Only a week to go – can you spare an hour or two in Aylsham?
On 24th May there is a by-election in the Aylsham Ward of the Broadland District Council. We have a strong candidate in Peter Harwood, and Linda Brown and Peter Norton have been leading a team of volunteers with him, leafleting and door knocking across the Ward. This is a serious chance to elect the first Labour Councillor in Broadland for some years.
We are looking for more volunteers for door knocking sessions.
- Saturday 19th May at 10.30am
meet Adam at the junction of St Michael’s Ave and Mill Lane NR11 6LZ
- Sunday 20th May 11am
meet Linda at junction of Buxton Road and Repton Close NR11 6JD
Come along, whether you are a beginner or more experienced. Guidance will be given and you can shadow someone else for as long as you want.
We also welcome volunteers for leafleting whenever available, and we will need volunteers on election day to remind our supporters to go out and vote (yes they do need it sometimes!).
The May 2018 edition of the Broadland Labour Party Newsletter is available as a PDF download here.
Could you be a candidate next year?
Next May there will be elections for Broadland District Council. All 47 seats are up for election. At present there are 41 Conservatives, 5 Liberal Democrats, and no Labour Councillors (the vacancy in Aylsham will be filled on 24th May). It is important that everyone in Broadland has a chance to vote Labour, so we need people willing to stand as Labour Candidates in all 47 seats.
We are therefore looking for volunteers from the membership, both for those seats where we stand a chance of winning and those which are more challenging. If you are interested, live in Broadland, and want to know more about what is involved please contact The CLP Secretary, Philip Williams, Secretary@BroadlandLabour.org.uk
Potential candidates are checked to ensure that they are eligible to stand as Labour Party candidates.
Getting selected early helps to get our candidates’ names known around the area well before the actual election campaign begins.
The qualifications to be a candidate are (the more of these the better):
- You have lived and/or worked in that Council area for the previous 12 months
- You have owned property in that Council area for the previous 12 months
- You are a registered elector in that Council area
- You have been a Labour Party Member for 12 months at the time of nomination to the panel of candidates [this one is a party rule rather than a statutory one]
Keeping the Labour Party democratic
The national Party is reviewing our democratic processes, and inviting views from members and constituencies. We discussed the final phase of the review at our Policy Forum in April, after which our response was drafted, and approved at the General Meeting on 12th May.
Two key points were:
- We think that all candidates for the party leader should need the support of 10% of MPs and MEPs, but in order to ensure that MPs and MEPs remain in touch with their membership we believe that at every election there should be a candidate selection process for all MPs, with sitting Members having a right to be shortlisted.
- We believe that at present Constituency Parties do not have sufficient opportunity to be involved in policymaking, so we propose a new process, where the National Policy Forum reports are available well in advance of Conference, allowing CLPs to debate them and put forward motions in response. Those motions should then be assembled into the Conference Agenda in time for CLPs to consider them and advise their delegates.
You can find our full response to the review at http://bit.ly/DemRev3v5
The consultation is open until the 28th June and individual members are welcome to submit their own responses at https://labour.org.uk/about/democracy-review-2017/
Our Annual General Meeting
On 14th July we will be holding our Annual General Meeting. The current Executive Committee will present its report, with each Officer reporting on what has been achieved against the agreed plan for the year. The plan is available at here.
All the posts on the Executive Committee will be up for election at the AGM. In some cases the current Officers will be willing to stand again, but others will be retiring. This is your chance to play a more active part in the CLP. Why not put your name forward for one of the posts. Nominations to the Secretary. Advice and guidance is available from the Labour Party and support will be provided by the Officer team. If you are thinking about it and want to know more, please contact the Chair or Secretary.
The May meeting saw the resignation of two of our Officers, through pressure of other commitments. We are very grateful to Lizzie Burrill who volunteered to take on the Women’s Officer role at the last AGM, and to Trevor Turk, who has worked hard, and with some success, to strengthen our Trades Union links.
Fortunately Louise Baldry has volunteered to take on the Women’s Officer role until the AGM. The Trades Union Liaison Officer will be elected, along with all other Officers, at the AGM in July.
A chance to talk politics
In March we agreed to set up a Policy Forum to provide a place where members can discuss policy issues in more depth than is possible in a business meeting. We need to know what issues people are most concerned about, and which they are most likely to come to discuss. To do this, we are carrying out a short online survey. Please try to spare five minutes to give us your views. The survey is at https://goo.gl/forms/iM2hWSQvwzDkWbDF2
The next meeting will be on the evening of 7th June (following the Wensum Valley Branch AGM), when we will be discussing the Party policy on education.
The Party’s Annual Conference
The Annual Conference is the governing body of the Labour Party. This year it will meet from 23rd-26th September in Liverpool. Voting delegates are elected by Constituencies and affiliated organisations, including Trades Unions. Individual members can also attend as observers. Details are at https://labour.org.uk/conference/
Broadland is entitled to three delegates, two of whom must be women and one must be a youth member (under 27). At the General Meeting on 12th May we approved the names of three delegates, with one reserve in the event that one of the three was unable to attend. Our delegates are (provisionally):
- Toby Jarman (Youth)
- Louise Baldry
- Charlotte Savage
- Marianne Gibbs (reserve)
The Nature of the Beast – the life of a Labour Icon
On 6th July at 7.30 pm in the Hall for All, Weston Longville (NR9 5JU) we will be showing “The Nature of the Beast”, a film about the life of Denis Skinner, the lifelong socialist and MP. All welcome, tickets online at https://bit.ly/NotB6July or at the door
New members guide
The Labour Party can seem complex and intimidating to new members, and Ruth Goodall, our Vice Chair (Membership) has prepared a guide to the Labour Party for new members’. In future this will be sent to every new member when they join. The first issue will also be sent to people who have joined since August 2017. The guide is also available online at http://bit.ly/2018MemGuide
Our nominations for National Committees
Each year the Party holds elections for a variety of committees and posts, and Constituencies are invited to nominate candidates to stand for election. At the May General Meeting we agreed that Broadland would support the nomination of three candidates to the National Executive Committee. They are:
- Ann Black
- Rachel Garnham
- Johanna Baxter
We also agreed to support the nomination of Jo Rust (who spoke at out General Meeting in March) as the Eastern Region representative to the National Policy Forum.
Elections will take place later in the year.
Labour in rural constituencies
Most of Broadland, and East Anglia as a whole, is rural, and the Labour Party has traditionally not been very strong in rural areas, although many Labour policies ought to appeal to rural people. Recently the Fabian Society (one of the founders of the Labour Party) has carried out research into Labour in rural areas, and published a report with recommendations. (https://fabians.org.uk/publication/labour-country/ ). We have set up a small working group to prepare plans for a conference on Rural Labour, and have approached other CLPs in the region to work with us on this.
Digital working group
We are all increasingly communicating electronically about most issues. Our Constituency’s approach to electronic communication (email, website, Facebook, twitter etc.) has grown up in a rather haphazard way, and we have set up a small working group to review this and produce a more coherent plan. We hope in due course that this will result in clearer, simpler and more helpful communications.
The Party’s Accounts for 2017 were approved at the General Meeting in March. Overall, our finances are improving, thanks to growth in membership, more effective fundraising and a number of donations associated with the elections. As a result our deficit of £675 in 2016 was converted into a surplus of £1800 in 2017. However, we need to be prepared for next year’s District Council elections, and the continuing possibility of a snap General Election.
The full audited accounts for 2017 are available to members at https://bit.ly/2017Accts
Keeping in touch
You will be aware that Data Protection law is changing, and most organisations are required to get positive consent to contact people. We assume that by joining the Party and providing contact details you have consented to be contacted. If you do not wish to be contacted, or want only to be contacted in one specific form (post, email, phone…) please let the Vice-Chair (Membership) know.
What has happened to women’s pensions?
In recent years, Government has been raising State Pension Age (SPA) for women (to bring it into line with men’s SPA), and then to raise SPA for both men and women (to reflect the dramatic rise in life expectancy in recent years). Although many people agree that these changes are necessary, there are real issues about how they have been implemented, and at our May meeting we had a presentation from Annette James and Lynn Nichols from the campaign “Women Against State Pension Inequality” (WASPI) and its Norfolk offshoot “Pension Action in Norfolk” (PAIN).
The decision to make the changes was taken by the Conservative Government in 1995, but this received little publicity, and the women who would be affected were not informed directly. The Coalition Government then decided in 2011 as part of its austerity plans, to bring forward the implementation date. Again, affected women were not all informed directly. Some received a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions in 2013, but some are still unaware of the changes.
As a result, women born in the 1950s have seen their State Pension Age raised dramatically at very short notice, and the differences between individual women is very clearly unfair: while a woman born in January 1953 can draw her pension in 2015, a woman born in December of the same year, has to wait four years longer, until 2019, when she is 66. Some have been given only 2 years notice of a 5 year rise in their pension age.
These changes affect 3.5 million women nationwide, and have led to the launch of the WASPI campaign, which now has 80,000 supporters. In Norfolk 45,000 women are affected, and our only Norfolk Labour MP, Clive Lewis has been an active supporter of the campaign. They have also had positive support from Keith Simpson, the Broadland Conservative MP (unlike many of his fellow Conservative MPs in the County), and from some Trades Unions.
The consequences for many women have been severe. Long term plans for retirement have been shelved, some are in jobs which are increasingly stressful; some are unemployed and unexpectedly facing the indignities of the welfare system (Universal Credit, Jobseekers Allowance and disability benefits), some have been using food banks.
There are several campaigns on this issue, sometimes with different objectives. WASPI accepts the principle of equalisation and raising SPA, but is seeking interim or bridging support for women who have been given no time to plan and adjust. They are also seeking compensation for the substantial loss of pension income. The Labour Party accepts that the present system is unjust, but at present there appears to be no Parliamentary support for action to remedy the situation.
How do we organise campaigning in the Party?
Our Broadland Campaign Committee is responsible for campaigning across the Broadland Parliamentary Constituency, but because the boundaries of Parliamentary Constituencies, District and County Councils do not match neatly, we have Local Campaign Forums (LCFs) to coordinate campaigning work where the territory of a single Council involves more than one CLP/ or branch.
LCFs are therefore based on Local Authority boundaries, not parliamentary ones. They co-ordinate activities with regard that particular Council; so delegates from the component constituencies can agree a ‘campaign strategy’ which might include things like target seats, priority issues, etc). LCFs also oversee candidate recruitment, selection, training, and policy/manifesto development etc in their areas. Local Campaign Forums (LCFs), have members from all relevant CLPs.
Broadland CLP is involved in three LCFs:
Broadland LCF coordinates campaigning in Broadland District Council matters. This covers 47 Council seats in Broadland and Norwich North Constituencies. At present this includes 4 representatives from each CLP. There is currently one Broadland CLP vacancy.
North Norfolk LCF coordinates campaigning in North Norfolk District matters. This covers 56 seats in North Norfolk Constituency and 8 in Broadland Constituency. The constitution has not yet been agreed.
Norfolk LCF coordinates campaigning activity in County Council matters and all Norfolk CLPs are represented.
Broadland Local contacts
|Chair||Stephen McNairemail@example.com||01603 737 830|
|Secretary||Philip Williams||CLP-Secretary@414243.co.uk||01493 701 619|
|Bure Valley||Aylsham, Buxton, Horsford & Felthorpe, Hevingham, Spixworth with St Faiths, Coltishall, Wroxham||Peter Norton||BVBranch@broadlandlabour.org.uk
|01263 732 126|
|Fakenham||Astley, Lancaster, The Raynhams, Walsingham and Wensum||Sarah Brown||SecFakenham@BCLP.uk||07975 907769|
|South Broadland||Plumstead, Blofield with South Walsham, Brundall, Burlingham, Acle and Marshes||Toby Jarmanfirstname.lastname@example.org
|Wensum Valley||Eynesford, Reepham, Great Witchingham, Taverham and Drayton||Fred Brown||BranchSecWensum@broadlandclp.org.uk
The full list of Officers can be found at https://www.broadlandlabour.org/clp_officers_2017-18
The following is a calendar of events currently planned by the party in Broadland. Future events are normally listed on the Broadland CLP Website at http://www.broadlandlabour.org/events where there is an option to sign up to say you are going.
|Campaigning training||19th May 10.00 – 12.30||Fakenham Community Centre||All members||Training for door knocking|
|Wensum Valley Branch AGM||7th June
19.00 – 19.30
|Great Witchingham Village Hall||Members in Wensum Valley||Annual General Meeting (limited to half an hour to precede the Policy Forum meeting in the same venue.)|
|Broadland Policy Forum||7th June 19.30 to 21.30||Great Witchingham Village Hall||All members||Discussion of the Party’s education policy|
|Executive Committee||3 July||EC Members only|
|Annual General Meeting||14 July
|Hellesdon Community Centre||All members||Annual Report.