Quiet, courteous and all-embracing – the Corbyn ethos prevailed at this civilised cross-party meeting, chaired by Rachael Harris, assisted by Richard Hatcher.
The writer estimates that about a hundred people attended the Priory Rooms in Bull St, with younger folk having to stand along the sides and at the back in the George Fox room designed for seventy.
A meeting with a difference:
- no top-down agenda set by the organisers;
- no invited speakers pinning folk to their seats for hours and
- all who wanted to speak were heard.
Misgivings were voiced about the imposition of an elected mayor at this meeting – and at a meeting on electoral reform taking place at the same time in the Impact Hub, Digbeth.
Setting up local groups
Volunteers prepared to set up groups in five wards were found. One, from Birmingham University, fifth from the left at the back on the picture of a section of the audience, hoped to set up a group there and we may hear more from this group through the columns of ‘Redbrick’.
An accessible, affordable city venue
A group of disabled people attended, with speakers noting the effect of cuts on their lives, but primarily focussing on their inability to take part in many political events in the city. They stressed that an accessible, affordable city centre venue is needed.
Labour’s democratic deficit: a 20 year mystery to constituents and MPs alike
On her feet in the picture (taken and posted by Mohammed Jamil), Julia Larden, one of Birmingham’s most active citizens, focussed on the plight of Labour Party members in Hall Green, Hodge Hill, Ladywood and Perry Barr who are unable to function locally, to meet ‘officially’, to vote for councillors or to select MPs, due to being placed in ‘special measures’ in 1995. This situation has been described by Sandwell Councillor Bob Piper as a Kafkaesque farce; we read: “The first branches knew about it was when applicants to join Labour’s campaign against an uncaring coalition received a letter from said centralist bureaucracy explaining that they couldn’t join the Party because the CLP was in ‘special measures’ – although they weren’t offered an explanation either”.
The most imminent campaigning concern is agreed
As David Cameron returns to the issue of bombing Syria – execution by drone not only of ISIS fighters but also of civilians in the vicinity – it was agreed to focus on this issue before a formal proposal was made. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said “At the present time, the issue of the bombing of Syria does not seem to me to be the right way forward on this and so I don’t support it at this stage.” He insists that any military response should have the support of the international community and be legally sanctioned by the United Nations.
The meeting was united in enthusiastic support for Jeremy Corbyn and the aims of Momentum: to build a social movement for real progressive change, to make Labour a more democratic party and to work for a more democratic, equal and decent society.
Comment by email: Great counter-narrative to what we’re getting from the mainstream media,