Harry’s Story

When Harry Truscott from Beverley decided to follow a career as a health care professional, he believed he was pursuing a path with real prospects.

He applied to study at the University of Leeds and is currently halfway through his course.  What he didn’t bank on was the government making changes to his bursary which would mean him graduating in 2018 with a mountain of debt.

In 2015 he voted Tory. On June 8th he will be voting Labour. 

He admits that personal considerations have played a part in him switching but his main fears surround the future of the NHS itself.

Speaking today he said, ‘ I’m really worried that if the Tories get back in, it will lead to the undoing of the Health Service. I speak to health professionals every day and hear first hand evidence of how it’s being starved of funds. My personal circumstances have brought it home to me.’

He went on, ‘I’m switching my vote to Labour because I believe it’s our only chance of ensuring that the future of our National Health Service is guaranteed.  I’ll admit if I was to apply now for my degree under current Tory rules, I would be looking at a different career. That’s why I and many of my colleagues will be voting Labour on June 8th.’

View from the Humber bridge

It’s been a challenging year in Yorkshire and the Humber.   The big national issues are played out regularly on our regional stage.   Brexit, the Northern powerhouse, Devolution, cuts in health care, education and local authority budgets are all making the news.

But none was as devastating as the loss of one of our new MPs.   Yorkshire and the Humber Labour was left reeling as Jo Cox from Batley and Spen was murdered by a racist thug only a week before the EU referendum.   We still haven’t fully recovered.  Some probably never will.

But the fallout from Brexit exposed big divisions across the region.  Leeds, Harrogate and York voted Remain but Hull, Sheffield, Wakefield, Bradford, Rotherham all voted Leave.  Across the region the Leave vote came out on top.   The debate goes on but with major EU based employers like Siemens expanding production in Hull and the area’s historic EU trading links there are real fears for job security and future investment.

Continue reading “View from the Humber bridge”

Labour as a Brexit Party – a policy reached from the wrong assumptions?

So … exactly when did the Labour Party become a political party that supported Brexit? We had two successive National Conferences that strongly supported first, the view that the UK should remain in the EU (2015) and secondly, post referendum, that “[Conference] recognises that many of those who voted to leave the EU were expressing dissatisfaction with EU or national policy and were voting for change, but believes that unless the final settlement proves to be acceptable then the option of retaining EU membership should be retained,” the motion says. “The final settlement should therefore be subject to approval, through Parliament and potentially through a general election or a referendum.

But Labour’s National Executive Committee subsequently stated that the motion was passed due to an error in compositing and was not party policy. “Conference policy on Brexit has been misinterpreted in some reports as committing Labour to a second referendum on UK membership for the EU, so for the avoidance of doubt we want to make clear that it is not our policy”.

“We have called for the government to be transparent and inclusive in their process and to respect rights at work and other protections that the EU provided. Those issues will be our focus in holding the Tory government to account.”

Continue reading “Labour as a Brexit Party – a policy reached from the wrong assumptions?”

THE GOVERNMENT’S “GOLD STANDARD” REGULATION OF ONSHORE FRACKING 

To allay public anxiety of the dangers of onshore ‘fracking’ the govt insists that regulation by the bodies involved – the Environment Agency (EA), the Health and Safety Executive, (HSE), Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) and Public Health England (PHE) is of a ‘Gold Standard’ quality.

To this end, ‘drop-in’ meetings have been organised in areas where development licences (PEDLs) for ‘fracking’  have already been issued. The purpose of these meetings is to inform members of the public what the various agency roles will be in the regulation of onshore fracking in the UK.

The primary responsibility for regulating High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (HVHF) – the unconventional method used for drilling for shale gas, lies with the EA and HSE.

As a concerned member of Frack Free East Yorkshire, I went along to this ‘drop-in’ to try, by questioning their representatives, to uncover a few details about their respective regulatory roles.

FrackFreeEY.jpeg

Continue reading “THE GOVERNMENT’S “GOLD STANDARD” REGULATION OF ONSHORE FRACKING “

JUST WHAT IS GOING ON IN OUR PRISONS?

Dermot Rathbone's Blog

Yesterday saw mass walkouts across Her Majesty’s prison estate. Up to 10,000 members of the Prison Officers Association were forced to defy convention and take industrial action. Cuts officer numbers is causing Health and Safety standards to plummet leaving POA members and support staff vulnerable to attacks.

prison

The surprise for those who take an interest in our prisons (another area where politicians have shirked responsibility)  was that it has taken six years for this routine atmosphere of violence to arise. During the writing of, “Through Red Lenses” we interviewed a senior Prison Deputy Governor at a large Northern jail. The officer told us that if the coalition implemented the promised 20% funding cut then there would be, “widespread disorder” within 18 months. “Thank goodness for the recent cell by cell roll out of cheap tellies, otherwise we’d be stuffed in a week!”

 At the time…

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LABOUR PARTY MEMBERS SUPPORTING ANTI- FRACKING

 

frackfreeeyIn the Spring of 2014, Beverley Branch Labour Party invited a Beverley resident, Jon Mager, to speak about the site being developed by Rathlin Energy to explore for gas at Crawberry Hill, close to Walkington.

Several of us were able to visit the site. We began to support the people who were camping on the verge, many of whom came from elsewhere as part of the protest against Rathlin

The protectors had to be supported – they needed food, bottled water, hammers, wood, sleeping bags etc were donated. There was a sense of industry whenever we called in; there was also a real welcome, with immediate cups of tea. Sharing prevailed.

The protectors were constantly vigilant for the arrival of heavy plant for drilling. There was a real sense that the company would begin fracking, with its attendant dangers to the health of the nation and that of the wildlife. Some of our banners and placards, displayed to passing motorists, cyclists and walkers pleaded ‘Keep it in the ground!’

image0025The summer at Crawberry was beautiful and the protectors created something of a home for themselves, with a kitchen, a store for donated food, a cosy dwelling-place with a wood burner, known as ‘the static’, information boards and a garden. Those sheltering didn’t allow themselves to stay comfortable for long: the protectors carried whistles and some took positions up on a sturdy tower. At a signal the static was emptied and the protectors took up their place at the Rathlin gate. Those watching for probable drill-carrying vehicles had been alerted. This state of watchfulness was maintained through all the days and nights, by the protectors.

Drama abounded at Crawberry, none more acute than on one of those beautiful mornings when there was a glorious sunrise which turned the road pink. In complete contrast to the beauty that nature provided, bailiffs arrived and cleared the protectors and the public from the ERYC’s verge. Every useful thing that had been put in place to ensure the land would not be fracked was removed. Many items of personal property were lost.

Continue reading “LABOUR PARTY MEMBERS SUPPORTING ANTI- FRACKING”

PARTY OF PROTEST OR PARTY OF POWER

Party of protest or party of power?

David Sweet

I want to start with the proposition that Labour is unelectable, but this has nothing to do with Jeremy Corbyn.

The EU Referendum result has radically altered the political landscape disturbing a relatively romantic view many on the Left have of the British electorate. On June 23rd this electorate became the Elect. All of us now live under its rule, and its vision of a future Britain.

This might not be too much of a problem except for one thing: though the Referendum question was a straight choice between out and in, it was universally interpreted, or refracted, as a massive vote against immigration.

It is possible to have misgivings about immigration, maybe because it drives down pay and creates pressures on local public services. If this is the case enforcing the minimum wage and devoting more funding to areas with a high immigrant population can meet such problems. However, it wasn’t a vote against ‘real’ but rather imagined or virtual immigration, which cannot be countered by taking practical measures.

Evidence for the impact of the myth of immigration can be found in the analysis of the large Leave vote in the Home Counties and the North East. Both areas have very low numbers of foreign-born individuals, 2% in the case of the North East. They can’t experience immigration at first hand, yet they are convinced it has a negative effect on their daily lives, and that immigrant numbers must be reduced.

The favoured line is that we must not use terms like racist or xenophobic to describe the motivation of the Leavers who are ‘ordinary people’. As progressives, we like to believe that levels of racism and xenophobia in British society have declined in past years. On the other hand, we would admit that there is perhaps a hardcore group who continue to display these prejudices. Members of this group would have definitely voted out in order to reduce immigration, but they are a minority, we might hope. The rest of the Leave voters insist that they are ordinary people, and are not racist or xenophobic. The problem is that they voted ‘out’ for exactly the same reasons as the bigots and ultra nationalists. Whatever their supposedly reasonable beliefs, their actions are the same as those of racists and xenophobes, even though they might claim that they are not.

When casting their votes on June 23rd they may have done so convinced, like Boris Johnson, they would be on the losing side. But they won; they are the majority. Continue reading “PARTY OF PROTEST OR PARTY OF POWER”