Category Archives: Brussels Labour

Get involved to get Brussels Labour elected

The Belgian commune elections are two weeks away and Brussels Labour members Jo Wood and Keir Fitch are standing, respectively, in Brussels 1000 and Etterbeek for P.S-s.pA.  If you would like to support their campaigns, here’s how you can get involved:

Wednesday 3 October

  • Place Ambiorix | 18:00: Evening canvassing
  • Etterbeek | evening: Addressing envelopes to send out election literature

Thursday 4 October 

  • Etterbeek | Evening: Leafleting or canvassing

Friday 5 October

  • Etterbeek | 8.00 :  Morning distribution of leaflets at Merode or Thieffry metro stations

Saturday 6 October

  • Place Amborix | 14:00 : Afternoon canvassing and leafleting with members of Islington North Labour
  • Etterbeek | afternoon: Leafletting
  • Marolles | 19:30 : Out and about with members of Islington North at Nuit Blanche.  Meeting point here at the info point at Place du Jeu de Balle.  Please RSVP by 4 October so we can book a table for dinner nearby

Sunday 7 October 

  • Square Amborix | 8:00 Brocante – Come and spend time meeting local residents – don’t forget to wear some RED!
  • Etterbeek | 11:00 : Meet the PS/s.pA candidates at Place Jourdan
  • PS final meeting  | 12:00 – 13:30 : 85 Boulevard Anspach – 1000 Bruxelles. All Brussels Labour are invited!

Thursday 11 October

  • European/Schuman quarter | all day : Massive leafleting session
  • Square Amborix | 18:00: Leafleting

Sunday 14 October 

  • Bar St d’Hic, Place Rouppe | 18:00 onwards Election  results

Any time you can give will be really appreciated by Jo and Keir. Contact secretary@brusselslabour.eu if you’d like to get involved. We look forward to seeing you!

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Conference fringe event: Where next for Labour in Europe?

Brussels Labour are  excited to again bang the drum for Europe at the Labour Party Annual Conference. Not only are members attending but the branch is organising a fringe event.

Europe’s future will be in the spotlight at Brussels Labour’s joint event with the Foundation of European Progressive Studies.

Where next for Labour In Europe?
24 September | Concourse Room 1 | ACC, Liverpool | 8:00am
Speakers:

  • Brendan Howlin TD, leader of the Irish Labour Party
  • Rupa Huq MP
  • Richard Corbett MEP, leader of the EPLP
  • Clare Moody MEP
  • Olivia Bailey, Deputy General Secretary, Fabian Society

Venez nombreux!

 

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Brussels Labour in the Belgian commune elections

Brussels Labour is keen not just to connect Labour supporters in Brussels but also to get involved with the local politics that affects its members.

This year Brussels Labour is practicing what they preach in Brussels’ commune elections. Not one but TWO members are on lists to become councillors in the city. Former Chair, Jo Wood, and executive committee member Keir Fitch are standing in the elections on 14 October.

Jo Wood is standing in the Ville de Bruxelles commune, which stretches from the centre of the city over to the European quarter. She is #36 on the Parti socialiste list for the commune.

“For the many in Brussels, not the few. Faisons de Bruxelles une ville diverse, vivante, accueillante, dynamique et connectée”

Take a look at Jo’s Parti socialiste page for her manifesto. Or be a hero and spread the word on Facebook and Twitter!

Meanwhile, Brussels Labour executive committee member Keir Fitch is 23 on the Parti socialiste list in Etterbeek, one of the communes that makes up part of the European quarter.

See the Parti socialiste website for the full manifestos for the commune elections.

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Brussels Labour visit to Ypres

To commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War, Brussels Labour is organising a visit to Ypres on 16th September. Below you can see the proposed itinerary for the day.

10:30 Departure from Brussels
12:00 Tyne Cot Cemetery & visitors centre, Zonnebeke
13:00 Lunch/Visit to Passchendaele Trench Museum 
14:00 Visit to German Cemetery and Poppy Memorial at Langemarck
14:45 Visit to the Welsh National Memorial at Langemarck
15:45 Visit to Yorkshire Trench (Ypres)
17:00 Ypres – visit the Cloth Hall, St George’s Memorial Church and the Menin Gate
Dinner
20:00 Last Post Ceremony
20:15 Return to Brussels

Brussels Labour members, friends and family are all welcome. If you have not registered already, we do hope you will be able to join us on 16th September – the cost will be approximately 25-40 euro depending on final numbers which will be confirmed when registration is closed.

Click here to register.

Deadline 31st August.

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Hoping for change in Ireland

By Laura O’Conner

Ireland has failed when it comes to women’s healthcare. On May 25th it ‘s time for a change.

As you read this, around 10 women will travel from Ireland today to the UK and other countries to seek a termination. Some will have family support. Some will be completely alone. Some will have the money to ensure they can stay overnight in the UK in case anything goes wrong. Others will have to fly back home on the same day hoping airport security won’t notice they are in agony and stop them from flying. At the same time, 3 women in Ireland will take abortion pills sourced from the internet -alone and unsupervised. Unable to seek medical treatment when the pain and bleeding get too much for fear they will be prosecuted. This is the reality for women living in the Republic of Ireland in 2018. But this coming Friday, there is a chance to shape the future for the better. Irish voters will be asked whether they want to legalise abortion for up to 12 weeks. And I for one, hope it will be a resounding yes.

Currently, the 8th amendment to the Irish constitution states that the unborn child has an equal right to life to that of the mother. In the Republic of Ireland, abortion is only allowed when the life of the mother is at risk, which includes suicide.  This, however, is not an easily applicable law. As we saw with the 2014 case of a young suicidal refugee woman seeking asylum in Ireland, raped in her home country and ordered by an Irish court to continue with her pregnancy to 25 weeks and then forced to undergo a c-section. This young woman, who had come to Ireland to find sanctuary, is said to have asked for a termination when she found out she was 8 weeks pregnant with her rapist’s child.  Instead of protecting her, the law failed this young woman. Her life, health and well-being were not a priority under the 8th amendment.  This has to change.

The 8th amendment has not prevented Irish women from accessing abortions. It has made them unsafe. The 8th amendment pushes abortion underground or exports it to the UK or other European countries. The 8th amendment means medical staff cannot take care of women. They too face jail for up to 14 years if they contravene the 8th. The 8th amendment leaves women isolated, traumatised and often without access to post-abortion health care. Legalising abortion in Ireland will not see women using abortion as a form of contraception as the anti-choice and forced pregnancy campaign so regularly claim.  Abortion is a very difficult and personal choice. Each case is different. Abortion isn’t something women and girls have on their bucket lists. Women have terminations for so many difficult and personal reasons. Women should be able to access this basic right to health care for their own bodies at home without fear of going to jail.

This Friday’s vote is about equality of bodily autonomy, compassion and human decency. The underlining questions facing Irish citizens on Friday are do you trust women to make decisions about their own health and well-being. Or do you want to continue to force women to seek illegal and unsafe abortions?

I have been living outside of Ireland for longer than the 18 month limit and therefore am ineligible to vote. So, to the Irish people who still can, please vote with compassion. For your sisters, mothers, girlfriends, wives, daughters and the women in your lives- please vote yes. Please vote to repeal the 8th amendment.

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With courage and determination

On the death of Dame Tessa Jowell, Brussels Labour would like to make the following statement.

I know I speak for all of us in expressing our sadness following the announcement of the passing of Tessa Jowell. Tessa fought to the end as she had throughout her life, with courage and determination.

She was a great parliamentarian, a great constituency MP and a great campaigner. She will be sorely missed by the Labour movement.

David Earnshaw
Chair, Brussels Labour

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2018 National Policy Forum Consultation

The National Policy Forum (NPF) consultation process, to shape the Party’s policy agenda is now underway and the deadline for submitting consultations is 24 June.

 

Eight policy commissions have been identified as follows:

For more information on how to get involved in the NPF process click here

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Proud To Be Labour

By Fiona Thomas

7765_16_LGBT_Labour_in_for_Britain_Logo_-_Red
LGBT EU Referendum Campaign Logo, 2016

The theme for this month’s LGBT History Month has been ‘mapping the world’, and LGBT Britons resident in the UK enjoy a whole gamut of rights that they would struggle to have in many countries worldwide. Of course, this is in part due to changes in political culture and society, but this is also due to work and campaigning by the Labour Party and trade unions.

Bar same-sex marriage, all major developments in LGBT rights have taken place under Labour Governments.

Harold Wilson’s Labour Government passed the first major development, the Sexual Offences Act 1967, which decriminalised homosexual acts in private between two men.

Despite the reticence to repeal the Thatcherite Section 28 (Labour only begun legislative proceedings to repeal the act in 2000, eventually achieving it in 2003), the 1997-2010 Labour Governments introduced and passed a whole corpus of LGBT legislation.

This included the bringing forward of the age of consent for homosexual men and women in line with heterosexual sex; the ending of the ban on LGBT people serving in the armed forces; the extension of adoption rights to LGBT individuals and couples; the ending of discrimination against gay or lesbian partners for immigration purposes; the banning of discrimination in the workplace with the introduction of the Employment Equality Regulations; the creation of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, giving LGBT people statutory body protection; the introduction of homophobia as a hate crime and increased sentencing for homophobic hate crimes; the creation and implementation of the Gender Recognition Act… I could go on.

Lots done. But lots still to do.

Whilst better than any other major party, Labour needs to do more to increase LGBT representation in the party, and be mindful of increasing LGBT diversity. Most LGBT representatives are white, cis, and non-disabled, and the party needs to have initiatives that encourage more people outside of these groups to stand as candidates.

Once they do stand, we need to make sure that they are welcomed and included.

Research by the Fabian Society found that just 11% of local CLPs have an LGBT officer, and LGBT people are still presented with challenges that are not commonly encountered by many of their straight counterparts, especially when having an online presence.  Labour needs to become more responsive in calling out, investigating, and even suspending ‘keyboard warriors’ members who abuse Labour LGBT representatives and members. The furore around the election of Lily Madigan, a trans woman elected the women’s officer for the Rochester and Strood CLP, provoking a GoFundMe page entitled ‘Keep All-Women Shortlists Female!’ has shown that the Labour Party still needs to make massive strides forward for all members of the LGBT community. Corbyn unequivocally stating on Andrew Marr that trans women are women is, of course, a start, but we still need to do more.

Mealy-mouthed responses, like those seen following the homophobic abuse of Angela Eagle during the 2016 Labour Party leadership election, are not enough.

I look forward to the next Labour Government continuing the progress of previous Labour governments in giving LGBT people more rights, whenever that may be.

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Brussels Labour Branch Meeting 24 January

Brussels Labour is pleased to announce our first Branch meeting of 2018 will be “A Conversation with Vice-President Udo Bullman MEP and Vice-President Josef Weidenholzer MEP of the S&D Group in the European Parliament.”

The meeting will take place on 24 January at FEPS, Rue Montoyer 40, Brussels 1000, and starts at 1930 – we look forward to seeing you there.

Upcoming Meetings

Please note the following dates for your diary – more information to follow soon.

  •  21 February – John Fitzmaurice Memorial Lecture
  • 21 March – Brussels Labour AGM
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