Brussels Labour goes local in the Belgian Communal Elections

Two Brussels Labour executive members running in the local elections; Jo Wood in the City of Brussels, and Keir Fitch in Etterbeek. Though neither won a seat, they both ran great campaigns and we would like to thank everyone who showed up to support them.

We were pleased to see PS win in the City of Brussels with Philippe Close as mayor However, for the rest of Brussels and Belgium we need to ensure that the PS and SP.A stay strong, particularly in the approach to the European elections. On the left, the greens made gains, whilst the far-right, though far from a successful night, did win the commune of Ninove.

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Brussels pays tribute to Jo Cox

On 27th September, the city of Brussels honoured the memory of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox, by naming a square beside the Ancienne Belgique music
venue she often visited in the years she lived here, as Place Jo Cox, in a formal ceremony.

We heard from different speakers during the ceremony, including Jeremy Corbyn, and Jo Cox’s sister, who gave an incredibly moving speech to those gathered.

Also speaking was Richard Corbett, leader of UK Labour MEPs, which was fitting as Jo Cox spent various campaigns for ActionAid UK, an international development charity, focusing primarily on fighting poverty and tax avoidance by multi-national companies.

He said to those gathered, “All of us were very touched when we heard of the decision of the City of Brussels to name this square after Jo Cox. The gesture will live on for many years, reminding us of the values she stood for, and of her time in Brussels, in the European Parliament. Many of us remember how enthusiastic and lively she was, and the commitment she gave to everything she did. It was a privilege to work in the vicinity of her, let alone closely with her.
I think for many of us, not just in our political family, but of course, especially in our political family, our hearts were torn apart when we heard the terrible news that day, just a few days before we voted in that terrible referendum in which she was campaigning to remain part of our European Union.
But we must take courage. We must live up to the values that she stood for, live up to the principles that she lived by. We must fight on for the politics that we believe in, which will make our society a better place. We must create a better world, where people all take to their hearts the words of Jo that are so widely remembered, “we have more in common than that which divides us.”


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Brussels Labour Report from Labour Party Conference

Imogen Tyreman, Vice-Chair Brussels Labour

I was lucky enough to be one of two Brussels Labour members who were elected by Labour International as delegates to this year’s Labour Party Conference.
While Brexit was a big issue at conference last year, it was nothing compared to this year, held just six months before the UK is scheduled to leave the EU. Although Conference heard a range of motions, the Brexit one undoubtedly caused a stir. From a delegate meeting to agree on the exact wording of a motion for a public vote on Brexit after so many CLPs submitted motions concerning this, to Keir Starmer telling Conference that he believed Remain should be an option in any public vote, it was clear that nobody was happy with the costly, chaotic Brexit Theresa May is trying to force upon the country.

The Brussels Labour event at Conference, Where Next for Labour in Europe, was well attended, and it was an opportunity to hear from a range of speakers we do not always have the chance to see speak. Alongside Richard Corbett and Clare Moody, we heard from Rupa Huq, Brendan Howlin and Olivia Bailey, and I was able to talk to members of the Labour party from the UK about what Brussels Labour does.


Walking to the conference venue, I was greeted by various anti-Brexit groups formed by people of varying positions on the political compass. As I flicked through the conference guide, I realized it was going to be quite a task to attend all the Brexit fringe events, not least because there were multiple ones happening at the same time. I think this really showed the urgency Labour party members feel regarding Brexit.

Although it was difficult to do so, I was pleased I managed to find time to attend some fringe eventsgreat opportunity to reignite passion for certain topics and discover and get involved in great campaigns and initiatives. I heard Luciana Berger MP and others speak about mental health and local governments, as well as Stella Creasy and others talk about violence against women activists.
Overall, conference was a great opportunity and I would thoroughly recommend the experience to anyone that hasn’t been and encourage those who have to go again. When I went this year, I really expected it to be the last conference before Brexit, but with Labour passing a motion calling for a general election or a people’s vote, and with the events of the past few weeks, I’m not so sure.

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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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June Branch Meeting| Discussion Brexit & Ireland

Just in time for the Council summit when the UK was supposed to have found a solution on the Irish border, Brussels Labour heard from its very own Paul Hagan. We heard not just about the impact of Brexit on the border in Ireland, both in relation to goods and the Common Travel Area, but also on how it has affected the Republic of Ireland. It was fascinating to hear the process, and a good reminder that politicians still aren’t talking about this as much as they should be.The meeting came just as revelations came out about possible collusion between DUP, the Leave campaign and Cambridge Analytica.

At the meeting we also passed a motion reaffirming Labour’s six tests for a Brexit deal and the decision of part conference in 2016 to gain approval for the final settlement through Parliament, and potentially through a general election or referendum. The motion also calls for our branch delegates to party conference to vote in line with these goals.

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Brussels Labour joins People’s Vote March in London

Members of Brussels Labour were part of the over 100,000 strong rally in London demanding a People’s Vote. Rather than asking to redo the referendum, the People’s Vote UK campaign focuses on making sure the public get a final say on the Brexit deal.

When the UK voted in 2016, all that was on the table was in or out. Yet there was no discussion of what voting out would look like. Some did so to fund the NHS, a promise broken a day after the campaign. Some believed we would stay in the Single Market and Customs Union, which the UK government has now said we will leave.

All these decisions will have a huge impact on the UK for decades to come. It’s time the people got a real say on their future, once the terms are known. This is why our members joined the demonstration to call for a People’s Vote.

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Campaigning for Labour in the London local elections

Brussels Labour members travelled across to London in May to campaign for Labour in the local elections.

We went to both Islington and to Wandsworth, and are pleased to announce that in Islington, Labour won its biggest share of the vote since 1974, with 61% of all votes cast in the borough.

Although we didn’t see the same level of success in Wandsworth, which was Conservative controlled before and remains so, Labour did increase the number of seats it has on the council by 7.

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