About This Blog

The public should know all we can about the business of the decision makers that affect our lives, our wallets and our democracy. This is a record of my efforts to try and improve the levels of transparency and accountability within Sheffield City Council and others. To shine a light on how decisions are made and where the money goes. If I can also help others to find their own voice and influence along the way, then that is a bonus.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Unite Community Branch Meeting of 5th November 2014, by Nigel Slack.

Tonight I was invited by the Unite Community Sheffield branch to talk about what I do and the Funding Campaign I'm running. (See my orange buttons on this blog) I was the last item on a busy agenda so I had the opportunity to see something of what Unite Community do.

The meeting started with an update on the campaign to boycott shops and companies in Sheffield that subscribe to the governments 'Workfare' (welfare to work) schemes. The latest was a protest outside a shop called Savers, on Haymarket. The day went well by the sound of it and with the connections they were making with the public and their reaction to the schemes was a great example of what direct action can achieve in raising awareness.

There were then updates on the Orgreave truth & justice campaign and the Freedom Rides protests. Tony & George, the two pensioners arrested at one of the events are up before the Sheffield Magistrates Court on the 8th December and the group are hoping for significant public support for the two men. Next were brief reports on a number of ongoing matters, the GMB unions strike at Sheffield Recycling Centres against the Veolia sub-contractor 'Green Company', The EDL march (again) in Rotherham and the anti-fascist response, The rep from Unite Community that went to the National Climate Change Meeting and from the Sheffield Trades Council and the Sheffield People's Assembly.

Finally there were two motions passed by the meeting. One supporting a woman's right to choose following the advent of an American pro life group starting to establish in this country and one to support the victim of convicted rapist Ched Evans, who is being hounded and abused by his supporters and some of the fans of Sheffield United.

Last of all I had the oportunity to outline my work with my 'Public Interest' profile and my attempts to bring greater transparency and accountability to Sheffield City Council and others in our region. I answered question after that including;
Isn't that why we pay Councillors? - Yes but they have less freedom than me to ask questions at meetings such as full council and cabinet where they cannot & Councillor performance is not consistent.
Why don't I stand for election? - It's expensive to do as an independent and as above would reduce my freedom to act. Were I to join a party that would reduce my independence as all party politicians are expected to submit to the party line.

I left them with some written material about what I do and hopefully they will distribute this through their own networks. All in all an interesting meeting with a group that could achieve a great deal given the support they need, much like me I guess.

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