Monday, January 30, 2017

My Question On Risk to Full Council before it was Cut

This is the question that I submitted to the Newham Council Chief Executive for tonight's Full Council meeting as an elected Councillor complying fully under its constitution and rules yet my questions ended up being cut.

Dear Kim

Please submit the following question

Question to Cllr Lester Hudson

"I refer to Agenda Item 12 “Annual Treasury Management Report 2015/2016 page 51 of the Yellow Book item 3.8.

While I would agree with the aspiration in 3.8.1 for the Councils investments to mirror that achieved by the LBN Pension fund (and other Pensions schemes) would not Councillor Hudson agree that consistent outperformance of investment return is not just down to good fund management but also depends on the taking of risk. The more risk you take the more return you may achieve. However, equally the more risk you take then the more money you can lose.  With Pension funds the risk of things going wrong are shared. Employers and employees may have to pay more and benefits may be cut. Most importantly for pensions that is also guarantors in the private sector the Pension protection fund and in the public sector (in theory) the British State. 

While I am not against the taking of appropriate long term financial risks if the Council invests in “alternative” investments such as solar farms or toll tunnels, takes risks and it all goes horribly wrong then who will be our guarantor?"


John Gray

This is the question below that was actually read out at Council by the monitoring officer without my agreement to these "changes". 

I refer to Agenda Item 12 “Annual Treasury Management Report 2015/2016 page 51 of the Yellow Book item 3.8.  If the Council invests in “alternative” investments such as solar farms or toll tunnels, takes risks and it all goes horribly wrong then who will be our guarantor?

Needless to say that I didn't get an answer to either. 

Anyone see anything wrong with my original question? 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Angie Roberts UNISON NEC Candidate Female Seat Cymru/Wales

"The stronger UNISON pledge sums up how I feel in my heart.

Our members are amazing individuals who collectively are our great Union and I am determined no matter what happens in these unprecedented times, that I will continue to be a strong voice for our members and together we can be a stronger UNISON".

Angie Roberts Regional candidate for the female seat for Cymru/Wales

Plea for mayoral "open selection"

A well argued letter in the Newham Recorder by respected and long standing West Ham CLP Treasurer and former Councillor John Saunders. 

Pizza & Politics : Broadlands UNISON AGM 1 March

AGM season for the Labour Movement is in full swing. There has already been a Newham Fabians AGM, on Wednesday it is the Greater London UNISON Regional Council AGM. On Thursday it is Forest Gate North Labour Branch AGM and I am planning the UNISON Housing Association branch AGM for March and our branch Labour Link AGM at the House of Commons. Not forgetting the West Ham CLP AGM in June.

I hope to make the Broadlands (Norwich) UNISON AGM this year. I like the "Pizza and Politics" theme. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Holocaust Memorial Day - Newham 2017

On Friday I attended a very moving event to mark "Holocaust Memorial Day" which remembers the attempt by German Nazi to murder all Jews in Europe and all subsequent holocausts in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur and now Syria.

The wonderful guest speaker this year was the childhood survivor of 5 Nazi concentration camps, 90 year old Harry Olmer. I had tears in my eyes for much of Harry's speech. I also really appreciated the the wonderful moving music, songs and poetry of local Newham school children.

Democracy, free speech, decency, tolerance and respect for differences is so important and worth fighting for. Harry stood next to a man in a concentration camp who was shot dead by a Nazi for no reason other than that they were both Jews. He does not know why he survived and so many did not.

See Newham Council Press release below:-

"The victims of the Holocaust and other genocides across the world were remembered at a special event today (Friday 27 January) attended by Mayor Sir Robin Wales, and Holocaust survivor Harry Olmer. More than 400 people including schoolchildren and local residents attended Newham Council’s annual event at the Old Town Hall, Stratford, to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. Candles were lit, a minute’s silence held and there was also a performance by Newham’s Every Child a Musician Orchestra. 

As part of the event, 90-year-old Harry Olmer outlined his memories of the Nazi persecution of the Jews during the Holocaust and shared his experiences which included surviving five concentration camps – including Plaszow near Krakow which later became famous in the movie Schindler’s List. He was also forced to work in a munitions factory filling shells with explosives and last saw his mother and sisters after he, his brother and father were separated from them in 1942.

Harry, who was one of six children, was born in Sonsowiec, Poland, in 1927. He told those at today’s event that one of his earliest memories of the war was from 1942 when 650 people were taken to a wood and shot. He said: “I was in a truck with a lot of other people and could hear the shooting. We had a woman who started screaming, so they stopped the truck and shot her. They separated all the women and children, and they were put on wagons and taken away. That was the last time I saw my mother and my sisters. The trains took all the women and I did not have time to say goodbye.” Harry, a retired dentist, is now one of a handful of Holocaust survivors who visit schools to tell their stories. 

He said: “People say it can’t happen again but it did, in Cambodia, in Europe, Serbia and now, as we are seeing, in Syria with Aleppo. That is why I talk to the schoolchildren, so they can hear the story. It is my story, it is a living history.” Harry also took part in a question and answer session and received a standing ovation after his talk. The theme of Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 was How can life go on? with candles lit at the event in memory of those who lost their lives during the Holocaust and other genocides".

Friday, January 27, 2017

Tony Green UNISON NEC Candidate Male Seat Yorkshire & Humberside

"I want to a build a union that looks after you - I know the pressure you, your families and your colleagues are under. So I will always stand up for you, and ensure that UNISON properly supports our members both inside and outside of the workplace".

Tony Green Male Seat Yorkshire & Humberside

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sunday Night Live - Fake News Invasion 29 Jan

SNL is back! Post Truth Politics: 5pm, Sunday 29th Jan 2017 @GerrysKitchenST   

View this email in your browser
Register here!
Sunday Night Live 2017 

Post-Truth politics & ethics in the digital age

What is it, does it matter and what are the implications for progressive politics now? 

'In this era of post-truth politics, it's easy to cherry-pick data and come to whatever conclusion you desire’ 
Oxford English Dictionary

'Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts'
The late NY Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihant

In this so-called ‘Post-Truth’ age, objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion over appeals to emotion and personal belief. We witnessed the cold reality of this with Brexit last year. More recently, the election of Donald Trump as US President is a seen as who since his inauguration last Friday has a Press Secretary already pushing ‘alternative facts’ about crowd sizes at Capitol Hill.

While Post-Truth politics has been described as a contemporary problem, it has been a long-standing characteristic of political life, though less notable before the advent of the Internet. The idea of a post-truth era has been percolating through public discourse for at least a decade. In 2005, Stephen Colbert popularized the concept of “truthiness” to describe statements people feel are intuitively true - regardless of whether they are backed up by facts. Five years later, in a column for Grist, blogger David Roberts coined the phrase ‘post-truth politics’ suggesting voters were more likely to choose a party aligned with their identity and values, and consciously seek out evidence to support its proposals, rather than assess the facts and then choose a party.

The Internet clearly has had a flattening effect. Your best friend’s opinion on Facebook looks the same as a thoroughly sourced story. One person’s blog looks the same as an article in The Guardian. Then you have algorithms serving users content that aligns with their existing beliefs. Think about the echo chamber your Facebook space has become, and the way in which falsehoods and dubious claims rapidly spread.

So is it a problem? Well, the danger is that it serves to undermine informed civil discourse creating strong polarized online and offline communities with troubling effects. It also diminishes the place that ethics should play in our politics and amongst our political leaders who have a civic duty to tell us the truth. But whose truth do they promote and for what ends?

Consequently, this week’s Sunday Night Live - our first after a few months off  - will be discussing what can and should be done in response with an expert speaker who will help us critically navigate this challenging new terrain.  

Sunday Night Live
Feel free to invite your friends, circulate this email to your networks and post on Facebook & Twitter!

Academics back dispute by King's College cleaners

Academics back dispute by King’s College cleaners

Cleaners at King’s College London are to strike for two days this week (Thursday and Friday) in protest over cutbacks.
More than 50 academics at King’s, which is ranked among the top universities in the world, have signed a letter in protest over how the cleaners are being treated.

The strike action follows a long-running dispute with contractor Servest over its plans to reduce working hours and cut jobs. There are also concerns around ongoing staff shortages and increased workloads.

Servest informed all cleaners working at the university of the changes in November. Staff either face a reduction in the hours they work or redundancy.

UNISON London regional organiser Colin Inniss said: “Strike action is always a last resort but cleaning staff at King’s deserve so much better.

“They are all dedicated to their jobs but this contactor has not treated them with dignity and respect. It’s no wonder they feel frustrated and undervalued.

“This action is the only way to bring the employer back to the negotiating table.”

Notes for editors:
- Ninety-eight per cent of workers balloted voted in favour of industrial action.
- UNISON is keen to meet with Servest at the conciliation service ACAS to try to resolve the dispute.
- Picket lines will be set up from 5am on all of King's College main campus sites including the Strand, London WC2R 2LS.

Media contacts:
Colin Inniss E:
Karen Westwood T: 0207 535 6608  E:
Liz Chinchen T: 0207 121 5463  E:

Remembering Eric - A UNISON celebration of the life of our President Eric Roberts

"The life of Eric Roberts, a lifelong servant of our union and of those in greatest need, will be celebrated at a UNISON event in London in February.

Our President, who passed away at the end of November, worked for the London Ambulance Service for 42 years and was the first UNISON member from the ambulance service to be elected as UNISON President.

Eric was a friend to many in this union and this is your opportunity to come and celebrate his life with other UNISON members, UNISON staff and people from other organisations that Eric supported with all the passion and enthusiasm that he showed for our union.

The celebration will be held on Wednesday 8 February at 3pm in Congress Centre, TUC, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS.

If you would like to attend please click on the link below to register.
Dave Prentis

UNISON General Secretary                            

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"Labour members and councillors call for Newham mayoral trigger ballot enquiry" Newham Recorder

Check this report by our local Newham weekly newspaper

"Nearly 50 Labour party members have called for their governing body to launch a “full enquiry” into the results of the Newham mayoral trigger ballot.

A 13-page letter signed by 47 members of the East Ham and West Ham Constituency Labour Parties, including ten councillors, was sent to the National Executive Committee (NEC) ahead of its meeting this afternoon.
It raises concerns about “failures of process/propriety and procedural irregularities” in the affirmative nomination process which resulted in Sir Robin Wales being reselected as the Labour candidate for the 2018 Mayor of Newham elections on December 5.
An extract from the letter states: “We are Labour Party members who are appalled and concerned by the breaches of the rules and conflicts of interest that have characterised the process so far.”
Sir Robin’s win was determined by the support of affiliated organisations which voted 11 to 6 in favour of keeping him, despite 11 out of 20 wards voting for an open selection process which would have allowed other candidates to stand.
Dissatisfied Labour party members have highlighted issues which “could potentially change the outcome of the process”, focusing on “three major failings” of the trigger ballot nomination process.
The first of these is that “some trade unions have voted more than once for each one of their affiliated branches. Other trade unions have voted only once” therefore resulting in a “different interpretation” of the rules.
Accusations of “significant breaches of the rules in individual ballots” and a “serious conflict of interest between the different roles of those charged with the management of the process” are also outlined in the letter.
Rohit K Dasgupta, the newly-appointed Newham Fabians Secretary – one of the affiliated organisations to vote “yes” for Sir Robin’s automatic re-selection – recently told the Recorder that “Andrew Harrop [general secretary of the Fabian society] advised members at a Newham Fabians meeting [Jan 11] that the Fabian Society’s General Purposes Committee is presently looking into the issues raised by the recent trigger ballot process in Newham”.
Further questions have also been raised about the voting procedures of the other participating socialist societies and unions with calls for several of the ballots cast to “be declared void” or “held in abeyance and not counted”.
The letter’s signatories further state that if the alleged breaches “are allowed to stand unchanged by the national party, it will turn off our membership and stifle the ongoing community renewal that Newham so desperately needs, leading to widespread disillusionment about the way the local party operates”.
A London Labour Party spokesman said: “The Labour Party does not comment on internal selections but the process in Newham was carried out in line with established rules and procedures.
“The NEC is responsible for ensuring that Labour Party processes are fair, and procedures are constantly kept under review.”
He would not comment on whether NEC has received the letter or whether it will address the accusations made.
A spokesman for Sir Robin Wales has not yet replied to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, a campaign website called has been set up to “advance democracy and accountability in the Labour Party in Newham”.
It is inspired by the Trigger Democracy campaign which ran during the mayoral ballot process from October 26 to December 4".

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Irene Stacey UNISON NEC Candidate Greater London Reserved Seat

"I will work to unite our union and reject the politics of division - I will work with anyone in UNISON  to deliver the Stronger UNISON we need at these difficult times, and I will reject divisive tactics designed to divide us.

Irene Stacey Greater London Reserved Seat. 

Reminder: "This is Palestine" UNISON event tomorrow Wednesday 25 January

I must visit Palestine but in the meanwhile I will listen, learn and enquire from those who have. Email Phil if you are going so he can order refreshments

Democracy Triggered "lobby the NEC about the Newham Trigger Ballot"

I received this email yesterday and as a signatory to the recent complaint to the Labour Party NEC I have taken its advice and emailed them.

On Tuesday 24th January Labour’s ruling body, the NEC, will be considering a letter submitted by party members in Newham demanding that they hold an enquiry into the Newham Trigger Ballot process in light of a number of irregularities that took place.

Add your name here and show the NEC that calls for a fair and open selection to select the 2018 Mayoral candidate are growing and won’t go away.

Also tomorrow, the national Fabian Society national executive committee will be considering its report following an investigation into the controversial Newham Fabians Trigger Ballot meeting - it may mean that the vote is declared void. We'll send you more details as soon as we hear!

Here are 6 reasons why you should take action now

Members overwhelmingly voted ‘No’ to automatically reselecting Sir Robin Wales as the Labour Party Candidate for a fifth term so that they could choose from a range of candidates through a subsequent Open Selection.

Despite Labour Party members voting for choice and during the Trigger Ballot, their votes have been discounted unfairly because of suspect votes cast by some affiliate organisations.

There have been a number of irregularities with the Trigger Ballot process that Labour members in Newham are asking the Labour Party's NEC to investigate urgently. These irregularities have made a material difference to the result of the Process, tipping its result in favour of the incumbent Mayor by 20 votes to 17.

Voting guidance for trade union affiliate organisations in a Trigger Ballot are unclear. They can be interpreted in different ways and has led to some trade union affiliates voting more than others. Such a stark variation in practice within a single franchise should not be allowed and is undemocratic.

There has been a lack of openness about affiliates, failings in individual ballots, conflict of interest issues of those responsible with managing the Trigger Ballot process in Newham, undermining the integrity of the ballot and raising concerns that the vote has been manipulated.

A number of votes are disputed. The disputed votes will affect the current outcome and if there is no investigation, the votes of Labour Party members will remain discounted.
Read more details in the letter sent to the NEC last week by Labour Party members in Newham here. Be part of the growing Democracy Triggered movement in Newham and take action now.

Keeping Democracy Triggered

P.s. help us spread democracy in Newham by sharing this with Labour Party members you know - and check out our new website which we've launched today!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Labour NEC asked to inquire into Newham mayoral 'trigger ballot'

On the whole a fair article but it does not report on the complaints of many members that this ballot was rigged.

The Guardian Dave Hill on London "Nearly 50 party members in the east London borough want their national ruling body to examine claims that the process for reselecting Sir Robin Wales was flawed

Labour Party members in Newham unhappy with the “affirmative nomination” process that saw the borough’s directly-elected mayor Sir Robin Wales declared the narrow winner of a “trigger ballot” to decide whether he should automatically go forward as their party’s mayoral candidate next year have sent a 13-page letter to Labour’s national executive Committee (NEC) asking it to establish a “full inquiry” into what it claims were “many failures of process/propriety and procedural irregularities” that took place on the way to the outcome and to halt the confirmation of Sir Robin as 2018 candidate until such an inquiry is complete.

Signed by 47 members of the east London borough’s two constituency Labour parties (CLPs), including ten Newham councillors, the letter sets out at length its case that “a number of [individual] ballots should be declared void or held in abeyance” and that the conduct of the process, which ran from 25 October to 4 December 2016, “made a material difference to the result”, tipping it in favour of Sir Robin by 20 votes to 17.

The trigger ballot offered a two-way choice between voting “yes” to Sir Robin being re-selected unchallenged as his party’s candidate for the next mayoral election to seek fifth consecutive term in a post he first won in its inaugural year of 2002, and voting “no” to that so that an open contest to become the candidate would be held instead.

Each of the 20 electoral ward Labour branches in Newham’s two CLPs, East Ham and West Ham, had one vote in the ballot and a further 17 votes were cast by Labour-affiliated organisations, most of them trade unions. Of the 20 wards, 11 voted “no”, meaning they favoured an open selection contest. However, 11 “yes” votes were cast by the 17 affiliates, which got Sir Robin over the finish line.

The letter to Labour’s NEC raises what it calls “three major failings” in the running of the ballot process, concerning the differing numbers of votes cast by different unions “because of a different interpretation of the rules”, the conduct of individual balloting and “conflicts of interest between the different roles of those charged with the management of the process”.

The results as published show that the GMB union cast four votes, the CWUand Unite two, while the four other unions involved – TSSA, BECTU, USDAW and Unison - cast one each. All four GMB votes were “yes” to Sir Robin going forward automatically. Two of the CWU’s votes were “yes” and the third was “no”. Other “yes” votes came from USDAW, BECTU and TSSA. Both Unite votes were for the “no” side, as was Unison’s.

The letter asks that the single votes of two other affiliated organisations “be held in abeyance and not counted”, including that of Newham Fabians which voted “yes”. The Fabian Society nationally has confirmed that it is still “seeking further information” from its Newham branch and has received “a number of complaints” that the correct trigger ballot procedure was not followed. The NEC is also requested to look into the way three of the ward “yes” votes were arrived at. Two of these wards reached their decision on the strength of a majority of just one member.

A source close to Sir Robin has denied that the ballot process or its outcome are questionable and a spokesperson for the London Labour Party said: “The Labour Party does not comment on internal selections but the process in Newham was carried out in line with established rules and procedures.” The national Labour Party has not responded to a request to confirm that the NEC has received the letter and whether it will be addressing the matter. The next full meeting of the NEC is on Tuesday.

Newham is exceptional in that all 60 of its councillors as well as its mayor are Labour, leading to jokes by other London politicians about the borough becoming a one-party state, but also to complaints among some local members that Sir Robin has been in the job too long and become difficult to hold to account. However, the letter says that if he is confirmed as the 2018 candidate “as a result of an open and fair re-selection process, we and other members would all support (in full and without equivocation) his candidacy”.

Margaret McKee UNISON NEC Candidate Northern Ireland Reserved Seat

"Coming from Northern Ireland I know only too well the impact of division. I stand for a united Union that serves all its members in the workplace and fights the detrimental policies of austerity and privatisation of our public services".

Margaret McKee Northern Ireland Reserved Seat

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Tal y fan walk

Off message but over Xmas, Gill and I went on a marvellous walk in North Wales. Tal y fan is the lowest mountain in Snowdonia at 2000ft (610m) and an ideal introduction to climbing mountains. It also follows an ancient Roman road, passes prehistoric monuments and a remote medieval church. It might be relatively easy compared to other Snowdonia mountains but it is not a walk to be attempted in bad weather if you are not experienced in using a compass.

The walk starts in the lovely village of Roewen with a steep vertical ascent along a former Roman military road. It is quite tough but the views get better and better as you go up. You pass ancient burial chambers and standing stones.

The summit of Tal y fan is steep and rocky which requires care but the views from the top are magnificent.  Since it was a little late in the day we cut the walk short by going off the suggested "pathfinder" route and headed across the ridge towards Conwy.

A herd of wild welsh mountain ponies ran past us. A fellow walker who passed by said these ponies were descendants of Roman horses who used to work in the local mines and quarries.

Going down the mountain back into Roewen was difficult since it was cold and slippery but we managed to keep upright.

This is a walk we will repeat again in a different season and will no doubt enjoy it as much then as we did last month. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Why we need to build a new housing consensus for affordable and decent homes for all

  Why we need to build a new housing consensus for affordable and decent homes for all

(motion from UNISON Housing Association branch to the Greater London Regional Council AGM on Feb 1. If passed  it could also be submitted to UNISON National Delegate Conference in June) 

"The never ending UK housing crisis means that millions of workers ‎and their families live in expensive, overcrowded and insecure homes. 

Often these homes are long distances away from work or family and involve many hours of daily commutes.

Conversely UNISON research has shown many families have grown up children living with them not out of choice, but of necessity as they cannot afford to buy or rent a home of their own. 

Recently the  government have announced a number of high profile schemes and incentives to fix the housing crisis. All have failed.  

Homeownership is on a downwards spiral, increasingly numbers of people in work are reliant on housing benefit and the number of social housing homes available shrinks year by year.

The chief reason for this‎ housing failure is that there is no long a political consensus in the UK on the need for direct investment and subsidy in public housing. 

From 1945 to 1970's political parties‎ of all kinds used to compete on how many affordable homes they could build each year. 

This was because there was a widespread consensus that ‎it was the duty of the state to ensure that everyone was securely and safely housed. 

In order to build homes we must rebuild this consensus. 

This Regional Council resolves to call upon the Regional Council Officers  to campaign with other unions and residents to restore direct investment in public housing. To make the case that this is the only way to solve the housing crisis.

To ask our Labour Link to work to make a new housing consensus a top issue within the Labour party taking into consideration the following principles:-

  • Subsidy should be redirected from housing benefit being paid to landlords to building public homes.
  • Governments and councils must borrow to invest in a mass house building programme. Not only building homes but putting people back into work to build them and therefore pumping money back into the economy.
  • An increase in the supply of public homes would help bring down the cost of home ownership and make this a real option once again in expensive areas.
  • Not only should homes be well built, environmentally efficient, affordable and secure but to be in a decent condition. Public landlords including councils and housing associations must be accountable and democratic to all stakeholders including having a meaningful ‎resident involvement and include the recognition of trade unions.  

Chris Hanrahan UNISON NEC Candidate Police & Justice

"Putting our members first is what UNISON is all about. I will always put our union first and serve the best interests of our members. I will not be swayed by the agenda of a political party, my allegiance is to UNISON".

Chris Hanrahan Police & Justice

Friday, January 20, 2017

West Ham Labour Canvassing, Women's March and Sunday Night Live

Dear John
Just a reminder about our canvassing session tomorrow. And an invitation from Seyi Akiwowo to join West Ham Women's Forum at the Women's March tomorrow.

Saturday 21 Jan - Labour's NHS Campaign Action Day 

Meet 11am at Barking Road Community Centre, 627-633 Barking Road, E13 9EZ. We'll be out knocking on doors and talking to residents who've just moved into the area.There may be a General Election in 2017! We need to be out talking to voters. Please come and join us.
Saturday 28 Jan - Campaigning in West Ham ward
Meeting 11am at Sawmill cafe. West Ham Lane, E15 4PH for coffee ready for an 11.30 start 
Women's March (tomorrow!) 11am, Pret, Stratford Stn - message from Seyi Akiwowo, Chair of West Ham Women's Forum
In response to Donald Trump's first day as President of the U.S, there are women-led marches taking place around the world, including central London. The march is an action of solidarity with women in America calling for the protection of their fundamental rights and for the safeguarding of freedoms threatened by recent political events. 
Members have asked me if we could go as a Labour group so if you are interested in going or planned to attend the march but would like some company please join us tomorrow (Sat 21 Jan) 11am at Pret A Manger, Stratford Station. We will head off just before 11:30am, more information about the march (men and children welcome!). Contact number: 07940743811

Sun 29 Jan - Sunday Night Live: Post Truth Politics 
SNL returns with a discussion about how we respond to post truth politics at Gerry's Cafe and Bar, Gerry Raffle's Square, 5pm to 6.30pm.

30 March - Save the Date  - All members meeting with speaker Keir Starmer MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. More info to come.

Look forward to seeing you at something soon. And please get in touch if you'd like any more information.
Best wishes

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

(picture from last night West Ham branch "meet & greet" new and old(er) members at the Sawmill cafe). 

F**K Trump and join the United Nations Associations UK

In a very clever and timely email this evening the United Nations Association UK send me the following unsolicited email.

"Dear John,

I would like to invite you to become a member of the United Nations Association - UK, a movement of over 20,000 people who believe that global issues demand a global response.

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump said "the United Nations is not a friend of democracy, it is not a friend of freedom".

We don’t really know the details of know how US foreign policy will change following his inauguration as President today. But we hope that it will remain engaged with the UN and take seriously its international responsibilities.

If you agree that the world works best when countries work together, please join us as a member.

From just £15 a year you will receive our incisive magazine delivered directly to your door and priority alerts to our events, giving you the opportunity to meet like-minded people.

But much more than that, you will be contributing to our work as we equip teachers, inspire schoolchildren, brief journalists, lobby our government and mobilise groups in local communities across the country.

It’s so important to make sure your voice is heard during this time of uncertainty. I do hope you will join us.

Best wishes,

Richard Nelmes
Deputy Director (Outreach)
United Nations Association – UK

The United Nations Association – UK (UNA-UK) is a charitable company limited by guarantee (no. 1146016)"

I have only vaguely heard of the UNA and have become a "supporter" and if it is as good as it seems I will join. Share this if you agree with the above sentiments. 

Wendy Nichols UNISON NEC Candidate Local Government Female Seat

"My priority is to Unison Members and always has been. Given the constant attacks on all of our members by firstly the coalition government and now a conservative one we should never forget that our membership comes first not any political party or outside groups.

We need to reject the politics of division and work for our members and our communities and reject tactics that try to divide us. Austerity has damaged our members and our communities but the Tories don't care, we need properly funded publicly owned services.

Our Union has been defying the odds and we need to continue to grow because we are stronger together. That's why I have taken the Stronger Unison Pledge".

Wendy Nichols
Local Government Female Seat

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Wanstead flats on a bright frosty January morning

A beautiful and stunning start to the day. A 30 minutes jog. You would never think that this wonderful open space is surrounded by densely populated suburbia.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"This is Palestine" meeting for UNISON Members about solidarity with and current situation in Palestine at our National Headquarters in Euston, London 6.30pm Wednesday 25 January 2017

Looking forward to chairing this meeting. Please make sure you email Phil ( if you want to attend. 

Maureen Le Marinel Police & Justice UNISON NEC Candidate

"I want our union to work hard for our members, putting their issues and concerns first through a proper democratic process, listening to ALL and acting on the democratic decision of the majority whilst always taking on board the views and needs of the minority and working together to move forward, not disrupting or working against the democratic decisions of the members and those working represent them, it is the membership that elect us and it is the membership who we should be accountable to. 

I have always work in this way and will continue to do so, being honest with what can and can't be delivered and the rationale for both. Be a Stronger UNISON and support those that truly want to support you and not their own agenda's.

Maureen Le Marinel Police & Justice

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

"Praise for Sir Robin but time for change"

A fair and balanced letter in the local weekly newspaper "Newham Recorder" on 28 December 2016 about "time for change". 

Eric Roberts - plans for memorial tribute

"Following the sad and untimely death of UNISON's president, Eric Roberts, the General Secretary and the Presidential Team have proposed that UNISON should host an event in Eric’s memory as a tribute to his life and work.  

The NEC suggested that the event should be held on the 8th February, possibly in the afternoon in central London.  This is a tentative date at this stage as we need to evaluate the potential number of attendees.

Please use this survey to register your attendance so we can establish the number of people who will be there and help us make a final decision on the venue and a date.  You can complete the survey multiple times and share it with others to register:

(In real life Eric would have been embarrassed about any "fuss and bother" being made over him and he would definitely had made a self depreciating joke or two about such plans. But I do know that a number of UNISON activists, up and down the country, want to come and show their respect for Eric and I am really pleased that UNISON is taking such care in planning this event)