John’s Monthly Newsletter January 2020
I wish everyone a Happy and Peaceful New Year. Though sadly Labour is not in government we still have a vital role to play in 2020, working in all our communities to support those still facing the harsh realities of our system and to build the social movement for change.
Below is a brief summary of just some of my activities locally and in Parliament in the last month.
No War with Iran project 4th
I spoke at this demonstration in solidarity with all those seeking to prevent yet another war in the Middle East. We have been here 17 years ago. If there was one lesson that came from those events is that violence begets violence and is was acts like this that led us to the catastrophic was in Iraq that cost estimates of between half a million and one million lives.
We expect our Government to come out in total and outright condemnation of this act of violence. Johnson must inform Trump that the UK will not support a war against Iran. A clip and be viewed here
Treasury Questions 7th
During our regular topical questions to the Chancellor in the Chamber I him about his decision to appoint Mr Andrew Bailey to be the Governor of the Bank of England. During Mr Bailey’s tenure as chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, we saw the scandals of London Capital & Finance and the Woodford Equity Fund, and the continuing saga of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Global Restructuring Group. In all those scandals, many people—many on low incomes—were hit extremely hard. I asked the Chancellor: did he consult any of the victims of these scandals before he appointed Mr Bailey? I went on to suggest to the Chancellor that it would be appropriate to postpone Mr Bailey’s installation in office until an independent inquiry into those failures of financial regulation had taken place? A video clip can be seen here
Old Vinyl Factory site 14th
I met with Martyn Evans for an update on the final phase of The Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes. We discussed the development of the last areas on the site including the construction of the promised cinema and arts facilities.
Community Wealth Building Launch 16th
I was delighted to speak at the Launch of Newham’s Community Wealth Building Strategy. Through its Community Wealth Building strategy, the Council will be using its purchasing power and influence to keep wealth in Newham through leading on progressive procurement; becoming a living wage employer and promoting workers’ rights. It will also be encouraging anchor partners locally to do the same; and supporting businesses to increase the number of higher skilled, higher paid and better quality jobs for local residents.
Shaftesbury way residents 18
I met with a group of residents in this area of Yeading to discuss their concerns about local crime and traffic. I am convening a public meeting in their area for all residents. I will be working with local Councillors and the Police.
SVP Senior Citizens Meal – Botwell Social Centre
I would like to thank all the volunteers from the Society of St Vincent de Paul at Botwell Church, Hayes for organising the annual pensioners’ dinner. Over 100 of our elders enjoyed a great meal, music and dancing. This is one of our annual local community events that brings people together and an enjoyable event I attend each year.
Tamil Community 19th
I joined Barry Gardiner and Sen from Tamils for Labour at Tamil Festival of Pongal (New Year) celebration in Harrow. There was a large turnout of families enjoying wonderful traditional food, music and dance. I have worked with the Tamil community over the years to support their various initiatives.
Economy and Jobs Debate in the Chamber 20th
The Queen’s Speech debate usually combines an assessment of the position of the country, a state of the nation address, with at least some attempt to address the issues facing our people. On both counts the latest Queen’s Speech process is by any stretch crushingly disappointing. There appears to be no appreciation of the lives so many of our fellow citizens live or the often heartrending problems they face or the crises that challenge us all.
The government’s programme set out in the Queen’s Speech
- Fails to reverse a decade of austerity: which is, as the IFS has said, is ‘baked in’ to this Government’s economic policies
- Fails to tackle insecure work
- Fails to end in-work poverty
- And fails to introduce a real Living Wage
- And fails to address the brutal hardship caused by Universal Credit.
My full speech can be seen at here
Labour: A Socialist Future? Seminar Series 27th
I launched a series of seminars in the, House of Commons, on the future of the Labour Party, suggesting an agenda of issues to be addressed, by all of us who aim to achieve a Labour government capable of creating a just and compassionate society.
In hosting this series of seminars my aim is to provide a space away from the fray of the leadership election hustings in which party members can engage in a longer term discussion about Labour’s future role.
The first of the series, Why ownership matters – The rationale for extending public ownership, how it works and where next? brought together Party members, campaigners, activists, policy experts and journalists. Cat Hobbs, Dave Hall, Matt Lawrence gave great presentations which was followed by Questions and Answers. The full seminar can be seen by clicking here
Hillingdon Climate Action 28th
I attended the exciting meeting convened by Hillingdon Friends of the Earth to launch our local Climate Action programme. The turnout was excellent and people had a range of creative ideas on how we can work to tackle Climate Change.
RMT Demonstration 29th
I joined RMT campaigners outside Parliament urging Transport for London to take cleaning contracts back in-house. Underground cleaners receive no company sick pay, travel concessions and have an inferior pension scheme. It’s time to end tube cleaning privatisation.
PCS Demo Ealing Tax Office 30th
I joined the PCS members taking strike action to save the Ealing Tax Office. The march and demonstration was supported by local Trades Councils, Unite and RMT branches and local Labour Parties. I was proud to be asked to speak in support of these workers fighting to save their jobs & service.