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.
Welcome to the first edition of 2018. With the local elections just 4 months away you won’t be surprised to hear that campaigning is kicking off in many wards already and MSB members will be out in force. We were also out in force this morning for campaigning on rail fares across many stations on our patch – check out our social media to see some pictures of Labour members braving the cold to talk to the public about the issue and argue for renationalisation!
We have our first branch meeting of the year this Sunday and it looks like it’s going to be a busy one- we are planning on having a couple of speakers and it will be great to touch base and start talking about our plans for the upcoming year.
Also please don’t forget to cast your NEC ballot if you haven’t already – full details below!
Enjoy this week’s edition and if there is content you want featuring in future editions do drop us a line.
Next KONPB meeting – Jan 3rd
Keep Our NHS Public Birmingham 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 at 7:30pm. The next meeting is tomorrow, Wednesday the 3rd January.
They have also established a bank account if you want to make either regular (by standing order) or ‘one-off’ donations the money will be put to good use. KONP’s bank details, should you wish to make a bank transfer/set up a standing order (monthly or annually) the Co-Op Bank account number is 65823280 and the sort code is 08- 92-99. Please get involved in, and support, KONPB in any way you can!
Next MSB branch meeting: 7th January
Our first MSB meeting of the new year is this Sunday, the 7th January, 3pm, at the Highbury Pub in Stirchley (Dad’s Lane, Stirchley, Birmingham B13 8PQ).
Please join us to discuss many of the campaigns we are involved in and causes we are supporting and also the forthcoming local elections – campaigning will be starting very soon. We are planning on having several speakers from ongoing campaigns and workers disputes.
We are also once again welcoming anyone from Yardley CLP who wishes to join us.
The usual rules apply – you are welcome to join us as long as you aren’t a supporter of a party that isn’t Labour – and if we have any votes you’ll need to be a Momentum member to participate 😊
Hope to see you there!
‘Knights of the Raj’ exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: until 7th Jan 2018
Birmingham is home to hundreds of so-called Indian restaurants. However, many are unaware that it is the Bangladeshi community that pioneered this industry, laying the foundations for Britain’s ‘curry culture’. Soul City Arts, working in partnership with Future Seed CIC, have captured the untold stories of those pioneers, tracing the origins of the Birmingham curry trade back to the 1940s. This three-month long exhibition features rare photographs, unique artefacts, videos, interactive displays and oral histories that tell the fascinating story of the much-loved British Curry.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to immerse yourself in the history of Birmingham and Britain’s Indian restaurants. The exhibition runs at BM&AG until the 7th Jan 2018. More details here.
BCC Budget consultation, 10th Jan 2018.
Every year Birmingham City Council consults the people of the city about what the budget priorities are for the coming year. This takes the form of public meetings and an online consultation which you can access here. Usually there are a number of public meetings but sadly there is only one this year, which is desperately disappointing when the cuts are as savage as they are. It’s on Wednesday 10 January 2018, 6.00pm to 8.00pm in the Council House Victoria Square Birmingham B1 1BB. More information can be found here.
Sparkhill campaigning afternoon for Nicky Brennan – weekend of 13th and 14th January
As you will no doubt have spotted in previous editions one of our hardest working members, Nicky Brennan, is standing in Sparkhill for Labour I the forcoming local elections. Her first big campaigning event are leafletting sessions on Saturday 13th and Sunday the 14th January, both at 1pm.
• Saturday – meeting at the junction of Witton Road and Stoney Lane B12 8AJ
• Sunday – meeting at the junction of Formans Road and Knowle Road B11 3AW
Any questions please drop email@example.com a line!
MSB campaigns and social/fundraising committees joint meeting – 17th January
The next Stalls/Campaigning and Social/Fundraising meeting will be held at 11am on Wednesday 17th January in Loco Lounge in Kings Heath. The two committees have again decided to join forces! All are welcome. They would love to hear feedback and suggestions for the year ahead as if it’s anything like the last couple of years it’s going to be another busy one!
Next MSB Book Club, 23rd Jan 2018
The MSB Book Club is now meeting (nearly) every month – they are having December off! However, the next meeting is already organised and it will be The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist on 23rd January 2018, at The Loco Lounge Kings Heath High Street, with a 7.30pm start.
BTUC meeting, Thurs 1st Feb: “The future of work in an age of rapid technological change – and how workers can take control of it.”
Technology is not a neutral force that can only go one way with the question being simply who benefits financially from the results of technological innovation. Values are embedded in technology and choices – and therefore the exercise of power is made at every point. The key questions therefore are can workers control the design of technology and the purposes for which it is designed? Does automation have to lead to the destruction of all jobs; the skilled, the useful as well as the boring, the degrading and the useless?
With these questions in mind, Hilary Wainwight will explore the options facing the labour movement over automation. She will draw on her experience of the Lucas Aerospace workers alternative plan for socially useful production, to suggest that with the prospect of a radical Labour Government committed to economic democracy, there is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the labour movement to wrest control over the future design and direction of technology from capital and subject it to democratic control to meet social need. Through this we could realise William Morris’ dream of ‘useful labour rather than useless toil’. But this will involve radical changes in the trade union movement so that it becomes an agent of social transformation rather than a defender of an increasingly precarious status quo. Hilary will open a discussion of what these changes might be.
The meeting is Thursday 1st Feb, 7:30pm, Committee Rooms 3+4, Council House, Victoria Square, B11BB.
Unison launch of their manifesto for Birmingham City Council elections, 9th Feb
Unison are holding an event to launch their manifesto for Birmingham City Council elections on Friday 9th February. The Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward will join them for his responses to UNISON key asks of the Birmingham Labour manifesto. UNISON will also be sharing it’s calls for an Activist Council. Deputy Leader Cllr Brigid Jones will be speaking on Labour’s election strategy, and senior figures from UNISON – Regional Secretary Ravi Subramanian and Regional Head of Local Government Claire Campbell will be making contributions too. For more details and to reserve your spot click here.
Northfield constituency dates for your diary
• Northfield CLP all-member meeting, Friday 2nd February, from 7pm at Northfield Quaker Meeting House.
Edgbaston constituency dates for your diary
• Quinton ward meeting – 10th Jan, 7.15pm Quinborne Centre, Ridgacre Road, Quinton
• Edgbaston ward local election campaigning: 13th Jan, 10am, full details to be confirmed.
• Edgbaston ward meeting: Tues 16th Jan or 23rd Jan (we’ve been given both dates and will try and confirm as soon as possible) @ 7pm, Edgbaston Community Centre 40 Woodview Drive, Birmingham, B15 2HU. The plan is to couple the meeting with a social event where members can swap unwanted Christmas presents and as a ‘meet the new candidates meeting’.
• Harborne branch meeting: Thursday January 18th 2018, 7pm to 8:30pm at the Quinborne Centre, Ridgacre Road.
Hall Green constituency dates for your diary
• Sparkhill campaigning, weekend of 13th and 14th January – details above.
Selly Oak constituency dates for your diary
• Nothing in the diary this week!
Following Labour Party Conference in Brighton there will now be all member elections for three additional CLP representatives on the National Executive Committee.
Momentum nationally will be campaigning for the following candidates, all of whom are supported by the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance, fully support the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, and will campaign for a socialist Labour Government:
• Yasmine Dar – Yasmine is a councillor in Moston, Manchester, ran for selection in the Manchester Gorton by-election and is a qualified social worker.
• Rachel Garnham – Rachel is a member of the Nation Policy Forum and CLP secretary for Mid Bedfordshire.
• Jon Lansman – Jon is a co-founder of Momentum, chair of the National Coordinating Group and previously worked for Michael Meacher MP
The ballot will be distributed to party members via email and post and will close on 12th Jan.
Momentum South Birmingham standing orders
From our Treasurer Cheryl Hedges:
“The Labour Party and Trade Unions don’t have the big backers of the Conservatives. This has the advantage that we are a responsive and campaigning organisation. However there is a down side, and that is we often subsidise the work of Momentum from our own pockets. Contributions are always generous at meetings, however most of this money goes to cover the cost of room hire. I think we have at least 100 supporters of MSB and if everyone gave just £1 per month it would mean a big difference in our ability to campaign, buy Momentum and Labour Party merchandise, publish leaflets and support other activists. We have made contributions to local campaigns such as the striking bin workers and KONP. We would like to continue this activity. If you would like to make a regular donation or even just a one off then please do.”
Bank: Lloyds, Kings Heath
Sort code: 30 94 74
Account number: 27819460
One thing that many Labour Party members in Birmingham will testify is that information is hard to come by. Members just aren’t told what is going on and that is deliberate and longstanding. Fortunately organisations like MSB are there to keep the West Midlands Regional Office on their toes, and there are plenty of others ensuring members are kept in the loop. Labour Lives performs an excellent job in keeping party members informed – they are definitely worth a follow if you’re on Twitter. They find out some extremely interesting tidbits on a virtually daily basis…………
MSB campaigns and stalls committee
Our recently re-elected stalls co-ordinator Chris Kuriata is always on the lookout for new people to join her committee. Stalls and campaigning have been crucial to the development of the group. You might even get your picture taken with John McDonnell! Email Chriskuriata@live.co.uk for more info.
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.
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.
Ward and CLP meetings
If you want the group to publicise upcoming local Labour Party activities and branch (ward)/CLP meetings to encourage attendance, please let us know either by emailing me direct or the group account below; our wonderful social media managers Lucy, Nicky, Ayden and Michael will do the rest!
To join Momentum: https://join.peoplesmomentum.com/