The London Regional Committee of Momentum, having heard about the business and decisions taken by the national steering committee last night, discussed the issues extensively this morning. We heard that the Steering Committee (SC) meeting had been convened at just 19 hours’ notice and that items were added to the agenda in the course of the meeting that had not been notified in advance. Decisions were made by the Steering Committee which should have been taken by the National Committee.
The SC voted to cancel a planned meeting of the NC due to take place on 5 November. It also voted on a method of organising the conference that pre-empted the discussion that has only just begun in the local and regional Momentum groups and which should have been taken to the NC.
There was a wide-ranging discussion including contributions from Jill Mountford and Michael Chessum who are London members of the Steering Committee who had voted against the decisions, as well as from Jon Lansman, the chair of the national Steering Committee who defended the decision, and from FBU general secretary Matt Wrack, who is also a member of the SC and who had refused to attend the meeting because of its lack of legitimacy.
The motion dealt exclusively with the undemocratic process involved and did not comment on the merits or otherwise of the substantive decision to held a conference based on all members voting online.
The meeting passed the resolution below by 31 votes to 0 with 2 abstentions.
“This meeting of the London Momentum Regional Committee censures the national Steering Committee for cancelling the meeting of the National Committee that was scheduled for 5 November and for agreeing a method of organising the national conference without waiting for the National Committee to discuss it.
We do not recognise the legitimacy of the Steering Committee to make those decisions.
We call for these decisions of the national Steering Committee on the conference and the National Committee to be rescinded and for the NC to proceed as originally scheduled on 5 November.”
Many thanks to Nick Wrack for sharing
Related reading here from Jacqueline Walker
I am making a statement on the working of the Momentum Steering Committee.
Up till now, despite others commenting freely, and often in an uninformed way, I have agreed to be silent. However, events of the last few days have changed this.
'Almost immediately after the Jewish Labour Movement began to tweet against me after the training event, a 'senior member' of Momentum joined in, briefing the press, in particular a Guardian journalist, Jessica Elgot.
Interestingly those tweets have since been removed, though screenshots have been taken.
This was very soon followed by full articles, both in the on-line and paper version, which said "The Guardian understands her removal from the post is likely to be confirmed when the committee meets on Monday. A spokesperson for the left wing grassroots movement, which was set up to support Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the party, confirmed members wanted her to go."
I was also informed by the Guardian, as were others on the Steering Committee, at the same time as the Guardian readership, the date and outcome of the meeting to remove me.
Included in this same article were comments by Manuel Cortes, Gen Sec of the TSSA, threatening to remove Momentum from TSSA premises if I were not removed.
This came, I believe, soon after Cortes had publicly called me a rabid anti-Semite, or something to that effect.
While the press may have known when the meeting to remove me would be, as well as the result, I was given only 48 hours notice of the hearing and no details either of how it would be run or what the charges were against me, despite repeated requests.
The extraordinary spectacle of a group of trade unionists treating a comrade in a way THEY would not accept had they been representing me as trade unionist was shameful to our movement.
No statement was taken from me or from anyone who had been at the JLM training event. The irony is the SC used evidence from the same media sources that had recently condemned Jeremy as an incompetent, an anti Semite and a terrorist.
After this kangaroo court, I asked for a complaint of this process to be forwarded to the NC and for an investigation to be launched about the leak.
A meeting of the Steering Committee voted against giving me access to the NC. I know who leaked, as do many people on the SC.
As to the most recent example of the lack of democracy of the SC, on Thursday at 10:30pm I received a notification of an emergency SC meeting.
There was no mention of a discussion on how the conference would be run.
A number of people could not make, or would not agree to come to such a meeting.
A number of people, including myself and Matt Wrack, protested as to undemocratic process.
Some members agreed to phone in.
Imagine my shock the next morning at being informed both that the NC was to be postponed and that the decision had been made by the SC that conference votes would be made on line.
This occurred even though at least two papers outlining different process of voting at conference had been tabled for discussion at the (now cancelled) NC.
The sovereign body is the NC.
The SC is there to implement their decisions.
This is an outrage.
The two examples I describe here are just the most well known of a general culture of disdain which too many members of the SC have supported.
It is crucial that this changes.
Thanks to Jacqueline Walker for sharing this statement.
London, 28-10-2016 - The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) condemns the appalling and misinforming media articles which consistently fail to accurately and objectively report the event hosted in the House of Lords on October 25th. The event hosted by Jenny Tonge was dedicated to launch "Balfour Apology Campaign" which seeks an official apology from the British government.
As stated yesterday in a press release, the Palestinian Return Centre condemns these press articles which report inaccurate information, deceive the public and result in wrongly representing the Centre.
We have decided to respond to some articles that provide blatant errors and are intentionally misleading, though this is not a comprehensive account.
In the article written by Anil Dawar and published at page 7 of the Daily Express on Friday October 28, it is repeatedly alluded that a speaker from the Palestinian Return Centre made anti-Semitic comments and compared the state of Israel to Islamic State (IS). This is absolutely incorrect. Anil Dawar fails to provide a crucial detail to the story, which is that the comment came from the audience (a Jewish Rabbi member of the Neturei Karta). We condemn this distortion of reality which is at best lazy and bad journalism, or worse it is done in bad faith.
In an article written by Kate McCann, Senior Political Correspondent at The Daily Telegraph, at page 2 on Friday October 28, it is clear that the omission of a key fact is misleading the public on what actually happened at the event. McCann writes “Lady Tonge resigned following a decision to suspend her after she hosted an event where a speaker reportedly compared Israel to the terrorist group Isil and Jews were blamed for the Holocaust”. This “poor” and “lazy” journalism notably omits from the story that the comment came from a member of the audience. Therefore it does not represent the views of Lady Tonge or the other speakers on the panel nor the PRC which organized the event. Adding to this, McCann does not see important to mention the main purpose of the event and the discussion which centered on the launch of the Balfour Apology Campaign.
In an article by Daniel Martin, Chief Political Correspondent of the Daily Mail, at page 26 on Friday October 28, 2016 it is written “A Liberal Democrat peer who hosted an anti-Semitic event in Parliament was finally forced out of the party last night”. This utter misleading sentence attempts to suggest the event organized by the Palestinian Return Centre was anti-Semitic. What Martin’s article fails to include is that the event centered on the launch of the Balfour Apology Campaign and that none of the speakers on the panel nor the chair had made any anti-Semitic accusations. Those comments were made by a member of the audience who also happens to be Jewish Rabbi member of Neturei Karta.
In an article published on the Guardian online on October 27th, the author Harriet Sherwood provides a plethora of erroneous information. First, she starts her article stating “Jenny Tonge, a former Liberal Democat peer, has quit the party after she was suspended over alleged anti-Semitic comments.” This is absolutely wrong since it seem to suggest that Lady Tonge has made anti-Semitic comments for which she has not. Then she writes “The remarks were made by a speaker at the meeting, which was organised by the Palestinian Return Centre, which live-streamed the event on its Facebook page.” Sherwood misleadingly suggests that the remarks were made by a speaker of the centre while it was a member of the audience who during the Q & A session of the meeting decided to make an intervention.
The Guardian, along with other outlets, continues to silence Palestinian voices since it did not seek a comment from the organizers while it gave a platform to the Israeli embassy, which did not even attend the event.
Jon Craig, Chief Political Correspondent for Sky News, authored an article published online on Friday October 28 deceitfully writes “One speaker apparently compared Israel to Islamic State, and suggested the Jews were blamed for the Holocaust.” Again, the failure to acknowledge that the person who made those comments was a member of the audience is done with the intent to suggest that the speaker was a member of the organization that hosted the event.
In an article authored by Graeme Demianyk, published on the Huffington Post online on October 27 the information that is presented is misleading and not factual. Demianyk writes that “A Liberal Democrat peer and former MP has quit the party after being suspended for hosting an event in Parliament where the audience applauded as someone blamed Jews for the Holocaust.”
It is hard to believe that he video that Demianyk provides in the article as evidence actually discredits his own statement. In that video it is clear that no one in the audience clapped after the ultra-orthodox Jew from the Neturei Karta made the alleged anti-Semitic comment. It is absolutely obvious that after that comment Lady Tonge went on to talk about a completely different topic, that is the BDS campaign, and that the applause that followed was directed to her statement. We call on the Huffington Post to correct this blatant error, also for the sake of their own credibility.
The Palestinian Return Centre also condemns the biased Times article which initiated the row providing inaccurate information as a result of “lazy” and “bad” journalism. On early Thursday, 27th of October, Kennedy published an article titled, "Jews blamed for Holocaust at ‘shameful’ House of Lords event". The article of Kennedy is based on a blog post by David Collier who is a known pro-Israel blogger. The article described the event of the Palestinian Return Centre as “‘shameful’ House of Lords event". Kennedy’s choice for the title fails to accurately depict the purpose and outcome the event, which centered on the launch of the Balfour Apology Campaign. He also gave a platform to the Israeli embassy in London where a spokesperson commented on the matter. Meanwhile, he failed to contact the centre for a comment on the issue
In light of the above points raised, the Palestinian Return Centre demands that those media publications correct the erroneous facts presented and provide an accurate account of the events.
We also intend to seek legal action for the false accusations and defamatory allegations directed against the centre.
Note to the Editors
The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC)
The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) a London based international organisation in Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 2015. PRC has been operating from London since 1996 and held dozens of workshops, conferences, seminars and meetings across the British and European parliaments as well as the United Nation. Since 2003, the PRC has also been granted membership in the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
Balfour Apology Campaign
Balfour Apology Campaign is a UK based campaign launched by the Palestinian Return Centre in 2013 to urge the British establishment to atone for the 1917 Balfour Declaration. Britain’s legacy in Palestine marked an historical breach against the aspirations of the people of Palestine and shattered its hopes for freedom and self-determination. Our mission is to seek an official apology from the British government for issuing the catastrophic Balfour Declaration. We believe that Britain recognizing its past colonial crimes committed in Palestine is a necessary step towards achieving peace, justice and reconciliation.
For additional media Enquiries:
FBU News: Ludicrous pay rises to directors at Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service have been slammed by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
According to the results of a freedom of information request, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s director of people and organisational development, Anne-Marie Scott, was this year awarded a 21.35% pay increase. Deputy chief fire officer Trevor Ferguson saw his pay rise by 14.96% and chief fire officer, Andy Fry, was handed a 10.38% increase. Assistant chief fire officer Paul Southern received a 5.01% pay rise.
The revelations come as frontline firefighters and control staff find their pay capped at a below inflationary 1% for the fifth year in a row. This came after a two-year period when pay for all firefighters was frozen as part of the government’s public sector pay freeze.
Richard Jones, secretary of the FBU in the south east, said: “These revelations are a smack in the face of every firefighter working in Berkshire who has suffered years of pay freezes and pay caps only for those at the top to be substantially rewarded. It is a clear example of one rule for them and another for us.
“Firefighters’ workloads are increasing as budget cuts have dramatically reduced the number of personnel in the service. We are having to do a lot more work with fewer resources.
“We are facing budget cuts of up to £2.5 million from frontline service across Berkshire over the next three years. Fire service staff are distraught at being under threat of redundancy. The fact that directors have been awarded a whopper pay rise is an insult.”
Since 2010, 93 frontline firefighter jobs have been axed in Berkshire.
From FBU online: A dramatic decline in the amount of fire prevention work that fire and rescue services perform is putting lives at risk, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has said, as new figures show that 10,000 jobs have been axed in England over the last seven years.
The home office’s ‘Fire Operational Statistics Bulletin’, released today, also reveals:
The figures are worrying because the number of fire deaths has rocketed by 15% in the past year – the single biggest percentage increase in 20 years.
The union has also warned of a ‘generational time bomb’ as the number of young firefighters aged between 16-24 has dropped by a shocking 40% in the past five years reflecting a lack of recruitment. The average age of a firefighter is now 41.
Andy Dark, FBU assistant general secretary, said: “We are deeply concerned about the impact of job cuts on the public’s fire and rescue service. The government’s data shows that fire services are now cutting back even further on fire prevention work because the workforce has been stripped. Fire services are struggling to cope with the current workload.
“The government have prioritised balancing the books over all else, including public safety. These figures paint a damning picture of today’s fire and rescue service, which is simply not safe in the hands of this government. Resources continue to be slashed, it’s taking longer to get to fires and more people are dying as a result.”
The new findings are the latest in a series of alarming statistics that show how budget cuts are compromising the service the public receive. In addition to the rising number of fire deaths announced in August, it was revealed late last year that response times to fires are now at their slowest in 20 years.
The full home office bulletin can be found here.
Subscribe to the fire and rescue service's lottery here.
VIDEO- In the early morning of October 22nd 2016, Water Protectors left the encampment to walk to DAPL work site #127, off highway 1806. We walked to the work site where our comrades locked themselves down to equipment to prevent any more work being done on the Black Snake. They took action because the Black Snake must not be built, the risk is too high and a devastating spill is an inevitability, we went because we too recognize our duty to take action. We went because we have had enough of Energy Transfer Partners and this pipeline, and so have all of us here at Oceti Sakowin, we have had enough of the heavy handed terrorism so casually deployed by Kyle Kerchmeier of the Morton County Sheriffs, DAPL Private Security G4S, and the National Guard.
Over 140+ Water Protectors were chased down by riot police, pepper sprayed, beaten with batons, and kettled in. The police made the mass arrests at this site, the charges were Criminal Trespass, and Engaging in a riot. The First wave of innocent Protectors were in court today and all pled not guilty, they are awaiting trial at this time.
DAPL is in direct violation UNDRIP on Sacred Sites and as well as in violation of all Indigenous Laws anywhere worldwide. To desecrate the bodies of our Ancestors is an abomination, yet somehow the illegal and corrupt Government and corporations give themselves permission to take these actions in the name of genocide and land theft. They work together and promote a capitalist lifestyle that is in direct opposition to natural law, they are rooted in profits and have no sense of the destruction to not only land and water but also to Indigenous Peoples lives they leave in their wake. They have no jurisdiction or permission from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to build this pipeline, and it is not only our right and our duty to protect the Ancestors it is our responsibility to the future generations to take action to uphold the People’s right to say NO.
The future of the planet depends on what Indigenous Land Defenders and Water Protectors do NOW, we cannot afford to sell the future of the entire planet for momentary and monetary greed. They are unleashing a violent fascist police state on the people in a bid to make the most money the fastest, leaving our lands and water poisoned. We recognize that we the People acting in Unity and Prayer will stop this pipeline, and we are acting accordingly.
Red Warrior Camp
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