COVID-19: Are You All OK?
Our branches have been trying to contact all our vulnerable members by phone to make sure everyone is OK and has the support and supplies they need. While the contacting is not yet complete, a lot of members have been reached, and all have been pleased to hear from us. Everyone is fine so far. In many areas the local support groups that have sprung up are providing valuable re-assurance and a number of local food shops are now providing delivery or order and collect services which is invaluable. If you haven’t heard from us yet I hope you will soon. Some phone number records may be out of date so if you think that may be the case for you please email our membership Secretary Ivan Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org me with your current phone number. Ryedale Council has now issued a useful guidance note on contacts for both support and volunteering. (Link & Attached). The North Yorkshire C.C. website is also very useful, plus Ryedale Covid-19 Help Network: & https://www.facebook.com/groups/200102201218148/
We all have profound empathy for every victim in their personal struggles to survive Covid-19 infection. Our thoughts are constantly with them all and their families and close ones. We hope that all will recover though tragically we know not all will. We fervently hope that our own near and dear ones, wherever they are, will be safe. It is tough that we are powerless to help beyond showing our support for and undying gratitude to the heroic NHS and Key Workers, some of whom have already given their lives for us, and rigorously applying social distancing.
Quiz 19 April. For NHS & Foodbank.
Our Constituency Exec held a successful online meeting last Wednesday using Zoom. It worked so well that we have bought a 12 month licence giving us unlimited use of Zoom across the constituency. Branches can, and should, start using it for Committee and other meetings, Malton/Norton already have. And we can do other things – like a Quiz. So, on 19th April you are all invited to log on to Zoom at 7.00 and take part in a Quiz to raise funds for our NHS workers and local Foodbanks. To take part first download Zoom, It’s free and very easy to do. Do it now then you are ready. Then, just before 7.00pm on 19th April click this link https://us04web.zoom.us/j/810665598 and then click on the join video and join audio conference buttons when they appear. If asked to provide a Meeting ID it is 810 665 598. If using a mobile phone ringing 0208 080 6591 and the same meeting ID should work. If you have any problems getting access please ring Mark White on 07831 306795. Works best on a PC or laptop. Tablets and smart phones should work though. While we would all prefer to be out socialising for real there are advantages in doing it by Zoom. You don’t have to drive home for one.
Kier Starmer and Angela Rayner.
Congratulations to our new Party Leader and Deputy. It is essential that we all unite behind them, particularly Labour Members of Parliament. Kier Starmer, who was one of the MPs involved in the attempt to force Jeremy Corbyn to stand down as leader in 2016, must be hoping history does not repeat itself. It is at least unlikely that Angela Rayner will lead a coup against him like her predecessor Tom Watson did against Jeremy Corbyn. They have a difficult line to steer between supporting the Government’s efforts to protect us from Covid-19 and distancing themselves from its disastrous failures. It’s to be hoped that they avoid the ‘Government of National Unity’ bear trap and do lay the foundation for a powerful alternative to the austerity, deregulation and privatisation which has left us so vulnerable in the current crisis. They must not be frightened to expose the incompetence and complacency of the Tory Government which is costing so many lives but must find a way of doing it that does not alienate the general public and cannot be seen as undermining the efforts of everyone to survive Covid-19 and the economic aftermath.
York Hospital Trust – Join It, Challenge It!
Just prior to the escalation of the Covid-19 epidemic in the UK the Thirsk & Malton Constituency Committee had decided it must be a priority for us to get to grips with campaigning on our local NHS issues. As everyone knows the NHS generally has been subject to under funding and under staffing for the last decade. In addition, since 2012 when York Teaching Hospital Trust took over Scarborough and Bridlington hospitals, services at these have been progressively pulled into York. A further review of Scarborough Acute Services is ongoing but Value For Money criteria point to further cuts. A local campaigner, John Wane, runs a Facebook Group , ‘Save Scarborough & District Hospital ’ which focuses on this.
York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is responsible for our local NHS and its proceedings are overseen by its Council of Governors. The Trust is rated by the Care Quality Commission as ‘Requires Improvement’. In theory the Trust is open to public scrutiny through the Governors who are elected by the public. In practice, although well intentioned people are involved, the scrutiny is not effective and the central problem of government imposed cuts and restructurings is not challenged. The NHS, even at Trust level, is a very big and complex operation and its management is bureaucratic and opaque. There is a great deal we should be saying to the York Council of Governors about what they are doing to our Health Service but it needs work to find out exactly what is going on and how to challenge it, and a sustained effort to have an impact. We would like to set up a small group of members who will tackle this together. Please let me know if you would like to help by emailing email@example.com . There is a lot of information about the Council of Governors on the York NHS Website.
Anyone can join the Trust. This gives better access to information and a vote in appointment of Governors. One of the existing Governors is willing to help us but we might like to consider trying to get one of our own members appointed as a Governor. A first step in getting us prepared to make an impact on the Trust would be for all of our members to join it. There is no cost and no liability. You can do it here and now Online. Please let me know when you’ve joined.
Foodbank Raises £5,000
Ryedale Foodbank met its target of £5000 to meet the demands created by Covid-19. So they raised their target to £7,500. While I’m sure they would still appreciate donations of food the most useful and safest way of helping at present is by cash donations paid online. With the lockdown likely to continue for another three weeks or more pressure on the foodbank can only increase. The Foodbank has made arrangements with referral agencies for Vouchers to be submitted by email during the epidemic to reduce risks of virus transmission.
Things to Do
Many thanks Tim. Do any other members have online diversions to offer?
Keep in touch through our moderated Private Facebook Group
Mick Johnston NEC Election Result
Many thanks to all who voted for me and who helped promote the campaign on social media. The result, 3,947 votes, was a long way behind the 57,000 votes for the winners. In the circumstances though, a late start, no previous profile, the impact of the big nationally organised factions, it wasn’t bad. It was definitely worth doing but, realistically, largely failed in the aim of raising the profile of undervalued constituencies like ours. What it did show, from feedback that I got, is that there are quite a lot of CLPs like ours and they all feel pretty angry about the way they have been treated by the Party. There is certainly potential for establishing a network of similar CLPs to help raise our profile and there is the possibility of a slate for the forthcoming full NEC elections. I am liaising with other CLPs on these and will let you know of any progress.
Meanwhile, thanks again for all the support and the nice messages, and particular thanks to Jack Ashton who did a great job organising the social media campaign and to John Shipley who produced the video clip.
County Elections – Jack Ashton 4 Malton
While campaigning is on hold for now we still need to be preparing and planning for the 2021 County Council elections. It is our aim to contest each of the twelve seats in our area. We have eight provisional candidates to date and it is excellent news that Jack Ashton has been adopted as provisional candidate for Malton. Jack, who recently played a key role in setting up the Ryedale Covid-19 Support Network, lives in the centre of Malton, already has a profile in the area and will be a great candidate. See his Jack4Malton facebook page. Please Like and Comment.
Best wishes, Mick Johnston Secretary of Thirsk & Malton Constituency Labour Party