Monthly Archives: April 2010

Party leaders come to CITIZENS UK Assembly

Hours before the final TV debate, Citizens UK confirmed that Cameron and Clegg will all be attending a historic Assembly in central London.  The PM has also been invited.  The 2500-person event on Monday will be the last at which the party leaders can all make their case to the people.  Uniquely, they will do it by responding to Citizens UK’s ‘People’s Manifesto’ – which calls for a Living Wage, Community Land Trusts, a cap on interest rates, an earned amnesty for undocumented migrants and an end to the detention of children seeking sanctuary.

The manifesto arises from Listening Campaigns and Delegates Assemblies across the Citizens network – in which Jellicoe interns and Contextual Theology Centre staff have played a key part.  The Centre is proud to be a sponsor of the Assembly.

For more news on the Assembly, sign up for our Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/theologycentre

Keeping you in suspense…

Jellicoe interns are involved in planning a major Citizens UK event in the week of the General Election… we’d hoped to be able to make an announcement by now – but it looks as if it will later in the week before we can go public with the news.  You can also keep up to date with developments by following us on Twitter

THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE: The event will be on the afternoon of Monday, 3rd May in Methodist Central Hall, with leading political figures.  We’re waiting for Citizens UK to make a formal announcement, probably later on today.  We will blog the news – and st information on TV coverage – as soon as we have it.

It’s all happening…

Citizen organising remains at the heart of the election campaign, in a way we couldn’t have imagined even a few months ago…

Firstly  – as we covered in previous posts – we had David Cameron’s visit to London Citizens’ East End HQ and Labour’s manifesto commitments on our economic agenda

Secondly, our Jellicoe interns and staff were key to last week’s Tower Hamlets Accountability Assembly.  This included local MPs George Galloway and Jim Fitzpatrick, and Council Leader Lutfur Rahman – who gave his backing to our affordable housing campaign.  Here’s the video they were shown:

Thirdly, with the Clegg surge, Strangers into Citizens has gone centre stage (not least in today’s Daily Express…).  Nick Clegg agreed to back our campaign for an earned amnesty for undocumented migrants back when he was the LibDem spokesman on Home Affairs – and it’s in the manifesto.  It’s hard to write this off as his opponents want to – after all, the campaign also has the backing of Tory Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman!

Now, May 3rd is shaping up to be the biggest day yet for citizen organising and national politics.  Expect a major announcement here on Monday – if not before…

UPDATE: Magdalen College is hosting an election-night seminar on the impact of citizen organising on the campaign

New book on ‘the real Third Way’

With community organising making such an impact on the election debate, the Contextual Theology Centre has released a timely new book on the subject.  Crunch Time: A Call to Action includes essays by Luke Bretherton, Vincent Rougeau and Maurice Glasman on London Citizens’ economic agenda – including the Living Wage and anti-usury laws (now in the Labour manifesto) – and ends with a tour de force by John Milbank on Christian social teaching as ‘the real Third Way’ between the ‘idolatry’ of State and market.

Ivereigh and Purnell on organising and the election

James Purnell and CTC Fellow Dr Austen Ivereigh both have articles in the latest issue of The Tablet on the impact community organising is having on the General Election.  Austen’s piece is here.

Jellicoe anniversary

Heady times for Fr Jellicoe and the Jellicoe Community … who have both reached the front page of the Church Times this week!  The paper includes a piece by Prof Diarmaid MacCulloch, written to mark the 75th anniversary of Fr Jellicoe’s death, and another by Simon Cuff on his experience as a Jellicoe intern. 

The Bishop of London will preach at a service of thanksgiving for Fr Jellicoe and the Community on the evening of 25th July at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square.  This is timed to coincide with the summer internship, when we will have over a dozen students from Oxford and London Universities placed with churches in East London.

Living Wage ‘to be in Labour manifesto’

According to today’s Daily Mirror, the Labour party is to put a Living Wage pledge into its forthcoming election manifesto – a huge success for London Citizens and all who work with them – including successive Jellicoe interns and the congregations in which they have been placed.  Contextual Theology Centre Director The Revd Angus Ritchie, who has been involved in the Living Wage Campaign from the start, hailed this as “really exciting news”.

“When London Citizens began the Living Wage Campaign, we knew it would be hard work to get this embedded as the policy of the Mayor of London.  We were delighted when Ken Livingstone and then Boris Johnson signed up.  I have to say, I didn’t think we’d get the backing of national politicians with such speed.  David Cameron told us last week that he was seriously considering the policy, and if this report is right, Gordon Brown is going to make a solid commitment to the Living Wage.”

Cameron visits London Citizens

Key figures in all the main political parties are now engaging seriously with London Citizens – both with the method of community organising (at the heart of the Jellicoe internship programme) and with the platform of issues with which it is responding to the credit crunch.  David Cameron met with congregational leaders and community organisers yesterday at the office of London Citizens and Citizens UK.  These included Adam Atkinson and Nick Coke who supervise Jellicoe interns in their local congregations and Angus Ritchie (Director of the Contextual Theology Centre).  Cameron has announced plans to train an army of 5000 citizens in community organising – and indicated the possibility of joining Boris Johnson’s in writing the Living Wage into government procurement policy. “Boris has done a brilliant job by going for living wage and I think government departments should all consider that.”

While today’s news reports focus on the Conservative relationship with London Citizens, the impact of organising is clear on all three parties.  London Citizens leaders met with Vince Cable recently to follow up the commitments made at the alliance’s November assembly in the Barbican – and The Guardian reports that Ed Miliband’s drafting of the Labour manifesto shows “clear signs of influence” by London Citizens.