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.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Carbon Co-op at Hardy Lane

South Manchester Co-op Members Group meeting open to all members of The Co-operative, not just the Co-op Party in South Manchester.

Wednesday 9th November 2011 at 1930h Hardy Lane Co-op Rooms
The Guest speaker will be Nigel Rose on “The Carbon Co-op and Chorlton refurbishment group”. The Carbon Co-op aims to "make it simple, cheap and easy for households, streets and neighbourhoods to come together to retrofit their houses through the purchase of low-carbon and energy-saving equipment."

Carbon Co-op

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Subs price hike 2011

Bit of price increase for Co-operative Party subscriptions next year, and the year after, and maybe even the year after that. As agreed at the recent Co-op Party Conference the rates will be :
2012 : £20 (currently 2011 : £15)
2013 : £25

The first year concessionary youth membership will £5. No figures for other concessionary rates but it is very possibly £5, up from £3.

Our own finances are robust thanks to recruitment and retaining members from earlier years. There will be some who will choose not to renew. The new Parliamentary boundary changes will mean some members will transfer to neighbouring Co-op Parties. But we are far from heading to a low ebb. There is one thin silver lining from having a ConDem government is that it invigorates the opposition to campaigns and activities. Hey, that's us. We're not going to sit back and hope things will not be too bad. If you can remember the last time it was the Tory years it was that bad..

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Co-op Party for Wigan

The trend for the last 20, 30, 40 years has been for Co-operative Party branches to slowly fade away to oblivion. Good to read one has re-formed in Wigan...

"An official branch of the Co-operative Party - whose members in Lancashire helped to found and shape the modern day Labour Party - has been reformed in Wigan and Leigh after an absence of more than 15 years." Back on the ballot sheet.
Story at Wigan Today

Not Manchester but the famous pie-eating town is just down the road or a few stops on the train. The link has a nice photo.

Manchester International Co-op Year 2012

Next year, 2012, has been declared the International Year of Co-operatives. It actually starts at the end of October 2011. The Co-operative Group are off and running with this video, 2 mins and 9 seconds of colour. Manchester looks good in the pictures in there with London and New York.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Credit Union Day

Another day another international whatever day. This time it's Thursday 20th October for International Credit Union Day. Yes, we have a credit union in south Manchester and it is called the South Manchester Credit Union which has been collecting and loaning since 2001. See the web site

For a global picture see ICCU Day.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Next Meeting is Transport

The next meeting will be on

Thursday 27th October 2000h in Hardy Lane Co-op Rooms

(that's above the co-op shop at the Junction of Hardy Lane/Mauldeth Road West - but note Hardy Lane and the car park is blocked off with roadworks for the building of the new tram line)
Barriers on tram lines

featuring :
Cllr Andrew Fender (Labour Co-op / Old Moat ward)
Chair, Transport for Greater Manchester Committee
entitled :
'Transport for Greater Manchester's Current Policy Priorities"
There is a lot going on in relation to transport in the City so this will be an excellent chance to hear and ask questions to someone who knows the full story.

We will have our usual fair trade refreshments.
All welcome - you don’t have to be a Co-op Party member to attend. The picture is the the barriers to protect the recent Tory Party Conference in Manchester. Hand operated to let trams through.