People of Highbridge Denied their ‘Promised Land’

Wednesday, 22 July 20202 Replies
We may not reach that promised land…..

Todays meeting of the Sedgemoor District Council Executive had the chance to review its decision to sell green open space at Lakeside, Highbridge to Coln Residential for a major housing development. Local councillors had ‘called in’ the original decision and the subject was reviewed at Corporate Scrutiny Committee which had recommended unanimously that the decision be relooked at. Residents and councillors of all parties united to try to save the land and spoke passionately at Scrutiny and again at Executive but everything fell on deaf ears and the 100% Tory Executive refused to budge on their original decision and the people of Highbridge were denied their ‘promised land’.  

Continue reading “People of Highbridge Denied their ‘Promised Land’”

Black Lives Matter – Statement from Wells CLP

Sunday, 19 July 2020Leave a reply
Black Lives Matter

Wells CLP send our solidarity and share in the grief of the family, friends and community of George Floyd in Minneapolis. We condemn the institutional and systemic racism that caused his death and continues to kill black people in the US and here in the UK. We stand for #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd. We say #BlackLivesMatter.

George Floyd’s death, and the deaths of hundreds of other members of the black community in
America, take place in a context of centuries of social deprivation and economic oppression that
have also been endured by other black communities across the globe. This utterly brutal and racist
act was the touch paper to ignite a revolt already simmering beneath the deepest processes of a
system built upon inequality and racism. Continue reading “Black Lives Matter – Statement from Wells CLP”

Important Scrutiny Victory Compels Sedgemoor Exec to ‘revisit’ Controversial Land Sale Decision

Thursday, 16 July 2020Leave a reply
Brian Smedley
Cllr Brian Smedley , Chairman of  Sedgemoor’s Corporate Scrutiny Committee

On Monday 13 July the Council’s Corporate Scrutiny Committee chaired by Sedgemoor Labour Leader Cllr Brian Smedley (Westover) reviewed the decision by the Executive to dispose of land at Lakeside, Isleport, Highbridge to Coln Residential, following the decision being called in. At the scrutiny meeting members of the public were able to raise their passionate  concerns to the Committee and after consideration the Corporate Scrutiny Committee supported the view that the Executive should be asked to reconsider their decision.

Cllr Smedley said “The committees decision was unanimous and I’m certain that the strength of feeling expressed by the residents and the ward councillors made all the difference. There was considerable concern that green land was being built on and wildlife habitats destroyed at the same time as the Council claims to be concerned about Climate Emergency and says it reflects this in its policies. Residents and rank and file councillors clearly had concerns about this. The other key point of concern was the apparent failure to give proper weight to the consultation process which showed massive opposition to the plans yet this seems to not have been given the same consideration or at best they’ve come to a rather odd interpretation of a 95% opposition. The next step will be to take this back to the Executive on July 22nd and see what the top table now has to say on the matter. Hopefully it will be some form of contrition and redress in favour of the residents.” Continue reading “Important Scrutiny Victory Compels Sedgemoor Exec to ‘revisit’ Controversial Land Sale Decision”

Putting Education at the Heart of Society?

Thursday, 18 June 2020

It seems like at this point in the lockdown that we as a nation are a long way off from putting education at the heart of society. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not speaking with one voice on this issue, as on many others. Yet it is now when a National Education Policy must be developed with strategies for each age-group on how learning can take place safely in a world easing itself into a post-pandemic phase. UCU member Irena Brezowski  believes there must be plans made for guiding young people – our future workforce – with strategies, ideas and crucially devolving the finances to help them build a better world.

There seems little evidence of this progressive planning in the current conversations about how to get young people meaningfully back to school. The divides between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ in society have opened up beyond all recognition. Those who have the essentials available to them – a ‘laptop, the internet, physical space to study at home and support from parents , siblings can continue to collect meaningful materials shared by schools. Those who don’t rely on poor internet connections, some even sourcing materials from parents mobiles phones over mobile data. Meanwhile the promised 230,000 laptops from the government for students with them are still nowhere to be seen. Continue reading “Putting Education at the Heart of Society?”

Are We Just Furloughing The Pain?

Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Cllr Hilary Bruce is currently furloughed but worries  that for some this might just be a ‘waiting room for unemployment’

As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). This temporary grant scheme was designed to help employers whose operations have been severely affected by COVID-19 to retain their employees (prevent redundancies) and protect the UK economy. It allowed all UK employers with employees on a PAYE scheme to designate those employees as ‘furloughed workers’ and receive a grant to cover 80% of their wages (up to a cap of £2,500 per month). The scheme, like most of the government’s response to COVID-19, has been a constantly evolving, never-ending story. Cllr Hilary Bruce investigates.

Announced by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak on 20th March 2020, it opened for claims on 20th April 2020 and was originally scheduled to finish at the end of June, but – to avoid spiralling job losses – on 17th April 2020 it was extended until the end of June and on 12th May 2020 it was further extended until the end of October. The latest changes were introduced on 12th June: here Continue reading “Are We Just Furloughing The Pain?”

Black Lives Matter

Sunday, 14 June 2020
Black Lives Matter -Brewery Field, Bridgwater 13.6.2020

A Black Lives Matter solidarity demonstration was held on the Brewery Fields in Bridgwater on Saturday 13th June, with a number of organisations and a wide range of ages attending. Social distancing was successfully maintained. A similar demonstration was held in Bridgewater, Massachusetts at the same time. The message was the same.

The murder of George Floyd by an American policeman has caused an international outcry and international determination to root out racism.  Britain is not innocent. Racism is a poison in the veins of our own society and we must join together to oppose it wherever it rears its ugly head. Racism can, and will be eliminated! We demand equality of treatment for all citizens, immediate and thorough investigation of hate crimes and an end, once and for all, of institutional racism.

Black Lives Matter -Bridgwater

In Bridgwater, we can be proud there are no statues of slave traders to topple; proud that Bridgwater was the first town, in 1785, to petition Parliament for the abolition of the Slave Trade.

We also celebrate the watery end of Bristol Slave-trader Edward Colston. Can this be the beginning of the end of ‘white-washing’ of our history?

In the UK today, it is not enough to be told that BAME people have suffered disproportionately from the Covid-19 pandemic, due, perhaps, to higher levels of poverty, and inadequate housing.  We need a government with the will to address these social ills.

Black Lives Matter Bridgewater

Racism is built into the system. We must all learn to recognise our own responsibilities in this and take action. It is not enough to be non-racist, we must be actively anti-racist

Bridgwater Together was established to celebrate and unite the different cultures now represented in Bridgwater, to overcome prejudice and negative stereotyping.

The following organisations were some of those who supported the Black Lives Matter solidarity demonstration in Bridgwater on Saturday 13th.

BRIDGWATER TOGETHER

BRIDGWATER & DISTRICT TRADES UNION COUNCIL

BRIDGWATER & WEST SOMERSET LABOUR PARTY

Contact: Andrew  07772304633

Black Lives Matter – Bridgwater (UK) to Bridgewater (USA)

 

Black Lives Matter

Saturday, 6 June 2020

Following the  killing of George Floyd by US Police last week a wave of protest swept not just that country but the whole world. And that includes Somerset. This weekend protests are planned in Bath (Sat 6th June) Yeovil (2pm Sunday 7th June) and Taunton (Friday 12th June). In Bridgwater, Labour councillors have also spoken out following the failure of MP Ian Liddell-Grainger to reply to his constituents. Olivia (22) from Dunwear ward in Bridgwater wrote to Somerset Labour saying “ In light of recent events I emailed the current Bridgwater MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger about the ways in which he can better support the Black Lives Matter movement and the black community in Bridgwater. Unfortunately I have not yet received a response and I do not have high hopes for one, therefore I am copy and pasting the email onto you guys. I will be grateful for any help that your voices can bring to this movement.”

Continue reading “Black Lives Matter”

Somerset Schools coming out of Lockdown-a risk which need not be taken.

Saturday, 30 May 2020
Currently empty schools could open from Monday

On June 1st some schools in Somerset will be receiving pupils who have not attended school since the Government introduced lockdown. Selected Year groups will be introduced to a different way of working, as social distancing is introduced to their school. Somerset County Council has relied on decisions being made locally at school leadership level while some Multi Academy Trusts have either made an announcement that their schools will be open on a certain date. Labour councillors are not happy with the decision believing it will be an anxious time for parents, carers and the school workforce and are backing teachers unions.

Robin Head Somerset NEU, made their position clear, saying “In line with the BMA and independent SAGE group we feel that wider opening of schools on this date presents a risk to the public which need not be taken. It absolutely agrees with the consensus that children should be in school, as much as soon as they can, however the conditions need to be as safe as they can be.” Continue reading “Somerset Schools coming out of Lockdown-a risk which need not be taken.”

Pressure Mounts on Tory MPs to Condemn Dominic Cummings

Monday, 25 May 2020
DC Hedges. Where will he appear next??

Calls for the  resignation of Tory PM Boris Johnson’s top adviser Dominic Cummings are coming in thick and fast from all spectrums of the Political world. Labour Leader Keir Starmer has  called for an inquiry into what he calls ‘an insult to the sacrifices made by the British people’ and now 15 Tory MPs have said they want an investigation while some are also calling for his resignation. The spotlight has now turned on Bridgwater and West Somerset MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger, who , only last week, recently called for people to ‘use our brains’  and saying “From now on we must behave thoughtfully and intelligently. If a family from Birmingham believe it is ok to drive all the way down to Exmoor for a dose of day-tripping then they really haven’t got the message.” As Tory Inboxes bulge at the seams with anger at the hypocrisy and double standards, Mr Liddell-Graingers constituents are now writing to him for his views

Continue reading “Pressure Mounts on Tory MPs to Condemn Dominic Cummings”

Labour Stands up for Key Workers

Saturday, 23 May 2020
Terry Ledlie with Labour deputy leader Angela Raynor

Over the years, the Government has attacked the terms and conditions of the key workers that they now rely upon to keep the economy moving. Rewind the clock back to before this pandemic started, nearly a decade ago in 2010 where the Tory and the Liberal coalition were born and the country saw massive cuts to public services whilst politicians refused to acknowledge NHS staff and with a pay freeze for almost a decade. Any worker to make a stand against the Austerity measures would be demonized as militant and any members of the working class who would join a union which chose to make a stand against austerity would be accused of being a left-wing extremist. Chairman of Yeovil Labour Party, Terry Ledlie, puts in a word for the key workers.

Terry said “In May 2020 the country is in turmoil. We have a Prime Minister Boris who has gone into hiding. Former PM Gordon Brown said in the Daily Mirror recently if he’d taken the same approach as Boris Johnson, he’d have been laughed out of court. Of a Thursday evening we will all go outside and thank our NHS staff and all our key workers, however, the Conservatives will forget their sacrifices. Now when the Government seems to be putting the economy first and health second, gradually with greater quantities of people returning to work, slowly but surely the Government will forget about the workers who sacrificed themselves to bail them out of this crisis. To the conservatives, there will be no need to recognise the bravery of NHS workers and there will be no “key workers” as we will all have returned to work.”

Pay Rise for all Key Workers

Terry continued “There are questions that still must be answered such as, has the Government acted in the best interest of the public or have they acted in the interest of the Billionaires who have been “frustrated” during this crisis due to the risk of their personal wealth instead of the working class.”

Terry is calling on his local MP Marcus Fysh and asking him, “Will you support a pay rise for all key workers in your constituency, as an MP? You have had the luxury of working from home with a significant sum, please could you do the right thing and stop the attacks on key workers and give them the rewards they deserve. “

Terry concluded by saying “And I would encourage every last one of you to contact your local MP’s and request the same”. 

Continue reading “Labour Stands up for Key Workers”