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”

“Devastating” job cuts and closures in Skills and Learning – despite funding U-turn

Monday, 16 October 2017
Minehead ‘Skills and Learning’ centre

Labour is calling for a new review of the funding for Somerset Skills and Learning (SS&L) after it emerged that it is proposing the closure of six centres and more than 50 staff redundancies. A government U-turn which gave back to SS&L £2 million in lost funding has not been enough to secure the future.

SS&L was hit with a 97% funding cut in September. But after a campaign by Labour and others it was then given 75% of its required funding as “transitional” funds. However, this still left the company almost £1 million short. People booked on to adult education courses are still waiting to hear whether they will go ahead. They have been told that courses with enough students to be viable will start this term. Continue reading ““Devastating” job cuts and closures in Skills and Learning – despite funding U-turn”

Children’s Centre Consultation Flawed says Labour

Friday, 6 October 2017


Labour’s Kathrine See “Not a proper consultation”

Labour is urging people across Somerset to take part in a county council consultation about the future of children’s centres. But it’s warning those who respond to be careful – as the consultation seems designed to win support for the Conservative council’s preferred option.

 Somerset County Council (SCC) wants to downgrade most of the children’s centres in the county, reducing the number of designated Sure Start centres from 24 to just eight. That would be a huge cut from the 41 centres set up under the Labour government in 2005.

The leader of the Labour group on SCC, Leigh Redman, said: “Any closure of a children’s centre is a bad thing. I urge people to take part in this consultation.” Continue reading “Children’s Centre Consultation Flawed says Labour”

Labour Lives : No 3 JOHN TURNER

Sunday, 1 October 2017

For more than 50 years John Turner has been a towering figure in Labour politics in Bridgwater.He has a street named after him, a room in the Town Hall named after him, he’s a ‘Freeman of the Town’, a former Mayor, a former Borough Councillor, Sedgemoor District Councillor and still a Town Councillor, an ex-Trades Union leader, an ex-Magistrate and , probably most important to him, an ex-Matelot.

John Turner was first elected to Bridgwater Borough Council in 1961, continued onto its successor councils Sedgemoor District (1974) and Bridgwater Town (2003). Throughout this time he never lost an election and for most of it he was the Leader. Continue reading “Labour Lives : No 3 JOHN TURNER”

Saved! Adult education classes to start as funding is restored after Labour campaign

Sunday, 1 October 2017
County Labour Leader Leigh Redman “Campigning against the cuts”

Labour’s campaign to save adult education in Somerset has won a significant victory. The government has found millions of pounds more for SS&L (Somerset Skills and Learning). Classes due to start this term will now go ahead.

 SS&L is to receive about £2.5 million. That’s 75 per cent of the money it says it needs and a massive improvement on the £110,000 it was told it would be getting. SS&L said: “Some funding has been allocated, although not the full amount we bid for. It does allow us to move forward however. Good news!” Continue reading “Saved! Adult education classes to start as funding is restored after Labour campaign”