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Open letter to Birmingham Board of the Labour Party:

Regardless of your views on the leadership election and the movement around Jeremy Corbyn, it is clear that the Labour Party faces a huge task locally and nationally. The polls are unlikely to be that out of kilter with reality and if there was a general election tomorrow in all likelihood the Labour Party would lose, and badly.

More specifically, here in Birmingham we also face big challenges. With the Midland Metro Mayor election next year and “all-up” council elections in 2018, we will need a large, motivated and dynamic ground operation to achieve the results we want. In particular with the Metro Mayor, the Conservative candidate, Andy Street, is clearly no fool and the contest will be a very tough one. Without a significant Labour presence on the streets and in our communities, we won’t win.

The Tories have vast amounts of money and plenty of friends in the media to help put their case. The Labour Party has the overwhelming case that exists for a democratic socialist society, obviously, but more prosaically, it’s huge membership, which has more than trebled nationally in just over a year.

That membership will need to be mobilised. And in order for it to be mobilised it will need to have a say in how the party is run.

It was therefore with huge disappointment that we learned that the Birmingham Board of the Labour Party voted to exclude all members who had joined in or after July 2015 from selecting our candidates for the 2018 local elections.

Two thirds of Labour Party members have been disenfranchised at a stroke. It is also worth bearing in mind that the next local elections after 2018 will be in 2022, so selection will take place in 2021. Therefore if you joined the party in July 2015 you will face a six year wait to select a council candidate. The national Labour rule is 6 months.

This cannot be right. There needs to be a freeze date, but the one imposed by the Birmingham Board is ludicrously excessive and smacks of cynical gerrymandering.

It is also self-defeating.

How do we expect to have a motivated membership knocking doors, delivering leaflets and taking the case for Labour candidates into our communities if we won’t even let that membership select those candidates? How will we build the big, lively, well-resourced campaigns that we will need to get Sion Simon elected in 2017?

Momentum South Birmingham calls on the Birmingham Board of the Labour Party to overturn the decision and instead have the usual six month freeze date. It is in our party’s interests to do so.

In solidarity

MSB

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Moseley and Kings Heath Labour Party come out in support of the bin workers

Members of Moseley and Kings Heath Labour Party ward had a liveley meeting on Thursday 14th, with the main item being the ongoing bin-workers strike. 

Lisa Trickett, one of our councillors, is the cabinet member responsible for handling this affair and so a number of us thought it was particularly important that we address the issue. An emergency motion was put in and accepted, with a quite basic position agreed in communication with Unite- that the council should honour the agreement reached at ACAS, as this retained the Grade 3 positions

A Unite member in the branch proposed the motion, focussing in particular on the dead-end that austerity represents for the Labour Party. We have seen in both France and Greece the process of virtual or complete destruction of social-democratic parties that have stuck to austerity and Labour both locally and nationally needs to avoid that fate. 

A lively discussion of the motion followed, at first in Trickett’s absence as she had not arrived at the meeting. When Trickett arrived and it was proposed from the floor that she should be given 10 minutes to address the issues which was agreed, although this was not unanimous. Some wondered why a member who arrived half way though the consideration of a motion should be given extra time. However Trickett was given the time, which she used effectively to argue that as the council had already regraded a lot of women workers and reduced their pay that there was no way she was going to allow ‘a group of men’ to avoid the same fate. Here, what was being argued for was equality of misery – all workers should be treated equally badly by the council. 

Members for the most part rejected this argument. The point was made that as the public wanted their bins collected and the public supported retaining the Grade 3 posts on the grounds of safety, the council should respond to this and retain those posts. The example of Bristol, which had an 8000 strong demonstration against austerity initiated by a Labour Mayor was a far better model of how to move forward than Birmingham’s sorry tale. 

When it came to a vote, the result was 22 for supporting a deal retaining grade 3 positions, 11 against and abstentions. A collection was then taken raising over £100 for the strikers. A number of us thought that this was the best meeting that we’d had in a long time and we will continue to do whatever we can to support the bin workers.

Bin it for the long haul 

For those of you following the bin dispute closely the email below may be very interesting. It would appear to be an attempt to get other council workers to do the refuse workers jobs for them while the strike continues.It would also seem to suggest that the council leadership is a) planning for the long haul on this one and no resolution is in sight and b) that the arguments about the planned changes to pay, terms and conditions being about efficiency and saving money are looking increasingly hollow if a plan as expensive as this is being contemplated.

 

******

 

This is an important update to the managers’ bulletin you received earlier today, which is attached below:

 

Please note that the £8.30 rate quoted for ‘loader’ is the bottom of GR2 grade but that this will be enhanced to £8.45 an hour under our commitment to the Living Wage. This rate took effect from 1 April 2017 and is reviewed annually.

 

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Managers’ Bulletin 320: Casual evening and weekend working opportunities for staff – supporting the collection of waste from the city’s streets

 

As all managers are no doubt aware, the council is in the process of addressing a dispute within Waste Management. To fulfil our duty to collect the city’s waste, and to minimise the adverse effects of the disruption on our citizens, we are looking for support from colleagues across the council who may be able to help collect waste during evenings and /or at weekends.

Please make sure you bring these opportunities – which are for existing council staff to undertake casual additional work in Waste Management – to the attention of all staff.  

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Why you’re getting this information

The support required is to collect waste from 5pm to 9pm Monday to Friday and from 6am to 3pm Saturday and Sunday, in addition to the work staff would normally perform as part of their existing role. Managers are expected to support any team member/s who express an interest in the opportunities – and release them for appropriate training, subject to the needs of your service.    

Staff are sought for the following roles:

Driver: £10.29 per hour  

• To be a driver, supported by a team of casual loaders, a Category B driving licence is needed to drive caged tippers to collect waste from allocated rounds. Applicants who don’t already drive for the council will need to attend an Occupational Health appointment and take a driver assessment.

Loader: £8.30 per hour

• Loaders will join a team of casual staff to collect waste from allocated rounds

Both roles will need staff to operate from any of our four depots across the city (Montague Street, Lifford Lane, Redfern and Perry Barr). Where possible, we’ll try to ensure any depot preference expressed is met.

Staff who are successful in being selected for any of these roles will need to complete a training course before being asked to undertake any work. The course will cover all relevant operational matters and health and safety. Staff will need to be released from their current role to undertake this training. (Dates to be confirmed.)

Payment for work will be made the following month. For example, work undertaken in September will be paid in October. Managers in Waste Management will keep appropriate records to ensure that payment is received.

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What you need to do next

If you, or any of your team members, are interested in one of these roles:

• Please download and complete the Waste Management expression of interest form, which should be returned to WasteRecruitment@birmingham.gov.uk by 5pm on 14 September 2017.

• In the first instance, you should discuss interest with your own manager to ensure that anyone who is interested can be released for the training. It’s also important to check that any effect on current duties is minimised.

Staff will be advised on the outcome of their Expression of Interest and the next steps by 19 September 2017.

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Additional information

• While the council is grateful for the support that staff may wish to offer, this may not be taken up if interest in the additional work is greater than the number of roles needed.

• The council reserves the right to undertake a selection process that would involve an interview and consideration of the availability of candidates in determining who may undertake this work.

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Further information  

If you have any queries, you can contact ************

Monyhull and Druids Heath selection 

The attempts to manipulate the selection process in Birmingham for the 2018 local elections show no sign of abating.

Earlier in the year a plan was agreed by the Birmingham Board, in consultation with the NEC, for a significant number of wards and seats to have All Women Shortlists (AWS) in order to boost the number of women candidates and councillors, and to concurrently accelerate the outstanding and new applications of women members for the panel.

There have been persistent rumours of certain prominent (and always right-wing) individuals in the local party wanting to water the commitment for gender balance down in order to get their preferred candidates selected, and it is clear that the commitment to accelerate the applications of women applicants has not been kept. At the time of writing I’m aware of at least 5 women awaiting a decision, only one of whom has even been interviewed.

And in recent days a further development. A quick scan on the newly updated election section of the Birmingham Labour Party website reveals this juicy tidbit:

 


This seemingly innocuous piece of information marks an interesting and very significant shift. Druids Heath was up until very recently an AWS.

So why the change? Rumour has it that the West Midlands Regional Office (who have been coming up in these articles a fair bit haven’t they………) have decided to remove the AWS for a certain male individual’s benefit.

And on what authority did the change get made? The rules of the Birmingham Board state that the power over selections sits with the Birmingham Board, a body that hasn’t met since July and whose latest meeting, which was meant to be on the 8th September, was not for the first time, postponed until the 22nd. Who is calling the shots in between the rarer-than-hen’s-teeth Board meetings?

One wonders if the NEC will be happy with everything that is going on under their noses in the city……….

 

MW

The Birmingham Bin Strike continues

Refuse collectors in Birmingham have been forced into continuing industrial action following a treacherous u-turn by council leader John Clancy and his cabinet. Although the strike was originally called due to the council’s decision to sack over 100 grade 3 refuse workers, it was suspended after a deal was brokered between the council and Unite the Union, with John Clancy receiving high praise for his involvement.

Birmingham Binstagram

A fortnight later there is a different story. “Deal or no deal? There was no deal,” is what John Clancy sniggered as he spoke to the press. You would think that 100 job losses isn’t a laughing matter, but it’s easy to laugh when it’s not your job being cut. Howard Beckett, Unite the Union (Assistant General Secretary), stated that John Clancy has “declared war on the union,” accusing the council of committing “industrial sabotage.”


A South Birmingham Momentum member joined the picket line on Friday morning, speaking to one of the workers who had been sent a notice of redundancy. She heard the feeling of betrayal the workers felt about this u-turn from the council: “If I lose my job, I lose my house. Then what? Labour are supposed to be the party of the working class”. Those affected, who earn a maximum £23,000, must now choose between giving up their jobs or accepting a £5,000 pay cut. Birmingham City Council have already begun advertising jobs on the council website for Refuse Loaders in various depots across the city. These jobs are said to come with proper employment benefits such as holiday and sick pay, but this Labour Council has already been employing agency staff on zero hours contracts with no employment rights.


Many Labour Party members are rightly furious. “John (Clancy) owes his lucrative political career to the Labour Party,” said one disgruntled member. “He is selling the working-class down the river. He doesn’t represent me whatsoever. He doesn’t represent what the Labour Party stands for at all.”

ACAS have now officially confirmed that an agreement had been made on 15th August 2017 between BCC and Unite, and Unite have begun legal action to sue the council for breach of contract. It is not certain what the Council’s next move will be in this dispute but what is definite is John Clancy’s position as leader is increasing untenable. “Nobody will be losing their job” now almost sounds a desperate plea to hang onto his own position.

South Birmingham Momentum takes this opportunity to send messages of solidarity to the workers. We offer our 100% support in this battle to keep every single job, and in doing so, keeping our streets clean and our public safe. We have reported earlier on in the strike how unpleasant the job of a refuse worker can be, and have always been in full support of the earlier industrial action, taken partly because of the threats to grade-3 employment in the Waste Disposal Department of Birmingham City Council.

The curious case of the postponed selection meetings

The difficulty with reporting on the selection process in Birmingham Labour for the 2018 local elections is that in different areas democracy is being sidestepped in different ways.

  • So, in some wards meetings are forced through in August.
  • In some wards candidates are “accidentally” not informed about the meeting.
  • Certain applicants with empty activity diaries find it oddly easy to get approved for the panel.
  • Other applicants with far fuller activity diaries find it nigh on impossible to get a response to an email, let alone an interview for the panel.

We now have a new technique to add to the list – postpone the meeting.

The Balsall Heath and Sparkbrook selection meetings were due to be held on the 4th and 5th September but I’ve heard from several reliable sources that these meetings have been called off (with no new date agreed so far) at the insistence of the West Midlands Regional Office, who had in turn been urged to act by one of the candidates, currently a sitting councillor, who was not available on those dates. Those more familiar with the local minutiae can probably work out who that candidate is but suffice it to say they are known for having a bit of a volcanic temper.

There is something deeply problematic about a selection meeting being called off because one of the candidates decides they can’t make a given date outside of the traditional Summer holiday period, particularly when that candidate is a sitting councillor. It smacks of an abuse of incumbency.

There is also the small matter of the setting of a selection meeting being the decision of a CLP, not the Regional Office. Hall Green CLP, many of you may know, has recently come out of ‘Special Measures’ which means that it should, in theory, be able to make its own decisions about its own business.

But it would appear that certain individuals want to carry as if the lifting of ‘Special Measures’ never happened and the venerable tradition of Regional Office manipulation of selections in the area continues apace (both wards are considered rock solid Labour, you won’t be surprised to hear).

I’ve argued on these pages previously for delaying some of the selection meetings. But in Balsall Heath and Sparkbrook there is a real danger that if the delays continue then the candidates will be imposed – with the impositions being of individuals that would not have a prayer in an open, democratic selection meeting.

This is the fourth piece I’ve written in less than 3 weeks about these issues – I have a nasty feeling that there will be a lot more to come over the next few weeks. There is a serious problem becoming apparent and it is city-wide.

 

MW

#Meghanigate part 3 – this *is* the fault of the CLP.

The Harborne Labour 2018 selection farrago has being continuing apace – there have been more plot twists in a couple of weeks than there have been in 7 seasons of Game of Thrones.

There is to be a re-run of the selection that saw the ahem, controversial  candidate Sundip Meghani selected at a barely-quorate meeting held, bizarrely, in August.

After the decision to re-run, the Edgbaston CLP chair sent out the following email to Harborne party members:

Dear

I am writing to inform you that, after discussion with Harborne Branch Officers and Regional Office, we will be rerunning the Harborne Ward Council Candidate selection.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been in constant discussion with Regional Office to understand whether there were any procedural problems with the selection. It is clear that one candidate, who expressed an interested in the selection meeting, was not told of the date and location of the meeting by regional office and therefore was not able to attend. This candidate has now requested that the selection be repeated. Under these circumstances it is only right to rerun this selection.

I must stress that this was not a mistake made by CLP or Branch Officers; however we are in a position where we need to take the lead in putting it right.

I should also note that this is in no way a reflection on the candidates, successful or unsuccessful, who originally stood; it is solely a case of making sure that a procedural error is corrected.

You will be notified in due course of the date and time of the selection by post. It will be the open selection which is rerun. The All Women Shortlist selection had no irregularities, with Jayne Francis being selected unopposed – this result stands.

Apologies to those members who came to the last selection meeting. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

If you would like to speak to me about this please call on ***********

Yours sincerely

T**

 

More intriguingly, they also sent the following email to CLP officers:

 

“Dear Exec members,

Please see the text below of an email which is being sent to Harborne Members this evening.

I am not going to get into apportioning blame publicly, but as you can imagine this is hugely frustrating for Harborne Branch and not at all of their making. I will stress again that this is not the fault of any CLP or Ward officer. Regional Office have been very apologetic and will be paying for the full cost of the re-selection, the sending out of notifications and any incurred costs.

I am sorry that I have not been able to speak to many of you in person about this – however it has been discussed with all branch officers, selected candidates and the regional and deputy-regional director. I know that all exec members will treat this situation with the discretion it requires. If you have any questions please call me.

Thanks

T**”

 

It is little wonder the CLP chair doesn’t want to “apportion blame publicly” as it would involve admitting that this chain of events was largely of their own making.

1. The CLP chair was the one who chaired the selection meeting despite two (not one) of the candidates being both not present and not informed of the meeting – did any of the CLP or ward officers make any attempt at all to find out why they weren’t in attendance? I am told by those present that they did not.

2. Did the CLP chair ever see an expression of interest email from Sundip Meghani, as per the rules? No proof of the existence of the email has surfaced. And in the absence of this crucial email, did the CLP chair not think to query the legitimacy of the process that they were being asked to oversee?

3. I understand from various sources that the CLP chair pushed for the meeting to take place in August with members only having a few days notice of the meeting – increasing the likelihood of a “mistake” such as this.

4. If the CLP chair knew weeks ago that there were issues with the candidacy why did they sanction the printing and distribution of a full-colour campaigning leaflet for Sundip Meghani that has already been distributed widely? What if Meghani loses the next selection meeting?

5. Or is the CLP chair simply being somewhat economical with the truth and by rushing a leaflet out (again, in August, with the election 9 months away……) hoped to present Meghani’s candidacy as a fait accompli and head off any possibility of the legitimacy of the meeting being questioned afterwards?

6. Why did the official Harborne Labour Party Twitter account continue to retweet Sundip Meghani, including on the day that the re-run announcement was made and the officers must have known he was no longer the elected candidate – thus endorsing someone not yet selected?

7. I am also given to understand that it was Regional Office who ordered a re-run of the meeting – so it simply isn’t true to say that the CLP were the ones to “take the lead in putting it right”. Left up to them it is pretty clear that nothing would have happened and the result would have been allowed to stand. The rush to get the leaflet out is pretty conclusive proof in that regard. Repeated questions from ward and exec members on these issues have been completely stonewalled by the CLP chair and other officers for weeks, I understand.

There are a couple of other issues that this shambles throws up:

1. The selection meeting was chaired by the CLP chair as I am told that the meeting was informed that the ward chair was unavailable. Surely in those situations it would fall to the ward vice-chair to chair the meeting (who I understand was present)? If not then what is the point of having a ward vice-chair and did the CLP chair not think it inappropriate to chair the meeting when they are:

2. Part of the selection process in that constituency themselves? The CLP chair is of course also seeking to be a councillor. It does appear that there is something of a conflict of interest, given that Meghani appears to have been the regional office imposed candidate.

3. I do also wonder how the regional office will view the CLP chair not “apportioning blame publicly” but then going on to blame the regional office for this. Disloyal much?

This story has drawn the attention of the local press. I’m also given to understand that it has also come to the attention of senior members of the NEC. The reputation of one of our South Birmingham CLPs, Edgbaston, has been dragged through the mud and it was all totally unnecessary – all that needed to happen was to have the meeting in September when members were back from their holidays, give them plenty of notice it was happening, inform the candidates in good time and stick to the rules.

Why was that so difficult?

 

MW 

MSB Newsletter 21/08/17

cropped-cropped-momentum-cover-photo-61.jpg

Welcome to the latest Momentum South Birmingham newsletter – your unmissable weekly digest of all the interesting things going on politically in our area and beyond.

Despite it still being August and the Bank Holiday coming up this weekend, there is still loads of stuff going on in Birmingham politically. The refuse workers strike seems to have reached a relatively satisfactory conclusion – although the Labour Party needs to now do a lot to reach out to a section of the council workforce who should naturally support the party but will understandably be rather alienated by the way the dispute has been handled. There are definitely lessons to be learnt and if our local party was more democratic and member-led this could have all been easily avoided. One of our supporters produced a follow-up report that was published just before the deal was announced – it’s still worth a read though.

On that theme there are some worrying issues popping up across the city around the selection of our party’s candidates for the 2018 local elections – keep an eye on our supporters blog for the latest developments and opinions. It is deeply saddening that the contrasting lessons of the really positive general election and the disastrous West Midlands Mayoral contest appear not to have been learnt.  

We did a couple of stalls at the weekend and we will be doing another one in Harborne this weekend – more details below – and we’ll try and take some pictures this time! Also, weather permitting, we’ll be planning a big turnout at the “Cyclists for Corbyn” picnic on Sunday so the long weekend is going to be a busy one!  

Enjoy this week’s edition and if there is content you want featuring in future editions do drop us a line.

 

MSB stall in Harborne – Sat 26th August and message from MSB’S Edgbaston co-ordinator Dave Sheridan

We’ll be on Harborne High Street (specifically outside WHSmith about halfway down) this Saturday from 10am until 12pm to discuss the NHS, cuts to local services and why we need a Labour government and Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister! Please come along if you can, even if it’s just for half an hour. Supporters from Keep Our NHS Public Birmingham will also be joining us too. We always get a lively response from the public in Harborne……….

In addition, Dave Sheridan, MSB’s Edgbaston co-ordinator, has asked us to circulate the following message:

“We meet as a sub-group group on a monthly basis.  We’re also trying to build up our numbers within the Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton branches so as

coordinator of the Edgbaston Momentum Group I’d welcome as many of you joining our group to receive the monthly calling notice and attending meetings when it is convenient for you.  You can email me to get on our group list: davesherry53@gmail.com or call me on 0121-427-4569 or 07747-104836.  I look forward to hearing from you.”

 

Cyclists for Corbyn picnic – 27th August

If you are not away gallivanting on the Bank Holiday weekend by all means pop along on Sunday the 27th to the first Birmingham Cyclists for JC Picnic in Cannon Hill Park between 14:00 – 17:00. You do not need to be a cyclist to attend this event but bringing some food is essential! More details here.

 

Burton Unite members back in dispute with Argos –

let’s support them!

Many of you will recall that for a number of weeks earlier in the Summer the newsletter featured information about a dispute at Argos in Burton where workers organised by Unite are in dispute with the company over the future of their jobs. The dispute has restarted and attached to this newsletter is a flyer stating the workers position. There is much more information on the original dispute here: please offer any help you can. Donations and messages of support  should be sent to: Unite the Union Branch WM7680, care of Mick Casey, 140 BRANSTON RD, BURTON ON TRENT, DE14 3DQ. We are also going to try and get a speaker at our MSB branch meeting on the 3rd September.

 

 

**Next MSB branch meeting: 3rd September**

Our next MSB members meeting will be on Sunday the 3rd September. There’ll be loads to discuss – venue and time tbc.

The usual rules apply – members of other political parties that are opposed to Labour cannot attend unfortunately.

 

MSB’s Big Quiz Night: 8th September.

Join us for MSB’s Big Quiz Night and test your knowledge to win some great prizes. £3 per quizzer, teams of up to five! Please give nicky151289@gmail.com to register your quiz (no time limit and can still be done on the night). In the Highbury Pub (Dad’s Lane, Stirchley, B13 8PQ) function room from 7pm. More details here.

 

There are rumours, thus far unconfirmed, that there will be a section on “Notorious figures of the Birmingham revolutionary left.”

Ballots for Labour Conference Arrangements Committee – closing date the 8th September

An important vote is coming up. It will shape Labour Party Conference. It will influence the future of our party. If you’re a Labour member you should receive an email ballot to vote for your representatives on the Conference Arrangement Committee (CAC). The CAC is the committee that decides how conference runs and what is debated. It is vital we elect Corbyn supporting activists on the committee. Momentum encourage you to vote for Seema Chandwani and Billy Hayes. Both are experienced activists. Both support Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s transformation manifesto. Both want to see a conference that backs Corbyn. Volunteers will be phonebanking Momentum members to make sure they cast their vote. Shape the future of your party. Vote Seema and Billy. Ballot closes at Midday on the 8th September.

Dennis Skinner: Nature of the Beast Film Screening with Q&A, 11th September

Factory Cinema Co and The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen are very proud to present a screening of the feature-length documentary about The Labour Party politician Dennis Skinner by Shut Out The Light. Raised alongside nine siblings within a mining village, Dennis has fought for the rights of the working class for over 50-years. Uncompromising in his views and with a set of incorruptible principles, Dennis is respected and feared on both sides of the House of Commons. Nature of the Beast looks at what lies behind his passion and drive, and tracks his rise from a local councillor to today, where he is one of Britain’s most recognisable politicians – known as ‘The Beast of Bolsover’. Full details here.

 

Next MSB book club – 19th September

Our inaugural book club meeting was held recently and reports coming back to MSB Towers indicate that it was a fantastic event – many thanks to Cheryl Hedges for pulling it together. The next has been planned already and you have plenty of time to do the reading – it’s 10 Days that shook the world by John Reed. You can read it online here too. 19th September, 7pm, Loco Lounge in Kings Heath.

 

The World Transformed Brighton 2017

2017 has been an intense year. Alongside the rise of Trump, Britain exiting the EU and the general collapse of the political centre ground, we’ve seen a Corbyn-led Labour defy all odds to massively increase Labour’s vote share.

With our movement close to power, it’s now time to get serious. It’s time to work out precisely what our vision is, and how we could implement it.

The World Transformed 2017 will be a four-day fringe festival alongside the Labour Party Conference in Brighton. Across nine venues they’ll host skill shares, debates, plays and parties that’ll redefine what it means to do politics and debate new ideas that’ll soon shape the future of Britain. Get a ticket. Join us in Brighton. Come experience the future of politics.

Labour Conference fringe meeting, 25th September: “Economics for a progressive agenda”

The speaker is Professor Bill Mitchell, a leading proponent of Modern Monetary Theory. The meeting is being organised independently by a small group of Labour members whose goal is to start a conversation about re-framing our understanding of economics to match a progressive political agenda.

All are welcome and you don’t have to be a member of the Labour party to attend. It’s being held as a fringe event at the Labour Conference week in Brighton on Monday 25th September – 2pm to 5pm, at The Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YD.

Further details – go to http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/ and scroll to the end of any recent post – look for heading “Crowdfunding Request – Economics for a progressive agenda”

Holiday Hunger Appeal

School holidays are in full swing which means added pressure for families whose kids eat for free at school as they struggle to put meals on the table during the holidays. MSB will be organising food collections for our local food banks during the summer holidays. We are looking for: cereals, tinned foods, pasta, rice, biscuits, fruit juice, long life milk….

 

Get in touch with Nicky Brennan or Cheryl Hedges and they can arrange collection/drop offs: email nicky151289@gmail.com or chezhedges@hotmail.com.

 

Our NHS and Social Care in Crisis – fighting back to win conference, Saturday Nov 4th, 11.00-4.00

We’re giving you plenty of notice about this! Health Campaigns Together, working with other allies, organised the biggest-ever national demo on the NHS on March 4. Now they want the biggest-ever national campaigners’ conference (Hammersmith Town Hall, London W6 9LE) to broaden, deepen and strengthen campaigning all over the country.

* End the freeze on NHS spending

* Scrap the cap on NHS pay

* No cuts or cash-driven closures
* No privatisation

* For a publicly funded and publicly provided NHS and social care
* End the competitive market in health care

Speakers from trade unions, local government and campaigners. Those already agreed include Sara Gorton, Head of Health, UNISON, Sarah Cook (Unite the Union), and two council leaders who have refused to comply with their STP and are fighting threats to their local hospitals, Cllr Steve Cowan (Hammermsith & Fulham) and Cllr Julian Bell (Ealing). The majority of time will be allocated for for workshops, collaboration and discussion.
More details of speakers and workshops still being finalised, and will be publicised as they are agreed at www.healthcampaignstogether. Lunch provided for pre-booked delegates – always a big incentive to book early.

Women’s Protest And Activism Seminar, Fri 10 Nov

Again, giving you plenty of notice about this but it looks like a great event! From the website: “In response to the themes inherent with Sally Payen’s exhibition, The Fence And The Shadow, join MAC, the artist, curator, art and social historians and organisations campaigning for women’s rights and equality in a one-day symposium to discuss the broad-based area of women’s protest and activism and its continued relevance today.” For the full program and to book tickets click here.

Birmingham Momentum Women’s Group:

Future meetings

Women Momentum members across Birmingham are now meeting regularly to discuss women’s position in the Labour Party and how to gain gender equality. It’s a safe space for Momentum and Labour women to come together to support each other, explore issues and plan campaigns.  Venue and date of next meeting TBC – the planned one on the 11th September has been postponed.

 

 

Northfield constituency dates for your diary

  • CLP Member & Supporter meeting: Friday 15th September from 7pm – will include discussion of CLP priorities for the 2018 City Council elections in both Northfield and Birmingham – more details to follow.

 

Edgbaston constituency dates for your diary

  • Edgbaston Momentum stall Saturday 26th August – 11am until 1pm – more details above.

 

Hall Green constituency dates for your diary

  • Moseley and Kings Heath Labour Party Street Stall in Kings Heath, Saturday, August 26th at 10 am, Outside of Asda, Kings Heath High Street.

 

Selly Oak constituency dates for your diary

  • Billesley ward door-knocking for Selly Oak CLP, every Monday. The newly-constituted ward is seen as one of the toughest battles the party faces in the city next year. 6pm – the carpark on the junction of School Road and Highters Heath Lane – opposite McDonald’s.

 

Birmingham needs more women councillors!

Women in Momentum’s three Birmingham branches are now meeting regularly and the dates of their next two meeting are included in this newsletter. They have also produced an excellent article on improving the gender balance on Birmingham City Council. There have been some worrying rumours about attempts being made to water it down in some of the new wards – the way that we can challenge this is to oppose any dilution in our Labour Parties but also for women to stand as councillors. The piece can be read here – please share far and wide.

 

New to the Labour Party?

Many of us are fairly new to the party and it can be quite an intimidating environment with labyrinthine rules and procedures that are at times baffling – with all the different abbreviations and structures it can be like learning a new language! Momentum Sheffield (who look almost as amazing as MSB…..) have produced a very helpful guide for newcomers that explains the structures, rules, terms and puts things in day-to-day language. It’s worth a read even if you are an experienced old hand! A link to the document is here.

 

Defend our children’s centres!

26 children’s centres are at risk of closure across the city. While Birmingham City Council is an almost impossible position due to the cuts it is being forced to make by the Tory government, these centres provide early education and day care for children from 6 months to 5 years and are a vital service for families. Numerous consultation meetings are taking place across the city (list is here), there is an online consultation form to complete (closing date the 18th August) and there is more useful information here.

 

Keep Our NHS Public Birmingham

KONPB do a huge amount of brilliant work and a number of Momentum activists are already involved in meetings and activity, but they are always in need of more help.

For those who are interested in supporting and/or joining KONP and contributing to campaigns their contact details are btuchcc@hotmail.com.

Currently KONPB have campaigns on the proposed NHS “Transformation” plans (cuts and privatisation) in Brum/Solihull and Black Country; the privately-financed Midland Metropolitan Hospital in Smethwick (PFI/2) and have recently set up a ‘Mental Health Interest Group’, which is planning to do some more work on the mental health arrangements for young people 0-25 years in Birmingham – currently ‘red risk’.

Meetings are 1st Wednesday of every month (except August), so people can drop in any time at The Wellington, 37 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham, B2 5SN.

Please get involved in, and support, KONPB in any way you can.

 

South Birmingham Momentum T-Shirts

Not before time in our view, wear it with pride: MSB t-shirts are going to be ordered: £10 for members and £12 for none-members (another compelling reason to join Momentum!) red with Birmingham Momentum on it and a big picture of Jeremy! If you would like one email nicky151289@gmail.com, they are available in medium, large or extra-large.

 

‘Regional’ Momentum co-ordination

Cecile Wright, one of our elected NGC reps for the large ‘region’ that Birmingham and the West Midlands sits in, would like to keep in touch about how she can best open communication with us to better represent us on the Momentum Council. She wants people to feel free to get in touch with her and her email is c.wright230@ntlworld.com. As things develop further post-conference we’ll keep you informed.

 

School cuts

The NUT have set up a school cuts website providing information on what is going on and the likely effects. You can email your MP through the website, it only takes a minute. Please click here. Since the New Year a number of parents groups have sprung up across the country to fight for more funding for our schools. It is an important development that parents have started to organise because Governments cross parents at their peril. Please visit their website.

 

MSB social media classes and blog pitches

Nicky Brennan, one of our social media managers, has started running classes if you are uninitiated in Facebook and Twitter etc. and want to learn more about how to make best use of them – they are crucial part of modern political campaigning and you are never too old to learn something new! If you’re interested get in touch with Nicky: nicky151289@gmail.com

We are also looking to get more original content on our blog – it is a somewhat underused resource for discussing ideas and giving our members a platform to write about the issues of concern to them. Drop Nicky a line if you have any ideas – particularly if they are about local issues and our campaigning – or things you think we should be doing more on and want to draw attention to.

 

Ward and CLP meetings

If you want the group to publicise upcoming local Labour Party activities and branch and CLP meetings to encourage attendance, please let us know either by emailing me direct or the group account below; our wonderful social media managers Kate, Lucy, Nicky and Sam will do the rest!

 

https://www.facebook.com/momentumbirminghamsouth/ 

https://momentumsbham.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/@MomentumSBham/

MomentumbhamSouth@hotmail.com 

http://www.leftwardtendency.co.uk/momentum-south-birmingham

http://www.leftwardtendency.co.uk/wall-of-fame

 To join Momentum: https://join.peoplesmomentum.com/