Published and promoted by Martin Francis on behalf of Brent Green Party c/o 23 Saltcroft Close, Wembley, HA9 9JJ



12 Dec 2016

Ken Montague


Ken Montague, a well known and respected local Brent activist who had recently moved to Brighton, died on Friday not quite a month after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. 
In perhaps his last email to friends and comrades after the diagnosis Ken finished by saying, 'Please pass on the word to those that need to know and say that I am relying on you to keep up the fight for better and more sustainable world. My only regret is that I'm bailing out so early. In comradeship, Ken' (Martin Francis)

We regret to announce the death of Ken Montague, known to many of us as a socialist, climate change activist and member of the UCU London Retired Members branch. His contribution will be sorely missed. We send our condolences to his comrades, friends and family.
Merilyn Moos, vice chair of the retired members branch, who knew Ken for many years, has written this obituary.
I knew Ken as a comrade and friend from when we were in our early 20s. His sudden death, at 70, is a terrible blow, politically and personally.

Ken became an FE lecturer, first in what was then Kilburn Polytechnic (where I taught), then at Barnet. Before he retired, he did some part-time teaching at Middlesex. His main area was literature but he was deeply involved in Media Studies. His students loved him, especially those he took on annual pilgrimages to Cannes so that they could witness the iniquities but also the ‘alternative reality’ of the film industry for themselves. He was the Branch Secretary for what I suspect he felt was far too long, fighting the college management’s petty vindictiveness as well as the grander issues of conditions and pay. One of the crucial (and ultimately successful) campaigns he was crucially involved in was for the reinstatement of John Fernandes, a black lecturer at the College of North West London who was being dismissed for revealing the racist content of essays by police cadets whom he taught.
He was a member of IS, (International Socialists) then SW (Socialist Workers Party), an organisation which, with a couple of outs and ins, he remained a member of for all his life. He was passionate about his politics but never became a hack nor did he become bureaucratically compromised, retaining a fundamental commitment to grassroots struggle all his life.

The first massive class struggle I remember him in was at Grunwicks. He was the Secretary of Barnet Trades Council at the time and was on the Grunwick strike committee. From the beginning he stressed the importance, especially given the concealed racism, of solidarity between white, male, manual workers and Asian women and was vociferous in demanding, mass pickets to shut down Grunwick. As Ken wrote in SW: ’There was lots of talk of support from the top of the unions but it was mostly just talk.’ Indeed, as I remember vividly the turning point in the dispute came when, after a few weeks of mass pickets, the TUC (in the figure of Jack Dromey, then of Brent Trades Council, and indeed, Scargill,) marched us away from the gates. Ken would not have been in agreement with that.

Ken continued to be active, campaigning for example for the Respect candidate in Brent in a number of elections. But his next major and long-term involvement was over climate change, which, in recent years, including campaigning against fracking. He emphasised throughout the importance of trade union support and organisation. He was instrumental in setting up the Campaign against Climate Change Trade Union Group (CACCTU) and became its Secretary. He took a leading part in organising and promulgating the influential ‘One Million Climate Jobs’ booklet and campaign, both in Britain and internationally (supported by Jeremy Corbyn though one wouldn’t know it).

Last year he attended the Paris Climate talks as part of the Global Climate Jobs movement. Global Climate Jobs is the network of all the national climate campaigns, which he was instrumental in setting up. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) held an alternative summit in Paris, attended by approx 40 climate jobs activists from 20 countries, which launched a Global Climate Jobs campaign. Ken always emphasised the crucial role of trade unions.


As he wrote afterwards about Paris:
It is clear that the leaders of all the countries in the world have failed us. They did so because nowhere did we have the political and social power to make them take decisive action on climate… We have to mobilise... After all, we need cuts of 80% in global emissions, as soon as possible.
We have to fight to leave the coal, gas and oil in the soil, he said. So we need to replace fossil fuels almost entirely with renewable energy. Ken could always be found doing the organising, writing and distributing the leaflets, speaking at meetings and rallies (which he didn’t enjoy), making the contacts, arguing with rank and file trade unionists - but never claiming the lime light.

The last event he was organising was the Conference 
Climate Refugees, The Climate Crisis & Population Displacement. Building A Trade Union & Civil Society Response (to be held on Saturday 11 February 10pm - 5pm, NUT, Hamilton House) Let’s support it.
Ken died too young and we shall all miss him.


Pete Murry, fellow UCU member and Brent Green Party and London Green Party TU Liaision Offcer, Secretary of Green Left wrote: 

For much of his life Ken lived in Cricklewood and was active in many local campaigns against, council and goverment cuts, against racism and against war. He was the founder and backbone of the Brent Campaign Against Climate Change and a key organiser in Campaign Against Climate Change nationally and its Trade Union group. It was an honour to have worked with him on these campaigns and as a fellow UCU member.

2 Dec 2016

Letters in support of Indro Sen, pp the Greens and London Retired Members of the University and College Union,

As Trade Union Liaison Officer for the London Federation of Green Parties and for Brent Green Party, I was shocked to learn of the suspension of Indro Sen as a lecturer at the College of North West London. It is suggested that this is because of his strong opposition to a proposed merger with City and Westminster College, and his support at an employment tribunal of a sacked colleague’s claim of unfair dismissal and victimisation.

Both of these are actions which it is entirely proper for a University and College Union Branch Secretary to carry out. If Indro Sen’s suspension is a result of his performing the legitimate duties of a UCU Officer, then he himself seems to be threatened with unfair treatment and victimisation.

As a former Lecturer in the College and a retired member of UCU , I am saddened that the College, which provides a valued service to the communities of North West London., and Brent in particular, might bring itself into disrepute because of its treatment of Indro Sen. I am sure that members and supporters of the Green Party, UCU members , and the local communities will support my call for the immediate and full reinstatement of Indro Sen as a lecturer at the College and no further interference with his activities as UCU Branch Secretary.

Yours sincerely,
 Peter Murry 

Trade Union Liaison Officer for the London Federation of Green Parties and for Brent Green Party

[for the attention of the Principal and Chair of Governors, College of North West London]
Sir / Madam

I am writing on behalf of the London Retired Members of the University and College Union, to protest at the suspension of Indro Sen as a lecturer at the College of North West London. We have been led to believe that this is because of his opposition to a proposed merger with City and Westminster College, and his support at an employment tribunal of a sacked colleague’s claim of unfair dismissal and victimisation.

It seems to us that Mr Sen is himself being victimised for carrying out his legitimate duties as a branch secretary of our trade union. This unfair treatment threatens the good name of a college that provides valuable service to the people in North West London. We would like to add our name to the protests that you have already received from his colleagues, his students and the wider community. We shall support the inevitable public demonstrations to demand both the reinstatement of Mr Sen and end of this ill omened merger.

Please reconsider before further damage is done to your reputation.

Yours faithfully
Dr Steve Cushion


1 Dec 2016

NO SUSPENSION NO VICTIMISATION at the College of NW LONDON: DEFEND SEN AND DEFEND GOOD MATHS TEACHING

NO SUSPENSION NO VICTIMISATION
DEFEND SEN AND DEFEND GOOD MATHS TEACHING

Dear Students
UCU branch at the college is sorry to inform you that:
·         Sen, one of your favourite teacher, was suspended and is threatened with dismissal from your College by Senior Management on 11 October 2016. Since then, Sen has been prevented from doing the thing he loves the most: teaching maths
UCU Branch at CNWL believe that his suspension and threatened dismissal is linked with
·         his strong opposition to our College closing through a proposed merger with City and Westminster College. He led a campaign in 2013 that successfully stopped our College closing down through a merger with City of Westminster College
and
·         his support at an employment tribunal of a sacked colleague’s claim of unfair dismissal and victimisation case against some College Senior Managers
You can show your support for Sen by:
1.     signing the ‘DEFEND SEN AND DEFEND GOOD MATHS TEACHING”, petition.
2.     Using your LEARNER VOICE power to get him back in the classroom where he belongs.
3.     Sending him a MESSAGE OF SUPPORT at senkingsland@hotmail.com
as he is missing his classes and missing teaching maths

 You will be shocked to hear Sen has been suspended and threatened with dismissal.  See the press coverage below.

The branch believes the additional reasons for this desperate action are in the leaflets attached 

We are in the process of organising a public meeting in January and will let you know the venue. Please indicate if you will be able to attend when we let you know the dates.
Also, any donations are welcome.

Regards
Colin Purkey on behalf of branch committee: Wapal Worrell, Colin Purkey, Bernie Driscoll, Angela McGrady, Shelley Bennet, Julia Collins, Julian Holt, Catherine Lemmon, Isabelle Rahman



Please send your messages of support for the branch to:


Messages of support to Sen at:

senkingsland@Hotmail.com

Messages of protest with copies to Colin.Purkey and senkingsland@hotmail.com to:

Andy.Cole@cnwl.ac.uk -- Principal

Judith.Williams@cnwl.ac.uk - chair of governors

Unions call for strike action as member suspended from Brent college

Unions call for strike action as member suspended from Brent college 

10:10 01 December 2016

Indro Sen has been suspended from CNWL
Union chiefs at a Brent college are calling for strike action over the suspension of one of its members.
The University College Union (UCU) branch committee at the College of NorthWest London, is balloting members in support of Indra Sen, a maths teacher and union branch secretary.Mr Sen, an opponent of CNWL plans to merge with Westminster College, was suspended in October while representing a former CNWL employee at an employment tribunal.
Colin Purkey, branch chairman of the UCU, said: “The Branch has recommended escalating strike action to compel management to lift the suspension and threat of dismissal.
“We believe it is no coincidence that Sen was suspended just prior to the management of CNWL announcing its intention to merge with City of Westminster College.
Sen has defended us and our college over the years and now it is our turn to defend our Sen and defend our college.”
The Times reported the major outcry in 2013 when plans were announced for CNWL, which has campus’ in Wembley Park and Dudden Hill Lane, to be merged with The City of Westminster College.
Mr Sen said: “Regardless that I am suspended, if the merger goes ahead students will suffer. They will have to travel much further. This site will become an annex out of Westminster. This college has served this community for many years. It is so important for our students who come from such varied backgrounds. They need something like this. We can’t see its independence being surrendered.
A spokesman for CNWL said merger plans were back on track. He added: “Full statements were issued to staff about collaboration plans in October 2015 when they were first made, and regularly since. The proposal to work towards to a merger with City of Westminster College was made in October 2016 with open meetings and written communications provided to all staff.
“Both colleges’ governing bodies are working through the merger proposal and will finalise a decision on taking this forward in December, with a view to merger being completed in August 2017.
“The college did receive notification from UCU over an intention to ballot members on strike action regarding the suspension of Mr Sen.”

23 Nov 2016

Caroline Lucas slams Government's Autumn Statement that shirks its responsibilities


Caroline Lucas, the Green Party co-leader and MP for Brighton Pavilion, has accused the Government of 'shirking its responsbilities' after today's Autumn Statement.

Lucas accused the Government of having 'deeply skewed priorities'. She said:
Britain is drifting towards the stormy and unchartered waters of brexit with ministers refusing to reveal the route, or properly adjust the sails according to the headwinds. We needed an Autumn statement which rose to the challenges of the day, but we see a government shirking its responsibilities, lacking any moral compass and leaving us dangerously exposed to both economic shocks and climate change.

This Autumn statement shows a Government with deeply skewed priorities. At a time of uncertainty they are continuing with plans to give a tax cut to corporations and the highest earners – while our NHS is strapped for cash and local services are under immense strain. We could save billions by scrapping the plans to cut corporate tax and raising the threshold for the highest earners – and we could plough that money into our ailing NHS – but the Government has refused to change course.
Lucas slammed the Chancellor for failing 'even mention climate change' in his speech. She said:
With Trump’s election this could have been a moment for Britain to become a world-leader in the fight against catastrophic climate change but, instead, we see little evidence of a commitment to facing up to the greatest challenge of our times. Indeed, it is shameful that the Chancellor failed to even mention climate change in his speech. By caving into the motor lobby and freezing fuel duty again for the seventh year in a row the Government has made a mockery of the fact that it is the hottest year on record and condemned us to more carbon emissions and deadly pollution.

A Government with a genuinely bold vision could have used this Autumn statement to ensure that the economy is future facing on everything from the risks of a potential Brexit to the threats posed by climate change and growing inequality. Instead we have a backwards looking budget that fails to wage war on poverty and fails to grasp the realities of an uncertain world and the limited resources in it. A serious response to the situation we’re in could, for example, have included a nationwide insulation scheme to keep people warm in their homes, cut bills and create jobs in every community. Or the Conservatives could have scrapped their plan to hand cash to corporations and high earners and instead give the NHS the funding it so desperately needs.



22 Nov 2016

2016 Election- Is America sick?

The other day, I came across a very interesting viewpoint regarding the election of President Elect Trump. I thought it was a viewpoint worth exploring. Getting sick is a warning to the body that something needs to change otherwise there may be a fatal consequence. 

America obviously was seeking change through this election, as lets face it, neither candidates were ideal. What Trump seems to have given America, is a taste of what it's like to be out of their comfort zone. An average candidate, doesn't make make people think. Doesn't stir up any sort of emotional response, be it positive or negative. Maybe this outcome is what was needed to make America realise change is needed in order to progress, to make people think and want to act to change a previously broken system.



How much worse does it have to get before people notice that the way Brent council is run is the 'sickness' warning us change is needed?

Written by L.E.

21 Nov 2016

Stand up for the Planet and against Trump this Friday evening US Embassy


From the Campaign Against Climate Change

There will be another demonstration against Donald Trump and his undermining of action on climate change this Friday 5.30pm to 7pm 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1

FACEBOOK EVENT

Climate scientists and experts around the world are warning that a Trump presidency could spell 'game over' for the climate. But activists in the US and around the world are lining up to fight for the planet and we will stand alongside them. Join us at the US embassy to send a clear message of solidarity and determination, find out more about the global climate struggle and plans for future action. Speakers tbc.

Read more:


Trump a disaster for planet Guardian  Vox Com


This is what Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas said after the presidential election:



17 Nov 2016

Trump's climate policies are nothing short of genocidal









Date: THIS FRIDAY, 18th November
Time: 6:00pm
Location: US Embassy, Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, London, W1A 2LQ. Map here
As the UN COP22 climate talks in Marrakesh draw to a close, a new dawn for climate policy is breaking with the election of Donald Trump as the President of the USA.

Environmental campaigners' worst fears look to be justified, as Presdent-elect Trump has already announced the appointment of Myron Ebell, a prominent climate change denier with strong links to the fossil fuel industry, as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Earlier this week, the World Meteorological Organization predicted that 2016 is almost certainly going to be the hottest year on record, surpassing last year's record. Trump has called climate change a "hoax". The disconnect between the climate crisis and those holding power has never been starker. Now only the most wildly optimistic have any hope that the world won't pass 2°C.

This time last year the world's leaders came together in Paris to agree the historic Paris Climate Agreement, which aims to limit the increase in temperature to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. It came into earlier at the beginning of the month. America is responsible for almost 20% of global carbon emissions and is the world's highest per capita polluter.

Trump has made it clear that he wants to withdraw from the Paris Agreement as soon as possible and his staff are already looking for ways to do so. There are real fears that this could pave the way for similar moves from other countries looking for a way to appease those with vested interests.

So, join us outside the American Embassy in Mayfair at 6pm on Friday to send a clear message: Trump's climate policies are nothing short of genocidal and will seal the fate of the millions, if not billions of people who are set to lose their lives as the planet warms irreversibly.

Please join and share our Facebook event with all the latest information:
https://www.facebook.com/events/333429317036859
----
info@climatedefence.org
07903 316 331 / 07779 500 235

15 Nov 2016

Greens' Guide to the Rights of EU Nationals in the UK



With EU nationals' rights considered a legitimate bargaining chip by the Government in the Brexit negotiations, JeanLamber MEP  and other Greens are showing we are firmly on the side of EU nationals and will stand up for their rights and for freedom of movement.

Written with a barrister, the factsheet contains important information about existing rights (see below)

Please note that this factsheet is designed to provide information only. The law may have changed since this was produced in November 2016 and you should always seek up-to-date legal advice. The author and publisher cannot accept responsibility for any reliance placed on the information contained in this factsheet.

Click on bottom right corner for full view

13 Nov 2016

Lucas on Trump: 'Let's light a candle rather than curse the darkness'

November 9th: Caroline Lucas, the co-leader of the Green Party, has responded to Donald Trump being elected as president of the United States.

She said:
This is a devastating day for women, for people of colour, for disabled people and for an inclusive society in the USA.

Trump’s election is also a hammer blow for the fight against climate change – and presents a genuine threat to some of the poorest people in the world who will suffer its effects worse.

But this is no time to mourn – instead we must organize like never before to keep our communities cohesive and our climate safe. On this dark day we extend the hand of friendship to people in the USA who wake up in fear – we know that you are not defined by the hatred espoused by your new president. But it’s at times like this when we need to unite, learn, resist and hope more than ever before. Today, in whatever ways we can, let’s light a candle rather than curse the darkness.

Jam Jelly and Chutney for sale

From: Willesden Harvesters <willesdenharvesters@gmail.com>
Subject: Jam Jelly and Chutney for sale
Date: 13 November 2016 at 20:20:03 GMT
To: Willesden Harvesters Gmail <willesdenharvesters@gmail.com>

Dear all,

We have some of our produce for sale this year.  It could be the perfect Christmas present!

We have apple and blackberry jam, pink apple jam, crab apple jelly, chilli and ginger chutney, and Christmas chutney, all made from local apples, pears, blackberries and crab apples. 

There is no photo of the jar of our Christmas chutney, but it is also available. 
(made with star anise, cinnamon, clementines and dates) 

If you would like to buy any of the above mentioned, please email us. 

It could be the perfect Christmas present :)

Kind regards
Vendy 
(on behalf of Willesden Fruit Harvesters)