This page is for stuff that`s not directly connected to the club, but likely to be of interest
Wakefield Socialist Historians Group have been planning a meeting about Palestine to mark the 75th anniversary of the "NAKBA". This is scheduled for Saturday 11th November. Recent events in Israel and Gaza have made the subject even more topical than anyone could have imagined when it was first planned some months ago. However, the event is now in question.
The speaker was to be the author, film-maker and chair of Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Musheir El-Farra. Musheir lives in Sheffield but is currently with some of his family in Khan Younis town in the Gaza Strip. Under present circumstances, the chance of him being here to keep the engagement with WSHG is vanishingly small. The group are therefore considering the options and will decide within the next few days whether to continue in a different form, postpone or cancel the event. This article will be updated following a decision.
Musheir is sharing his experiences on his Facebook page - this shows very vividly the scale of the destruction and suffering being inflicted upon the Palestinian people by the apartheid Israeli state.
Whether we are religious or not, we pray for the safety of Musheir and his family.
CEASEFIRE in Gaza NOW!
Update - 5th November
We are delighted to report that Musheir El-Farra has finally been able to leave Gaza, though he recounts his mixed feelings on his facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/musheir
Musheir was/is due to talk to us next Saturday, 11th November, on the history of the Palestinian struggle, an event planned before the current crisis began. We are intending to go ahead with a meeting of some sort about Palestinian history, but we are not currently in a position to communicate with Musheir. After all that he has experienced and what his fellow Palestinians continue to endure, if he is unable to attend, we will not attempt in any way to substitute him but look to host him at another time soon.
In that eventuality, next Saturday we will instead cover Britain's historical involvement in the creation of the Palestinian Nakba and the modern Middle East crisis.
We will give fuller details as soon as possible, but can confirm we will be holding a meeting next Saturday, 11th November at 1pm in the Red Shed.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) is holding a public consultation on changing the way local buses are run to achieve our ambitions for better buses in West Yorkshire.
This consultation runs from 10th October 2023 until 7th January 2024, and will inform a decision by the Mayor of West Yorkshire in March 2024.
WYCA has issued a consultation document which explains its recommendation for bus franchising in West Yorkshire, and sets out a plan for how this could be introduced. It also explores an alternative option, the Enhanced Partnership Plus (EP+), which details what else WYCA and bus operators could do to improve local buses through the current legal framework. These two bus reform options are compared to the way buses are currently run.
If the Mayor decides to introduce franchising then buses in the region would come under the control of WYCA, which would set the routes, frequency, fares and overall standards of buses in our region.
You can take part online
or in person
WYCA are hosting a series of face-to-face events, where you will have the opportunity to ask your own questions to the project team and pick up copies of the consultation questionnaire.
There are currently 10 such events planned across West Yorkshire between 23rd October and 6th November
(further presentations may be added to this list)
Only one is in Wakefield:
Monday 30th October
10am - 1pm.
St. Swithuns Community Centre, Arncliffe Rd., Eastmoor, WF1 4RR
There is one other in Wakefield District:
Wednesday 1st November; 10am - 1pm; St. Mary's Community Centre, Chequerfield, Pontefract, WF8 2AY
The dire state of our bus services is a regular conversation topic in the club. It has a significant impact on the city and the region. It has also had an impact on the club - for example, we have had to move the weekly quiz to an earlier time so that participants can still catch their last bus home.
Yesterday`s news that local operator Arriva has been sold to a Miami-based investment firm is not likely to inspire confidence. Readers of this site who are resident in West Yorkshire are therefore encouraged to get involved in this consultation.
• Telephone: 0113 245 7676 (MetroLine)
• Post: FREEPOST CONSULTATION TEAM WYCA
STOP PRESS ...
Transport Secretary Mark Harper has called on train operators to withdraw their proposals to close ticket offices at over 1000 railway stations.
This announcement follows the publication on 31st October 2023 by Transport Focus (the “watchdog” organisation which conducted the official consultation exercise) of its responses to the train companies` closure proposals. Having taken account of the unprecedented total of around 750,000 submissions to the consultation, it has taken the only sensible approach and decided to object across the board to all the proposals.
A big thank you to all those who made submissions to Transport Focus or took part in the campaign in any way. The public pressure has forced the Government into a U-Turn which is a huge setback for the train companies` plans.
Whilst this is a great victory for the trade unions, campaign groups and everyone involved, it is a battle won, but not the whole war. We await reactions from the train companies to this news, and will have to remain vigilant in case they try to bring forward any revised or watered down proposals in future.
If the train companies are sensible, they will change their attitude and start treating ticket offices as an asset rather than a liability, as they have done for years. They need to promote use of the offices rather than discouraging it in any way possible, as they have done for years. Meanwhile, all rail passengers can help ensure the future by making use of ticket offices. Talk to a person – not a machine!
Watch this space for any further developments.
The Official Consultation has finished on the insane proposals by all English Train Operating Companies (pushed by the Tory Government) for mass closure of ticket offices at railway stations. However, the campaign has not finished and there are still things you can do.
The petition to parliament, https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/636542 is now closed for signatures. It has enough signatures to pass the threshold number which puts it on the agenda for a debate in parliament, but this has not yet been arranged.
You can write to your MP, and there are at least two other online petitions you can still sign:
For more information on the subject, here is a briefing paper by my trade union:
You can also read some of my own thoughts here -
either in the one sheet summary
or in the full 8 page rant (which has grown from the original 6 pages).
It has evolved and been updated. This is the latest version, and any further updates will be uploaded here.
If anyone wants to make use of any of it, feel free. There is no copyright.)
Check out the Save Ticket Offices campaign
Those present at the David Rovics concert on Sunday 11th June heard an announcement about Charlie Thomas, who is not known to most of us - although his father, Mark Thomas, certainly is.
Charlie is an activist with Palestine Action. This organisation is conducting a campaign of non-violent direct action aimed at shutting down the UK business of various companies who supply weapons and other equipment to the Israeli armed forces. These weapons are used in the brutal, genocidal oppression of the Palestinian people by the apartheid Israeli regime.
Charlie was one of three activists charged with criminal damage after a campaign in June 2021 when they climbed onto the roof of Runcorn-based factory APPH, a supplier of drone parts to Elbit Systems, one of Israel’s largest defence contractors (link to report). For this he has been jailed.
Following a report on this, the audience were asked to send letters of support to Charlie. This website invited its readers to do the same, and gave contact details.
This is no longer needed as Charlie has been released (under licence) but he did receive a lot of support whilst he was inside, for which he is most grateful.