John’s Quarterly Newsletter June – September 2020
Below is a brief summary of just some of my activities locally and nationally in the last quarter.
Hospice Board meeting 1st
As a trustee at Harlington Hospice I attended the board meeting. The hospice is playing a major role locally in supporting our community during the Covid Crisis.
Chief Supt Gardner 3rd
I hold fortnightly meetings with the Local Police Commander since the beginning of the Covid Pandemic to deal with any policing and security issues within the area.
TUCG: Only When It’s Safe” – Returning to work after the Coronavirus lockdown
I joined Rebecca Long Bailey MP, Lord Hendy QC, Laura Pidcock and the general secretaries Kevin Courtney (NEU), Mick Cash (RMT), Mark Serwotka (PCS), Sarah Woolley (BFAWU) which was Chaired by Amanda Martin, in solidarity with the NEU who have come under attack for insisting on their 5 tests before schools fully reopen. The discussion focused on the immediate health and safety issues workers face when urged to return to work. We also heard from frontline workers to reported directly on what they face.
BA Redundancies and Wage Cuts 4th
I met with Unite Union representatives to plan our campaign to protect local jobs.
Marx Memorial Library 4th
In my capacity of Vice -President, I delivered the keynote lecture for the Marx Memorial Library – Equinomics: Placing equality at the centre of our post virus economy. My contribution focused on the potential for a more egalitarian post-virus economy. The video can be viewed
Black Lives Matter 6th
Given risk of Covid 19 I couldn’t join protests & urge all that are to do all they can to stay safe. I understand fully why people feel so strongly they have to protest. I sent a message of solidarity to all those campaigning for justice in every way they can.
BA solidarity meeting 10th
Once again, I offered my support to local members of Unite in our campaign to protect jobs and wages.
IWGB Rally 10th
I joined the online picket to support the IWGB trade union members who are being sacked by TDL- The Doctors Laboratory – an NHS contractor, despite the firm’s expanding business. Just like the cleaners & many others, these are essential workers whose vital role has never been appreciated & now are at risk.
I spoke to an on-line meeting of Labour Party members focusing on the economic threat of the pandemic and the strategy we need to promote to deal with it.
Arise Economic Seminar 13
From a broken economy to a people’s economy – the international change we need
I spoke at the Arise on-line Festival of Labour’s left ideas along with Txema Guijarro García, an MP for Spain’s left-wing Podemos party & General Secretary of its Parliamentary Group, Mark Weisbrot from the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) and Liam Young, Labour GLA candidate & author. The session was chaired by Ruth Hayes, Unite EC.
These are some of the highlight from the discussion. The full discussion can be viewed
Liam spoke about the myths around our economic system that have collapsed and been dismantled during the crisis and how we build on some of the interventions that have been made. His emphasis was on promoting cooperation rather than competition.
I focused on the sense of opportunity to build a new future and what that society should look like. Neo-Liberalism was breaking down and the pandemic exposed its complete failure. Large corporations like BA P&O and Sonic are using the pandemic as an opportunity to reduce their workforce and worker’s rights. These are international issues. We now have much more international solidarity and we can look at a global programme of an economic alternative. A recent initiative I have been involved in is Progressive Internationalism.
Txema spoke about the situation in Spain and the fact that they will emerge in social crisis as they have a fragile economy that is heavily dependant on the service industry and tourism. He said the social consensus are beginning to consolidate on the 4basic principles of 1) environmental, 2) public services, 3) No-one stays behind and 4) progressive fiscal system.
Mark also talked about the inequalities that COVID has exposed. He also spoke about the drop in gpd in the US and the federal budget deficit projected at $3.7trillion. He said number of people with extreme hunger worldwide will double to 265million this year. He raised the issue of the IMP proposal to create special drawing rights – creating money that’s convertible into hard currency that is not repayable globally and could potentially save millions of lives. The only thing that is holding it up is the US Treasury Department.
People Before Profit National Coordinating Meeting 14th
I joined this on-line meeting to discuss the campaign needed to support Health and Care workers locally and nationally during the pandemic.
Trade Union Coordinating Group 15th
I met on-line the leaders of the unions to discuss how we can protect jobs and terms of employment locally and nationally.
The War On Disabled People Book Launch
I participated in the launch of Ellen Clifford’s new book, The War on Disabled People: Capitalism, Welfare, and the Making of a Human Catastrophe” by Ellen Clifford, which was hosted by Disabled People Against Cuts. In her campaigning and in her writing Ellen has been courageously central to exposing the appalling attacks on disabled people by government and in building the movement to fight against them.
PCS Facebook live event; Dying for sick pay 15th
I spoke at the above Facebook live event alongside PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka and President Fran Heathcote at the launch of their campaign the International Justice Day for Cleaners and Security Guards.
Chief Supt Gardner 17th
Another of our regular meeting to deal with local security issues.
What would it take to secure a left Labour government?’ 18th
I was the keynote speaker at the above LSE online event hosted by the Ralph Miliband Programme. Ralph Miliband’s last book, “Socialism for a Sceptical Age”, was an attempt not just to justify the continuing potential of socialism but also to provide a strategy for a socialist government both to gain power and secure the implementation of a programme of socialist change. It became an inspirational work for many crafting the rise of the Labour left in the UK. After Labour’s heavy defeat in the 2019 general election, is Ralph’s last work still of any relevance and has the pandemic changed the political and economic rules?
Black Lives Matter – Barra Hall 20th
I joined the local demonstration in Barra Hall Park. This was organised on a socially distance basis and was extremely moving listening to the experience of members of our local BAME communities.
The Cause of Ireland is the Cause of Labour – Lessons of the Irish Election Arise 22nd
I joined Mairéad Farrell TD, Sinn Fein member of the Irish Parliament, Ronan Burtenshaw, Tribune, Rachel O’Brien, London Young Labour for this very important discussion.
Mairead spoke about the monumental change in Irish politics in the last year. Sinn Fein lost 50% of council seats in the 2019 local elections. Upon analysis they realised they needed to get their message out correctly as their policies benefit most people. The turning point came in January 2020. The raising of the pension age, housing and health were big issues and people had enough. There were lots of strikes and people were so fed up they wanted change.
Ronan spoke about the emerging consensus around the need to have a new social model in the country and the emerging movement that can realise that. He said that the ‘2014 right to water movement’ was the largest social movement in Ireland which was developed at grassroots level with people resisting the installation of water meters. This mass movement brought together a coalition of Trade Unions, Civil Society Groups, political parties, which formed a sense of what the left was in Ireland – a broad anti-establishment and anti-austerity context met another context that was the emergence of a new generation in Irish politics.
I spoke about my observations of how the role of the church’s links with the state have almost passed into history. The way in which the women’s movement in Ireland has developed. It came from a difficult base that was hemmed in by a range of cultural factors. This new generation has revived the old left and lots of old traditional organisations which has huge potential. However, both Ireland and the UK are still faced with right wing governments. We now have integrated economies. The issue for us now is how we come out of the pandemic. We need to ensure we have an international if not global response not to go back to austerity.
I also touched upon the history of the UK as an imperial power and its economic role over hundreds of years. One of the demands that the BLM movement have raised is how we re-shape our education curriculum to ensure people are aware of the role that was played by British Governments, the British state and other British economic powers. We will also need to raise the issue of the teaching of history of the British State in relation to Ireland which is equally contentious. Very few people know the role that Oliver Cromwell played in Ireland and the massacre of Drogheda. Maybe we do need to re-visit the teaching of history not just in relation to slavery but also in relation to Ireland which did also result in large numbers of Irish people being enslaved and sent to the Caribbean. We need to include that in the debate as it is important that we now build movements of solidarity across our countries to deal with the issues we face. Part of that solidarity is understanding our historical relationships as well so we can come to terms with them.
My question now is what is our strategy going to be in the key issues of building a post pandemic society, opposing austerity, recognising the implications of Brexit and the trading relationship that a right wing Government in the UK will seek to establish and the existential threat of climate change. The full discussion can be viewed
Hospice meeting risk assessment meeting 23rd
I attended the meeting of the hospice to discuss the future role of the hospice.
Europe After The Corona Crises: What now for a progressive left?
The above meeting was a joint initiative between Novara Media and The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. I joined panellists Euclid Tsakalotos (Syriza) who was Greece’s Finance Minister from 2015-19 and Katja Kipping (Die Linke) an MP in the German Parliament. Hosts Ash Sarkar and Michael Walker asked questions including The coronavirus crisis, the lefts political fortunes and how those two things might interact. The full discussion can be viewed
Lancaster and Fleetwood CLP 24th
I spoke at an online meeting of CLP members to discuss the pandemic and the future.
The World Transformed online Conference 25th
I joined members of the TWT community to discuss how the current crisis poses a threat to TWT’s funding, and to try and find ways to overcome the problem. After an interesting discussion, there was an arts social complete with performances and games.
The role of trade unions in rebuilding the state and society 30th
I spoke at this trade union meeting on how Covid-19 has exposed the problems of privatisation and deregulation. Building a better future demands well resourced, coordinated public services with trade unions at the negotiating table.
Stay at Home for Labour 1st
I spoke at this entertaining online arts event for Labour Party members and supporters to maintain people’s spirits during the period of lockdown.
All Our Own Work: building worker democracy 4th
The conference took place on the UN International Day of Co-operatives to mark the 150th anniversary of the establishment of one of the most successful productive workers’ co-op of the nineteenth century, a worker-run fustian clothing business. I spoke about how we can rebuild our economy in the time ahead in ways which promote worker democracy and which are run for the public good, rather than simply private profit.
The Skipping Sikh Ansell’s fundraising event
I Visited my constituent, Rajinder Singh at Ansell’s Garden Centre. Rajinder is a wonderful man, who promotes skipping as an exercise for all ages. He has been great publicising exercise for elders during the lockdown & supporting Hillingdon Age UK. I was pleased that Rajinder has been awarded an MBE for his charitable work.
Aviation zoom meeting 8th
I attended a meeting of Trade Unions to discuss the need for an aviation strategy and our approach to Government.
Ted Knight Memorial Lecture: The Past and Future of Lambeth’s Labour Left in Local Government.
I was delighted to speak at his event about the achievements of Ted’s administration in local government and the potential legacies for the Labour Left in preparing for forthcoming councillor selections
Labour in East Anglia 9th
I spoke at an online meeting of Labour Party members in East Anglia about the future role of the Party.
Annexation of Palestinian Territories
I spoke at a meeting organised to express solidarity with the Palestinian People faced with the threat of annexation of Palestinian territory.
Rolls Royce meeting 10th
I met with Trade Union representatives from across the country including local Reps to discuss the threat to jobs in Rolls Royce and to agree a lobbying strategy.
People Before Profit Rally 11th
I spoke at this online rally calling for greater support for people during the Covid Crisis.
All-Party Parliamentary Group for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) 15th
I attended the APPG on SEND on behalf of many local constituents to discuss support needs in education.
Let’s get carers a pay rise 17th
I spoke at a rally for carers supporting the need for decent pay or carers who have sacrificed so much during this pandemic.
UK on Line Rally – Hong Kong 18th
Taking representations from constituents I spoke at the ‘Defend the right to protest and organise in Hong Kong’ on line rally. Across the world, we must end the demonisation and persecution of migrants. The brave hunger strikers have our full solidarity. Many have been detained for anything from 2 months to 2 years. The strikers have been subsisting on water and tea, but some have escalated the action by refusing water, laying down their lives to fight for freedom from indefinite detention.
APPG for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community 20th
I supported this APPG at which the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community launched its report on the denial of freedom of religion and the human rights violations of Ahmadi Muslims around the world. The report, titled, ‘Suffocation of the Faithful: Persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan and the rise of International extremism’ is the first of its kind to be launched on the worrying increase of Ahmadi Muslim persecution.
Unite Community Branch meeting 22nd
I attended the online local Unite meeting. The focus of this meeting was around how we can plan a Green New Deal which delivers a safe climate and sustainable jobs in West London
Claim the Future 22nd
The pandemic has shown how much we care for each other and how much we need each other. It has also exposed the faults in our economy and society. Ten years of austerity have left our public services shockingly ill-equipped to cope. Wage freezes, insecure work and lack of employment rights have left people facing hardship and an uncertain future.
We can’t go back to an economy that fails to meet our basic needs and puts our future at risk. We’re not going back. But where are we going? What do we want? For our planet. For our communities. For our future. If we don’t answer this question, it will be answered for us and blame shifted from the powerful to the powerless. We must reflect and reset: strategise, organise and assemble collective power. That is why I put together a project with a set of the solutions needed to reframe our economy and brings people together to secure change. MY full speech can be viewed
Yemen Zoom meeting 23rd
I organised a meeting for constituents who have raised the issue of Yemen with me. We brough together experts with local campaigners.
Rolls Royce Unite Representatives 24th
I attended a follow up meeting with Unite representatives from the company to discuss progress on the campaign for jobs.
I attended the local Canal Partnership meeting to discuss improvements along the Grand Union Canal in Hayes including tow paths improvements and new residential mooring.
Oxford Labour Economics Discussion 25th
I spoke at this seminar organised by Labour Party members on the future of our economy.
I organised a meeting on Eritrean Human Rights for local Party members and supporters who had raised these issues with me and we agreed a plan of action.
Royal College of Nursing local branch meeting
I attended the online meeting of RCN members in North West London, including Hayes. They shared their experience of Covid 19. I was tough and moving to listen to. A decent pay rise is not much to ask for these dedicated professionals. They have my 100% backing.
London Green New Deal 29th
I spoke at a meeting about the potential of a Green New Deal for London.
Constituency Zoom Meeting – BLM and education 30th
I organised an online meeting for Labour Party members and supporters to discuss Black Lives matter and its implication for education.
The World Transformed Launch 1st
I spoke at the TWT’s opening rally alongside Ashida Tlaib, Ayo Caesar, Dave Ward, Rafeef Ziadah, Samantha Napa and Laura Hother. The festival extended over the month and included 100 exciting sessions, from talks and workshops to art performances and strategy games.
Unite Community 2nd
I attended the local Unite Community branch meeting to celebrate its extensive actions over the last year bringing local people together to campaign on a wide range of issues.
Northern England Labour Left (NELL) 5th
I spoke at the Norther England Labour Left inaugural AGM and Conference discussing the positive things we achieved in office and the pitfalls to help activists that attended to feel heartened, but to improve their analysis of how we, the Left, should proceed.
Labour Irish Unity 7th
I spoke at LFIU steering group meetings about the work of the new Socialist Campaign Group of MP’s and how we could work together.
A care-led recovery and building back better 8th
I attended the care-led recovery and building back better discussion which was hosted by the Women’s Budget Group.
Sick pay campaign launch 9th
I spoke at the launch of the campaign by the Bakers Union fighting for a proper level of sick pay to ensure people do not fall into poverty when sick.
Paul Holmes 4 General Secretary 11th
At Paul Holmes rally as candidate for General Secretary of Unite, Ken Loach, Paul Holmes, Bernie Gallagher and I discussed the future of the Labour Party- what sort of party we would like to see. We also looked at some of the events that have taken place over the past few years. This included some of the difficult issues like ones highlighted in the leaked report about the behaviour of some of the staff at Labour’s HQ.
South Suffolk CLP
I spoke to Labour Party members and supporters about the economic consequences of the pandemic and Labour’s alternative.
Arise Festival 12th
I spoke at the Arise festival in support of developing an alternative economic strategy post Covid.
HCEB and Oxford Economics study: quantifying the economic impact of reduced activity at Heathrow 15th
I welcomed the study of a study about the impacts of COVID-19 on aviation will have on our residents. The study delivered an analysis of the direct, indirect, induced and catalytic impacts that typically arise from the presence and operation of Heathrow airport on the six local economies. This followed a discussion about how these impacts are likely to change over the short-term (to 2025) as the airport and the airline sector recover from the worst effects of the coronavirus outbreak and adjust to new ways of working.
TUC fringe- Valuing work and empowering workers after the crisis
As part of the TUC fringe, along with Rebecca Long-Bailey, Dave Ward and Dr Jo Grady we delivered another session in the Claim the Future Series which, sets out to develop some of the solutions needed to reframe our economy and bring people together to secure change.
The coronavirus crisis has exposed how reliant everyone is on working people but how little so many of them have been valued in our political and economic system. The working conditions, pay, and status of many of these workers demonstrate especially how undervalued they have been by government.
We can’t go back to an economy that fails to meet our basic needs and puts our future at risk. We’re not going back. But where are we going? We all need work, and decent work, to feel secure. We need jobs that can be protected, earnings we can count on, and sufficient hours of employment.
This session considered some of the policy interventions needed to empower workers: trade union rights, a single worker status, a real living wage and sectoral collective bargaining.
I supported this online initiative to ensure Labour Party members are linking up through this pandemic using social media.
Manchester TUC 16th
I spoke at this online event bringing together Trade Unionists across the country to discuss reform of Trade union rights.
I spoke at this event which discussed Cardiff Momentum’s aims and how they can organise Post Corbyn.
I spoke alongside Alicia Kennedy Generation Rent, Ian Hodgson Bakers Union, Solma Ahmed Momentum, plus housing workers and tenants. This was an interesting discussion about the housing needs of our Country and local community .
Local leasehold / cladding meeting
I brought together residents living in local tower blocks to discuss the safety issues they face from cladding. We established a working group to tackle this issue dealing with the developers, landlords and Government.
The inaugural summit of the Progressive International 18th
I joined the panel discussion on Internationalism or Extinction along with Noam Chomsky, Nanjala Nyabola, and Cornel West. We talked about how startling the last 10 months have been. In the UK, we had the last election – which was pretty devastating – now the pandemic and the prospect of a recession unlike any we have seen since the Great Depression.
North West Durham CLP 19th
I spoke at this meeting about Campaigning and building Labour during challenging times’
Transformative Economics Post-Covid: Demanding the Basic 19th
Under the auspice of ‘Claim the Future’ I brought together a group of our new MPs in the online rally to discuss how we can transform our economy.
Politics London 20th
During the interview I called on the Government to extend the evictions ban and to scrap the section 21 eviction process to avoid large scale homelessness. I also spoke about an environmental aviation strategy for Heathrow Airport and the need for a local economic strategy so that West London is not over-dependent on Heathrow.”
Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform 20th
Let’s Make Every Vote Count- as a supporter of electoral reform I spoke at the online fringe meeting at Labour Party conference.
TUCG Fringe meeting Stepping up the Opposition – 20th
I spoke at this meeting which was chaired by Amanda Martin (NEU), alongside Apsana Begum MP, Rebecca Long Bailey MP. We were joined by Joined by leading trade unionist including Ian Hodson (National President, BFAWU) and Steve Gillan (General Secretary, POA) about how we can step up our opposition by Organising for the Future of Jobs and Services.
Where now, for our economy, society and internationalism? 21st
Claim the Future sets out to develop some of the solutions needed to reframe our economy and bring people together to secure change. This session considered some of the policy interventions needed to ensure that people have the basics for a decent and secure life: enough to eat, a roof over their heads and the care that we need at different points in our lives.
I was joined by Ash Sarkar, Andrew Fisher and Christine Berry to discuss issues around How do we engage Party members and voters, defend and continue to build, a mass movement after the defeat in the 2019 general election? And building on build on the recent successes of young activists and campaigners?
Socialist Campaign Group Rally
I spoke at the traditional Socialist Campaign Group rally at the Labour Party conference.
David Goodheart Head, Hand, Heart book 22
I joined a panel at this fringe meeting to discuss David’s book on the future of higher education.
Labour Party Fringe- In Conversation with Gordon Brown 22nd
As part of the Claim the Future Programme I spoke with Gordon Brown about Gordon Brown’s new initiative, the Full Employment Alliance and how We can force U-turns” on support for workers.
Briefing with the NHS North West London ICS 24th
I attended a briefing with the NHS North West London ICS. They provided an overview of how they are planning for a second spike, how are they will be tackling the way the pandemic is impacting inequalities and the mental health of the patient population.
Rolls Royce Unite 25th
A further strategy meeting with local Unite representatives about the impact of jobs at Rolls Royce.
Local Police Commander catch up
This was another of our regular meetings to discuss security in the borough during Covid.
David Graber Memorial 27th
I participated in tribute to David Graber, one of the lefts most brilliant thinkers which was hosted by Novara Media. It was an amazing celebration of David’s life and work. There will be a carnival in his honour on 11th October with events being organised in multiple countries.
Pushing Forward on Policy 28th
I spoke alongside Nadia James, Andrew Fisher and Amy Jackson at The Labour Hub event on How can we retain, develop and popularise socialist policy commitments? How can we develop radical solutions to the deep structural problems we face? The session was chaired by Jenny Lennox.
10 minute rule bill 30th
I introduced a Bill in the House today to set up a Business Standards Commission to set conditions on any government financial assistance aid and tax reliefs to businesses based upon their treatment of their workers, the environment & their payment of fair taxes.
The Economy of 1945
I spoke at the Labour Economic Society’s event celebrating the 75th anniversary of the election of a Labour Government.