This month I have been as busy as ever, attending various local, national, and international meetings online. Lockdown restrictions are slowly lifting, albeit with much confusion and backpeddling from the government on promises and solutions to the Covid-19 pandemic. Still, the technology continues to accommodate our workfrom outside parliament, whilst a ‘bit of both’ is the best way to describe what goes on inside parliament, where some members appear virtually and others physically.
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
I recently accepted membership on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) – the parliamentary organ of the Council of Europe with 47 member countries. Its aims are the maintenance and further realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms and the facilitating of economic and social progress. I sit on the migration committee which, if one meeting and its comprehensive agenda is anything to go by, will do good work on the refugee front and I look forward to participating in it.
Black Lives Matter
I attended the Black Lives Matter event at Navigators Square in Archway, organised by Alison McGarry, Bisi Williams and others. I am proud that our community came together to express an act of solidarity and as I am sure we all agree, we have a great deal of work to do to ensure that our future generations do not grow up at risk of dying due to police brutality and with the levels of discrimination we have in Britain today. Now is the time to stand internationally in solidarity with all those fighting racism and to change our society for the better, with equality for all at its core.
For this year’s annual Time is Now lobby I met with constituents virtually to discuss their concerns, ideas, and priorities relating to the environment. I am deeply grateful for their participation and welcomed the contributions from constituents who raised a variety of very important matters concerning our local community, national legislation, and the UK’s role on the international stage in the fight against climate change. The conversation reflected the deep understanding and appreciation of environmental issues that is shared by the wider Islington North community. I will continue to liaise with Islington Council on local matters that are brought to my attention, such as communal gardening spaces and the Edmonton incinerator. I will also continue to support initiatives for green legislation in parliament and in my new role on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
International brigade Wreath Laying
It was an honour to lay the wreath at the International Brigade Memorial Trust Annual Commemoration. It is a hugely symbolic (annual) act to keep alive the memory and the spirit of those who volunteered to defend democracy and fight fascism in Spain from 1936 -39. It is also a reminder about the importance of uniting against the threats of inequality and far-right movements across the globe.
Elthorne ParkPhilip Noel Baker statue resurrection
For those of you who are unaware, Philip Noel Baker was a great peace campaigner and activist. There was once a statue in Elthorne Park that met with a sorry and neglected end but that has since been located by David Poyser and others. I was very pleased to have been included in discussions to reinstall the ‘Upon Reflection’ statue by Kevin Atherton to its original position in the Philip Noel-Baker peace garden (Elthorne Park). The statue was removed from the park in the late 1980’s. It was possibly stolen but somehow rescued by Islington Council and has been in storage at the Town Hall. Elthorne Park is a beautiful space that has been underused for far too long. Reinstating the statue and carrying out works to make the park more accessible would breathe new life into it and provide another space for our wonderful and diverse community to gather and share that sense of belonging. I wholeheartedly support the efforts of the local ward councillors especially David Poysner and Asima Shaikh, Friends of Elthorne Park, and the Council in making this happen and I look forward to seeing the changes in effect.
I joined in the very first of the newly established bi-monthly stakeholder discussions concerning the anti-social behaviour issues on Blackstock Road. As with the previous discussions I was pleased there was participation by local residents and businesses who shared their insights and experiences as well as their feedback on ongoing actions taken by Islington Council and local police. I welcome the quick progress made by Islington Council and community leaders on the points identified in our previous meetings and believe that moving forward, the police should continue to develop their relationship with local traders.
Finsbury Park Travelodge
Along with Haringey Leader, Cllr Joe Ejioforwe visited to discuss the work that they are doing with the homeless, via Islington Council and other organisations during the pandemic.
York Peoples Assembly Against Austerity Launch
With the current government making it clear that they want to make working people pay for the deepening economic crisis, it’s important to have campaigns across the country insisting that people should come before profit.
I have therefore been delighted to join with Laura Pidcock and others at events of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, including this launch of their new local branch in York.
Brazil Solidarity Rally
Over 2000 people joined, and over 100,000 people have since watched this major international event on Brazil, where I was delighted to join world-renowned journalist Glenn Greenwald and Brazil’s first ever woman President Dilma Rousseff, in discussing how we can offer international support to all those people campaigning for public health, democracy and equality in Latin America’s most populous country.
At the time of writing, Brazil is the second most affected country in the world due to Coronavirus, both in terms of cases and deaths. This situation has been made much worse by the President’s far-right policy agenda, which refuses to put the interests of people and their health ahead of those of big business to make mega-profits.
The World Transformed (TWT)
I was pleased to take part in an online catch-up and social for ‘TWT’ volunteers and supporters.
The battle of ideas is one we on the Left must engage with as we discuss what kind of society we want as we emerge from this crisis, and the work of forums and events such as ‘TWT’ will become even important in the challenging times ahead.
I joined a platform with the Palestinian Ambassador – Husam Zomlot, trade unionists, Baroness Christine Blower and live speakers from Palestine to discuss how we need to speak out to stop the new Israeli Government’s illegal annexation plans. The Labour & Palestine (L&P) networkhosted the event, supported by a number of national trade unions.Over 1,000 Labour members took part in the event, which promoted a ‘Speak Up to Stop Annexation’ statement members can sign on the L&P website.
I was delighted to be invited to give the keynote address at the annual international ‘Palestine Expo’ event, which took place virtually this year.I used my speech to address issues of both the immediate need to campaign against annexation and to continue to campaign more broadly against Trump’s one-sided ‘peace’ plan.
We look forward to the physical event returning next year and being bigger and better than ever.
Arise – A Festival of Labour’s Left Ideas
Myself and several fellow Socialist Campaign Group MPs took part in events at this year’s online ‘Arise’ Festival.
I spoke both at the international session, attended by over 2000 people and watched by many more since, and the closing ‘People Before Profit’ rally.
These events can be watched on the ‘Arise’ Facebook and YouTube channels.
Scottish Campaign for Socialism
I was pleased to take part in an online discussion on the future of the Left and Labour hosted by the well-established Campaign for Socialism, which is active in the Labour Party in Scotland.
Throughout this precarious period, it couldn’t be more important not only to keep left-wing networks alive but make sure they are engaged in more campaigning and political education work than ever.
Some of you may have known John Brennan, ex Haringey Councillor, who sadly, passed away recently and is being buried on Monday at 12md New Southgate Cemetery Chapel
CONTACTING JEREMY CORBYN MP
My contact details remain unchanged and Advice Sessions are being held over the telephone with my staff.
Constituency Office Tel: 0207 561 7488 (Mon, Tues, Thurs 10am – 12pm)
Postal address: The Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0A