Category Archives: members

Skipton and Settle Branch AGM 19th Feb

This coming Friday (19th Feb) is the Skipton & Settle Branch Annual General Meeting starting at 7:30pm at The Soroptimists Rooms, 28 Otley Street, Skipton.
Richard Corbett MEP is our guest speaker to precede the AGM.

Hope to see you all there!

Here is a link to Richard Corbett’s website so you can find out more about him before this Friday.

(Youth Officer)


The rush to war – why not join the bombing campaign?

Member Kevin McSherry disagrees with bombing in Syria. Here he explains why.


The Prime minister’s statement is inaccurate and misleading.

The head of the defence select committee has admitted that Britain does not have superior weapons to those of Russia and France and the USA as claimed by David Cameron in his speech. The corollary to which is that Britain is not able to make the unique contribution that the PM claimed.

The PM also stated that there are 70,000 moderate fighters waiting to rise and defeat ISIS as soon as conditions on the ground are such that they can succeed. This is not credible and it is not a strategy.


Bombing does not address the major problem.

More than a quarter of a million people have been killed and more than 4 million have fled their homes to seek refuge and the focus of this fear and slaughter has not been ISIS but the brutality of the Assad government. The uncomfortable coalition that is forming to bomb ISIS has opposing loyalties to Assad.  Joining a conflict when the successful outcome is itself in conflict is incredibly foolish and potentially very dangerous.


It is not likely to succeed.

There are many examples in recent history of failed armed interventions; it is not sensible or necessary to make the same mistakes again.


Innocent people, who are already terrorised, will be killed.

The concept of a clinical airstrike and of minimal collateral damage is both offensive and dishonest. Airstrikes take the lives of the innocent as well as those of combatants. The efficacy of targeting is only as accurate as the intelligence. By virtue of the nature of the conflict; the intelligence is compromised and remote and bombs are indiscriminate.


Bombing will strengthen ISIS.

It would appear that the purpose of the strategy of terror being pursued by ISIS is to promote a global war between Muslim and Non Muslim; bombing will give greater credibility to their cause and exacerbate the situation. Britain has visibly aided the oppressive regimes of the Middle East, including Israel, while refusing to take in refugees; bombing is likely to increase the number of radicalised people, who will be able to see the incongruity between action and rhetoric, and seek to join the ranks of the jihadists and take part in terrorist activity.


The Major victims of terror are not in the western world.

The total number of deaths from terrorism in 2014 was 32,685, over 70% occurred in just five countries; Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria. (see graphic below)


Non-violent solution strategies.

Britain should focus its efforts on removing the sources of income which supply ISIS, seeking a diplomatic solution to the conflict between Assad and the people of Syria and removing the injustices which foment radicalised behaviour.


Some research suggestions are taken from the Leeds Justice and Peace Commission Website:


The attacks in Paris on 13th Nov have generated enormous media coverage and outrage and sadness among many people. In a spirit of encouraging people to look under the surface of problems, here are a couple of places to start:

Paul Rogers, professor in the Peace Studies Dept at Bradford University , describes the attacks as a “blowback war.”

The Guardian on 16th there was a thoughtful piece by Scott Atran which raises some question marks about the more hysterical rhetoric coming from some quarters of the media.

It’s also important to get these tragic events in  perspective. This infographic from The Independent of a year ago gives a very different impression to what we see & read normally.


If you want to contact Julian Smith MP to express your opinion against bombing in Syria then please feel free to use this link.

European Policy Forum – 21 November 2015

Member Diane Simcoe provides her analysis of the recent European Policy Forum, held in Leeds.

A bit of feedback from the European Policy Forum I attended in Leeds on Saturday 21 November. Labour MEPs Linda McAvan and Richard Corbett were joined by Chair Veronica Hardstaff and keynote speaker Ruairi Quinn (Irish Labour Party / Party European Socialists) and Jim Steinke (Chief Executive, Norther Refugee Centre).

The initial forum was oversubscribed so Richard and Linda ran it morning and afternoon ensuring all who wanted to attend could.

Richard gave copies of his report which you can get from He spoke about the unanimous feeling of the Labour Party to stay in the EU including Jeremy Corbyn who advocates EU reform despite the press trying to suggest that he and other Labour MPs are ambivalent.

Richard shone light on the complex nature of Cameron’s approach to a referendum and the difficulties of appeasing both the extreme anti-EU Tories and party members who want to stay. To paraphrase what he said, “the far right want to leave the EU because there are no rules (social chapter, trade union, human rights) and although Cameron will negotiate a package of reforms that we will not like, it is better to stay in so Labour can change it when we are in power.”

Summing up he highlighted three levels of reasoning for us to stay within the EU – idealistic (to stop generational slaughter in Europe) the pragmatic (all highly interdependent) and the selfish (a trading nation with more trade to EU countries than anywhere else).

Linda spoke of the current fear of terrorism and for us to guard against it boiling over into extremism in politics. She stressed how we will not solve the refugee crisis by leaving the EU as those on the right would have us believe. Linda spoke of the need to work together in the EU to support refugees and the difficulties that have arisen are due to a lack of co-operation between EU countries. This was expanded on by Jim. Jim provided an overview of current work and the need to change the way refugees are perceived.

Linda highlighted the way in which the Tories blame their inaction to save British industries on the EU which is blatantly untrue.

Ruairi’s keynote speech concentrated on EU history and the importance other EU countries place on us staying in it. He spoke of the loss of Britain’s skills and experience in trade and negotiation and was very clear that the EU like us, a very different picture painted by the right.

There were excellent questions and points made by members from the floor.

As a new member the forum was a comprehensive introduction and I think for experienced members it would have been an in-depth exploration of our collective and individual attitudes towards our union with Europe.

What seemed clear is that there will be a referendum next year and we need to work hard to stay in. Only from the inside can we safeguard workers’ rights, ensure economic stability, negotiate protection for the vulnerable and plan a united and humane response to those escaping war and oppression.

And besides anything else, they like us!