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



7 Dec 2019

Brent Trades Council hustings of Brent Central Parliamentary candidates in the General Election. Saturday 7th December 2019

Brent Trades Council hustings of Brent Central Parliamentary candidates in the General Election. Saturday 7th December 2019 at 3pm New Testament of Church of God 179 High Road Willesden London NW10 2SD Candidates who originally agreed to attend: David Brescia (Conservative) NO SHOW Dawn Butler (Labour Party) William Relton (Green Party) Deborah Unger (Lib Dem) Chair:Mary Adossides, Brent Trades Council Brent Trades Council hustings of Brent Central Parliamentary candidates in the General Election. Saturday 7th December 2019 Introduction by Chair: Mary Adossides, Brent Trades Council Opening remarks Dawn Butler (Labour Party) William Relton (Green Party) Deborah Unger (Lib Dem) url:https://youtu.be/1l6ZbnArhUY Brent Trades Council hustings of Brent Central Parliamentary candidates in the General Election. Saturday 7th December 2019 Introduction by Chair: Mary Adossides, Brent Trades Council Questions: Climate change and pollution Dawn Butler (Labour Party) William Relton (Green Party) url:https://youtu.be/rkYTc9-3Wjw Brent Trades Council hustings of Brent Central Parliamentary candidates in the General Election. Saturday 7th December 2019 Introduction by Chair: Mary Adossides, Brent Trades Council Questions: Austerity, Poverty, Arms exports,crime Dawn Butler (Labour Party) William Relton (Green Party) Deborah Unger (Lib Dem) url:https://youtu.be/tcpe1hD_O5M Brent Trades Council hustings of Brent Central Parliamentary candidates in the General Election. Saturday 7th December 2019 Introduction by Chair: Mary Adossides, Brent Trades Council Questions: racism, refugees, migration, economics, education Dawn Butler (Labour Party) William Relton (Green Party) Deborah Unger (Lib Dem) url: https://youtu.be/8Uh1NYkyr-w Brent Trades Council hustings of Brent Central Parliamentary candidates in the General Election. Saturday 7th December 2019 Introduction by Chair: Mary Adossides, Brent Trades Council Questions: NHS, closing remarks Dawn Butler (Labour Party) William Relton (Green Party) Deborah Unger (Lib Dem) url:https://youtu.be/RAPLNN1TPLs

5 Dec 2019

Brent Young Green puts Cllr Krupa Sheth on the spot over recycling

Brent Young Green, Macsen Brown,  quizzed Cllr Krupa Sheth, lead member for the environment, at the last Brent Council meeting:

Harrow Times 5/12/19

21 Nov 2019

Review Mapesbury asphalt and Furness trees decisions William Relton tells Brent Council

William Relton, Green Party  parliamentary candidate for Brent Central is calling on Brent Council to review two actions that were due to be implemented on Monday morning in the night of its Climate Emergency Declaration. William said,
Quite why this is happening so soon after The Climate Emergency Declaration was made is quite staggering.The Climate Emergency Declaration must be more than a public relations stunt. It will only have credibility if residents can see that it affects Brent Council’s every environmental action. I support Mapesbury residents concerned about the detrimental environmental impact of asphalt replacing paving in Dartmouth Road and the people of Furness Road who have managed to delay the cutting down of trees in their road, five of which are outside Furness Primary School. Both cases indicate that the Council is prevented by a bureaucratic interpretation of its own guidelines in making sensible decisions that contribute to   the fight against climate change. 

I call on Brent Council to review both decisions and ensure that all such actions are seen through the lense of the Climate Emergency Declaration. Coincidentally I responded in the comments section of the CED specifically about Brent needing to implement a large scale tree planting programme, and this removal of healthy trees seems to be completely at odds with its own policy.

15 Nov 2019

William Relton & Simon Rebbitt, Green Party candidates for Brent Central and Brent North introduce themselves


William Relton making the case for  the Green Party in Willesden Green
My name is William Relton. I am honoured and delighted to have been selected as the candidate for the Green Party in Brent Central. This really is the most important election for decades. The timing is not right for a proper General Election on the broader issues concerning most people up and down the country, which is how a General Election should work. This election will be forever remembered as the Brexit election. Just as Caroline Lucas has been campaigning ever since the ’16 referendum, we really should have had a proper People’s Choice referendum before this election. However, Parliament, or at least the two largest parties, has decided that we should have an election now, so here we are.

This will be a very important election for the smaller parties. People have really begun to realise that our two party, first past the post system, just doesn’t work anymore. A total reform of our electoral system is urgently needed. A vote for the smaller parties is a step in the right direction towards Proportional Representation, a system that the vast majority of modern democracies use. The Lib Dems are still badly tainted by their record in the coalition government with the Tories. A vote for the Green Party will help support a movement for a fairer, cleaner, happier Britain. Please do vote for me, William Relton, Green Party, Brent Central on December 12.


Secondary school teacher Simon Rebbitt
My name is Simon Rebbitt. I am a secondary school teacher of History and Geography and the Green Party’s candidate for Brent North. I have lived in Brent for the last ten years and have taught in comprehensive schools in this community all that time. The things that are important to me I believe are important to all of us: the huge rents that stop people moving onto the property ladder, the general cost of living and especially transport costs. They affect me and they affect you too. First and foremost, as the representative for Brent I would want to make sure these concerns are known in Parliament. 

As a Green Party member, I care about the environment yes, but then again, I haven’t ever met anyone who doesn’t. We all want a healthy world we can leave for our children. That doesn’t mean banning all cars or forcing everyone to become vegans, it means finding workable solutions that can make us make positive changes to our lifestyles. But right now, the biggest distraction is Brexit. The leave result was a crude answer to a complicated set of problems championed by pandering politicians looking to advance their careers at the cost of everybody else. I first joined the Greens when I saw how impotently Corbyn tried to oppose the Leave campaign. The Green Party opposes division, it stands for unity, for the planet and for its people. I stand with them and for Brent now and for the future.

13 Oct 2019

Focus on trees that are fit for purpose



Opinion... Focus on trees that are fit for purpose (from Horticulture Week https://www.hortweek.com/opinion-focus-trees-fit-purpose/arboriculture/article/1661525?fbclid=IwAR3Mal1ZKKQcjQNSAl1KgB57ntCcazzKK9QR_9Dk-GaCUKTKEPM5eNaNsBQ originally posted in green left facebook by Jon A. Meek)
4 October 2019, by Jeremy Barrell
Attending tree conferences around the world, the thrust is always the same — lots of spin showcasing project successes and creating a pervasive impression that everything is fine. But it’s not. Everywhere I look I see the natural environment in crisis. Industrial farming and fishing are degrading nature on a breathtaking scale, fuelled by visionless politicians oblivious to public opinion.
The scale of international climate protests demonstrates how far behind governments lag, and it’s the same for trees. It’s obvious that
high-quality trees are good for people, yet the politicians still cling to sound bites and shallow gestures focused on numbers instead of outcomes. I am heartened by the Government pledge of £10m for new urban trees, but it is not bold enough for the unfolding climate crisis. It is too little, too late.
Many nurseries continue to produce trees unfit for purpose and buyers continue to accept defective products, despite a British Standard (BS 8545) designed to stop the rot. It is encouraging that many new trees are being planted, but the lack of maintenance funding means few will reach their full potential. So the numbers game wheel keeps turning — low-quality trees, poorly planted, die after a few years and the cycle restarts. Politicians and nurseries win, the people lose, every time.
Although new planting creates a comfortable sense of progress, the real gains are in preventing the loss of existing trees to development. Established trees are already in place and delivering benefits right where they are needed most, close to people, so it is intelligent to work around the best ones. The planning mechanisms exist to do this, yet incompetent planners and local politicians consistently fail to deliver sustainable development.
We have the expertise, technology, and capacity to put this right, but the mindset is missing. Government must legislate based on outcomes, not numbers. There must be a focus on growing trees fit for purpose and planting them properly. All local planning authorities must have a written tree policy and dedicated tree officers to implement sustainable tree management.
The historic Government approach of passive persuasion isn’t working. Instead, we need political leadership to drive positive change — and legislation in the forthcoming environmental bill is the way to do it.
Jeremy Barrell is managing director of Barrell Tree Consultancy

11 Oct 2019

Support to the RMT in its protest against ticket office closure on London Overground stations,

As London and Brent  Green Party Trade Union liaison officer I would like to send our support to the RMT in its protest against ticket office closure on London Overground stations, (https://www.kilburntimes.co.uk/news/transport-union-to-hold-protest-against-ticket-office-cuts-1-631598 and https://www.rmt.org.uk/campaigns/rail/save-london-overground-ticket-offices/ )





Just as with the campaign to retain and reinstate guards on trains, this is not just an issue of protecting jobs, but it is also a public welfare issue. Stations will become less safe, secure and accessible and it will probably become more difficult to purchase the correct tickets. Additionally, the reduction in station staffing discourages use of public transport, just at a time when it should be being encouraged, as an alternative to car use because of the need to combat climate change.

8 Oct 2019

GREENWASH? Here's how Brent scored on our climate-friendly test (according to FoE)


Here's how Brent scored on our climate-friendly test

Overall score: 72%


The Brent area’s performance on climate change is average compared to other local authority areas. All local authorities, even the best performing, need to do much more if climate catastrophe is to be averted. Brent particularly needs to do much better on increasing renewable energy, increasing tree cover, and increasing waste recycling.

Score breakdown

Trees

3% of Brent is woodland
The highest proportion in similar areas is 13%. Trees are great at removing carbon from the air around us. Doubling tree cover across the country would help reduce emissions.

Transport

68% of commuter journeys are made by public transport, cycling and walking
Brent should aim for 80% by 2030. We need fewer vehicles on the roads – they increase air pollution and are harmful to our health.

Housing

41% of Brent homes are well insulated
Poorly insulated homes cost more to run, which is inefficient and contributes to fuel poverty. Brent needs to ensure all homes are properly insulated by 2030.

Waste

37% of household waste is reused, recycled, or composted
When waste isn’t reused, recycled or composted, it may end up burnt, in landfill or even in our waterways and seas. Brent should aim for 70% by 2025 on the path to zero waste.

Renewable energy

Brent has 3 megawatts of renewable energy available
If the area matched the best of similar local council areas it would have 28 MW. We need 100% clean energy from the wind, sun and sea. Electricity can’t come from dirty fuels like coal, oil and gas anymore.

20 Sep 2019


The youth climate strikers would like to invite you to attend a workshop about the Green New Deal on Thursday 26th September as part of their national week of climate action. The UK Student Climate Network are organising this workshop for local people and grassroots organisations in London in order to:

1.        Explain what the basic principles of the Green New Deal are
2.       Discuss how we can spread knowledge of a GND within our organisations and communities
3.       Brainstorm ideas about what a GND could mean for us - both on a national and local level

The workshop will be taking place at Preston Community Library (Carlton Avenue East, Wembley, HA9 8PL) from 6-8pm on Thursday 26th. If you would like to attend this workshop, please RSVP by purchasing a FREE ticket on our Eventbrite page below. We ask that tickets are limited to 2 per organisation, as we want to make sure we have a good variety of different groups.

19 Sep 2019

Join Brent Greens on Friday's Global Climate Strike



Brent environmental activists, politicians and trade unionists will be joining Council staff demonstrating solidarity with the Global Climate Strike on Friday morning with a rally outside Brent Civic Centre in Wembley.

They are answering the call from Greta Thunberg and other young climate activists for the older generation to support the campaign  for urgent action on the climate emergency.

Brent Council has given permission for Brent Council workers to join the rally with manager’s permission as long as their attendance does not affect service provision.

Brent citizen’s who recognise the threat posed by climate change are invited to join the Rally from 9.30am to 10am to show their support and to hear speeches from a broad range of speakers including a local school student.  Home made placards particularly welcome.

After the rally many of those attending will move on to the main solidarity event in Central London at Millbank, Westminster.

18 Sep 2019

Brent Green Party ELECTION HUSTINGS TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 17th 2019

Brent Green Party ELECTION HUSTINGS TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 17th 2019

 Our Green Party candidates for Brent Central (William Relton) and Simon Rebbit (Brent North) appearing at our Hustings Meeting Tuesday 17th September 7pm Brent Mencap 379-381 High Road, Willesden, NW10 2JR, where you can hear them explain why they are seeking your vote and answer any questions you may have.

 You will have been sent a voting link. If you cannot find it please check your spam file , Subject: Opa Voting Link

 Separately members of Brent Green Party who live in the Brent wards in the Hampstead and Kilburn Constituency could  attend hustings 17 September 2019 at: Kingsgate Community Centre, 107 Kingsgate Rd, London NW6 2JH 7pm start

youtube url: https://youtu.be/wIJw8U74qr4

12 Sep 2019

Brent FoE/ TUC meeting 11/9/2019:"Green Jobs and Economy"

Brent FoE/ TUC meeting 11/9/2019:"Green Jobs and Economy" Introductions Ian Saville (Brent FoE) and Mary Adossides (Brent TUC) url:https://youtu.be/5DhSDoGzA3c Sarah Wooley of The Bakers and Allied Food Workers Union (BFAWU) url:https://youtu.be/sB1TkD_MCds Aaron Kiely of Friends of the Earth url:https://youtu.be/S9TRpD0NTOs Councillor Roxanne Mashari (Brent) url:https://youtu.be/6GsHZgK9DPo John Youel of Labour Green New Deal url:https://youtu.be/qcYyzLliHbk John McDonnell MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer url:https://youtu.be/aVnDWLCU_YA Questions and discussion chaired by Ian Saville (Brent FoE) url: https://youtu.be/nIo8ElpowX4 Closing remarks from the Panel url:https://youtu.be/G1HfmPDjfEM

8 Sep 2019

Support and solidarity to the staff of Strathcona school


Brent Green Party and London Federation of Green Parties send Support and solidarity to the staff of Strathcona school  who will be going on strike with the support of the NEU to oppose the closure of the school. This closure  which damages the education of students at Strathcona and the communities which it serves, is happening inspite of numerous objections from students' parents and other members of the public. Brent council should be acting to defend Local authority education and not diminish it. 

P.Murry Trade Union Liaison Officer for Brent Green Party and London Federation of Green Parties


Support low paid food workers in Park Royal

Support low paid food workers in Park Royal

GMB CALLOUT FOR PAY PROTEST  AT FOOD FACTORY, PARK ROYAL

The workers at this major food manufacturer in Park Royal have overwhelmingly rejected 2 pay offers from management.
The GMB union has a £1/hr more campaign running and we are now at the stage of doing an indicative ballot for industrial action.
This is the first time that this workforce has been asked to take industrial action.  
Workers are mainly from Gujarat, Sri Lanka and Goa. There are many women workers. They make houmous and ready-meals for all the major supermarkets.
Most workers have worked there for many years and still only earn around the minimum-wage.
This is a major employer in the area, covering 3 factories and 1 warehouse and almost 4000 workers.

A fight here would send an important signal to all the low-waged migrant workers in London! Enough of poverty wages!

They need your support!
Workers are scared and unsure about the next steps.
This is why we want to increase their confidence and tell them ,"You can do this!"

Please come and show solidarity with us! (Hindi speakers especially would be useful).
The more the merrier!


***FRIDAY 13TH SEPTEMBER, 2019***
3.15pm - 5.15pm (shift leaves 3.30pm and 5pm)
BAKKAVOR, 40 CUMBERLAND AVENUE, NW10 7RQ

***MONDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER, 2019***

2.15pm-5pm

BAKKAVOR, 304-306 ELVEDEN PLACE, NW10 7SY 


***WEDNESDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER, 2019***

4.15pm-5.15pm 

BAKKAVOR 269 ABBEYDALE ROAD, HA0 1TW 

Brent Green Party and London Federation of Green Parties send support and solidarity to the workers of 
BAKKAVOR food manufacturers in Park Royal. Their work is important and deserves to be properly paid, we also support the GMB in representing these workers. Unions have a vital role to play in organising workers in this sector where exploitation often happens.

P.Murry Trade Union Liaison Officer for Brent Green Party and London Federation of Green Parties

4 Sep 2019

Hospitals and the nhs depend on Porters, cleaners, ward hostesses and kitchen staff

As Trade Union Liaison Officer for Brent and London Region Green Parties I would like to send Green Party support to the striking Medirest staff at Northwick Park Hospital. 

Hospitals and the nhs depend on Porters, cleaners, ward hostesses and kitchen staff who play a vital and grossly undervalued role in patient care and keeping hospitals hygenis, these workers deserve decent treatment and proper reward for their dedicated work NOW! 

in solidarity Peter Murry ,Trade Union Liaison Officer for Brent and London Region



Wednesday, 4 September 2019
Medirest staff to protest outside Northwick Park Hospital on Thursday 5 September over issues of wages, bullying and over work

Staff working for Medirest at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow are set to protest outside the hospital on Thursday 5th September from noon to 4pm over poor wages and what they say is overbearing management and heavy workload. 
Porters, cleaners, ward hostesses and kitchen staff who are employed by the multinational facility management company Medirest say that they have had enough.
A recent meeting organised by GMB heard many workers from the 80 strong crowd tell of how their workloads have increased and that many were being paid the National Minimum Wage £8.21 an hour.
Other concerns over a bullying supervisor were raised following the GMB presenting a petition signed by over half of the staff of 400.
Tahir Bhatti, GMB Regional Organiser said:
Last year we started to speak to the Medirest about increasing the wages from the minimum wage, as well as other issues.
Medirest have a lot of staff paid only the minimum wage, staff who clean up after patients, transport deceased patients and make sure the hospital functions. We feel that there should be respect and fairness for all Medirest workers. 
The union are calling for equal wages and a root and branch investigation into the concerns of the workers. 



Workers will stage a respectable protest outside the main entrance to the hospital.

25 Aug 2019

Brent Council's Climate Emergency - Was it a PR stunt?

PB: The opinions expressed within this article may not reflect the views of the Brent Green Party, and reflect the view and opinions of the author (Rishi S)


In recent weeks we have seen a number of environmental emergencies emerging from the raging fires in the Brazilian Rain forest to the extreme heat in the UK, where we experienced the hottest day  recorded.
Each of these items have extreme effects, during the same time period Brent Council have declared a Climate Emergency, since doing so the council outlined some particular points found here, each of which are completely valid.

However the council has completely waived its own responsibility to admit a pollution problem in their own borough, whereby Brent is listed 3 times in the top 10 of the most polluted areas/ towns in the UK, provided in a great article written by Nathalie Raffray found here.

This revelation comes as no shock to me, I predicted this back in 2011 when I wrote an email to the all the Councillors warning them of the impending issues.

I was able to forecast this, because of my career, I have previously worked as a data analyst, and was able to use complex modelling techniques (namely neural nets and artificial intelligence) to predict the future and various outcomes.

The short of it, the council moved to a council wide HMO application approval, in addition to approving almost ALL new builds in the borough. This flawed view of the 'future' of Brent only serves one purpose, and that is to gather as much council tax as possible, while completely missing solving the problems created by increasing population density.

An example for this, many HMO properties can have multiple individuals meaning each of them do not share cars like a family might, and therefore adding pressure to the ongoing parking problems throughout the borough.

In addition to this the number of giant hideous concrete blocks being built continue to lack parking spaces, the council has the thinking it is a deterrent to people driving. However the reality is these residents will just park their cars anywhere they can find space.
Some great examples below:






This is Honeypot Lane (A4140) near the Morrisons, as you see this giant development of flats clearly does not contain enough parking spaces, the residents then spill their cars onto a main road.
Although this seems quite harmful, the knock on effects are grave:


  1. Cars now drive over hatched lines, if a couple drivers want to turn (Where the turn arrow is) they will cause congestion because the two lanes is effectively one.
  2. During peak hours the congestion causes a backup of traffic
    1. The domino effect takes places, where now idling cars sit waiting for someone to allow cars to turn
    2. A queue forms behind it (Again exacerbates congestion, idling engines and increases air pollution)
  3. A safety issue arises, whereby drivers now cross to a space where they should not drive unless they also want to turn. See this link
  4. This in turn rewards bad driving etiquette
  5. It also creates a safety issue (one the council has completely ignored)
This is only one example of this type of parking issue, another is a newly completed development near by Wembley Park station, named Mathew Close. Residents were not ALL offered parking, the owners of these flats only had the chance to buy a space if they had a 2 bed flat or a above when its value exceed a certain value.

So what do residents do when they do not have parking?

They park on the surrounding residential streets.

This alone has disenfranchised ALL residential homes on these types of streets, between the HMO applications and subsequent filling them to the brim with individuals, and the number of developments both cause a parking issue.

On top of this, Brent council is the ONLY London Borough Council to NOT make effective use of Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ) near by the TFL train stations, is there a negative effect of this?

In short a massive Yes, commuters from all areas can casually drive down to these areas, park for Free then walk to the various train stations (In this example I refer to Wembley Park, Preston Road, Northwick Park), as someone who lives local to these stations it causes chaos for residents.

Not only does it cause a parking problem, it adds to the local congestion during peak hours which in turn increases pollution massively.

If the council had the foresight to consider this issue to ALL its plans, I do not think we would have these problems, but they have continued to choose to ignore it, then claimed there is a climate emergency without acknowledging the problems in their own constituencies.

When the eventual future comes for electric cars, how will the council resolve parking issues? They clearly are not equipped to acknowledge this kind of problem, hence why someone that was a Tory has joined the Green Party.

This particular Labour lead council has seen the following (All facts):

  1. The highest air pollution in its history (Proof)
  2. The worst congestion experienced in its history
  3. The highest population in its history
  4. The most pot hole numbers in its history (Proof [for 1 road])
  5. Parking issues for residents in the borough
  6. Disenfranchisement of the residents who oppose new builds (proof)
As a representative of the Brent Green Party, how would I resolve these issues?

It is very simple, make the entire borough a CPZ (Controlled Parking Zone), where ONLY residents can park during certain times of the day.
Allow visitors pay and display parking for up to 3 hours with no return in 4 hours.

In addition to this, I would put a halt to ALL the developments currently in the application process, ensure they ALL have enough parking spaces for ALL residents, including making sure the buildings are ALL green.

Since 2012 the BBC has reported making sure buildings are 'living' will massively reduce road side pollution, link.

This begs the question, why the council has not made sure all these new developments have adhered to this type of thinking in an attempt to reduce pollution?

I cannot answer this unfortunately, I can speculate - the council is too embroiled with these development companies and gets caught up with making a 'quick buck'. The council has had the chance to implement such things and has chosen not to.

To me it is clear, locally Labour does not have the interest of local residents in mind, they clearly are siding with development companies because they have millions to spend.

Having these measures (like CPZs) not only reduces the knock on effects of pollution, but it costs our NHS less, something I thought Labour was for, but locally they just are not :(

To answer the headline, was Brent Council's Climate Emergency a PR Stunt?

- Yes


-Rishi S

30 Jul 2019

July Divest Brent news




1.       We are now well on the way to meeting our 1,000 signature target for the Divest Brent petition. Although the online petition (see link at the bottom of this email) gives a figure of only 794 signatures we still have to upload nearly 90 more signatures from our recent stall at Queens Park Farmers Market – and still have planned in the next 2 months another stall at the Farmers Market and we will be sharing a stall with Brent Friends of the Earth at Queens Park Day in September. The combination of those 2 events should see us comfortably over the 1,000 mark.

2.       We reported last month a climate emergency petition on the Council’s democracy website and in fact a climate and ecological emergency was declared by the Council on 8 July – see https://www.brent.gov.uk/council-news/july-2019/climate-emergency-declared-by-brent/, which also includes a link to the detailed text of the declaration. The Council is going to strive for carbon neutrality by 2030 and the resolution specifically referenced the 2018 manifesto commitment on divestment which should help our campaign.

3.       In the meantime Divest Brent has been keeping a low profile for two reasons. Firstly the Council has, under government guidance, been moving its pension fund investments to a pool of London Borough pension investments called the London Collective Investment Vehicle (LCIV or CIV) – but LCIV currently has no fossil-free funds. With the Council planning to have 90% of its funds in the CIV by the end of this year, there is little point in pressing them to divest their investments when there is nothing suitable to re-invest into. We have therefore been focusing  on persuading the CIV to start offering fossil-free funds. The good news is that the CIV has appointed a Chief Investment Officer (CIO), Mark Thompson, who will be taking up his post in September – and who has a good reputation on ethical and fossil-free investment at his present role as CIO at HSBC. One of his early tasks will be to appoint a Responsible Investment Officer who should be in a position to organise ethical and fossil-free funds under the CIO’s supervision. We have been working with our colleagues in other London divestment campaigns and a number of them have contacted the CIV direct or asked their Councils to emphasise to the CIV the importance of making available these new funds. Lambeth Council in particular recently committed to divest but stated at the time that they could not start the process until the appropriate fossil-free funds in the CIV were in place.

4.       The second reason for holding back is that the Council has undertaken to publish in October its strategy for divestment; past experience suggests that an approach at this stage would simply be met by an assurance that the matter was being dealt with. Once the policy document is in place we can assess where best to focus our energies.

5.       Meanwhile, July has seen plenty of news from back in the wider world:
·         Bad news for BP, which so far has refused to take any significant steps to refocus its business strategy in line with the climate emergency:
o   Mark Rylance resigned from the Royal Shakespeare Company to protest against its sponsorship by BP
o   a trustee of the British Museum, Ahdaf Soueif, resigned to protest BP sponsorship of the Museum, with considerable support from its staff. While the Museum’s Director has defended the ties to BP, Ms Soueif has claimed that a tipping point is approaching for BP’s sponsorship of the Arts
o   Greenpeace occupied a BP oil rig, en route to a new well site, for 12 days
·         Bad news for the rest of us – last month the UK committed £2 billion to fossil fuel projects abroad while government support for renewables fell to only £700k (yes, £700,000 not £700 million!).
·         Good news:
o   after keeping up the momentum of youth strikes for the climate, with well attended strike days in February, March and this month, the students are now calling on adults to join in on September 20 – if you can, put the date in your diary – and indeed the 20th kicks off a week of action – see https://350.org/support-climate-strikes/ for more information.
o   German renewable energy is at last overtaking fossil fuels for power generation – see https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-power-renewables/renewables-overtake-coal-as-germanys-main-energy-source-idUSKCN1OX0U2 - this is particularly good news as they burn a particularly carbon-intensive form of coal and for some time there have been concerns that they were going to miss their targets for quitting coal; instead coal usage is dropping faster than expected.
o   In the meantime more than half of UK electricity last year was generated from low-carbon sources (renewables and nuclear).
o   The National Trust has agreed to divest their substantial investment portfolio.
o   European Investment Bank has pledged not to provide any more finance for fossil fuel projects.

6.       Finally, Greenpeace were determined that Boris Johnson should be reminded of the climate emergency – even on his way to Buckingham Palace for his formal appointment of Prime Minister by the Queen.

29 Jul 2019

Plastic free produce at the Olive Tree - help needed!



In line with the current concerns about plastic waste, our local organic food shop on Willesden Lane wants to offer some loose foods plastic-free and need our help to do so.  There is only two days left so please act quickly! 
They say:
'We are looking to install gravity feeders so that customers can fill up on grains, beans, nuts and seeds with their own containers or by using paper bags. This would reduce the use of single use plastics and thus reduce the use on fossil fuels also. To do this we've set up a crowdfunding to get support from the community.'
Link to their Crowdfunding:
Link to their website:
We look forward to plastic-free shopping at the Olive Tree, and hopefully in more local shops, and congratulate them on their initiative.

6 Jul 2019

Proportional Representation NOW! No more wasted votes producing apathy and helplessness


William Relton of Brent Green Party on why we need a change of voting system

Brent Green Party activists were outside Willesden Green Station today building support for the cross-party and non-party Makes Votes Matter campaign. Events were taking place across the country by groups calling for proportional representation to produce a fairer voting system and to end voter apathy.

At a time of national crisis it is dangerous that only a minority of people vote and disaffection from politicians and democracy is rife.

19 Jun 2019

Brent Stop the War meeting on the Lucas Plan 17 June 2019

Edited discussion of The Plan – Brent Stop the War meeting led by Peter Murry



url:https://youtu.be/48Y4cuAXHKQ 

 The Plan film by Steve  Sprung   - 30 minute version:https://vimeo.com/305253552

What was the Lucas plan?


THE LUCAS PLAN & THE new LUCAS PLAN: Some Key Points

1.  In 1976 the Lucas Aerospace was a major British manufacturer of weapons components with factories fifteen sites including in Birmingham and Willesden


2.  When it announced job cuts, the Combine which represented staff and manual worker unions responded with proposals that they keep their jobs and use their skills to for ‘socially useful production’ i.e. making products more beneficial to humanity than weapons technology.

3.  The Combine proposed an Alternative Corporate Plan which included designs for various products such as wind turbines and fuel cell technology and building a prototype road-rail bus.


4.  Lucas Aerospace management rejected these ideas and the government, and the TUC only offered moral support so the plan only survived as a ‘might have been’.

5.  However, it is remembered as a potential template of workers’ control over the decisions make about their work and of how technology need not be devoted to warfare.
6.  The plan gave rise to other developments around these issues eg: Greater London Enterprise Board [31] founded by Ken Livingstone and Mike Cooley, an industrial development and job creation agency set up by the GLC to create employment by investing in the industrial regeneration of London and AI & Society, which is now a major international forum for socially responsible technology.  Perhaps most famously, Mike Cooley (a designer at Lucas Aerospace, and chair of  the local branch of the technical trade union TASSA went on to write several books and articles and pursue an academic career based on ‘socially useful production’

7.  In 2016 various activists, including , original Lucas Combine members organised a conference in Birmingham to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Lucas plan  and to explore its relevance in the 21st century’, notably with the emergence of climate change as an issue which gave rise to developments such as the ‘1million Climate Jobs’ proposals originating from the Campaign Against Climate Change (https://www.campaigncc.org/climatejobs) and proposals for a ‘Green New Deal’., and most recently Unison’s call to ‘Nationalise the big six and create a ‘green army’ to help the UK hit net zero,@.

8.  As the New Lucas Plan the conference gave rise to four working groups: ARMS CONVERSION, ROBOTICS & AUTOMATION, JUST TRANSITION, and DEMOCRATIC LOCAL PLANNING which continue to meet and organise and participate in events around the idea of ‘socially useful production’ throughout the UK. For further info contact: info@breakingtheframe.org.uk, https://www.facebook.com/LucasPlan40/, https://twitter.com/lucasplan40





STORY OF THE LUCAS PLAN

BY BRIAN SALISBURY, FORMER MEMBER OF LUCAS AEROSPACE SHOP STEWARDS COMBINE COMMITTEE
In 1976 the Lucas Aerospace Combine Shop Stewards Committee produced an Alternative Corporate Plan for Lucas Aerospace that advocated the production of social useful products. This was in response to management announcing the need to cut jobs. 

The Combine was a representative body of staff and manual worker unions on all the fifteen sites throughout the U.K. It had been established by the shop stewards to enable the workforce to have a coherent and unified voice when responding to managements corporate view on wages, pensions, manning levels and other such issues. The shop stewards had realised though experience how management had used divide and rule tactics when negotiating on an individual site and craft union basis.

Following a period of expansion, in 1974 Lucas Aerospace along with other aerospace companies announced the need to restructure the company because of ‘increased international competition and technological change brought about by the need to introduce new technology’. Around half of Lucas Aerospace output supplied military contracts. Since this depended upon public funding, as did many of the civilian contracts, the Combine argued that state support would be better put to developing products that society needed, rather than the state supporting workers through paying redundancy money when they were put out of work.

The idea of the Combine’s Alternative Corporate Plan came about as a result of a meeting held with Tony Benn at the Dept. of Industry in November 1974. Thirty-four Combine delegates met with Benn in an attempt to persuade him to include Lucas Aerospace in the nationalisation of the aerospace industry. Benn indicated he did not have the power to include Lucas Aerospace in the nationalisation proposals; however, he suggested that the Combine should draw up an alternative corporate strategy for the company. This suggestion started a process which resulted in the Combine drawing up the Corporate Plan.

Initially the Combine approached outside organisations for suggested products. After receiving only three replies from 180 outside bodies, the Combine circulated questionnaires to the workforce requesting product suggestions which answered a social need and could be produced using the workforces existing skills and plant technology. Emphasis was also to be put on the way the products were to be made, making sure that workers were not to be deskilled in the process of producing them.

150 product ideas were put forward by the workforce. From them, products were selected to fall into six categories: medical equipment, transport vehicles, improved braking systems, energy conservation, oceanics, and telechiric machines. Specific proposals included, in the medical sector, an expansion of 40% in the production of kidney dialysis machines, which at that time were being manufactured on one of the L.A. sites. The Combine ‘regarded it was scandalous that people could be dying for the want of a kidney machine when those who could be producing them are facing the prospect of redundancy’. In the energy sector, proposals included the development of heat pumps, solar cell technology, wind turbines and fuel cell technology. In transport, a new hybrid power pack for motor vehicles and road-rail vehicles. Later, the Combine produced a road-rail bus, which toured the country.

The proposals were rejected out of hand by L.A. management, indicating they would not diversify from aerospace work, even though they had clearly indicated that aerospace work was in decline, and the existence of marginal industrial and medical equipment already being carried out on some of the sites, which could have been built upon.

The Combine’s Alternative Corporate Plan received worldwide support from a multitude of organisations including those who would not normally support trade union activity. Combine shop stewards attended numerous meetings in the U.K. and visits abroad to Sweden, Germany, Australia and USA. In 1981, Mike Cooley, a member of the Combine, received the Right Livelihood award, the money from which he donated to the Combine. In addition, the Combine was successful in attracting funding from charitable bodies, which enabled us to set up the Centre for Alternative Industrial Systems (CAITS) at North East London Polytechnic and the Unit for the Development of Alternative Products (UDAP) at Coventry Polytechnic.

While individual Trade Unions and the Labour Government supported the Combine’s Plan in principle, there was neither the structures in place, nor the political will, to put pressure on Lucas Aerospace management to negotiate with the Combine to implement the Plan. An opportunity was lost to make a company receiving public money accountable to the community in which it served.

Forty years on, the products put forward by the Combine in their worker’s plan are now mainstream. Two examples (there are numerous others) of this are the production of hybrid power packs by most vehicle manufacturers and the contribution wind turbines, both onshore and offshore, make to our renewable energy needs.

Meanwhile Lucas Aerospace, as a company in its own right, no longer exists, parts of it having been sold off, while other parts no longer exist. Like other UK-based manufacturing companies, Lucas Aerospace was a victim of poor, unaccountable management, and a sad lack of successive governments’ industrial strategy.
Lucas Plan References
STORY OF THE LUCAS PLAN BY BRIAN SALISBURY, FORMER MEMBER OF LUCAS AEROSPACE SHOP STEWARDS COMBINE COMMITTEE https://lucasplan.org.uk/story-of-the-lucas-plan/
The New Lucas Plan  AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME? http://lucasplan.org.uk/
VIDEOS FROM THE CONFERENCE: Watch the videos from the Lucas Plan 40th Anniversary conference here:http://lucasplan.org.uk/videos-from-the-conference/