Branch Political Officers Report for Branch Committee Meeting 28th July 2015
Labour Party Leadership Campaign
The leadership campaign has started with four candidates standing for leader Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendell and Jeremy Corbyn and five standing for deputy leader Stella Creasy, Ben Bradshaw, Caroline Flint, Tom Watson and Angela Eagle.
The campaign started with a TULO hustings held on Wednesday 30th June at Camden Town Hall, London, each union affiliated to the Labour Party was in attendance. I was lucky enough to be part of the CWU delegation.
The meeting was chaired by Kevin McQuire the Daily Mirrors political editor, each candidate had 15 minutes to put their case as to why they thought they were the person for the job, they then had one question per union to answer.
Since the hustings the party hasn’t been out of the news and seems to be in self-destruct mode with MP’s now calling for the suspension of the election due to the way people can sign up to vote.
Labour Leadership Sign Up
As reported at the last branch committee meeting, we as a branch had been selected as the Eastern Region branch to take part in the sign up campaign for the CWU, posters have been displayed in the Mail Centre as it was just to be Mail Centre specific.
The Regional Secretary and myself met with the Processing Reps at their monthly meeting and explained the campaign, Royal Mail nationally agreed to the campaign as long as it was kept low key. The branch secretary and I agreed that the reps would carry out floor walks and hand out the sign up cards to political fund payers.
We sent out a branch wide email to every member that we have an email address for which had a letter from myself and the postcard to fill in on line, Net Work drivers were written to as it would be impossible to see them due to their shift patens.
As a result we have received around 80 cards into the branch office unfortunately for those who apply on line we do not have a record.
We have found out that a branch in the North West and the Midlands have been bribing members to sign up by handing out a free gift, as a branch we feel this is the wrong way to go we would rather have a true reflection as to how the members feel about signing up.
Peterborough CLP Hustings
On Friday 17th July I attended the CLP evening to discuss the leadership elections, over 100 people packed into the cinema at Paston Farm community centre, to haer from representatives of the candidates.
Kelvin Hopkins MP for Luton North was speaking on behalf of Jeremy Corbyn and Angela Eagle, Gavin Shucker MP for Luton South for Liz Kendell, Richard Howitt MEP for Yvette Cooper and Tom Watson, Phil Cole for Caroline Flint and Tom Beattie for Andy Burnham.
At the end of the evening those of us who belonged to the CLP were given a ballot paper to vote for our choice for leader and deputy leader Jeremy Corbyn gained 14 votes, Yvette Cooper 8, Andy Burnham 3 and Liz Kendell 2
Deputy Caroline Flint 14 votes, Tom Watson 12 and the rest were well down, the CLP executive then met to ratify the result and declared that the CLP would be nominating Jeremy Corbyn and Caroline Flint.
North West Norfolk CLP
The NWNCLP Annual General Meeting took place on Thursday 23rd July at the South Lynn Community Centre in Kings Lynn, I attended on behalf of the branch again as with the Peterborough CLP meeting this was very well attended with over 60 people in the room, and they said that it’s the best attended meeting for years.
We heard from Clive Lewis who is the new Labour MP for Norwich South, he spoke on why he was supporting Jeremy Corbyn to become leader of the party, he also spoke on how the party must reengage with former members and young people.
The meeting then went on to discuss the formal business and to elect its officers for the coming year, Jo Rust was elected as Secretary, Jo thanked the CWU for their donation of £200 from the Eastern Region towards her campaign to become the MP at the general election.
North East Cambridgeshire CLP
The CLP met on Saturday 25th July at March Town Hall, unfortunately I did not receive the email about the meeting until Friday 24th so was not able to attend, below is a report from a member of the Trades Council who attended
Today (Saturday) I attended an open meeting for Labour Party “members, supporters and friends” in North-East Cambridgeshire at March Town Hall to discuss the leadership elections.
There were about forty five people in attendance. There were several new faces I hadn’t seen before including about a dozen people aged 30 and under.
After watching videos of the four candidates for leader and the five candidates for deputy we had an hour and a half of discussion and debate.
About a third of people at the meeting indicated their support for Jeremy Corbyn, another third supported Yvette Cooper, and the final third were undecided.
Many people said that they didn’t care very much for Tony Blair’s intervention in the election campaign. There was no support for Andy Burnham or Liz Kendall.
The general view of the meeting was that Labour needs to show clear blue water between Labour and the Tories including concrete policies activists could use on the doorstep.
Policies include the renationalisation of the railways; a large scale council house building programme; rent controls; a £10 an hour minimum wage; and help for the thousands of self-employed who live in Fenland.
Overall it was a very good meeting. Hopefully, the Labour Party in Fenland will hold further open meetings every three to six months with leading Labour MPs as speakers.
South East Regional TUC
On Wednesday 15th July Paul Moffat CWU Regional Secretary and myself as Regional Political Chair attended the first ever meeting of the TUC affiliated Trade Unions and the Eastern Region Labour MPs, this was held in a committee room at the Houses of Parliament.
This gave the Unions a chance to brief the MP’s on current campaigns / difficulties that they were facing; we raised the CWU Peoples Post Campaign, this meeting was very successful and will now be held on a regular basis.
The Peoples Post Campaign
The CWU launched its Peoples Post Campaign at Westminster on Thursday 9th July I have previously circulated my report from the meeting to this committee and it has been posted on the branch website and sent out to all Reps to display.
Since the launch we have not heard a lot about how the campaign will be run, the Regional Secretaries are on a 2 day away day with the General Secretary this week to be briefed on how the campaign will be run.
It is worth noting that at every meeting I have attended be it CLP or Trades Council, I have raised the campaign and been given the full backing of every meeting.
CWU Eastern Regional Political Committee
Below is the report from the regional report placed before the Full Regional Committee on Friday 24th July,
The last meeting of the Eastern Regional Political Committee was held on Friday 29th May 2015. The Committee discussed the General Election 2015 in details with a wash up regarding what went wrong, the rebuttals, the wrong messages, lack of clarity, lack of appeal from the leadership and no clear cut policy.
As a committee we discussed the amount of work that Region and its Branches did across the 13 key seats in the region and that due to managing to gain an extra two seats Daniel Zeichner ( MP Cambridge) and Clive Lewis (MP Norwich South) along with re elected Gavin Shuker (MP Luton South) & Kelvin Hopkins (MP Luton North) we achieved a 100% record for the elections. My thanks to Branch Political Officers and activists for their hard work.
It was agreed that the Party needs to radically change its direction if it to appeal to workers, SME’s and the General Public in order to win another election.
The Committee discussed in details the ‘Join the Vote’ campaign to elect the next leader and deputy Leader of the Labour Party and the campaign in PE Mail Centre along with those chosen sights across the other 9 Regions.
CWU members recently overwhelmingly voted to retain the political fund and our voice in politics. We now need to make sure that this is heard.
If you pay the political levy you are entitled to vote in the Labour Party leadership election, Scottish leadership election and London’s Labour Mayoral candidate election – but you need to register in order to do so. You can do this by filling in the online form that can be found on the CWU web-site
General secretary, Dave Ward, has explained the importance of using your voice to choose the next leaders of the Labour Party: “In standing to be CWU general secretary I have made it clear that the Labour Party will not continue to get something for nothing from the CWU and that our relationship with the party needs to change. We have to originate policies that advance our members’ interests and start to change the balance of forces in society and the world of work. “The prospect of a Tory government attacking trade union rights, selling off Royal Mail and standing by as agency workers are exploited in a race to the bottom underlines the need for an opposition that is on our side. The Labour leadership elections are a first step towards securing this.”
The Regional Secretary along with other senior trade unionists from the Region attended a meeting on Wednesday 15th July 2015 at Westminster of the East of England MP’s and the TUC. TChe Peoples Post campaign was highlighted as well as other TU campaigns.
Peterborough Trades Council
I attended the PTUC meeting on Thursday 16th July, the meeting disused a number of topics.
Tom Browning Meeting this an annual public meeting put on by PTUC to celebrate the life and work to the trade union movement in Peterborough of Tom Browning who was President of PTUC for many years. This year’s meeting will take place on Saturday 12th September 2015 between 1100 and 1500 at Westgate Church Hall, speakers to be confirmed.
PTUC History Tom Browning over many years built up an archive of the history of the trade union movement in Peterborough; this is now kept in the City Library, Hazel Perry the secretary of PTUC has now started to turn this into a book. It was agreed that we approach SERTUC for funding to publish the book once it is complete.
We had a presentation from a local GP who has got together with other GPs to put on a fun day on Saturday 2nd August at Jack Hunt School to raise money for a charity Medical Aid Palestine, the charity raises money to supply surgeons, doctors and medical aid which is then shipped out to Palestine to help treat the injured.
The fun day was being financed by the GPs out of their own pockets but they were asking for donations from PTUC and its affiliate trade unions.
PTUC sent a delegation to the 131st Durham Miners Gala, the PTUC banner was marched in by a brass band and it took 5 hours from joining the march to reaching the end, due to the 150,000 people taking part.
Trade Union Reform Bill
As reported at the last meeting the Tory Government have wasted no time in attacking the trade unions they have released the trade union reform bill, I have forwarded the TUC briefing to you by email as it is 17 pages long.
Branch Political Officer