Welcome to the October edition of our monthly bulletin, providing you with the news of what is going on within the Caerphilly Constituency Labour Party.
Our next GC Meeting will be held on Friday, 11 October, starting at 6:30pm at the Council Chambers at the Ty Penallta offices of the Caerphilly Council in Ystrad Mynach. The agenda will include a report from our 2 delegates to the recent very successful annual Conference in Brighton (myself and our CLP Chair, Pam Baldwin).and our AM, Jeff Cuthbert, will provide some background and details on his responsibilities as the new Cabinet Member for tackling Poverty.
Re-selection process for our MP
Letters and emails have been sent to all eligible Party members on the process for the re-selection of our MP, Wayne David. When you receive your letter please try to attend your next local Branch meeting that will include this issue on its agenda.
Online National Policy Forum
I am pleased to inform you that the new online National Policy Forum system and its 2013 annual report that formed the basis for many of the debates at the annual Conference in Brighton, does prove that our views on some of the selected subjects for our next general election manifesto, are being heard. On 3 occasions specific issues we raised have been included. You can access this report on the Your Britain section of the Labour Party website:
Page 17 The creation of a British Investment Bank on the German and Nordic model of lending to small and medium sized businesses.
Page 22 on Tax Evasion that all companies who trade within the UK should pay their fair share of VAT and Corporation Tax.
Page 44 on measures to implement and supervise the Minimum Wage.
Saturday AM canvassing timetable
Copies have been sent to party members and Branch secretaries detailing the dates and venue meeting spots. When speaking with local residents in streets chosen by the local Branch we will raise both local issues and remind voters of the European Parliament elections that will be held in May 2014.
We are planning to produce literature that highlights activities within our own Caerphilly constituency that are supported by European funding. Throughout Wales almost 150,000 jobs are dependant on us remaining within the EU, and we have to begin to counteract the pernicious and distorting propaganda of UKIP and several of their comrades within the Tory Party, and newspapers such as the Daily Mail ( we all know how disreputable this “Tory” rag” really is) that want us to leave the EU. This is not to say that the EU is perfect but remaining within it provides us with the opportunity to reform both their policies and institutions; if we were outside we would have no influence on a market of over 500 million people and who purchase 2/3rds of our export trade.
The Collins Report on links with trade unions is a vitally important subject for the Labour Party. It will be debated at a special GC meeting to be held at our usual venue at the Council Chambers at Ty Penallta on Friday, 29 November at 6:30pm. All party members will be invited to attend and anyone who wants to find out more about this very important debate should contact me for a copy. I will also ask all our Branch secretaries (who will be sent a copy of the report ) to raise this at their next Branch meeting; this will enable those without access to the internet to participate in the debate.
The report highlights 4 issues which we are asked to consider:
1. The development of a new relationship between the Labour Party and individual members of our affiliated organisations (for example Trade Unions)
2. Standardising Constituency Development Plans (the Caerphilly CLP currently has an agreement with the UNITE)
3. Using Primaries to engage a wider public in Labour’s Selection of Candidates (such as the London Mayoral election and perhaps in constituencies where the MP is retiring)
4. Ensuring Fairness and Transparency in Labour Selections (such as code of conduct and spending caps)
At the special meeting I will distribute a list of responses I have drafted to each of the questions raised in order to stimulate the debate, and ,hopefully, encourage you all to attend what promises to be a very lively occasion!!
It was disappointing that our guest speaker at our last GC meeting, Steve Davies, the Chief Executive of the SE Wales Educational Advisory Service, the new body that has taken over the responsibilities of the Local Education Authority, was prevented on legal advice issued by the Caerphilly County Borough Council from speaking to us. We, and Steve Davies himself, are hopeful that this decision will be overturned.
The GC meeting will also consider our plans for campaigning on the energy price freeze announced at Conference by our Leader, a move that has really spooked the Tories and has given us renewed vigour and determination on winning the General Election in May 2015.
Wayne David MP
A new job, a new challenge
In the Shadow Cabinet reshuffle I was asked by Ed Miliband to become one of his two Parliamentary Private Secretaries. In many ways this is an unusual and special job which enables me to attend meetings of the Shadow Cabinet and provide support and advice to the Leader of the Party.
In the run up to the general election, which will be in May 2015, this will be an extremely important role. In essence, my role will be to help to ensure that there is the closest possible working relationship between Ed Miliband, the Parliamentary Labour Party and the Labour Party generally.
As this year’s conference season has ended, it is now clear that Labour has the upper hand. We now need to build on and reinforce the clear themes which Ed Miliband outlined in his speech to Party Conference.
I believe that there are a number of issues that need to focus our attention – firstly, we need to drive home the point that the Cost of Living is hitting people hard. Ed Miliband has said that energy price rises will be frozen when Labour wins power and it is clear that, as always, the Tories stand for the interests of the privileged few while Labour uphold the interests of the many.
Secondly, we need to keep on stressing that we will scrap the bedroom tax. This is, quite rightly, hugely unpopular throughout our constituency and Labour is now fully committed to its abolition.
And thirdly, we need to emphasise that it is only through expanding our economy and creating jobs that Labour can revive our country and give it a new sense of direction and purpose. In particular, tackling zero hour contracts and reinforcing the Minimum Wage are important for our constituency.
If we do these things successfully, we will make a good start on the journey towards achieving a Labour government.
Jeff Cuthbert AM
New responsibilities, the road ahead
The summer recess is now over and the National Assembly for Wales is back in business for its autumn term. Of course, Assembly Members don’t just stop working over the summer months – apart from two weeks at the end of August when I took time off to go away with my family, I was busy with appointments in the constituency, as well as carrying out ministerial duties on behalf of the Welsh Government.
However, each year, toward the end of September, there’s no doubt that there’s a bit of a ‘buzz’ in Cardiff Bay as formal Assembly business returns, with Committee meetings, Plenary sessions and AMs holding Welsh Government ministers to account in the Senedd.
This autumn will be a busy one with a full legislative programme put forward by the Welsh Government. We have just agreed our draft budget annual budget – never an easy task in a climate of austerity brought about by Tory and Lib Dem cuts. As Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, I will be continuing our preparatory work on the Future Generations Bill, which we plan to introduce for scrutiny next summer. This will place the principle of sustainable development at the heart of Government and Welsh public services, future-proofing them for the next generation and those after.
Finally, on a different matter, I note with interest that Plaid Cymru have chosen Lindsay Whittle as their candidate for the next Welsh General Election in 2016. At least this time Plaid have chosen a candidate who can be firmly identified with the cause of Welsh independence and republicanism, unlike a previous candidate. However, it remains to be seen whether Lindsay will also seek to stand on the South Wales East regional list, where he currently sits and has an office in Pontypool.
Given that he is also a Caerphilly County Borough Councillor, it leads me to ask the question – where do Lindsay’s first loyalties lie? To the people of the Penyrheol ward, to the people of the Caerphilly constituency, or the people of the South Wales East region in the Assembly? Surely he should make his intentions clear.
An event that has been organised to present Len Lewis, a member in the Nelson Ward, with a Long Service Award from the Labour Party. Owen Smith, the MP for Pontypridd and the Shadow Welsh Secretary, has kindly agreed to attend and present Len with his award. The event is taking place at 7pm on Friday 15 November 2013 at Nelson Rugby Football Club, Shingrig Road, Nelson, CF46 6ES. Tickets for this event will charged at £5 and will include a buffet.
Please contact Pam Baldwin on 07909 541876 or Lisa Jones on 07811 104389, before Friday 8 November 2013 if you would like to attend.
We have been asked to notify you of Fundraising Activities being undertaken by other CLPs.
Islwyn Labour Party have organised a dinner on Friday 8 November at Crosskeys Rugby Club and tickets are £20 per head for a three course meal. Please call David on 01495 231990 to book your place.
Torfaen Labour Party have also organised a dinner which is taking place on Friday 29 November at Pontypool United Rugby Club. Tickets for the dinner are £17.50 and include a four course meal. The Guest Speaker at the dinner is Lord Kinnock. Please e-mail Valerie on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend.