Thursday, June 22, 2017

Court tells Government they cannot make Council Pensions funds be dependent on Boris Johnson Whims

In a victory for common sense the Courts have apparently thrown out the requirement that Council Pension funds have to invest according to the political whims of the UK Foreign office.

Who on earth  would want their pension being dependent on the judgement  of Boris Johnson?

Well done to Palestine Solidarity for funding this judicial review. This case also supports the view of UNISON that the existing EU law already requires Council pension funds should be invested in interests of beneficiaries and legally separate from employers and the government.

Professional Pensions The government has suffered a major defeat in the High Court after its rules on Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) investments were deemed unlawful.
The investment guidance, issued last September, requires LGPS funds to have policies on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues but also added they could not pursue policies contrary to central government foreign and defence policy.
The guidance said "pension policies to pursue boycotts, divestment and sanctions [BDS] against foreign nations and UK defence industries are inappropriate, other than where formal legal sanctions, embargoes and restrictions have been put in place by the government" and funds could not "pursue policies that are contrary to UK foreign policy or UK defence policy".
The policy was particularly contentious as LGPS funds and campaigners said this limited their ability to take up ethical investment, particularly BDS action against companies operating in Israeli settlements in Palestine.
A bid was launched in the courts by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) to overturn the regulations via a judicial review, where it argued the government had acted outside of its powers, and it was "lacking in certainty".
It also cited Article 18.4 of the EU's directive on the Activities and Supervision of Institutions for Occupational Pension Provision (IORP), which states "member states shall not subject the investment decisions of an institution… to any kind of prior approval or systematic notification requirements".
However, in his judgment, issued today, the judge Sir Ross Cranston only agreed with the first argument, stating the minister for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Sajid Javid had "acted for an unauthorised purpose and therefore unlawfully".
His reasoning was the "guidance has singled out certain types of non-financial factors, concerned with foreign/defence… and stated that administering authorities cannot base investment decisions upon them. In doing this, I cannot see how the secretary of state has acted for a pensions' purpose".
He stated specifically that this guidance could preclude LGPS funds taking ESG factors into account even if there no "significant risk" of financial detriment or "no good reason" to believe members would object.
Cranston therefore granted a judicial review, meaning the government may have to rethink its approach to the rules if it wishes them to take effect.
PSC chair Hugh Lanning welcomed the ruling, and said local councils would be happy to be able to invest funds as they see fit.
"Today is a victory for Palestine, for local democracy, and for the rule of law," he said.
He added: "This ruling upholds the right of local councils and their pension funds to invest ethically without political interference from the government of the day."
A spokesperson for DCLG said the government would consider whether to appeal: "It is an important principle that foreign policy matters are for the UK Government to decide. We will consider the judgement and next steps."
Unison national officer for capital stewardship Colin Meech also welcomed the judgment, and called on the government to replace the guidance with the IORP directive.
"It was always preposterous to us that the LGPS funds had to invest in the best interests of UK foreign and defence policy," he said. 
"We have been telling various governments since 2007 that they must implement the EU IORP directive into the LGPS. The judge did not say that the directive did not apply to the LGPS and therefore we now hope that the current government dismantles the 2016 regulations and replaces it with article 18 of the directive.
"This will mean that the LGPS funds must invest in the best interests of scheme members, as all other pension schemes in the UK must do. The best interests of scheme members are aligned with all sponsoring employers in seeing that their pensions are delivered in the most efficient manner. For 10 years LGPS scheme members have been denied their statutory rights, this must be rectified."

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Grenfell Tower Fire - London Hazards Centre

Hat tip Phil Lewis Chair of London Hazards & in today's UNISON NDC regional newsletter "London Calling".

"Here is some information I was able to get hold of

2009 – Lakanal House tower block catches fire killing 6 people. The local authority is prosecuted for lapses in fire safety. A review is promised by the Labour government after pressure from the Fire Protection Association (FPA).

2010 – Building Regulations Act is published, including provisions for fire safety. Conservatives win election, a review is promised by the new government after more pressure from the FPA and warnings that the BR act does not go far enough.

2013 – Boris Johnson overrules the ruling body of the London Fire Brigade and uses legal action to inflict £29m in cuts. Closing 10 fire stations, cutting firefighters by 552, losing 14 fire engines and cutting minimum staffing levels from 5 to 4. By the time he steps down as Mayor of London he inflicts a further £100m in cuts to £130m total and the loss of 7000 firefighters. Fire prevention measures carried out by the service drop by over 25%. When challenged by a committee on fire safety on how cutting the fire service would not increase deaths, Boris replies “get stuffed”.

2013 – All Party Parliamentary Group on Fire Safety and Rescue produces a report strongly recommending installation of fire suppression systems and sprinklers in 4000 tower blocks throughout Britain. The Grenfell residents action group publishes a report warning that their landlord is putting their safety at risk by restricting the access ways to their car park. They are ignored by their landlord.

2013 – 2016 Conservative housing ministers sit on All Party report without action, promising they are “looking at it”, including housing minister Gavin Barwell.

2016 – Conservatives vote against a Labour motion to make sure all landlords and housing associations ensure residences are fit for human occupation, including provisions for fire safety. The motion is denied by 312 votes to 219. 72 of the MP’s voting against are landlords. The Grenfell residents action group publish a report warning people will die in a fire before the landlord takes notice of their poor fire safety provisions. They are ignored by their landlord.

2017 – Ex housing minister Gavin Barwell becomes Prime Minister Theresa May’s chief of staff. He never actions the All Party Parliamentary report recommendations. Grenfell Tower is reduced to rubble with the deaths of at least 79+residents as a fire spreads through the building in 4 minutes. It has no fire suppression system or sprinklers. The stairwell is not adequate for a full building evacuation. The emergency lighting is missing from half of the floors. The fire service struggle to reach the building due to previous car park modifications causing access issues as warned by the resident action group in 2013.

Philip Lewis

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

UNISON National Delegate Conference 2017 - Tuesday

My Conference day started with a short jog up and down the famous Brighton beach. The weather was hot even at 7.30am.

At 8.30am we had our first UNISON NEC meeting to discuss and (hopefully) agree on any outstanding matters or policy positions.

Conference itself starts at 10am on its first day.  Firstly there is the "welcome to conference" speech by the Senior Vice President, Carol Sewell. She introduces all our international guest visitors.

Followed by Standing Order Committee (SOC) reports 1 and 2 (it is a long standing tradition at NDC to play reference back ping pong with SOC).

This is followed by a presentation and vote on our annual report and our year end financial statement. Our first motion of conference was 18 "Stepping up the campaign against bullying and harassment".

During lunch I went to the UNISON "There for You" AGM as a NEC member of the charities board of trustees. After lunch there was another round of ping pong and further motions debated including the 55 "UNISON and the WASPI campaign" about the rip of pensions by this government for many women.

Our General Secretary, Dave Prentis, gave a very powerful speech during which he thanked our emergency workers for all they had done in recent times and talked about the unexpected loss of his comrade, our President Eric Roberts.  After the speech I could see from the NEC platform a number of delegates wiping tears from their eyes and there was a (genuine) standing ovation by Conference.

In the afternoon there were more debates. Conference finished at 5pm. On the way back to my accommodation I was stopped and "persuaded" to go an excellent fringe on "Pensions and climate change".

Monday, June 19, 2017

UNISON National Delegate Conference 2017 - Monday Evening

Comrades together picture from this evening outside the Holiday Inn Hotel in Brighton after the UNISON London Region delegates meetings.

Our ace Regional Conveyor, Yvonne Green, is on my left with Housing Association branch delegate Mitsy on her left and Croydon delegate Kia, on my right.

Conference starts tomorrow morning and although I am here as UNISON NEC, I have been busy supporting my Housing Association Branch delegates with hotel bookings problems and getting ready to speak on our housing motion 36 which is high up on the "snake" (UNISON conference jargon. Don't ask it will blow your mind)

All four of our branch delegates are confidant and articulate black women workers who have spoken at previous conferences and I have no doubt, whatsoever, they will participate fully in the next few days.  

Sunday, June 18, 2017

John Gray's Father's Day

Lovely picture of my Dad, John Gray (left), my big Sister Helen, My little Sister Lucy, Me (John Gray) and our Grandfather, John Gray.

(and top of the head of "Muff" our daft but so loyal family boxer dog)

Great Newham Get Together - In Honour of Jo Cox

This afternoon I went to the Newham Woodcraft Kids Zone and Big Lunch Picnic in Wanstead Flats next to the Golden Fleece pub.

It was simply a fantastic community event. Loads of people from all over Forest Gate and Manor Park had come to participate, share food, meet their neighbours and also honour Jo Cox and all what she stood for.

Many, many thanks to Newham Woodcraft folk for doing all the hard work putting up the tents and organising the entertainment for the kids.

There is indeed more that we have in common that divides us.

Never forget. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Newham Council Response to High Rise Residents following Grenfell Fire

I have asked a UNISON colleague who is a very experienced Housing Surveyor to check on this advice and also asked the Council who is checking Housing Associations & privately managed high rise blocks' fire risk assessments.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Democracy in the Workplace: Newham Compass Tuesday 20 June

Shame this clashes with UNISON National Delegate Conference. I don't think I have met Scott but Janet is a very experienced and thoughtful trade union official and also chairs Trade Union Share Owners

Thursday, June 15, 2017

International Day of Dignity for Cleaners and Security staff #JusticeDay2017

Picture this evening from outside the front entrance of the British Trade Union Congress (TUC) headquarters in London of members of the SERTUC (South East Regional TUC) International Committee.

Today (June 15) is the International Day of Dignity for Cleaners and Security Staff. We were wearing yellow marigold glove on one hand to show solidarity with cleaners and holding keys with the other for security guards.

hat tip thingy to our top SERTUC International Committee Chair, Bob Archer (4th from left)

The Great Get Together Newham

All the events on one poster! Please share widely

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Grenfall Tower Fire - The shock and the horror but East Enders rally to help

Like everyone I was horrified at the news reports and pictures this morning at the fire and destruction of Grenfall Tower in Kensington.  I have been a housing officer in London for the past 25 years and have managed a number of similar high rise residential blocks, I was deeply shocked.

As a Unison trained Health & Safety representative (and member of IOSH)  I have been assured over the years, many, many times that such a thing could "never happen".

I am also a West Ham ward Councillor (London Borough of Newham) and this evening, I had by coincidence, my monthly surgery in the Tenants and Residents room in a 21 storey high rise and a concerned resident, who lived on the 14th floor, did come and ask me what is being done to reassure her and her family that they were safe. She asked if she needed some sort of ladder in her flat?

I have raised a member's enquiry asking for copies of all fire risk assessments for tower blocks in my ward. I have also offered to arrange joint inspections with residents, council officers and ward councillors of all our high rise blocks.

I also asked what has happened to our Newham Housing residents' scrutiny panel which has not met for a long time? Involving residents meaningfully in the management of their homes is crucial to ensuring their safety.

I did also speak tonight to Councillor Terry Paul, who is our Mayoral Advisor on Housing, who assured me that everything possible will be done to make sure our residents are safe and also keep them informed what is being done.

After the surgery, I went to the West Ham Labour Executive meeting in our HQ in Stratford. This evening (not now) our HQ was a base for local residents to drop off donations for Grenfall Tower Residents.

We had some people dropping off bags of donations.  Kay and her Mum, Mrs Brewer, (see above picture of them with Terry and Party member Karl Lewis) from Canning Town, who turned up with a car load of around 15 bags of donations. They explained that Canning Town had many tower blocks and local residents had been pleased to donate.

I dropped off the donations at Coffee7 in Forest Gate (see bottom picture). What a fantastic and generous community response!

Please check with the various charity organisers before dropping off any more donations at any locations.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

West Ham General Election day 2017 (we win)

June 8 was not only a political historic day nationally but a busy day locally for all activists. At 4.30am 10 members of West Ham Women's forum were in Ilford North to deliver the "don't forget to vote" leaflets as were other West Hammers in marginal seats around London and Essex.

In West Ham itself we encouraged members on this day to go to either Ilford North or Westminster North marginals although many went to other seats including Dagenham. We had leafleting at our local schools and railway stations and we asked supporters who could not go to marginals to stand outside our polling stations to hand out leaflets.

As the Parliamentary Agent I spent most of the day in West Ham picking up elderly and disabled residents in my car and taking them to the polling station or organising lifts via local activists. I have always found it fascinating to do this. Life long Labour supporters who despite often being in pain and discomfort insisting that they will do their democratic duty and vote for their Party.

The reaction as I drove around with my little UNISON Labour link flag on my car was extremely positive with lots of waves, beeping of horns and flashing of lights apart from one potty mouth yob who received a traditional anglo-saxon visual response.

We had been asked by London Labour Party to arrange for them to be updated on turnout figures at selected polling stations and from noon all "Lyn Brown campaign "or West Ham Labour phone enquiries were diverted to my mobile as everyone else went off to the key marginals.

I had quite a few calls including media enquiries and they were nearly all pretty fascinating. They were predominantly from residents who had never voted and had no idea what to do.  I was asked what happens in the polling station, how do they actually vote, if they could vote via their mobile phone, is their vote secret, do they have to make a cross or a number?

It began to be clear to me that a number of young and old residents who have never voted before were planning to vote.

In the evening I visited a number of West Ham polling stations with our candidate Lyn Brown. She had a fantastic reception in all of them and in some she was actually (I exaggerate slightly) "mobbed" by constituents giving thumbs up, wishing us luck, saying hello and wanting to have their photo taken with her.

In all the polling stations we visited it was clear from talking to Presiding officers that turnout was up. Something was clearly happening. What that was we obviously did not know for certain at that tme.

At 9.45pm I was at the Velodrome in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for the Newham Count (West and East Ham).

I met up with our 13 West Ham Count Agents and after a briefing we took our places at our Count to "sample" our vote. I won't say more about this apart than it is really important to do this and find out where your local vote is weak or strong.

I was running around at 10PM but managed to see on the Communal TV the result of the BBC Exit poll that there would be a a hung Parliament, which put a huge smile on my face.

It was a long night. After the sampling was complete we still had to take part in the checking and adjudication process on whether certain ballot papers were properly filled out or not. Including those individuals who had drawn very obscene but usually somewhat amusing cartoons on their ballot papers.

The West Ham declaration was about 3.30am, Lyn was reelected with 46,591 votes, 77% of the electorate an 8.3% increase since 2015.

Afterwards many of us went to the Wanstead Tap bar to watch the results (and drink beer). I went home at about 6.30am feeling so happy but determined. There will rerun some time soon and as long as the Labour movement work together - we will win and form the next government. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

UNISON NDC 17: Havana Club Rum Reception

UNISON National Delegate conference take place next week. For some reason this rum reception is always well supported by delegates! 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Some facts and figures about 8 June

Hat tip to Dave Ratchford for the chart and figures below. Worth reflecting about I think. 

"Labour Share of Vote in recent elections

1983 206 seats 27.6% of the vote 8.4m
1987 229 seats 30.9% of the vote 10m
1992 271 seats 34.4% of the vote 11.5m
1997 418 seats 43.2% of the vote 13.5m
2001 413 seats 40.7% of the vote 10.7m
2005 355 seats 35.2% of the vote 9.5m
2010 258 seats 29 % of the vote  8.6m
2015 232 seats 30.4% of the vote  9.3m
2017 262 seats 40 % of the vote  12.87m

Dave calls the result "Not a win.  But pretty much a victory in my book on the way to winning that war". 

I must agree.

On the Andrew Marr show this morning it was amazing to see George Osborne sticking the knife into Theresa May calling her a "dead women walking". Jeremy Corbyn was interviewed and looked relaxed and confident (while Theresa May was according to Osborne being  "hidden away").

Tonight, speaking to my Mum on Facetime, she told me how proud she was that so many people had seen through the Tories and being brave to vote for Labour despite all the nasty and horrible media attacks.  If we unite, next time we will win.

I must agree (not only as a dutiful son)

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Back to real life (but not for long)

As much as I enjoy campaigning, it is has been marvellous to spend a lazy Saturday morning without worrying about deadlines, printing off walks, knocking on doors and dealing with the inevitable problems and frustrations suffered by election agents of all parties in all 650 seats.

It was great to have the time off this afternoon to attend the 1st birthday party for my Great Niece, Teagan.

Of course, I could not resist some very subtle subliminal influencing when handing over her bag of pressies.

I will enjoy the rest but fully expect to be back on the General Election campaign trail again sometime soon. Bring it on.

Friday, June 09, 2017

West Ham General Election Result June 2017

Picture collage from our Count in the early hours of this morning. A fantastic result for team Lyn Brown. As Agent I was so proud of all our West Ham activists, who have tirelessly campaigned near and far for a Labour Government. Which of course we have not got (yet). 

Lyn has very "generously" given us 2 weeks off. Then back to the grind. Personally, I can't see this Tory/Ulster Unionists coalition lasting very long. 

I was post further on Election Day when I recover.

"West Ham Constituency:

Elected: Lyn Brown, Labour Party, 46,591

Others: Patrick Spencer, Conservative Party, 9,837; Michael Spracklin, Green Party, 957; Kayode Shedowo, Christian People
s Alliance, 353; Rosamund Beattie, UKIP, 1,134; Paul Reynolds, Liberal Democrats, 1,836.

The turnout was 65%. The total number of votes cast was 60,708. The number of ballot papers rejected was 161. Lyn Brown polled 36,754 votes more than her nearest rival".

I think that is 77% of the vote. How humbling is that.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Vote Labour Today - For the Many Not the Few

Polls close 10pm tonight

You do not need your polling card to vote. Just go to the polling station and give your name and address.

If you don't know where your polling station is click here

If you are a postal voter and have not yet voted you can take it to any polling station (in your Parliamentary seat area) and hand it in

If you can't find your postal vote or have filled it in wrongly you can get a new one by applying to your returning officer by 5pm today.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

"Theresa May's policing policy is based on a lie, says Labour's acting Shadow Home Secretary Lyn Brown"

Check out Mirror report "Lyn Brown has stepped in to replace Diane Abbott as acting Shadow Home Secretary - here's what she thinks of Theresa May's record on policing

The past two weeks have been traumatic, and the nation mourns for the victims of the despicable attacks in Manchester and London.
People are rightly concerned about whether the cuts to our police have increased our vulnerability to terror. But that is far from the only problem those cuts have caused.
The bottom line is that the Tory policy on policing is based on a lie: they have said it is okay that police funding has been cut because crime is falling. But that’s not true.
First of all, the latest data shows that violent crime, which includes offences that have the most devastating impact like homicide and knife crime, is increasing, as is credit card fraud.
And second, the type of crime is changing: it is more international, more online, and increasingly likely to involve vulnerable people, including children.

Crimes are more complex and so more costly to prevent and respond to than in the past.
But there’s another big reason why Tory complacency on policing is so wrong.
The horrible truth is that with such dramatic cuts across the whole of our public services, the police are having to pick up the pieces.
The official inspector for policing, Sir Tom Winsor, recently described police cars being called because ambulances weren’t available. People in the middle of a mental health crisis are being locked up in police cells because they simply wouldn’t be safe anywhere else.
It’s not hard to see that the job description for a policeman or woman in Britain has been stretched way beyond preventing crime.
Faced with these pressures, at the very least you would think that the government would have sought to prioritise the cash it does have to the places that need it most.
But that hasn’t happened either. Instead, they have just salami-sliced budgets year after year regardless of the differing needs in different parts of the country.
So much so that we’ve seen another lie – as recently as 18 months ago they said they would protect budgets after inflation. That hasn’t happened, and when individual police forces express concern the government just tells them to raise what they need through council tax, even though that is impossible in poorer parts of the country.
Overall, since 2010, under Theresa May, police numbers have been cut by 20,000.
It’s time for the Tory deceit to stop. Labour understands that to have a well-functioning police force it needs to be well-resourced.
We are committing to provide funding to the 43 forces across England and Wales to hire an extra 10,000 officers operating in community policing roles – equivalent to another bobby on the beat in every neighbourhood.
This will help our police services to be more effective in every respect, not only dealing with anti-social behaviour and complex criminal investigations, but creating more of the community relationships and intelligence that stop terror attacks in their tracks.
We’ll pay for this by reversing cuts to capital gains tax that only give money to those who are already well off.
We’ve had enough of the security of the many being put at risk so the pockets of the wealthy few can be filled with tax cuts. The truth of is that our police force needs better support and better funding. Only a Labour government will deliver it.

BBC Election poll tracker - Looking Close

Looking close. The real poll is tomorrow. Need to Get Our Vote Out!

What did you do in the 2017 Election?

Dear John

If you've got any time on Election Day to help Labour you're really needed in nearby marginals. Below are details for Ilford North (where we won in 2015 by 589 votes) and Westminster North. There's also info about leafleting in Stratford on Weds eve and an invitation to a social to watch the results come in...

Ilford North - Click here for info and to sign up to help in Ilford North (or go to 6 Aintree Crescent, Ilford, IG6 2HD, nr Fairlop stn)

Westminster North - Click here for info and to sign up to help in Westminster North (or go to 4G Shirland Mews, London W9 3DY)

And if you're really keen - Ilford North is asking for volunteers to deliver leaflets at 5.30am(click here)

Sunday Night Live, West Ham CLP and Newham Fabians invite members to a get together to watch the results come in on a big screen with snacks and political punditry. Email to apply (you must register to attend as places limited).

And last activity in West Ham before polling day - leafleting and chatting to voters in Stratford - Weds eve 5-7pm  Meet Karl there.

Thank you. Have a good election and hope to see you somewhere. And don't forget to vote!

Julianne Marriott
Vice Chair, West Ham Labour Party

Tuesday, June 06, 2017


Please share if you want a free NHS or have a USA Trump style scheme that will demand evidence that you can pay before you or your family receive any treatment.

The choice on Thursday is yours. Do not dare to whinge if you vote to kiss your NHS goodbye. 

UNISON "there for you" drop in Surgery 8 June 2017

UNISON Housing Association Branch Welfare Officer Mitsy holds a surgery for members in the Resource for London cafe, 356 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PA every second Thursday 10-3pm. The next one is due this Thursday 8 June.

As a fellow West Ham Labour Party member, I shall expect Mitsy will be out later that day knocking doors in Ilford North or Westminster North.

Ilford North - Click here for info and to sign up to help in Ilford North

Westminster North - Click here for info and to sign up to help in Westminster North

Monday, June 05, 2017

West Ham on tour in Spennymoor - General Election 2017

Picture collage from last Monday when a few of us from West Ham Labour Party, led by our PPC Lyn Brown, went up to Bishop Auckland in County Durham to support local Labour candidate, Helen Goodman.

We went first to a short mobilisation event of local party members in Spennymoor which was addressed by Helen and Yvette Cooper. PPC Sharon Hodgson was also there.  Yvette gave a pretty comprehensive demolition on any suggestions that the Tories were the party of law and order by detailing all the cuts in police and front line civilian staff.  Check out the UNISON map here to find out the Tory policing cuts in your area.

Next we went to canvass in Spennymoor with local activists. West Hammer, Muhammed Ravat, led our canvass team. There was many positive Labour responses particularly amongst women but there was some difficult conversations from a small number of people angry with Labour. When you delve deeper into this anger you find it is largely about rubbish pay, rotten and insecure jobs or inadequate housing. Ironically of course, Labour now has the strongest response in decades in addressing these real issues. We need to get that message out.

After the canvass there was a meeting with firefighters at  Bishop Auckland fire station. Lyn used to be the shadow Home Office spokesperson on fire authorities.

We then had another canvass session in St Chads (which had some fantastic individual gardens - see college). I had some in depth conversations with lifelong Labour voters about the general election and the need for working class people to see off the Tories. We know what they will do to us if they get in power for another 5 years. 

West Ham Labour volunteers on Polling Day 8 June

On Saturday I sent off my postal vote (see right). Tonight I have been ringing some of the 225 West Ham Party members and residents who have volunteered to help on polling day. We have also sent them this email below. We need to win these marginals!!!

Dear Friend

Thank you for signing up to help the Labour party in the 2017 General Election. 
We're asking you to help us in two places where the result may be really close: Ilford North and Westminster North.

Ilford North - Click here for info and to sign up to help in Ilford North

Westminster North - Click here for info and to sign up to help in Westminster North

And if you're really keen - Ilford North are asking for volunteers to deliver leaflets at 5.30am! (click here)

 Thank you again for signing up to help. In 2015 Labour only won in Ilford North by 589 votes. Every single vote really does count so if you're able to help you will be making a real difference.

Thank you

Julianne Marriott
Vice Chair, West Ham Labour Party

Sunday, June 04, 2017

"No pasarán'" London will never give in to Fascists.

I am not from London originally but have lived and worked here for the past 29 years.

My employer's head office happens to be in London Bridge and I have been going to Borough Market off and on for many years.  The fascist morons who last night murdered 7 innocent people are too thick to realise that Londoners (and Mancunians) will not put up with their rubbish.

We survived 6 years of total war with fascists in 1939-45, which killed and injured hundreds of thousands of Brits and we never gave in. We won't give in now. No pasarán

Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party

“We are all shocked and horrified by the brutal attacks in London. My thoughts are with the families and friends of those who have died and the many who have been injured. Today, we will all grieve for their loss.

“I would like to thank the police and emergency services for their bravery and professionalism in acting to save lives and deal with these appalling acts of terrorism, as well as NHS staff and members of the public who sought to protect others.

“The Labour party will be suspending national campaigning until this evening, after consultations with other parties, as a mark of respect for those who have died and suffered injury.

“Those who wish to harm our people, divide our communities and attack our democracy will not succeed. We will stand together to defend our common values of solidarity, humanity and justice, and will not allow terrorists to derail our democratic process.”

Statement from the Mayor Sadiq Khan on London terror attack

"There are no words to describe the grief and anger that our city is feeling this morning.

Tragically, seven people have been killed in this sickening attack, and more than 40 injured, some of them critically.

I am appalled and furious that these twisted and cowardly terrorists deliberately targeted innocent Londoners and visitors to our city who were just enjoying their Saturday night.

I condemn these terrorists in the strongest possible terms. They are barbaric cowards and there is absolutely no justification for their evil and unforgivable actions.

My thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims and everyone caught up in this horrific attack.

I'd like to thank our emergency services who bravely tackled the terrorists and helped the injured. I've been in close contact with the Met Police Commissioner and senior officers throughout the night and will be attending the government's COBRA security meeting.

I'd urge all Londoners to remain calm and vigilant today and over the days ahead. We are all shocked and angry today but this is our city - we will never let these cowards win and we will never be cowed by terrorism."

For updates on the attack in London Bridge visit the Metropolitan Police website.

hat tip caption to Franzi Bee

Friday, June 02, 2017

Why Vote Labour (5 top reasons if you belong to a trade union)

(sent to UNISON Labour Link members). Above from Check it out.

"it's the final countdown to the General Election with polls narrowing.

UNISON is acting as the lead union supporting Ilford North CLP, Ealing, Central & Acton CLP and Hampstead & Kilburn CLP.

If you turn up at one of these campaign offices, at any time, there will be a job for you to do.  In this final week before polling day UNISON members really can make a difference.  Whatever of your own time you can give it will be appreciated. 

The campaign officers are as follows:

Ilford North CLP
12a Highview Parade, Woodford Ave IG4 5EP (nearest tube is Gants Hill and there is a cycle rack and on-street car parking available)
Organiser - Ellie Taylor /

Ealing, Central & Acton CLP
Ruskin Hall, 16 church road W3 8PP
Organiser - John Cox /

Hampstead & Kilburn CLP
288 Kilburn High Rd, London NW6
Organiser - Oliver Denton /

To help you put public services at the top of the agenda in the election debate, UNISON has provided a simple one-stop web page making it easy for members to ask their local candidates about the issues.

And Unions Together - the joint body of all the unions affiliated to the Labour Party - has just launched a website to help persuade undecided union members to vote labour, at

UNISON Greater London Region - Standing up for Public Services"

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

General Election - next week!

Dear John

It's a week to go. The polls are narrowing. The next five years are about to be decided. If you have any time over the next week, please come out now to help Labour. The weather's nice and it might even be fun...

Please help to fund Lyn Brown's election campaign
We will spend thousand of pounds on Leaflets, Letters, Posters and Street Stalls in West Ham over the next few weeks. Please help if you can.
A. Click here [DONATION]  or
B. Send a cheque made payable to West Ham Labour Party, to John Gray, Election Agent, West Ham CLP, 306 High Street, E15 1AJ
All donations go to West Ham Labour Party and will be used for Lyn's campaign in West Ham.
11am, 2pm and 6pm every day.
Meeting 12a High View Parade, Woodford Av, IG4 5EP (a 12 min walk from Gants Hill stn on the Central Line - exit 1). Turn up and say you're from West Ham (and they'll look after you if you haven't campaigned before).

Polling Day in Ilford North - they're going to be busy all day.
5.30am leafletting - click here to sign up 
Door knocking all day - click here to sign up

This Saturday Newham Co-op and West Ham CLP will be out in Harrow West supporting Gareth Thomas, Chair of the Co-op Party - meet John Gray (ring 07432 150 530) at 1.15pm or meet in Harrow at 2.15pm, 132 Blenheim Rd, HA2 7AA (3 mins walk from Harrow West tube).

Tonight Weds 31 May

Canning Town South, 6.30pm, Contact Alan
West Ham, 6.30pm,  Contact David or John Whitworth

Thurs 1 JuneWest Ham will be helping Karen Buck in Westminster North at 2pm and 6pm. If you're free and can help - please meet at Labour office 4g Shirland Mews, W9 3DY (10 mins from Westbourne Pk tube which is only 35 mins from Stratford or West Ham tubes).
Stratford, 5pm-7pm, Contact: Karl
Women's Forum (women only) Canning Town South, Contact Gen or Seyi
Sat 3 June
Street stall - outside Forest Gate Station, 11am to 12.30pm and
Forest Gate North, 11am, contact John 07432 150 530
Plaistow South, 11am, . Contact Neil
Women's Forum Street Stall, 11am, E20 Street Stall, please wear red! V Contact Gen or Seyi
Custom House, 11.30am, Contact Rokhsana or Momodou
Canning Town North, 12pm, Contact Shabs
Forest Gate South, 4pm, Contact Joel

Sun 4 June
Plaistow South, 2pm, Contact Neil Wilson

Mon 5 June
Stratford, 6pm-8pm leafleting with a canvass session leaving 7pm. Contact: Karl
Plaistow South, 6pm, Contact Neil
West Ham, 6:30pm, Contact David or John W on 07763 651131

Tues 6 June
Women's Forum (women only), 6pm, Contact Gen or Seyi 
Plaistow North, 6pm, contact Daniel or Mehmood

Polling Day! 
Please do go and help one of the nearby marginals (see details at top for Ilford North). If you want to stay in West Ham we'll put you in touch with your ward organiser as we will be leafleting stations.

Thanks again to everyone who's been out and if you haven't yet please come out and help this last week...

Best wishes

Julianne Marriott
Vice Chair (Campaigns and Comms) West Ham CLP  @westhamlabour  f westhamlabour

Monday, May 29, 2017

Marks & Spencer close their staff pension scheme and lose £131 million

M&S pension surplus falls £131.3m due to DB future accrual closure

Written by Talya Misiri
Marks and Spencer has revealed that its pension surplus fell by £131.3m in the year to April 2017 due to the closure of its defined benefit scheme to future accrual.

In its full year results, published today 24 May 2017, the UK retailer stated that at 1 April 2017 the IAS 19 net retirement benefit surplus was £692.8m from £824.1m the previous year.

M&S explained that its reduced surplus was largely a result of the closure of the UK DB scheme to future accrual, which lead to a one-off curtailment charge of £127m. The scheme closed to new members on April 2017.

The report noted that as all remaining active members of the scheme transition to a deferred status, all future pensionable increases are to be in line with inflation, CPI, rather than to the lower one per cent salary cap applied to the active members.

Additional costs of £5.4m that is directly associated with the closure, primarily in relation to third party advisory costs have been incurred.

Pension funding rose year on year from £118.4m in April 2016 to £135.3m in April 2017. Pension costs charged against operating profit fell slightly to £100.3m this year, from £102m in 2016.

Partnership liability to the Marks & Spencer UK Pension Scheme remained at £71.9m year-on-year.

“The first limited partnership interest (held by the Marks and Spencer UK Pension Scheme), entitles the Pension Scheme to receive an annual distribution of £71.9m until 2022 from the Partnership. The second partnership interest (also held by the Marks and Spencer UK Pension Scheme), entitles the Pension Scheme to receive a further £36.4m annually from 2017 until 2031,” the report outlined".

WTF? Why are Marks and Spencer robbing their staff of a decent pension scheme when their fund is in surplus and it costs them £131 million to do so?

No wonder so many people voted for Brexit and why we need a Labour Government to tackle corporate greed and stupidity.

Hat tip "Pension Age". 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Less than 2 weeks to Go! Forest Gate & Ilford North

Picture collage from yesterday in Forest Gate and Ilford North with our West Ham Parliamentary candidate, Lyn Brown.

The weather was mostly sunny and very warm. The sunshine and spring flowers made door knocking a pleasure. You can (usually) be guaranteed a good reception if you tell residents what a lovely garden they have.

Due to the narrowing in the polls there was an air of excitement and enthusiasm in the campaign yesterday which had been previously missing.

Off on an adventure tomorrow.

West Ham Ward Canvass Sunday 21st May

Love the feet sticking out of roof window (top left)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Jeremy Corbyn: Standing together

On Friday I was at the speech in London by Labour leader Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, relaunching the election campaign after the bombings in Manchester.

It was a statesman like and brave absolute condemnation of hate and terrorism while pointing out that to fight terrorism and make our people safe, we have to also tackle the underlying causes. Be that massive cuts to policing and prisons, poverty and inequality or badly planned foreign wars.

This was by far the best speech I have ever seen Jeremy make. He has demonstrated that he is fit to be our Prime Minister on June 8.

This is the email that was sent out to members after his speech but check the full transcript here


Today, as Labour resumes campaigning in the General Election, I wanted to reach out to you, as a member of our party — and of our Labour family.

Our nation has been united in shock and grief. But as I watched thousands of people coming together in Albert Square in Manchester, I saw unwavering defiance too.

This attack sought to divide us, and instead we sent a powerful message of solidarity and of love. We saw so much evidence of our humanity: from the people we ask to protect us in the emergency services; from those who rushed towards the carnage to comfort the dying or offered lifts home and places to stay; from those gathered the following day in Albert Square.

So for the rest of this election campaign all of us need to stand together and we need to stand up for democracy.

Because when we talk about British values, including tolerance and mutual support, democracy is at the very heart of them.

And our General Election campaigns are the centrepieces of our democracy — rallies, debates, campaigning in marketplaces, knocking on doors, listening to people on their streets, at their workplaces and in their homes.

Together, we will be stronger. Together we can build a Britain worthy of those who died and those who have inspired us all in Manchester this week.

Thank you.

Jeremy Corbyn
Leader of the Labour Party"