The next step in airport expansion has arrived with the Tories’ draft National Policy Statement (NPS) being put out for public consultation. As the next step in the expansion of Heathrow Airport., the consultation asks people whether they would prefer another runway at Heathrow or Gatwick. Despite the Government’s decision to favour Heathrow, this question had to be included or the Government risked being forced to re-issue the consultation by the courts with Gatwick included – as happened in 2003.
The LRC opposes airport expansion at both Heathrow and Gatwick. Day in, day out, the majority of people urgently require a cheap, efficient, accessible, fully integrated public transport system. That is the LRC’s transport priority, not airport expansion which primarily serves only the needs of the wealthy and business, while providing no answers to questions of air quality, noise pollution and climate change.
The draft NPS recognises that the worse environmental impact of expanding Heathrow (compared to Gatwick) is outweighed by greater economic benefits. The Tories seem to have simply swallowed arguments made by Gatwick management on limited damage to the Sussex environment. The working class communities around both airports will be hit worst by the environmental impact and feel least economic benefits. Now MPs have said that the Tories are watering down environmental commitments too far causing airport expansion to breach climate change limits and damage other parts of Britain’s economy.
Locally, Sussex LRC shares the concerns of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) that during the NPS consultation process thousands of people around Heathrow may be encouraged to ‘vote for Gatwick’ by the campaigns of the London councils and the Mayor of London, as well as the high profile lobbying and advertising campaign being run by Gatwick Airport itself. The consultation asks people whether they would prefer the Heathrow runway or a Gatwick runway. This is a classic example of divide and rule. We should be united in opposing any airport expansion at both Gatwick and Heathrow.
Please respond to the NPS consultation before it closes on 25 May, emphasising the environmental disadvantages of Gatwick expansion and exposing the inaccuracies in the pro-Gatwick case. Sussex needs to show strong opposition to expansion at Gatwick, without abandoning our friends at Heathrow. It is not for us to campaign in favour of a new Heathrow runway.
“I am not striking for more money, not for shorter hours, and not for better terms and conditions. I’m going on strike – along with my colleagues, who are all members of Aslef, the train drivers’ union – to protect the safety of our passengers.” A Southern train driver explains why ASLEF members are striking. The UK has one of the safest railways, which is why people have become a bit blasé about danger on the railway. But our safe railway and good safety culture are being compromised by driver-only operation, all for the sake of private profit. ASLEF explains the pressures of driving a train and the risks to passengers if drivers work alone.
Please show solidarity with ASLEF members at picket lines outside stations when Southern train drivers strike again on 10, 11, 13, 24, 25 and 27 January 2017 and support any future actions by both ASLEF and the RMT against driver-only operation. The LRC has stood many times with Southern guards who have been striking in defence of rail safety and to protect equality of access to train services since early 2016. We fully support the RMT’s campaign the Keep the Guard on the Train.
We have all heard about Southern management’s bullying and blackmail tactics, as well as its infamous spin machine which tries to blame rail workers for the rail privateer’s failings. A favourite management excuse is cancelling trains for lack of crew, when drivers and guards are waiting to work. All rail workers deserve our support in these disputes. Lobby your MP demanding that the Government remove the Southern franchise from failed private train operator GTR and take it back under Department for Transport management by directly operated trains.
In the short term handing the franchise to Transport for London could bring some improvements but, ultimately, the UK’s railways must be returned to public ownership to be run in the interests of people and environment, and not for the short term goals of private profit, shareholders’ dividends and management bonuses. Thankfully Labour’s Leader Jeremy Corbyn is committed to a People’s Railway policy. So we can be sure that, with Jeremy at the helm, the next Labour Government will carry out the Party’s longstanding and popular policy to rebuild Britain’s rail network by returning it to public ownership, as part of a policy to transform public transport into an integrated, green, efficient and affordable system.
Sunday 4 December 2016
Community Base (South Wing door), 113 Queen’s Road, Brighton BN1 3XG
With Jeremy Corbyn re-elected as Labour Leader, Sussex LRC and friends want to encourage Labour members and supporters to get more involved in their Party. We’re holding participatory workshops designed for all socialists who want to learn more about Labour and how the Party works. Our aim is to demystify Labour’s structures from branches to the NEC, and help people feel confident joining-in or leading Labour activities, whether that’s speaking at a meeting, proposing a motion, leafleting, running a street stall, going canvassing, standing for election (perhaps as an officer, conference delegate, or councillor), or whatever you want to do.
These workshops are aimed at new members and members returning after many years, but you’re also welcome to contact us if you’re thinking of joining Labour, or are a long-term member with questions about the Party. The same content will be covered in each session.
The first session will focus on Brighton & Hove branches and constituencies. It is open to people outside Brighton & Hove, but future sessions are being planned with local groups across Sussex which may be more convenient.
Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election as Labour Leader is a victory for socialist politics. The LRC wants to see a Corbyn-led Labour government committed to transformative policies. To achieve this goal the LRC appeals to everyone who has been inspired by Jeremy to join (or return to) Labour, to now get active and involved in the Labour Party and their unions, in order to win the battle of ideas.
In Corbyn and McDonnell, the Labour Party has leaders with the collective will to implement democratic socialist policies in government. Now Labour’s leaders need to be supported by members informed and empowered to run campaigns and meetings which will inspire voters to support Labour.
If you want to change the Labour Party, you have to change its rules. Sussex LRC aims to help members learn about Labour’s rules and how they operate, so that together we can make Labour a truly democratic party, where policy is determined from members-up by a democratic conference.
The workshops are free but donations to cover venue hire and other costs will be welcome.
NOTE: Entry to Community Base is via the South Wing door. The workshop is being held in the 5th floor conference room, which can be accessed via the lift or stairs.
Come along to support RMT members striking to protect your safety:
Saturday 8 October – The Martletts, Crawley town Centre
7-10am, Monday 10 October – Hastings railway station & onto Bexhill
7-10am, Monday 17 October – Hastings railway station & onto Rye
Leafleters and all supporters will be appreciated by RMT members who normally work as guards on Southern Rail. They have our full support for their ongoing strike action, being taken in defence of everyone’s safety on our railway.
Everybody should ask why Southern Rail management refused to settle this dispute by rejecting a new package offered by RMT, having previously also refused the same terms agreed between ScotRail and RMT. Walking away from talks aimed at averting further strikes shows Southern Rail management has no concern for the massive disruption being caused to the travelling public, which has led to the company being dubbed #SouthernFail.
The failing rail privateer was forced to withdraw its media campaign against staff but it remains impervious to public opinion that wants to “keep the guard on the train” for people’s safety and security, and has issued an ultimatum to staff accompanied by what some describe as a bribe and threats.
The “amazing” guard who kept passengers calm and safe during a recent derailment is just one example why guards on trains are simply essential. Please do everything you can to support Southern guards taking action to protect your safety. Ultimately, the best thing for that will be returning Britain’s railways to public ownership and re-unifying the network. Hopefully the judicial review being funded by grassroots commuters to examine the Tory Government’s inaction over Southern Rail’s numerous failings and franchise breaches will result in the first steps toward that.
7pm, Tuesday 4 October 2016
Community Base (South Wing), 113 Queens Road, Brighton BN1 3XG
This members-only meeting will decide Sussex LRC’s delegates, nominations and motions to Transforming Our Party to Transform Our Society – LRC annual conference and national AGM in London on Saturday 29 October. (A separate meeting of Brighton & Hove LRC will also be held if desired by members.) Please ensure that your LRC membership is fully paid-up to ensure that you can participate in the meeting, and arrive for a prompt start at 7pm. Members and affiliates have been sent an email with full details of this meeting.
A Hastings & Rother LRC members’ meeting on Friday 7 October will decide its delegates, nominations and motions to the LRC’s annual conference.
Let’s Get Corbyn Back In to Get The Tories Out!
6.30pm Monday 12 September 2016
Friends’ Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton BN1 1AF
Hear top speakers including: Shadow Chancellor and Corbyn Campaign Manager John McDonnell MP, Jackie Walker – national vice-Chair Momentum, Mark Serwotka – PCS General Secretary, Jennie Formby – Unite South East Regional Secretary, Matt Wrack – FBU General Secretary, Manuel Cortes – TSSA General Secretary, Ronnie Draper – BFAWU General Secretary, Tosh McDonald – ASLEF President, Steve Smith – RMT National Executive, Jon Rogers – Lambeth UNISON, and Sarah Walker, spokeswoman for the English Collective of Prostitutes.
Refreshments will be available when doors open at 6pm, with the meeting starting at 6.30pm. With these great speakers, this is an unmissable event!
Labour MPs are openly challenging Party democracy by publicly undermining Jeremy Corbyn as Labour’s elected Leader, despite Jeremy having been elected with the biggest mandate of any Party leader in British history just 9 months ago. Jeremy has doubled Labour party membership, led Labour to four successive by-election victories, won every Mayoral seat Labour contested and taken Labour from 8-12% down in the polls last September to neck and neck with the Tories or even just ahead in some polls immediately before the MPs mounted their coup. Jeremy has also reconnected the Labour Party with its base in the trade unions and excited young people about politics for the first time in a generation. Jeremy Corbyn reaches the parts other Labour Leaders can’t as West Sussex Labour activist Dan Sartin sums up when talking about the Corbyn effect in Worthing.
MPs have sought to use the EU Referendum as their excuse but analysis showed 63% of Labour voters voted to Remain, compared to 64% of SNP voters but just 42% of Tories. If anyone is to blame for the Leave vote it is Cameron, who called the Referendum and failed to win Tory supporters to Remain. Jeremy deserves as much praise for the Labour vote as SNP MPs have given to Nicola Sturgeon for the SNP vote.
Smearing the abilities or character of the Party’s elected leader may or may not be bringing the Party into disrepute (we know our thoughts but we’ll leave that one for Labour’s Compliance Unit) but, without question, 172 MPs putting themselves above 251,000 Party members is a clear attempt to subvert the principle of one member one vote and give MPs a veto over Labour Party democracy. If you want to email your views to Labour MPs, like Hove’s Peter Kyle, you may want to ask them whose Party is this anyway? Check the list of MPs backing Jeremy and let us know if your MP should be added.
Young Labour has full confidence in Jeremy Corbyn and YL member Lucy Whitehouse speaks for many when she questions why Labour MPs have turned against Jeremy and the Party. Amongst all the recent tumult Jeremy Corbyn has remained ‘constant’ because he represents the solid, traditional Labour values on which the party was founded. His opponents within have been too quick to betray those values; their beliefs are built on shifting sands. Their unreliability and readiness to turn and turn about means they’re not able to form a strong opposition to the Tories.
If you want to defend the progressive, socialist agenda of Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour leadership team, including John McDonnell, Diane Abbott and many others, the most effective way to do that is as a Labour Party member or registered/affiliated supporter. Then you will have a vote in any leadership election. If you aren’t already a Labour member or supporter, join the Labour Party today .
But don’t just leave it at that, get active in your local Labour Party and join those on the Left who support the Labour leadership – join the LRC – and join Momentum. Importantly for Labour members in Brighton & Hove, make sure you and all Corbyn supporters you know prioritise coming to Brighton, Hove & District Labour Party AGM at 4pm on Saturday 9 July, in the main hall at City College, Pelham Street. There you will have the chance to vote for a new Executive, auditors and Council Group observers. Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn are standing for all posts and need your support to get elected.
With the Tories divided and facing a leadership contest at the same time the Brexit negotiations will be starting, the country needs a united Labour Party keeping up the fight to defend protections for workers, ensure that the poorest aren’t made to pay the price of any economic fall out, and fight the growth of racism and xenophobia. The last thing we need is a period of self-indulgent navel gazing, or destructive infighting courtesy of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Please sign the 38 Degrees petition to show your confidence in Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Leader and sign Momentum’s letter for a united Labour Party.