Ahead of NEC elections 2016 interested parties are trying to gather support and shore up defences for different agendas. The following was received early February and relates to the election campaign of Luke Akehurst; a man who is not a huge fan of party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
"This is what Luke Akehurst has been sending out to CLP's in January. When reading it I found it very offensive. Please think carefully before you re-elect him onto the NEC...........
"From Luke Akehurst
I hope you have had a good break over the Christmas period and wish you a Happy New Year! Let’s hope 2016 is a better year for Labour than 2015, which must rival 1931 as one of the worst in our history.
All of us were hoping that the New Year would mean Labour refocused on party unity and preparing for the electoral challenges we face in the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, London Mayor and Assembly, local government and police commissioner elections.
Instead, the Hard Left clique around Jeremy Corbyn has thrown us into a sectarian, divisive and wholly unnecessary reshuffle. We are disgusted by the sacking of Michael Dugher from the Shadow Cabinet and proud that Michael will be keynote speaker at the Labour First Annual Meeting on 16 January. Michael was an excellent Shadow Culture Secretary and one of the most effective Labour spokespeople in taking the fight to the Tories. He agreed to serve in the Shadow Cabinet in the interests of party unity. His sacking by Mr Corbyn seems to be for the “crime” of speaking out against the pernicious influence of Momentum and defending hard-working colleagues from threats of deselection.
Our primary focus has to be working hard for Labour victories at every level in May, but there are also two key internal processes starting now where we have an opportunity to fight back against the Hard Left and reassert a strong moderate voice within the Labour Party. We need your help with both:
Annual Conference Delegate Elections
We need the maximum number of mainstream delegates to be elected by CLPs to this year’s Labour Party Annual Conference so that we can win key votes on any policy or rule changes that come forward and for the National Constitutional Committee (NCC). The 2015 conference where we won the votes on whether to debate Trident and for the NCC shows the importance of having the best possible delegates.
CLPs send one delegate for the first 749 full members they had on 31 December 2015, and one further delegate for every additional 250 individual members in the constituency or part thereof. At least every second delegate from a CLP has to be a woman; where only one delegate is appointed this must be a woman at least in every other year. Where the individual women’s membership in a constituency is 100 or more, an additional woman delegate may be appointed. Where the individual Young Labour membership in a constituency is 30 or more an additional delegate under the age of 27 may be appointed.
CLPs can elect delegates any time between now and 24 June. Many CLPs do this before the start of the local election campaign in April.
Please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let me know when the date is of the All Member Meeting or delegate-based General Meeting when your CLP will elect delegates.
Please work with other mainstream local members in your CLP to ensure the delegates your CLP sends are moderates. Ideally please try to get elected as a delegate yourself!
As soon as your CLP has elected delegates, please let me know who they are, their contact details, and what their likely political stance is.
Nominations to NEC and NCC
Nominations are now open for the six CLP representatives on the National Executive Committee. The 33 member NEC is currently finely balanced between the Hard Left and mainstream members. The NEC is the governing body of the party between Annual Conferences in all matters relating to party organisation and rules.
We are recommending support for the following four candidates, and will announce a further two recommended names in the next few weeks:
Ellie Reeves. Ellie has been on the NEC for almost 10 years and is currently vice chair. She is elected with broad support from across the party. Ellie is a trade union lawyer and is passionate about workers’ rights. She has the experience, commitment and credibility to get the right policy platform and campaign strategy in place and to hold the leadership to account.
Johanna Baxter. Johanna has been an independent voice on the NEC since November 2010. From the West of Scotland, she is currently CLP secretary for Camberwell & Peckham and works as a trade union official.
Peter Wheeler. Peter served on the NEC until 2010 and from 2012-2014. He is from Salford where he is a local councillor. A former full-time official for the Labour Party and Amicus trade union, he is committed to building a strong democratic and campaigning Labour Party.
Luke Akehurst. Luke served on the NEC from 2010-2012. A former parliamentary candidate and Hackney Councillor, he is now a CLP officer in Oxford. His campaign website is here: http://www.luke4nec.org.uk/
Each CLP can nominate up to six NEC candidates.
CLPs can nominate at any time between now and 24 June. Many CLPs do this before the start of the local election campaign in April.
Please email me (email@example.com) to let me know when the date is of the All Member Meeting or delegate-based General Meeting when your CLP will nominate.
Please work with other mainstream local members in your CLP to ensure you nominate as many as possible of our recommended candidates.
As soon as your CLP has nominated, please let me know the result.
Each CLP can also nominate for one seat on the National Constitutional Committee, which handles the most difficult disciplinary cases and disputes. We are recommending support for Maggie Cosin who is a long-standing incumbent NCC member, currently Chief Whip on Dover Council and formerly Deputy Leader of Camden Council.
The NEC CLP reps are elected by OMOV of full members in July/August whilst the NEC CLP rep is elected by CLP delegates at Annual Conference.
Secretary, Labour First"
Check out: http://www.newtekjournalismukworld.com/british-political-scene/bds-the-labour-party-nec-hopefuls-open-letter
My great uncle John was born in Stepney in 1926. As a child he left school at a young age so he could help his father support their large family of eleven.
Also as a child he saw the Blackshirts march through the East End.
To many working people, politics was something that others did and they obeyed. To John’s young eyes, politics could be something very dangerous if left to its own devices.
Despite his lack of education he never stopped trying to gain knowledge. As an adult he immersed himself in books, music, and kept up on all current affairs. One thing I remember about him is his generosity in sending me every classic book he could think of. From my birth until his death in 2001, John was always encouraging me to learn, learn, learn.
In 1968 John enrolled in an O Level course to try and gain a promotion. After his death I found his coursework for this course, and felt as if I knew him better because of it. Yesterday I got it all out again and was gobsmacked at what I found.
This exercise, “If I were Harold Wilson”, could almost be parallel to the struggles the left face at this very moment.
Do we struggle with the same things consistently? Do we not progress, or do the right push us into the same battles every decade?
Whatever the reason may be, it was incredible to see his thoughts mirror mine and so many others, all those years before. If only he could’ve seen Corbyn.
I suppose all we can do, to make sure these things will one day, finally, become history, is to learn, learn, learn.
[The coursework in question is posted below with kind permission of Rachel Mulberg and John's family]
If I were Mr. Wilson
[After weeks of appalling scenes of vaudeville bordering on abuse during PMQs in the Commons each Wednesday a new low this week caused widespread anger. PM David Cameron criticising Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn personally overstepped the mark in the eyes of many, including the man behind this post who contacted the House of Commons Speaker John Bercow's office to express his concerns-see above]
Got my response.... Also posted, my retort.
Dear Mr Saunders,
Mr Speaker has asked me to thank you for your email and to reply on his behalf.
The Speaker recognises that the Chamber does have its noisy and unruly moments. However, this is by no means typical of parliamentary business, most of which is conducted in a much more orderly fashion. Parliament is not, however, a debating society; it is the arena in which political argument finds its expression and it is inevitable that from time to time passions run high.
Mr Speaker takes all comments from members of the public very seriously and would like to reassure you that one of his principal concerns is to ensure that the highest standards of debate are maintained in the House of Commons. He always does his utmost to encourage Members to conduct themselves in a dignified and productive manner in the Chamber, and to remind them of the views of the public on this matter. He is aware that there is much to be done in this regard, and will continue to press for improvements.
So, I sent back this...
Thank you for including me in your generic mail merge. It heartens me to know just how much my email was taken seriously.
As you are Mr Speakers secretaries secretary, that puts you as close to the speaker as me, if you understand the mechanics of The Kevin Bacon game, so I may as well have responded to myself.
I raised three points;
1. Make the PM answer questions put to him. Considering your response I would expect an interjection every time the Right Honourable Mr Corbyn asks a question. After all, not one of his questions has been answered yet.
2. Take control of the Rabble. One does not encourage by laughing along.
3. Throw out hecklers. This was not even addressed in your response, which is how I knew this is part of a mail merge.
My previous letter is going viral. You might want to sort it out. We are ALL watching.
Incidentally if you appreciate my way of thinking, check out my group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/640331756116710/
The following is a google translation from French to English of a letter sent by animal rights activist and one time successful French actress Brigitte Bardot. It may read as translations often do but that does not matter.
Galgos: the appeal of Brigitte Bardot in Spain
Each year in the Iberian Peninsula, more than 50,000 Galgo and Podenco who are sacrificed on the altar of a cruel tradition as old as. After having intervened in 1998 with the Spanish Minister of Agriculture and with the King Juan Carlos 1 in 2009, Brigitte Bardot launched this February 5th, 2016 an appeal to Spaniards that this "tradition" barbaric is denounced and abolished forever!
In Spain, hunting hares with greyhounds is an "ancient tradition". Greyhounds are merely "tools" of hunting. The galgueros (Spanish hunters), hunting without a gun, the greyhound catching the game running and kills. According to this tradition, a galgueros whose dog catch more game in his honor is reached giving it the right to take revenge and to hurt the animal to avenge the insult.
At the end of each hunting season, the least efficient dogs are eliminated. The degree of cruelty of killing depends on the dog's performance during the hunting season.
The traditional method of killing is hanging which has two variants: high for dogs that have driven well (death is fast because the legs do not touch the ground); or low (death is slow because the dog's hind legs are touching the ground). They are also sometimes burned alive, mutilated, hauled in the back of a moving car or dumped in wells, stitched bleach, abandoned in a forest with broken legs.
Every year in Spain, more than 50,000 Galgo and Podenco who are killed!
The open letter to Spain from Brigitte Bardot
It is a cry, a call, an SOS urgent and serious that I run in Spain, his Majesty the King Felipe VI, the Prime Minister, the government, the media, and the Spanish people .
Abolish emergency, without delay what galgueros call "hunting Galgo." This practice cruel, barbaric, that infamous, inhuman dressage to the slow and excruciating death punishment is still practiced in the only country in the world in the 21st century: SPAIN !
Dogs Galgo should no longer be used for sadistic satisfaction to individuals primary and cruel with impunity use their dominance to romp on innocent people, making them indecent and obscene tortures worthy jihadists .
I get a lot of letters denouncing this abomination, comparing the abject plight of the Galgos foul slaughter of baby seals in Canada and begging me to use my fame to explode this scandal evokes the same violent suffering the same injustice, and the great human cowardice.
That's what I'm about to do without an urgent and formal response stating the immediate abolition of the martyrdom inflicted on Galgos .
What country could still accept dogs that have not been at the height of a rabbit hunting should be punished by hanging, we die their eyes, they amputated the raw, that flay the living , which burns to the acid, which poisons the extremely toxic? And even being dragged behind a car until death ensues.
It is unworthy of a country like Spain. It is unworthy of a human being. It is unworthy for humanity as a whole.
I beg you all to be aware of these atrocious acts of barbarism and to arrange for it to stop immediately, immediately, immediately .
Thanks for them !
The Brigitte Bardot Foundation
Op-Ed: Don't you often want to despair of humanity?
In late 2015 reports that a one-month old puppy Chihuahua cross called Chunky had been snatched from the garden of a home in Kent caused an angry outcry for many reasons.
The tiny puppy was snatched by four teenagers, who cannot be named due their ages, and they cruelly abused this young dog.
Chunky was beaten, drugged and set on fire and the details are horrific.
"The teenagers who stole him then tortured him for hours. He was left with multiple injuries that included a broken neck and leg, he was fed drugs and set fire to his face after spraying him with an aerosol can. He was then left for dead at a rubbish dump. The RSPCA have stated this is one of the worst cases they seen."
Chunky is just one more pet let down by out-dated animal welfare laws in the UK.
This case has led to a widely supported petition to the UK Justice Minister demanding "Review the lenient sentences handed down for the torture of Chunky the Chihuahua."
As the petition notes "Two of the gang were 15 and 16 at the time of the offence. All four abusers were banned for keeping animals for five years, were handed out 12-month referral orders and ordered to pay costs with fines ranging from £500 to £1000, totalling £2,000."
The offences took place February 2015 but the perpetrators did not appear in court until November.
The sentences do not fit the crime.
As a dog owner and lover this crime and the sentencing appals me but whether you like dogs or not the nature of the crime should worry you.
How you treat vulnerable creatures is a good mark of you as a person.
If you will inflict pain on an animal for no reason than your own sick gratification then you are not fit to walk the streets. Who or what will be your next target.
The age of the offenders in this case may have led the judge to handing out an inappropriate sentence but surely now is the time to stop these young people in their tracks and makes sure they do not reoffend?
In late November 2015 Kent Online reported "Kent Police has issued a warning about threatening behaviour after a strong public reaction to the sentencing of four teenagers convicted of torturing a dog. A police spokesman said: "Kent Police is aware people are upset about an animal cruelty case which has been widely reported. “Although the story is distressing, we would remind people that making direct threats towards others in reaction, either via the phone or on social media and websites, can be considered an offence as well."
We wonder what sentence any such social media abuse would attract.
Perhaps if the justice system had done their job properly people could move on.
Instead of joining abuse why not sign the petition and work toward improving UK sentencing for animal abuse?
You can find and then sign the petition by following the link here
Chunky is doing better!!
Leeds, United Kingdom
12 Feb 2016 — Many of you asked how Chunky was doing, the owner got in contact with me and these pictures have surfaced https://www.facebook.com/Chunky-562593590575184/?fref=photo on her Chunky page please like and follow Chunky here. I will keep posting photos of Chunky as we go!!
The petition to David Cameron, for justice for Chunky now has 433,186 supporters.
Johann Malawana Chair of the BMA JDC has just delivered the most INSPIRING speech via facebook.
Thought that I should share this with you
This week has been a roller coaster of events and emotions. When I came into this job 5 months ago, I came into it because frankly I was angry at how I felt my friends, my colleagues and I were being treated. I absolutely could not stand the idea of having something being imposed upon us by a government that has no clue what it is we do.
Over the last 5 months I have felt like many of you in our need to moderate our language, I know that my job is not to simply represent my frustrations, but to stand up for all of our collective interests whether junior doctors or the patients we look after. JDC members are often the same, they represent the views of their regions with a passionate resolve to do the best for the doctors they have in their patch. I have seen the same from representatives across the board this year, whether they are college trainee groups or specialty organisations. I have seen junior doctor leaders put aside previous silo competitive traditions and work together in a way that none of us have seen before. One thing I hope beyond everything else is that as a profession this has a longer term effect on our generation of doctors. We will work together in a collaborative way for the good of our profession, patients and the whole NHS in a way I have not seen previously. Over the last decade I have seen the bastardisation of the concept of clinical leadership by the department of health, turning it into a method of control where professionals are trained simply to follow instructions and kept in line simply out of fear of a loss of influence or position. This week we have seen the outcome of that agenda, when clinicians stand up for themselves, their patients and what they think is right, the answer is aggression, bullying and being effectively screamed at, that the will of a politician or a government will simply be imposed on those that disagree. So much for independent clinical leadership or professionalism.
On Tuesday I met with Sir David Dalton at his request. I have been clear throughout the last few months that last minute offers in general are highly inappropriate as the government has had three years to make fair offers. We have tried to talk, to negotiate in good faith. We have represented our members, but we have also been of a clear view that our members believe in a sustainable NHS. Retention of the doctors in the UK is our number 1 priority as without the talented individuals that deliver the frontline of the NHS, it is our patients that ultimately suffer. I notice in the latest HSJ article, Sir David has misrepresented that meeting and the clear view I expressed that I know I heard from many doctors throughout the NHS. We are always happy to negotiate, but a negotiation has to involve recognising both sides views and priorities. We had spent a huge amount of time and effort consulting with you our membership, looking at the stated aims of the government in terms of priorities, but also using our experiences of the frontline so solve the contractual dispute to the satisfaction of all parties. We understood compromise was necessary, however we also assumed that compromise was needed from both parties.
The issue regarding out of hours has been attempted to be boiled down to simply about pay. When we constructed our structure of pay, we also took into the implications and considerations of the needs of the NHS. If you simply move money into basic salary and undervalue the out of hours components of the salary structure, you create perverse incentives as the relative value of time out of hours diminishes. This has a knock on effect as it creates a driver that devalues specialties that have heavy out of hours commitments relative to others. This could have a further destabilising effect of the delivery of those services as already overstretched services become less popular due to their relative lack differences. Therefore we wanted to create a system of pay that valued time appropriately especially when we want to retain and recruit staff into those specialties. The issues regarding front loading and flattening of the pay scale were specifically trying to square a circle of a treasury red line of the removal of automatic pay progression from the public sector and a desire to ensure that we did not penalise or perpetuate the gender pay gap. We also wanted a system of pay that ultimately benefited the next generation of doctors that ensured that the wage inflation compared the to cost of living inflation benefitted the doctor starting out on their career and considering the debts students now qualify with. If nothing else, this structure showed our absolute attempts at addressing competing interests that many felt were insurmountable. Our structure of pay involving appropriate rewards for unsocial hours was also staff group specific. With the majority of the staff group being at a stage in life when families and childcare was inevitable, it was important that appropriate account was taken or this to try and retain highly trained staff as they balance competing interests of family life and professional responsibilities.
On the issues around NROC, we identified early that this was an area that was particularly of concern. We have experience of NROC on our negs team, however the full extent of the varied and diverse working structures meant we were absolutely clear we wanted to consult further on this area. However we were also absolutely clear that the government position of continuously comparing the roles of junior doctors with more senior staff where the range and types of responsibilities are different does not make sense. percentages of values that are so very different also have an impact, and where the financial barrier to rostering practices that have the potential to take advantage of junior doctors cannot be sanctioned. Again there was an absolute refusal to understand the concerns we described and the “needs of the service” were always paramount - a concept we can all sign up to if those needs are not so dangerously overstretching staff that doctors and patients are forced into dangerous situations. We suggested a proper consultation and testing of positions, however this has now obviously been rejected.
The experience of all negotiators over the last three years have been of negotiating partners that continuously introduce new objectives very late in the process, - 7 days services (June 2015) First refusal on medical time (January 2016) to name two, and yet cry foul if we attempt to suggest that these involve a requirement for additional resource or that they are undeliverable due to the current overstretched staff. There is also a continuous disingenuity in that compromises made are often rowed back on and so promises can never be trusted. Add to this toxic mix continuous political interference for objectives that have nothing to do with the service or patient care, but entirely focussed on soundbite politics and a constant need to look like there is a political victory to be had. You see why this whole sorry episode has been a lesson for the NHS and the medical profession in all that is fundamentally wrong with our current system. The department and NHSE in particular, fundamentally entered this whole negotiation with seemingly the attitude they had to teach the medical profession a lesson and put them in their place following previous negotiations.
So the contract that has been described has several aspects that are fundamentally unfair, the distribution of resource across the whole week, the first refusal on medical time, the nature of NROC, the ultimate safety mechanisms in the contract and the confidence we can have in them, the delivery of many of the mechanisms that are reliant on collaborative working, the ultimate appeals mechanisms for dangerous activity. There have been a hell of a lot of gains as a result of our attempts to outline what junior doctors do from modifying the flawed pay structure, some of the safety limits, making a fundamentally unworkable safety mechanism have some resemblance of what could work if there was any trust left in the system. However there is so much still flawed with this system. If this was about comparing what we currently do, its easy to misrepresent the situation. But its the nature of the services and distribution of staffing projecting forward and overstitching those staff that is so flawed. There is an absolute finite staffing resource. You cannot deliver a 7 day service when the current 5 days is falling apart and is dangerous.
Several times over this process we have tried to suggest that it’s in no ones interest to have this damaging fight, however that is not simply solved by the medical profession being “taught a lesson”. In November despite an incredible mandate, we called on the government to enter Acas to find a solution, in December despite last minute interference again to try and prevent a deal being found, we were able to find the starting point for negotiations and we stood down despite significant mistrust and strength of feeling. In January despite every attempt to find a solution to the problems we all could see, giving Sir David Dalton the space to come in and pulling more industrial action to give us all the space to find solutions, we still faced this intransigence and absolute unwillingness to compromise for political reasons. We had suggested that for the last few weeks that the whole situation has got out of hand and it would be in everyones interest to step back from the abyss and try and solve the issues of morale amongst junior doctors. Build trust back in the system and try and solve some of the educational shortcomings in the current system. Unfortunately once again machismo and political interference took precedence and rather seeing that we had one opportunity to try and find stop a damaging course of events, the day after junior doctors across England going out on industrial action and feelings being elevated, the Secretary of State decides now is the appropriate time to show how deeply muscular the government is. Obviously burying bad news about waiting time figures - the first time ever that the target for routine operations has been missed, or that the departments budget has been exceeded due to massive mismanagement and requires a treasury bailout, I am sure had nothing to do with making a political announcement to destroy the last vestiges of morale in the junior doctor workforce in this country.
What next is what every junior doctor and the wider profession is asking? Well the government has published a very short summary of the some aspects of the contract they intend on “imposing”. We need to truly look at this and the implications. We can already see significant shortcomings that mean this proposal is not something junior doctors have stated they would sign up to. But unlike the government, the JDC and the BMA do want to actually listen to our members. Below is a list of open meetings I will be attending:
Monday 15th Norfolk and Norwich Hospital Mess meeting 12.30pm
Monday 15th East of England RJDC, Clinical School, Addenbrookes, 7pm
Tuesday 16th Bristol for joint RJDC/Bristol Divisional meeting 7pm
Wednesday 17th East Midlands RJDC meeting TBC
Thursday 18th South Thames RJDC - BMA House 6.30pm
Friday 19th West Midlands RJDC - Birmingham Chamber of Commerce 75 Harborne Road, Edgbaston Birmingham B15 3DH 7pm
There are also open RJDC meetings:
Monday 15th Northern RJDC Royal station hotel Newcastle 6.30pm
Tuesday 16th Oxford RJDC - John Radcliffe Lecture theatre 2, 6.30pm
We will look much more into the detail of the proposals should we get detail and look at where these will need to be challenged. We will seriously now have to consider every option available to JDC and consider what is in the best interests of our generation and the next of doctors, our wider profession, the NHS and our patients. Ultimately we cannot sit by and watch the government alienate a generation of doctors and thereby destroy the NHS we work so hard every day to make better and protect. The governments aim maybe to teach the medical profession a lesson, but in doing so they have shown their willingness and almost eagerness to destroy our NHS. The government often whispers about this as their miners moment. What happened with the mining industry? Is that what this government envisages for the NHS?
It is time for us all the take stock. The staff of the NHS never asked for unfair payrises, we never destroyed the financial system, we didn’t abuse our positions for personal gain. All we want is to be treated fairly and to not have the organisation we love and dedicate our lives to be destroyed by a government that puts their personal gain above the people they are supposed to represent.
I will say one last thing, its very easy to make this about Jeremy Hunt. But fundamentally, deep down, I think we need to squarely lay the blame at David Cameron. He has stood by and ensured that ultimately the NHS he claimed to want to protect has been systematically destroyed since being elected by attacking the very staff that sweat blood and tears trying to protect it, work for it and love it.
ps you will hear from me in due course…".
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