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Labour Party leaflets

Hi John, there have been no Labour Party leaflets through the doors of Willian Road, Hitchin. Is there a reason for this? It makes it appear like you are not expecting to win. Strangely, Labour's is the only leaflet that we have not received   Thanks

Election Address

Dear Resident of Hitchin and Harpenden I am delighted to be the Labour Party candidate for the constituency where I live. When the General Election was called, I saw it as an opportunity to step forward and do my bit. During my teaching career I have seen the devastating impact that years of austerity and unnecessary upheaval in school organisation are having on our children’s education. The school of which I am head in Camden serves an ethnically and culturally diverse population. It is an amazing place and it is a privilege to work with very dedicated individuals who do what they do because it makes a difference. But too frequently I see under-resourced, declining services struggling to meet the needs of the most vulnerable. Growing numbers of families that I meet on a daily basis are forced to use food banks, and far too many children live in inadequate and expensive housing. I see the decline of Britain’s living standards not only in London, but increasingly in our own constituency. Despite its apparent prosperity, in Hitchin and Harpenden there are pockets of deprivation, inadequate housing, poverty in work, poor health care and struggling schools, the effects of which touch all of us. The Conservative policy of systematic underfunding of our NHS and all  of our public services needs to be put right. Continue reading

An Introduction

I am delighted to have been selected as the Labour Party candidate for the constituency of Hitchin and Harpenden.   I first joined the party as a teenager but lapsed when I went into teacher training at what was then Hertfordshire College of Higher Education near Watford. Now living with my wife and family in Chesfield ward I joined the Hitchin branch and just over a year ago became branch chair. In that time I stood as ward candidate in the local elections in 2016; campaigned during the referendum for the UK to remain in the EU; and more recently in support of our councillors in district and county elections.   Continue reading

A Pre-Election Blog

Hitchin North County Councillor, Judi Billing, will be contesting the seat again in the upcoming elections in May 2017. Here, she reflects back on some of the things she and other Labour colleagues have achieved, as well as looking forward to the work still to be done.     Continue reading

Harpenden December Newsletter

Dear Members Our December meeting will be a social evening on Thursday15th , at 9 Burywick, hosted by the Lawlors. Apart from minor business this is an opportunity to meet fellow members and share your thoughts and ideas about the state of the world. Continue reading

Harpenden Newsletter November 2016

Dear Members At the October General Committee meeting we elected George Fraser to be Constituency Chair. While the Plough and Harrow is a good venue for Party meetings we will use it when expect larger attendances, so our next Branch Meeting on 10th November will be back at 21 Connaught Road.  Continue reading

Our 10 Pledges

Our 10 pledges to rebuild and transform Britain   An easy criticism of any political party is that people don’t know what they stand for. In the run-up to elections parties will publish manifestos. Often these are collections of promises and aspirations, but all too frequently they are uninspiring documents that largely go ignored by the majority of the electorate. Generally, it is left to the main stream media to explain (usually with some kind of unstated bias) what political parties believe in and want to bring about when, and if, they take office. Continue reading

Community Centres In Walsworth

It was with grave concern that I read an email from St Michael's Mount Community Centre en route to Vienna on 30 September calling an urgent meeting to discuss the community centre's future. The managing committee believed NHDC had decided to close the centre. There's not much one can do at the airport while queueing to board a flight, but I managed to get hold of officers who very quickly looked into the issue and were categoric that neither St Michael's nor Walsworth Community Centre were closing. Rather, negotiations with both about new leases subject to NHDC's Community Hall Strategy were ongoing. Continue reading

The importance of Labour Councillors

Judi Billing  - as a local District and County Councillor, and Vice Chair of the Association of Labour Councillors  shares some key points from her recent speech to annual conference Continue reading

Grammar Schools

  At a time when our NHS is under unprecedented pressure and we have a housing crisis with no sign of sensible solution how does the Prime Minister spend her summer?  Apparently in trying to re-invent Grammar Schools.  She has no electoral mandate for this – it wasn’t a manifesto pledge – and it really needs to be stopped right now. Grammar Schools provided no improvement in educational standards and only benefitted a group of children who would have thrived in any case in a good all ability comprehensive school.  But their damaging effects were devastating to the vast majority of children.  Much of primary school time was spent coaching children for the dreaded 11 plus exam which left 80% of children feeling like failures and doomed to a second rate education at secondary modern schools.  Anyone who doubts that needs to look at the statistics for attainment through the 1950ss, 1960s and 1970s.  I was a child of that era and knew from how we were organised and taught at age 7 who was expected to succeed and who was expected to fail.  There was no place for an imaginative curriculum for curious and enthusiastic learners, just endless exam practice in maths and english.  In Hitchin, the town that I represent, some parental preferences for secondary school places are stillbased on perceived notions of grammar and secondary modern schools 40 years after the reforms that gave us all ability secondary schools. As a local County Councillor it’s quite hard for me to effect or influence the decisions of MPs and ministers to resist this dreadful suggestion.  But I do call upon Hertfordshire County Council – its Leader Rob Gordon, and Education Portfolio Holder David Williams – to make it clear at once that they will resist and reject any suggestion of a return to Grammar Schools in Hertfordshire and make it clear to the Prime Minister that there is no place for divisive, unimaginative and failure inducing education in any part of Hertfordshire.