Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Sylvia Pankhurst Everything is Possible film screening

TUC LESE Women’s Rights Committee Presents
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
Please confirm attendance: or 020 7467 1218 

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Digital Evolution: Healthier. Happier. Better Off Good Things Foundation Annual Conference, London, 19th November 2019

Digital Evolution: Healthier. Happier. Better Off
Good Things Foundation Annual Conference, London, 19th November 2019
Draft Report from Jenny Sims
For the NPC Digital Inclusion/Exclusion Working Party, 3rd December 2019

INTRODUCTION The 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.

OVERVIEW The 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.

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 everyone.
(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 scheme).

Can digital inclusion make people healthier? Three participants in a panel discussion claimed it can.
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 Northumberland.
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.

Funding opportunities (from a handout at the Accessibility Workshop I attended)
Has the NPC considered applying to NATIONAL LOTTERY AWARDS FOR ALL:
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 communities.
·         Bring more people together and build strong relationships in and across communities.

From a slide, DIGITAL NATION 2019, facts, stats and closing the gaps.
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+ years.
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.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Treason: Rebel Warriors and Internationalist Traitors

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 Bookmarks Bookshop 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 url:


Treason: Rebel Warriors and Internationalist Traitors: Resistance to the Nazis from 1933 from within the German workers’ movement (Merilyn Moos) url:


 Treason: Rebel Warriors and Internationalist Traitors Steve Cushion url:

Wednesday, 13 November 2019


5.30 pm at Café Caritas 30 Euston Square, London NW1 2FB
1. Election of Green Seniors’ committee 2019/20
Secretary: PETER MURRY

Acting Treasurer: MAUREEN CHILDS

2. Finances: agreed that Maureen Childs would investigate opening a bank account. All committee members to be signatories.

3. Report on Green Seniors’ activities 2018-9 including Minutes Green Seniors’ meeting: Friday 16 August 2019. Minutes agreed for accuracy.

a) Maureen to update on LOPSIG
b) Positive Ageing meeting at City Hall discussed outsourcing and London Strategy for Age Friendly cities. Next meeting Toynbee Hall (nr Aldgate) 4 December 2019 1-4pm
c) TfL bus route cuts 10, RV1, not adequately signposted Maureen Childs, Erwin Schaefer to attend future meetings.
d) TV licenses, BBC to pay for licences for those aged 75+ Apparently only for those on benefits. Noted that those aged 75+ had lived through ww2.
e) Erwin Schaefer wrote article on “Are pensioners to blame for Brexit?” – A personal view by an enraged EU citizen” which appeared in Watermelon autumn 2019 see , now posted on GS blog at
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.

4. Green Seniors’ constitution and aims agreed see

5 Green Seniors’ meeting a GP Autumn conference 2019 notes at

6 Future events and activities including social media
·         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  
b) 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.
6. AOB
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.
Recommended Donation: £4/person (to cover room hire)
Those interested in finding their local campaign groups:


 Date And Time
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM GMT


The Tabernacle
34-35 Powis Square
W11 2AY

b) Wales gov’t tablet loan scheme for seniors: more info needed.
c) Maureen Childs now on the board of Age UK London

7. Date of next meeting 31 January 2020 at 6pm meeting at the Green Room 7 Grand Arcade Tally Ho Corner North Finchley 

“Are pensioners to blame for brexit?” – A personal view by an enraged EU citizen by Erwin Schaefer

 “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

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Capitalism Didn’t Make the iPhone, You iMbecile

Capitalism Didn’t Make the iPhone, You iMbecile

Economist Rob Larson explains why the free market isn't the force of innovation it's commonly believed to be. Support Current Affairs: Buy Rob's book: For more on the state's role in innovation see Mariana Mazzucato's "The Entrepreneurial State":

Sunday, 3 November 2019

In Pursuit of a Common Wealth | Interview with George Monbiot

George Monbiot is a writer and activist. He is the founder of The Land is Ours, a campaign for the right of access to the countryside and its resources in the United Kingdom. His latest book, Out of the Wreckage: a new politics for an age of crisis sketches a new political story, tailored to the needs of the 21st Century, to replace the failed models of the 20th, with which we are currently still stuck. Eleanor met with George at the World Transformed Festival to discuss Labour's plans for a Green New Deal, the transferring of wealth away from private hands to the commons, and the need to address colonialism and include the Global South in demands for tackling the climate crisis.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

MINUTES GREEN SENIORS MEETING 6/10/2019 at Green Party Conference, Newport

1) P.Murry introduced Green Seniors  mentioning that:
·      Membership of GS is open to all GP members who are interested in ‘senior’ issues, irrespective of age.
·      GS meets regularly in London, but members are encouraged to set local/regional groups.
·      Details of GS’ aims, constitution, current committee and minutes of previous GS meetings can be found at which is linked from the GP members’ site.
·      GS also has a twitter account and a facebook page which needs updating.
·      Maureen Childs regularly organises visits to places and events of interest in and around London for GS members.
·      GS is affiliated to  the National Pensioners Convention (
·      GS, along with some other internal GP groups, is being offered £400 to fund it’s activities. To use this it will be necessary to open a bank account and elect a Treasurer to run it.

2) TV Licenses campaign, GS members had supported this, but some felt that it was an example of how many older people were privileged in terms of housing, income etc relative to younger generations.

3) In the context of GP and elsewhere the experience of seniors was often ignored

4) GP local/regional parties should make age profiles of their memberships.

5) Some members present proposed to liaise in order to organise a GS conference.

5.30 pm at Café Caritas 30 Euston Square, London NW1 2FB
1. Introductions and alterations to agenda
2. report on Green Seniors’ activities 2018-9 including Minutes Green Seniors’ meeting: Friday 16 August 2019

3. Election of Green Seniors’ committee 2019/20
Nominations are invited for the following posts
Events Officer

Please send Nominations or expressions of interest to Peter Murry, Acting Secretary at

4. Green Seniors’ constitution
5 Future events and activities including social media
6. AOB
7. Date of next meeting