Welcome to the latest (bumper) South Birmingham Momentum newsletter, full of exciting events for you to attend and ways to support the group fight the good fight. If you’re reading this newsletter and haven’t joined the Labour Party, then please do so. And if you have and haven’t got involved yet, please do!
The by-elections held last Thursday have saw mixed results. Although the eventually fairly comfortable victory in Stoke was very pleasing and it was wonderful to see UKIP and the loathsome Paul Nuttall sent packing, it couldn’t have been done without the huge numbers of Labour activists who converged on the constituency, many of them Momentum supporters. They all deserve huge credit for their efforts.
And it also shouldn’t be forgotten that the combined UKIP/Tory vote was well in excess of Labour’s so there is a long way to go……..
Obviously things weren’t so positive in Copeland and we shouldn’t pretend it was anything other than a disappointing result. The reasons for the defeat are clearly too complex to explain in this newsletter but the party needs to have a long hard look at itself, and maybe certain individuals need to reflect on whether their support for our democratically elected leader is as strong as it should be.
Those of us on the left need to accept that this was never going to be easy and we need to redouble our efforts to reform the party, which right now is in questionable shape despite the huge influx of new members. The left is in the majority but you really wouldn’t know it sometimes. That needs to change and if it can be changed we can get on with the even bigger challenge of convincing the public of the need for socialist policies.
Statement on the Birmingham Board
Momentum South Birmingham have produced a statement in opposition to the Birmingham Board of the Labour Party decision last year to restrict eligible voters in the selection of council candidates next year. Opposition to this mystifying and self-defeating move is growing across the city’s CLPs – in the area we cover resolutions calling for it to be reversed have been passed in at least two wards in each constituency. You can read the statement here – please share with all of your contacts as we believe this is a big issue – and please raise in your local Labour Party. Please also start contacting your local CLP reps to the board (usually the chair and secretary) asking them to challenge this decision and vote for the usual 6 month freeze date. There are also a number of South Birmingham MPs and councillors on the board who you can contact. If you need any more information by all means get in touch with us but a full (although maybe not entirely up-to-date) list of the Board members can be found here.
Keep Our NHS Public Birmingham supporters meeting, Wednesday 1st March
Many of you may have attended our very successful NHS public meeting last Wednesday in Edgbaston constituency. There are some pictures here and we will be looking to arrange similar events in the other constituencies we cover.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our friends in Keep our NHS Public Birmingham, who spoke eloquently on ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’ (‘STPs’) and their likely implications nationally and locally. KONPB do a huge amount of brilliant work but 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and they have their monthly meeting coming up this Wednesday the 1st March. This takes place at the Wellington on Bennetts Hill in Birmingham from 7:30-9pm.
Meetings are 1st Wednesday of every month (except August), so people can drop in any time. Currently they have campaigns on the STPs in Brum/Solihull and Black Country. the Midland Metropolitan Hospital (PFI/2) and they are looking to do some more work on the mental health arrangements for young people 0-25 years in B’ham – currently ‘red risk’.
Please get involved in and support KONPB in any way you can.
Explore your Political Pathway: Birmingham, 1st March
The Parliament Project is an initiative to increase the number of women in Parliament and they have an event on the 1st March at the Council House.
From the Blurb:
“Women, have you considered getting involved in politics but not quite been able to take the plunge? Do you need more information but don’t know where to get it? Or do you worry you don’t have the skills but you still want to make a difference?
Come along to our first Birmingham workshop from The Parliament Project, an initiative to increase the numbers of women in political office, as we help women explore their political pathway.”
REEL NEWS Videos and Activism workshop and film evening at Izons, Thurs 2nd March
Infamous Community Arts and Banner Theatre present Video and Activism by REEL NEWS, a free event run at Izons (West Bromwich) on Thursday 2 March 17: Campaigns and struggles for social justice, here and abroad, which are not only fighting back, but winning too!
- Workshop 2pm-5pm (booking necessary)
- Film/Q&A evening 7pm-9pm
More details about booking in one of the flyers I have attached to the email you received the newsletter with.
Women’s meeting, 2nd March
Some of our women members have organised a further get-together on Thursday the 2nd March at Loco Lounge (32/34 High Street Kings Heath, B14 7JT) at 7pm. It’s very much a social event rather than a decision-making gathering – all welcome! The last one was a very big success and we’re sure the group will go from strength to strength.
‘Our NHS’ demonstration: 4th March
Our NHS is at breaking point. With a backdrop of continued cuts and closures, private companies seek to gain even more of a foothold within the NHS. Theresa May’s demands for yet more austerity in the NHS represent a real risk to the safety of patients and the service. The Government’s latest wheeze, Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) are in reality just a smokescreen for further cuts and privatization. A coalition of organisations have organised a demonstration on the 4th March and MSB are organising a coach that will be picking up from Carrs Lane. If you would like to go can you please email Nicky Brennan at email@example.com or Chris Kuriata at Chriskuriata@live.co.uk and can you pay by tomorrow if you have reserved a ticket already!
Next MSB branch meeting, 5th March
Our next MSB branch meeting will be on Sunday the 5th March so if you’ve recovered from the NHS demo please come along to Friends Meeting House, 1 Hamlet Road, Hall Green, Birmingham B28 9BG at 4pm. All Momentum members and supporters in the Edgbaston, Hall Green, Northfield and Selly Oak constituencies are welcome and there’ll be loads to discuss and get involved in. There’s only one exclusion and it’s the usual one – if you’re a member of a party other than Labour then you won’t be able to attend – sorry but you know the score by now!
MSB fundraising officer’s meeting, 6th Mar
If you’re interested in helping us plan our fundraising events we have our next social/fundraising meeting on the 6th March, 7pm at the Boston Tea Party, Harborne High Street. Please contact Nicky Brennan (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to go along and/or you want to get involved more generally in our fundraising activities – all those brilliant leaflets we put out won’t pay for themselves………..
Stalls committee meeting, 8th March
Our stalls co-ordinator Chris Kuriata has organised a stalls committee meeting for Wednesday the 8th March. 10am at Loco Lounge (32/34 High Street Kings Heath, B14 7JT). All welcome and there will be lots of things to get involved in!
Stirchley Library Campaign meeting: Sat 11th Mar
The campaign to protect the service of Stirchley continues despite the relatively positive news about the future of library services in Birmingham recently. The next public/organising meeting is on Saturday the 11th March, 10.30, at Stirchley Community Church.
‘Feminism and the Foodbank’, 15th Mar
Although this isn’t an official Momentum event our supporters are involved and we would encourage everyone to go along to P Café 1464 Pershore Road, B30 2NT on the 15th at 7pm. To coincide with International Women’s Day there will be a discussion on the theme of ‘Feminism and the Foodbank’. It’s free to get in but please bring a donation of female hygiene products to be donated to B30 Food bank. More details here.
Momentum National Conference: 25th March
Inspired by the work of local groups over the last year and the hugely successful ‘The World Transformed’ fringe festival that took place alongside Labour Party Conference in Liverpool in September, Momentum’s first conference ‘Building to Win’ will take place on Saturday 25th March in Birmingham at 119 Floodgate Street in Digbeth. The conference will be open to all Momentum members and feature activist training, political education workshops and discussion focused on four key themes:
Transforming Labour – helping people navigate Labour Party structures and discussing how Momentum can continue to support the transformation of Labour into a grassroots, members-led party that offers a real alternative to the status quo.
Helping Labour Win – supporting Labour to mobilise its mass membership and win elections as well as helping equip people with arguments and effective communication techniques to persuade people of our vision.
Building the movement- discussing how we can further root our movement in communities, developing links with people and other grassroots groups to organise throughout the UK and build support for Labour’s policies.
Building Momentum – building capacity within Momentum networks and groups through skills sharing and training. Building Momentum will help us achieve our first three objectives.
We will be joined by activists from across the country and special guest speakers.
You can book your tickets here. There will also be loads of stalls there from local groups and campaigning organisations – if you are involved in or know a group who might be interested please get in touch with us at email@example.com. We want to use this event to build on our good work locally too and give a platform to the many issues of concern to us.
Billy Elliot Film Night, 31st March
MSB are putting on a showing of Billy Elliot at the Highbury Pub, Dads Lane, B13 8PQ on the 31st March. Film to start at 7:30 followed by a discussion on some of the topical issues in the film. £5/£3 includes popcorn! More details here.
Edgbaston constituency dates for your diary
- (Provisional) Edgbaston CLP members discussion forum on an ethical foreign policy, Fri 17th March, Quinborne Centre, Quinton at 7pm
Hall Green constituency dates for your diary
- Hall Green CLP Momentum sub-group meeting: 6 March 7-8pm at the Loco Lounge Kings Heath High Street.
- Hall Green CLP All Members meeting: Thursday 9th March, 8.30pm at Moseley Community Development Trust (Moseley CDT), Alcester Road, B13 8JP
Selly Oak constituency dates for your diary
- Nothing this week but we’ll announce things as soon as we have them!
Northfield constituency dates for your diary
- Nothing this week but we’ll announce things as soon as we have them!
South Birmingham Momentum T-Shirts
Not before time in my view, wear it with pride: MSB t-shirts are going to be ordered: £10 red with South Birmingham Momentum on it. If people would like one email firstname.lastname@example.org
MSB stalls committee – volunteers needed
Our stalls co-ordinator, Chris Kuriata, is on the lookout for people to join the group’s stalls committee. Stalls have been a crucial way that we have got our ideas across. You might even get your picture taken with John McDonnell! Email Chris: Chriskuriata@live.co.uk
MSB social media classes
Nicky Brennan, one of our social media managers, is interested in running some 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: email@example.com
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!