Woking Labour moves out

We have now moved out of our Woking offices and meeting hall behind the station. Owen House, Heathside Crescent, our home for almost half a century, is now going to be demolished, after which the site will become part of the St Dunstan’s redevelopment. Equipment and furniture has been stored in three places temporarily until a permanent home can be found. Thanks go to Tom, Sabir, Sharaz, Liz, Ilyas and Paul who boxed up and carried everything out. The old lady will be missed.

Until further notice, meetings will be held in the Lounge at the Woking United Reformed Church, on the corner of White Rose Lane and Heathside Road. See calendar for next meetings.
Continue reading “Woking Labour moves out”

Members and Supporters evening and debate on Human Rights after Brexit

June 14th 7.30pm, United Reform Church, White Rose Lane (three minutes’ walk from Owen House).
“We need our human rights, and we need our Labour Party to robustly defend them. That’s why the Labour Campaign for Human Rights is so essential.” Sadiq Khan

Whilst still home secretary, Theresa May repeatedly voiced her dislike for the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and she recently declared that the UK should leave the ECHR, even if the UK voted to remain within the European Union. The ECHR currently provides articles relating to rights and freedoms such as the right to life, prohibition of torture, the prohibition of slavery and forced labour, the right to a fair trial, no punishment without law, and the right to respect for private and family life.

In the confusion of the UK leaving the European Union, it would be easy for the Labour Party to concentrate its efforts solely on other important areas such as immigration and NHS staffing, and neglect the potential impact that leaving the ECHR could have on our country. It is essential that this does not happen. Come along on June 14th and join the debate led by the Labour Campaign for Human Rights.

Annual General Meeting and Debate

AGM and Debate, Wednesday March 22nd 7.30pm. Bar 7.00pm.
Interested in finding out what Woking Labour has been up to over the past twelve months? All members are invited to the Woking Labour 2017 AGM, where our Chair Sabir Hussain and members of the Executive Committee will give an update of the past year’s activities.

The AGM is the opportunity for any Labour member to stand for the Executive. You just need to introduce yourself and say briefly why you would like to stand for a particular position, then secure a proposer and seconder from the meeting, and a vote in favour. New talent is very welcome. Bring your ideas and come and help us build a strong organisation that will continue to strengthen Labour’s voice and the Labour vote in Woking!

After the debate, Woking Labour’s Trade Union Liaison Organiser Dan Conquer will lead a debate on how we can work with local trade union branches. Bring your local knowledge. Do you know any current employment practices which would not survive close scrutiny and could provide opportunities for joint working? Are there issues you think we should be supporting?

The CLP has a number of affiliated trade union branches and now that the rule change in March 2015 enables trade union members to be individually affiliated to local Labour Parties, they are able to become a valuable part of the local support for Labour. To be an effective political force within Woking we need to be seen to be relevant and have more of a public profile on the streets and in the press. This would also give people a good reason to join Labour and to vote for Labour too.

February 15th meeting postponed

The Members and Supporters Evening scheduled for February 15th has been postponed and will now take place on Wednesday, February 22nd, at 7.30pm, at Owen House. The debate this month will be on the rise of non-unionised precarious low wage employment, extortionate private rents, stats on local rough sleeping and Woking’s ‘solution’ to the lack of social housing.
Cllr Tahir Aziz will lead on the above, exposing the rise in common minimum wage scams, unpaid time worked in social care and the bogus self-employment status of Uber delivery, followed by Q&A.
The latest TUC survey on the huge gap in salaries between the rich and the poor shows that in 2010 the average FTSE 100 boss earned 89 times the full-time salary of a UK worker. By 2015 this had risen to 123 times and average wage levels are still way down in real terms on the pre-crash level. For the self-employed, typical earnings are lower than 20 years ago, according to the Resolution Foundation think tank.
The Annual General Meeting will take place on Wednesday, March 22nd at Owen House. Further details will be posted nearer the time.

Mick Cash guest speaker at New Year Dinner

New Year Dinner on January 27th at the Cricketers, Horsell – a convivial evening was enjoyed with Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT, who is fighting the Tory assault on workers’ rights and to protect safety on the railways for passengers. Mick is flanked by Mohammed Sakhawat Khan, Labour candidate for Woking North in the Surrey County Council elections in May, and Councillor Tahir Aziz.
It has emerged that the National Audit Office is investigating alleged malpractice by Govia Thameslink, the umbrella company owning Southern Rail. Also Southern Rail itself could now be temporarily nationalised to deal with the appalling level of service, and the government is looking at alternative ways to award franchises as they come up for renewal as the present system is delivering poor service standards. Let’s hope they are all nationalised.

YEAR END PARTY and PIZZA PASTA & POLITICS

Pizza, pasta and politicsCome and celebrate the passing of this extraordinary year in the best of company with your choice of pizza or pasta (including veggie) and delicious home cooking by our resident chefs. Our after-dinner speaker will be political psychologist Dai Williams, on “Surviving and Thriving in Troubled Times”. The focus will be on the key events of 2016 and how to make sense of what lies between now and the 2020 general election. This unusual slant on contemporary politics will give a chance to explore how we are affected both as a party and as individuals, and for open discussion on managing change.

Tickets are just £15, or £10 for under-25s and those on benefits. Time is short, so please book ASAP and by December 13th at the latest. You can pay by internet bank transfer to the Unity Trust Bank, sort code 60-83-01, account no 20132521, putting as reference your surname plus PPP (eg SmithPPP), or send a cheque payable to the Woking Labour Party at Moor End, Horsell Rise, Woking, Surrey GU21 4BD.

Thursday December 15th. Bar open 6.30pm. Food served 7.00pm.

Dai Williams is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist who began his career in construction in the 1960s before joining Shell to work in personnel in the UK and Canada. He studied psychology in Swansea and Birkbeck (London) with interests in industrial relations, staff development and international recruitment.

In 1997 New Labour’s election landslide stirred Dai’s interest in career crisis and change for politicians – for Tony Blair and the Cabinet, the peace process in Northern Ireland, and for leaders across the international community.

This is the 30th anniversary of Eos, the independent career counselling service that Dai set up in 1986. He specialises in support for career development, crisis and change for individuals, communities and organisations, often in periods of “transition”. He worked with self-help groups for the unemployed in the early ’90s and tracked psychological effects of the recession.

Woking Labour – back in business!

Woking Labour’s first general meeting since June took place on October 26th with a well-attended get-together for members and supporters. Because of issues surrounding the leadership election, ‘business’ meetings had been banned over the summer except for events such as fundraisers or, as in our case, the celebration of the election of our three Canalside councillors on May 5th.

The agenda had included a Hustings to select a candidate for the Surrey County Council elections on May 5th next year. The Hustings itself was cancelled because there was only one candidate to be considered, Mohammed Sakhawat Khan, and Labour Party rules state that under such circumstances it is not necessary to hold a card vote, provided that the Executive Committee proposes and seconds the candidate.

Sakhawat was also strongly endorsed by Councillors Mohammad Ali, Tahir Aziz and Ilyas Raja, who felt that he would make a valuable addition to the team in Woking. As a result, he has now been confirmed as our candidate to represent Labour in the Surrey County Council seat of Woking North in 2017.

Sakhawat then introduced himself and spoke to the meeting about important issues for the campaign. He is already known to many of us as a previous Chair of the party in 2006 and candidate in the 2005 Borough elections for Maybury and Sheerwater.

The meeting provided a good opportunity to broaden and strengthen the Executive Committee. Some valuable offers of help have come in following the resignation of four members of the EC including, sadly, the Chair Barry Faulkner, who resigned in August due to personal and work factors. In his letter to the EC, Barry regretted that he had been unable to devote the time necessary to the role of CLP and that it was most unlikely that this would change for the better in the future.

It is also with regret that Ian Greatorex has decided he is unable to continue as Secretary and Agent due to pressure of work. The EC is immensely grateful for his time and energy in helping us through what has been a difficult year.

It is hoped to resolve the vacant positions at the AGM, which has now been scheduled for February 15th. In the interim, the Exec will be meeting on Wednesday November 16th to elect an Acting Chair, Acting Secretary and Acting Agent to tide us over. Any member interested in taking on any of these challenge, please contact Liz Evans on 07906 697180.

The EC has proposed a number of other members for co-option onto the Committee, subject to ratification at the AGM:

Peter Ford : Executive Committee. Previous councillor for Old Woking and CLP Chair in 2004.
Sabir Hussain : Executive Committee. Woking Parliamentary Candidate at 2004 General Election.
Gary Griffiths : Executive Committee
Dan Conquer : Trade Union Liaison Organiser
Keith Pullen : Skills and Housing Organiser
Will Sellers : Ward Organiser for a key seat
Dom Tweed : Campaigns Organiser and Joint Youth Organiser
Conor Bakhuizen : Joint Youth Organiser

The AGM is the opportunity for anyone else too to stand for the Executive. Even if there isn’t a job going vacant, help is needed with policy and forward plans. It simply needs a proposer and seconder and to be agreed by the meeting.

Finally, a proposal to hold regular monthly meetings was agreed by an enthusiastic majority. To be called Members and Supporters Evenings, they will take place on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm whenever possible, starting in January. Each will feature a speaker on a topic of special interest.

Woking Labour Policy Forum

Thursday June 2nd 7.30pm at Owen House. Bar open 7.00pm

Members and supporters are invited to take part in a discussion of the important issues for Labour in Woking. Help us to raise Labour’s profile in Woking and support our three Labour councillors with your ideas.
To narrow it down, the EC strategy group has defined four specific areas of housing, transport, low wages and police funding as particularly relevant and in which we could be actively involved locally. Each area will be introduced and the discussion led by a member. You can read about current Labour policy here, and the Labour is Listening project also provides a great way to make your own voice heard.

A submission will be agreed and sent from the meeting to the National Policy Forum and will contribute to the formation of Labour policy for debate at Conference in September.

ALL VIEWS WELCOME SO MAKE SURE YOURS ARE HEARD TOO!!!

Curry Night & In/Out debate on the EU

Surrey Labour invite you to the EU Referendum Debate

Thursday, 21st April at Owen House

Hove & Portslade MP Peter Kyle
Hove & Portslade Labour  MP Peter Kyle

Hove & Portslade MP Peter Kyle will lead an In/Out debate on the EU membership at Woking Labour’s Owen House HQ on April 21st. Organised by Surrey Labour Party, the meeting will be chaired by our County Councillor, Robert Evans, and all Surrey Labour constituency parties are invited and all viewpoints are welcome.

Howard Kaye, Labour Police & Crime Commissioner candidate for Surrey, will be introducing himself for about 10-15 minutes before the main debate starts.

The evening will also be a fundraiser for next year’s Surrey County elections because it is vital that we put in the maximum effort to get Robert Evans re-elected in Stanwell and possibly get some more Labour SCC councillors elsewhere. With this in mind, the debate will be preceded by a curry meal, with a choice of chicken or vegetable curry together with vegetables, naan and rice at a cost of just £15 (£10 students). It is important that we know how many are coming for the curry so please pay by bank transfer to the Co-op Bank (sort code 08-90-35, account no 58128484), or send a cheque payable to the Surrey County Labour Party to Liz Evans at Moor End, Horsell Rise, Woking, Surrey GU21 4BD. If you’re paying by bank transfer, please put “EU” and your surname in the details field, eg “EU Scott”. Please pay by the 18th April so that we can place the order with the restaurant.

The bar will open at 7pm with a view to starting the meal at 7.15pm. If you don’t want any food but would still like to be involved in the debate, you can arrive at 8pm.

All members and supporters are welcome. Let’s have a good turnout from Woking!

Pizza, Pasta & Politics

westminster-pizza

Join us at Owen House on Friday, March 11th for a fascinating evening with Andrew Thorpe, Professor of Modern British History at the University of Exeter. Professor Thorpe is author of A History of the British Labour Party (2015) and specialises in British Political History in the 20th Century.

The talk, titled “The Labour Party, past and present: Swings to and from the left”, lends itself to interaction and we hope will stimulate a lively debate!

Book early as space is limited. Tickets are £15, or £10 for under-25s or those on benefits. Food will be a choice of pizzas or pasta enhanced by delicious home cooking from our resident chefs, with vegetarian options. There will be refreshments available at the licensed bar.

Cheques should be made payable to Woking Labour Party and sent as soon as possible to: Ian Greatorex, Windrush, Castle Road, Woking GU21 4ES. Please include your name and address and the number of tickets you need. Alternatively you can pay by direct transfer to the Woking Labour account at the Unity Trust Bank, account 20132521, sort code 60-83-01. In this case please email Ian at iangreatorex@icloud.com with details of the number of tickets. Tickets will be available at the door.

The event starts at 7.30pm. We very much look forward to seeing you.