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    January 2014    
   

You are cordially invited to join us for the
Woking Labour Party

NEW YEAR DINNER

at The Cricketers in Horsell Birch, Horsell, Friday January 31st at 7.00 for 7.45pm.

Mick Whelan, ASLEFThe speaker will be Mick Whelan, General Secretary of the Association of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF).

Mick will speak about Ed Miliband's plans to develop a new relationship between the Labour Party and individual members of our affiliated trade unions. Unions represent the collective voice of millions of people across the country and there are thousands of trade union members in this constituency alone. ASLEF's views on the current debate around trade union/Labour Party funding will be very relevant and will be put forward at the Special Labour Party conference in London on March 1st.

Mick represents the railway industry on the TUC and will speak about transport policy – he is actively campaigning to get more freight onto rail for instance. Oh – and he is also a member of Brent CLP.

Cricketers, HorsellThe Cricketers has proved to be a popular venue for Woking Labour with its good food and excellent service so be sure to reserve a place. You can view and download the menu and booking form here – just return the form with your menu choices and cheque straight away. Please be sure to ring us if you need a lift.

Join us for an enjoyable evening in the best of company!

Paul BlagbroughElectoral fraud and the economy

Paul Blagbrough, Chairman of Woking CLP since 2011, offers some thoughts on the way forward

At the start of 2014 Labour remain well ahead in the national polls, but there is much for us still to do if we are to win in 2015.

Locally we doubled our share of the vote between 2010 and 2012 and improved our position in the 2013 County Council election, failing only narrowly to take Woking North.

In our ongoing campaign against electoral fraud in Maybury and Sheerwater, we won the High Court action on all counts and the Liberal Democrat was removed from office. But the whistleblower rarely wins and we failed to win the subsequent by-election. Several arrests, however, have now been made and we believe the police may yet implicate Tories as well in what seems to be a pattern of systemic corruption.

Nationally, we have yet to convince the electorate on the economy. Yet the message should be clear. The economic recovery is an illusion and the working poor have continued to suffer. Yes, we appear to have returned to ‘economic growth’. But this growth is unsustainable and built on the quicksands of increased public expenditure funded by debt, and private consumption also funded by debt, encouraged by a reckless stimulation of the housing market.

For too many years, Government spending and private consumption, both financed by growing levels of debt, have fuelled economic growth. The levels of Government and consumer debt are not sustainable and when interest rates rise, as inevitably they will, the chickens will come home to roost. And many, particularly those on lower incomes, will suffer.

Sustainable growth, at a time when both public debt and private debt have to fall, can only come through investment and exports. We need to encourage the private sector – and give it the confidence – to invest more aggressively in manufacturing and engineering. We need a major programme of renewal of our national infrastructure – railways, airports, power stations and the grid systems for power, gas and water. All we have had from the coalition is 'talk' – and much of this ‘talk’ is about transferring the financing, construction and ownership of this vital national infrastructure into the hands of foreign companies and governments. What madness!!.

We need to argue for a more fair distribution of our national income. The gap between high and low pay has widened hugely over the last 20 years. Excessive high pay needs to be addressed and it should begin with accountability in the Boardroom; and – yes – an acceptance of higher rate tax bands which would do no more than to bring us more into line with the rest of Europe.

The low paid have borne the brunt of corporate and Government failure over the last few years. Low pay has become a big issue – and that is why we are championing the living wage in Surrey. Wages have been depressed by mass labour migration from within Europe. This migration – unplanned and without a recognition of the consequences – has created a housing crisis, heralded in a new age of gross over-crowding and Rachmanism, taken the NHS, and maternity services in particular, to breaking point and is feeding through to a crisis in the provision of school places. Many citizens have been squeezed out of the labour market or into part time employment at a real and substantial cost to us all.

The coalition and the Tories lack vision and leadership. It is easy to appear macho against the poor and the dispossessed. It requires courage and conviction to take the long term decisions necessary for our future but which face resistance in parts of 'middle England'. That is why we all need to redouble our efforts in 2014 to ensure Labour's success at the next general election.

Dates for your diary

All at Owen House unless otherwise shown

January 15th (Wednesday), 8pm
Executive Committee.

January 31st (Friday), 7.00 for 7.45pm
New Year Dinner at the Cricketers (see left).

February 22nd (Saturday), 10.30am
Surrey Labour Party meeting: Do we need Surrey County Council? A discussion on the pros and cons of changing to unitary authorities in Surrey. Speakers include SCC councillor Robert Evans.

February 26th (Wednesday), 7.30pm
Annual General Meeting preceded by short Executive Committee, speaker TBA.

March 1st (Saturday), ExCeL Exhibition Centre, Docklands, London. Start 11am
Special Conference on the historic links between the Labour and the Trade Unions to resolve the toxic issue of union funding. Any member can attend – for more details see the Labour Party website.

  Woking Labour Constituency Party, Owen House, Heathside Crescent, Woking, Surrey GU21 7AG.
Web: www.wokinglabour.org
Chair: Paul Blagbrough (chair@wokinglabour.org)
Acting Secretary: Tom Crisp (secretary@wokinglabour.org)