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We are all human!

(c) Alice Bell

(c) Alice Bell

Fight prejudice and hatred.

Demand equality.

Celebrate diversity.

Have fun!

At Brighton Pride on Saturday 2 August 2014 and everyday.

Linda Taylor waves LRC flag

LGBT Pride: Civil Rights or Consumerism?


Brighton & Hove LRC meeting

7.30pm, Tuesday 29 July 2014

The Mesmerist, 1-3 Prince Albert Street, Brighton BN1 1HE

Pride car in park

Led by local LGBT activist, socialist and NUT member Simeon Elliott, consider whether the civil rights and health priorities of LGBT people in Brighton & Hove continue to be represented at LGBT Pride, or if there is a conflict between business, alcohol consumption and health & wellbeing outcomes for people attending Pride.  Does Pride represent the interests of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered citizens equally, or has the relative prosperity of some LGBT people resulted in business turning Pride into a commodity it sells for profit?  If so, how can Pride re-focus its priorities on the promotion of social justice and civil rights for all?

Hilton sponsors Pride

Brighton & Hove LRC meets every other month for a friendly discussion around a table, normally in a pub room.  This will be our first meeting in the ground floor meeting room of The Mesmerist, which is very close to Brighton Town Hall, being just five minutes walk further down Prince Albert Street from the Friends’ Meeting House.  All welcome at these friendly and informal meetings.

Simeon Elliott start2

B&H LRC’s remaining meetings in 2014 will be on Tuesday 7 October and Tuesday 2 December.  More news of those meetings will be available soon via our events listings.

We All Need A Pay Rise


Support Public Sector Workers’ Strikes

Thursday 10 July 2014

Unite 10.07.14

Sussex LRC will be actively supporting FBU, GMB, NUT, PCS, UNISON, and Unite when the six unions strike on Thursday 10 July 2014.

Five years of pay freezes and below inflation pay caps have had a hugely damaging impact on the living standards of all public sector workers.  If pay had kept pace with inflation, average civil service pay would be £2,300 higher than it is now, and TUC analysis shows that the average public sector worker is £2,245 worse off in real terms since the Coalition took office.  In local government, where almost two thirds of the workforce are paid below £21,000 a year and around half a million workers are paid less than the Living Wage, workers will have experienced a real terms pay cut of 18% by the end of 2014.


Office of National Statistics figures suggest that over 400,000 jobs have gone from local government since the Coalition came to power.  This scale of job losses has been hidden as recruitment freezes and the deletion of vacant posts need to be added to known compulsory and voluntary redundancies.  With increasing workloads for those left behind it is no surprise that 86% of respondents to a UNISON survey of local government members reported that their stress levels had increased: 84% said that stress at work was affecting their job performance and 83% reported that stress was also affecting their personal life.


Meanwhile, Coalition ministers talk of maintaining these real terms cuts until 2018, are planning to raise the retirement age to 60 for frontline firefighters, and to 68 for teachers who are also averaging 60 hour working weeks.  Clearly this is a strike worthy of everyone’s strongest possible support, so please show solidarity standing with local pickets Thursday morning, joining local marches and attending strike rallies.  To protect our public services we must stand together with public sector workers and unite with them in breaking out of a spiral of ever-declining pay and morale.


In the face of the Coalition’s refusal to enter into any meaningful talks, public sector workers have been left with no option but to strike – and we need to stand with their pickets to ensure that the impact of this action is maximised. Moreover, this action is part of a political fight for the future direction of Britain and its economy, and the political impact of this action is vital. Thursday is an opportunity for Labour politicians to show that they are on the side of the working class.  This is particularly welcome from those normally a long way from the left of the Party.


If you are unable to get out, support can also be given via social media, such as twitter and Facebook, using the #J10 and #WeAllNeedAPayRise hashtags.  UNISON has social media resources for the strike and Unite and PCS both have internet pages with links to the joint union petition.  PCS has much campaign information while Unite provides handy tools for emailing councillors to support the pay claim and a summary twitter feed showing all #J10 tweets.

We also suggest that you listen to Radio Sussex as it is likely to cover the strikes and there may be opportunities to call in to support strikers.

We list below the local pickets, marches and rallies we know of so far.  You can also review a great UNISON South East action map.



6.30am: UNISON picket at Aquila House

7am: UNISON picket at the Town Hall

7.30am – 9.30/10am: UNISON & GMB picket at Ocean House, 87-89 London Road, St Leonards-on-Sea TN37 6LW.

10am: FBU picket at Bohemia Firestation.  NB: FBU strike continues until 7pm so expect picket to continue until then.

11am: GMB has announced a rally at Harold Place, Hastings TN34 1JA

11am: NUT has asked members to assemble at 11am outside Debenhams in the town centre for a march and rally.

Hastings picket joined by Labour and Trades Council members


4.30am: GMB will begin picketing by the big wheel on the beach.

5am: GMB will begin picketing at the Cityclean Depot in Hollingdean Road.

6am – 8am: UNISON will be leafleting the public at Brighton railway station.

6am: PCS will begin picketing the JobCentre and Magistrates Court in Edward Street, Brighton.

7am: PCS will be picketing HMRC’s offices in Upper North Street, Brighton and at the Hove JobCentre.

7am: GMB will be picketing at The Royal Pavilion.

7am: UNISON will be picketing at both Brighton and Hove Town Halls and at King’s House, Hove.

9am: NUT will be picketing at BHASVIC.

10am to 7pm: FBU will be picketing at both Preston Circus and Hove Firestations.

Preston Circus_13.11.13_1


Please reply ASAP if you are coming and can help carry the Sussex LRC banner.  It needs 2 people to carry it and another 2 to act as reliefs, so we need a minimum of 4 volunteers.  At least one of our normal banner carriers will be picketing in London and another is recovering from illness, so please step forward to assist on Thursday.

Two marches are assembling from 10am outside the Cityclean depot in Hollingdean Road, Hollingdean, Brighton and also outside Hove Town Hall, at Norton Road/Church Road, Hove.

The marches are expected to move-off at 10.30am and will be heading for a rally at midday to be held on The Level, opposite the Open Market at Union Road, Brighton.  The marches will meet at Victoria Gardens around 11.30am before combining to proceed to The Level.

Favourite of our banner


East Sussex and West Sussex UNISON are reporting that there will be pickets at the various Councils offices and facilities shown below.  Many of these are likely to be joined by GMB members and other strikers.  Please show solidarity with your local pickets.

Lewes – UNISON from 5.45am to 9.30am at the Recycling Depot, from 7.30am to 10am at County Hall and from 7.30am to 10.15am at Southover House.

Eastbourne – UNISON from 7.30am to 10am at St Mary’s Hall and St Mark’s Hall

Bognor – UNISON from 7am at Durban House

Crawley – UNISON from 7am at Crawley Library

Chichester – UNISON from 7am at County Hall and from 7am to 10.30am at East Pallant House

Haywards Heath – UNISON from 7am to 10am at Oaklands Road

Horsham – UNISON from 7am at County Hall North

Littlehampton – UNISON from 7am to 11am at the Civic Centre

Newhaven – UNISON from 5.45am to 10.15am at the Newhaven Depot

Shoreham – UNISON from 7am at Glebelands Day Centre

Worthing – UNISON from 7am at Centenary House

Strike for fair pay

Tories want to make striking in public services even tougher.  Your support on Thursday can demonstrate to all politicians how wrong this would be – as was concluded in a recent online debate when 86% of people agreed that workers in essential services should be allowed to strike.  Like Owen Jones we say celebrate the strikers this week – they are fighting for us all and will provide an inspiration to others.

So see you on Thursday!  And hopefully again during the further eight days of strikes by the FBU from Monday 14 to Monday 21 July as FBU members continue their industrial action against the Coalition’s attacks on firefighters’ pensions and reckless cuts to our Fire Services.


Unite 10 reasons to support 10.07.14

Support our Firefighters!


Solidarity with Firefighters’ strikes

10am – 5pm Saturday 21 June2014

Support FBU pickets at firestations across Sussex

Defend Firefighters against “No Job, No Pension”

 Hastings picket line - crop

“It seems that central government doesn’t give a damn about the safety of firefighters. They are willing to risk the lives and safety of firefighters and the public simply to drive through their attacks on our pensions… It’s time for the government to stop putting politics ahead of public safety and work with firefighters to create a pension scheme that reflects the uniquely demanding role that we undertake.”  Matt Wrack, FBU General Secretary


This week another academic study found that the Coalition’s push to lower firefighter’s fitness standards will put people’s lives at risk in the emergency situations when we most rely on our rescue services.  The government’s own research had previously shown that 66% of firefighters aged 55 and above would be unlikely to meet the currently required fitness standard of 42 VO2.  In its drive to force through an increase in the retirement age for firefighters from 55 to 60, the Coalition proposes a reduced fitness standard of 35 VO2 – put simply, a drop in fitness of nearly 20%.

Hove_02.05.14 - crop


The Coalition’s stated aim is to reduce the bill for firefighters’ pensions, yet firefighters already paid more for their pensions than any other part of the public sector before 2010, and have seen contributions increase dramatically under the Coalition.  Such high contributions seem to be an attempt to dissuade firefighters from joining their own pension scheme.  In a further draconian move, under the Coalition’s current proposals, firefighters who are forced to retire before the age of 60 as a result of ageing will have half of their pension taken away.  Alternatively, firefighters may be sacked for failing fitness tests.

Pensions flyer

Nothing Fire Minister Brandon Lewis has done so far has appeared sincere except his support for privatisation of the Fire Service.  An attack on workers’ pensions is always the first move when the government prepares to sell-off a public asset, as private companies do not want the open-ended liability of paying staff pensions.  Cutting a service to the bone is the second step – in an attempt to persuade people that the service could be better run privately.  We are seeing continued huge cuts to Fire Services around Sussex and across the country.  The FBU estimates that 6,000 firefighter posts have been lost in the UK since 2007 which jeopardise the Fire Service’s ability to deal with floods and all major incidents.  Such devastating and reckless cuts are also why firefighters are striking.

Preston Circus_13.11.13_1

Firefighters are deeply committed to their local communities and do not take strike action lightly: “People do not become firefighters to become rich…(but) to serve the public, to put other people first, to risk their lives to save others”  Simon Herbert, Chair, East Sussex FBU.  However, as this firefighter explains, they are now very angry at their treatment by the government.

Lone picket at Battle Firestation

Please support firefighters’ picket lines when they strike again on Saturday 21 June 2014.  Using these handy tools from the FBU, please write to your MP to object to these changes and also sign the petitions to stop the cuts to the UK’s Fire Services and to stop the attacks on firefighters’ pensions.  The Fire Service is facing huge cuts under the Coalition and Tory Fire Minister Brandon Lewis is pushing a privatisation agenda.  We must stand together with firefighters now to defend our Fire Service. 

 Hove brazier_03.05.14


Public Services Not Private Profits!


7pm – 9pm, Wednesday 18 June 2014

Refreshments available from 6.30pm

The Friends’ Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton BN1 1AF

Download our poster/leaflet for this meeting:

Public Services Not Private Profits_18.06.14

The Coalition is busy selling-off public assets and bringing in more and more private contractors to run NHS services in every local area.  Meanwhile, local councils are putting more contracts out to private tender and all public sector workers have suffered pay freezes since the Coalition took office in 2010.  The Coalition’s divisive 2014 NHS pay offer shows complete contempt for NHS staff while 90% of local government workers were offered only a derisory 1% pay increase for 2014.  Given all of this, it’s no wonder that the morale of workers in the public sector and the NHS has plummeted.


It’s time for British people to join with public sector workers to fight cuts and privatisation, to save our NHS and to speak up for all public services.  Say no to further cuts, outsourcing and privatisation of our public services and NHS.  Labour must pledge not just to repeal the Coalition’s Health & Social Care Act but to remove the burden of PFI from our public services, to adequately fund public services, bring services back inhouse – where they can be run more efficiently, and abandon public sector pay caps.

GB workers deserve better pay

Discuss why all public sector workers are worth a decent pay rise, learn about an alternative vision for our NHS, hear how we must protect public services like housing, and keep profit out of child protection with leading members of UNISON, the UK’s biggest public service union, plus Ian Lawrence who, as General Secretary of NAPO, is leading probation workers in their fight to defend the Probation Service against the Coalition’s reckless privatisation plans.  Speakers include Heather Wakefield – UNISON Head of Local Government, Police and JusticeGordon McKay of UNISON Scotland Health, UNISON NEC member Jon Rogers (speaking in a personal capacity – Jon is a local government worker and Lambeth UNISON activist), and local housing worker and Havering UNISON activist MarshaJane Thompson.


Come along on Wednesday 18 June to support public sector workers and defend our public services.  Because people are more important than profits.

Unison protest against the NHS changes



Save Our Fire Service!


Lobby East Sussex Fire Authority meeting

10am, Thursday 5 June 2014

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service HQ

21 Upperton Road, Eastbourne BN21  1EU


On Thursday 5 June, members of East Sussex Fire Authority will decide whether to accept or reject a package of £7.1m cuts proposed by the Chief Fire Officer.  These are massive cuts to frontline fire services which involve cutting fire engines, closing fire stations like Battle and cutting numbers of frontline firefighters across East Sussex.  The Chief Fire Officer has admitted that these cuts will result in more lives being lost.  We say even one life is one too many.


Like Council meetings, Fire Authority meetings are public, so you can go along, ask questions and make your views clear to members of East Sussex Fire Authority.  This is important because only 655 people across East Sussex responded to the Authority’s much-criticised consultation – a consultation that almost no one knew about and few people could understand.  Procedures for Fire Authority meetings and a link to the papers for this Thursday’s meeting are publicly available.



Thursday’s Fire Authority meeting will start at 10.30am.  East Sussex FBU has asked supporters to assemble outside at 10am so that Fire Authority members going in are aware of the opposition to these proposed cuts.  You can also email Fire Authority members to let them know you oppose the cuts and expect them to vote against any cuts.


Petitions will be presented to the Fire Authority from Save Our Fire Service and Stop the Cuts to East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.  Please ensure that you and everyone you know has signed these petitions.

Hastings crop

Savings cannot be made by putting lives at risk.   Fire Authority members and the Chief Fire Officer must put public safety before cuts to our frontline emergency services.  Join us, the FBU and other campaigners in taking this message to the Fire Authority on Thursday 5 June.  Take your chance to influence this crucial decision on the future of our Fire Service.  Our Fire Service has already been cut over the last decade, so be prepared to defend what’s left.





A Radical Alternative To Austerity!


Jeremy Corbyn MP, Nancy Platts, Steve Yandell & Robb Johnson

2pm – 4.30pm, Saturday 31 May

Community Base (South Wing), 113 Queens Road, Brighton BN1 3XG

Refreshments available from 1.30pm

Austerity poster_31.05.14


In Britain and internationally, people are demanding a radical alternative to austerity.  People have suffered as Tory austerity took the UK economy to the brink of a triple dip and have seen the same happen when austerity has been tried in Europe and elsewhere.  Even now, only the better-off are feeling the benefit of any growth.  Yet the UK remains the 7th richest country in the world – there is no lack of wealth in the UK.  The problem is that this wealth and other resources are held in the hands of too few people – and austerity policies have only made this worse.  We need social and economic justice which, traditionally, Labour always stood for.

Capitalism isnt working

We must demand that the Labour leadership stop shilly-shallying and wholly rejects austerity.  Austerity is a Tory political doctrine which is wrecking public services, has removed safety nets for people in trouble, punishes the poor, and is busy privatising our NHS, schools and as many public services as the Coalition can push through before 2015.  It failed in the 1930s – the “hungry 30s” and, again today, the Coalition’s austerity policies are driving more and more people to desperation and reliance on foodbanks.  Meanwhile the Coalition continues to defend fat cat bonuses for city executives and banksters, and is still cutting tax for the rich and big business.

We can't afford the rich anymore

49 weeks before the general election, come along to discuss how we can ensure Labour makes a clean break and adopts a radical alternative to austerity.  To win the election outright Labour must offer hope to millions of people who have given-up on politicians and stopped voting. To do this Labour must commit to full employment, to create real jobs for all, rebuild our communities, restore the NHS and the welfare state, and save our schools.   Offering mealy-mouthed statements on managed, softer cuts is a betrayal of Labour’s historic mission to represent the working class and improve the lot of the majority of the population.  This message must be conveyed loud and clear to Labour’s leaders.

No cuts (2)

Discuss social and economic justice with “the finest socialist in parliament” Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, who campaigned alongside Tony Benn for over 30 years, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven – Nancy Platts, Sussex’s favourite protest singer/songwriter Robb JohnsonSteve Yandell who worked with Bob at RMT and the International Transport Workers Federation for 20 years, and Jon Rogers of Lambeth UNISON.   Enjoy a live performance of some of Robb’s witty protest songs, including the brilliant tribute Bob Crow Was A Union Man and celebrate the commitment of socialist legends Tony Benn and Bob Crow.

Bob Crow with Tony Benn; (c) RMT

Bob Crow with Tony Benn; (c) RMT


Tickets are available at just £5 (waged) or £3 (concessions) from us or via the Brighton Fringe Box Office online or on 01273 917272.

We hope to see you on Saturday 31 May 2014.   What follows the failed policies of austerity?  What we demand!

Tony Benn at Brighton Fringe 2012; (c) Morten Watkins

Tony Benn at Brighton Fringe 2012; (c) Morten Watkins


LRC at Brighton Fringe 2014


Fracking the Downs – Failing Our Future – 2pm, Saturday 17 May

Is It Time To Re-Nationalise UK PLC? 7pm, Tuesday 20 May

Benn’s Radical Alternative To Austerity – 2pm, Saturday 31 May

Refreshments available half an hour in advance of start times at all events

Fringe 2014 poster

All the fun starts in the main hall at City College on Saturday 17 May, when  you can join our big Energy Debate – Fracking the Downs – Failing Our Future – with Michael Meacher MP – former Labour Minister of State for the Environment, energy policy expert Professor Stephen Thomas (University of Greenwich), Brenda Pollack (Friends of the Earth) and Charles Metcalfe (Chairman, Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association – FFBRA).

Don't frack our future - Copy

Do we have the tools to tackle climate change or must we urgently develop renewables and re-nationalise the companies running the UK’s energy sector?  Discuss how the private energy giants impact our environment, economy and pockets.  Are you part of the 68% in favour of public ownership of the UK energy sector?   Coal?  Nuclear?  Fracking?  Freezing energy prices? Changing carbon reduction targets?  Do any of those present solutions to climate change?  Come along to have your say.

Bigger than Balcombe - Copy

Next, at Community Base on Tuesday 20 May,  we ask if it’s time to turn the tide against privatisation.  We’re delighted that PCS Policy Officer and author of the new book “The Failed Experiment… and how to build an economy that works”  Andrew Fisher will be joining Labour MP and LRC National Chair John McDonnell MPCWU union activist Maria Exall, and RMT union Executive member Janine Booth.  Discuss if we should stop outsourcing public services, bring council services back in-house, and put industries like energy, rail and telecoms back into public ownership.  And what should we do about the financial services sector and the banks?

Public support renationalisation

As the world’s 7th richest nation, should anyone in the UK have to choose whether to heat or eat?  After the Royal Mail rip-off, what’s the Coalition selling next? The Land Registry Office?  The Royal Mint?  The BBC?  Who exactly benefits from this?  We ask: is it time to re-nationalise UK PLC? Because aren’t people more important than profits?

Bob Crow with Tony Benn; (c) RMT

Bob Crow with Tony Benn; (c) RMT

Finally, again at Community Base, on Saturday 31 May we celebrate the commitment of socialist legends Tony Benn and Bob Crow, with Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven, Nancy Platts, Sussex’s favourite protest singer/songwriter Robb Johnson, and Steve Yandell (ITF) who worked with Bob at RMT for 20 years.  Hear Robb’s brilliant song Bob Crow Was A Union Man performed live, and personal tributes to Tony and Bob by all speakers.

Capitalism isnt working

In Britain and internationally working people are demanding Crow and Benn’s radical alternative to austerity.  Labour must wholly reject a Tory political doctrine that slashes public services, removes safety nets for people in trouble, punishes the poor and is determined to destroy our NHS.  Discuss how we ensure Labour adopts real alternative policies to restore our communities, the welfare state, the NHS and the economy – just like Tony and Bob fought for.  What follows the failed policies of austerity?  What we demand!

Fringe web logo 2013

Get your tickets now for our upcoming Brighton Fringe events.  Contact us in advance if you want to buy our bargain all-in-one pass for £12 (waged) or £6 (concessions), to buy tickets for any of our events, or if you are a PCS member applying for a free ticket for the meeting on Tuesday 20 May.  Alternatively, tickets for all our Brighton Fringe events are available via the Brighton Fringe Box Office online or on 01273 917272.

We hope to see you at our LRC events during Brighton Fringe 2014.  Full information on all these events is available from Brighton Fringe or from us.

Tony Benn at Brighton Fringe 2012; (c) Morten Watkins

Tony Benn at Brighton Fringe 2012; (c) Morten Watkins


Racists Not Welcome Here


Stop the “March for England”

Sunday 27 April 2014

Meet: 11.30am at bottom of West Street, Brighton seafront

27.04.14 poster

This Sunday residents of Brighton & Hove and anti-racists from across Sussex will come together to oppose the far right’s so-called “March for England”.  In all likelihood Brighton & Hove will put on as great a display of unity in rejecting the racists this year, as we did peacefully, loudly and overwhelmingly in our tens of thousands in 2012 and 2013.


Please join the protest against the racists marching through our towns.  Meet from 11.30am on at the bottom of West Street, on Brighton seafront.  Ignore any alarmist pieces that, on past experience, will soon appear in The Argus.  In 2012 many thousands of protesters witnessed nothing but joyous and peaceful rejection of racism.  Indeed the day was by far the most uplifting and empowering occasion that most of us had ever participated in, as the racists were rejected by the people of Brighton & Hove standing united together.

Rogers MfE not welcome here_21.04.13

We have no doubt that would have been the same again last year if protesters had not been split up and kept apart due to the shocking military-style police tactics that led to a virtual shutdown of Brighton seafront with barricades blocking streets and officers preventing the free movement of residents.

Btn street barricade_21.04.13

All while motley bands of racists were afforded horse guards and police escorts in and out of pubs, shops and through our town.

Fasc with police horseguard_21.04.13

If you can’t make it to Brighton you can still join in on social media.  Tell the far right they’re not welcome here by showing your solidarity using the hashtag #stopmfe.  You might like to post this classic from 1980s favourites Heaven17.  Or query whether Sussex’s Tory Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, will be as zealous in pursuing Home Office reimbursement for excessive policing costs incurred in Brighton this Sunday, as she was for the costs of policing fracking protests around Balcombe – which would have otherwise been borne by mostly Tory voters in mid-Sussex.

Wall of rozzers_21.04.13

Brighton & Hove is a brilliant and vibrant city where many people of different cultures, backgrounds, abilities and faiths come together.  It has a positive and unique character which its residents enjoy and embrace.  People of Brighton & Hove value each other, celebrate diversity, tolerate difference and famously have lots of fun!  Only hatred, prejudice and ignorance is despised.

Brighton embraces but we draw the line at racists

Far right groups find Brighton & Hove’s very existence offensive as the city’s successful demonstration of multi-culturalism undermines their core beliefs.  So Brighton & Hove has become the annual target for the far right’s so-called “March for England”.  But this only encourages the local unity of people across Brighton & Hove.   When anyone tries to threaten our community we stand together even more firmly.  Please stand with us this Sunday.

Fash and chips

See you on Sunday at 11.30am at the bottom of West Street, Brighton.


How Can Labour Re-Build Trust With Teachers?


Public meeting during NUT conference

7pm – 9pm, Saturday 19 April 2014

Refreshments available from 6.30pm

Community Base (South Wing door), Queens Road, Brighton BN1 3XG

Can't improve educ by alienating teachers

Teachers believe Michael Gove is ruining our schools with “corporate greed” while studies show that overwork is turning both students and teachers into “ghosts”.  Yet despite polls showing strong public opposition to the Coalition’s education reforms, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt has said Labour won’t unnecessarily reverse the Coalition’s changes and that  he  accepts many of Michael Gove’s policies.  When Hunt spoke at the ATL’s April 2014 conference why did he choose to highlight INSET days rather than (just for starters) the inconsistency of Ofted reports, Gove’s increased politicisation of the curriculum,  moves to “Gradgrind for tiny tots” if testing at 4 is introduced, or children increasingly starting school at age 2 in the intense battle for school places?

BH students against Gove

Why isn’t Labour opposing the Coalition more strongly on education  when the tables seem to be turning against Gove and his policies are so hated by teachers, school staff, students, many parents and most Labour Party members?  When will Labour’s national leaders stand-up to defend free state education in the way Labour members demand?

How Can Labour Re-Build Trust With Teachers_19.04.14_G

Join Kevin Courtney – the NUT’s Deputy General Secretary, Nancy Platts – Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemp Town & Peacehaven, Paul Shellard from Brighton & Hove NUT currently actively campaigning against Hove Park School becoming an academy, Brighton school student Sian Carey,  plus a GMB representative of local teaching assistants, who have been campaigning for over a year against Coalition cuts.  Discuss what we can do – either to change Tristram Hunt’s mind about supporting Coalition education policies, or to change Ed Miliband’s mind about Tristram Hunt.

Stand Up for education

Hear a real teacher’s voice! We were recently contacted by a Labour Party member and teacher who had “received a really naff reply” after contacting Ed Miliband and wanted to share the letter sent. We’ve anonymised it as requested; otherwise, this is as sent:

“Dear Mr Miliband,

My name is ….. …… and I am writing to you with regards the grave concerns I have over Labour’s Education Policies.

At present I am an experienced primary school teacher, a member of the Labour Party and ……, so it is with great disappointment, anger and disillusionment that I am writing this letter.

My first concern is that Tristram Hunt recently announced that Labour would continue with the academies programme. When New Labour first introduced the academies programme (privatisation – let’s call it what it is) many of the public, not just Labour supporters, were disgusted that Labour had introduced such a programme and had moved so far away from its core values and beliefs. This, along with many other factors, led to Labour losing its core support from the public and then, as a result, losing the last general election.

Academies are, and continue to be, a dangerous and ineffective initiative in our education system. They are undemocratic, divisive, unaccountable on many key issues, selective, unsuccessful in raising standards, a threat to pay and working conditions and, most importantly, are a threat to high quality teaching and learning as they are often more concerned about the ‘business side’ of things as opposed to the children and staff.

Secondly, I am further angered and disappointed to hear that Labour would continue with the free school/parent led programme. Free schools have recently proven to be a waste of time and money and are similar to academies in that they are not democratically accountable and do not raise standards. In fact, free schools are performing no better than maintained schools according to Ofsted judgements in 2012/13 and fewer are ‘outstanding’ compared with maintained schools.

Thirdly, Tristram Hunt’s announcement that Labour would not tinker with Michael Gove’s reforms to the curriculum is absolutely appalling. A national curriculum should be an exciting and rich curriculum that enhances learning and attainment – the exact opposite of the draconian and dry curriculum that Mr Gove has engineered. The curriculum was written by Government advisors and officials, not those that should have been involved (teachers) and reverses a lot of good work and progress that has taken place over the years including the implementation of The Rose Review.

Furthermore I am very concerned by the ‘Teacher License’ proposal because as teachers we are constantly made accountable through performance management, lesson observations, book scrutiny, pupil progress meetings, learning walks and Ofsted. There are already enough systems in place for accountability most of which create an atmosphere of ‘fear and mistrust’ in schools. I myself, despite the fact I am continually graded Good/Outstanding, feel like a ‘wild animal being stalked’.

In addition to this the lack of support for teachers from the Shadow Education Secretary is absolutely disgraceful. His statements that he supports Michael Gove are deplorable and not what the continually undermined and undervalued teaching profession wants to hear, especially from the opposition.

Furthermore the recent teacher workload survey showed that teachers are working up to nearly 60 hours a week yet this has failed to have been mentioned by Mr. Hunt or The Labour Party not to point out that there has been a big increase since Michael Gove took over from Ed Balls. The announcement that Labour would not be supporting the NUT strike action despite the fact that morale in teaching is at an all- time low and many are leaving the profession or want to leave (myself included) is appalling, especially when most teachers are looking to Labour (the party that is supposed to represent the workers) to support and defend our profession.”

If you can read this thank your teacher