See it for yourself!

On our YouTube channel, we bring you video footage of Labour events which are often bypassed in the media.

During the election campaign, we’ll also be using it to promote a win for Labour, both locally and nationally.

Check out the channel here.

Speaking at The Studio, Widnes in April 2017: Peter Stefanovic

‘May doesn’t speak for the values of the people in this country’ 

Peter flew in especially for the event to express his frustrations with the media, and a Tory government which continues to ignore child poverty.

 

Jeremy Corbyn at the Economic’s Conference in Liverpool, March 2017

‘It’s vital we have a cross-rail for the north…a £9 billion commitment…a corridor of northern cities has an economic and skills catchment big enough to match or even exceed London.’

 

The Best of John McDonnell

‘It’s about making sure you pay your way’ – McDonnell to corporations

Let’s make Britain World Leaders in Education

By Carina Bird, Teacher of Secondary English

“The academic demands Tory policies place on children who need to be focusing on Literacy is unacceptable.”

The most meaningful lesson I’ve had this year was on International Women’s Day, when my year 9 students promoted equality for all genders, utilising their knowledge of what generates interest on Twitter (see above).

Next year, they’ll start preparing for their English Language and Literature GCSEs and as such I’ll have to leave modern communication methods behind. Instead, I will be taking them backwards 200 years to read some good quality 19th Century non-fiction. These texts will not teach them how to successfully navigate information in the world of fake news. They will not teach them how to make their views heard in a world drowning in information. They will not teach them how to develop effective rhetoric to compete in a saturated job market.

Instead, they will teach them how to be frugal housewives. And how one could effectively deal with noise pollution in their street… two hundred years ago.

Born out of Michael Gove’s regressive vision for education, the new English GCSEs will be taken this summer by the first batch of year 11s. As a teacher of seven years, it has been without a doubt the hardest journey through GCSE I’ve ever had, despite having a set of wonderful students. It’s not just the cognitive demands placed on students who have to study four texts for closed book exams, but also the demands made by the Tory government that all students must sit both Language and Literature. This demand is made via the backhanded promise that if they sit both, their scores are doubled under the new league table measures.

“Unlike banks and corporations, a school’s products and outcomes are not profits or abstract worth. They’re students’ life opportunities.”

Why is this wrong for our students? Firstly, the academic demands this places on children who need to be focusing on Literacy is unacceptable. Whilst under the last Labour government, students who came to school with poorer literacy skills could take an English Combined exam, and therefore focus their efforts on key skills which would get them into college, this new system sets them up to fail.

There is no time for them to catch up. Instead, it’s a level playing field for all in a 1-tiered paper. And the knock-on effects of this will last their lifetime. Students at the lower end are really struggling to meet the demands of Literature and so end up feeling like failures. Likewise, teachers are ploughing on, trying to motivate them, despite knowing they’d be best served learning how to use a full stop. In an employer-favoured job market, students need to be focusing on accessing further education and training, not developing their academic prowess and deep analysis of ‘The Prelude’.

Poor mental health was already on the rise. (George Monbiot says it best) Some people suggest that it isn’t: that these millennials are too weak; too mopey; they want everything done for them. Yes, there are students like that – just as there are many adults like that. So why is it on the rise? Partly because it’s, thankfully, spoken about more now. However, more than that, living through a technological revolution means we cannot possibly prepare or support young people as well as our generations were supported.

A few weeks ago, one of my A-level students told me about a YouTube star, who’s around her age and is making millions just by making videos bad singing. That’s not even a talent. In jest, she told me it’s enough to make her want to jump out of a window. We all laughed: but there’s a sub-text there which makes me glad I’m not a teenager today. The plague of feeling there’s always something more we can be doing is too damaging. Students are too exposed now to believe in the Old Lie: work hard, go to university and you’ll be successful. Some of them are already battling living a successful life v living a happy life. At the age of fifteen. Remember kerby?

Why is this wrong for our teachers? The Tory government’s new Progress 8 measures ensure that schools are now ranked against each other. Whereas in the past good results meant a good position, a school’s results are now judged in comparison to other schools with comparable cohorts. What this means is that one school’s failure is another school’s success. You just have to beat your neighbour. Education now has at its heart the individualistic beating of corporate ‘profit’.

And perhaps there’s an argument that this is more competitive; a fairer system. Except it isn’t. Because the reality is that the schools with more money are pumping hundreds of pounds into weekend tutors for their students. Unlike banks and corporations, a school’s products and outcomes are not profits or abstract worth. They’re students’ life opportunities.

A few weeks ago there was an advertisement on TES for a prominent MAT seeking out Saturday tutors for £200 a day. I had to go into work the following Monday and teach my year 11s knowing that they’d be competing against those students; and that my school, which regularly bullet-ins our declining budgets, cannot afford the same service.

Like Abramovich at Chelsea, this prominent MAT is ruining the game. The reality is that there is no equal playing field. Children in schools with more money will have more external intervention and therefore more chance at beating everyone else.

And that’s before we even get started on the new Grammar School plans, existing grammars, and the fact that it’s working class students; students with parents who haven’t been to university or who aren’t surrounded by Received Pronunciation from birth who are more likely to be the ones who need to catch up.

The Tory government’s policies have widened the quality of provision for the rich and the poor.  They’ve based everything on a mythical level playing field which ignores the vast and beautifully differentiated cohort of children taking their GCSEs this year. Each student has their own dreams, ambitions, needs and wants. They have to make their way in a world where new-age communication will be a game changer, yet they are not in any way prepared for it.

Labour’s plans for education are so progressive that even the anti-Corbyn press can’t refute it. Zoe Williams in The Guardian calls it ‘courageous’ and ‘life-changing’ for the ‘less privileged’. For years, teachers in the UK have looked longingly toward Finland’s forward-thinking cohesive approach to education. Labour’s ‘big picture’ approach, tackling the idea that not everyone succeeds the first time and giving opportunities for life-long education finally gives us a chance to stop being envious and start leading the way towards an education system we can be proud of.

Another five years of a Conservative Government means another five years of students and teachers being set up to fail. I feel sick when I think of the knock-on effects of this on an entire generation of young people. A vote for Tory is not a vote for our young people. It is not a vote for Britain’s economic future. It’s not a vote for Britain’s international status.

Let’s make our country world leaders in Education once more: Vote Labour on June 8th.

Carina attended The Bankfield School and started her career teaching English at Wade Deacon High School in 2009. 

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Contact us!

 

 

Donate While You Shop

The time of the month is an inconvenience to most of us females, but compared to those who have to live on the street, or rely on food banks, it’s a mere triviality. If you went along to I, Daniel Blake at Reel, you’ll know that often people forget to donate sanitary products. Many women are forced to use cloth, or nothing at all.

Inspired by the work of Bloody Good Period, Halton Momentum has set up an Amazon wishlist, which enables you to donate sanitary and other health products while you shop. All items will be delivered to one of our members, who will then donate them to the Widnes and Runcorn food banks.

Next time you’re buying from Amazon, just follow the steps below to add a little extra for someone in need. Don’t forget to supply us your name so we can thank-you!

How to donate in 5 steps:

  1. Go to the Halton Food Bank list on Amazon.

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2. Click ‘Add to Basket‘ on the products you wish to very kindly donate because you are wonderful.

3. Make sure you click ‘This is a gift’ 

 

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4. In your shopping basket, you should see ‘For Momentum Halton’s Wish List’ 

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At checkout, make sure you click to deliver to our address: Momentum Halton.

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5. Make sure you include your name and email/twitter/Facebook link so we can thank-you (don’t worry, we won’t store your details!)*

*some companies will not offer this gift option – don’t worry, your items will still reach us. However, if you want us to know who sent it, just tweet us @momentumhalton or email momentumhalton@outlook.com

 

 

Why I joined Momentum

Hi, I’m Carina, from Appleton. I joined the Labour Party in summer 2015, inspired by Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign. For me, he was one of the few people talking about ‘bigger picture politics’: climate change, equality and tax evasion. The crash of 2008 revealed just how corrupt our economic system is. Tax evasion is inexcusable. Every ounce of power given to corporations is at the expense of productive and fair democracy, representing the public. Wealth and prosperity is sitting dormant in off-shore bank accounts while people suffer for entire lifetimes as our government bows down to huge banks like HSBC threatening to take their services elsewhere.

Corbyn’s promise to invest in green energy simply makes sense. We need to re-energise British industries, and without a planet everything else is pointless! It’s already proving effective in Germany.

Feeling increasingly frustrated, I joined the Labour Party in the hope of helping to make these policies reality.

During our Education not Segregation campaign in 2016, I found out about Halton Momentum and went along to the first meeting. There, I found people who were committed to making life fairer and more equal for everyone. Momentum for me is a real opportunity to make a difference in my local community, especially for young people.

Why I Joined Momentum

“I believe people have a responsibility to stand up to the huge, powerful vested interests that are stripping us of our wealth, our rights, our dignity and our ability to provide for our families. We must stand up in groups in our communities. We must make our voices heard”.

dave-boydenHi. My name is Dave. I’ve lived in Widnes for over 20 years. I joined the Labour Party on that horrible day after the party’s defeat in the General Election of May 2015. I didn’t join the party because I wanted to gain power or money. I joined the party to help millions of ordinary people (just like us) to fight for a political system that is fairer: a political system that actually speaks for us, the people.

Jeremy Corbyn has described the political system as rigged, and who can deny it?! Ordinary people suffer from job insecurity (they are terrified of losing the jobs that they have increasingly grown to hate), low pay and hopelessly inadequate housing. We are presently suffering an economic recession that seems like it will never end. Our Health Service has been described as in a humanitarian crisis by the Red Cross; that is a headline I would expect to read about an impoverished country in sub-Saharan Africa, not one of the richest countries on Earth! Almost a decade of cuts to public spending have left our NHS and education systems in tattered pieces.

The biggest single threat to our way of life is inequality. If you don’t believe me, listen to the World Economic Forum. The economic recession will go on forever, while billionaires are hiding all of their money into foreign tax havens. The super-rich pay huge donations to the Conservative Party and the Tories give their donors huge rewards when they are in power. Tax avoidance has been taking place on a truly epic scale: just so that the very richest people in the World don’t have to help us to build our hospitals, schools and roads!

I joined Momentum because I believe people have a responsibility to stand up to the huge, powerful vested interests that are stripping us of our wealth, our rights, our dignity and our ability to provide for our families. We must stand up in groups in our communities. We must make our voices heard.

I was raised to be Labour through and through. For me; the only political party that can ever stand up for the rights of ordinary working people is the Labour Party. We must ensure that OUR party speaks with OUR voice. We can’t do that by complaining about it to our friends at the weekend. We can only do that by joining the Labour Party, being active in it and making our collective voices heard. The Tories can’t help; they are the main architects of this disgusting, unequal system! UKIP just seek to blame migrants; as migrants have not caused the banking crisis and the country’s economic mess, victimising them can hardly be expected to fix it!

Ordinary people have to get together. They have to get together in numbers like they have never done before. We are ordinary people. We work bloody hard. We deserve to be listened to! We deserve more!

If he wins the next General Election, Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to:

corbyns-pledges

I don’t know about you, but those ten pledges look like an excellent starting point to winning back our dignity our bright, prosperous futures and the bright, prosperous futures that our kids deserve.

You can read more about the pledges here.

I want those things. I am prepared to fight for them, with other people from my local community. If you would like to join us, you would be very welcome. You can find out more here:

https://www.facebook.com/Momentumhalton/