Monday, May 25, 2015

Choose the next Labour Leader and London Mayor - Sign up to be a Labour Supporter

It is not the most enticing advert but I assume people are working on it and something better will come out soon.

If you agree with this :-

"I support the aims and values of the Labour Party, and I am not a supporter of any organisation opposed to it."

Then for only £3 you can become a "Labour Supporter" which will give you right to help choose a New Leader and deputy Leader of the Labour Party. 

If you are a member of a trade union that affiliates to the Labour Party you can become a registered Labour Supporter for free.

If you live in London as a Labour Supporter you can also help vote for a London Mayoral candidate.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

West Ham "on the knocker" for John Biggs

Picture collage from yesterday of West Hammers (and a East Ham comrade) "on the knocker" for John Biggs as Labour Mayor for Tower Hamlets.

West Ham Labour Chair, Charlene McLean, led our team "assisted" by her campaign hardened 9 month old baby daughter, Esme (definite future Young Pioneer and Woodcraft folk member).

A positive canvass for John and Labour, although many people were away since this was a Bank holiday weekend. I came across some very negative comments about the Executive Mayoral system but was able to reassure people that in the hands of a honest, decent and principled candidate such as John Biggs, they have nothing to worry about.

Rain eventually stopped play. I had some interesting but confusing interactions on twitter trying to direct West Ham activists to join our team. Twitter is all well and good but a mobile telephone call is probably still best in these circumstances.

So we have to be "Left" economically and "Right" socially to win in 2020?

Some more thoughts on May 7th and the aftermath. 

First check out this post in TouchStone by Newham's finest, Nigel Stanley, on the post election day TUC survey.

Nigel argues that this evidence (of voters who considered Labour but ended up voting for someone else) suggests that Labour is not seen as being hostile to aspiration but lost out on economic trust and fear of SNP.

Nor were we seen as too left wing or too tough on business. In fact we were seen as too soft and should even have increased taxes more on the rich?

However, it is clear that Labour was punished for not being "tough" enough on welfare and immigration.

Finally, I retweeted yesterday Tony McNulty's comment "History is written by those who turn up. Turnout 18-24 43%  65+ 78%  Home Owners 77%  Private Renters 51%  AB 75% DE 57%" (IpsosMori)

As you can see from the chart that older and more wealthy voters supported the Tories by a wide mark. The young and the poorest, who don't vote as much supported Labour.

I actually think it is too early to decide the future of the Party until we fully understand why we lost. This will take time. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Freedom fighter Denis Goldberg at Community H.E.A.R.T event at South Africa House

The picture collage is from last night's fundraiser at the South African High Commission in Trafalgar Square for Community HEART and the "Children of a Rainbow Nation".  The development charity Community HEART  was founded by former ANC political prisoner,  82 year old Denis Goldberg, who was the guest speaker. He also spoke at the Greater London UNISON Regional Council on Wednesday, which I missed due to a NJC clash but know that people who heard him at the meeting were near to tears by his speech.

UNISON had a really good presence at the fundraiser including our former Deputy General Secretary, Keith Sonnet .

Denis gave a fantastic "matter of fact" speech about the struggle for freedom in South Africa, its very difficult present and future - and being tried for his life with Nelson Mandela and other comrades during the Rivonia Trial.

Denis spent 22 years in jail for his beliefs. It is inspiring and amazing that he is not angry and bitter about his treatment but still remains positive and optimistic.

I particularly liked the contribution of the speaker who reminded everyone that at the infamous prison Robben Island a collected works of Shakespeare was smuggled in disguised as a Bible. The political prisoners all read this book and highlighted their favourite passages. This was Nelson Mandela's favourite "Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once".

Many thanks to my former UNISON NEC colleague, Isobel McVicar, for all her hard work organising such events. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

A year on...

Facebook sent a reminder this morning of this picture. I cannot believe it is a year since the Newham Council elections 2014.

I have been a Councillor now for just over 5 years.

It will be good to reflect on what I have done, what I haven't done and what I hope to do. I have some plans.

3 more years to go before next elections in 2018.

Standing outside Manor School polling station in West Ham ward.  

Thursday, May 21, 2015

List of London Labour Mayoral applicants

Dear colleague,

Further to my earlier email, the list of applicants for the London Mayoral selection is:
  • Diane Abbott
  • Tessa Jowell
  • Keran Kerai
  • Sadiq Khan
  • David Lammy
  • Neeraj Patil
  • Gareth Thomas
  • Christian Wolmar
Constituency Labour Parties and affiliates now have until 10 June to nominate from amongst these people.  CLP Secretaries will be organising all-member nomination meetings and advising members.

You can find more about the process here:

Best wishes


West Ham CLP London Mayor Nomination meeting - 28 May

Labour’s London Mayor Nomination - 28 May 2015

I would like to invite you to West Ham Labour party’s all-member meeting on 28 May where we will decide whether to nominate candidates to stand for London Mayor.

After we’ve finished making nominations we hope you will stay and join us for a social event. We'll be weloming new members, thanking everyone for all their work over the election campaign and celebrating Lyn Brown's re-election and our win in Ilford North. Please do bring food or drink to share with other members.

Where and when?

When: 8pm on Thursday 28 May
Where: Vicarage Lane Community Centre, Govier Close, London E15 4HW

What will happen at the meeting?

A list of people that have applied to become Labour’s candidate for the Mayor should be available shortly. If you want to ensure the meeting considers a particular candidate, please come ready to propose or second that candidate at the beginning of the meeting. All West Ham members will have a chance to discuss the merits of each candidate before we all vote on whether to nominate anyone at all or whether to nominate one or two people (we have to nominate at least one woman). The Labour Party will then shortlist candidates that West Ham and other London Constituency Labour Parties have nominated. Those shortlisted candidates will then speak at hustings across London that party members and supporters can attend. Voting on this (and the Leader of the Labour party) will open in mid-August and will be announced 12 September.

GC - delegates will meet at 7.30 as usual but at Vicarage Lane on Thursday 28 May before nomination meeting.

Tower Hamlets by election - Sat 23 May

We'll be meeting at Stratford station (at the ticket barrier/sign) at 10.30am on Saturday to head over to help Tower Hamlets (John Gray is lead).

If you can't make that time please just turn up at Tower Hamlets Labour Party office (349 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9RA, nr Bethnal Green station) anytime between 10-4pm this Saturday or Sunday. You can also see when they have sessions during the week here. They'll be grateful for any time you can spare.

I hope to see you at the nomination meeting. If you have any questions please email

Best wishes


Charlene McLean
Chair - West Ham CLP

Red Line Voting

"I’m writing to invite you to play a part in bringing into being, on 24th June,  a new asset-owner approach to engagement and voting. It will open the way to restoring asset owner control over engagement and voting policies relating to investments held in pooled funds.

The Association of Member Nominated Trustees will, at its summer conference in London, be asking its members to vote to bring Red Line Voting into existence. Red Line Voting is a new approach developed over the last two years to address the problem faced by pension schemes that invest in pooled funds – the reluctance of fund managers to allow pension schemes to direct how the votes associated with their investments should be cast.

I consider this to be an extremely important matter. According to the Investment Association, of the £5-trillion of assets under management in the UK nearly half is invested in pooled funds. It is right and proper that the trustees of pension schemes should be able to direct the responsible investment policy for these investments. Up to now fund managers have said that it would be too difficult to manage multiple voting instructions from many pension schemes.

So AMNT has developed a new approach. With expert technical support their working group of member nominated trustees, of which I am one,  has developed a series of tightly drawn Red Lines – voting instructions – covering the range of environmental, social and corporate governance policies and applicable to all the companies in which the fund invests.  Pension schemes that choose to adopt some or all of them instruct their fund manager to engage and vote accordingly. The fund manager is at liberty to vote contrary to a Red Line if in their judgement that is the appropriate action, but they have to explain to the client why they did so.

Red Line Voting makes it easy for the fund managers to manage: they may receive instructions from many pension schemes, but they are all the same instructions so votes can be allocated accordingly.
This new approach will be of great assistance to the pension schemes that do have a responsible investment policy as it will undoubtedly lead to greater support for their policies when votes are cast. 

Many pension schemes that do have a corporate governance policy do not have a social or environmental policy, so Red Line Voting is a way to close that gap. And above all it will enable, for the first time, many small and medium sized pension funds to respond to the growing calls for them to protect their assets through responsible investing.

To take part in the June 24th meeting you need to sign up to AMNT (it’s free) at and then register for the conference (also free). You can also find more details about Red Line Voting on the website, and once registered as a member you will be able to see and comment on the draft Red Lines.

The conference is from 10am to 5pm at 160 Queen Victoria St, London EC4V 4LA.
I urge you to join and accompany me to the AMNT conference: with your support we will see the launch of a new surge in asset owner engagement with responsible investment.

Thank you
Best wishes,

John Gray"

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Collective Bargaining, What's It Good For?

If you really want to tackle low pay and inequality in this country then find out how by watching this video.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Do you want to help pick the next Labour Leader (and Mayor of London Candidate)? Sign up as an Affiliated Supporter

"To UNISON Members,

Make sure you have your say in selecting Labour's new leader and the Labour candidate for London Mayor.

Sign up now as an Affiliated Supporter of the Labour Party.

Any UNISON member who supports Labour's aims and values is entitled to register and vote.

London Labour will select their candidate for London Mayor in July. The timetable for selection of the Labour leader will be published soon.

UNISON is encouraging all members who are Labour supporters to register.

It's free, quick and easy to do - and you don't have to be a Labour Party member.

To register and find out more go to

UNISON London Labour Link"

(anyone who supports Labour's aims and values can sign up on the link above to be a supporter and vote for a new leader to replace Ed Miliband.  If you live in London you can also vote for the Labour Mayoral candidate. It is free for all UNISON & other affiliated union members and £3 if you are not)