What powers would a Labour Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority have, and how could it be transformed?

I am pleased to share, in full, this excellent, well-referenced and thorough analysis of the mayoralty of the West Midlands Combined Authority within a socialist (UK Labour Party) context.

Birmingham Against The Cuts

There are now three Labour candidates for West Midlands Metro Mayor – Liam Byrne, Pete Lowe and Salma Yaqoob.

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Labour Homelessness Campaign West Mids Launch 7pm Friday 23 August

I reblog this to share and pass on to others who might be interested.
I reblog it because the figures, which speak for themselves, might cause a sane and civilised individual to read it twice, just to be sure they read correctly. The United Kingdom is not (yet) a third world economy; rather one of the wealthiest nations on earth. This appears to be the case on the back of an increasing number of persons dispossessed, homeless, sub nourished or for whom National Insurance, into which the waged and salaried have paid since 1948, has failed. It is shameful.
The shameless architects of this misery continue to skim off the cream.

Birmingham Against The Cuts

thumbnail_Screenshot_20190806-212700_Yahoo Mail

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Support the Council’s Declaration of a Climate Emergency, but say No to plans to sell off allotments

The title of the article says it all: it would be difficult to argue against the pressing nature of climate emergency – POTUS excepted. Divesting accountable public control of green spaces available as allotment gardens seems a strange bedfellow to acknowledgment of a climate emergency, given that allotments offer near to carbon neutral fruit and vegetable sourcing, a green sink for Carbon dioxide, not forgetting health benefits from wielding the spade, rake and hoe. If there are allotment gardens fallen into desuetude, surely it would be better to promote their uptake than sell the estate off for who knows what purpose. Business parks or inaffordable housing one might suppose?

Birmingham Against The Cuts

At the City Council’s meeting on June 11 a resolution calling for a Declaration of a Climate Emergency from Extinction Rebellion, the Green Party and other climate change activists was passed with all-party support.

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To Prorogue, pro & con.

Proroguing the UK Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit, against the will of the UK Parliament.
Tell me more.

I reblogged a piece from Pride’s Purge recently.

My friend The Secular Jurist requested, quite rightly, further information upon which to form a judgement, in the form of questions.

Rather than repeat the words of those whose wisdom I have sought, I will provide links to sources rather more authoritative than I am. I hope that the following will provide a degree of enlightenment on this vexed topic.

Please read one, or some, or all these pieces. I think that one will find that they all point in the same direction; namely, that while proroguing Parliament is an annual event to tidy and reset the process of government, proroguing Parliament for the purpose of pushing through primary legislation of a contentious nature is a rare occurrence, one that pushes against the boundaries of the unwritten constitution underpinning the process and procedure of legislature in the United Kingdom.

Since everything in the Houses of Commons and of the Lords is ritualised, there is little happening therein which cannot but be regarded as symbolic.

A read through any of the linked sources will reveal the grave concern of many that the use of this power, or perhaps loss of power, to push through something against the will of our sovereign government, could cause catastrophic constitutional problems.

A previous Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has raised the possibility that the next Prime Minister might be the last. Another former PM, Sir John Major, has vowed to fight this matter through the courts. Of course, the Queen is above challenge; the PM is not.

Adding to the brew are those government Members of Parliament who are beginning to resign so that they are free to vote against their 274 colleagues on the “List of Shame.”

Sir Alan Duncan, a Foreign Office minister, has resigned in the last two hours. It is widely expected that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, second only to the Prime Minister, will soon be resigning on the issue of Boris Johnson becoming PM and taking these extraordinary measures to subvert the will of the elected, sovereign government.

In this, it should be remembered that one of the claims promulgated in support of the British Exit from the European Union was the return of sovereignty to the UK Parliament; this rings hollow when one of the chief architects of the British Exit will, on his elevation to Prime Minister, subvert the will of Parliament.

As a final note, the Prime Minister will have been elected by approximately 0.25% of the population.

I just wish we had more sun here and that the bananas grew liberally on trees here.

Continue reading “To Prorogue, pro & con.”

Is your MP on this List of Shame? The 274 MPs who voted to allow suspension of parliament

My MP is on this list; dismal, isn’t it. They are not alone in their belief that the ends justify the means. Nor are they alone in their moral bankruptcy.
O tempora! O mores!

Pride's Purge

Here’s a full list of the disgraceful anti-democratic MPs who voted against stopping the ‘proroguing’ of parliament.

In other words, they supported the suspension of parliament – and themselves – to allow a Prime Minister to dictate whatever he likes without the democratic controls and scrutiny of MPs and parliament.

Conservative (262)
Adams, Nigel
Selby and Ainsty

Afolami, Bim
Hitchin and Harpenden

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Allan, Lucy

Amess, Sir David
Southend West

Andrew, Stuart

Argar, Edward

Atkins, Victoria
Louth and Horncastle

Bacon, Mr Richard
South Norfolk

Badenoch, Mrs Kemi
Saffron Walden

Baker, Mr Steve

Baldwin, Harriett
West Worcestershire

Barclay, Stephen
North East Cambridgeshire

Baron, Mr John
Basildon and Billericay

Bellingham, Sir Henry
North West Norfolk

Beresford, Sir Paul
Mole Valley

Berry, Jake
Rossendale and Darwen

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Dear Teachers… please vote to boycott!

Let Our Kids Be Kids

Dear Teachers,

Every year around this time we hear that your profession is desperate to get rid of high stakes tests like SATs.  Every year we are reminded that these tests are NOT good for our children, that they serve them no purpose and that they are pointless and damaging to children, to teachers and to schools.  Every year we read stories which fill us with sorrow and anger that this system has not yet been fixed.

Every year parents contact us with stories centred around mental health – children self harming or being diagnosed with school related anxiety. Every year there are accounts of children being asked to sit tests with sick buckets at their side or whilst infected with chicken pox or even in a hospital bed. This year the most heartbreaking headline must be of a family told to bring their 11 year old into school to…

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SATs Boycott 2019

It would be good to see these dreadful, stressful, pointless obstacles shrivel and vanish. If widespread boycotting hastens this, so much the better.

Let Our Kids Be Kids

Parents around the country are fed up of waiting for action to be taken against SATs, despite the mounting evidence of the damage they cause to children and to schools, and so are taking matters into their own hands. Individuals and groups are boycotting SATs in 2019 – the map represents those who have let us know their intention.

The map is by no means representative of all boycott action – many parents would rather not identify themselves and will simply not send their children to school on SAT test days.

Year 6 SATs take place the week beginning 13th May, Year 2 SATs can take place at any time in May.

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Birmingham May Day 2019 by Daniel Keeler

I am glad that May Day / International Workers’ Day is still celebrated in Birmingham. It is a few years (decades) since I marched, some years with a banner, some years without. The atmosphere was always warm, even the police enjoyed it!

Birmingham Clarion Singers

“Is a new world possible?”

asked Ian Scott, introducing Birmingham’s May Day event on Saturday 4th May.

He described the origins of International Workers’ Day as: ‘”Standing on the shoulders of others”, those that have worked hard for change before us; the eight-hour working day, for example. Organised labour never has never been welcomed, and it is inclement on us to build a better future.

The guest speaker, Arthur Scargill, was sadly unable to attend due to illness, but John Tyrell, President of the Socialist Labour Party, spoke in his place. He remembered 1972, when 50,000 trade union members marched at Saltley gate in support of the miners. It was a lesson in solidarity.

Bridget Green, from W.A.S.P.I. (Women Against Pension Injustice) noted that since its introduction for men and women in 1909, the state pension age has been raised twice, forcing many to continue in work. By 2011, pension…

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All schools must teach about LGBT equality: what should the Council do to support them?

Birmingham Against The Cuts

Go into any primary school classroom and you’ll hear teachers and children talking about families.

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