John’s Monthly Newsletter February 2020
Below is a brief summary of just some of my activities locally and in Parliament in the last month.
Andrew Marr Show 2nd
In the interview with Andrew Marr I explained that on Brexit our focus has to be how we address it. We must now make sure we get the best deal we possibly can to protect jobs, the economy, consumer rights, environmental protection and the climate change threat we are now facing. We also talked about State Aid Rules, the Scottish Referendum and the Labour leadership.
Trade Union Coordinating Group 4th
I attended the TUCG meeting to discuss how we can work with trade unions in the coming campaigns against the Conservatives attacks on pensions and employment conditions.
National Union of Journalists 5th
At the N U J meeting we discussed the union campaign to tackle the pay discrimination experienced by women at the BBC.
Hayes Canal Partnership 7th
At the Canal Partnership meeting we received a presentation from the developers planning further housing and retail facilities on the Clayton Road sites along the canal. It is critical that we ensure there sites open up the canal for public enjoyment.
North West regional conference 8th
I addressed over 800 enthusiastic delegates in Southport at Labour’s North West Regional conference. I spoke about the Conservative decade of decline that has been inflicted on our Country. Cuts in our public services have caused immense harm and suffering, hitting everybody, with the most vulnerable hit the hardest.
Failure to invest in our infrastructure has held our country back just at the time investment was needed to modernise our economy and tackle climate change. We need a budget that ends austerity and a long-term investment plan that invests in our infrastructure across the whole country to provide the homes, railways and alternative energy sources we need to tackle climate change.”
Shri Guru Ravi Dass Sabha – 63rd Anniversary of Guru Ravidass 9th
Every year I usually join members of the gurdwara to celebrate this important anniversary of the Guru who stood for equality and social justice.
Launch of the themed learning week on Climate Change, Power and Society 10th
I spoke at the launch of the national Climate Change Learning Week at City and Islington College and told students that it was everyone’s job to convince climate change deniers to act alongside the nation in tackling the crisis. Even today there are a number of people who deny climate change. I sometimes go through the process of arguing with them, but I just say to them, ‘If you deny climate change, that’s up to you, but I do not want to take that risk. It’s better to ensure that we take the action now that could protect us in the future.
Treasury Questions 11th
At Treasury Questions in the Chamber I asked the Chancellor: can he assure me that the White Paper that he has promised today will address the failure of regulation and the culture of recklessness and abuse that has developed in some sections of the City, in addition to the risks from Brexit, so that we can plan a long-term stable future for our finance sector?
The Full debate can be read here
or clips can be viewed here
PCS Picket Line at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office 11th
I spoke at the Picket Line at The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in solidarity with the workers striking over Interserve’s refusal to negotiate on redundancies, contractual changes to pay dates and ‘attacks on holiday pay and sick pay. I told the strikers that we will be with them throughout the strike until they win. And they will win. A Clip can be viewed here
Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly
I spoke the Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly about the next steps for Labour. The assembly was organised by the long standing campaigner Ted Knight, who over the years has supported our campaign in our constituency.
Labour: A Socialist Future? Seminar Series 12th
How do we democratise our society? Was the second seminar in the series that I am hosting in Parliament. We discussed how we democratise our society, what constitutional reform looks like and how we move forward. Pauline Bryan spoke about devolution and a more federal approach. Paul Feldman discussed the work he’s been doing on a citizens-led convention on the constitution, how that might work and the issues it could throw up. And Paul O’Connell spoke about the relationship between Socialism, democracy and constitutional reform.
The video can be viewed here
Hayes Carnival Committee 13th
I attended a meeting of the Hayes Carnival Committee at Hayes End Methodist Church. This year the carnival takes place on Saturday 11th July in Barra Hall Park. The committee is looking for local musicians and performers for the day from the range of diverse community groups in the area. Contact me if you are interested.
Shaftesbury Waye residents meeting 15th
Residents in this area have raised strong concern about crime and drug dealing. We have agreed to seek further meetings with the police and local authority to secure the necessary resources to tackle there issues. I was pleased to see such a wonderful commitment from the residents to our community.
Interview with John Pienaar 16th
Speaking on BBC‘s Pienaar’s Politics about the resignation of the Chancellor I said Sajid Javid had no choice but to refuse the conditions imposed on him by the Prime Minister’s special adviser Dominic Cummings. I think Boris Johnson has made an almost fatal mistake politically. No self-respecting Chancellor would have accepted the conditions which were laid upon him by Dominic Cummings. The newly appointed Chancellor Rishi Sunak, will be seen as Cummings’ deputy, he will never shake that off.
Meeting with Julian Assange 20th
I visited Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison to discuss his extradition to the US, which I believe would damage the democratic standing of our own country as well as the US’s.This is one of the most important and significant political trials of this generation. This is all about the protection of sources. We have a long tradition in this country of standing up for journalistic freedom, standing up for the protection of whistleblowers and those who expose injusticies. I think if this extradition takes place it will damage the democratic standing of
Labour: A Socialist Future? Seminar Series 24th
Why Universal Basic Services? Labour has led the way in laying the foundations of a society where everybody has access to basic services they need not based simply upon what the individual could pay. The NHS, education, libraries, social security are all accepted as essential basic services provided as of need. It’s essential that Labour now leads the debate on what basic services are needed in a 21st century society especially as we face the existential threat of climate change.
The video can be viewed here
Opposition Day Debate in the House of Commons on tax avoidance and evasion 25th
With a Budget in just over a fortnight, over the coming days we will be setting out an agenda of issues that we believe the Government need to address to tackle the social and climate emergencies that our country now faces. And yes, there is a social emergency in many of our communities.
I asked “That this House notes that the tax gap, the difference between the amount of tax that should be paid to HMRC and what is actually paid, has been estimated at between a minimum of £35 billion and £90 billion; believes that successive Conservative governments have failed to address tax avoidance and evasion while making savage cuts to public services and undermining the social security net; further notes that the Tax Justice Network has described the UK as backsliding on financial transparency; is concerned by reports of the Conservative Party’s links with individuals and companies that have engaged in tax avoidance; and calls for the proper funding of public services after a decade of austerity and for robust action to tackle tax avoidance and evasion.”
Goldsmith’s Picket line 26th
I joined strikers at Goldsmiths UCU to show solidarity with their actions as part of national disputes over pensions and pay and conditions.
Rally for Socialism
I spoke at the rally for Socialism at the Indian YMCA, in London, in support of Richard Burgon’s candidacy for Deputy Leader in which Richard delivered a blistering and incredibly humorous speech.
Heathrow Court Case 27th
Plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport have been ruled illegal by the court of appeal because ministers did not adequately take into account the government’s climate change commitments in particular the Paris agreement to tackle climate change.
Over 30 years ago I convened the first meeting to campaign against a 3rd runway at Heathrow. Today’s court decision takes us a decisive step nearer to ending this blight on our community & preventing Heathrow expansion adding to the threat of climate change.
It’s a tremendous victory and I’m now calling on Boris Johnson to do the right thing and block the third runway immediately.
The Plan 27th
I introduced a seminar to launch two new books on the Lucas Plan and screening of THE PLAN, a documentary about the Lucas workers 1970s campaign to transition from an exploitative, warmongering and environmentally destructive economy to one caring for social and planetary needs. Speakers included Steve Sprung, Hilary Wainwright and Tony Simpson.
Campaigning with Sadiq Khan 29th
It was great to welcome Sadiq Khan to the Heathrow villages following the historic decision on a 3rd runway at Heathrow. A monumental victory for our residents, our country and our planet. Congrats to all the campaigners who have remained resolute!