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.
I feel like I’ve said this quite a few times in these newsletters in the time I have been sending them out but it has been an extraordinary few days. The general election results were absolutely stunning and we are now in a position to start genuinely talking about the Labour Party, headed by Jeremy Corbyn, taking power at the next election, which will surely be far earlier than in five years’ time. A pact with the loathsome DUP probably won’t last very long. There is so, so much to do but there is also so much to be hopeful about now and there are some serious lessons for the West Midlands Labour Party to learn from developments over the last few months. Let’s hope they are taken on board.
The officers of MSB have produced a statement that can be read here. We’ve also been publicising activities in Wolverhampton South West and I am happy to report that Eleanor Smith held the seat for Labour and increased the majority to over two thousand. Many congratulations to Eleanor!
It was an incredible collective effort – an enormous thank you to everyone who came out to support their local Labour candidate and in many cases travelled all over the city and region to help others in marginal constituencies. In Birmingham both Edgbaston and Northfield were held with significantly increased majorities, a huge well done to both campaign teams.
It’s a shorter newsletter this week but full of interesting stuff nonetheless – enjoy! I’d like to say that we can relax now but I think we all know that would be foolish prediction……..
The Great Get Together – 14th June to 2nd July
Attached to this newsletter is a programme of events promoted by our friends at Hope not Hate as part of the “The Great Get Together” – a collaborative project involving organisations in Birmingham, the Black Country and Dudley. In particular there is a picnic at Cannon Hill Park on the 18th June:
“South Birmingham Hope not Hate would also like to invite you to a Hope Picnic on the 18th June in Cannon Hill Park (by the swans) from 12.00-3pm. This is part of the Great Get Together weekend, celebrating that we have more in common. More information about the weekend here. We’re asking everyone to bring their friends, family, favourite food and as many games as you can carry! The picnic will be an opportunity to share food with old and new friends and family. The event will be child friendly so do bring your kids along for some sharing of food and games. You can sign up to the event yourself on Facebook here.”
Anti-DUP protest, 17th June
‘Love Activists’ – a radical direct action group, have organised a protest against Theresa May and the Tories forming a coalition with the DUP – who it’s fair to say are a fairly unsavoury organisation and who have views that appal even many Tories. More details here.
Screening of ‘Dispossession’ and Q+A, 22nd June
For some people, a housing crisis means not getting planning permission for a loft conversion. For others it means, quite simply, losing their home. Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle is a feature documentary directed by Paul Sng (Sleaford Mods – Invisible Britain) and narrated by Maxine Peake, exploring the catastrophic failures that have led to a chronic shortage of social housing in Britain.
The film focuses on the neglect, demolition and regeneration of council estates across the UK and investigates how the state works with the private sector to demolish council estates to build on the land they stand on, making properties that are unaffordable to the majority of people.
Dispossession is the story of people fighting for their communities, of people who know the difference between a house and a home, and who believe that housing is a human right, not an expensive luxury.
Following the screening there will be a Q&A discussion featuring Paul Sng (Director), Dr Lisa McKenzie (London School of Economics), Robert Clayton (author and photographer of Estate), Tim Morton (housing consultant) and host Tom Murtha (Social Housing Under Threat). It starts promptly at 8pm and there are more details here.
Northfield constituency dates for your diary
- Nothing in the diary this week – everyone is very tired after an absolutely herculean effort in the last few weeks!
Edgbaston constituency dates for your diary
Saturday 17th June
- Harborne ward Labour Party meeting, 11am, Moor Pool Lower Hall, 37 The Circle, Birmingham B17 9DY. Preet Gill will be speaking and the meeting is also open to members of Edgbaston ward.
Monday 19th June
- Harborne ward meeting (please note this is a public meeting for all residents of Harborne not a Labour Party event and therefore officially apolitical), 7pm the Community Room, Harborne Pool and Fitness Centre Lordswood Road B17 9QS.
Hall Green constituency dates for your diary
- Moseley and Kings Heath/Hall Green post-election social/campaign thank you: back room of the Hare and Hounds Pub on Kings Heath High Street, Friday 16th June, from 6:30pm onwards.
Selly Oak constituency dates for your diary
- Brandwood Forum meeting (this is a public meeting, apolitical, and not a Labour Party event but it obviously focuses on the effects of government and council policies on the area): Wednesday 21st June at Monyhull Church 7- 8.30pm.
Burton Unite members in dispute with Argos –
let’s support them!
While of course the eyes of Momentum South Birmingham were mostly fixed on the general election and ensuring our city’s constituencies returned Labour MPs, we should not forget that there are industrial disputes going on that can and should be supported. One of those is just down the road in Burton where Argos workers organised by the Unite union are on strike.
There is much more information here: please offer any help you can at this very busy time for all of us.
Our fundraising co-ordinator, Nicky, has drawn up a quick survey for members and supporters to fill in to canvass our views on what we want. If you have a spare couple of minutes please fill it in here.
MSB statement on the July 2015 ‘freeze date’ decision
The Birmingham Board of the Labour Party, in their infinite wisdom, decided to retain the July 2015 freeze date for members to participate in the selection of candidates for the 2018 local election elections. We have published a statement that you can read here and rest assured it will not be the end of the matter. Momentum seeks to get Labour members elected to public office. Labour will only succeed in doing that if it engages with its new members and gives them a say. The decision is a monumental act of folly.
‘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 email@example.com. As things develop further post-conference we’ll keep you informed.
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.
South Birmingham Momentum T-Shirts
Not before time in our view, wear it with pride: MSB t-shirts are going to be ordered: £10 red with South Birmingham Momentum on it. If you would like one email
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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!