Don’t lose your right to vote!

Text saying 'don't lose your vote - make sure you're on the electoral register' and a picture of a piece of paper with a big X on itHuntingdonshire’s electors are being asked to complete their annual Electoral Registration Household Enquiry Form.

Forms have been delivered to all properties across the county over the past few days – and the local Registration Office is encouraging everyone to make sure that the details on their form are correct.

They say that, even if there are no changes to the household, this needs to be confirmed.

To make sure you are able to have your say at any elections held next year, simply check the form when it arrives and respond as soon as you can.

What is it?

Each year Huntingdonshire District Council’s election department carries out an annual canvass of all residents in the district to make sure the revised electoral register, which is published on 1 December 2017, is as accurate as possible.

A Household Enquiry form is sent to all properties in the district.

It is NOT a registration form – it lists all current registered electors and asks residents to confirm or change the information for the property on the electoral register.

Residents are legally required to respond to the form, even if everyone in the household is already registered to vote and no changes need to be made.

Elections have been very much in the news over recent months and the General Election in June demonstrated how important it is to have an up to date Register of Electors available at all times.

Across Great Britain, 96% of people who have been at their property for more than 16 years will be registered, compared to 27% of people who have lived at an address for less than one year.

If you’ve moved house recently then make sure you apply to register to vote at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

What Do You Do?

You should respond as soon as possible, in one of the following ways:
• fill in the online form www.householdresponse.com/huntingdonshire or
• call 0800 197 9871 or
• text NO CHANGE followed by your security codes to 80212 or
• complete and sign the form and return it using the pre-paid envelope.

Your security code is printed on the form. You will need this when complete the form online or by phone.

New electors aged 16 or over

If any new electors aged 16 or over are added to the Household Enquiry form they will receive a separate Invitation to Register form by email or post. This form looks similar to the Household Enquiry form but is pink.

When registering you can also apply to vote by post or by proxy.

More information is at YourVoteMatters.co.uk.

Hustings last night and tonight, St Neots then St Ives

We had a fantstic hustings last night with Nik giving brilliant and passionate contributions on the NHS, St Neots needs, schools, housing and the economy. Absurd Trump style climate change denial from UKIP plus migrant nonsense. Mealymouthed Labour lite from green and libdem. Then Nik’s amazing Corbyn support story raised the roof.

We are very pleased that at last Huntingdonshire has managed to organise a hustings for the General Election. In previous years there has been a chance to debate on BBC Radio, Local TV, Huntingdon Community Radio, as well as in person at places like Huntingdonshire regional College. This time none of these has managed any debate at all, and so it has been left to the churches and the trade unions to step in. Sadly the NUT and Churches Together in Huntingdon and Godmanchester initiatives fell through, but St Neots had a hustings with four of the five candidates last night at 7pm and St Ives has a hustings with all five of them tonight at 7.30pm. Come with badges, posters and rosettes to support Dr Nik.

Venue: Tonight Friday St Ives Methodist Church 7.30pm.

 

How to vote for the first time or by post

Dr Nik

Nik’s leaflet

Poll cards will be sent to eligible electors in early May. The deadline to be registered as an elector to enable you to vote in the forthcoming UK Parliamentary election is Monday 22 May 2017.

Postal votes

If you would like to apply for a postal vote, you can:

Completed forms must be returned to Huntingdon District Council before 5pm on Tuesday 23 May 2017.

Address:

Electoral Services, Pathfinder House, St Mary’s Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3TN

Proxy votes

If you cannot attend the polling station, you can apply for a proxy vote – this means nominating another person to go to the polling station and vote on your behalf. To apply for a proxy vote you can:

Nik Johnson confirmed as Labour candidate for Huntingdonshire MP



 Dr Nik Johnson has been selected as Labour’s candidate for the Huntingdon constituency to stand in this June’s general election

He is an NHS children’s doctor at Hinchingbrooke Hospital and the Oaktree Centre in Huntingdon

Dr Nik stood as a Labour candidate for the Huntingdon seat at the 2015 general election, finishing second and taking a big chunk out of the Conservative majority.

But he is confident he can do even better this time.
 
Dr Nik who lives in the area with his family, has worked tirelessly for the “Hands off Hinchingbrooke” campaign and is chair of Huntingdon CLP.
 
Speaking after his selection, Dr Nik said: “I’ve lived and worked in the Huntingdon area for the past dozen years and I am proud to be Labour’s candidate for June’s general election.

“I am privileged to have a job which places me right at the heart of the local community, allowing me to meet, help and support people from all walks of life.

“This Conservative government has overseen the biggest cuts to our public services in a generation. 

“The NHS and social care is in crisis, our schools are struggling under the weight of the budget cuts and cuts to police budgets are putting our safety at risk.
 
“This general election is a simple choice between a Labour Party that stands up for all the people of Huntingdon  – or a Conservative Party that only looks after the privileged few.”

Patrick Kadewere, district councillor for Huntingdon North, said:  “I welcome the selection of Dr Nik Johnson. I have worked with him for five years on local causes dear to both of us and I know he will do an excellent job representing us in the House of Commons.”

May 4th, then June 8th

We are meeting at the Medway Centre on Monday 24th April at 7.30pm – the usual place and time for our monthly meetings – but this is a highly unusual event. It is a double campaign planning meeting.

There are two election dates to plan for.

We have the chance to elect Labour candidates for the County Council and the new Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor on May 4th. Many postal voters have already made their choice.

Then we have a general election on June 8th. We will know the name of our candidate by May 2nd. That gives us no breathing space at all as we go from a local to a national perspective.

So if you can, come to the meeting and put in your ideas, or if you can help in any way at all, please email us and join us in the fight for Labour.

Our county council candidates for May 4th – please support us

Huntingdonshire Labour County Council Candidates 2017

Huntingdon North and Hartford

Nik Johnson

Originally from Northumberland, at 18 years old, I left home to train to be a doctor  in London.  Huntingdonshire has been my family home for almost 10 years, and as well as my place of work, it is also  the focus of my day to day life. I believe passionately in the idea of public service. As a local children’s doctor at Hinchingbrooke hospital, I am privileged to have a job which places me right at the heart of the local community, allowing me to meet, help and support people from all walks of life.

I am motivated to stand as a Labour party candidate to combat the cuts to council services and fight for a fair deal for the people of Huntingdon North and Hartford.

St Neots The Eatons

Rob Gardiner

I served as a nurse in our NHS for 40 years, also then working  as a shop steward for Unison. In both roles I acted as an advocate for individuals and families experiencing crises in their lives.

Since retiring I have worked as a volunteer in various settings. In Food Bank; as patient representative in local surgery; as member of group helping with transport to hospital appointments.

Why Labour? To oppose privatisation of the NHS. To say No to academisation. To defend access to social housing and affordable homes. To support people confronting cuts in social care and benefits.

Huntingdon West

Patrick Kadewere

Before I was elected, community complaints in Huntingdon were not taken seriously. The issues included dangerous footpaths, bad lighting, potholes, badly-maintained bridges, anti-social behaviour including speeding, and drugs. I believe I have succeeded in getting things done about all these problems on behalf of the community. I listen, involve you in making decisions and report back. I will always fight for a fair deal from the County Council for people living in Huntingdon West. I will campaign against cuts that make any reductions in the police coverage. The strong community ties that I have helped to foster in the area with “Unity in the Community” should be continued and strengthened to include all residents of the North Ward.

St Neots East and Gransden

 

Steve Hinchley

I am standing for election to make a difference for St Neots East & Gransden over the next four years.  My family and I have lived on Loves Farm, St Neots for the past six years – enjoying the wonderful sense of community that has been fostered.  We have one child at the Round House Primary Academy and another to follow (if there is a place available). With this in mind, I am particularly concerned about the future of schools funding in Cambridgeshire.  Indeed, the challenge of securing improvement in public services, whilst the Government focuses on Brexit, is something I am passionate about.

St Neots Eynesbury

Sam Wakeford

A long-time Labour activist born and bred in Cambridgeshire, with a background in education policy, and now a trade union official working with the NHS across the East of England. I am privileged to work alongside health professionals who give their all to serving our community, and I believe passionately in protecting their ability to do so and defending our public services. I am convinced that Eynesbury can gain from having a dedicated Labour voice speaking up for Labour values on the County Council, which has so much power over our local education, transport, public health and social care.

St Ives South and Needingworth


 

John Watson

I have lived in the Huntingdonshire and St. Ives area since moving from London in 1980. In Cambridge I worked for a well known academic publisher and printer until retiring  in 2009. St. Ives is a delightful town and, I would, if elected hope to both maintain and improve council Services and facilities. This government is shackled to austerity policies and the damage caused to front line is on-going. We need further investment in the area to improve life for all.

St Ives North and Wyton

Sam Feeney

I grew up in St Ives in the early 1980s and moved back 7 years ago. Much has changed in that time, though thankfully we have not lost our town’s charm and our wonderful nature walks along the river and around the fields and hedgerows. Some of that change has been welcome – the town is increasingly diverse and is. Some of that change has been challenging for many – roads! Some has even been disastrous for a significant minority of us – high rents, little social housing. 1 in 10 children in relatively affluent St Ives now live in poverty. In some postcodes it is nearly 17%. We now have a food bank, staffed by dedicated volunteers. But much of that poverty and struggle is hidden behind closed doors; invisible and clouded in stigma and shame,

We are a generous town but we also need a change from it being taken for granted that St Ives is a Tory town. We need to elect a team of Labour county councillors prepared to stand up, value and defend all the services that most of us need at some point in our lives. I have worked across the public and voluntary sectors for over 25 years, and currently work as a young people’s counsellor and mental health worker with Centre 33 in Huntingdonshire. I feel passionately about creating the best opportunities for people, young and old, to live with dignity and respect; without the fear of slipping through the net. I invite you to join us in creating that change which really will make all the difference in such challenging times.

Huntingdon South and Godmanchester

Samuel Sweek

I am standing as councillor for Huntingdon South and Godmanchester because I want to address the issues that matter most to the people of the town. Brought up in Huntingdon myself and now bringing up a young family in Godmanchester, I believe I know what people want and need from the County Council. And as a Parliamentary adviser to a popular charity I have been able to work with well-known politicians to bring defibrillators to schools around the country. I can achieve similar success on a range of local issues.

I believe that unity and team work are two of the greatest attributes we can possess as a community and as councillor I will work toward building the strongest and most equitable society, particularly in these times and with our expanding population. I want to be a fresh face on the council and I believe I can be part of a change to make this a stronger community.

St Neots Priory Park

Christine Green

I am a newly-co-opted town councillor, standing for County for the first time. I care passionately about Labour’s core values – fairness, equality and compassion – and would seek to be guided by these.  I share your concerns about the expansion of St Neots and its effects on services especially our doctors’ surgeries, the social care system, and our traffic problems. It is important that you can communicate with me easily and I promise to listen, and sincerely represent you. I am not interested in power struggles and grandstanding’, but believe in collaborative working whenever possible, and in being open to the merits of views that differ to my own.

The Hemingfords and Fenstanton

Rob Leach

Ten years resident of Hilton I stood for the district council in Fenstanton in 2015  and secured second place for Labour for the first time in many years. I believe in supporting all the residents of the Hemingfords and Fenstanton in securing affordable homes, decent services, transport and health care and resisting the increasingly negative effects of austerity policies on everyday life. Having brought up three children in Cambridgeshire and engaged with education, health and social services I am keen to improve these as well as street lighting, roads and public spaces while increasing police presence and other contributors to community security.

Brampton and Buckden

Sue Foster

I have lived in Brampton since 2000 and feel like I have never lived anywhere else.

Having grown up in the 60’s and 70’s in the outskirts of London where opportunities and aspirations were lacking, politics have always been important to me.

A teacher once told me that politics is at the centre of our lives, it plays a critical role in everything: health, education, security, environment, employment, well being.  Since then, I began to take an interest in how political decisions not only impacted my life, but more importantly, society as a whole.

As a Labour Party candidate, I believe in a compassionate, fair and more equal society for all, protecting and investing in our local services and listening to the residents of Buckden and Brampton.

 

Nik’s County Council Campaign launched

Nik has launched his campaign to be County Councillor for Huntingdon North and Hartford with this leaflet and this letter to postal voters. Come and join us as we leaflet Hartford over the next few days – only four weeks to go to polling day.

19/03/2017

Dear Resident,

County Council Elections 4th May 2017

As a postal voter, I know you take your right to vote very seriously. So I hope you’ll allow me to explain why I’m standing for election as a County Councillor for your new electoral district of Huntingdon North and Hartford — and why I believe you should cast your vote for me.

Two years ago, during the last General Election, I stood as the Labour Party candidate for Huntingdon, and finished in a respectable second place. But as I campaigned in that national election, I also learned a great deal about what local issues matter to residents in Huntingdon North and Hartford, and what changes could make a genuine difference to people’s lives. As a Labour and Cooperative County Councillor, I can help you to achieve those changes.

I have a  strong personal attachment to Huntingdon North and Hartford, and to the public services you rely on—my ‘day job’ is as an NHS children’s’ doctor, with my time divided between the Oaktree Centre and Hinchingbrooke Hospital. And when not at work, I’m often at the Medway Centre, where, amongst other things, you’ll find me chairing local Labour Party meetings, and you might see me out and about with Labour district councillors Patrick Kadewere and Leedo George, as we campaign hard to improve the lives of local people.

During last year’s campaigning, it was in Huntingdon North and Hartford where the Labour team received our warmest welcomes and our most enthusiastic support. The Labour vote has increased here in both 2015 and 2016, and I hope the recent changes in the Labour Party will see that vote grow stronger still. Across the country, Labour has been re-energised by a welcome new drive for principled, straight-talking, honest, democratic, socialist politics. Massive numbers of people who had previously not considered the Labour party — many of whom had rarely even considered voting— have joined the party. I’m proud to have been part of this change, which, in turn, has led to resurgence in the fortunes of our local Huntingdon Labour Party.

But the only way to make sure all this energy and enthusiasm delivers real change is by casting your vote for Labour, starting with a vote for me at the Council elections on 4thMay 2017.Why do I want to be your Huntingdon North and Hartford County Councillor?

If the last year has taught us something, it is that absolutely anything can happen when it comes to elections, referendums and the potential for unexpected results.

I want to be part of a local populist movement for meaningful political change, starting right here in Huntingdon. I am campaigning for honest politics, where those who seek to represent others are seen to be acting in the best interests of all they represent, not just a select few.

I am asking for your help to elect me as the Councillor who can begin to challenge the complacency at the heart of the County Council. I will not compromise on my belief in justice and fairness for all, but believe that I can achieve a better deal for the people of Huntingdon North and Hartford. I want people to be sure that when they vote for me they know what they are getting: a dedicated healthcare professional who sees, on a daily basis, the mounting evidence of an increasingly divided society, in which care, compassion and cooperation are increasingly being lost in the way we provide public services. I want to make a real difference—not to keep putting sticking plasters over the problems.

It is my pledge that, with your support, I will not waiver in my commitment to social justice for everyone in the constituency.  I will always strive to deliver the highest quality services, whether it is in education, transport, local business development, housing or social care, without prejudice and with dedication to all.

I hope you’ll forgive the relatively impersonal nature of this letter — it’s not my usual style! So please do get in touch if you want to know more. I will aim to reply as soon as possible, and to answer any of your questions. Thank You

 

Nik Johnson

 

 

More Huntingdon jobs go to the wall in the local community!

News that Waitrose is shortly to close in Huntingdon bringing the loss of 104 more full-time jobs in a area and community already suffering from the Tory cuts and their austerity measures. As well as these people being thrown out of work, the knock on effect on the wider community is another blow in an area neglected by their local MP and government distant in Westminster.

Labour is campaigning to elect a Labour Mayor for the area to ensure that the promised investment brings real benefits to the our local people.

Labour’s Mayoral candidate announced!

NEWS FROM LABOUR: Kevin Price selected as Labour’s candidate for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor.

Kevin Price has been selected as the Labour Party candidate to contest the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayoral election on 4 May 2017.

Kevin Price, who is a Cambridge City councillor and Deputy Leader of the Council, was selected after Labour Party members across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough backed him in a ballot.

As Deputy Leader, Kevin Price played a key role in negotiating the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Devolution Deal. He led on securing a landmark housing grant in the Deal for £100 million for housing associations across the whole deal area and £70 million for new council homes in Cambridge- the only devolution deal to include funding for new council homes.  

Cllr Kevin Price commented:

“I am very grateful to Labour members across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who have put their trust in me to fight the Mayoral election in May. 

 

“Decisions taken in Westminster have failed our region and I look forward to making the case that, under Labour, we can do a far better job of running it ourselves.

 

“It doesn’t have to be a choice between growth and prosperity for some whilst others are left behind, and under a Labour Mayor it won’t be. Tackling poverty and inequality goes hand in hand with sharing Cambridge’s growth across the whole area, tackling the housing affordability crisis and delivering far better road, rail and bus services for all.”

Biographical details for Kevin Price: 

1.   Kevin is the Deputy Leader of Cambridge City Council and their Executive Councillor for Housing. He is on his second current term of office as a Labour city councillor in King’s Hedges ward in the north of the City. 

2.   As Deputy Leader with a key role in negotiating the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Devolution Deal, he led on securing a landmark housing grant in the Deal for £100,000,000 for housing associations across the whole deal area and £70,000,000 for new council homes in Cambridge – the only devolution deal to include funding for new council homes.

3.   Outside of politics, Kevin has worked as a porter at Clare College, Cambridge since 2006. He started work in the print trade and has been a member of Unite the Union since 1974. In his spare time he is a keen photographer and likes to walk.  He has three children, two grandchildren and lives with his partner in Cambridge.

 

For more information contact Claire King on 07833 616575 or clarefblair@gmail.com

Join the Women’s Equality Party’s march in London on 21st January

The first update for 2017 is from the Women’s Equality Party, who are encouraging everyone to join them at the rally in London on 21st January, joining tens of thousands of other women all across the world, all marching in unity to show their opposition to Trump.

We start the year as we mean to go as a key partner to the Women’s March on London, taking place on Saturday 21 January. Join us at the march to unite and stand together for the dignity and equality of all peoples, for the safety and health of our planet and for the strength of our vibrant and diverse communities.

Join the Women’s March on London >>

Happy New Year to you all!

And here’s to an exciting, challenging and hopefully ultimately rewarding 2o17.

We have a packed meeting planned for this next one, the first of the new year, to be held on 16th January and look forward to seeing as many of you as possible there:

Huntingdon Labour Party draft Agenda – Monday 16th January 2017

  1. Apologies –
  2. Minutes Agreed from Last Meeting – 19th December 2016
  3. Speakers –  Fiona Onasanya and Kevin Price – Mayoral Role
  4. Speaker – Heather Cook from Waspi
  5. Jo Fisher – Womens Conference
  6. Discussion groups – issues specific to St Ives, St Neots and Huntingdon – updates
  7. New Map of Wards – CCC Election
  8. Raffle/Comfort break
  9. Councillor Reports – Patrick/Leedo
  10. Hands off Hinchingbrooke – update Rob Gardiner
  11. Any Other Business –
  12. Next Meeting – Monday  20th February 2017 at 7.30pm

 

UPDATE: Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Mayoral Hustings

Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Mayoral Hustings

The process to select the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Mayoral Labour candidate is underway, with the process due to be finished by 3 February 2017.  As you know, Nik Johnson was recently nominated as our CLP candidate and we’d encourage as many of you as possible to come along, to show support and a friendly face for him at this event.

Labour East will be hosting these candidate hustings on Tuesday 10 January from 19:00 – 20:30 at The Meadows Community Centre, Cambridge (click this link for directions). 

This will give us along with fellow Cambridgeshire & Peterborough members the chance to hear from Nik (as well as the other shortlisted candidates) and to ask any questions you may have. Spaces are limited, so let’s get our supporters along!

RSVP online by clicking here and filling out your details. 

URGENT: nomination meeting for Labour mayoral candidate for Cambs & Peterborough 8th Dec.

Eligible members have last night been invited to meet at The Hunts Forum which is in The Maple Centre, 6 Oak Dr, Huntingdon PE29 7HN at 8pm for the shortlisting meeting to decide upon our Labour candidate for election next year for the post of mayor for Cambridge & Peterborough.

We are aware of three candidates currently:

Nik JOHNSON
Ed MURPHY
Samuel SWEEK

We have candidate statements from two of these people and will circulate the third one as soon as it’s received. NOTE: Candidates are not allowed to attend the nomination meeting.

The attached documents should be self-explanatory but please feel free to email back with any questions you may have about the meeting or the process.

Fraternally

Huntingdon & area CLP group

Agenda Mayor https://gallery.mailchimp.com/e1b3cc802e7ed5ee8d5299c16/files/Agenda_Mayor.docx

CLP secretary to eligible members: https://gallery.mailchimp.com/e1b3cc802e7ed5ee8d5299c16/files/CLP_secretary_to_eligible_members_re_MAYOR.docx

Candidate statement: SWEEK https://gallery.mailchimp.com/e1b3cc802e7ed5ee8d5299c16/files/Mayoral_candidate_statement_SWEEK.docx

Candidate statement: JOHNSON https://gallery.mailchimp.com/e1b3cc802e7ed5ee8d5299c16/files/LABOUR_250_word_Mayor_application_.docx

Come & help us leaflet on Saturday for the NHS Day of Action

Can we get you out into your towns to help in this national campaign running across the entire country?

Under the Tories our NHS is underfunded and understaffed. Millions languish on waiting lists or are forced to wait hours in A&E. One in four patients have to wait a week or more to see or speak to a GP or nurse or don’t get an appointment at all. This simply isn’t good enough.

The NHS is our party’s proudest creation. We created it to care for us all – but now it’s time for us to care for the NHS.

This Saturday, thousands of Labour supporters will be joining one of hundreds of events across Britain.

St Ives members – meeting outside the pound shop, leafleting from 12 to 2pm.

St Neots people – meet outside the United Reform Church from 12 – 2pm.

Huntingdon people – meet at the water feature opposite East entrance of Boots from 12 – 2pm.

Anna Hayward will have the St Neots leaflets, Annie and Phil Sly the St Ives ones, and Rob Leach will turn up at Huntingdon on Saturday with the final 667.

Here’s Jeremy’s video message on the importance of this campaign — hope to see you all there!

Hunts DC vote not to support the Hinchingbrooke hospital takeover!

We are delighted to report that your local councillors voted against this proposal and wrote the attached letter to the Chairman of Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust, Alan Burns.

Letter to Mr Burns HDC-response-to-the-merger-proposal

And here are details of the discussion that preceded this:

46.            HINCHINGBROOKE AND PETERBOROUGH HOSPITALS MERGER  

 

 

Members were informed that following the consideration of Full Business Case for the merger of the Trusts running Hinchingbrooke and Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals by the Cabinet at its meeting on 20th October 2016, the Panel had been asked to convene a Task and Finish Group to undertake a critical analysis of the Full Business Case, in order to formulate a proposal to the Cabinet as to whether the Council should support the Merger and its suggested response.

The Chairman proposed, and the Panel agreed, that a Task and Finish Group would not be convened and that Members would draw conclusions and send a draft letter to the Chairman of the Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust. The Chairman added that the Panel had three options: support the merger (either fully or reluctantly), do not support the merger or do not support the merger but register no objections.

The Chairman opened the debate by stating that following the special meeting on 12th October 2016, he could not support the merger but he could not object to it either as there is no other plan on the table.

One Member suggested that the Council should reject the merger as the Trusts do not have an alternative in the scenario that the merger fails. In addition, the Chief Executive of Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust, Lance McCarthy, did not commit to the preservation of services at the Hinchingbrooke site.

A Member stated that they believe the Panel should not be dealing with the issue as a Council response should come from the Cabinet and signed by the Executive Leader of the Council. The Executive Councillor for Environment, Street Scene and Operations responded that the Cabinet believes that the Panel should take ownership of the issue as they had heard from Lance McCarthy twice and had received the evidence to make a judgement.

 The point was raised that Members were informed that the merger is to overcome financial difficulties as well as making the Trust a more attractive proposition for consultants when recruiting. It was suggested that senior staff could be appointed through a staff sharing arrangement and the contract written in a way that would guarantee the consultant hours at Hinchingbrooke. In regards to the finances the income from health campus would go to the merged Trust and Hinchingbrooke would not fully benefit from the income.

 The Panel noted that the merged Trust’s Council of Governors would have a ‘greater influence’ from the north of the area. The Panel were uncomfortable with the idea that the interests of Hinchingbrooke could be overlooked as there is a potential for the north to ‘outvote’ Huntingdonshire. Members fear that this would affect all residents but particularly those who depend on Hinchingbrooke.

A Member suggested that the Panel should not make decisions on the clinical sustainability of Hinchingbrooke but focus on the governance arrangements. The Member added that the Council shouldn’t support the acquisition without the governance of Hinchingbrooke being protected. The Panel,

RESOLVED

1)      that the acquisition cannot be supported by Huntingdonshire District Council due to the absence of sufficient balance in the governance arrangements in protecting the interests of the residents of Huntingdonshire, and

2)      that a letter is written to the Chairman of Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust, Alan Burns, explaining why the Council cannot support the acquisition and explain other concerns expressed by the Panel.

 

 

Fri 11 Nov, 12 noon, Central Library, Join Daniel Zeichner MP to stop the Tory library book cuts

The Conservative County Council want to cut £325,000 from the budget for library books. We think that’s outrageous.

A protest outside Cambridge’s central library is planned for this Friday.

Please meet this Friday 11 November at 12 noon outside the Central Library, Grand Arcade.

Please come along for a campaign photo and bring your favourite book which we’re going to #wavetosave.

We will be joined by Daniel Zeichner MP and local councillors. Join the facebook event here 

Already hundreds of local people have signed a petition. If you haven’t signed yet, please do so at: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-our-library-books

Thank you,

Cambridge Labour Party

http://www.cambridgelabour.org.uk/

How can we help the homeless in Huntingdon?

We’re meeting at 7.30pm tomorrow, Tuesday at The Falcon in Huntingdon. Please come along and see how we as a CLP can help these vulnerable people.

  1. Greetings & a quick round up since CLP meeting
  2. Introduce Karen Dunn founder of the Facebook Group “Helping Huntingdon Homeless and surrounding areas” who has kindly agreed to tell us what her group are doing already & see how we can assist.
  3. Suggested aims:  a. find out what is currently being done for the homeless so don’t duplicate effort? b. how can we help to expand this effort locally? c. how do we encourage the rest of the community to come together and help & stop any discrimination against or stigmatising of the homeless?
  4.  Resources: local council, Salvation Army, Coneygate Court, Godmanchester food bank. Any other you’re aware of?
  5. Away from London/Cambridge, so orgs. such as Crisis, Shelter etc aren’t represented — are there smaller, more local groups we don’t know about that we can reach out to and maybe offer help?
  6. Facebook “Huntingdon Living” page shows photos of tents for homeless on Castle Mound.
  7. What are the rangers doing (paid for by local business out of Huntingdon First Group who target “anti-social behaviour” http://www.huntingdonfirst.co.uk/bid-huntingdon/what-do-we-do/clean-safe-welcoming.html) as we heard reports that they hassle & move vulnerable along, try to get them out of High St. Do they then further involve police leading to fines, courts etc? How can this be stopped (if true)?
  8. Can we document empty houses & properties & ask the council why these are not being used?
  9. Online resources:

Helping Huntingdon Homeless, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/995031410561458/

Huntingdon Living, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/911425608909954

Coneygate Court: http://www.homeless.org.uk/homeless-england/service/coneygear-court

Salvation Army: http://www.homeless.org.uk/homeless-england/service/salvation-army-kings-ripton-court

Local council: http://www.homeless.org.uk/homeless-england/service/huntingdonshire-district-council-housing-advice-and-options

Streets Kitchen: http://streetskitchen.co.uk/england/

Crisis: http://www.crisis.org.uk

Letter to Hunts Post: Save Hinchingbrooke campaign

Rob Gardiner, one of our CLP members as well as a leading campaigner and activist in the Hands Off Hinchingbrooke campaign wrote recently to the Hunts Post and they have published his letter.

We’ve included it here in full as it makes a number of very pertinent and trenchant points that are important for everyone who depends on the healthcare facilities offered at Hinchingbrooke which are being put under threat by the proposed takeover from the Peterborough operation.

20.10.16

Dear Sir

I am writing to you as a member of the Hands Off Hinchingbrooke Group to provide a response to current developments in the proposed acquisition of Hinchingbrooke Hospital. I remain unconvinced of the merits of this acquisition of our local hospital and I will now try to clarify the issues that underlie my very real sense of disquiet.

Several of my themes revolve around matters concerned with the use of language, with democratic principles, and with the need for transparency. I do find myself unsettled by the conduct of “our” Hospital Board. It is only recently that they have openly admitted that the issue at hand is not really a merger but is an acquisition. By changing that one word we achieve a new set of understandings, namely that we are not considering an alliance of equals, but of a weaker entity being amalgamated within a larger one. As a consequence of that reframing we may then experience a certain nervousness about how the power dynamics could be expressed in this new relationship. Let us now add the fact that “our” Hospital Board contains only one member who actually resides in the catchment area, with the remainder owning no fundamental connection to Huntingdonshire. We continue with constructing our jigsaw, and observe the clear failure to engage meaningfully with the local population and its democratic representatives. Indeed, the Board has been criticised by the District Council on 2 separate occasions on this very issue. In the absence of the need to conduct a formal consultation what we have witnessed is an organisation performing a tokenistic and half-hearted effort to inform and consult. This perception is further reinforced by the treatment accorded to the Council’s letter, arising from the Board’s presentation to it, with the Board not awarding councillors the courtesy of a written response for a full 3 months. All of these cumulative acts of omission and commission relating to due process build a mutually reinforcing picture of a Board that invites little confidence.

We now move to a consideration of the content of the Full Business Case. One of the mantras frequently voiced by the Board is “we have no Plan B”, as if this was a strength. In the context of there existing abundant evidence, derived from multiple studies and reports, that acquisitions/mergers often do fail and are freighted with risk and uncertainty, the above assertion could be viewed as supremely reckless and even unprofessional. Recent NHS history is littered with the remains of failed, or at least profoundly troubled, mergers/acquisitions. Others have already concluded that at an early stage in this affair the Board determined to pursue Plan A, and consequently proceeded to fit the facts to suit their purpose. Remembering the risks afore mentioned another phenomenon to take note of is the indecent haste with which we are advancing towards a final predetermined decision. This amplifies the difficulty in properly engaging with the public and allowing the time and space to do so. There is some evidence that the catalysts for triggering this acquisition and influencing the speed with which it is being driven are to be found in NHS England and in their determination to solve the problem of Peterborough’s PFI Debt. There are identified risks when national bodies are actively promoting mergers, for there tends to be less robust corporate governance and no one to fulfil the role of a sceptical auditor. There arrives the sensation of once again being made the subject of an experiment in health care policy. We are aware of the debts inherited from local PFI schemes, we then saw Circle inflicted upon us and caught sight of them scuttling off after 2 years, and finally we have the debacle of the Uniting Health Care Contract and its collapse after only 8 months. These doomed ventures were all confidently promoted to us as solutions. The last example was recommended to us by the Clinical Commissioning Group(CCG), who as a result of their incompetence received an inadequate rating, as well as being responsible for adding millions of pounds of debt to our local health economy. This same CCG offers us ambiguous words about the acquisition and the clinical services at Hinchingbrooke. “We have no plans to make future changes in the clinical services at Hinchingbrooke” “we expect services to remain at Hinchingbrooke”. But they are unwilling or unable to provide any guarantee that services will finally continue there. May I draw your attention to the Sustainability and Transformation Plan(STP) whose final conclusions we await with some fear and trepidation. There is no detail or explanation as yet as to how the CCG as commissioners will solve the black hole of 250 million in their finances. In studying other STPs, decisions have been already taken this year to close or downgrade services, with some acute hospitals being closed. We have to remember we are constantly being told that locally we are one of the most financially challenged health economies in the country. We should note that the STP will not be published in full until the final decision on the acquisition has taken place.

Returning to the Board it needs to be acknowledged that they are no longer arguing for the acquisition on financial grounds. It is therefore relevant to note that the Board has recently admitted that the proceeds from the new Health Campus will not automatically be reinvested in health care services in Huntingdonshire but that the profits will end up with the new organisation. There then arises the recurrent issue of the democratic deficit, and the question of the composition of the new board.  The latter is heavily biased in favour of Peterborough and Stamford, with there being the likelihood that our representatives will be outvoted on strategic issues. 

To conclude, the words trust and confidence again come to mind.  I am genuinely fearful for the future and for the consequences for the local population if/when this acquisition takes place. There is the distinct impression of being managed and manipulated towards accepting an uncertain outcome. Further we have the ticking time bomb in the crisis in the NHS and in Social Care, with their sustainability being queried daily, and with funding being severely cut. With this larger perspective the acquisition presents as a sticking plaster being applied to a gaping wound. Local managers are aware of this imminent tsunami and are either telling us half-truths and/or plotting radical changes in health provision which they refuse to inform us of. And one of the other options that needed to be considered, and advocated by the Kings Fund (2015). “Place based systems of care with an emphasis on collaboration across organisational and service boundaries to meet the needs of a defined population.

Yours

Rob Gardiner

Buckden

Ada Salter; First Labour Councillor and 1st Female London Councillor

A timely reminder from one of our members, J Fisher:

I have just received this from the Quaker Socialist Group which I mentioned last Monday.  Ada Salter is a fascinating women and  did great things in Bermondsey in the early part of the 20th century.  Each year at the Quakers Yearly Meeting there is the Salter Lecture.  I thought the Book Review part of the email, of Ada, may be of interest to the Huntingdon Labour Party and could also perhaps be included in the Women’s Section as a start*!

I think she is an amazing person (her husband was a doctor and Labour Party MP) and they lived among the patients that he served.  Of course there is another great book on Eleanor Marx which I also mentioned and is truly inspiring.  The book is called  “Eleanor Marx; A Life”,  written by Rachel Homes and is obtainable in the Cambs Library.  She was the first woman to lead the British dock workers’ and gas workers’ trades unions.  Hers was the first English translation of Flaubert’s Mme Bovary.  She pioneered the theatre of Henrik Ibsen.  etc., etc.,!

Another great woman.

 

* we’ll be adding this into that section as well

Ada Salter Day, July 2016

Report by Alison Langford for the QSS Committee

Several QSS members took part in the 150th birthday celebration of Ada Salter.  The central event was on Saturday 16th July, when we gathered by the statues of Ada, her husband Alfred and daughter Joyce on the Thames embankment at Rotherhithe, very near to where the family had lived. The statues of Ada (and also of Alfred) overlook the City of London on the other side of the river, now of course one of the significant points of global capitalism.

Apart from QSS members there were people from Bermondsey Labour Party, others from Ada’s home town of Raunds in Northamptonshire plus some who had heard about the event and were interested in taking part, to honour Ada’s legacy, including Sheila Hancock, who added a bit of celebrity to the occasion.  All in all, it was quite a sizeable group.

There were a few speeches, including a very stirring one from Peter Tatchell.  Juliet Prager spoke on behalf of Quakers in Britain and there were also speeches from the Labour Mayor and Leader of Southwark Council, plus the Conservative Mayor of Raunds and someone from Raunds Historical Society. 

To reflect all aspects of Ada’s life there was a speech from a woman from the GMB union, one from the peace movement – an interesting mix.

The speeches were followed by presentations of flowers, most of which were laid by Ada’s statue by the people who had given speeches.  Ada is of course associated with advocating for green spaces and the planting of trees and flowers in cities.  When she was elected as a councillor, she ensured that these were provided in Bermondsey.  However, it was at this point that QSS came to the fore, because the first presentation of flowers was made by David Forbes from QSS.  David placed a bunch of red dahlias in “Ada’s” hand.  The statue has been made so that one of her hands can hold a bunch of flowers.  Red dahlias were particularly symbolic because dahlias were Ada’s favourite flowers.  She found they were able to withstand city pollution better than many other flowers and their vibrant colours were effective in council park flower beds.  The red colour of course symbolised her political affiliation.

Most of the group then moved to the Sands Film Studio to watch a performance of Red Flag Over Bermondsey, the play created by Journeymen Theatre about the life of Ada Salter.

Book Review

Ada Salter, pioneer of Ethical Socialism

Graham Taylor – published by Lawrence & Wishart

ISBN 978-1910448014

Reviewed for QSS by David Forbes

Behind an incredibly detailed and sometimes dense historiography of the life of Ada Salter lies Graham Taylor’s conviction that his subject’s moral and political stance is right for our times. This stance, brought to fruition in the “Bermondsey Revolution” of 1922-1937, bears the description “ethical socialism”. The recent tragic murder of Jo Cox, which to many resembles nothing less than a martyrdom, serves to exemplify and vindicate Graham Taylor’s thesis. Here is an individual who, through her personal and ethical stance, has led many to conclude that an attachment to international peace and justice can coexist with a deep commitment to improving the lot of local constituents; that politics is not just an ongoing battle between right and left, but equally an issue of right and wrong. This is the position which was incarnated in the leadership of Ada Slater and her husband, Alfred in the first third of the last century.

A hundred years later Graham Taylor summarises the critique of today’s political scene: “Contemporary political parties are much more sophisticated, but none has an ethical framework. Their leaders are far more professional, but all are mistrusted [….]politicians point to the opinion polls, charities ape big business, and no one knows where technology is taking the planet”. In stark contrast, it was with no concern for ‘the middle ground’ of opinion that Ada Salter always came top of the poll and scored the highest votes ever recorded in London. She was “green” before “greens” existed and (we may add) she “thought global, acted local” long before the slogan had been invented.

However, this history of “Ada Salter: Pioneer of Ethical Socialism” points up a paradox. Small is beautiful, but beautiful is small. Ada was successful precisely because she did not attempt to exercise national political leadership, but instead,along with Alfred, converted Bermondsey into an international example, which then proceeded to be echoed to some extent at the national level with the subsequent advent of the NHS, the Green Belt and environmental planning. Alfred was inevitably less than successful in his efforts to win over parliament and government to his positions as a constituency MP. The Salters’ fellow pacifists, Ramsay MacDonald and Fenner Brockway shifted position, one to the rightwing position of accommodation with capitalism and the other to the left stance of accommodation with Marxist inspired class warfare. The Independent Labour Party with its interpretation of Clause 4 as a universalisation of small-scale co-operatives was squeezed out.

This and the defeat of unconditional pacifism, culminating in the physical destruction of much of Bermondsey by the Luftwaffe, the elimination of its co-operatives at the hands of wartime coalition and the death of the Salters themselves explains their relative neglect beyond a limited circle of Bermondsey notables and readers of Fenner Brockway’s Alfred Salter biography. This is the challenge Graham Taylor seeks to meet in his book. Brockway’s great biography was achieved at the expense of obscuring the equal, if not even greater significance of Ada Salter as an example for today’s world. Graham Taylor’s descriptions of events are complex and uncompromising, but revelatory. They counteract any tendency we may have to think there is something new in today’s complex tactical manoeuvres and splits.

We see how Ada emerged out of a divided Methodism to espouse its radical wing and to become “Sister Ada” in the West London Mission; how soon after this she was a key figure in the founding of the Women’s Labour League (WLL) which stood for a Mazzini-inspired coalition of the women and workers movements at a time when the suffragettes lurched to the right; how this led to the Salters out of the Liberal party and into Keir Hardy’s Independent Labour Party. It was for the ILP and the WLL that Ada became the first ever woman London Councillor in full elections and the first Labour Councillor.

Meanwhile, disillusioned by the failure of a majority of Methodists to oppose the Boer War in 1900, she had become an Associate Member of the Quakers when Alfred was admitted to full membership, she herself becoming a full member in 1915 under the impact of the First World War.

Graham Taylor reveals to us an Ada Salter who was a pioneer of the women’s movement as part of the empowerment of marginalised workers and residents. She more readily spoke the language of socialism than that of Methodism or, later, Quakerism. She was a renowned organiser for survival in the great strike of 1912 and the General Strike of 1926. But her socialism was an expression of her faith and practice. It was “ethical”, not pragmatic. It promoted beauty as well as justice. It was uncompromisingly pacifist; co-operative, not statist; local and global, more than national (though it is true that her work in developing urban gardening took on national dimensions.) She was personally inspiring and empowering, whether as “Sister Ada” to numerous street-hardened young women and youths or as Councillor Salter, fashioner of the Bermondsey Revolution. She was a pattern and an example.

The Quaker Socialist Society


has the following objectives:

  to provide fellowship and a forum for Friends and Attenders who believe that political affairs are an essential part of our life of faith;
  to work for social justice and a fair, safe and peaceful world;
  to develop understanding and practice of democratic socialism;
  to maintain a Quaker witness within the socialist movement, and to make available the insights of socialism for Friends;
– to work, with others, for a corporate Social Testimony.
   

If you would like to know more about QSS, please contact our Membership secretary:
Deirdre Flintoff , 5 Orchard Court, Rose Hill, Oxford 0X4 4HJ deirdreflintoff@aol.com 01865 715870

The annual subscription is £10 for an individual, £15 for a couple at the same address, and £5 unwaged. Associate Membership is also available at £5 for non-Quakers who prefer this, although full membership is open to all who share our aims.


Clerk: Chris Newsam, e-mail: newcircles12@gmail.com