Somerset Labour Joins attacks on Tory Budget

Wednesday, 22 November 2017
Corbyn mauls Tories over Autumn budget

After Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyns stunning performance in the House of Commons today responding to the Tory Autumn Budget, Labour figures across the country and county have been echoing his calls and pushing the Labour alternative.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said “Despite the gimmicks, the jokes and the distractions — today was a ‘nothing has changed’ Budget from an out-of-touch Government with no idea of the reality of people’s lives and no plan to improve them.The Budget has confirmed what we already knew: that we are worse off under the Tories and it’s set to get worse. Economic growth is the lowest since the Tories came to office, real wages lower than in 2010, and the failure to pause the botched roll-out of Universal Credit will cause real suffering. Today the Chancellor has completely failed to recognise the scale of the emergency in our public services and found no meaningful funding to address the crisis in our schools, hospitals or children’s services.” Continue reading “Somerset Labour Joins attacks on Tory Budget”

Labour anger as health visitor service cut

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

West Somerset Labour has discovered that a decision to downgrade the health visiting service for families with young children has been rushed through by the Tory leadership of Somerset County Council. The number of fully-qualified health visitors is being cut and mothers and babies will be seen by assistant practitioners.

The decision to downgrade this vital service is a response by the county to government cuts. The budget for public health in Somerset is being slashed by £3million over the next three years. To do this, 30 per cent of health visitors will be replaced by assistants with lower qualifications and lower pay. The number of fully qualified health visitors will be cut by 40.

The decision was pushed through on November 20th by the council’s cabinet member for public health, Cllr Christine Lawrence. Continue reading “Labour anger as health visitor service cut”

Tories Panic in North Petherton By-Election as voters get behind Labour

Monday, 20 November 2017

For the second time in two months the voters of North Petherton are voting in a by-election for the Town Council. Last month Labour’s Chelsea Chadwick came within 24 votes of winning.  This time Labour supporters have been out in massive numbers knowing that to even slightly increase the turnout and encourage people to realise they have the power to grab a sensational victory will give Chelsea the seat she is aiming for and residents a strong local voice on their council.

However, the Tories are running scared and have not just brought back well established District Councillor Ann Fraser  to contest the seat but they’ve also thrown in their big guns from across the county including leading councillors and even  the honourable MP Ian Liddell-Grainger, spotted the other day trying to work out how to get out of the Stockmoor estate. Continue reading “Tories Panic in North Petherton By-Election as voters get behind Labour”

“Keep your cool and show respect” – union message to shoppers

Friday, 17 November 2017
USDAW organiser Joanne Shaw

 Shoppers at Tesco in Minehead have shown their support for shopworkers by signing a petition calling for better  protection against abuse.  The petition was part of a campaign by the shopworkers’ union, USDAW, to highlight the problems faced by shop staff  at work every day.

USDAW says 150,000 shop staff every week are abused by members of the public. In its petition it calls on MPs to ensure that shopworkers and other public facing workers receive enhanced legal protection. Continue reading ““Keep your cool and show respect” – union message to shoppers”

Labour Lives:- No 5 GEMMA SHANAHAN

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

I do not think my latest interviewee, Gemma Shanahan, at just 17, will mind me pointing out that she is at the younger end of the our new intake. That is self-evident. But evidence too that an older Labour Party leader is attracting the youngest members.

Loony Left Snowflake and Proud!

The fact that we have managed to meet at all is something of a minor miracle. Prior to meeting, I send Gemma a message to ask her to suggest a venue – to which the reply is ‘Umm Coffee # 1 in town’. I have trouble finding the place on Fore Street until I realise that ‘Umm’ is not in fact part of the name… Continue reading “Labour Lives:- No 5 GEMMA SHANAHAN”

Labour Lives : No 4 ALI BORMAN

Sunday, 12 November 2017

With so many new members of the local Labour Party – 700, I gather, of which I am pleased to be one – I am on a pilgrimage to meet as many fellow supporters as possible, and ask some simple questions…What was is that made you join, or re-join, the Labour party? Why be active? Who has inspired you? And…why now?

Today, I am meeting Ali Borman, known to many of you, for her campaigning on the doorstep.

Born in Beckenham in 1977 (40), her parents moved to Bristol when she was one year old. Her father had been in the forces and then worked for the Post Office in London before a job came up at British Telecom in Bristol. He took redundancy in the 90s. Her mum went to Library College, stayed at home until Ali’s younger brother started school and then worked in the local Primary as a librarian and Secondary school as office staff but was made redundant. Continue reading “Labour Lives : No 4 ALI BORMAN”

Bridgwater History Day sees Full House at Art Centre

Saturday, 11 November 2017

A scratchy recording made on a wax cylinder more than a hundred years ago held the audience in the Arts Centre spellbound, at the end of a day spent exploring Bridgwater’s turbulent and often radical history.  The words were hard to make out but the voice came through clearly. It was Jack Barnard  a man who was said to have been illiterate but who could sing more than 150 songs. He contributed dozens of them to the folksongs collected by  Cecil Sharp in the early years of the last century. In the words of Yvette Staelens, who brought us his story, Jack was “a local hero of Bridgwater.”

Yvette Staelens

Yvette had guided us through the history of how Sharp and a local vicar, the Rev Charles Marson, collected the words and music that went into five volumes of folk songs from Somerset. Some of the songs they wrote down were “dirty ditties” said Yvette. In prim Edwardian England, the dirty bits couldn’t make it into print, so they stayed in Sharp’s notebook. Continue reading “Bridgwater History Day sees Full House at Art Centre”

Labour take the campaign to save our Children’s Centres to the heart of Westminster

Tuesday, 31 October 2017
Kathrine See with Tracey Brabin MP

Last week brought the revelation that Somerset County Council had already held a “Soft Marketing” event back in September and has a current advertisement on their procurement website asking for expressions of interest, from private providers, in running the 0-19 years services.

Leader of the County Council David Fothergill accused Labour of playing party politics and was reported as saying that there wasn’t a shred of evidence. However, on Monday West Somerset Labour’s secretary Kathrine See had a meeting in Parliament with the Shadow Minister for Early Years, Tracy Brabin, where a document was handed over proving that Virgin Care and several other private providers had attended the Council’s procurement event. Continue reading “Labour take the campaign to save our Children’s Centres to the heart of Westminster”

Corbyn Visits Wells Constituency

Friday, 27 October 2017

Jeremy Corbyn and the Shadow Minister for Disabled People, Marsha De Cordova came to Pilton to open the new affordable homes to be run by the Guinness Trust built on land donated by Michael Eavis. Michael is aiming to build 50 homes by the 50th anniversary of the Glastonbury Festival.

Today he was opening 15 new homes in Margaret Bondfield Close. Margaret Bondfield CH PC (1873- 1953) was a British Labour politician, trades unionist and women’s rights activist. She became the first female cabinet minister, and the first woman to be a privy counsellor in the UK, when she was appointed Minister of Labour in the Labour government of 1929–31. She had earlier become the first woman to chair the General Council of the Trades Union Congress (TUC). Continue reading “Corbyn Visits Wells Constituency”

Revealed! Hidden Tory plan to privatise Somerset children’s services

Monday, 23 October 2017
Labour’s Kathrine See with her kids

Somerset Labour can reveal that a hidden agenda of privatisation lies behind Tory plans to close 16 children’s centres in Somerset. A document from the county council says it is looking for “market providers” to run all children’s services from 2019.

 Somerset County Council (SCC) is currently running a public consultation on its plans to integrate children’s services, including health visitors and children’s centres. As part of the plan, the current 24 children’s centres in the county would be cut to eight hubs.  But people taking part in the consultation have not been told that the ultimate objective is for SCC to give up responsibility for all children’s services and to hand them over to the private sector. Continue reading “Revealed! Hidden Tory plan to privatise Somerset children’s services”