Get to know your Cotswolds Labour executive team
Chair of Cotswolds Constituency Labour Party, Terry Perryman from Chedworth is determined to see Labour both lead and harness its goals to an ever-changing world, Terry writes that the key to achieving our aims is Party unity:
“As a recently-returned member I have been very much welcomed, and now elected as Chair. From my earlier position ‘outside’ it very much looked as though something new was emerging from inside the Party. Rather like a chrysalis, you weren’t quite sure what it would be – butterfly or praying mantis? There was a lot of ‘banging about’ – but now it looks very much like a butterfly. We know about butterflies in the Cotswolds – so let’s all get together and help it take wing!
It is clear that there are unexpected political upheavals which seem to have roots in ‘rustbelts’ everywhere – areas subject to globalisation and de-industrialisation, where people ‘rust’ and decline as jobs move to cheaper climes or are automated. Labour must have a clear, new dynamic economic policy to respond to this.
I would hope in 2017 we hear “Economics, Economics Economics” so voters believe Labour has a good, workable and – yes – ‘radical’ plan to address it in these key areas:
– Breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence – especially ‘deep learning’ – mean mental labour is increasingly replaceable: this means accountants, solicitors, and many other professionals. It’s being called the fourth industrial revolution – but this time there is little sign of the creation of different ranges of jobs: little indication of replacement of ‘peasants’ by a vast ‘industrial proletariat’.
– We can cure the housing crisis. An Australian company has designed a construction robot which can build a house in two days. But how many construction workers will go? There are about 313,000 in London alone.
– Let’s nationalise the railways – by the time we do, the trains are likely to be self-driving. So how about train driver jobs?
I’d like to see in 2017 a plan for this – and the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) is one possible response. Let’s say Hi to that too!”
Our CLP Treasurer Dave Sutherland from Siddington spells out what must be done if we are to once again serve the needs of the people who are in most need of a Labour government:
“Let’s start with the obvious thing: We need to show unity at all levels after what has been a dreadful year in so many ways. That won’t be easy; strong and sincerely-held views and passions have abounded and we have been inconsistent as an Opposition as a result.
As we await the emergence of new leaders to bring credibility to our arguments and policies, and reconnect with those once seen as our natural supporters, we must reach out to other parties and forces and build a progressive coalition to avoid a Tory hegemony.
We must insist every day of every week that a strong, well-funded NHS is an essential benchmark in measuring ourselves as a civilised society.
We must strengthen our ties with socialist parties, in the rest of Europe and beyond, as part of an internationalist resistance to the rise of right-wing nationalism, anti-migrant sentiment and the re-awakening of forces we had hoped were long since banished to the history books in modern democracies.”
Vice-Chair of the CLP, Dittany Morgan from Cirencester, writes: “I would like to see the Party unite behind our elected leader. I believe we will get to 10 Downing Street again, but not with centre-right politics. The Party must stand behind Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell and bring socialism back once and for all.
We must carry on fighting the Tories’ terrible, failed austerity, and transform the DWP: no wonder unemployment figures are low – people would rather take awful jobs than contend with the benefits system.
We must fight for more social housing: ‘affordable housing’ means nothing except profits for fat-cat landlords.
We must work harder than ever for our NHS: the Tories will be rid of it by 2020 if we don’t prepare ourselves for an election with Corbyn, and forget all our infighting.
I believe there may be an election in 2017: let’s all prepare locally and nationally to achieve our aim of being the next government. This is a ‘post-truth’ age. Corbyn is present truth. Let’s make him PM.”
Focusing on the need to reach out to all new Labour Party members and draw on their strength is the ambition of our CLP Women’s Officer Ayesha Noonan from Cirencester, who writes: “In 2017 I would like to see The Labour Party uniting at all levels, to reach out and engage the millions who need a Labour government.
Labour needs to focus on core policy being heard and understood by all the voters we need to win a General Election. The Tories are in a complete mess and the cracks are starting to show. Labour must be ready to step up to the plate when they inevitably fail at Brexit.
All of the new members need to be welcomed and encouraged in a well-organised and fully inclusive strategy to take the message out to the people who need us most.”
Our CLP Secretary Mark Huband from Brimscombe writes: “With the Government determined to prevent our MPs playing their democratic role in the negotiations over Brexit, the nation’s most senior judges described as ‘enemies of the people’ for upholding the law, and the population so divided on issues ranging from the role of ‘experts’ to Britain’s place in the world, our Party’s civilizing role has rarely been more important.
This coming year will be decisive in our Party’s history. Whether or not there is a General Election, our relevance as a Party whose vision has the credibility to contend with the populist challenge now stalking our country and the world, is the test we face.
My hope is that in 2017 we will see our leadership strengthen our Party at Westminster and heal the divisions of the leadership contest. My hope is that Labour will not be cast into the wilderness by a failure to provide the civilized alternative to populism. My hope is that Labour’s vision for the future will become clear, will take root across the country, and will transform us into a party of government.”
Vice-Chair for Membership of the CLP, Pam Perryman from Chedworth, writes: “Labour needs to unify in genuine support of its present leadership by ensuring the parliamentary party represents the views of the membership. This not only includes devolution of decision making, but also dissemination of information. Even something as basic as the party rules are difficult to find!
As the cornerstone of its other policies it is good to know that Labour is ‘ironing out’ its ‘new’ economic policy, putting re-distribution of wealth along with free education and a free health service at the top of the list for combatting inequality.
Finding new ways to involve new (and ‘old’) members should be a priority. Making full use of social media, offering workshops on all major issues and linking these locally and globally, could be a way of retaining members and harnessing their interests and abilities.
Labour needs to ensure that all the hard-won rights of the people remain in place despite the Brexit vote. As part of this it may need to engage with the public through educational initiatives on the workings of the EU, its policies and their effects.
Finally, I feel it is more important than ever to have skills-based learning around the use of digital technology, discussions on its enormous transformative effects, and how this will impinge on work, trade unions, society and ultimately socialist politics.”
Our Youth Officer Tom Chapman from Moreton-in-Marsh writes: “In 2017 I want to see Labour ensure it does not take its members and supporters for granted; a lot of members on paper is fantastic, but we are in danger of neglecting and alienating many who could be a part of the Labour family if we don’t make an effort to reach out to people beyond our current tent.
More and more young people are getting involved in our Party, and Labour needs to recognise how important the empowerment of young people is to the future of both Party and country.
Primarily, Labour needs to focus on winning power. But this is out of reach without building as broad-a coalition of support as possible, while speaking louder for young people.
For Labour to win, we need real policies: an early election is not impossible, and IOUs on fleshed-out policies is not going to convince anyone we’re ready for government. The Tories are clearly in disarray but Labour will only be in a position to benefit if it presents a clear alternative, on which I hope to see progress in 2017.”