The theme of the talk given by Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North, was Give Peace a Chance. In addition he covered a range of issues includng austerity, privatisation and Europe and allowed plenty of opportuniies for questions and debate. After an excellent meeting he found time to visit the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp with a group of our members to demonstrate our continued support for the local campaign against fracking.
Great night at Hovingham Village Hall on 17th March. The White Sail event raised a brilliant £390 for Malton and Norton Branch campaigns. White Sail were excellent and played two full sets free for the cause. Many thanks to them. Pies were fantastic too. Well done Malton and Norton Branch.
Our six delegates and another 400 members enjoyed a morale raising and optimistic Regional Conference. Over here we can lose sight of the strength and quality of MPs and speakers we have in Yorkshire. Keynote speaker was John Trickett MP for Hemsworth who is in charge of the Party’s preparations for the next election. The next manifesto will include £10 an hour minimum wage, legislation on TU rights, refinancing the public sector, an end to privatisation of the NHS, funding for municipal socialism, deveolved power s for the North. Rachael Maskell MP for York Central confirmed the commitment to nationalise the rail system and added a commitment to give control of bus transport back to local authorities, a national walking and cycling strategy and a review of freight transport to get a shift from road to rail. John Grogan MP for Keighley said a devolved Yorkshire should be run by a cabinet of Council Leaders. Judith Blake Leader of Leeds Council said it was wrong for George Osborn to present himself as champion of the Northern Powerhouse. It was after all John Prescott who first proposed and then championed the idea. Richard Corbett and Linda McAvan MEPs and Paul Blomfield Shadow Brexit Minister spoke on Brexit. See Linda’s report. Other speakers Melanie Onn MP for Grimsby, John Healey Shadow Housing Minister, Loiuise Haigh Shadow Police Minister, Emma Hardy MP for Hull West, Bill Adams TUC, Mark Burns-Williamson West Yorkshire PCC, Joanne Thomas USDAW, Alex Sobel MP for Leeds North West, Thelma Walker MP for Colne Valley. A rousing speech from Richard Burgon Shadow Secretary of State for Justice brought Conference to a close.
North Ryedale Branch was launched at a public meeting with a talk on ‘Hidden Poverty in Ryedale’ by John Mackenzie (centre) from Ryedale Food Banks. He described the work of the Food Bank and the inexorable rise in the number of people referred to it for help. An impressive collection of donations of food from members was presented to John. The Branch agreed that it would continue to collect for this cause on a regular basis. It was also agreed though that it was a national disgrace that food banks should be necessary and that our wider aim is to campaign for the fall of the Tory’s austerity government and election of a Labour Government committed to work ‘For the Many not the Few’. Many thanks for all donations and to Richard Shepherd for organising the collection.
A dozen members made a big impact on visitors to the Malton Food festival. We set up a stall and gave out leaflets and vote Labour stickers and talked to a lot of very interested people. We were surprised by the positive reception we received from so many of the people on the street. Significantly ‘undecideds’ were genuinely interested in finding out more about what Labour stands for in this election.
Alan Avery attended the launch in Bradford of the Labour Party’s Manifesto for the 2017 General Election. It was a priveledge to get into the launch an we were lucky to get near the front for a ring side seat as Jeremy Corbyn presented the final Manifesto to the packed atrium at Bradford University. The atmosphere was one of noisy excitement and huge enthusiasm from the party members in the hall and members of the public thronging the balconies. With Alan was Luke Charteris-Reid candidate for York Outer.