Can threats bring peace?

Friday 1st September, 7:30pm, Unity House, Fennel Street, Loughborough

Loughborough Peace Group sent a petition to the Foreign Office urging our Government to join the UN Nuclear Ban negotiations. Alan Duncan replied: “As a responsible Nuclear Weapons State, the UK continues to work towards creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons. However, we will not sign the Treaty………..” We wondered quite what ‘responsible’ meant in that context. Like the United States, perhaps?

On Friday, I would like us to explore the roots of the present situation, and why local nuclear-free treaties like the one proposed by Japan and South Korea, and the UN global one signed by over 200 nations, are being ignored by the Nuclear Powers. What ‘conditions’ have they in mind?

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I Daniel Blake Film Showing and Welfare Rights

Screening of I Daniel Blake at Unity House on 22nd July. Sponsored by Loughborough Labour and Unite Community. We will have Welfare Rights Advisor Reiza Khan speaking afterwards. Entry £5 (£3.50 concessions, benefit recipients free). Please share!

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For Jo Cox

For Jo Cox


Liz Gray

If we had words to gather

and ravel up a life

knit the years as yet unlived

slit by shot and knife;

if we had wool to work it

to stitch it, row on row,

a life cast off too early

the pattern yet to show;

if we could knit it better

back and sides and arm

if, by the stitches of our hearts

we could unpick that harm:

for were you then so wicked,

corrupt, self-serving, dark?

Had you then deserved that bullet

so to find its mark?

No palaces at Westminster

you had a narrow barge,

your heart went out to Syria

because your life was large;

and there is a Birstall everywhere;

you’re everyone’s MP

democracy’s shot down today

outside your surgery

and there are no words to gather

just the silence that is grief

as we stand arm to shoulder

with shock and disbelief.

Our verses stumble, fall down

and die within the breast.

Speak only what is in our heart

and silence

is the rest.


© Liz Gray 2016

I give permission for it to be circulated to appropriate groups or individuals, provided that copyright is always attached.
Liz Gray
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General Election 2017 – Reactions and Responses

Friday 16th June, 7:30pm, Unity House, Fennel Street, Loughborough

A open discussion of the consequences of the unexpected outcome of the General Election.

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Open Letter for A Loughborough Progressive Alliance

Open Letter for A Loughborough Progressive Alliance


Jewel Miah, Labour Candidate
David Walker, Liberal Democrats


Dear Jewel and David,

Tonight I was selected as the Loughborough Green Party candidate for the 2017 General Election.

However, in a departure from normal politics, I and local activists of the party have declared a willingness to withdraw my formal nomination if progressive left-of-centre parties can agree to get behind the most likely challenger to the Conservative candidate, Nicky Morgan. In all fairness this is likely to be Jewel, even though we know it will be an uphill struggle regardless.

The caveat for this withdrawal is that a progressive candidate is one who:

Supports a change to our voting system to deliver true and fair representation of the people such that all parties are represented according to the proportion of votes they receive, and who will advocate for and campaign actively in favour of such a reform both within Parliament and wider society.

Jewel has already endorsed PR in principle, and I am sure you do too, David.

Secondary caveats are:

a) Will support policies which keep our public services fully accountable to the electorate at local and national levels, with an end to the ideologically driven sale of our national assets to international corporations and foreign governments.

b) Is fully committed to the Climate Change Act, a ban on fracking, and creating a million or more professional jobs by transitioning to cleaner and more efficient energy systems, and ending the air pollution crisis in our towns and cities.

c) Is committed to ending income inequality, through measures not based solely on equality of opportunity, but with a focus on equality of outcomes. This means an end to the war on the poor through austerity and punitive workfare, and an immediate end to measures which deprive people of the dignity of enough to live on without depending on foodbanks.

d) Will end the attack on young people’s futures with a restoration of all benefits entitlements, including the Education Maintenance Allowance, a return to free tuition instead of ever-increasing student loans, and the removal of restrictions on Housing Benefit for under-25s.

The Greens have well-developed solutions to many of these issues, but recognise that the left-of-centre parties also have their own ideas; we have, as a party, consistently said we do not have a monopoly on good ideas. A more deliberative and democratic politics facilitated by democratic reform of our election system will, we believe, deliver better, longer-term solutions to the many difficult challenges we face. From the local WI, to the Parish Council, local authority, and in small enterprises, large corporations, and government, the maxim “better decisions are made when more people are involved” is self-evident and widely supported.

The Liberal Democrats are urging us to vote “to change Britain’s future”, Labour want us to vote “for the many, not the few”, and Greens advocate voting “for the common good” and “standing up for what matters”.

In contrast to these collective approaches for more democracy, the Tories argue only for “Strong and Stable Government”. This appeal, to be given the authority to act from strength, can only mean a further slide towards a more authoritarian politics, where the people can no longer have the freedoms to build their own preferred lives, and build strong resilient communities, as they see appropriate to create a good life and good society for us all. They are forced to succumb to a Conservative dogma of the free market over the rights of the individual and community, with dire consequences for the material, spiritual and mental wellbeing of our people and a disaster for our environment and the species we share it with.

Definitely not for the common good; definitely for the few, not the many; and definitely not the future our people are looking for. We are in difficult times. This election is a ground-breaker that will, as Caroline Lucas has said, be more than a change for the next 5 years, but for a generation.

The only way of unseating Nicky Morgan is to work together and pool our votes and explain to the electorate what we are doing. We recognise that it will be nigh on impossible for you to withdraw, but of you make a public declaration of support, we will have enough to work with to urge voters to get behind Jewel.

To this end, let’s get together to see how we can make a change for the common good, and for the many, for a better future for our country, to begin to build the progressive alliance, and create a local exemplar of just what we need to do to take back our country. Let us show some courage, and leadership. Others are doing this too :

Kind Regards

Dr Philip Leicester

Loughborough GP

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No Friday Room tomorrow (5 May)

This update is to confirm that we will not hold a meeting in our usual first-Friday-of-the-month slot tomorrow (5 May), due to today’s local elections having their count then, and to the snap general election diverting much attention recently.

We had planned to discuss “The Gig Economy and Basic Income” soon, and this will now be postponed until later in the summer once the general election results are known.

There may be an extraordinary meeting (or even a hustings) on the general election later this month: watch this space!

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General Election June 2017 – What should progressives do?

Extraordinary Friday Room Meeting tonight (21 April)
7:30 Start Unity House

Open meeting for all



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