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Pendle Labour Party Blog
Ed Miliband’s speech to the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Boardman   
Monday, 13 February 2012 11:16

On Thursday 9th February Ed Milliband delivered a speech

The media and press made scant reference to this speech, They are more concerned about taking cheap shots at his appearance.

For me, the speech was one of best made by a Labour Leader during the last 20 years, In his speech he set out a clear direction for a future Labour Government to build a new model of a political economy, one which delivers prosperity and fairness for the working people of Britain once again.

I have been a critic of Blair’s “New Labour” model for many years and whilst Miliband’s approach is not to take us back to “Old Labour”, none the less it is a very welcome change in direction, which focuses the emphasis on government to serve the best interest of working people.

Anyone who has concerns that the Labour Party has become rudderless should read this speech and be assured that Ed Miliband knows how to take us forward and that we should all get behind him.


 
Bankers' Greed Under the Spotlight PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Pope   
Friday, 03 February 2012 16:59

At Barrowford Labour Party’s January meeting, Mark Porter, a local trade union and party activist, led a robust discussion on the current Banker’s Pay dispute.
He said that, while difficult economic times meant uncertainty for millions of people, there was one constant that could be relied upon: the Banker’s Bonus. The meeting noted that despite the Tory manifesto promises to curb executive excesses, the latest round of banker’s bonuses just kept coming. Last week’s announcement that the chief executive of the bailed out bank RBS was due to receive a massive bonus on top of a salary of £1.2 million annual salary beggared belief.
The meeting was told that David Cameron had said he didn’t think it was right that employees should have a seat on company remuneration committees, but he did think it appropriate that shareholders be given rights to block such payments agreed by those committees. The government, which is the major shareholder in RBS and which should be demonstrating its serious intent to to tackle endemic executive high-pay, should therefore be blocking such enormous bonuses.
But the government did absolutely nothing. The chairman of RBS quickly announced that he would not take up all of his option of a £1.4 million bonus. But  it was not until several days later amid mounting pressure, most notably a motion tabled by the Labour opposition, as well as growing anger from the public that the CEO, Mr Hester, finally announced that he would not take up the bonus.
The meeting felt that if the government is unwilling to instigate regulatory reforms, despite widespread acceptance that they are needed to ensure the country’s financial stability, then surely they have lost the right to govern us!


 
A Fair Day's Pay PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Boardman   
Thursday, 02 February 2012 17:49

I have just read Gordon Prentice’s blog - The trouble with Billionaires.

Gordon lays out the extent to which the ratio of pay between the highest and lowest is out of control. According to Gordon, the High Pay Commission tells us “top pay has spiralled alarmingly to stratospheric levels in some of our biggest companies”.

Bankers and company directors are currently in the spotlight and quite rightly so, but what about the excessive salaries paid to football players, film and TV personalities? It is not just the bankers and company directors who are doing very nicely.

Coincidentally the latest TUC Touchstone Extra pamphlet “All In this Together?” looks at how the recession and ongoing economic weakness has had an impact on different parts of the workforce. According to the report “the falling proportion of national output that goes on wages has meant that UK workers today are taking home £60bn a year less (in today's money) than workers did 30 years ago”.

Therefore it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that the yawning pay gap has arisen from the combination of increases at the top and decreases at the bottom. The theory of the market being that to maximise performance you pay the wealthy more and the poor less!

Pay is only part of the picture; the accrued national wealth is in the hands of a tiny majority. Should we dare to put this under the microscope, we are accused of “The Politics of Envy”. We should be vigorous in redefining this as the “Politics of Fairness”.

The Coalition Government is compounding this problem with their attacks on the benefit and welfare system. I guess that not many of us support benefit cheats and it is right that they are dealt with properly, but most of would want to retain the existing benefits that we have paid our taxes for in case we or our families need assistance.

Whilst other colleagues within the Labour Party seek a new utopia of “Responsible Capitalism” and pay restraint for the public sector, my view is that current thinking falls a long way short of achieving the “Dynamic Economy” set out in Clause Four of the Constitutional Rules of the Labour Party.

Of course we need growth, but it needs to be sustainable and we must plan which areas of the economy need to grow to deliver higher pay for the workers, and also consider who else should benefit from the proceeds of that growth.

Fairness means redistributing wealth through a just taxation system rather than the one that is currently tipped in favour of the rich.

We need that revenue to invest in our children’s education and training. We need it to invest in everyone’s future. We need it to get the country back to work.


 
The elusive Mike Calvert PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mohammed Iqbal   
Sunday, 22 January 2012 12:20

Lancashire Telegraph have started asking questions about the elusive Mike Calvert. He says that he is living at a relative's address in East Lancashire and also his holiday home in Silverdale, Cumbria. However, he won't disclose his address as "it's nothing to do with anyone" yet he is still claiming travelling expenses to County Hall from Trawden.......

I have said that the people of Colne are suffering from the lack of Calvert and Askew not being in Colne to deal with issues and they both need to reconsider their positions..... watch this space


 
Barrowford Labour Party stalwart retires PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Pope   
Monday, 16 January 2012 14:48

Douglas Barber, a long-standing Labour Party activist, has retired as branch treasurer after 15 years of keeping the books in order. A social evening was held at the Bombay Lounge in Barrowford with friends from across Pendle in attendance to thank Douglas for all his hard work over many years. The Barrowford Branch gave Douglas a gift of an engraved glass tankard and his partner Carole also shared the occasion with a present of a bunch of flowers.
Sue Nike, chair of the Barrowford Branch, said “Douglas has been a real asset to both the local Labour Party and the Barrowford community for years and years. He was involved in the launching of the very successful Barrowford paper re-cycling scheme which kept many of us busy one Saturday each month for years. That was one of the first real attempts in Pendle to take action on environmental issues, long before it became mainstream."
Sue added “It will be sad not to have Douglas at our monthly branch meetings at the Rising Sun in Blacko. He has a clever knack of quietly keeping us focused while contributing his individual perspective on any topic of the day. His local knowledge combined with his sharp wit often unblocked a discussion that was getting nowhere! We will all miss him.”


 
Reedley School PDF Print E-mail
Written by Robert Oliver   
Thursday, 12 January 2012 13:10

Local residents in Reedley are expressing their concerns to Cllr Robert Allen regarding the issues caused by inconsiderate parents parking across private drives. This pressure will increase with Reedley School expansion. The school governors have also expressed concerns and will confront the guilty ones. The consultation on school expansion plans will end on 27th Jan - local residents still have time to submit comments.  


 
Looking Back – Looking to the Future PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Boardman   
Monday, 02 January 2012 21:19

It is good to learn that many people in the North West have received recognition through the honours system for the contribution they have made to the community. It is always good to hear that people are recognised for service rather than their contribution to a political party’s fund.
Not so good is the news that the hard core hawks of the Thatcher government were prepared to abandon Liverpool and its environs to “managed decline”.
Senior ministers warned her that it might be a waste to pour money into the “stony ground” of Merseyside — the county encompassing Liverpool and several other urban areas — after the decline of its heavy industry led to high unemployment and social unrest.
It would be unfair not to recognise that Michael Heseltine, from the left of the Conservative party, did make a stand for Liverpool by attempting to encourage private sector investment to regenerate the area.

Another piece of bad news is that full time workers resident in the North West have suffered the worst drop in living standards in the 12 regions of the UK. The real value of our average gross earnings has fallen by 9.1% between April 2007 and November 2011, due to the ‘bankers’ recession’ and stalled recovery.

Our Conservative MP applauds David Cameron for isolating us in Europe to protect the financial sector, whilst failing to recognise the small contribution that the finance sector makes to Pendle’s economy and that it could be bad news for Pendle, because in percentage terms we have one of the UK’s highest concentrations in manufacturing.

Those of us who have more years under our belts than we feel comfortable with will recall how during the 1950s the local Textiles Trades Federation had campaigned for the Conservative government of the day to explore the possibilities of balanced East–West trade and to encourage new industries to be based in Lancashire.

The Government remained undisturbed and flatly refused to take part in discussions between the Hong Kong Textile Employers and the Cotton Board.

The Government finally showed its hand when the President of the Board of Trade presented to Parliament a Bill for the “Reorganisation of the Cotton Industry”. This turned out to be a loom scrappage and compensation scheme. Best estimates at the time were that the Mill Owners would receive in total £560,000 for scrapping the looms, whilst the textile workers who were to be flung on to the ‘scrapheap’ would receive a total of some £90,000.

Quite clearly (and with the odd notable exception) the Conservative Party’s commitment to sustaining economic development in the North West is not good. Although I do recall one of Thatcher’s ministers advising us to get on our bikes and look for work.

Time and time again the people of the North West have shown that they are adaptable to the changing patterns and the advancing technology of manufacturing and developing industries.

The New Years Honours underlines that we have ordinary people committed to our community.

We need a Government that is equally committed to the economic development of the North West; the present Government’s record is not good, but I would welcome a viable economic ‘blueprint’ for the North West from any political party, rather than for us to be left by this government to “wither on the vine”.


 
CHALLENGE TO DEPUTY LEADER OF COUNTY COUNCIL TO FACE PUBLIC IN PENDLE PDF Print E-mail
Written by Robert Oliver   
Thursday, 15 December 2011 22:39

Brierfield and Nelson North Councillor Mohammed Iqbal and Nelson South Councillor George Adam are calling-in a decision made today by Tory Deputy Leader of Lancashire County Council, Cllr Albert Atkinson to close 4 Household Waste Recycling Centres across Lancashire including Colne in Pendle.

Cllr Iqbal said "It is a dark day for the people of Lancashire when Cllr Atkinson ignores a call made by over 17,000 people to keep our recycling centres open.  He has ignored the arguments and pushed ahead with his and the Tory Party's project to let the people of Lancashire down.  The centre at Colne is very well used and is manned by a group of excellent employees who help elderly, disabled people to dispose of or recycle household waste"

Cllr Adam added "I would invite the Scrutiny Committee and Cllr Atkinson to come to Pendle and listen to evidence direct from members of the public who are directly affected by this decision.  It's a shame if the centre at Colne is allowed to close in March 2012 thanks to the Tory cuts.  Where are our Tory Councillors and MP on this issue- they are very quiet”

Note to Editor:

The Call-in notice has been signed by Cllrs Mohammed Iqbal, George Adam, Ciaran Wells, Clive Grunshaw, Miles Parkinson


 
Cameron has seriously damaged the UK's influence PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Boardman   
Monday, 12 December 2011 10:37

I believe that along with others, I share some trepidation about the imbalance between what the UK contributes to the EU budget and what we receive back in direct payments.

However I recognise that we need in turn to balance that against being a member of the biggest market in the world and the benefits that this offers to all sectors of the UK economy.

David Cameron has often spoke of the need to build the manufacturing sector (the trade unions have been arguing for this for three decades) to rebalance the over reliance on financial services. However, his decision to veto the recent proposed treaty has been heralded to protect our financial sector, but this may be to the detriment of manufacturing and the service industries.

Why do I say this?

Quite simply, I believe that multinational companies are ruthless by nature and faced with a choice of continuing to invest in the UK or one of the other 27 countries in the EU they will consider which countries have the greatest opportunity to exert influence within the EU. It is patently obvious that Cameron seriously damaged the UK’s ability to wield influence by playing the ‘one trick’ veto to appease the eurosceptics within his own party.

No doubt the multinationals will also be casting a watchful eye over the right wing of the Tory party who appear to have their minds set on leaving the EU. Whilst I have my own concerns about how the EU is managed, I do ask myself, given that this ‘fractious rump’ is dictating an exit policy to Cameron, will the multinationals see the UK as a sound place to invest their money whilst this influence prevails?

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Will Hutton on Cameron's veto PDF Print E-mail
Written by Julian Jordan   
Sunday, 11 December 2011 21:23

Great piece by Will Hutton, exposing Cameron on his use of the European “veto”. As we expected, it seems that Dave’s idea of the “national interest” doesn’t really extend very far beyond the square mile! -   http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/dec/11/will-hutton-david-cameron-wrong-on-europe

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Same old Tories! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Julian Jordan   
Thursday, 08 December 2011 15:39

Same old Tories! Let’s face it, despite the “nice” veneer that Cameron applied when he became their leader, you don’t have to scratch too far beneath the surface to reveal that the Tories are still the “nasty party”!

This article from Labour List would be a hilarious satire…. except for the fact that it’s true. What are the chances that members of Pendle’s Conservatives hold equally disgusting, archaic and prejudiced views?


 
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The articles are written by individual members so do not necessarily represent the view of Pendle Labour Party.