Hello everyone. My name is Phil Crooks, and as of our October meeting I'm the new Secretary of South West Bedfordshire CLP.
I'm from Leighton Buzzard and I was our CLP's delegate to this year's Conference. For the last two and a half years I've been the acting Trade Union Liaison Officer for South West Beds, and in my day job I'm an Usdaw shop steward and branch officer. Certainly I know how to keep myself busy! It's been striking to me just how much goes into keeping the CLP running behind the scenes, so I can't praise Mike and Marko highly enough for their hard work keeping the operation running effectively. I hope that I can carry on in their stellar example.
Having properly introduced myself, I want to tell you about what's going here on this website. Of late it's not received the attention I'd like to have been able to give it for a variety of reasons. Over the next few weeks, the plan is for that to change. I will be looking to rebuild the website from the ground up, to make it a better tool to help us do what we're all here to do -- hold the Tories to account, spread our vision for Britain, and put Labour into government. Obviously that's going to take some time to do.
So, for the moment, this website is officially under construction. There will be more frequent news updates through our Facebook pages for the CLP as a whole, Leighton-Linslade and Dunstable & Houghton Regis branches, and our youth section in Chiltern Young Labour. Thanks for bearing with us as we get to grips with this. I'm very much looking forward to showing you our work here when it's done!
Hello everyone. My name is Phil Crooks, and as of our October meeting I'm the new Secretary of South West Bedfordshire CLP. I'm from Leighton Buzzard and I was our...
Budget cuts to Bedfordshire Police are now threatening children’s safety from reckless road users. Houghton Regis Town Councillor Tim Welch reports:
“On Monday 9th I picked up my sons from Queensbury School at the end of the day. As I was waiting in my car, a motorbike with two young male riders rode up very close behind me, mounted the kerb and rode up the pavement, nearly colliding with several members of the public. A second bike then followed, with another two male riders.
“When I called the police they told me that they had already had many reports of these riders. Later on, as I was speaking with Queensbury’s principal on the roadside, the bikes passed by on the pavement again, narrowly missing children. At the same time a police patrol car passed the school, without stopping to assess the situation or apprehend the dangerous riders. I phoned the police again while the principal kept watch, and was told that this was not considered urgent and that no officer was available to patrol the area surrounding the school.
“Bedfordshire Chief Constable Boucher has already told us that budget cuts have left the police without the resources they need to protect Bedfordshire’s citizens -- budget cuts that the Tories have imposed in the name of austerity. Now it seems that our police are so badly starved of resources that even reckless riders endangering our children can’t be considered an urgent matter. Will it take children’s deaths to compel the Tories to give our police the funding they need to protect our communities?”
Budget cuts to Bedfordshire Police are now threatening children’s safety from reckless road users. Houghton Regis Town Councillor Tim Welch reports: “On Monday 9th I picked up my sons...
Following a committee vote on June 10th, Leighton-Linslade Town Council has recently announced its intention to make a number of key changes to our town market. Most notably these include the relocation of all existing market stalls to the north side of the High Street, and the shrinking of various stalls to fit the new allocation.
Consumer shopping habits are changing rapidly. In an age when almost any product is available for cheap and convenient delivery from an online vendor, both the traditional charter market and small town-centre shops are becoming an endangered species. So we must, and do, recognise that these must continue to adapt to the marketplace as it changes around them, in order to stay in business.
However, the Town Council’s approach to revitalising our market seems to work at cross purposes. We believe the council when they say they wish to see our historic market perform better; that goal is shared by all concerned. But the council proposes to uproot small businesspeople from market stalls that they and their families have held, in some cases, for decades. They will force traders in the same field, such as greengrocers, to directly compete with each other cheek by jowl. And they will require grocers, butchers and fishmongers to store and sell their wares in constant sunlight in the hottest hours of the day.
All of this incurs needless extra business expense, on top of recent increases in small business rates. It puts our market's future at risk, and with it the readily available and affordable local produce upon which many local people rely. And, in reducing the size of the market and thus the customer footfall it attracts, it threatens a key revenue stream that many of our High Street shops depend on to survive.
We believe that these proposals amount to an ill-advised attempt at gentrification, harming our local community and a fundamental part of our town's heritage. We strongly urge Leighton-Linslade Town Council to reconsider the matter.
Following a committee vote on June 10th, Leighton-Linslade Town Council has recently announced its intention to make a number of key changes to our town market. Most notably these include...
Labour’s shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, said that concerns had been repeatedly raised over the NHS’s outdated computer systems. Both the NCSC and the National Crime Agency had given repeated warnings about their vulnerability.
Reports two years ago in The Guardian revealed that the government had decided not to extend its £5.5m deal with Microsoft to provide support for Windows XP, leaving computers that still ran on the obsolete operating system at risk from hackers.
Jeremy Corbyn said "I am very angry that in 2014 there was a one-year renewal of the protection system on the NHS systems which was not renewed after that and not renewed the year after that, and so the systems are now not upgraded and not protected. As a result, we’ve got this dreadful situation that NHS workers are facing today.
We obviously support our NHS workers but I tell you this, a Labour government would not leave our NHS’s very vital information systems unprotected. We would protect them."
Government claims that patient care has been unaffected have been dismissed by doctors, nurses, pharmacists and patients. Meanwhile Jeremy Hunt hasn’t appeared to defend himself or acknowledge the criticism, leaving that to Home Secretary Amber Rudd.
Labour’s shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, said that concerns had been repeatedly raised over the NHS’s outdated computer systems. Both the NCSC and the National Crime Agency had given repeated...
Labour candidate Daniel Scott will debate the other three candidates for South West Bedfordshire in an open meeting at the Dunstable Conference Centre on Dunstable High Street. You can find the venue here. Join him from 7:30 to 9:30 pm on Monday 22nd May to support Labour in our area.
Labour candidate Daniel Scott will debate the other three candidates for South West Bedfordshire in an open meeting at the Dunstable Conference Centre on Dunstable High Street. You can find...
This is Dan's chance to challenge Andrew Selous' record and put his case for a better, Labour government. Please do go along and support him if you can.
This is Dan's chance to challenge Andrew Selous' record and put his case for a better, Labour government. Please do go along and support him if you can.
With Parliament now dissolved the general election campaign is in full swing. Dunstable and Houghton Regis Branch are looking to get our message out to voters in Dunstable this weekend and next.
Firstly, they have a campaign stall at Dunstable's market in Ashton Square this Saturday (13th) between 9 and 3. The Facebook event page for that is here.
Secondly, they are running an action day in Dunstable's Manshead ward on the 20th. The aim is to deliver as many leaflets as possible, and to make people aware of the local cuts we will experience under a potential new Conservative government. Volunteers will be out delivering leaflets between 1 and 4. If you can spare some time to help out, let them know at their Facebook page here.
With Parliament now dissolved the general election campaign is in full swing. Dunstable and Houghton Regis Branch are looking to get our message out to voters in Dunstable this weekend...
Daniel Scott has been selected as Labour’s candidate for the South West Bedfordshire constituency to stand in this June’s general election.
Daniel, pictured above with election agent Mike Bishop and party activist Ian Purvis, lives locally in Leighton Buzzard with his wife and two young children.
He is self-employed and runs a small business in Milton Keynes. He has served as a school governor and is currently treasurer of the local triathlon club.
Speaking after the selection, Daniel said:
Leighton Buzzard is my home and I am proud to be standing again as Labour’s candidate in this general election.
"This Tory government has overseen the biggest cuts to our public services in a generation. The NHS and social care is in crisis, our schools are struggling under the weight of the budget cuts and cuts to police budgets are putting our safety at risk.
People here in South West Bedfordshire need a local representative that will put them first. I will work tirelessly between now and June to let local people know that this general election will be a choice between a Labour Party that will stand up for the people of South West Beds or a Conservative Party that only looks after the privileged few."
Election Agent SW Bedfordshire Constituency Labour Party
18 Jupiter Drive
Daniel Scott has been selected as Labour’s candidate for the South West Bedfordshire constituency to stand in this June’s general election. Daniel, pictured above with election agent Mike Bishop and...
Usdaw, the shopworkers' union, is holding its Annual Delegate Meeting in Blackpool this weekend. Our trade union liaison committee chair Phil Crooks was there, and spoke in support of his branch's motion to lobby government for better support for victims of domestic abuse. Here below is the full text of his speech:
'President, Conference, good morning. Phil Crooks, C076, Home Counties Tesco Retail One. First time delegate and speaker.
“This ADM calls upon the Executive Council to lobby the government of the day to legislate for the provision of greater workplace support for people who have suffered or who are suffering any form of domestic abuse, particularly through the introduction of proper support schemes in all workplaces.”
According to Home Office figures, domestic abuse accounts for sixteen per cent of all reported violent crime, but is the least likely to be reported to police.
It has more repeat victims than any other crime. On average, a victim will have been assaulted thirty-five times before they seek help.
It is the single most commonly given reason for becoming homeless.
It leads, on average, to the murder of two women a week, and to the murder of thirty men a year.
Studies estimate that it doubles the risk of clinical depression among those whom it afflicts.
And, over the course of an average lifetime, it will afflict one in four women and one in six men.
The victims of domestic abuse come from all walks of life. All ages, all races, all genders, all classes, all sexualities. They are our parents, our siblings, our children, our friends, our colleagues. Most of the people in this room will feel the impact of domestic abuse on their lives -- either on themselves, or on someone close to them.
It is a scourge on our society, against which we have a duty to fight.
We fight it by educating people to recognise the hallmarks of abusive relationships.
We fight it by fitting the punishment of abuse to the wreckage left behind by the crime.
And we fight it by empowering those going through it to seek help.
It is this last point - of empowerment - that this proposition seeks to address.
In the earliest stages, as a relationship turns abusive, the abuser will often seek to isolate their victim. Removing access to support structures that might interfere.
The abuser might forbid their victim from going out, or from contact with friends and family. They might try to control what their victim wears, what their victim eats. They might deny their victim space -- constantly texting and calling them, checking on where they are, what they are doing, who they are with.
They might seek to sow doubt in their victim’s mind, manipulating them into second-guessing their memory, their perception, even their very sanity -- a technique known as “gaslighting.”
They might make decisions for their victim without any discussion or input or consent.
All to remove the victim’s control over their own life.
It is at this early stage that we, at work - and our employers - have the best opportunity to intervene.
Any organisation in this country that employs people owes them a legal duty of care - to protect their health and safety in the workplace to the best of their ability. I believe - I suspect not alone - that our employers also owe us a moral duty of care. Of concern for our welfare outside the workplace.
If only as a practical matter. An employee who fears for their safety at home is much less likely to be able to do the job they are paid to do. It is in our employers’ interest to work to provide their employees with help and support in their wider lives. Concern for workers’ welfare is part of a progressive tradition that includes the Co-operative Movement, John Cadbury’s establishment of Bournville, or the London Brick Company’s village of Stewartby back home in Bedfordshire.
My own employer, Tesco, certainly seems to hold this view. They offer an array of benefits to their staff aimed at helping them live healthier and happier lives. Benefits like discounted gym memberships and subsidised cycle-to-work schemes, aimed at improving our well-being both at work and outside it.
If one company in one sector can do this, then what could all of them do - together - across the workforce - against the horror of domestic abuse?
Support schemes need not be grand or paternalistic or even expensive. They could begin with something as simple as training staff to recognise the signs of abuse.
Or establishing systems by which an employee who is worried about a colleague can ask their managers to keep a closer eye on them, discreetly, in case they ever need help.
Or providing extra flexibility in work schedules to accommodate those who need a reason to be away from home and among people that they can trust.
Or, in the worst case, holding their job open for them, be it in their current workplace or on another site. Giving them the knowledge that, should they need to seek shelter from their abuser, they won’t have to worry about making ends meet.
That’s just four ideas, from one person, examining the issue from one perspective. There is no reason at all why the support schemes this proposition calls for cannot or should not help the people who most need them, while also remaining mindful of the needs of individual businesses. The balance is there to be found; all that’s needed is the will to do so.
The tragedy of domestic abuse is not just that it takes away the safety of home for the victim, but that it also robs them of a normal life outside it. Victims of domestic abuse spend their lives with one eye looking over their shoulder, waiting to see who is coming up behind them. Employers have the golden opportunity to help them watch their back, and so help them to live their lives again, the way all of us deserve to be able to.
Conference, today we have the chance to call upon government and business to live up to a moral duty. In doing so, not only could we improve our members’ lives, we could save our members’ lives.
I urge you to support.
Thank you, conference. I move.'
Usdaw, the shopworkers' union, is holding its Annual Delegate Meeting in Blackpool this weekend. Our trade union liaison committee chair Phil Crooks was there, and spoke in support of his...
As hard as we're going to work to challenge Andrew Selous here in South West Bedfordshire, if we want to form the next government then it isn't enough to win seats from the Tories -- we have to hold onto the seats we already have.
Gavin Shuker is the Labour Co-operative MP for Luton South, and he and our colleagues there face a difficult re-election battle. If we want to keep Luton South, it's vital that we speak to as many voters and supporters as possible. So Luton South's Labour and Cooperative parties are running door-knocking sessions across the constituency over the next week.
However much or little experience you might have on the doorstep, Gavin's going to need our help. So if you have a couple of hours over the next week please do go along and join them. They'll be out whatever the weather and full training will be provided to anyone who needs it. The dates, times, and meeting points are all below. Either click the right link to tell them you're coming, or just come along on the day.
When: Wednesday 26 April
Where: South ward - meeting at 3 Union Street.
When: Thursday 27 April
Where: High Town ward - meeting at Peoples Park car park on Havelock Road.
When: Friday 28 April
Where: Farley ward - meeting on the corner of Meyrick Avenue & Russell Rise.
See you out there!
As hard as we're going to work to challenge Andrew Selous here in South West Bedfordshire, if we want to form the next government then it isn't enough to win...