Monday, 23 January 2012

AGM Ahoy

It's the AGM season and Withington Co-operative Party are holding it on
Wednesday 22nd February in Hardy Lane Co-op Rooms starting at 2000h.

As ever it is above the Co-op food shop (479 Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton M21 8AG) at the junction of Hardy Lane/Mauldeth Road West and Barlow Moor Road (entrance via black door to left of shop entrance).

Our guest speaker is Duncan Bowdler – who is a member of Manchester Area Committee and also a main board member of The Co-operative Group and a long standing Withington Co-op Party member.

He will be talking about "2012 -Year of co-operation". 12th January saw the launch of international year of co-operatives. The United Nations has dedicated a year to celebrating our way of working. How many businesses can say that?

We will have the usual AGM business and Fairtrade refreshments.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Co-op Values Book

"This book, entitled The hidden alternative – Co-operative values past, present and future, came out of a conference held in Manchester in 2009 called ‘Can values make a difference’. It is aimed at an international audience of academics, co-operative members and all those interested in the co-operative model"

Essentially it is eighteen essays and one of them looks interesing to those who follow left of centre politics. Entitled "‘A Party within a Party’? The Co-operative Party-Labour Party Alliance and the Formation of the Social Democratic Party, 1974-81 written David Stewart.

Book launch is at Waterstones, Gower Street, London and the Eighth Day Co-operative, Manchester on Thursday 12 January 1800-1930.

Link : Co-operative College story

Sunday, 1 January 2012


To give it the full title it's the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives 2012. The chance to promote and celebrate the co-operative model. Why not? These opportunties don't come around many times in a lifetime.

The official launch is Thursday 12th January. Actually it started months back in New York and Cancun. But hey it culminates with a big event in Manchester in the early autumn. Maybe the Co-operative Party can be part of it too.
The Co-operative 2012
Co-ops UK 2012

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

New Pioneers Short Animation

The Rochdale Pioneers story told in animation in 4 minutes. Produced by Huckleberry Films of Accrington. Even the Crumpsall Biscuit Factory, Manchester gets a mention. Films have always been central to co-operative propaganda (don't be afraid to use that word) and now in 2011 it is on the YouTube.

Co-operative Housing: a way to address the housing crisis?

Co-operative Housing is not a big deal in the UK but it could be. European average is 15%, this island it's a mere 0.6%.

Check this out, maybe even find out about the Bill currently in Parliament to change things for the easier.

Thursday 24th November, 1830 - 2000 local time & GMT
Committee Room 1, Town Hall, Albert Square, Manchester M2 5DB

Jonathan Reynolds, Labour & Co-operative MP and campaigner for Co-operative Housing Tenure - yes it his Bill in Parliament, 2nd reading in January
David Rodgers, Chief Executive CDS Co-ops
Cllr Colin Lambert, Leader of Rochdale Borough Council (tbc)
Chair: Cllr Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader, Manchester City Council - one of our own in Withington Co-Op Party and always speaks out on co-operative issues.

A better written version is on the Co-Op Party news page here.

Monday, 31 October 2011

IYC 2012 What a year ahead

The big year for co-operatives all over the world. The UN International Year of Co-operatives 2012 and it has just started today Monday 31st October 2011.

The opportunity to celebrate the universal appeal of co-operatives and the future ahead. "Cooperatives are a reminder to the international community that it is possible to pursue both economic viability and social responsibility." says the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Usually we only celebrate our history in anniversaries.

But what is happening locally, and for us that means Manchester and nearby. There will be plenty of that glorious past stuff. The re-opening of the refurbished Pioneers Store & Museum, Toad Lane, Rochdale in early 2012. A Co-operative Heritage Trail: A booklet, leaflet and a map will be produced detailing key heritage sites of co-operative significance.

Then there is the Passport to Co-operative Centres: Members will be able to ‘earn’ a co-operative passport that would provide information on key co-operative outlets and centres in their Region. Stamps can be collected by attending activities, visiting key co-operative centres or on line through virtual activity. Members with six stamps or more in the passport would be eligible to be entered into a prize draw.

An academic conference, a big push on Fairtrade Fortnight, and the opening of the new HQ for The Co-operative in Manchester...We have some ideas ourselves for some activity and promotion in our part of the city. That's under discussion right now.

The best bit is at the end of the year. That's Wednesday 31 October - Friday 2 November.
"Manchester will be transformed into a hive of co-operative activity, with thousands of co-operators coming from the UK and overseas to take part in the global culmination of the International Year of Co-operatives. Manchester Central's 80,000 square foot exhibition hall will take centre stage with the ICA Expo co-operative trade fair, and a full programme of exciting events and activities will run alongside, from seminars and workshops to award shows and entertainment."

Links :

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Successful Meeting on Transport

Meeting Room
One of the good things about the Co-operative Party is that you can get good speakers, people who know their subject who don't mind giving up their time to answer lots of questions. Well they are not going into a bear pit of a political point scoring and private agendas. Everyone is on the same side and wants the best outcome.

So it was this night, last Thursday. Room was a bit chilly on the thermometer but the atmosphere was warm. Cllr. Andrew Fender (Lab/Co-op; Old Moat Manchester) did the talk. Transport for Greater Manchester has been his subject for over 20 years. He knows his stuff. We learnt a lot. You have to go back to the Transport Act of 1985 which de-regulated transport outside of London and how the tax-paying public isn't getting the best deal. Lots of public money invested in infrastructure for heavy and light rail (metrolink) and lots of subsidy. Essentially paying private companies to make profits from a much needed public service is not an efficient economic for Britain.

Usually these meetings run for just over an hour but such was the interest that it was 2200h before we finally had to close it down.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

More of the digital

We're on that Twitter at!/withCoopParty or follow @WithCoopParty.

There is also a mobile version of this website. That's the QR code below. What next? As it is International Year of Co-operatives 2012, and it starts at the end of October 2011 we'll be making an effort to produce some video, audio and other things for the digital world.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Robert Owen Co-op is on Twitter

Robert Owen, the father of co-operation, might have passed over in 1858 but someone is tweeting on his behalf. Bit of irony in that late in life Robert Owen did turn to spiritualism and had contact with people from an earlier past.

@RobertOwenCoop London
I am a social reformer. Through education, and improving the living and working conditions of all, I believe we can create a fairer and more prosperous society.

Or maybe it really his him tweeting? Well no the National Co-operative Archive have owned up. It is a way to draw attention to Owen's thoughts on social reform, education and co-operation to a 21st Century audience.

Here are the links!/RobertOwenCoop

Ed Mayo Secretary General of Co-operatives UK clearly knows his Robert Owen. He recently wrote a concise article for Co-op News 14th October. The echoes of Robert Owen are in the current free schools movement. If you are interested it's worth a shufti at-

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

End Legal Loansharking

Manchester City Council has passed a motion condemning ‘legal loan sharks’ and promoting credit unions. It was proposed, seconded and supported by Labour / Co-operative Councillors, members of this branch. Although this doesn't change anything it does give support to the End Legal Loansharking campaign. It's a serious issue for people with a poor credit rating who have to pay interest rates of 2,000 percent and consequently get deeper in debt. Essentially the poorest have to pay the most for credit. It is not just cash loans it is easy-term catalogue shopping, or forced to use meter cards for electricity & gas. But that is an another issue, part of the bigger picture of no credit rating then you pay over the odds. Definately a need for further development of credit unions.

Notes and welcomes the UK-wide campaign to end ‘legal loan sharking’.

Believes that the lack of access to affordable credit is socially and economically damaging. Unaffordable credit is causing a myriad of unwanted effects such as poorer diets, colder homes, rent, council tax and utility arrears, depression (which impacts on job seeking behaviour) and poor health.

Further notes that unaffordable credit is extracting wealth from the most deprived communities.

Believes it is the responsibility of all levels of government to try to ensure affordable credit for all, and therefore pledges to use best practice to promote financial literacy and affordable lending. This will help to ensure that wealth stays in the local economy. We also pledge to promote credit unions in
Manchester, community based organisations offering access to affordable credit and promoting saving.

Calls on the government to introduce caps on the total lending rates that can be charged for providing credit.

Calls on the government to give local authorities the power to veto licences for high street credit agencies where they could have negative economic or social impacts on communities.

Signed: Councillors Sue Murphy (proposer), Kevin Peel (seconder), J Battle, N Murphy,
Smith, Longsden

Passed 12th October 2011.