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: email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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….
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:
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 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.
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!
To join Momentum: https://join.peoplesmomentum.com/