Jeremy Corbyn seeks longer conversation with Christians on the Left

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 Jeremy Corbyn greeted by Andy Flannagan (Director) & Stephen Beer (Political Communications Officer) outside One Church Brighton

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has committed to an ongoing dialogue with Christians on the Left.

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So who is Keir Hardie?

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Many of you will have heard Jeremy Corbyn finish his speech today quoting and honouring Keir Hardie. As Christians on the Left and previously the Christian Socialist Movement, we have long celebrated this man whose Christian faith inspired his politics. Here Ian Geary explains...

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Jeremy Corbyn declares support for our Sunday campaign

Jeremy Corbyn, the newly elected Labour leader, has announced his support for the campaign to change Sunday trading laws. At the Labour Party's church service, he wrote about his ideal Sunday, part of a campaign organised by Christians on the Left. Mr Corbyn wrote: "My ideal Sunday is a day of reflection and rest - everybody deserves that!"

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Jeremy Corbyn to join Labour delegates at church service

Jeremy Corbyn will join worshippers at the Labour Party’s conference church service in Brighton on Sunday. The new Labour leader will hear how church groups are campaigning for more action on climate change.

The church service is a traditional Labour Party event at the beginning of the party’s annual conference. The event brings together conference delegates with local church members. The service is organised by Christians on the Left, which brings together Christians in the Labour Party.

Worshippers will hear at first hand how climate change is affecting the world’s poor. After the service, people will be invited to attend a short vigil on Brighton beach.

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Stand up to Osborne’s “Sundays for the rich” - #oursunday

The Conservative leadership don’t seem to understand what the big problem is with the further liberalisation of Sunday Trading laws. There may be a very simple explanation for that. It might not be them or anyone else in their friendship groups who will be affected. It will be people on lower incomes who are already working very hard to hold families together having to sacrifice even more precious time with them. All the many arguments as to why this is a terrible idea are listed in our previous article here, but here is something significant you can do.

You can be part of the fight back with the #oursunday campaign. Simply tweet or Facebook us a picture of you holding a whiteboard/piece of card/fridge door(!) on which you have written how you spend your Sunday. Then include the hashtag #oursunday.

Here we are!

        

Other phrases you could include are..

 People are more than economic units

Don’t privatise Sunday

Don’t be bullied by the big stores

Retail therapy needs therapy

It’s not just money that makes the world go round

 Then include a link to this article which explains more to those who won’t have heard as yet…

 http://bit.ly/oursunday

For further reference – here is the link to the Keep Sunday Special website –  http://www.keepsundayspecial.org.uk/  

It’s an impressive coalition of agencies such as USDAW (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied workers), ACS (Association of Convenience Stores), NFRN (National Federation of Retail Newsagents), FWD (Federation of Wholesale Distributors), RSA (Rural Shops Alliance), NFSP (National Federation of SubPostmasters) and many Christian churches and agencies alongside other faith groups.

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Leadership candidates in dialogue with COTL/Yvette Cooper

Christians on the Left put the following questions to the Leadership and Deputy Leadership candidates. 

  • What role do the candidates see churches and people of other faiths
    playing in the future of the Labour Party?
  • In line with our campaign would you support full legal separation of
    ‘casino’ investment banking and retail banking?

We appreciate the candidates taking the time to respond and their responses are uploaded in the order we have received them. 

Yvette Cooper (leadership candidate) @YvetteCooperMP

I believe that freedom of religion and belief is extremely important. The Labour Party welcomes those of all faiths and those without. All Labour meetings should be inclusive of people of all backgrounds.

Labour can learn from the church about the way the church creates community spirit and unites people of different backgrounds. Both labour and the church can learn from each other better ways to engage the youth. Politics affects the lives of young people just as much as everyone else. From the impact of tuition fees and high levels of youth unemployment, to passions about the environment or international affairs, young people have strong views and concerns and it is important we listen and respond. We simply cannot win back the trust of the British people and get into Government, without bringing young people along with us.

I am continually impressed with the vital work the church and other faith and community groups are doing to help those in need, such as providing food banks and campaigning for Britain to help more refugees.

“In line with our campaign would you support full legal separation of ‘casino’ investment banking and retail banking?”

I welcome the campaign that Christians on the left has been running on the issue of damaging speculation in the markets.
We have seen too many instances of morally wrong actions of people playing fast and loose with other people’s money. Speculation that does not see real investment reach the economy can damage the British economy. The church has always played an important role in highlighting such issues and I welcome the role that they and other faith and non-faith groups play in campaigning on issues of such concern.

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Leadership candidates in dialogue with COTL/Liz Kendall

Christians on the Left put the following questions to the Leadership and Deputy Leadership candidates. 

  • What role do the candidates see churches and people of other faiths
    playing in the future of the Labour Party?
  • In line with our campaign would you support full legal separation of
    ‘casino’ investment banking and retail banking?

We appreciate the candidates taking the time to respond and their responses are uploaded in the order we have received them. 

Liz Kendall (leadership candidate) @Lizforleader

As you yourselves have said before, the Labour Party’s history is rooted more in “Methodism than Marx”, and people of faith have played a crucial role in our party throughout its history. I’m proud to have the backing of Christians on the Left Chair Stephen Timms in this contest.

One of the greatest issues in British politics in the years ahead will be where power lies in society. I’ve argued throughout this contest that far more power needs to lie in our communities. Decisions taken at a local level are often the best way to secure the best outcomes – Churches, Mosques, Gurdwaras, Synagogues and other places of worship would all have a role to play in those decisions.

Churches, alongside other places of worship, play a vital role in their local communities, and the Labour Party must embrace that and work with them.

In line with our campaign would you support full legal separation of ‘casino’ investment banking and retail banking?

Christians on the Left have rightly raised concerns about this – and it’s definitely something that the next Labour leader will have to return to over the coming Parliament.

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Leadership Candidates in dialogue with COTL/Jeremy Corbyn

Christians on the Left put the following questions to the Leadership and Deputy Leadership candidates. 

  • What role do the candidates see churches and people of other faiths
    playing in the future of the Labour Party?
  • In line with our campaign would you support full legal separation of
    ‘casino’ investment banking and retail banking?

We appreciate the candidates taking the time to respond and their responses are uploaded in the order we have received them. 

Jeremy Corbyn (Leadership candidate) @jeremycorbyn

I believe faith communities are essential allies in the struggle for a better Britain. I want to create a society embedded in values of fairness and equality, empathy and solidarity. I want a society that better enables us all to realise the innate goodness
inherent in our nature. I know this aspiration is shared as deeply within faith communities. Last year 13 million of our fellow citizens were living in poverty. With the worst of Tory austerity yet to come, that figure is only set to rise.

I know that up and down the country there are people of all faiths and none, on the front line of welfare reform, bearing witness to the pain this government is inflicting on the some of our poorest communities. I want to see more faith leaders publicly challenge this injustice. In speaking out last year against the impact of welfare cuts, the twenty-six Church of England Bishops were standing up for those abandoned by the politicians who should be protecting them. We need unity to stop the damage this government is wrecking and I will stand shoulder to shoulder with all faith leaders to that end. I believe it is wrong that the poorest are being made to pay for an economic crisis that is the responsibility of the richest.

The 'Truth and Lies about Poverty' report produced by the Baptist Union, Methodist Church, Church of Scotland and United Reformed Church was an excellent contribution towards challenging the myth that poverty primarily stems from laziness or poor personal choices. I believe it is wrong too that the language of ‘benefit scroungers’ which accompanies austerity is breeding intolerance and indifference to the suffering of others.  It is an outrage that over 2,300 people have died after their Work Capability Assessment told them they should start looking for work.  When we permit the bullying of the poor and immigrants, it encourages bullies everywhere. A new study claims our children are among them the unhappiest in the world, with widespread bullying a major culprit. Should we be surprised?

Christians on the Left call on us all to ‘love the poor, defend the widow, the refugee and the orphan and stand against injustice - large or small’.  These values are at the heart of the Labour party and ones I share a deep commitment to.  I want to help create a society that strives to leave no one behind, society more socially conscious and responsible, not one in thrall to rampant materialism and selfish individualism. I look forward to working with Christians on the Left, and other faith communities, towards that end.

Your second question asks whether I support full legal separation of ‘casino’ investment banking and retail banking.

I certainly do.

We have learnt the hard way that bankers have short memories. When things are going well, money is cheap and confidence is high, bankers invariably get overconfident and underestimate the risks they face.  It was exactly this recklessness that resulted in banks increasing their lending to 30, 40 or more times their available reserves prior to the 2008, with the disastrous consequences we all too familiar with.  When these issues were examined by the Independent Commission on Banking in 2011 it recommended a ‘firewall’ between bank’s investment and retail sections.  I share the concerns of those, like Christians on the Left, who feel that these measures are too easily circumvented and more rigorous banking reform is required.

The full legal separation between ‘casino’ and retail banking is an important part of a bigger package of banking reform we need to ensure that our economy is never again left vulnerable to actions of the greedy and reckless.

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Leadership Candidates in dialogue with COTL/Ben Bradshaw

Christians on the Left put the following questions to the Leadership and Deputy Leadership candidates. 

  • What role do the candidates see churches and people of other faiths
    playing in the future of the Labour Party?
  • In line with our campaign would you support full legal separation of
    ‘casino’ investment banking and retail banking?

We appreciate the candidates taking the time to respond and their responses are uploaded in the order we have received them. 

Ben Bradshaw  (deputy leadership candidate) @BenPBradshaw

I came to the Labour Party partly through my Christian faith and am a life long member of Christians on the Left (formerly the Christian Socialist Movement). Churches and faith groups play a key role in most communities. In my own city, they run the food bank, youth clubs, services for the homeless and many other services as well as campaigning on important issues ranging from climate change and the environment generally, poverty, international development and conflict reduction. Labour shares many of these causes and values and I think we could do much more as a Party to work with and mutually support the excellent work the churches and faith groups do. I feel this has been neglected in recent years. We should have a more open and inclusive approach to churches and faith groups locally and nationally. This would be mutually beneficial as we would find many people involved in their local church or faith group would find a natural political home in our Party.

I also support full legal separation of 'casino' investment banking and retail banking. 

 

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All We Can update following second major earthquake in Nepal

All_We_Can_logo.pngYou may have heard the news that a second major earthquake struck Nepal today. This comes just two weeks after the first quake, in which over 8,000 people are confirmed to have died. Early reports indicate that further deaths have occurred today and the situation is changing hour by hour.

All We Can, the Methodist relief and development charity, is continuing to respond to the rapidly evolving situation on the ground and is appealing for further donations towards the vital relief effort. Fortunately, it has heard from staff and partners in Nepal today and they are safe. Nick Burn of All We Can, who is currently in Nepal to co-ordinate and support its local partners as they respond to the first earthquake, reported this today from the field:

“People are very nervous. When the quake happened this morning everyone came running out of buildings. Your heart rate increases as it’s happening and you just never know what’s going to happen from one moment to the next. Many of the aftershocks feel like earthquakes themselves, but this one was obviously a big one. Where we are in Gorkha District, a woman and two children were injured as a building collapsed and we’re getting phone calls that there have been more deaths in other areas, but this is not yet verified.”All_We_Can_-_Kopila_-_Pokhari_(13).jpg

All We Can is asking for Christians on the Left members to stand in solidarity with those suffering in Nepal today. Your prayer for their local partners and all those responding on the ground – and seeking to deal with both the physical and the emotional impact – is most needed. Please also give all you can. Your gift will help All We Can’s trusted local partners respond quickly to this worsening crisis. You can donate by visiting www.allwecan.org.uk/nepal, calling 020 7224 4814, or sending a cheque to All We Can, 25 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR. For those who have already responded to the appeal, thank you.

 

Image: All We Can/Kopila Destruction in the village of Pokhari

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