Sunday, 12 September 2010

Mutual or Big Society?

Co-Op Party
"I just want to start by saying what a privilege it is to be here in Cardiff at the first Co-operative Party Conference in what I believe is a new era of Labour Party politics" goes on to touch on the mutual tradition and something called Big Society (whatever that is?)

Full speech by Tessa Jowell at the Co-operative Party Conference, Saturday last 11th September 2010.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Co-op Party Daily

A new feature from the Co-operative Party is a news filled webpage. It is generated by an online application from Twitter using recent Tweets and those who you are following. These then link to the articles that have been alerts on Twitter. Anyone can sign in and create their own online publication. It is a good way to catch up in the evening on what has been going on....

You can see it here at

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Peterloo commemorated

Sunday 15th August saw the commemoration of the Peterloo massacre of 1819. This is part of the long running campaign to obtain a proper and fitting memorial to the event. The St.Peter's Fields have been built over but you can get near the actual site by standing outside G-Mex ( since renamed Manchester Central Convention Centre - a regular venue of the Labour Party Conferences).

Picture is of Geoff Bridson, long standing co-operator, dressed up in a Hugh Birley outfit. Full marks for the costume and going as one of the reactionary opposition to the people.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Ed at the Hustings

Here we have Ed Balls MP (Morley & Outwood), well known for his co-operative credentials being interviewed at an event in Lambeth. It's hustings time for the Labour Party, and there will be one of those events in Manchester. Co-operative Party & Labour Party memebers can apply for tickets. Saturday 31st July, at the HQ of The Co-operative, New Century House started at 1100.

Anyway back to Ed Balls MP - you might need to read Ed Balls, Lambeth Co-op & Cutting Corners on The OnionBagBlog (fear & lothing in SW8) from where this audio snippet is taken. 

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Live Webcast Monday 28th June

As part of Co-operatives Fortnight, the Co-operative we will be webcasting a live programme here at 1815 BST on Monday 28 June from Toad Lane, Rochdale.

Presented by Paul Hendy and featuring CEO Peter Marks, CEO of Co-operative Financial Services Neville Richardson. Christine Tacon, Managing Director of Farms and Moira Lees, Society Secretary. You can join in with questions but have your membership number to hand to login. It might be all available later if you miss it.


New Grounds Co-operatives Video

"People who don't share our values politically using what we believe in as a cheap way to cut back public services" warns Michael Stephenson, General Secretary of the Co-operative Party. He is sat on the platform along with Cllr. Steve Reid from Lambeth Council who mentions iniatives in that borough.

An interesting short video from The Co-operative Membership dept for Co-operatives Fortnight.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Unicorn Workers Co-op Video

A two minute video made for the first Co-operatives Fortnight by Unicorn workers' co-operative in Chorlton. It's in that British tradition of cheezy, over-acted style but having fun. Nice copyright free track by Moby who makes this music available for non-commercial use. Great effort...and enjoyable.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Co-ops Fortnight Ahead

Two weeks promoting Co-ops is nearly upon us.  There are some activities from Co-ops in Manchester as you would expect - On the 8th Day, Manchester Film Co-operative, Unicorn Grocery..etc & etc
12 page guide (it's got pictures) - here
Events in the NW England region - here

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

People's Supermarket to open in Londonshire

Chef Arthur Potts-Dawson is on a mission to create The People's Supermarket: a not for profit, co-operative grocery store that will feature in a series of TV shows on Channel 4 in the U.K. in 2010. It's due to open somewhere in central London. You join, you volunteer for 4 hours a week and you get discount groceries. It's a tried and tested operation in New York. There is a downside in that supermarket skills look easy but lots of people can't cut it. Bit like badly run charity shops were socialising is preferred to business. Working tills, facing up, picking and stock rotation needs to be achieved. Motivated volunteers and training are the issues. But good luck to the venture.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Coalition Conservative Movement

The Conservative Co-operative movement website has seen some recent activity. The rhetoric might sound like supporting co-operatives and mutuality but the Coalition programme for government has only the public sector in its sights for employee ownership. The Post Office has "opportunities for employee ownership" too - though how this squares with a part-privatisation I'm unsure.Wonder if the Lib-Dems will get involved, put Lloyd George behind them and start a 'Liberal Co-operative Movement'

There is a link to the link to the Localis publication
Policy Platform: “In Your Hands: Benefits and Challenges of mutual and community cooperatives in public services”. Which has contributions from different perspectives, Mary Rayner from Co-Ops UK, Karen Wilkie from the Co-Operative Party, and Simon Randall from the Conservative Co-Operative Movement.

Links :
Conservative Coops
Coalition programme.pdf
Policy Platform pdf

Monday, 24 May 2010

Open Access Bus Lanes

Cllr. Sean Parker-Perry is hoping you might sign the online petition for open access bus lanes. That's about allowing motorcyclists to use bus lanes in Greater Manchester. Sean is a keen motorcyclist and is well aware of the safety issues involved.

"Motorcyclists are vulnerable road users and as such we need added protection. If the Government would like to continue to receive the benefits of motorcycling (reduced CO2 emissions and congestion) then we should be allowed to use the bus lanes to protect us from car users.

In passing this legislation the local Council's will be saving lives and thousands of pounds wasted in dealing with the aftermath of a road traffic collision.

Online petition is here.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

More support for co-ops in the Big Society

The Cabinet Office have issued a three page document and in it there a coalition pledge to "support co-ops, mutuals, charities and social enterprises"..

We will support the creation and expansion of mutuals, co-operatives, charities and social enterprises, and support these groups to have much greater involvement in the running of public services.

We will give public sector workers a new right to form employee-owned co-operatives and bid to take over the services they deliver. This will empower millions of public sector workers to become their own boss and help them to deliver better services.

We will use funds from dormant bank accounts to establish a Big Society Bank, which will provide new finance for neighbourhood groups, charities, social enterprises and other nongovernmental bodies.

Building The Big Society.pdf

De-municipalisation by the back door or a genuine attempt to deliver services for less public funding? When the honeymoon period of the new Con-Dems is over after the summer we'll probably know more. Selling off the Post Office (profits up 26% with falling revenues of 2%)  is a clue to the underlying agenda.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Some Local Election Success

In the local elections our supported Labour-Co-operative candidates did as well as we'd hoped, with increased majorities because of the high turnout for the General Election. So congratulations all round then...
Sue Murphy (Brooklands - maj. 1099)
Suzanne Richards (Longsight - maj. 538 )
Jim Battle (Ancoats and Clayton - maj. 1590)
Eddie Newman (Woodhouse Park - maj. 1802)
Chris Paul didn't win in the Lib-Dem stronghold of Withington ward.

The Labour Party made two gains from the Liberal-Democrats, and the Liberal-Democrats made two gains from Labour. So no change at Manchester Town Hall.

Friday, 7 May 2010

General Election Result 2010 : Withington

2010 Result : Manchester Withington
John Leech (LD)                20110   45% +3%
Lucy Powell (Lab)             18216   40% -1%
Christopher Green (Con)     5005   11% +1%
Brian Candeland (Grn)           798     2% -2%
Robert Gutfreund-Walmsley
(UKIP)                                  698     2% +1%
Yasmin Zalzala (Ind)              147    <1% <1%
Marcus Farmer (Ind)               57     <1% <1%

Majority 1894 5% Turnout: 60% (+5%)
Liberal Democrats hold. Oh well, disappointment.

The vote was finally declared at around 0730h on Friday morning. Already had two sleep breaks, so much for predictions of 0300h and 0500h declarations. Twitter and #MEN2010 (Manchester Evening News) proved useful but the winner for bringing the actual local result went to BBC Radio Manchester live in the Town Hall.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Co-op Party Donations

The Co-operative Party reported donations worth £477,546 in the first quarter of 2010. Not much when Some 14 political parties reported accepting £19,260,225 in donations over the quarter as reported by the Electoral Commission. Most of that was given to the Tories - over 12.3 million.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Why co-operatives are cool again

Well we didn't know they were uncool, maybe not fashionable or in the media spotlight but still cool. Reporter from The Guardian (back to supporting the Lib-Dems now they are on the up, but if you are old enough they supported the SDP in the 1980's - another party that broke the mould of British Politics) anyway it visits local workers co-operative Unicorn. The mutual model has legs...
Read More

Friday, 30 April 2010

The Archers Co-operative Shop

Since October 2009, The Archers have taken their 800,000 daily listeners through the process of a community coming together to set up a community-owned enterprise to save their shop.

For those who are wondering what The Archers is. A very long running soap opera on BBC Radio 4 and has stories on topical issues affecting rural life, farming, plus the usual love interest.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Interview with Gen Sec Co-op Party

"There is a definite ’sea of change’ happening between society and state, and a wave of enthusiasm for sustainable, long-term planning – so I believe it was the perfect time to interview the Co-operative Party General Secretary Michael Stephenson with the aim of learning more about the politics of the co-operative movement."

You can read and see the several short videos at Rob Dale's website - he's a very enterprising journalist student from Leeds and Co-operative Party General Secretary Michael Stephenson is being asked the questions. Link.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Video : Lucy Powell

"YouFundMe is a non-partisan online fundraising solution built with the needs of Britain's fast-growing political campaigns in mind." That's what the website says. Here Lucy Powell has made an online video. It looks like it has been filmed in the Co-op Rooms HQ at Hardy Lane and those are the leaflets that are going out this week.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Co-ops Fortnight Newsletter

A new Co-operative Fortnight newsletter is now in circulation. To find out all about forthcoming activities and to get some inspiration visit. We've heard there will be some activity locally.
For updates follow

Sunday, 18 April 2010

John on a Co-op Soapbox

Liked this photo posted on Twitpic by the Co-operative Party. It's veteran campaigner John Prescott stood on a Somerfield/Co-op crate delivering the message.

Posters, Billboards and Phone Boxes

Election Phone Box
The Conservatives are not running any election campaign in Manchester Withington, they will come a poor third in the polls. But spotted this election poster on a phone box on Burton Road in West Didsbury.

That's the down side of booking hundreds of sites across the country - the scattergun approach is often off target.

Almost every aspect of this General Election campaign is being documented somewhat happazedly somewhere. is logging billboards across the country from photos sent in by readers.

A site with better photos and more humour is the Facebook Group - Vandalised Conervative Billboards.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

The Road Ahead Broadcast

Thanks to the YouTube we can watch the Labour Party Political Broadcast. No idea what the viewing figures for the Tv political broadcasts are, but the parties arn't going to give up that free air-time as long as somebody is watching. This week we've had mini dramas and animations. The earnest chap in a suit and a pipe behind the desk wanting to tell you "the facts" has long retired. If you want to see how it all started then have a shufti at Ramsey MacDonald & The National Government film (2 minutes) from 1931 - it's here on YouTube (where else?).

Your Vote Could Be Worth 0.851

"In Manchester Withington, one person does not really have one vote, they have the equivalent of 0.851 votes. The power of voters in this constituency is based on the probability of the seat changing hands and its size. While you might think that every vote counts equally, where you live in the UK has a huge effect on your power to influence the election."

Check Votepower. A word of caution, aparthy can give results you never wanted.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Co-operative Toy Shop

Britain's first co-operative toy shop is just nine months old and enjoying success. There was a story in the local paper this week - the place to bee.

Not a bad pun as the shop is called Busy Bee Toys.
The shop next door is one the few remaining record shops in Britain called King Bee - which isn't a co-operative but an independent trader. Like TV Rentals, Laundrettes, Post Offices and Travel Agents record shops are a disappearing High Street outlet.

Labour Manifesto 2010 in Animation

Labour says "share our vision now by sharing our animated manifesto films with your friends". Good on the eyes and ears, a good all-round effort reports our critic.
You can download the manifesto (PDF) here.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Audio from the Co-op Party

Audioboo is an application to publish short audio interviews from your mobile phone. The Co-operative Party is on the act. Why not? Cos you can.
Check the sound here.

Leaflet Monitoring

Elections are still fought on leaflets. Paper thru doors and who can get the best, most controversial, yet another reminder, only we can win....etc, & etc.

This site is collecting examples from whoever sends them in. In there is the below the belt scaremonger job - how about Tories can save you from being stabbed in the street - here.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Make A Mark

Lots of political images or potential posters at Make A Mark. Bit different from the usual cliche propaganda.

Local press coverage : Withington

General Election 2010
Is this Day 3 or is Day 4, according to the Manchester Evening News it is Day 3. What is happening locally, or very locally what has come through the letterbox today.
a) Leaflet from Labour to their supporters and members
b) Leaflet from Lib-Dems announcing their local election candidate (3 pages), and a page on the General Election
c) A phone call from the Lib-Dems. Politely told them I don't for them.
d) Free newspaper as in picture above, and story below.
Battlefield Withington - South Manchester Reporter Thursday 8th April 2010.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Co-op Party in the General Election

"The Co-operative Party has launched a new campaigning manifesto, alongside profiles of the 42 Labour and Co-operative candidates who are standing for parliament in the election - the highest ever number of Co-op candidates fielded."
Details of candidates
Manifesto (PDF - with pictures)

Vote Global

Vote Global badge
Lots of campaigning groups make use of a General Election to get their message across. The three main political parties have agreed to address world poverty issues on the third Sunday before 2010 Election Day - so that will be Sunday 18th April by my calculation, but may have to be corrected on that.

You can find out more at Vote Global - Make this election count for the world's poor is their slogan.

Local Elections 2010

The local elections won't get a look-in as far as the media is concerned but there is another ballot paper on Thursday 6th May and most people will make the pencil "x" to elect a City Councillors. Look on the bright side there will be a good turnout, and you get two votes for one trip to the polling station...

Withington Co-operative Party is supporting several candidates all of whom are members of this branch :
Sue Murphy (Brooklands)
Suzanne Richards (Longsight)
Jim Battle (Ancoats and Clayton)
Eddie Newman (Woodhouse Park)
Chris Paul (Withington)

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

General Election

At last it has been announced, it would have been a shock if it had been called for a date other that Thursday May 6th 2010.

If you want to follow Co-operative Party reaction, action and other news then the best place is on Twitter @ CoopParty. We'll bring some stories from the Withington Labour Campaign HQ, which is in the rooms above the Hardy Lane Co-op Store.

So, one month from now the electorate decide and by then we'll be worn down by the debates, accusations, leaflets through doors, counter-claims & etc...

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Remember the Conservative Co-op

"Remember when the conservatives announced that they were launching their own co-operative movement a few years back and everyone said "what??!",

Well, they're now incorporating it as a co-op, so what's to stop us all becomming members, exercising our democratic member control to call a general meeting, agree to dissolve it and distribute the assets amongst the wider, non-partisan co-op movement? -- tip of the hat to Adrian Ashton for this one

Full article

Monday, 22 February 2010

Fairtrade Fortnight 2010

The Co-operative has kept to its fairtrade ethos whilst others have clearly dropped off the bandwagon in the "boom years". The message this year is "The Big Swop". More details here.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Star Inn

One of the interests shown by the members present at the AGM was a trip to the co-operative pub in Higher Broughton, Salford. On 15th October 2009 The Star Inn on Back Hope Street was bought by its regulars. The UK's first urban co-operatively owned pub with 62 shareholders.

Dirty Oil Movie

Dirty Oil dramatically explores the battle between industry, government, local communities and environmentalists over the development of the oil sands of Alberta, Canada. The Co-operative is offering free tickets for the film to its members for showings on Monday 15 March, 1815h at 3 cinemas - Ambleside Fellinis, Liverpool Picturehouse, and Manchester Odeon.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Mostly Peterloo & Some AGM

A small muster of hardy co-operators turned out for the AGM. Most of the meeting was given over to Chris Mills, the Ethical Policy Manager of the Co-operative Group. We heard about several diverse campaigning iniatives of the Co-operative. Tar sands, sustainable fisheries, the Plan B for the honey bee, and democracy for Burma. Then the talk switched to an update on the campaign to have a worthy memorial to the victims and events at Peterloo. Even though that happpened way back in 1819 it still evokes emotions and an anger that it has been airbrushed from history.

The last twenty minutes had the re-election of the officers and delegates, actually no elections and everyone agreed to carry on for another year. The forthcoming General Election was the big event for 2010, and there are no plans for meetings and events until that has taken place.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Radical History Manchester

For those with an interest in historical topics you'd do well to check out
Radicalmanchester. Topics include Co-operatives, Robert Owen, and even very recent history from the 1990's up to almost yesterday. It's in weblog format with short articles and interviews.

AGM & some Peterloo

Thursday 18th February in the Hardy Lane Co-op Rooms starting at 2000h.
Annual General Meeting

We have Chris Mills coming to talk to us. Chris is the Co-op Group’s Ethical Policy manager but he takes a keen interest in Peterloo being onvolved in the Peterloo Massacre Campaign. So he will be talking primarily about Peterloo, but hopefully he will also be able to tell us a bit about his work as ethical policy manager.

After Chris has spoken we will have the usual AGM business – Officer Reports, election of officers and delegates.

As ever Fair Trade refreshments will be provided.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Greener Together

"Greener Together is an ambitious and dynamic project. The core focus is to engage, support and provide the means to share lifestyle changes that reduce members’ and customers’ environmental impact in the areas of energy, waste and personal transport."

Greener Together- the co-operative way is part of the Greener Living Fund sponsored by Defra. Good ideas but we'll see what happens, if anything other than boxes ticked...

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Co-operative Fortnight

19th June to 3rd July 2010 will be a Co-operative Fortnight. Billed as the launch of a groundbreaking two weeks to celebrate co-operative business. June 23rd to 26th will be the UK Co-operative Congress at Plymouth, and the fortnight will finish with the celebration of International Co-operators Day.