Hello. I'm Steve Hart, Chair of the Hornsey & Wood Green Constituency Labour Party
Welcome to my new blog, to keep local Labour members and supporters up to speed. I'll be trying to signpost our activities and events, and stimulate some debate.
We have an awesome responsibility here in the biggest Labour Party in the country.
The talent and determination of our members, new and old, can and must become a powerful force for change, in the party, our community and our country.
(And I'll be trying to focus people on priority activities - see the #missingmillion voter registration drive this coming weekend 24/25th October - details below)
3301 members, 1700 supporters - that's Hornsey and Wood Green Labour Party. Over 6% of the electorate are members or supporters.
Over 600 have joined since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader. What a fantastic opportunity for us all to conduct our politics in a new way - winning elections as we did for the wonderful Catherine West, but also discussing, debating politics, linking to social movements, creating new space for progressive politics and action for change.
We're doing a lot:
- our big constituency Refugees Welcome meeting
- local branch meetings with up to 70 people on a wide variety of issues
- campaign weekends on individual voter registration, tax credit cuts
- discussing the London manifesto
- a constituency conference open to all in the New Year
- special showing of Suffragette at the Arthouse
- thriving Women's Forum activities
- policy forums on housing and health
But we want to do so much more. We want to enable more and more of our members to get involved not just at meetings, but in the community and networking. We want to up our game on communications with members and electorate alike. Not just campaigning for Labour, but campaigning for our communities, defending our people against this terrible Tory Government, and developing alternatives.
We need your energy and your talents. If you would like to volunteer with us please fill in your details here.
But we have some really urgent tasks.
Stop the Tax Credit Cuts
In a month, on the weekend of 21/22nd November, we will be on the streets and doorsteps campaigning against the tax credit cuts - the work penalty - which will hit thousands of people in Haringey, who will lose an average of £1300.
The Missing Millions
But first, this weekend, 24th/25th October, we will be campaigning for voter registration. This is really important, as Jeremy Corbyn stressed in his speech at Labour Party Conference,we are facing nothing less than wholesale gerrymandering by the Tories, with millions removed from the electoral register. Jeremy has identified this as a high priority for our campaigning.
Individual Electoral Registration is reasonable in itself, but it is being introduced ruthlessly to wipe out voters, and especially Labour voters, following the US republican habit of "voter suppression".
- The Electoral Commission advice that it should not be introduced until December 2017 has been ignored.
- Cross-checking of data has been banned - in Australia, all official databases are coordinated to ensure fullest registration. Here, Colleges have been banned from providing lists of students at Halls of Residence. In Hackney 23% of previous voters face being removed from the register.
- The poor, young, ethnic minorities, less educated, those forced to move regularly and in private rented accommodation are much less likely to be registered as compared with the stable and prosperous.
That so many voters will be unable to vote in the next year, nor the mayoral election is bad enough. But the premature figures on the register in December this year are to be used as the basis for new Constituency boundaries which will last a generation. This could give the Tories an instant advantage of 20 or 30 seats at the next election.
So this is really really important - and we can do something about it. Haringey Council has already done a lot using lots of innovative means as well as the hard slog on the doorstep. Everyone of us can help.
First by checking your own house. Are all the new voters registered? If you live in an HMO, are the other residents registered? Have you completed the forms including the new National Insurance number requirements where appropriate?
Secondly, by joining our Weekend of Action. We will be knocking on doors where no one is registered. We will be knocking on doors where we know previous voters have dropped off the list. We will be visiting some multi-occupation houses where few people, are registered. We will have voter registration forms to distribute (but for legal reasons we cannot collect). But we can use smartphones and tablets to assist people to register online there and then. Everyone can do this! We've never done it before so there are no experts! We always get a good reception on the doorstep - and newer people are always paired up with a more experienced person.
This is a weekend for democracy. Thinking of the Suffragette film, and the struggles to achieve the vote, it reminds us how tragic it is that this bunch of ruthless Tories are distorting our democracy and removing the vote from Millions. We can all do something to resist them .
So please come to any or all of the four session this coming weekend in Wood Green or Crouch End.
Click the links above to RSVP (it is really helpful to have an idea of numbers) or just come along anyway.
A couple of hours can make a real difference (and you'll enjoy it!).
Very much look forward to seeing you.