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.
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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 conferenceRead more
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.
I apologise for the dull title. But I have a feeling this is going to be a recurring theme over the coming weeks and months. I'll also apologise for the length of this post in advance. But there have been so many developments in the last week and a half, and there's so much conflicting information floating around. What I want to do here is report the facts. Yes, I'll give my view on matters and there will be something of a political angle. But I'll keep all of that to the end.
So, here we go...Read more
In 1951, from the ashes and devastation of the Second World War, the European Coal and Steel Community rose. It was an economic treaty and one of its most important functions was to avoid the arms races and tensions which led to France and Germany knocking ten bells out of each other. Over time, via the Treaty of Rome in 1957, the agreement grew into the European Union.Read more
Read moreThe remains in Spain won't be in pain and other reasons to stay in the EU!
The last few weeks of Referendum campaigning has brought British politics to the lowest extremes of appalling behaviour I can ever remember.
Looking back at some bad political moments in my life, I recall that when Enoch Powell made his dreadful scare-mongering racist speech in 1968 he was expelled from the Tory Party because even they found it unacceptable.
Not so now: We have heard Boris Johnson make disgraceful comments about Barack Obama, Nigel Farage has produced a poster with the worst possible racial connotations and now a madman in Yorkshire has thought it ok to murder a young MP, Jo Cox who spent her life as an aid worker and concerned with the rights and welfare of refugees.
The Labour Party is fully committed to a future in and with Europe. Why does it matter so much to us?
For me it is unthinkable to revert to a small-minded island state which is only interested in leaving the union in order to dominate and colonise others. Is that what they mean about making Britain great again? I hope not but fear the worst.
There are good economic reasons for working in harmony and partnership with our European comrades and these have been highlighted by every objective study by every objective financial organisation over the past few months.
But there are even more important reasons not least of which are peace across our continent which as the daughter of a Jewish refugee from Hitler’s Berlin means the world to me.
As a committed Labour member and trade unionist, I also care deeply about the work that has been done in the European Parliament to safeguard the rights of workers with legislation that demands that we treat people decently at work. The EU has helped to control the hours that people work and give them rights to proper maternity, paternity and straightforward holiday leave that everyone needs to thrive as individuals and as part of their wider families
I was brought up with a sense of hope after a period of desperate world turbulence and fear. Politics seemed to be about looking at the greater good for society as a whole rather than playing on the fears and anxieties of people in order to manipulate them to hate and reject some of their fellow humans.
Please Vote to Remain on Thursday.
Cllr Judi Billing
Hitchin Bearton & County Councillor for Hitchin North