My own personal blog. Newham Council Cabinet member for Housing Services & Chair of Investment & Accounts. Councillor for West Ham ward, UNISON Branch secretary, Regional Council Officer & NEC member, Pension & Charity Trustee, Centre left and proud member of Labour movement family.
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).
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.
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.
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 Whitworthfirstname.lastname@example.org because of concern over space.
Forest Gate North Branch are also having a BBQ on Sunday 3rd Septemberon 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.
West Ham Labour Party Vice Chair Campaigns and Communications
(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
embargoed for Monday 21st August 2017, 00:01
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
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
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 
The results under PR:
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 
newly-appointed Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society,
“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’
“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
“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.”
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).
WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, CALL ON MANOR PARK CEMETERY TO SAVE SARAH CHAPMAN'S GRAVE FOR POSTERITY:
This petition will be delivered to:
Lord Chancellor an Secretary of State for Justice The Rt Hon David Lidington MP
"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.
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 email@example.com by noon on 31 August".
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
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
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.
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:
(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".