Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Up on the roof

Manchester Area Co-op Party visit to the CIS Tower, Manchester. James Siddelley, Regional Organiser does the opening speech and then scenes from the 5th floor roof to inspect the solar panels. Had to put some music here otherwise it would be the sound of wind swirling on a microphone. It was a good way to spend a Monday morning.

Music is "Madrugada a la Gil Evans" by The Paloseco Brazz Orchestra, thanks to CCMixter.Org where you can find loads of Creative Commons music with few copyright restrictions.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

CIS Tower Visit

Monday morning, centre of Manchester at the CIS Building and it's the Manchester Area Co-op Party visit to check out its green credentials. We're on the 25th floor so it's extensive views to go with the speeches. Mark Lazarowicz MP (Lab/Co-op Edinburgh North and Leith) is the guest, he's on the left in the photo. The chap on the right is Richard Scorer (Labour PPC for Hazel Grove). The Co-operative are very good and have sent their in-house photographer and I'm quietly snapping away in the background. There will be a video posted of everybody on the 5th floor roof inspecting the photo-volactic cells that cover the tower. We got a talk from someone who knew his science about climate change. Actually learnt something instead of just nodding to the rhetoric.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Football Co-operatives

Regular readers will know we often stray off into football matters, well we are in Manchester...
So reading today's Non-League Paper (£1.40 at the local co-op store) discovered a couple of co-operative football clubs that you can buy one share in and have one vote like everyone else. Your vote will even pick the team, appoint the manager and decide all sorts of actions.
Myfootballclub (IPS No. 30275R - so you can look it up on the FSA Register) has 53,000 members so far, shares and annual fee cost £35, and they are looking to buy at least 51% of an existing club, outside the Championship. Buying Leeds United is the favourite amongst the investors.

MyBUFC is a trust to buy and own Biggleswade United (it's in Bedfordshire). Costs £23.50 in shares and annual fee. Again you can vote on everyday actions like who is going to be the striker this week.

FC United of Manchester had their AGM today, couldn't go as was working. The share and annual fee is £10. You don't get to pick the team but you do decide about replica shirts and the price of tickets.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Cider, Manchester and a co-operative

Intriguing story in tonight's Manchester Evening News..
"Cider, a dream of Manchester...after some expert tuition from members of a Lake District cider co-operative, they were soon pulping and juicing the fruit to produce the golden liquid ...." and it happens in Ancoats.

After our day trip to Cumbria to the co-operative Hesketh Newmarket brewery, we'll have to track down the cider makers for a jaunt next summer. Story.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Half Yearly Meeting

So off we trooped to the historic Mechanics Institute in the city centre ( it was the venue of the first ever TUC in 1868 ) for our first ever, The Co-operative Members Meetings. Personally I thought it much better than the old United Co-op meetings. Maybe it was the Powerpoint presentation of bullet points of the accounts, instead of someone drawing attention to some glowing figures on page 42. It could have been the short DVD showing of the Stakeholder Report. Yes, we spotted Peter Marks (CEO) on drums at a big charity bash . There was even some footage of the Co-op Party at World Co-op Day last July - see the earlier post. It's very rarely anything with politics gets a mention at a business meeting. It wasn't all presentation there were some critical questions from the members. The loss of the Wythenshawe store in a Labour / Co-op stronghold didn't go down well.

Co-op Party DVD Clip

Taken from "A Year To Remember" DVD, it has some Co-op Party footage from World Co-op Day July 2007. It has Hazel Blears MP, Tadessa Meskela and if look closely at the start you'll see our own Paul Murphy on the Co-op Party stall. Don't know if this DVD is available outside The Co-operative United Region.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Meetings 40 years ago

Ladybarn Co-opWithington Constituency Labour Party issued a ‘Year Book’ in March 1968. Year book is a bit of an over statement for it’s a mere sixteen pages slightly bigger than A5 printed by a duplicating machine (these machines still exist in museums). A copy survives in the archives of Manchester Central Reference Library - the sort of political ephemera you throw away every month.

It includes some Withington Divisional Co-operative Party details. The membership was approximately 10. The meetings were held on the 2nd Friday of the month in the Ladybarn Co-op Hall, Ladybarn Lane at 7.45pm. Chair - Mrs. Willoughby 41 Lindleywood Road: Secretary Miss H.F.Messenger 8 Westbourne Road and Treasurer Mrs. D.Crivat 245 Manley Road. Subscriptions cost 1/- per year (shortly to rise to 2/6d). That year seven speakers were booked and there were two social events. Contact with the Labour Party was been maintained through Mr. J. Lilley, a sponsored candidate.

That's a picture of Ladybarn Lane Co-op store and hall about 40 years ago. I've haven't been to that part of the city for a number of years so I don't know if it still exists.

Friday, 12 October 2007

International Conference

Whilst some of us will be making it down to the Mechanics Institute, Princess Street, Manchester for the half-yearly Co-operative members' meeting you can dream about what it would be like if you being sent as a delegate to the ICA (International Co-operative Alliance) assembly in Singapore next week.

On the agenda is a draft resolution from Co-operative Group and Co-ops UK addressing climate change. The resolution calls upon co-ops to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and motivate their members to a lower carbon lifestyle.
ICA Digest is now available - No 58 October 2007.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Online Discussion

There are not many multi-million pound businesses where you can post your questions to the CEO, get a reply and view everybody's contribution online. Thought I'd join in and post a question to Peter Marks, the Chief Executive of The Co-operative. He'll be doing the answers on Thursday 11th October 1630h - 1800h. So far only 6 questions from the membership have been posted. If you have your membership number to hand you can join in. If you have difficulties logging in there is a telephone helpline. I had to make use of this service, but it was very prompt and helpful. The Co-operative Membership.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Progress Document

To mark Gordon Brown's 100th day in office, "Progress" (a political organisation mostly based in London) is publishing a collection of essays by senior government ministers entitled 'Beyond the first 100 days: Building towards a fourth Labour term' which set out a future vision for Labour. The ministerial authors include: Ed Balls MP (Labour / Co-op), David Miliband MP, Jack Straw MP, Jacqui Smith MP, Hazel Blears MP, Hilary Benn MP and Ben Bradshaw MP. You can download a PDF copy from the Progress website by following this link : here

Not quite Co-op Party but I did have a pleasant chat to them on their stall at the Co-operative Party Conference.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Co-ops Using Film

The use of film by Co-op Societies goes back to the early days of cinema. Still being promoted in 2007 with The Co-operative sponsored screenings of "Black Gold", and "Inconvenient Truth". "We Are Together" was shown at the Co-op Party Conference....hopefully this will get a showing at The Cornerhouse, Manchester and cinemas elsewhere on World Aids Day 1st December 2007.

On Monday 8th October Unicorn Co-operative Grocery, Chorlton, Manchester will be showing Power of Community : How Cuba Survived Peak Oil; along with speakers Tim Fairs (Oil Ecologist), Jenny Hall (NW Grower and author of Growing Green), and Adam York (Glebelands Market Garden). Even with the current rising fuel prices, uneccessary food miles and poor harvests there is a positive alternative. Time 1930h for 1945h, Admission £2.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Mutual Football

Following the Co-operative Party pamphlet ‘A Golden Goal’ back in 1999 the Government established Supporters Direct..the concept of democratic supporter ownership and representation through mutual, not-for-profit structures is still growing.

Supporter Direct Conference - Friday 19th October 2007, Manchester Convention Centre (it's a little glass building next to GMEX, seen in photo )...opening speeches by Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council; James Purnell MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport; and Gordon Taylor, Chief Executive of the PFA...more
The Magazine - September 2007 (PDF)