Sunday, 23 November 2008

New Regional Party Structures

Yesterday (Sat.22nd November) we had the chance to hear new General Secretary of the Co-operative Party, Michael Stephenson outline his vision and plans for the future. Very positive stuff about membership and online activities.

On a more exasperating note the new regional party structures have been formalised. It's a bit of a messy dog's breakfast. The Manchester Area (which is Greater Manchester but apparently excluding Bury, Bolton and Wigan), plus Warrington, Crewe & Nantwich, Stoke and anywhere else in between will make up a region. Title of the region not known, first inaugural meeting should be in April 2009.

Vote Yes : A Video

An excellent use of video to promote the YES campaign in the forthcoming referendum in Manchester. There are some not so well made NO videos too.

Video Details : filmed at Manchester Piccadilly with a cast of hundreds - 2 mins 59 seconds
Tip of the woolly hat to Chris Paul's weblog for this item -Greening Manchester Travel A Tale of Two Videos.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Vote Yes

At today's Manchester Area Co-operative Party a resolution was passed - urging people to vote yes in the forthcoming referendum on investement of 3 billion GBP in the public transport system and a congestion charge to be introduced in 2011. This is in line with support given by The Co-operative Group earlier this week.
Manchester Area Co-op Party believes that :
· the forthcoming TIF bid vote provides an once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve public transport in our conurbation
· the proposed improvements to public transport, cycling and walking, and greater control of our road network, will pay environmental dividends for generations to come.
· the proposed investment will provide a boost to employment in the region during these difficult economic times.

Money like this is rarely, if never ever on the table for Greater Manchester. It would a pity to not get it. As was pointed out there is no Plan B if the vote goes against the proposal.

We Vote Yes
Lucy Powell's weblog in The Guardian - link

Friday, 21 November 2008

Co-op Online Magazine

The new online Co-operative magazine was been uploaded. Alright it's not a political document being full of recipes and xmas. There is a couple of pages on Fairtrade, and as ever the Co-operative introduces a new product - the UK's first Fairtrade sparkling wine from South Africa. There is some video clips - I particularly liked how to cook an aubergine? Don't laugh - I've had lots of meals at friends houses with badly cooked aubergine. Look on the bright side it saves on paper and postage, or should we be spending on such as spending is the only way out of recession? But an excellent effort all round.

Here is the link

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Report on Academies Meeting

Withington Co-op Party held one of its infrequent meetings, Wednesday 19th last. The turn-out was a little disappointing but the quality of the speakers and the questions made the night. First we heard Cllr. Sheila Newman (Labour : Chorlton) give the City Council's support for academies with certain conditions being set by the authority. Then Megs Bradley gave a presentation on The Co-operative support with 5 academies being planned. Followed by Hannah Spiers from the new Manchester Academy to be in Blackley. Other subjects discussed were the new co-operative trust schools. The first one is running in Reddish Vale, Stockport. The questions were very direct and open. As education is a department that costs lots of money the funding and finance issues were aired.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Meeting on Saturday

Saturday afternoon is probably not the best time for a meeting. At least it's not all day. Manchester Area Co-op Party have their open meeting for local Co-op Party members, with a speaker from Manchester Home Carers – a newly set up co-operative which has spread here from Sunderland, and which was set up here at the particular invitation of Manchester City Council. There is also a chance to meet the new General Secretary of the Co-op Party, Michael Stephenson.
Sat 22nd November 1330h - 1500h at YHA building, Potato Wharf, Castlefield.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Robert Owen - Manchester #6

Today is the 150th Anniversary of the death of Robert Owen. Apart from an excellent post by "Politics For People", the event has gone unrecognised. However his legacy of ideas carries on even if people are not familiar with his name.

Photos is the blue plaque on The Royal Exchange building, St.Ann's Square, Manchester. The site of a drapery shop were Robert Owen worked when he first came to the city.

Worth a browse are Archives Hub: Robert Owen which has a brief biog and some pictures of letters in the spidery quill writing of the day.

Earlier Robert Owen posts

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Hardy Lane Refurbed & Re-opens

Bit of giddyness amongst local co-operators as the Hardy Lane co-op store reopened today after a makeover in the new livery and layout. There is a vested interest in keeping the store going as our meeting room is above the shop. Now it has extended out the back the square footage of sales area has doubled. The meeting room will still be same size, and still feature the steepest staircase in Manchester. All in all, very impressive. Bright, well stocked and organised.

The shop and meeting room will be 80 years next year. Currently making a short video of its small history - the usual stuff of old pictures, bits of footage and definately some talking heads. Contributions welcome.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Co-operative Rail

An interesting transport solution from a co-operative called Lightweight Community Transport. Ultra-light railcars to run on branch lines to serve communities that have few transport links.

They are currently seeking investor members, and will soon be staging demonstrations in Stourbridge.

You can read all about it :

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Manifesto Website

Co-operative Manifesto is a new Co-operative Party website that is concerned with developing you guessed - the next Co-op Party manifesto.
"over the coming weeks they will be hosting a series of online blogs covering the twelve themes of the manifesto"

An innovative idea for a poltical party to obtain feedback and input.

Meeting on Academies

We've managed to arrange a meeting on "Co-operative Academies". For some Academies are controversial but the Co-op and the City Council are working to develop an academy along co-op principles.

Mags Bradbury from the Co-op Group and Cllr Sheila Newman Manchester City Council Exec Member for Childrens Services.

Lloyd's Hotel, Chorlton 19th November starts 2000h.