LCC’s Review of 2018

2018 is almost done and yet politics continues its fascinating, yet gruesome hold on the nation! While much of the year has been one take or another on Brexit and its ramifications, LCC has kept the flag flying for the communities of coast and country.  Working with many of you, our MPs and Peers, and a range of others who value the chance to speak for these communities that work has included:

  • Speaking engagements at CLPs across the country, including in South East Cambridgeshire and West Worcestershire.
  • Two conference fringes in Liverpool, our now annual gathering on Sunday lunchtime and a Monday lunchtime fringe to launch “Towns of England, your time has come: A Manifesto for 2019”.
  • Convening two dinners in Parliament with a range of back and front bench MPs to discuss coast and country issues, and potential solutions as part of the process of developing our ‘Manifesto for 2019‘.
  • Contributions to external research, including the Fabians ‘Labour Country: How to reconnect with Rural Communities’  report and the Labour Party Coastal Communities consultation.

Looking forward to 2019 there are the key local elections for England on May 2nd. We have already published our ‘Manifesto for 2019’ (glossy hardcopies are still available if you are interested) and that is getting good circulation with Labour frontbenchers, some of whom we will get to blog about their thoughts on it, and wider policy ambitions in the new year.

With those elections in mind, and to continue to engage members wherever they live, we are meeting and speaking at a variety of events, with the following confirmed:

  • Southend CLP | Wednesday 13th February
  • New Forest West CLP | Monday 25th February
  • ‘Winning England, how can Labour win votes in rural England’ with Stroud CLP and English Labour Network | Saturday 16th March

We’d be delighted to hear from you – info@labourcoastandcountry.org – if you’d like an LCC speaker at your CLP next year.

With best wishes for 2019,

The Labour: Coast & Country Team

Advertisements

A Manifesto for 2019 | Towns of England, your time has come!

Britain’s towns had a higher profile at Labour Conference 2018 than they have ever had.  In addition to both Labour: COAST&COUNTRY (LCC) fringes, they were on the agenda of a Fabian fringe, a CPRE/Hastoe event, as well as other sessions where Lisa Nandy MP among others had an opportunity to speak up for towns everywhere.  And then post conference Labour’s party political broadcast jointed the party and spoke up for ‘your town’.

The local elections of 2019 offer Labour a real chance to land some of this understanding, as that election is almost exclusively being held at the district council tier, the councils that service many of the towns we are seeking to win.

LCC has always campaigned for the district and country council elections to have a bespoke national agenda that properly spoke to those places, and wasn’t a re-tread of a general election or urban take on life.  As one speaker at our fringes said “these elections aren’t about saving the NHS!!”.  No indeed, they are about the issues of rural and coastal communities who are less access to services than their urban friends, that have fewer choices of secondary education or primary care services, who see austerity making their town or village suffer, dis-connecting them with the almost abolition of bus services, and leaving them a dumping ground for the 1,000 new home estate.

With the ‘your town’ PPB we can see the powers that be are getting it; to help them set the right tone for Labour’s campaigning in 2019 at conference we launched ‘A Manifesto for 2019’  Please read or download it here; share it widely with your CLP, your district council candidates, and of course send us and the shadow front bench your thoughts on it!

LCC Fringe – Conference 2015

Sunday lunch-time of the first day of Conference 2015 saw over 40 members from across England and Wales gather to reflect on what next for Labour in communities of coast and country.  After moving to a larger room to accommodate everyone more comfortably, a wide ranging discussion occupied those present for almost two hours.

That discussion covered the issues we knew affected our coast and country communities, ranging from poor connectivity and much reduced public transport; low wages and the impact of changes to tax credits; a lack of affordable housing, and challenges of faced by many communities loosing their bank, shops or post offices.  We appreciated the contribution of newly elected Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, LCC supporter and a long serving rural campaigner across the East of England.  We recognised these issues as some of the same challenges faced by communities already represented by Labour – be they in city, coastal, or country constituencies.

We touched on the challenges facing  the party, with a wide-ranging contribution from Maria Eagle MP, previously Shadow Secretary for Defra, who’s team had spent the summer researching Labour’s performance across rural seats, and looked towards ‘Winning in 2020’.  That work highlighted the need for a new Labour vision for non-urban Britain, that Labour does already represent some of these communities and those like them in the cities, and that Labour could win with the right organisation in place for 2020.

Finally we explored the opportunities in front of the party, and every CLP, now our membership was growing dramatically – ideas for action and organisation that we will feed into the Party.

Deep Fried UKIP . . . Conference Diary 2014

Tesday of conference and many people are focused on the Leader’s speech, what might he say, might I get a seat in the Hall, what will the papers say, how will it feel the day after . . . and yet there is still much to discuss and consider about how we fight the general election, as well as the vision we will fight with.

One of the more interesting challenges will be the potential impact of UKIP, and a fascinating fringe hosted by Policy Network had everything, from pollsters to advisors, from think tanks to campaigners and activists, and even a UKIP candidate in the audience!

Their message? Perhaps that can be best summarized as the forgotten finding a voice, though we could argue whether it is their voice that is necessarily being expressed!

There are clearly groups of people for whom today’s world is difficult, challenging and in some respects anathema. Change has happened too quickly, too painfully and for whatever reason these groups of people have lost faith in politics and politicians as a means to be heard or responded to. Some used to vote Lib Dem as a way of expressing their concerns, many gave up voting seeing no benefit in bothering. Not being bothered often meant that, for us as a campaigning party, they fell off our radar.

Now UKIP offers them a new opportunity to express a view, and some are stirring in response to something they think speaks to them. While there are clearly many UKIP voters who were ex-Tory voters, our concern should be with those who are returning to the fray, those with whom we have no history of contact as they could be anywhere, everywhere and occur in surprising number.

The solution? Insulting UKIP, and by implication those who might vote UKIP, will be counter productive. Almost all the panel agreed that ultimately it is about building new relationships with each and every one of these voters. That’s the only way to rebuild trust. Some of that we can do ourselves by being an active part of our communities and going to where the people are; some of that will come from our vision for the future, not least an increased minimum wage, valuing the self employed, vocational skills for young people and a NHS with time to care.

However, for that vision to be heard, for us to build those relationships, we also need to recognize that these messages will have more reach and impact when they come from trusted people in the community who aren’t ‘politicians’.

So we should work hard to engage and involve our pub landlords, people who run sports clubs and leisure activities, the local convenience stores, and of course as the Lib Dems have done before the men and women who run our Fish & Chip shops.

Hywel Lloyd, founder of Labour: Coast & Country | Conference 2014

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Labour: Coast & Country.

Labour: Coast & Country’s Conference Diary (Sat 20th)

As many of you know Manchester is the setting for this year’s conference, starting yesterday with the Women’s conference.  By the evening of my arrival, delegate numbers had grown with the arrival of many from the south west, south east and eastern regions, all keen to meet up with old and new colleagues at their respective regional receptions.  

All got to enjoy the energy and the buzz of the Leader’s team preparing us for Ed’s arrival.  After some noisy enthusiastic clapping and cheering he got to speak.  In each reception he was on good form, giving due recognition to each regional team, the elected, the candidates, and of course the many volunteers doing the ground work for 2015 – many of whom had also spent time in Scotland.  

And then he reminded us of the hard business of conference – setting out our plans for delivering the change that Britain needs, not least in how the country is governed.  We all know, for Britain work for the many, we need shared prosperity, better wages especially for the lowest paid and we need a bottom up, engaging approach to the governance arrangements, not a quick slogan about the working of parliament!

Our task, at LCC, is to ensure that this consideration is one that reaches into every part of Britain, not just something for London, or the cities and their so called regions.  After all there are more people living in rural areas (9.3m), as defined by Defra and the ONS, than live in London (8.3m), while over 570,000 people live in ‘sparse settings’ collectively that is greater than the population of all but a handful of our largest cities.  Add to that those who live in our many coastal communities and you have a massive part of the population less well represented in the issue of future governance than London or the core cities of England.  Their voice needs to be heard and acted on;  if not, would you be surprised if they voted UKIP?

Hywel Lloyd, founder of Labour: Coast & Country | Conference 2014

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Labour: Coast & Country.

Coast and Country at Conference

Please join Labour Coast and Country at our conference fringe event on Sunday 22nd September at 6.30pm

Title: Labour Coast and Country: How Labour can be a voice for non-urban Britain

Speakers:

  • Hywel Lloyd, (Chair) Labour Coast and Country
  • Angela Eagle MP, Chair of Labour’s National Policy Forum
  • Baroness Royall, Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
  • Sarah Owen, PPC for Hastings.

Venue:

Friends Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton BN1 1AF

No passes required and all are welcome.