Jocelynne Scutt, president of the Convention for Ending all Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Tribunal, yesterday delivered her report on the plight of 50s born women to Rishi Sunak, the new Prime Minister, at Downing Street.
The report, to be officially published at the end of this month, is the latest move to press for full restitution for the women who had to wait 6 years to get their pension. It is timely reminder to the government which is about implement big tax rises and spending cuts that this issue will not go away for the 3.6 million people who lost out.
Jocelynne Scutt, President of the CEDAW Tribunal; Janet Chapman, Ian Byrne’s Parliamentary Assistant, and Ian Byrne, Labour MP for Liverpool, West Derby, who tabled a Parliamentary motion call for full restitution, pictured outside Parliament
Jocelynne Scutt gave a speech outlining the main issues and Ian Byrne wholeheartedly backing the campaign. See it on a video here.
Ian Byrne’s Parliamentary motion now has 75 signatures from MPs. The latest MPs to sign include more Labour MPs such as Qureshi Yasmin, Bolton, South East; Karl Turner, Kingston-upon-Hull, East: Dan Jarvis, Barnsley Central; and Khalid Mahmood, Birmingham, Perry Barr and Clive Betts, Sheffield South East.
Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson, Wera Hobhouse and MP for Bath is the first member of the party to sign.
The issue is very popular in Northern Ireland with all MPs in the Democratic Unionist Party signing plus a member from Social Democrat Labour Party and the Alliance. Eight MPs from Scottish National Party have signed and two from Alba Party. There are also a number of ex Labour MPs now Independents have signed, the latest being Dr Rupa Huq, MP for Ealing Central and South Acton.
It is noticeable that not a single Conservative MP has signed the new motion though many signed the motion in the last Parliament calling for full restitution.
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Manifesto is a new film out this week that explores in depth local Labour Party activists and their fight to get a Labour government elected in the December 2019 general election.
It is an unusual film as it covers a constituency – Liverpool, Walton – ignored by the national media -concentrating on the passion of grass roots activists in one of the poorest parts in Britain. It is also Labour’s safest seat.
The film conveys the idealism of the campaigners and how the last Labour manifesto under Jeremy Corbyn would have meant real change for the people of Walton – many relying on free school meals and food banks – by providing better schools, a better NHS, more worker’s rights and better wages. But it was not to be. Instead Labour lost the general election in the fog of the Brexit row where unknown bureaucrats in Brussels were scapegoated as holding the working class back and depriving them of their ” freedoms”.
The prism the director Daniel Draper ( who was born and grew up in Walton) uses is to tell the tale through the eyes and voices of local activists -a group that are normally completely ignored.
He intersperses their views with quotes from Robert Tressell’s work The Ragged -Trousered Philanthropists – regarded by George Orwell as a ” book everyone should read”. This tells a semi autobiographical story of a house painter’s struggle to get work in Edwardian England. He died from TB in Liverpool Royal Infirmary and was buried in a pauper’s grave in the city. The link between today’s activists and his legacy is vividly portrayed in one scene in the film.
He also intersperses the dialogue with stills of part of the constituency showing the poverty and both neat and neglected streets.
The result is a bitter sweet documentary. The campaigning in Liverpool was a great success – with both Parliamentary candidates who are on the left of the party, Dan Carden ( Liverpool Walton) and Ian Byrne (Liverpool West Derby) returned with thumping majorities.
But in the rest of the country Labour lost badly -including two seats Walton activists were sent to help the party in Blackpool and Crewe.
Since then internal struggles in the Labour Party -including in Liverpool – have divided Labour activists and I am pretty certain Liverpool Walton is not a priority for the new leader Sir Keir Starmer – precisely because it is such a safe seat where Labour voters are taken for granted.
But in my view this would be a mistake. Labour has always been a broad church and the hopes, aspirations and frankly, eternal optimism to create a better society from the people portrayed in this film should not be ignored or squandered by party bosses in London.. The present mess and chaos we are in under this Tory government is too bitter a pill to swallow not only for the voters of Liverpool Walton but for everyone else. As Dan Carden, the MP for Walton said on the film before the result: “We can’t afford another five years of Tory government.”
16 June: Picturehouse At FACT, Liverpool (Q&A: MP Ian Byrne, activist Alan Gibbons, director Daniel Draper, hosted by Ross Quinn)
16 June: Glasgow Film Theatre (Q&A: MSP Paul Sweeney & former MSP Neil Findlay, hosted by Ruth Gilbert)
17 June: Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle (Q&A: MP Ian Lavery, Laura Pidcock from People’s Assembly, activist Ben Sellers, director Daniel Draper)
30 June: Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds (Q&A: MP Richard Burgon & director Daniel Draper)
DATE TBC: Savoy Cinema, Nottingham (Q&A: MP Nadia Whittome & director Daniel Draper)
3 August: Duke’s At Komedia, Brighton (Q&A: MP Lloyd Russell Moyle & director Daniel Draper)