this sham of a Spending Review. My full response can be viewed here
I spoke with Robert Peston about Brexit and a possible General Election. I explained that we did not vote for a general election as it would hand the date of the General Election to the Prime Minister and risk him imposing a No Deal Brexit. The most important issue at present is to stop a no-deal Brexit going through.
Community Wealth Building conference 7th
I was delighted to chair a Community Wealth Building Conference at the Botwell Social Centre in Hayes. We had fantastic presentations from Andrew Gwynne MP, Cllr Matthew Brown, Leader of Preston Council, Heather Wetzel LVT, Murad Qureshi London Assembly, and Ali Milani PPC
We had a good discussion about the impact of austerity on our towns and what tools and policies we need to rebuild our local economies, and heard from Matthew Brown what can be done when communities, anchor organisations & councils work together.
The Marr Show 8th
I spoke with Andrew Marr about a No deal Brexit, General Election, a Scottish referendum and the exploration of a right to buy for private tenants living in ‘buy to let’ properties. I set out Labour’s position on Brexit in that all our efforts at present are to prevent a no-deal Brexit because it would be so damaging for the living standards of people in this Country. After a General Election and Labour are in government and a deal has been negotiated with the EU that Parliament is willing to agree we will then put that proposal to the people in a referendum with the option of accepting the deal or remaining in the EU.
John Bercow’s resignation as Speaker of the House of Commons 9th
John Bercow received a standing ovation from MPs, as he announced his intention to stand down as House of Commons Speaker. He will go down in history as one of our greatest Speakers for the role he has played in securing the rights of Parliament whilst modernising its procedures. He has courageously stood firm in the face of abuse and attempts at bullying by this government & his own party.
Bromley Central Library Picket Line 10th
I a message of solidarity to the strikers on the picket line at Bromley Central Library. The staff are on indefinite strike, and have been out for 12 weeks so far. They are low paid, mainly women, who are having ever larger workloads placed on them, with no compensation whatsoever.
Brent Friends of the Earth 11th
I spoke at Brent Friends of the Earth Green Jobs meeting at the Bridge Park Community and Leisure Centre, about Labour’s programme for a Green New Deal, and the place of environmentalism and sustainability in any industrial strategy.
Making the UK a Citadel of Long-Term Finance 12th
I spoke at the event hosted by the Progressive Economy Forum and Stamp Out Poverty at the Birkbeck University. I was joined by Dr Sue Konzelmann, Professor Avinash Persuad, Professor Stephany Griffith-Jones and David Hillman. The discussion focused on Financial Transaction Taxes.
The cost of the bank bailouts following the 2008 financial crisis is estimated at seven trillion dollars. Yet little has been done since then to mitigate the risks of a future crash, or to reimburse the public purse for the loss.
The Financial Transaction Tax (FTT), also known as the Robin Hood Tax, is a small charge on the purchase of financial assets like shares, bonds and derivatives. These transactions are largely carried out by the banks as opposed to individuals. This policy aims to raise capital to invest in UK skills and public services and change behaviour in the financial sector to reduce the risk of future crises. We are the fifth largest economy in the world, but we can’t feed our people, can’t house them, can’t care for them. We need long term, large-scale investment in our economy and society.
Scottish Labour Conference in Glasgow 13th
I spoke at the Scottlish Labour Forum in Glasgow, about the fact that tackling austerity and poverty should be a higher priority than more constitutional wrangling. I outlined a radical shake-up of the economy at the heart of Labour’s campaign in the looming general election, and confirmed that Scotland would get an additional £3billion when labour are in Government. The full speech can be read here
On Pienaar’s Politics I spoke about Barclay’s, (SoS Brexit) slip that the government is looking at a very long Brexit transition period to 2022. Looks like Johnson’s bluster about a clean break is morphing into BRINO, Brexit in Name Only.
RNP BBQ fundraiser
I attended the BBQ Fundraiser in Eastcote and spoke about the policies Labour would be advocating in the next general election.
John Chatt’s funeral – 20th
I attended Cllr Chatt’s funeral at South West Middlesex Crematorium. John was an ardent socialist, good friend and excellent councillor.
Labour Party Conference 21st – 24th
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 Labour’s commitments to introduce a universal basic service, personal care free at the point of use in England, eliminate in work poverty within our first term, reduce the full time working week to 32 hours within the next decade and meet our climate change obligations, was well received by delegates and party members. It can be viewed here
There were excellent speeches and announcements from, amongst others, Dawn Butler, Angela Rayner, Jonathan Ashworth, Richard Burgon and Rebecca Bailey setting out our vision for society with a Labour Government.
On Tuesday The Supreme Court announced its ruling that Boris Johnson’s lengthy prorogation of parliament was “unlawful, void and of no effect”. As a result MPs were recalled to Parliament on Wednesday which was the last day of conference. Jeremy’s rousing speech was thus brought forward to Tuesday evening.
Return to Parliament 24th
The day after the Supreme Court judgement I returned to Parliament and each day we have used Parliament to hold the Government to account and especially to secure more information on the Government’s Brexit plans.