There follow the minutes of our June meeting. Our next monthly meeting will be held on Wednesday 5 July at 7.30 p.m., at the wheelchair-accessible River Lane Centre, River Lane, Cambridge CB5 8HP.
Cambridge People's Assembly, 12 June 2017
- Agreement of the agenda
- Apologies for absence
- Approval of the minutes and matters arising
- Secretary's report
- Treasurer's report
- Becoming an effective umbrella
- Action ahead of the general election
- Action against the local NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan
- Meeting of the Assembly body, 17 June
- Other business
- Next meeting
The venue was the River Lane Centre, at 7.30 p.m. Present were Hilary, Jenny, Martin (meeting chair), and Neil (secretary). Names may have been changed.
Neil asked to add a report on the group's activities ahead of the general election on 8 June as a new item 7. Otherwise the meeting accepted the draft Neil had circulated.
Dan, Nicki (treasurer), and Richard M. (campaign chair) had sent their apologies.
The meeting approved the minutes and there were no matters arising.
Neil reported 255 subscribers to the Cambridge People's Assembly's (CPA's) mailing list (244 last month), while 960 Twitter users followed it (948) and 612 Facebook users liked it (607).
On behalf of Nicki, Neil reported overall funds of £2,434.63. Income last month was a donation of £2,012.05 from the electoral platform Cambridge Socialists when it wound itself up, a collection of £16, and a donation of £2 at Strawberry Fair.
Expenditure was £32 on leaflet printing, £30 on a belated contribution to venue hire for Unite Community's film screening in February, £10 for the group's Strawberry Fair pitch, £10.92 on stall materials from the People's Assembly, and the group's regular £5 donation to the national office.
Neil read portions of a draft report to the meeting for comment. Its main proposal was that activists from other groups could be co-opted as officers with topical responsibilities: perhaps for antiracism, disabilities, education, healthcare, housing, and trade unions.
Hilary worried that the groups the CPA would want to involve were themselves small, and people were already over-committed. Neil suggested the CPA could meet in full only every other month, and give more work to subgroups. Hilary did not believe this would make a difference; Jenny pointed out that the shortage of people would then simply hinder the subgroups instead.
Neil reported that the CPA had taken part in two 'mass stall days' on 6 and 27 May in Fitzroy Street, urging the public to use their votes to throw out Theresa May's Conservative government in the general election on 8 June. The massed stalls (with the CPA joining local branches of Momentum, Keep Our NHS Public, Stand Up to Racism, Stop the War, and the National Union of Teachers) had been visually striking and created a sense of solidarity among the participants, although Hilary was concerned for the passers-by who were bombarded with leaflets! Jenny thought the days had effectively shown the breadth of opposition to Conservative policies.
The CPA had also had a stall with the same message at Strawberry Fair on 3 June. 'Tories Out' badges and stickers had been popular, and a number of passers-by had signed up to the group's mailing list. Jenny, Martin, Neil, and Richard had variously worked on the three stalls.
Dan had enquired as promised about the price of hiring a space at The Junction for a comedy gig, but the meeting agreed it was too high for the CPA.
Hilary believed that the CPA and others did not yet know enough about the details of what would happen under the local Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP). The group should wait until specific cuts to services were announced: that news would stir the public, and they would be more likely to come to a meeting.
Neil did not agree. The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough STP had eventually been published in full, with figures against admittedly broad categories; the CPA had studied its contents and outlined the main threats to the public NHS in a substantial article, 'Fit for the Few' (16 March).
Neil still thought the CPA should hold a meeting on the subject, but Hilary and Jenny were concerned that it would draw few people. Hilary stressed that the STP remained the biggest change to hit the local NHS: the CPA, Keep Our NHS Public, and unions all had to agitate together. Jenny suggested that for now the CPA could stand ready for such united action.
Martin and Neil volunteered to attend this meeting in London.
The meeting discussed plans to mark the NHS's birthday around 5 July. Its main idea was a stall, perhaps with a giant card, cake, and singing. Jenny thought the CPA would find out more about the People's Assembly's plans at the Assembly meeting on 17 June.
Martin announced that the annual Marxism festival would be held in London on 6 to 9 July.
The next meeting would be held at 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday 5 July, at the same venue of the River Lane Centre.