My name is Jean Withers and I am the Disability Officer for Morecambe and Lunesdale CLP. A task I have taken on only recently and therefore, am still finding my feet.
I first joined the Labour Party in 1966, yes I did say 1966, I was just sixteen years old. My father, who had died four years earlier, had been an active member and I used to enjoy going to all the children’s activities provided at our local Labour Hall in Walkden near Manchester. The Christmas Parties were wonderful, I remember.
My paternal grandmother was also a very enthusiastic supporter; in fact, I think my first task for the party was to help her stuff envelopes, during the 1959 General Election, at her home in Birkenhead. She would tell me all about the ‘bad old days’ the grudging handouts paid to the poor, the soup kitchens, and the casual labour system, very prevalent in the docks on both sides of the River Mersey. We were so thankful that such times were past, gone for good. How wrong we were.
So this is how I first came to be a member of the Labour Party. It all seemed to make sense. The remarkable work of the 1945 Government in setting up a Nation Health Service and a Welfare State seemed something to be proud of; something I never thought could be in any danger.
My name is Jean Withers and I am the Disability Officer for Morecambe and Lunesdale CLP. A task I have taken on only recently and therefore, am still finding my... Read more
I’m a Watermelon voter, Green on the outside and bright Red inside, and it feels like I’ve always been politically motivated and had opinions about politics all my life but that statement simply isn’t true.
It’s taken me a long time to feel that joining any political party was for me. For the first half of my life, politics didn’t really have a prominent role or at least I didn’t think it did.
I didn’t grow up in a politically charged household however it was always implicit that you used your vote, especially as a woman because women had had to fight for the right to vote but beyond that, it was never a dinnertime topic. You didn’t talk about politics or religion at the table.
Joanne Writes I’m a Watermelon voter, Green on the outside and bright Red inside, and it feels like I’ve always been politically motivated and had opinions about politics all my... Read more
What a week this has been!
As many of you may know...... none other that Jeremy Corbyn visited Morecambe this week. From start to finish, this event was a whirlwind of nerves, excitement, and in my case a little bit of fangirling, with a palpable buzz in the air.
My admiration for JC has been ever growing since the run up to the general election, not only does he genuinely care about the issues that face the people of this nation, he is an approachable guy, and who doesn't love a guy who makes his own jam from his allotment.
In light of this, when I was asked to make a speech about Young Labour in our area, I may have been slightly terrified to speak before him, being my first time standing on a stage to speak since I was 16 in Out of Hours Drama.
What a week this has been! As many of you may know...... none other that Jeremy Corbyn visited Morecambe this week. From start to finish, this event was a... Read more
Claire writes …
Back in the dim distant past of the 1980s, I was a youth member of CND, because in 1981 we were all terrified that 'Protect and Survive' was about to become reality, and that Reagan and Thatcher would be pressing the red button sometime soon.... But at the CND meetings, the bunch of people I was hanging around with all seemed to be members of the Labour Party too, and I realised I might just be one of those dangerous Lefties. These people thought the same things that I did, believed the same things to be right and wrong, hated the same things I did, and had a cracking taste in alternative music. I was brought up in a very mixed-up household, with my ranting Daily Mail-reading Thatcherite parents, and my card-carrying fascist-bashing Grandmother, but in Hackney, Socialist stronghold of the Est End of London. So, as soon as I was old enough, risking serious parental wrath and potential disowning, I took the plunge and joined Young Labour too in 1983.
Thatcher gave us all someone to really despise, and as her first term rolled on, England was not a great place to be for anyone young. Youth unemployment at massive highs, rents rising by the day, it seemed like it couldn't actually get any worse. Then, it did. Thatcher's fights with the Unions, the Miners' Strike, the selling off of Council Houses..... and then it became even more personal. Our only means of escape from all this doom and gloom, Education, was about to be closed off to ordinary people. Grants, which enabled even the poorest of students to study, were to be abolished in favour of Loans. This alone mobilised us to move to action. We campaigned, we wrote letters (no internet then), we marched. Lots. I was nearly crushed by a Police horse whilst lying on Westminster Bridge (once), and nearly arrested (quite a few more times). The only saving graces, the sense of unity, and that we had much better music than the Tories.
In was in this climate that I left London to study in Manchester... Hackney had always felt like the poor relation of the rest of London, kissing cousin with the City but miles apart in terms of opportunity, that cousin that no-one talked about and tried to avoid at weddings. But the winter I spent looking round Universities in the mid 80s made me realise that despite this, we were better off than we had ever thought. I saw spectacular Victorian arcades filled with pigeons and echoing husks of shops in Leeds, eerily desolate docks in Liverpool, a deserted Town Centre and full Job Centre in Newcastle. The North-South divide was alive and well, and more acrimonious than ever. Politics suddenly jumped from theory to grim reality. This was just so unfair, that geography alone could decide your chances in life.
Claire writes … Back in the dim distant past of the 1980s, I was a youth member of CND, because in 1981 we were all terrified that 'Protect and Survive'... Read more
This article examines the reasons why some of our members joined or some cases re-joined the Labour Party, it’s the authentic voice of grassroots Labour members.
This article examines the reasons why some of our members joined or some cases re-joined the Labour Party, it’s the authentic voice of grassroots Labour members. Read more
Labour announced today that a future Labour Government will immediately halt the proposed closure of A&Es in England and carry out a full scale review of all proposals.
Having listened to campaigners and concerned patients up and down the country, Jonathan Ashworth, as Labour health secretary will immediately halt the Tories chaotic ‘sustainability and transformation plan’ (STP) programme.
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth, said:
“Labour will put the best interests of patients at the heart of our NHS so today I’m announcing we will halt planned closures to hospitals and other services. We will have a moratorium on the STPs.
“We have listened to the hundreds of patients and campaigners up and down the country that have been pleading with the Government to hear their concerns about their local services. Threats of hospitals being closed, A&E services moved miles up the road, and children’s wards being shut, have caused widespread concern and confusion. What is more, these decisions have been decided behind closed doors, with no genuine involvement of local people. It’s a disgrace.
“The public deserves better. My first job as Secretary of State will be to review every single STP proposal looking at what’s in the interest of quality of patient care.
“We’ll ask a new body - NHS Excellence - to lead that review. And patients and local communities will be involved at every stage. Local people should be at the heart of decisions about how care is provided.”
Labour announced today that a future Labour Government will immediately halt the proposed closure of A&Es in England and carry out a full scale review of all proposals. Having listened to campaigners... Read more
Despite promising to protect the Police, the Tories’ deep cuts in funding are threatening even more losses to frontline officer numbers.
Under this Tory Government, since 2010,
Lancashire has lost 862 Police officers.
Labour will stand up for safer communities. We will oppose Tory cuts to frontline officers, prioritise neighbourhood policing and bear down on crime and its causes.
Check how many have been lost in your area here.
Despite promising to protect the Police, the Tories’ deep cuts in funding are threatening even more losses to frontline officer numbers. Under this Tory Government, since 2010, Lancashire has lost 862...
Labour has named its candidate to fight sitting Tory MP David Morris in the Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency at June's snap general election.
Former councillor for Westgate, Vikki Singleton, will stand.
She currently works as a youth worker.
She said: “It is an honour to be selected as the Labour candidate for Morecambe & Lunesdale. This seat has been neglected for too long. The residents deserve an MP who will fight for them and this area, both locally and nationally.
Labour has named its candidate to fight sitting Tory MP David Morris in the Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency at June's snap general election. Former councillor for Westgate, Vikki Singleton,... Read more
Relief is at hand for motorists too often stuck as they try to get their quota of our Morecambe Bay shrimps! The roads from Lancaster to Morecambe and through Carnforth, have been a traffic jam getting worse each year," said two local Cllrs, Cllr Pattison and Reynolds. "It has stifled investment in our town, dissuaded visitors from coming and seeing the glorious sunsets over our lovely Morecambe Bay to the beautiful Lake District. And of course, eating our scrumptious Morecambe Bay shrimps!" Morecambe Town Council, Lancaster Council and Lancashire County Council have lobbied hard for this to be built to help regenerate our town. Former Labour MP Geraldine Smith took our case to the very top, camping outside Gordon Brown's office until she got a promise it would be built. And she got that promise! Even the austerity blind George Osborne couldn't cancel it' commented Cllr. Reynolds, 'so good was the case the Councils and Geraldine put forward'. "I am so excited for our towns and villages," said Cllr. Pattison and Reynolds "This will be a huge opportunity for The while district. Industry will have a rapid and direct link to the country's main arterial network, attracting more investment; day and weekend visitors will not be put off by traffic jams, spending money in our shops, creating even more jobs. Cllr. Pattison said ' the new road will Improve journey times to popular tourist and recreation areas in Morecambe, boosting our local economy'. A report produced by Lancashire County Council predicts that for every £1 spent on the road, our area will benefit by £4. Cllr. Reynolds, elected in May to the Carnforth and Millhead Ward said
'With the main thrust of activity focused on Morecambe and Lancaster, it's easy to forget the benefits of the road to areas like Carnforth and the villages. We can expect better local air quality, especially in areas subject to high levels of pollution, like the A6 in Carnforth'.Councillor John Reynolds
Commenting on the huge effort made by successive local Councillors to secure the road, retiring County Cllr. Hanson said
' The plan to build this road began in 1948, and I'm delighted to see it nearing completion. Over many years, the County Council has worked with local people and Councillors to get here'Councillor Janice Hanson
. The Bay Gateway is due to open on October 31st. John and Margaret are both candidates in the County Council elections next May. John is standing for Lancaster Rural North, Carnforth and the surrounding villages, and Margaret in Morecambe. Both John and Margaret are committed to, 'squeezing out every possible £1 of investment' out of this opportunity, as well as ensuring all health and wellbeing benefits are achieved.
Relief is at hand for motorists too often stuck as they try to get their quota of our Morecambe Bay shrimps!
Relief is at hand for motorists too often stuck as they try to get their quota of our Morecambe Bay shrimps! The roads from Lancaster to Morecambe and through Carnforth,... Read more
Plans to introduce a weight limit on the two bridges which carry traffic over the River Lune in Lancaster have been backed by ward councillors. Councillors from the Skerton West and Skerton East wards, where residents are among those most affected by the congestion and noise created by HGVs, have written in support of the proposals for the Greyhound and Skerton Bridges and the main roads off them, including Morecambe Road and Owen Road. Lancashire County Council is proposing the introduction of the 7.5 tonne weight restriction on a number of routes in the district in order to help make sure lorries and wagons use the new Bay Gateway link road when it opens later this year.
Redirecting M6 Traffic
By providing direct access to Heysham Port from the M6, without the need to travel through Lancaster, Morecambe or Carnforth, the new road should save hauliers, commuters and other local drivers time and money. The weight restriction will not apply when use is for access only.
"The road should result in fewer lorries using key routes through the Skerton wards including Morecambe Road and Owen Road as HGVs accessing the port move on to the new road. " Skerton East councillor Janet Hall
It's about making sure drivers' habits change.
Weight Restriction Benefits
A weight restriction will hopefully help give an extra nudge to encourage hauliers to change routes and once they have done that and realised the benefits of the new road I'm sure there will be no going back. "But the limit must be properly signed and enforced and we have also calling for full consultation with hauliers and other businesses about the proposed changes, as well as liaison with Sat Nav manufacturers if necessary to ensure devices are programmed to make use of the road." Skerton resident Jean Parr, who had urged her local Labour councillors to support the proposal, added:
"I'm really pleased the road will soon be open because it will help to reduce the number of vehicles including HGVs using local roads in the Skerton area as well as going through Lancaster city centre and along Morecambe promenade. "That will save time for drivers like me by easing congestion and it will also reduce noise and pollution. "Reducing the number of vehicles going over the two bridges, including Skerton Bridge, which is Grade II listed, can only be good for their long-term durability." Jean Parr
The bridges were forced to close during December's flooding after being struck by a shipping container carried by the swollen river, but no structural damage was found. Skerton Bridge was completed in 1788 and is reminiscent of an ancient Italian Roman bridge at Rimini. It scooped its designer Thomas Harrison a competition prize. Its use of a horizontal roadway and balustrades across the full width was an innovation in Britain at the time and were adopted by other designers including John Rennie, who visited Lancaster during the bridge's construction. You can take part in the consultation here
Plans to introduce a weight limit on the two bridges which carry traffic over the River Lune in Lancaster have been backed by ward councillors. Councillors from the Skerton West...