Saturday, February 27, 2010

Liverpool - a Tory free zone

I was down in London today at the LGA and mentioned to a pal of mine about the poor showing of the Tories in the Warbreck byelection in Liverpool in 2007. They got 1.2% share of the vote. And in Speke ward in the same year, they got 1.4% share of the vote. So I was wondering how poor their returns were in the Fazakerley byelection last week (18th Feb). And it seems, having now checked, that they did not even bother to stand a candidate.

So there you have it, Liverpool is a Tory free zone.

I am not quite sure what Chris Grayling, Tory "Shadow Minister for Liverpool" would make of this. Nor am I sure how he can be the shadow of a post that does not actually exist in reality, but let's not get bogged down in that. How good a job is he doing if he cannot find a candidate in a Liverpool ward only a few months before a general election that they trumpet they will win?

Well done to my friend Louise Ashton-Armstrong who as a young mum and local business owner will be a great addition to our benches

Note from Liverpool Anti-Fascists about a demonstration

Note new date


As you may know, Liverpool BNP's Peter Tierney faces trial at the
Crown Court, Derby Square on Wednesday March 17th. He's accused of
assaulting an anti-fascist last year.

We have demonstrated against the BNP at every one of Tierney's
appearances, and we are having a big effort to get people out on March

The protest starts at 9.15am. We want banners, flags, musicians
- you name it! We are urging anyone who can make it to be at this

Please spread the word, and let's show the BNP that their violence and
racism has no place in our city.

More information here

Liverpool Anti-Fascists

Blogging at LGA Labour Spring Conference

I have spent an enjoyable day in London today at the LGA Spring Conference (Labour Group) giving a short presentation about the use of "new media" to aid more traditional forms of campaigning. Whilst I believe that there will never be any substitute for knocking on doors, it is useful to be able to supplement that work with other tools, so I talked about blogging, the benefits, the pitfalls, the hows, whys and wherefores.

I was joined on the platform by Councillor Mark Bennett who talked about his YouTube site where he uploads short videos he has made about issues in his ward - Streatham South in Lambeth and Councillor Stephen Cowan who is the leader of the opposition on Hammersmith and Fulham council. He has also made this fascinating video about the antics of the Tories in this their flagship borough.

I am very enthused about the idea of videos, I must say. If I could learn how to use my mobile phone to make such videos, I think this could be a really great addition to the campaign. So, if you want to offer to show me how to use my phone properly, we could have the show on the road very soon!

It was great to see some old friends at the conference too, a good day all round.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fascism and Anti-Fascism conference

Please note the details of this important conference and book your tickets as shown below. I have now agreed to speak and will be talking about the work of Kensington Remembers to commemorate and reflect upon Holocaust and Genocide while promoting positive acceptance of diversity.

Fascism & Anti-Fascism : Conference
9.30am – 5pm
Saturday 13 March 2010
School of Social Science, LJMU, 68 Hope Street Liverpool

Organised by Merseyside Unite Against Fascism & Love Music Hate Racism in partnership with the Anthony Walker Foundation hosted by School of Social Science, Liverpool John Moores University. Supported by Liverpool Guild of Students.

In June 2009 the fascist British National Party (BNP) gained its first two seats in the European parliament with Nick Griffin elected as MEP in the North West. This election represents a turning point in British
politics. It is the most significant electoral success to date for a fascist party in this country. It threatens to normalise the presence of the BNP on the political scene in a similar manner to Jean-Marie Le Pen's Front National in France.

The climate of racism against immigrants and Muslims, together with harsh and uncertain economic circumstances, have created conditions that have allowed the Nazis to grow.

With the general election looming this conference offers an opportunity to debate contemporary and historical issues in the struggle against fascism and the challenges we face today.

Sessions, speakers and panelists so far include :

Martin Smith (Love Music Hate Racism) on ‘What is Fascism?’.

Wilf Sullivan (TUC Race Equality Officer) heads a session on ‘Trade Unions, Community and Anti Fascism’ including Lavinia O’Connor (PCS), Paul Jenkins (North West UAF)

Nahella Ashraf (chair Manchester Stop the War Coalition) and Muhammad Umar - Chairman of Ramadhan Foundation speaking on ‘Islamophobia’.

John Rose (Independent author and intro author to Marek Endelman's 'The Ghetto Fights' speaks on ‘Resistance to the Nazis – The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising’.

Paul Holborow (Sec Anti Nazi League) and Councillor Stephen Munby on ‘Stopping the NF in the 70’s : Lessons for Last Time’.

Peter Hooten of The Farm and Baby J on ‘Love Music Hate Racism’.

Jon Garland (University of Leicester, co author of ‘Hate Crime: Impact, Causes, and Consequences’), Tony Lloyd (Anthony Walker Foundation) , Pura Ariza (UCU LGBT committee) on ‘Is Hate Crime Getting Worse?’.

The conference will close with a panel discussion on ‘How we stop the BNP today?’ including Weyman Bennett (Unite Against Fascism), Dominique Walker, Dannie Grufferty (Pres. Liverpool Guild of Students).

The conference is open to everyone and registration begins at 9.30am with the sessions starting at 10.15am. Advance tickets are available from News from Nowhere Bookshop, 96 Bold Street, L1 priced at £5 or by contacting Merseyside Love Music Hate Racism ( / 07908 202 006 )

There will be a free Love Music Hate Racism gig in the evening at Mello Mello, Slater Street with the Long Finger Bandits + The Stop Outs + DeeJays. Doors 7.30pm.

Facebook event

Monday, February 22, 2010

Campaigning for Victory

Okay, everyone who is a true political campaigner learns that one should never talk about one's campaign activities because it gives too much away to the other side. And we should never talk about what work we have done, where we have done it, or how successful it has been. But leaving all that aside, I just want to say this, very quickly, and get it off my chest, then it need never be mentioned again.
Draws a deep breath.
WOW!!! Haven't we done well!
2000 recorded voter contacts (voting intentions recorded) in just two weeks. I don't think I have ever been in a constituency with a record like that. Even in 1997 in a proper key seat with the full might of the national party behind us, when we had hordes of keen volunteers every day, we never managed a rate like that. With the support of individual LP members, from Liverpool and some from Manchester and further afield, but not organised regionally, sourced from real enthusiasts, we have been able to reach huge numbers of local people on the doorstep (and a smaller number on phones, these mobile phone packages can be truly awesome if you sign up to them with one eye to the campaign possibilities). And I have been truly amazed by the size of the Labour promise. In my ward, which is quite important within our Parliamentary Constituency of Liverpool Wavertree, being the one with Labour representation locally, we are seeing our support increase day by day. It helps that I have four years of hard work to draw on and people are seeing the benefits of bringing their problems, concerns, wishes and hopes for their community to Labour councillors. We will go into this local election, and general election, in K&F with the largest number of Labour promises we have ever had to engage with. It really all feels worth the work. I am delighted.

Hunting for Treasure

I am flushed with success after my second very well received treasure hunt for my colleagues at Wilson Henry LLP, accountants on Edge Lane, Kensington. I spent time a week or so ago, on a Saturday afternoon, wandering round the Albert Dock and Pier Head, taking photos of things I thought might constitute a "clue" and then on Tuesday I had dispensation to spend the morning designing the clues and the treasure hunt paperwork. On Friday our team had a lovely afternoon, team building, visiting the dock, the Tate, the Piermaster's house and the Maritime Museum, followed by a short stroll to the Pier Head where they went into the new Ferry Terminal and looked at three great exhibitions in there.
I was amazed to learn that some colleagues who dont live in Liverpool but do live in Merseyside had never been to these places before so I hope they will be energised to visit again in future and take their friends, family and visitors for a real proper day out.
They were kind enough to buy me a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates for my efforts.

The future of Edge Hill Youth Club

As Chair of the District with a strong interest in young people, I continue to be very busy with Edge Hill Youth Club - "the Boysy". Readers will recall that the club's youth council invited me to a meeting some months ago following the successful Town Hall young people's Democracy and Engagement event where we really enjoyed each other's company. Most if not all of the Youth Council live in K&F rather than Edge Hill, so I have an extra reason to want to work with them, not just because of my district hat, but because they and the staff come from my ward in big numbers. Sadly our only youth club in the ward, the marvellous Central Youth Club (the "Cenny") realistically only serves Kensington, and the young people of Fairfield have nothing to serve them, so they travel to the Boysy. I also learnt that the Chair of the Club is a former Labour councillor although we had not met properly before I undertook this particular piece of work. The young people told me in the Town Hall about their worry about the future of their club, which they expected to lose almost on a daily basis and a few weeks later the invite arrived. They wanted me to become their "champion" and work with them as the club was destined to be demolished by the wreckers' ball as part of the development of the Edge Lane West scheme. I have met the young people very often since and have organised a series of meetings between the club's board and HMRI to make some progress after a two year lull. We now think we are much closer to a resolution, with a possible new location identified. Of course we still have to do the maths and it is too soon to say whether the plans will come to fruition, but when I went into the club last week I was very interested to talk to the young people (aged 5 - 18) about what they would like in a new club. Some of their free form ideas will never happen, given that they are based on some wonderful attractions they have visited, including reptile hothouses and swimming baths for instance! but many are very reasonable and with some serious fundraising we should be able to organise them - gymnasium equipment for instance.
Currently I am encouraging local people to collect Echo Wish Tokens for the club so if you dont have any other groups that you are collecting for, please start saving them for the Boysy.

Community Safety Task Group

Kensington Regeneration have been running and hosting the highly successful Community Safety Task Group for years now and Wendy, Liam and I are very regular attenders (with occasional attendances from councillors from Central and Picton but their interest, geographically, is only marginal compared to ours). Now that we are only 5 or 6 weeks away from the end of the NDC, we have had to make plans for its continuation, it is far too important to let go. So we have persuaded Venture Housing Association (where I am the Vice Chair of the Board) to take the group forward, adminstering to it and hosting it in the great community space on Boaler Street. We are also only days away from agreeing to merge the equally successful As One group (which works on funding diversionary activities for young people to keep them from committing anti-social behaviour and is also heavily supported by the NDC but also by us three on many projects) with the group.
We have also agreed to extend the boundaries of the group to include the L6 part of Kensington and Fairfield so we will cover the whole of our ward, Kensington Fields and Edge Hill. The latter two groups of residents attend the CSTG in large numbers and did not want to be left out. We three ward councillors have agreeed to carry on funding activities through our WNF or CCIF where bids are properly made for projects, even though they are not technically in our ward, because the geography is such that they feel closer to us and our residents than they do to the other parts of the wards in which they find themselves. Such are the vagaries of arbitrary ward boundaries.
I am looking forward to welcoming residents from the Molyneux, Phythian, Elm Park and Elm Vale to these successful very inclusive meetings in the future. It is really important that we maintain as much of the positive aspects of the NDC as we can, even after the partnership has dissolved.

The saga of the Christmas Jumper

You cannot fail but to be interested by the saga of my Christmas Jumper.

My Dad and StepMum in Cornwall, being very thoughtful people, heard that I was in the market for a new jumper for Christmas. They decided to go to the home of great knitwear to source one for me and ultimately ordered a very lovely little number from Victoria Gibson in the Shetlands.

It was despatched from the Islands and was much anticipated. I do love my jumpers!

When it failed to arrive before Christmas I was fairly sanguine, you will recall the big freeze that stopped any mail from arriving for at least a week (when the LibDems ran out of salt, grit and anything else that could be usefully used to get rid of the ice on our roads and pavements)

However, when it had not arrived in early January we realised there was a problem. The shop had sent the parcel by special delivery so I was able to track it and was told that as 3 weeks had passed, they were very sorry but I was to assume the parcel was lost and that Victoria Gibson needed to claim for the loss and use the money to knit a new jumper and send that on to me.

She duly submitted a claim only to be told, on Thursday last week, that the parcel was imminently about to be delivered.

So when it had still not arrived today, some 2 months after it was first posted, I went to the Liverpool SE Sorting Office on Wellington Road expecting to be able to pick it up. I didn't have the tracking number with me and the staff could not help me without it, apparently they keep the tracked items in a different place to the untracked items (I think that is a real flaw in the system, personally. Knowing my name and address was of no use to them in locating the item). I had to phone Dad in Cornwall who then had to phone the Shetlands and get the number and pass it back to me. I hung around in the Sorting Office for nearly half an hour while this went on. Then when I finally had the numbers, the staff went off to look for it.

After about 10 mins a man came into the waiting room, introduced himself as the manager and asked me to join him in his office, this sounded serious!

He very carefully explained to me that they had tracked my parcel down to the morning of 19th December when it had left their depot bound directly for my house. That it was being carried in an unmarked white hire van, hired to help them get through the large number of Christmas parcels and post, and that unlike the RM red vans, this van carried no tracking device. The Postman evidently left the engine running while delivering a parcel to someone else on his round, and while he was away from the vehicle, it was stolen by a passing opportunist. (How very convenient). This driver/postman has since been dismissed.

The manager told me that he had specifically asked the driver/postman whether he was carrying any special delivery items but the guy could not remember and any paperwork was in the van (another flaw in the system?) so they had believed that there were none until I arrived this morning.

He also said that he assumed that when Customer Services told Victoria Gibson last week that my parcel was imminently about to be delivered to me, they had read 19th December 2009 as 19th February 2010 (a flaw in the system perhaps?) and did really think that it was on its way to me. He also said that because the last thing on the system for the tracking clearly showed that it was setting off on its last lap from Wellington Road to my front door, that they had to think it was going to arrive with me at any moment. Because the sorting office did not know that the stolen van was carrying my parcel, they had not updated the record (ooh, could that be a flaw in a system?)

So, I am to tell the lovely people at Victoria Gibson that they must try again to claim for the lost item, but this time they have to tell customer services what we now know to be the facts, and they need to name the manager of the sorting office as someone who can verify the claim.

And then when they get the money back, they need to knit me a new jumper and despatch it me.

In a final irony, the Delivery Manager at the Sorting Office did say that it would probably be the summer months before my warm Christmas Jumper finally arrives; Indeed!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sparkles Day

Wendy and I got stuck in on a big clean-up on Saturday as part of our Sparkles Day programme. (Liam was taking a big team out door knocking on the same estate simultaneously so we had a really good profile on the Moly). We were cleaning up rubbish on Coleridge Street on that bit of waste ground opposite Cavern Court along with members of the Youth Offending Team, local residents, local council staff and local housing association staff. What a dirty horrible space, covered in dog muck. I am organising a new bin there so that people have no excuse about not bagging and binning their stuff. My boots were filthy when we had finished, I had to go back to get cleaned up before Wendy and I could join the door knocking team. Yuck, the things you do as a councillor! However, the site looks a million times better so that is to be welcomed. We had 30 free skips out in the area too. We are also arranging for a fence replacement for a bit that has been torn down and for a big piece of work to the rear of Cavern Court where there has been fly-tipping and commercial tipping, and which is insecure. We met with the council officer and a key resident there on Saturday lunchtime to agree plans to get it all cleaned up and made good.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I&DeA Peer Mentoring

Good news! I have been accepted onto the I&DeAs peer mentoring scheme, having attended an assessment centre in London earlier this week. I cannot tell you much more than that yet, although I am very excited and very pleased. It is an opportunity to help other councils, groups and councillors elsewhere in the country and I will be contacted when suitable work arises, which tends to be a day or two here and there and for some mentors there might be nothing for months. I suspect my involvement is likely to be around scrutiny and governance so if there are Labour council/lors or groups who need help with that, perhaps they will call me.
Watch this space!

“Love in Every Language” poetry evening

For the more romantic among you

Friday 12th February 2010

Merseyside Polonia invites you for an evening of international love poetry “Love in Every Language” 6.30 pm - 8 pm

Entry is free and we hope you’ll enjoy the poetry as well as the drinks and food served at the counter.

If you would like to present a famous love poem from your country please bring the original version with English translation and be there at 6.00 pm.

Love in every language The idea of “Love in Every Language” is to discover how writers from different nations celebrated love, friendship, affection and feel inspired to put your own pen to paper and share it with others.

6.30 pm - 8 pm - Starbucks Coffee, 35 Paradise Street, Liverpool


KVfm forum

A good meeting of the KVfm forum last night, who are ready to set up a monthly steering group to develop an online community radio station while continuing to campaign for a fulltime RSL (licence). We councillors would like a monthly show, perhaps after May, on the online station and would ultimately hope to encourage others elsewhere to do likewise, with an online station there is no restriction on how far the coverage can extend!
There are few if any community radios in Liverpool and KVfm could begin to fill the gap perhaps. Contributions from people and organisations like the MS writers group, or the Lime Court residents could be listened to much further afield, as could the Liverpool Jazz hour that Michael Swerdlow is planning.
All good stuff!

Not a great start to 2010 for some people

Spare a thought for my Colin, he has been off work now for four weeks with his broken ribs after a fall on the icy pavements. He has had to be checked to see if his lungs were punctured, so serious have his injuries been and he has been on such heavy painkillers that he has barely known what day it is half the time. And then his beloved Crystal Palace have gone into administration. You just gotta feel for him. We're all thinking about you love

Kensington and Fairfield Participatory Budget event - update

I promised to let you know how the Kensington and Fairfield Participatory Budget event went earlier this week.

The first thing I can tell you is that we had 79 voting residents and probably another 20 officers from LCC, or partners or agencies, present, as well as us three Labour councillors of course. This will definitely have been the biggest attendance at an event like this in the city of Liverpool, but then we ordinarily get the biggest turnout at Your Community Matters events too, so this is not surprising.

The second thing of interest is that thanks to our extensive networking and collection of data about community groups and organisations within our ward, which we regularly share with LCC and LCVS, we were able to attract 16 separate bids for funds.

Those 16 groups each then made a 3 minute presentation on why they would like a share of the funding on offer and what they would do with it. The 79 residents then had the opportunity to ask questions about the bids before they voted, using voting key pads, for each bid, scoring from 0 to 5 points for each one depending on the impact they thought it would have in the community.

I should point out that the three councillors were not allowed to vote, or to speak about any of the bids or to offer any guidance or thoughts, neither were the bids shared with us before the event. Despite being elected by them, to represent the people of Kensington and Fairfield, we were totally excluded from this process – other of course than attending, although ironically an unelected political opponent would have been able to vote if in attendance and living within the boundaries of the ward. I think we do have some concerns about this and will be taking them up through the District Chair’s meetings or the District Committee.

The contributions were generally of a good standard and every one of the 79 people stayed all the way to the end – nearly 3 hours – so that the people whose presentations were later on in the process were not disadvantaged. This is remarkable in itself. They also enjoyed the free supper (scouse and vegetable curry) that we put on at every YCM, I think that is another reason why our events are so popular. I cannot understand why other wards have stopped doing this as it is so clearly a crowd puller.

The winning bids were from

Lister Residents Association £2538 – for their community garden in Lister Crescent
Liverworld Community Sports £3000 – for football work to bring different communities together
Kensington Vision CIC £2050 – for KVfm
Kensington and Fairfield Voice £2700 – for 6 editions of the popular local newsletter
Kensington Monarch Majorettes £2720 – for travel and expenses to help the young people to maintain their involvement (this was probably the most popular bid of the night and certainly merited the most cheers)
L’Arche £1810 – for a project to grow vegetables with local school children on land at their Lockerby Road premises

Some extra cash may be available to help fund the following projects; Volunteer Reading Help and Black Box who did well in the voting but not quite well enough.

It was a fantastic event that we were proud to compere, I look forward to the next one. There will no doubt be photographs to upload at some point.

Community Cohesion Plan for the City Centre

I met earlier this week with the Liverpool City Centre manager to review the draft Community Cohesion Plan for the City Centre which forms a key part of our district - City and North Liverpool. As the Chair of the District and one of the council's two representatives on the Community Cohesion and Equalities Task Group for Liverpool First, I have also reviewed the draft plan for the whole authority.

There are some really good things in the plan, it is not all about Stanley Street, honest, although that is of course important - the new tentatively named Temple Quarter needs to be clean, bright, safe and accessible, which is a real challenge given that much of it is subterranean. There are some great initiatives around finding safe creative spaces for the Goths and Moshers - and punks too, all mixed in happily together on a Saturday afternoon - and away from St Johns Gardens and the Pier Head. We need to find new ways to fund that. I was also pleased with the progress we are making around engaging leaseholders, I know Nick Small has put on at least two annual conferences thus far. We are also making some headway with improved relations through community involvement with city centre residents, like the highly successful YCM event for the Chinese Community that I was part of. We need to do more of that, I would like to see a YCM for the LGBT community for instance.

Liverpool Guild of Students, Scrutiny of Communication Strategy

I went earlier in the week to my second of a series of meetings to scrutinise the Communication Strategy at LGoS (Liverpool Guild of Students). It is amazing how many things translate from one organisation to another, marketing and communications are pretty much the same, wherever you do them and who with, so the fact that I have not been a student for over 20 years has not hindered my ability to assist. And it helps that I am engaged in marketing, scrutiny and examining witnesses of course. As well as devising some tweaks to the policy and coming up with our recommendations, we are also building some useful links which will help us to work together in areas like Smithdown, Kensington, Childwall and Mossley Hill in the future.

You can read an article from the Guild President, talking more about the process and our work here

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Kensington and Fairfield Participatory Budgeting - special event tonight

16 organisations are bidding for their share in about £10k of funding tonight, at St Francis of Assisi Academy. In an exciting first for Kensington and Fairfield, the decision making will be taken by the residents who turn up to hear the presentations and decide which ones they want to support.
This is the way in which I wanted the Kensington Regeneration legacy funds to be distributed in future, instead of being in the hands of a few self-interested people. What a shame, what a missed opportunity.
Anyway, it is going to be huge tonight, we are oversubscribed to the most incredible degree, so the voting process will be crucial. We expect the hall to be packed and the quality of the presentations for the different projects to be very high.
I shall let you know how we get on later, but if you want to join us, it is 5.30pm.

Creative Director Toxteth TV

Just got this notification from Adrienne Taylor at Toxteth TV, asking me to push this out more widely. It is a great organisation!

Creative Director

Salary circa £30,000

Do you want to make a difference in a creative community?

Toxteth TV and its charitable arm Splendid Things is looking for a dynamic person to become our Creative Director, who will secure, manage and direct all work relating to the creative and artistic activities of the organisation.

Reporting to the Board and working alongside the Director for Buildings, Community & Environment, you will develop relationships and projects that will raise the profile of Toxteth TV and help achieve the vision of a 24/7 facility.

You will have experience of running a similar creative organisation, of fundraising, collaborative working and delivering successful projects.

Click for application details.

Deadline for applications 12pm 22nd February 2010.

Interviews will be held 10th March 2010.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

KVFM Radio Forum invite

An email from Steve Faragher

"I would like to invite you to a meeting next Thursday 11th February at 6.30 pm at the KensingtonVision Offices (address below)

The purpose of the meeting is two fold, firstly we want set up a Radio Forum for KVFM made up of people interested in getting involved with the further strategic development of community broadcasting in Kensington and Fairfield and to devleop a steering group later in the year.

Secondly I'll be telling people what the immediate plans are for KVFM 87.7 (RSLs in June and December) and KVFM Online in April 2010.

It would be useful if you could let me know if you are coming along and if you aren't then whether you are interested in future involvment RSLs (FM) and/or producing a regular for the KVFM ONLINE. we can talk to people on a one to one basis if you wish.

Look forward to seeing you on Thursday. Also feel free to forward this email to anyone you feel might be interested in involvement

Stephen Faragher

Business Contact Details:
KensingtonVision CIC & The Kensington & Fairfield VOiCE CIC
Stables 2, The Lodge, Gardner's Drive, Fairfield, Liverpool L6 7UR
tel 0151 261 9203
KVFM 87.7

Monday, February 01, 2010

Councillors Community Initiative Fund - GEARS Tenants and Residents Association

Here are a few photos showing some of the children and young people of the GEARS TRA in Fairfield, going on a trip to Bootle to Awesome Walls - in a former church. They are taking advantage of the devolved budget which we have been determined to spend on enjoyable diversionary activities for children and young people where we can.

We have a few empty churches of our own - perhaps this is an idea someone would like to take up locally?

Daisy Chain Youth Club

Great news!!

Daisy UK have opened a new fully inclusive youth club for disabled young people and their siblings and friends.

The new club is on every Thursday 6pm to 8pm at

L'Arche Liverpool
The Ark
Lockerby Road
L7 0HG

Everyone is welcome

If you need any more details you can email Dave Paterson on
dave @

I have his phone numbers if you need them.

Kensington Remembers 2010 - Fighting Homophobia

The fourth in our series of Kensington Remembers events dealt with the ongoing battle against homophobia.

On Monday night we were joined by Marrie and Michael Causer with daughter Debbie, to see the first of two Homotopia Films - the Invisible Death of Michael Causer, which explored the media silence around the murder of their 18 year old son in a horrific homophobic attack in Liverpool in 2008.

Following an interesting audience discussion we then watched Project Triangle, a documentary concerning the trip of 12 young gay Merseysiders to Auschwitz where they learnt about the murder of thousands of gay men by Hitler's Nazi in concentration camps.

The documentary also highlighted the work of Merseyside Police's Hate Crime Team, SIGMA who work with victims and support and encourage them to report attacks.

The young people took the opportunity to explore and discuss with the audience how the trip had affected them and how they have learnt from the experience. We then had a short group discussion about some positive campaigning that we can move forward with, and there was the beginnings of a plan to create and develop a refuge for young gay people who are made homeless by unsupportive parents. I don't want to jeopardise those early plans by talking about them here, but it was a positive discussion.

On Saturday I represented Liverpool Labour Party, alongside Councillor Paul Brant at a wreath laying (pink triangles) organised by Homotopia in St John's Gardens at the memorial to the persecuted, to remember all the gays murdered in the holocaust. We were joined by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool and about 10 police officers, some fire officers, some of the young people from the trip, members of the gay community and Michael Causer's family.

I should point out the significance of the pink triangle. Inmates in Concentration Camps wore fabric badges to determine the reason for their incarceration. Homosexuals were given pink triangles. A full explanation of all the badges and codings can be see here

Single triangles
Red triangle—political prisoners: communists, trade unionists, liberals, social democrats, Freemasons, anarchists.
Green triangle— "habitual criminals" (convicts, ofttimes Kapos, serving in exchange for reduced sentences or parole).
Blue triangle—foreign forced laborers, emigrants.
Pink triangle—sexual offenders which included homosexual men along with rapists, bestiality and paedophiles.[2]
Purple triangle—"Bible Students" (Jehovah's Witnesses).
Black triangle—people who were deemed "asocial elements" and "work shy" including
Roma (Gypsies), who were later assigned a brown triangle
The mentally retarded
The mentally ill
Vagrants and beggars
Conscription resisters
Some anarchists.
Brown triangle—Roma (Gypsies) (previously wore the black triangle).
Uninverted red triangle—an enemy POW, spy or a deserter.

Change we see

Just wanted to draw your attention to a great new Labour Party website which shows you some of the wonderful things this Labour Government has done since 1997 - using photographs taken by LP members all round the country.


Kensington International Food Festival

I have just been sent this photo from the Kensington International Food Festival that we funded with a contribution from our locally devolved budget in the autumn, thought you might like to see it. This was a Chinese youth orchestra that entertained us during the afternoon.

Kensington Regeneration, in conjunction with Liverpool City Council's Working Neighbourhood Fund is holding the 3rd Kensington International Food Festival on:

Saturday 20th March 2010
12 noon – 7pm
Kensington County Primary School
Brae Street
Liverpool 7

The festival was established to celebrate the multi national communities that make up Kensington. This is achieved by each country providing various dishes, and accompanying music and dance where possible, from the countries they represent.

National dishes will be provided from the following 13 communities: Chinese, Congolese, Czech / Slovak, India, Kurdistan, Latin America, Nigeria, Polish, Somalia, Trinidad, UK, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

The previous festival in October 2009 had more than 600 people through the doors with many more expected at the forthcoming festival.

If you would like a stall or a table at the event, let me know so that we can book you in.

Kensington Remembers 2010 - the Jewish commemorative event

I thought for a change that rather than write about our very well attended Jewish Holocaust commemorative event last Sunday, myself, I would let you read this extensive blog from the Jewish Chronicle instead.