Thank you to all LCID members who voted in our elections. Our AGM has just finished and the results ratified – congratulations to our new Executive for the year ahead!
Dr. Graham Giles MBE
Graham du Plessis
Thank you again to everyone who voted and who stood. We will be meeting soon to plan for the year ahead – and will be in touch soon with details of what we pledge to do in the run up to the 2015 general election – and how you can get involved!
In ten days time, on Friday 5th December, MPs can vote for a final time to enshrine in law Britain’s commitment to spend 0.7% of our GDP in law.
Thanks to you, the bill passed it’s 2nd reading back in September. Labour MPs made up the majority of MPs voting for the bill – we are grateful to all of them for their support, and to all of your who contacted them urging them to vote. Now we need your help again to ensure the aid bill passes it’s 3rd and final reading in the House of Commons.
Together with the creation of DFID, debt relief, and leading global efforts to try and secure fair trade and climate deals – the trebling of aid is one of Labour’s proudest achievement. By 2010 our aid was helping to lift 3 million people out of poverty, get 40 million children into school and help 3 million children access lifesaving HIV and AIDS drugs. It was a Labour Government that in 2005 set us on course to spend 0.7% by 2013.
The Tories promised to match our manifesto pledge to enshrine Britain’s aid spending in law, but they have failed to table the bill, and it is only a matter of time before Cameron caves in pressure from his backbenches and UKIP (as he has done on so many issues). Friday’s Private Members Bill vote is the final chance to get the law passed before the next election.
We need just 100 MPs to vote for the bill, but because it is on a Friday, many MPs will be back in their constituencies. We need your to help persuade them to stay and vote for what is a unique opportunity to protect our aid budget from being cut.
Please contact your MP today by phone, email (you can find their details here) or by tweeting them with the hashtag #turnupsavelives.
Passing this bill will secure a piece of our Party’s legacy – and ensure that in the coming years we in Britain continue to provide our fair share in the fight to make poverty history.
Thank you, and see you at our AGM tomorrow (6.30pm, House of Commons Committee Room CR15).
The LCID team.
Mary Creagh – David Cameron made meeting the 0.7 per cent aid target a symbol of the change he claimed to bring to the Tory party – a change that lies in tatters -
Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Shadow International Development Secretary, responding to comments from Philip Hammond rejecting the bill to write the 0.7 per cent aid target into law, said:
“On every issue, from Europe, to green energy, as soon as the Tory right wing raises its head, the Tory leadership folds like a deckchair. David Cameron made meeting the 0.7 per cent aid target a symbol of the change he claimed to bring to the Tory party – a change that lies in tatters as they bang on about Europe and stand up only for a privileged few. “
“David Cameron should now state if he will support the 0.7% bill in December, and if he does, slap down his Foreign Secretary. At a time when Ebola is devastating West Africa and conflict rages in Syria and Iraq, this is not the time for another broken promise.”
Will Martindale, Labour’s MP candidate for Battersea
As Battersea’s parliamentary candidate I am only too aware of the need to tackle tough social problems in Battersea: Since 2010, there have been seven shootings and a fatal stabbing in the estate behind Clapham Junction.
That this happens in one of the richest cities in the world, in our community, deeply angers all of us and I will do everything I can to help end youth gang violence.
But if we have problems at home why do I believe we have to support international development abroad? We don’t. It is a choice.
Imagine getting on the bus home in London one night from work. You sit down next to Mary, a heavily pregnant woman who starts telling you she’s expecting Alice, a beautiful baby girl, to arrive in two weeks’ time.
Suddenly she bursts into tears and tells you she can’t afford medical care for the birth. She begs you to pay for a midwife so she can deliver Alice safely. Now you are embarrassed. What would you do? Ask if she is British? Mary says she’s Rwandan. So do you reassure yourself that charity begins at home and refuse her the money? Mary is probably corrupt anyway.
One year later you see Mary again on the bus. There is no sign of Alice.
Of course it’s an absurd story. In January my wife Shalu gave birth to our beloved daughter Aurelie. It was the happiest day of my life. Amongst all the joy and emotion it never crossed my mind we might not be able to get medical assistance with the birth.
The story is absurd because every person in Britain, however poor, whatever their background, whatever they have done, has the National Health Service.
Every year one million children like Alice in developing countries die on the first day of their life. Most of them would have lived with basic medical care. But will throwing aid at the problem help? Yes.
I saw this myself when I volunteered in Rwanda helping families of genocide victims to access health care. Thanks in part to Labour’s commitment to the Millennium Development Goals, six million fewer children under the age of five died in 2012 than 1990. International aid may not be perfect, but it works. But it is still a choice.
Perhaps supporting international aid despite our problems at home says more about our values than anything else. I am proud British people chose to support international development in countries they may never have visited, for people they may have never met. I believe access to social justice should be determined not by nationality, but by need.
In our world the biggest determinant of a person’s success in life is the country of their birth. I dream my daughter Aurelie will see a world where her success is determined not by being born in a rich country, but by the content of her character.
For more on the work of Rwanda Aid, click here.
“We have a choice, turn inwards or engage with the world.”
As Ed Miliband said at this year’s party conference, Labour is an internationalist party – it is in our DNA, a proud part of our history. LCID exists to keep internationalism a key part of our future, and ensure the next Labour government makes Britain a global leader in the fight against poverty and inequality once again.
Thanks to our members and supporters, LCID is now an affiliated socialist society. We’ve got exciting plans to host a conference in early 2015 that will bring together the internationalist parts of our movement to debate how a future Labour government can ensure Britain remains a progressive powerhouse, leading global efforts for a fairer, safer, more prosperous world. And we’ll also be campaigning in key marginal seats, those where development is of interest to swing voters (such as university towns) to ensure that Labour government gets to power to deliver that progressive agenda.
Nominations are now open
The LCID Executive Committee will be a vital part of this strategy in 2015, and we are holding our annual elections in November. We are opening nominations today and inviting members to put themselves forward for election.
We are keen for anyone who is interest to stand, but you need to be a member to both stand and to vote. Not a member? Go to lcid.org.uk/join and join today.
We are looking for 15 LCID members to take us forward with a range of skills and experience that might include some of the following:
- Helping deliver a day conference on internationalism in early 2015
- Electoral campaigning
- Building our membership (we’d like to at least double our numbers)
- Building alliances and working across the labour movement – such as Trade Unions, CLPs, Coops and other Socialist Societies
- Financial and organisational governance
- Communications such as social media and blog editing
Nominations are encouraged from a broad range of members to reflect the diversity of our membership, including in terms of gender, ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity. LCID is also keen to maintain a balance between those who work within the sector and also passionately interested members from the wider movement.
Executive Committee members are expected to make a significant contribution through their agreed area of responsibility and joint projects. The Executive meets every month with additional Advisory Board meetings where appropriate. Dialling in to meetings enables members to participate from across the UK and nominations are particularly welcome from the devolved nations.
If you think you could help us take forward our mission as part of a team, please submit your nomination, along with a statement no more than 80 words, to email@example.com before 8pm on Wednesday 12th November.
Online voting will take place between the 13th and 25th November and successful candidates will take office at the close of the AGM the following day, held in the House of Commons on Wednesday 26th November at 6.30pm.
As Camp Bastion, is handed over to Afghan security forces, the last British base, a very many column inches will be given over to covering the mistakes made in the Afghanistan intervention.
453 British troops gave their lives (their names are here) and 2,188 were injured in battle. We must never forget their sacrifice. But we must never let ourselves believe that their sacrifice in vain.
Mistakes were undoubtedly made. But let us also reflect on some of the transformative successes achieved in the country. An evil regime that terrorised and repressed civilians, especially women, was deposed. 13 years on, Britain has helped achieved the following:
- nearly 6 million children now attend school, up from 1 million in 2001, nearly 40% of them are girls, which would have been unthinkable under the Taliban control
- access to primary health care has increased from 9% in 2003 to over half of the population now
- maternal mortality has halved since 2001 and life expectancy for Afghans is at its highest ever level
- Afghanistan’s $18 billion GDP is seven times higher than 10 years ago and Afghan Government revenue has grown eight fold since 2004 to $2 billion in 2012
- a written constitution, a democratically elected government and a system of local democracy now exist –
- Afghans now have an unprecedented voice in how their country is run, nationally and locally