McDonnell and Serwotka to speak at Croydon Assembly

Croydon AssemblyWith the mainstream political parties in disarray, the Conservatives about to lose a second parliamentary seat to UKIP, Labour’s leader under attack in the media and in Scotland from the SNP, and working people facing the biggest fall in the value of their wages since the 1870s, these are troubling times for our country.

Croydon’s Trades Union Council is going to try to bring some sense to all these tribulations next weekend when they host a Croydon Assembly at Ruskin House in central Croydon on Saturday, November 15, from 10am to 4pm.

The aim is to bring people with progressive views but with different party political persuasions – or, indeed, of no political affiliation at all – to consider what the new government in May should be doing to repair British society’s fortunes and to reverse growing inequality.

The range of issues to be covered is ambitious:

  • Education
  • Housing
  • NHS
  • Welfare State
  • Climate change
  • Energy
  • Race and immigration
  • The economy
  • Culture
  • Political representation and democracy

Ted Knight, the veteran of 1980s local government tussles with the Thatcher government, hopes that the Assembly will give people a better sense of involvement in seeking “a just, democratic society” when “increasing numbers of people are alienated from a politics that is too often regarded as self-serving and unrepresentative”.

Knight said, “The aim is to give local trade unionists, activists, environmentalists, community groups and campaigners across the board an independent voice. We want people to participate to the maximum, in developing ideas and strategies in every area of policy that affects their lives and that of their families.”

Knight is upbeat about encouraging political participation observing that “the Scotland independence referendum showed a massive appetite for debate and discussion, when people saw they had a possibility of changing an entire political framework”.

Economic recovery cartoon

While the meeting is about finding out what local people want, there will be speakers to address the Assembly, including an opening speech by Labour MP John McDonnell and an afternoon address from Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, which has a major following in Croydon’s large public sector.

The organisers of the Assembly hope that this will just be an initial meeting, with the plan being to take proposals for reform and change out into the broader Croydon community.


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