Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Forest Gate North "Labor Day" Picnic/BBQ Sunday 3 September

Just a quick reminder that Forest Gate North Labour Party will be holding a Summer Picnic/BBQ on Sunday 3rd September on Wanstead Flats opposite the Golden Fleece pub from 3 to 6 p.m. Come along and bring a dish to share. Don't forget to bring your family, children are especially welcome. Put the date in your diary and look forward to seeing you there.

(Our next branch meeting is on Thursday 7th September at Durning Hall).

Carel Buxton, Secretary Forest Gate North Labour
email: forestgatenorth@gmail.com

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Ride to the Somme, Passchendaele & Arras 2017

The Battle of Passchendaele in the First World War took place from 31 July 1917 to 10 November 1917. There were an estimated 250,000 British causalities, killed or wounded during this battle.

The picture above on the left is of my maternal Grandfather (Taid in Welsh) Captain Frederick John Matthews MC who served in the First World War in the Royal Naval Division (a land based unit which fought in the trenches at Gallipoli, France and Belgium).

I believe he fought in this Battle and it may have been where he won his Military Cross.

After the war he served again in the Royal Welch Regiment as a Warrant officer which included fighting in Afghanistan in 1919.

My second Cousin Becky is also a warrant officer in the British Army. She also served recently in Afghanistan and has her Great Grandfather's Service medal and now her own.  Her husband John is also in the Army and is taking part in sponsored cycle ride on Wednesday from the UK to the Somme Battlefields to raise money for the  Armed Forces Charity SSAFA.

Please consider sponsoring John online here for a worthy cause that helps 50,000 people every year.

Friday, August 25, 2017


Great picture of elected UNISON National Executive Council members at our National Delegate Conference in Brighton in 2017.  

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

UNISON's African Migrant Workers Seminar 14 October 2017

I will circulate amongst Branch members. Monica is a top union organiser and it is really great that UNISON provides such support for members.

Monday, August 21, 2017

West Ham Labour August e-newsletter - Future campaigns, political and social events

Dear Comrades
Just a quick summer update on recent local and future events. Since the General election we have continued campaigning including holding high street stalls in Forest Gate, Canning Town and Stratford as well as door knocking and speaking to residents in Canning Town South and delivering ward newsletters in Forest Gate North.
West Ham Women’s forum have recently held a stall at Stratford Station and a BBQ.
Our newly elected MP, Lyn Brown held a “thank you” party at the Eat 16 (see picture above).

There was a well-attended Memorial organised by Forest Gate North remembering the anniversary of the deaths of at least 34 residents killed in 1944 by a Nazi V1 flying bomb.
Some activists have also continued to campaign in Ilford North Constituency and in the newly “marginal” seat, Chingford and Wood Green, trying to get rid of Ian Duncan Smith MP.

The closing date for applications to be a Newham Councillor candidate in 2018 has now passed. Applicants and sitting Councillors will be interviewed in the autumn and branches will be given the chance to select their candidates in hustings. Watch this space for further details.

Future campaigning & events

West Ham branch are having a BBQ open to all on Thursday 31 August from 7-9pm at Vicarage Lane community centre, E15. Please advise members interested in going to RSVP 'John Whitworth'jhnwhitworth@yahoo.co.uk because of concern over space.

Forest Gate North Branch are also having a BBQ on Sunday 3rd September on Wanstead Flats opposite the Golden Fleece pub from 3 to 6 p.m. Come along and bring a dish to share.

Newham Fabians 20 Sept 2017 at Eat 16 are holding an important event on “Grenfell Tower: The anatomy of a disaster & the future of social housing in London”.

While Newham Co-operative Party will be holding an event to mark the centenary of the Party and also to encourage Newham Labour Councillor Candidates in 2018 to stand jointly as Co-op candidates.
Please send me news of events and photos for future newsletters and to place on our website.
John Gray
West Ham Labour Party Vice Chair Campaigns and Communications
Copyright © 2017 West Ham Labour party, All rights reserved.

68% of votes wasted in General Election

(NB. Below is why our election system in this country is nuts). Picture BBC

68% of votes had no impact on election result: Electoral Reform Society publish definitive report on June vote

EMBARGOED: ‘The 2017 General Election: Volatile Voting – Random Results’ report also shows 6.5m estimated to have voted tactically, and models result under different voting systems using YouGov survey of 13,000+ voters
The instability of Westminster’s supposedly ‘strong and stable’ voting system has been laid bare, according to extensive new research by the Electoral Reform Society.

The Society’s landmark General Election report, ‘The 2017 General Election: Volatile Voting, Random Results’, reveals:
  • Volatile voting: This election saw the second highest electoral volatility (the movement of votes between parties) since 1931. People are switching sides and shopping around at ‘astonishing’ levels
  • Wasted votes: 68% of votes had no impact on the result – 22 million votes were wasted this election [1]
  • Tiny margins: 0.0016% of voters choosing differently would have given the Conservatives a majority, while the election saw rise in very marginal seats: eleven seats were won by fewer than 100 votes 
  • The ‘hold your nose’ election: ERS estimate 6.5 million people voted tactically, alongside surge in smaller parties standing aside 
  • A divisive system: First Past the Post is exaggerating divisions in the UK – Labour secured 29% of South East vote but got just 10% of seats, while Conservatives won 34% of the North East vote but got just 9% of seats. Meanwhile, the SNP continue to be over-represented in Scotland, as is Labour in Wales, while Northern Ireland voters are forced into two camps 
  • Seats not matching votes: The Conservatives largely benefited from the discrepancy between votes and seats, winning 56% of English seats on 46% of the vote – while losing out significantly in Wales. The voting system is struggling to keep up with huge changes in partisan alignment [2]
  • The results under PR: Labour would have emerged as largest party under Scotland and Northern Ireland’s Single Transferable Vote system, according to huge YouGov survey of voters’ party preferences [3]
Darren Hughes, newly-appointed Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“For the third time in a row, Westminster’s voting system has failed to do what it says on the tin – produce a ‘strong and stable’ government.

“June’s election has shown First Past the Post is unable to cope with people’s changing voting habits – forcing citizens and parties to try and game the system. With an estimated 6.5 million people ‘holding their nose’ at the ballot box, voters have been denied real choice and representation.

“This surge in tactical voting – double the rate of 2015 – meant voters shifted their party allegiances at unprecedented rates, with the second highest level of voter volatility since the inter-war years. A system designed for two parties cannot accommodate these complex electoral swings.

“In the nations and regions of the UK, elections now feel more like lottery than a real choice. As we’ve shown, tiny shifts in the vote result in drastically different outcomes. Having results hinge on a few hundred voters is no way to run a modern democracy.

“The vast majority of votes are going to waste, with millions still stuck in the electoral black hole of winner-takes-all. A diverse and shifting public having to work around a broken two-party system. The result is volatile voting, and random results in the different parts of the UK.

“There are a wide range of systems where votes are not thrown on the electoral scrapheap. We need to move towards a means of electing our MPs where all voices are heard and where people don’t feel forced to hold their nose at the ballot box.

“2017 was the third strike for First Past the Post. It’s out.”

Embargoed report link: https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/2017-UK-General-Election-Report.pdf

Read the ERS’ 2015 General Election report here: https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/2015-UK-General-Election.pdf

[1] Number of wasted votes by region 

[2] Seats don't match votes (Conservatives in blue, Labour in red)

[3] The results projected under different voting systems (based on YouGov survey of 13,000 voters)

Liberal Democrats
Green Party
Plaid Cymru

Friday, August 18, 2017

Harry's Girl: Street Art

Finally got around to posting this picture of street art off Holloway Road near Highbury Corner.  I have liked it every time I walk to the UNISON office from Highbury but didn't know what it was about.I have just googled it and found out it is about Prince Harry's American Girlfriend and him paying for her security.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Save Sarah Chapman's Grave, A Leader of the 1888 Matchwomen's Strike & Trade Union Heroine

Hat tip local Facebook page. This is going to be a project for Forest Gate North Labour Party.

SARAH Dearman, née CHAPMAN – Matchwomen’s 1888 Strike Committee and TUC Delegate
Born: 31st October 1862 – Died: 27th November 1945 – Buried: 3rd December 1945
Sarah Chapman was a leading member of the 1888 Matchwomen’s Strike Committee (pictured above). Sarah (ringed) is standing to the right of Herbert Burrows and Annie Besant, the Socialist Reformers. Sarah went on to become one of the first working-class women to represent their Union at the TUC.
Sadly, despite the great contribution Sarah made to the beginnings of the modern trade union movement and to working women’s rights, Sarah’s final resting place is a ‘pauper’s grave’ in Manor Park Cemetery. The grave, nothing more than a grassy footpath with no marking, let alone a headstone, was rediscovered by her Great Granddaughter in early 2017.
With burial space running out in London, cemeteries are looking at ways to reclaim land and at Manor Park they do this by ‘mounding over’ so that they can re-use the space. The area adjacent to Sarah is now scheduled to be mounded over and there is every possibility that this will be extended to include Sarah's grave. The Cemetery has offered a plaque elsewhere in the cemetery grounds but Sarah’s descendants feel she deserves to be remembered at the exact location of her grave.
With your support we hope to place a permanent memorial to Sarah on the site of her grave. We already have parliamentary support via Lyn Brown MP and Author Louise Raw (see her Facebook page - Matchwomen Memorial @MatchwomenRemembered). 
This petition will be delivered to:
  • Lord Chancellor an Secretary of State for Justice
    The Rt Hon David Lidington MP

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Being taught to hate...shocking picture even after 25 years

Was this little boy nowadays one of the torch bearing Nazi thugs in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Do you want to be a MP? Unison wants to hear from you.

"The recent general election saw Labour take a huge stride towards Downing Street.
As no party won a majority, the next election could be just around the corner. That’s why the Labour Party plans to select candidates for 75 of the most marginal seats in England in the coming months. Welsh and Scottish seats will be selected separately.
As a union that’s affiliated to the Labour Party, UNISON wants to see our members following in the footsteps of Angela Rayner and Eleanor Smith by getting elected to Parliament and changing our communities for the better.
Are you
  • Active in your local Labour Party and our union?
  • Someone with a strong track record of local or national campaigning?
  • Keen to represent UNISON’s public service values in Parliament?
We’re seeking expressions of interest from potential Labour parliamentary candidates.
If you think you’ve got what it takes – or are eager to hear more – please send us a political CV outlining your experience, and which seat(s) you’d be interested in, to labourlink@unison.co.uk by noon on 31 August".
Hat tip @unisonpolitics

Saturday, August 12, 2017

11 weeks until the TUC National Inspection Day

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August 2017

TUC National Inspection Day - Wednesday 25 October

It's 11 weeks until the TUC National Inspection Day and UNISON is encouraging safety reps to specifically consider inspections focusing on whether the workplace is healthy for all ages.

With the working population ageing and apprenticeship schemes being introduced as an alternative to schooling, this couldn't be more important.  Today’s young worker is more than likely to be tomorrows older worker, but only if work is safe and healthy for all ages.

Safety reps can use inspections to consider not only the tangible hazards such as slips and trips, fire, and work stations. They should also focus on intangible hazards and solutions, including: shift work, job rotation, and flexible working.

Remember, workplaces with active safety reps are twice as safe. So carry out an inspection on national inspection day and:

- raise awareness of the issues;
- identify concerns to raise with the employer;
- raise the profile of safety reps;
- meet members, hear their concerns, and ask if they would like to get more involved or become a safety rep; and
- meet non-members, as issues they raise may also concern members or present opportunities for success or recruitment.

UNISON has various resources which will be of use including our:

- safety rep guide on
workplace safety inspections,
- other guides available from the online catalogue and/or the get help pages,
- National Inspection Day webpage, and

Friday, August 11, 2017

Vote James Beckles for Greater London Seat on National Labour Link (APF) Committee

(Ballot papers are now out for all UNISON members in Greater London who are part of the Labour Link).

This is the message that my branch which nominated James has sent out

"Dear Branch Members

Ballot papers for this very important election should be sent to your home addresses from Wednesday 9 August 2017.

All branch members who pay the UNISON Labour Link levy (also known as the APF) can vote for the Greater London seat. Please take part in the internal democracy of your union.

Your branch Labour Link nominated the following candidate for the Greater London candidate:- JAMES BECKLES.

Statement (and see attached photo)

We support James because he wants to ensure all our members including our black and women members become politically active, vote Labour and we win the next general election as well as supporting UNISON policies in the Party. 

He wants to work with members, UNISON colleagues and the Labour Party to ensure our members’ voices in the Greater London region and across our union are heard at every level of the party. 

James is a young, hardworking and dedicated socialist & trade unionist, and if elected by you the members, he will be accountable to you and serve your best interests".

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Housing association pensions survey 2017

UNISON is carrying out mapping work on what is happening with housing association staff pension arrangements and their relationship with the Local Government Pension Scheme. 

Please do all you can to encourage responses to this survey.


Gavin Edwards
UNISON National Officer
Community and Voluntary Service Group

Housing Associations
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UNISON Community Service Group

1st August 2017

Housing association pensions:


Dear Housing Association UNISON Activist,

s to get an up to date picture of pensions in the housing association sector.

To achieve this, it would be very helpful if you could complete this survey: 

This important information will inform our bargaining and campaigning work in the sector.

Best Wishes,

Gavin Edwards
UNISON National Officer for Community