Commemorating the ’84 Miners’ Strike

Two groups whose activities during the ’84 miners’ strike inspired the hit film Pride were reunited for the first time in three decades.

Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners’ Group (LGSM) members and the Neath, Dulais and Swansea Valley Miners’ Support Group held a 30th anniversary reunion on Sat 14th March 2015 at the Onllwyn Miners Welfare Hall in the Dulais Valley. The Hall is also known unofficially as the Palace of Culture, a sign of the strong communist influences here over time.

Onllwyn Hall

My partner Lynne and I were lucky enough to get tickets, and thanks to the kind assistance of Dai Donovan, were sat right at the front in the VIP seats with our friend Alison, and introduced to our neighbours. Still not sure why Dai took such good care of us, but thanks anyway. Continue reading

Time to update the Co-op Principles?

This article has now been published by Co-op News. Read the article on Co-operative News Website:-

http://www.thenews.coop/94300/news/general/time-to-extend-the-seven-co-operative-principles/

or read on……

The Seven Co-operative Principles were last updated and formally adopted by the International Co‑operative Alliance at Congress in Manchester in 1995 http://www.ica.coop/coop/principles.html

They are based on the eight original Rochdale Principles, and have been updated and amended periodically.

Why change is needed

Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, the world doesn’t stand still. Over the last few decades we have seen enormous changes in the world in which we, the co-operative movement, have to survive.

In the past in the UK, and still today in some parts of the world, the co-operative movement is a powerful, and sometimes dominant player in the economy. Where they are, they bring a long-term approach to economic development and stability in the marketplace. However, most of the movement exists as an island of sanity in a sea of rampant capitalism. We may not like it, but that’s how it is, and we need to both live with that and at the same time grow ourselves out of it. Continue reading

Remembering Terry Pratchett

In 1986 I was editor of a Cardiff based trades union newspaper, Union Eyes. I put together a piece about events at Hinkley Point A Power Station two years earlier, which although over the water in Somerset, has Cardiff in its direct line of fire if anything goes badly wrong.
This was a story that started with a leaked document, some pages from the Turbine Hall Basement logbook, which was sent anonymously to Paddy Ashdown’s office. I spoke to his researcher to find out more, but they had sent a copy to an engineering academic to look at and advise them of its significance, and were unwilling to send me one as well. As an ex Power Station Manager who had spent a short time at Hinkley I was confident that if I saw it, I could work out what had actually happened. Without a copy I was stymied, so I rang the CEGB Press Office in Bristol, where I spoke to an exceptionally helpful man.
“Did I have a copy of the leaked document?” “Well, no actually, I don’t.” “Would you like a copy….would a photo be helpful well?” He couldn’t have been more helpful, and bear in mind not only was this effectively stolen goods, but CEGB policy was not to release any more information than was in the public domain already. I thanked him and as an ex-employee myself, promised “not to be too unfair to the CEGB”.

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Have we got common ownership right?

I know it goes against the commonly held mantra of how we build the commonweal but do we need to reconsider when and where common ownership of the capital is appropriate, particularly for worker co-operatives?

Common ownership allows for the growth of strong organisations which will outlive the founder members, whilst allowing them and other members to get their investment back at some point. For our predominantly retail consumer societies this makes good sense. Continue reading

Why we need to update the Co-operative Principles

The Seven Co-operative Principles were last updated and formally adopted by the International Co‑operative Alliance at Congress in Manchester in 1995 http://www.ica.coop/coop/principles.html
They are based on the eight original Rochdale Principles, and have been updated amended periodically.

Why change is needed
Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, the world doesn’t stand still. Over the last few decades we have seen enormous changes in the world in which we, the co-operative movement, have to survive.

In the past in the UK, and still today in some parts of the world, the co-operative movement is a powerful, and sometimes dominant player in the economy. Where they are, they bring a long-term approach to economic development and stability in the marketplace. However, most of the movement exists as an island of sanity in a sea of rampant capitalism. We may not like it, but that’s how it is, and we need to both live with that and at the same time grow ourselves out of it. Continue reading

WCVA Third Sector Awards

PreFab, the clothes recycling operation of the Cardiff YMCA Housing Association (of which I’m acting Chair) came second in the Third Sector Environmental Awards on 29th January 2015

Had a great evening at the Marriott Hotel in Cardiff at the awards dinner – meeting old friends and getting up to receive the award from Jason Mohammed.

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Seen here with Johnathan from Class Telecoms (Sponsor), Tony Mildon (Staff), Lisa Wells (Manager), Toni Kemp (Trustee) and Jason Mohammed (BBC Wales).

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Ways Forward 3 – A New Era for Co-operative Development

I had the pleasure of speaking at this Conference, organised by Co-operative Business Consultants on Jan 23rd at the Central Hall in Manchester, which was attended by 88 people, including a number by video link from Italy, France, Argentina, USA and Quebec.

My presentations are as below:-

Co-operative Development

Social Care Co-operatives

See more presentations on the CBC Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/cooperativebusinessconsultants

Everyone’s Business

The Wales Co-operative Centre have started a new blog, looking at issues of poverty in Wales

The blog is now up and running on http://www.everyonesbusiness.coop/en/

My contribution is as below:-

Co-operating for self-employment

Nothing overcomes poverty better than well-paid work. It not only provides income, but it helps to develop people’s sense of self worth. A job provides our sense of identity. Even when unemployed we desire to be an unemployed something, not just a non-entity.

The fastest growing sector of our economy is the self-employed. Once derided by business development specialists as “lifestyle businesses” self employment is rapidly becoming a very large part of our economy. Continue reading

ProMo-Cymru celebrates 30 years

ProMo-Cymru, the youth co-operative development agency, recently held a celebration of 30 years of operation at a small event in the Cardiff Story Museum, where an exhibition of their history is on show until February 2015.

The video below has been produced as part of the 30 years celebration and brings together some of the people from the past together with those still involved now:-

I joined the original working group, which was set up by Cllr John Reynolds, Alun Michael, John Southern and Sheila Rees in 1982, and after the first AGM I attended, I was appointed Vice Chair under John Reynolds. Cardiff & Vale Co-operative Development Association was registered as a Company Ltd by Guarantee in 1984, and traces its official history from that point. Continue reading

Walking the Camino

Exif_JPEG_422My partner, Lynne, is going to walk the traditional pilgrim’s route across northern Spain, the Camino de Santiago from Leon to Santiago de Compostela, starting on May 3rd.

Although, like me, she’s not a Christian, she’s been drawn to the the idea of walking the Camino for some time, and finally decided to give it a go. The walk from Leon should take around 3-4 weeks. She doesn’t intend rushing it, she wants to enjoy the journey, meeting new people, seeing new sights, relaxing and enjoying the spiritual experience.

I’m the Vice Chair of the Cardiff YMCA Housing Association. They run the biggest homeless hostel in Wales, providing shelter and helping vulnerable people get their lives back together, as well as a clothing recycling operation, PreFab, which also provides the people we support with work experience. When I asked Lynne to use her walk to help raise funds for them, she couldn’t turn them down. She’ll be staying in hostels on the walk, so there’s a synergy there.

If you want to support Lynne and donate to this worthy cause, just click on the button below, where you’ll also be able to follow her progress.
JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

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