Sylvia Pankhurst Everything is Possible film screening
A unique opportunity to view this film about the campaigns and political impact of suffragette and revolutionary Sylvia Pankhurst
With Introduction by Mary Davis author of Sylvia Pankhurst: A Life in Radical Politics and member of the Sylvia Pankhurst Committee
All monies donated will go to the Sylvia Pankhurst Statue Fund
A statue in London for Sylvia will represent Sylvia’s commitment to peace and her fight against racism and imperialism, her work with trade unions, fighting for the impoverished working class in the East End of London, and her campaign for votes for women.
Thursday 9 January 2020, 5.00pm until 7.00pm
TUC Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS
Nibbles and refreshments from 5.00pm
Raffle tickets on sale
Payment on the door minimum £5.00 employed and £4.00 unemployed and retired
Open invitation to all trade unionists and supporters
Foundation Annual Conference, London, 19th November 2019
Draft Report from
For the NPC Digital
Inclusion/Exclusion Working Party, 3rd December 2019
Good Things Foundation, based in Sheffield, is a social change charity, aimed
at helping people, including older people, improve their lives through
digital.They work in communities
nationally and internationally to deliver deep impact at scale.
conference was well-worth attending because: I gained a greater understanding of the state
of digital inclusion and exclusion in the UK and internationally from the
speakers’ excellent presentations, the Q&A sessions, workshop discussions,
and informal networking – which will be useful to the NPC’s Digital WP.
From the above I came away with a number of successful examples
of how older people have been helped to transform and improve their lives, and
a variety of ideas for the NPC’s Campaign on Digital Inclusion and Exclusion.
In addition, after the conference, I was able to talk
privately to Helen Milner OBE, Group Chief Executive and tell her about the NPC
– the organisation, membership and the Pensioners Convention.I also told her that I had suggested* her as
a speaker on Social Inclusion & Life Long Learning at the next Convention
in June and asked if she would be interested. (*at the NPC EC meeting Nov. 19th).
Yes, she is! (I had an email the next day before she flew to Australia).
·The NPC invites Helen Milner OBE, the Group
Chief Executive, as a speaker on Social Inclusion and Life Long Learning at the
NPC’s next Pensioners Convention in Southport in June. Helen was awarded an OBE
for services to digital inclusion.She’s
worked in the House of Commons as a member of The Speaker’s Commission for
Digital Democracy and was the Specialist Adviser on Digital Engagement to the
House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee. She is a member of the Digital
Skills Partnership Board chaired by the UK’s Digital Minister.
·The NPC considers becoming a ‘partner’
organisation of the Good Things Organisation to help us to enable disadvantaged
older people to overcome the barriers to inclusion, build motivation, tap into
GTO’s training skills’ support, enable local collaboration and networking.
Also, importantly, the organisation is very successful at securing funding from
a wide range of sources which they could advise us on, or possibly share in a
partnered project pitch.
SOME SUCCESS STORIES,
Leeds Libraries. Jason
Tutin, currently leading the city’s “100% Digital Leeds” digital inclusion
programme which is increasing the digital confidence, capacity and connectivity
of organisations across Leeds with the
biggest tablet lending scheme in the country, grant funding opportunities,
Digital Champions training and extending free Wi-Fi.Jason and his team are working with
communities to remove barriers to digital inclusion and improve outcomes for
(Re. ‘tablet lending’. In the Q&A which followed this
presentation, a member of the audience extolled a similar scheme in her area,
going on to explain that some older people who had learned how to use computers
this way had become ‘teachers’ themselves.Similar examples were given of an Australian scheme where digital‘learners’ in their eighties, had gone on to
become ‘digital trainers.’ I will pass on these examples to NPC Wales and the
Vale of Glamorgan library service which has recently launch a tablet-lending
Can digital inclusion
make people healthier? Three participants in a panel discussion claimed it
Pete Nuckley, GTF’s Senior Service Designer has been leading
their work in digital health for three years through the NHS Widening Digital
Participation Programme, co-designing 23 different projects helping the most
excluded groups in England improve their health and wellbeing through digital.
These include the homeless community in Hastings and elderly isolated people in
Paul Davies and his wife Sue run Destinations@Saltburn, a
Community Resource and Online Centre in Teeside which provide accredited and
non-accredited training for people of all ages and backgrounds, and any skill
level, as well as programmes to promote digital inclusion.
Saira Arif, former Digital Citizen & Innovation Project
Manager for North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups,
has recently joined ORCHA, the health app evaluation and advisory organisation.
(from a handout at the Accessibility Workshop I attended)
Has the NPC considered applying to NATIONAL LOTTERY AWARDS
Grants from £300 - £10,000 to support what matters to people
and communities. They will fund organisations with great project ideas that:
·Shape the places and spaces that matter to
·Bring more people together and build strong
relationships in and across communities.
OFFLINE NATION (9% of the population are non-users):Low income, older, uneducated – have none of
the 7 Foundation Digital Skills. They worry about: identity theft (60%);
privacy and security (58%); use of their data (55%)
ONLINE NATION (91%): Better off, young, educated.They know how to handle informationand
content, transact, communicate and problem solve.
LIMITED USERS (22%): Have some skills. 36% of these are 75+
11.9m people in the UK lack essential digital skills.
Judging from the wide range of about 100 attendees from
across the UK representing governments, the public sector, private sector,
voluntary sector and individuals there is a huge amount of work being done to
address both digital inclusion and exclusion, and there are many examples of
successes. As the NCP’s Digital Campaign aims to signpost members to what is
locally available to them, we should start as soon as possible to do so by
getting the support and engagement of our Regions.
Treason: Rebel Warriors and Internationalist Traitors Edited by Steve Cushion and Christian Høgsbjerg ISBN 978-0-9930104-9-1 An Occasional Publication from The Socialist History Society [£5] Book Launch 14th November 2019 6:30pm
1 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3QE Speakers:- Steve Cushion, Christian Høgsbjerg (chair) and Merilyn Moos The publication tells the story of some courageous individuals and groups who put their commitment to a progressive cause before any consideration of loyalty to a nation state, in particular people who have acted from principle when they consider that the country of their birth is acting in a repressive or unjust manner. We are particularly interested in those who have taken up arms against their "own side", soldiers who side with the oppressed, rather than following orders to kill and subjugate, as well as civilians who actively resisted their own authoritarian governments during times of war. Table of contents: Introduction – Rebel Warriors (Steve Cushion and Christian Høgsbjerg) Soldiers of Misfortune: Napoleon’s Polish Deserters in the West Indies (Jonathan North) The Saint Patrick’s Battalion (David Rovics) Deserters, Defectors and “Diehards” – The British men who fought and died for Irish Freedom (Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc) Resistance to the Nazis from 1933 from within the German workers’ movement (Merilyn Moos)
Walter Pätzold – German Soldier and Italian Partisan (Irene Recksiek &; Irena Fick) Major Karl Plagge and Sergent Anton Schmid (Steve Cushion) German and Italian Volunteers in the French Resistance (Steve Cushion) Ilio Barontini (Tobias Abse) Supporting the Enemy in the Death Agony of French Colonialism (Ian Birchall)
Treason: Rebel Warriors and Internationalist Traitors Introduction – Steve Gilchrist (Bookmarks) and Christian Høgsbjerg
Treason: Rebel Warriors and Internationalist Traitors: Resistance to the Nazis from 1933 from within the German workers’ movement (Merilyn Moos)
Treason: Rebel Warriors and Internationalist Traitors Steve Cushion
f) GP Disability
group co-ordinator is Paul Weaver. London Federation Disability Officer is Zi Neil, Erwin to introduce her to Maureen.
g) Maureen is now the Special
Officer for Diversity at the British Computer Society
h) British Computer Society asked by House of
Lords for evidence that IT can assist with well-being. Suggested that M. Childs contact Baroness Jones about this,
who replied that this was not within her remit
i) . Noel Lynch to provide membership update.
j) email problems, size
limits, no attachments, banning of members (?)
k) Erwin to investigate possible 5G problems.
l) LB Barnet is abolishing the
public right to speak at council meetings. (?) . Noel Lynch to check.
·Maureen to pay NPC sub,
to be reimbursed from GS bank account.
·Maureen to circulate
details of NPC activities
·Maureen is on NPC digital
working group. Reported that 20% of the population don’t use the internet
Fundraising walk led by Roy Vickery (ex Natural History Museum, currently South
London Botanical Institute) 24 November 2019, approx. 2hrs meet East Finchley
tube 2pm £10/8 concessions, proceeds to Barnet GP.
a)GROUNDSWELL - THE
GRASSROOTS BATTLE FOR THE NHS AND DEMOCRACY is a moving, inspiring David and
Goliath documentary about ordinary Britons challenging the free marketeers’
annexation of the NHS and 40-year dominance of our society. A unique,
wide-ranging, revelatory personal journey by filmmaker John Furse on the pulse
of our times.
Filmed mostly by the director between 2015-18,
using cheap domestic cameras, and edited at home with Gus Coral, this independently
made documentary features powerful testimony from Professor Stephen Hawking and
NHS staff, with a moving climax by dying actor Dudley Sutton.
Guest Speakers: filmmaker John
Furse. Larry Sanders, the Green Party spokesperson on Health and Social
Care will also be attending.
“Are pensioners to blame for brexit?” – A personal view by an enraged EU citizen
You’ve heard this before: ‘The older generation is responsible for brexit, they voted to leave.’ You may also have heard this: ‘The younger generation is responsible for brexit; they did not bother to vote.’ Both generalisations are obviously incorrect and annoying to those misrepresented. We can see on every march, on every campaign event, at any leafleting street stall, how many silver-surfers are actively opposed to breaking up our relationship with our European neighbours.
It is likely to be worse still for older pro-EU activists in areas regarded as ‘leave-supporting’. But even in locations exceeding 70-75% this still means that one out of four or five of those who actually voted chose ‘remain’ across all age groups. How do they feel being lazily, and incorrectly, labelled? Of course, this goes both ways – London is regarded as strong pro-EU territory but 1.5 million voters still opted the other way.
The younger generation has over the last three years jumped at the chance to brush off the accusations of apathy and indifference – be it through political engagement, campaigning at concerts and events and a whole new ecological dimension, based on the realisation of a climate emergency. Perhaps not every campaign and protest step taken has turned out to be flawless, nevertheless there’s an engaging energy-flow transcending topics ranging from the climate crisis via social injustice to free movement and an internationalist outlook. And they make sure they are visible on social media.
And how is the older generation being portrayed in the media? There are the odd news stories, bordering on quaint quirkiness in their reporting; about grandmothers being ‘exposed’ as secretly chalking antibrexit messages. The endearing impression in the visual media still remains the image of a cloth-capped gent or a scarf-wearing lady talking in a regional accent about how ‘we will take back control’; with all other nuances of views conveniently ignored.
But hasn’t the older generation only itself to blame for this sorry state of affairs? If statistics are anything to go by, ‘We, the Elders’ had the highest leave-vote ratio in the referendum of any age group. And how much effective energy have ‘We, the Elders’ invested into changing the perception of us as a stubborn, obstinate age group?
At this point we could usefully add some observations along with some empathy. The older generation does have something that younger generations are still in the process of acquiring: a potential for broken dreams, combined with the challenges of advancing years. The austerity decade has had a profound effect on all segments of society, accentuating problems with precarious life-planning by people already struggling to stay afloat to keep their self-respect intact. Experiences such as these tend to affect middle-aged or older people disproportionally if their options keep diminishing at the same time. In my own 20s I had the energy to make a new start in a new country. Now, in my 60s, I can understand the resentment by people who feel their struggles to feel valued and respected to be under threat. Civic pride is easily eroded with constant media exposure to alleged, or indeed real, incidents of a society in crisis with the accompanying blame-game and appeal to the ‘strong’ personality to make everything right again.
It is possible to be a proud and engaged citizen of a great country and still have an open internationalist outlook, while acknowledging the challenges faced by society. Evidence for this can be found across Europe. Sadly, it is not easy to recreate such a mindset once it’s severely damaged. And how would this be done, given the media landscape responsible for much of the damage?
I conclude that a generational blame-game is unhelpful in our political circumstances. Emphasising a path forward based on green ideas, a Green New Deal, resisting austerity- and encouraging a confident internationalist outlook – all embodied in the Green Party Manifesto – might be the one sensible way forward, in a confident and cooperative partnership as a proud member of the European Union. Done sensibly, with empathy and understanding, giving people a chance to re-evaluate their choice without being labelled, and promoting policies that empower rather than disempower, this approach would have a chance to bring together all affected communities instead of setting them off against each other.
(Erwin Schaefer – West Central London Green Party secretary and membership officer) 28 August 2019