Welcome to your Branch Newsletter, June 2019
Introducing Evelyn Bowles, Vice Chair
Evelyn was elected Vice Chair at our AGM in April. Here, Evelyn, who lives in Bishop’s Castle, tells her story.
‘I was born in Birmingham, in 1952 of mixed Italian and East End heritage. My father had been active in trying to establish the right to join a union for catering workers and took part in the bitter Savoy strike after the war. He had friends who spoke often at Speakers Corner and passed on his socialist ideas to me, though without a road map
for their practical expression – he supported the tiny Socialist Party of Great Britain.
I have always voted (to achieve) a Labour win, as the Party most closely aligned to my father’s vision of social collaboration allowing for optimal individual development. When not self-employed I have worked in the public sector: as a home help then home help organiser, and eventually I helped open the first Neighbourhood Office in Birmingham (an idealistic Labour initiative) before being appointed to open and run another one in Yardley Wood. As someone with a keen interest in current affairs I have also been drawn to work as a volunteer and/or campaigner, wherever I was living, on various local, national or global issues, whether starting something new or joining an existing group.
My experience in social care, family life, and my personal interest in history and the environment all feed into my political thinking, which the aims and values (if not always the actions) of the Labour Party have represented.’
The Future of The NHS, Social Care and ‘Future Fit’
A talk and discussion with
Dr. Laura Davies
Monday 1st July, 7.30 pm Three Tuns Inn ‘top room’, Salop Street, Bishop’s Castle SY9 5BW
Dr. Laura Davies, the Labour Party candidate for the Shrewsbury & Atcham seat at the next General Election is the speaker at our second open meeting in The Three Tuns, Bishop’s Castle on Monday July 1 at 7.30pm. Laura will be tackling the issue of the future of the NHS and Care and will also look at the future of Future Fit in Shropshire as an alternative to the current plan to reconfigure the two main Hospitals serving the county.
Gren Jackson, acting chair and secretary says, “Across the country worries about our NHS and Care services remains a top concern for people. The rundown of the NHS and nurse, doctor and care worker shortages are leaving people feeling let down and angry. We welcome Dr. Davies’ visit to Bishop’s Castle to hear her ideas.”
Laura Davies has served as an officer in the Army and now works in the NHS in Shropshire. She is a working mum with two young children and represented Labour in Shrewsbury and Atcham in the 2015 and 2017 elections
Criminal Justice, with special reference to hate crime
A talk and discussion Andy Stelman
Branch Meeting, Thursday 8th August, 7.30pm Church Barn, Bishop’s Castle
At the next Branch Meeting, local member, Andy Stelman, will be our guest speaker on criminal justice and hate crime … what it is, and the impact it has on people’s lives, as well as one or two local issues about it.
Andy has worked in various capacities for the probation services in South Yorkshire, Notts, the north of England as training coordinator, and finally in Merseyside. Andy says ” I was responsible for Liverpool, the courts in Merseyside, and for developing and publicising programmes on domestic violence and also on hate crime. I undertook a multi-agency hate crime review on behalf of the then Chief Constable Bernard Hogan-Howe, and, after retirement, chaired a small charity in Knowsley, supporting victims of race hate crime. In 2008 I received a Butler trust award from HRH the Princess Royal at Buckingham Palace for my work in the field of hate crime.
In the past 14 years I have worked on behalf of the Ministry of Justice and Home Office in Turkey, Jamaica, Croatia, Romania and North Macedonia, trying to assist these countries to establish new or modernise existing probation services.’
Labour for a Green New Deal
The June Branch meeting had a great talk and discussion on the climate, and bio-diversity, emergency. There was unanimous support for a motion backing a “Green New Deal’. This motion will be considered at the next Ludlow CLP meeting, before hopefully going forward to National Conference.
The Branch noted many of the policy proposals set out in the Motion are covered already in Labour’s Environment Policy ‘The Green Transformation’, nonetheless the restatement of these policies demonstrated the breadth of action required by a Labour Government and Members at every level.
Whilst supporting the imperative for comprehensive and urgent Government led action to reduce carbon emissions we debated the realism and benefits of setting the demanding target of net zero emissions by 2030. We noted that the 2018 Labour Party Conference had committed to a 2050 target date and our 2017 Manifesto included a commitment to ensure that 60% of the UK’s energy came from low- carbon or renewable sources by 2030.
To achieve the rapid transformation demanded by the new 2030 target, Members considered that there should be clear and vibrant leadership of a ‘Green New Deal’ reflected in a dedicated senior Ministerial responsibility as well as being a requirement of all other Ministers. It is pleasing a first step taken this week is the creation of a new shadow Cabinet post.
In asking the CLP to support this Motion and its recommendations the Branch wants to emphasise the need for the Ludlow CLP to organise Constituency campaigning and to support an all Shropshire campaign.
The Branch executive is researching how best we can develop local campaigning to support the motion. And the possibility of our next ‘open meeting’, planned for Thursday 5th September, beginning the campaign.
Extinction Rebellion (XR) … a report from the frontline by Mike Layward, Treasurer
‘I was down in London while the Extinction Rebellion actions were happening at Easter. I joined the last day, where there were roving blockades of roads in the city of London. These blockades exist in some sort of agreement with the police that allows for us to stop the traffic for 7 minutes and then we move aside and this can be repeated 3 times and then we have to move to another junction. Quite strange, almost like an urban game. ER is very organised and make sure everyone knows why the road is being blocked. The reaction of most of the public was supportive.
There is a long history of direct action/climate activism, which goes back to the 1980s road protest, but the self organising approach and consensus decision making started in the Climate Camps in 2008 (and was used in the occupy movement), which were opposing Blair’s government’s attempts to build new coal fired power stations. What was a big difference was the relationship with the Police. The Metropolitan police are not well known for their gentle, caring and careful approach to protest and this was true in 2008 onwards. The camps and actions were met with harsh and brutal policing. But now I watched 30 police officers take over an hour to clear the road outside the Bank of England. I wonder if the Police are rebelling as well and have little faith in this government, maybe it is the right time to unionise the police!
Extinction Rebellion, the school climate strikes are all great and strong movements and the latter is led by young people. Labour has acknowledged the demands of extinction rebellion and the need for a ‘Green New Deal’ to change our economy.
We need to bring the TUC and the union movement onside on this new economy and see why we need to do this and ensure that there is climate justice so communities aren’t left wrecked in the way Thatcher did to our industrial bases.’
Some Reflections on Election Results in May
At the June Branch meeting, the Members present responded to the Leaders call for a period of reflection and listening to Members, following the various election results in May. The conclusions were:
• The need to better articulate Party policy on Brexit and to focus less on process;
• Messages need to be clear and consistent; and
• The Party leadership needs to show more leadership and greater visibility.
Women’s Officer … Janet Cobb
At the April AGM, Janet was elected to the Branch executive committee as Women’s Officer.
The Women’s Officer is the key representative of BCCC Branch women members on the executive of the Ludlow Constituency Labour Party (CLP), playing a key role in decision making and strategy within the Branch and CLP and ensuring that women are fully involved in the work of the local party.
The Women’s Officer also takes a leading role in making sure that the campaigning work of the Constituency and Branch reaches out and engages with women voters.
The Women’s Officer works to make sure the Branch is a welcoming and engaging place for women.
The Women’s Officer heads up events where women are brought together to knowledge share, identify local woman’s issues and create strength and unity for local women LP members.
A key part of the Women’s Officer role is also to recruit more women members – and then to encourage and support them to become activists by creating a strategy and campaign for local women and helping citizens understand how Labour Party policies impact on women.
Ludlow CLP AGM Saturday 7th September, 10.30am, Craven Arms
At the AGM all Members may stand for any of the CLP officers positions. If you may be interested please contact Gren Jackson.
The Branch Newsletter is an opportunity for Members to share their thoughts on key policy topics. Here Tim Hicks reflects on two aspects of the on-going Brexit debate.
‘There are some on the Left that believe Brexit will be a good thing for working people and that somehow employment rights, nationalisation and the prosperity of ordinary British citizens will benefit from leaving the EU. The reality is very different, but rather than making bald assertions it helps to focus on specifics so I will cite just two examples.
Nationalisation of our expensively mismanaged railways is essential and it is hardly radical given that some of the UK train operating companies are run by the nationalised rail companies of other EU members. The only thing stopping such a sensible move is this failed Tory government and the most incompetent transport minister in living memory, Chris Grayling. There is nothing in the Treaty of Rome, The Lisbon Treaty or in any of the EU’s governing laws and rules that prevents nationalisation or mandates privatisation. Those who suggest the EU ties the hands of a future Labour government on this matter are quite simply wrong. In the case of rail nationalisation this is not an issue. Even UK Law would prevent nationalisation of assets without reasonable compensation but nobody is proposing such an approach and in any case the train operating companies own very few assets. For the most part they merely operate franchises and they do it rather badly too.
Anyone whose employer has been taken over, has merged or has seen services outsourced to a third party, may be aware of something called “TUPE”, Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations. Put simply, these regulations seek to ensure that employees are treated as if their employment is continuous, before and after the transfer of a service, with their rights unchanged and that they are appropriately consulted about what is happening. TUPE is a EU law that has been incorporated into UK Law since 1981 and the Tories claim this will remain the case in future. Their past behaviour over several years suggests otherwise and nobody should believe their empty promises.
Each time the Conservatives have revised the TUPE regulations they have sought to whittle down the employee protections. When first implemented they excluded pension rights, because that was allowed at the time. Labour introduced protection of pension rights but more recently the Tories have reduced the protections around consultation and reduced the employer’s obligations in various ways. They argued that TUPE rights for the employee were “gold plated” which was never the case but I’m sure you know where they are coming from….!
I worked for an IT outsourcing company and I attended industry seminars regularly. I heard enough to know that companies like IBM, HP, G4S, Capita and SERCO would love TUPE to disappear and they actively lobby for it to be curtailed but while we are in the EU it cannot easily be abolished. What does a world without TUPE look like? I worked previously for US outsourcing company that operated in both the UK and the USA. In the USA there is no equivalent to TUPE and it was not unknown for them to arrive on Day 1 after the contract was signed, to discover all the IT staff had been sacked on minimum notice. Even if there were surviving staff the outsourcer was under no obligation to retain them and typically these employees were out of the door within six months at most. An “independent” UK trying to get a trade deal with the USA will certainly be forced to get rid of TUPE because it will help US businesses to gobble up UK businesses more cheaply and to take on outsourced services much more profitably. If that happens, it will be very bad for British employees.
We must be very careful what we wish for.’
Shropshire Council Elections 2021
Ideally, we would like to present candidates in each of our three Council Wards. Interested? Contact Gren
Your Branch Officers for 2019/20
Acting Chair: Gren Jackson (woman member required)
Vice Chair: Evelyn Bowles Secretary: Gren Jackson Treasurer: Mike Layward
Women’s Officer: Janet Cobb Branch representative to CLP executive committee: John Higson Branch representative to CLP executive committee: Vacant (woman member required).
Ludlow CLP website
Facebook @bishopscastleclunchirburyLP Twitter
27th June 2019
Gren Jackson, acting Chair and Secretary