Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pass the Sick Bag (2) – Toy Town Lambeth ALMO Trots Exposed.

“John, I am a long suffering Lambeth UNISON member. I am fed up with these public school middle class Oxbridge toy town revolutionaries taking our jobs and wasting our union dues.

Please can they go and play politics elsewhere. All this information is available on the internet. (Check the original "Pass the Sick Bag")

So Lambeth Militia aka Militant, aka Tendency aka Activists aka Permanent Revolution (please don’t make me laugh). They appear to be a bunch of immature young guns for hire ( if they only knew which end the bullets went in).

This is a small ‘Gang of 5’ (dominated of course, as is usual with the loonies, by white male local government workers) or cell that has deliberately "infiltrated" Lambeth.

They don’t even now work directly for the council. They all work for Lambeth Living, an ALMO (Arms Length Management Organisation) in Lambeth Borough. They have no influence with Council staff as they do not have facility time, I am told, to spread the revolution or engage in the merits of a ‘workers government’ answerable to the trade union movement.

In fact their only claim to fame was last summer when (at that time they were led by their now unemployed comrade and ex- public schoolboy, Rajani – see below) they failed miserably to mobilise the working classes to stop the ALMO being set up (as the South London press reported), despite spending lots of UNISON members money in the process.

At the same time the Militia could only muster a grand total of 22 of the 500 odd Lambeth Living ALMO work force to strike during the UNISON 2 days pay strike. And this shower wants a general strike?

The ALMO Militia Blog was only set up because Rogers and co. were sick to death of the Militia posting libellous and quite outlandish statements on the Branch Blog so the Lambeth branch shut down their own Blog as the Branch was near to being sued.

They crow about their 'successes at the Lambeth AGM ' ! Is this the same AGM where the membership, after the branch elections, and despite the alleged charm of the ALMO Militia, left in their hordes ,making the AGM in-quorate with 14 motions (including some sponsored by the Militia) not being debated.

Yep the Militia are certainly raising the political consciousness and awareness in Lambeth! In fact this scenario showed that they are ineffective and sterile. Ted Knight would be turning in his grave (if he was dead that is).

Although James Caspell appears to front the ALMO Militia Blog his ‘team’ , apart from Rajani ,include Sacha Ismail and Ruth Cashman who are both AWL stalwarts - See below.

Caspell (27) and he of 6 Blogs at the last count started his activist life, in his first steps of the Class War, as a failed Green Party candidate in Havering, East London in the May local Council elections of 2006. He was the only Green candidate in an election for three ward seats in a contest involving 13 candidates. He came bottom of the pile with 301 votes, well behind the local ‘Resident Association’ candidates, and the other 3 parties.

Not to be deterred, Caspell then stood and was elected, in Nov 2006, as the Young Greens candidate for the post of Postgraduate Student Officer at the LSE students union. He had just finished his 3 year degree course at the LSE, that bastion of working class consciousness and then decided to work up a sweat by doing an MA in Political Sociology ( probably specialised in ' how to set up Militia groups ! ). He told the Independent at the time "I am also aware the LSE looks good on a CV ". Solid revolutionary motives no doubt !

He joined UNISON sometime 2007 when he got his first real full time "real" job. He then politically ‘matured’ by leaving the Green party and threw his all into shaking up the Green Left before joining the ALMO Militia.

In the meantime his comrade in arms, Heenal Rajani (AWL) was already feeling the revolutionary blast when he faced the threat of disciplinary action in 2008 for publishing the scurrilous (and possibly Libellous) news-sheets via the Lambeth Branch Blog and the Lambeth e-mail system. So it came to pass when Rajani slinked off into the sunset in December 2008 with a nice pay –off from Lambeth Living by way of severance / redundancy.

Of course the Lambeth ALMO Militia did not feel that their recently published manifesto applied to them or even their ‘fallen comrade’. The 2nd demand in their manifesto committed them to “fight against all redundancies and job losses –including ‘voluntary ‘redundancies ' , not when it affects them of course!

Given the fact that I am told that Rajani still hangs about like a bad smell in the Lambeth Branch office he seems to be continuing his fruitful career as the unemployed full time organiser for the Militia. Contacts tell me that the Regional powers that be are also conducting a disciplinary investigation into his antics.

It’s not always been downhill for Rajani. In December 2000 the Oxford University Gazette records that ,"Heenal Mukesh Rajani of Merton College” received an exhibition (award). The same Gazette confirms that Rajani‘s pre – Oxford days were spent at an exclusive toffs school in Hertfordshire. Bishops Stortford College was ‘home ‘ to this AWL revolutionary and with boarding fees of £6281 per term or £4517 (in 2008) for day students it was clearly a good grounding to develop his working class consciousness.

In having a quick look at this toff’s school website, the 2008 Summer News records that a “sibling” (methinks) has ‘won’ a place at Trinity & Kings College Cambridge?

Whilst studying PPE at Oxford Rajani was active in student political life and he shared many a political and academic meeting with a fellow PPE student whose home was Somerville College in Oxford. He also shared the odd football game with the same up and coming revolutionary stalwart and current student /youth organiser for the AWL, none other than Sacha Ismail, being the same Sacha who is a team member of the Militia Blog. Albeit a thoroughly nice chap and permanent student like comrades Caspell and Rajani, contacts confirm that Sacha has led a far more colourful life revolutionary life to date.

On his travels in the Ivory Towers this nice but dim chappie thought it would bring him more revolutionary cred by changing his name from Alexander Salim Ismail to Sacha Ismail ! The student electronic message board of the day was adamant that he changed his name to make himself ‘more Russian’ (and revolutionary?) Sacha of course denied this wicked slur, but kept his new name anyway. Both Ismail and Rajani were active members of the Oxford students union as old copies of the student newspaper confirm.

Sacha had his first taste of ‘Uncle Joe’ when he came 8th in the student elections with the Young Communist League candidates trouncing the baby trots. You would have thought he learned something from this but it was not to be.

His next ‘foray’ involved, as co-chair of the student union Anti-Racism committee, being party to inviting to the Oxford Union ,none other than John Tyndall then leader of the BNP. The student newspaper at the time (May 2000) has Sacha as saying that inviting Tydall was “entirely a bad thing to do”. Needless to say the ‘No platform ‘policy at Oxford came from such gross stupidity.

Students eh! Bless ‘em poor sods, so young and confused! Needless to say this put paid to his later attempts to be elected as Oxford Student President, thank goodness. From there on Sacha drifted into the political wilderness until he found his ideal full time posting with the AWL.

Lo and behold he turns up as an ALMO Militia member to join with his old mate Rajani to fight the revolution in Lambeth Town, which by the way boasts a good number of CP activists.

Watch your back Sacha!

The ALMO Militia also recruited another AWL permanent student to their ranks when they were joined on their Blog by Ruth Cashman. She signed the statement in support of Robin Sivapalan in 2006 as Ruth Cashman Newcastle Workers Liberty.

On a final swansong Sasha’s 'friends' on face book include, Caspell, Jeffries (Dan) and Rajani, i.e.; the so called ‘Central Committee ‘of the ALMO Militia.

John - We have posh middle class people who have been highly educated at great expense taking working class Lambeth jobs in order to further the "revolution". What can we do about this lot?"

UPDATE: Apologies if I did not make this clear but this is a guest post by a Lambeth Member(s). I put in some links and actually edited some stuff out which I thought was a bit too “controversial”. I might I suppose post this in a “Pass the Sickbag” (3)?

175th anniversary "Grand Demonstration"

On Saturday 25th April 2009 it is the 175th anniversary of the Grand Demonstration in support of the Tolpuddle Martyrs.

A 100,000 people marched in central London to demand the release of the 6 Dorset farm workers who had been sentenced to 7 years transportation to Australia for forming a trade union. There was also a 200,000 strong petition. Not bad if you consider the size of the population at that time.

The Tolpuddle Martyrs were eventually granted free pardons. The South West and South Eastern regional TUC are planning a series of events on the day to take place next to the mural (picture from a "postcard invite" I picked up at SERTUC the other week) in Edwards Square, near Kings Cross. There will be a recreation of the Martyrs’ oath, banner making, music, comedy and stalls.

My first housing job in London was in an estate office in Bethnal Green where housing blocks were called after each of the Martyrs.

Email SERTUC for further details.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Luke on Why Lib Dem's won yesterday in Valentines Ward

At the risk of it sounding just like “sour grapes” I thought this was interesting analysis reported by Luke. "There was also a by election in Redbridge yesterday, which the Liberal Democrats won. Their literature concentrated on Redbridge Council’s foreign policy and used some pretty unpleasant pictures of Gaza.

Interestingly they broke a cardinal rule by naming an opponent, just one - the Leader of the Council, Cllr Alan Weinberg.I am also told from friends campaigning in the ward, that there were people knocking on doors, speaking of Gaza and mentioning what Conservative Cllr Weinberg and the Labour Foreign Secretary have in common - which was why their respective parties were not campaigning on the council’s foreign policy.

I wonder who should be ashamed of that deceit?" East London Tory Agent Peter Golds.

Maybe after the “respect” candidacy imploded the mysterious “canvassers” that I saw last night mentioned here were those out spreading such frankly racist filth.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Valentines Ward By-election

I’ve been “out and about” for a little while tonight helping Ilford South Labour Party with their by-election in Valentines ward. This is a Labour/Tory marginal. I rang the campaign contact number and Mike Gapes MP picked up the phone and gave me directions to the Committee room.

I posted the other day here on the “Galloway” respect candidate who used the traditional SWP trick of lying about a fictional meeting between Mike and the “Gorgeous One” to wind up and mislead voters.

It seems that the Tories have also been up to pretty dirty tricks – their Candidate has been writing completely sectarian and personalised letters asking electors not to split the “Muslim vote” by only voting for him?

Strangely, although I did see other non-Labour Party canvassers in the ward tonight. They had no political badges, clipboards or colours. I remember in past Tower Hamlets elections, talking to similar opposition canvassers who did know the name of their candidate but when you asked what political party they were supporting their faces went completely blank? Hopefully, nothing like this is going on (Yeah)

In the Committee room and a key part of the local “machine” was Gary Chick-Mackay, who is the UNISON branch secretary for Havering Local Government. The Committee room seemed pretty calm and organised. No “dramas” and I was quickly sent out on both occasions with the same team and was well briefed on the local issues, location of polling stations and exactly what they wanted me to do. Which is all you want as a volunteer from another CLP.

We were “knocking up” “Labour Promises” – that is voters who had previously been canvassed and had indicated that they would support Labour. Our aim is purely to “remind” them and encourage them to vote.

One problem is that the Tory street lighting in Redbridge is simply rubbish. You could barely make out the door numbers of properties never mind read the canvass sheets.

However, considering how cold and dark it was the reaction from our “Promises” was very good. We’re wait and see for the result of course.

A friend of mine is fond of quoting his old mum’s saying that a “Promise is a comfort to a fool”.

I didn’t meet the candidate Surinder Pahl who was in other “knocking up” teams.

There is another by-election in Stoke Newington which I meant to go and help out with but I didn’t, so apologies to my Hackney comrades and I hope it went ok?

At the end I asked an activist if the results will be posted on the internet anywhere after the count. He wisely predicated that if we win then the results will be posted on the Ilford South web site sometime tonight. If we lose then it will of course never be mentioned ever again. So either way I’ll click on the web site tomorrow and should quickly be able to find out.

Update - I checked the Ilford South site this morning, nothing, so I feared the worse. This is from Luke's blog - Valentines Ward, LB Redbridge. LD gain from Lab. LD 963 (36.9%, +20.1), Con 781 (29.9%, +10.4), Lab 756 (28.3%, -0.9), Respect 112 (4.3%, +4.3). Swing of 4.9% from Con to LD since 2006. Strange numbers are result of an independent coming second in 2006 but not running this time. Apparently the LDs made Gaza a big issue in the campaign in a heavily Muslim area. See next post.

Good news that in Hackney it was a strong Labour hold.

Interesting Comparison

I got this email from a colleague yesterday.

This is a Norman Rockwell painting of Ruby Bridges ...

the little black girl who had to be escorted to school by federal marshals. "On November 14, 1960, nearly 42 years ago, Bridges faced hostile crowds as the first black child to attend a previously all-white New Orleans school. She was 6 years old and had only been told by her mother that she was going to be attending a new school that day and 'had better behave.' Little did she know that she would be bombarded with jeers and even death threats, and that she would end up being the sole child in her first grade class after other children were kept home by their parents." All because Ruby was Black.

Forty-eight years later -- January 5, 2009 -- here is a picture of Sasha Obama, a little 7 year old Black girl, being escorted to school by her mother, First Lady-elect Michelle Obama, and the Secret Service because Sasha's daddy is now President-elect of the United States, Barack Obama:






Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Responsible Investment Trustee Training

On Monday I went to a training day organised by the TUC and “Fair Pensions at Congress House. This course was a “pilot” but it was encouraging that the 25 places were oversubscribed and a waiting list had to be set up. Sign of our troubled times? It was designed for trade union member nominated pension trustees and representatives. There was a good mixture of people from a range of trade unions and pension funds.

There was a series of presentations and workshops. On “busting myths about responsible investment”; “Effective Investor Engagement” (David Pitt-Watson author of the “The New Capitalists”), “Why Funds should collaborate in their Mutual Interest” (UNPRI); Asking Questions as a Trustee: How to do it effectively? And “Making headway on RI: practical ideas for implementation” (By Bernie Doeser and Catherine Howarth of Fair Pensions).

I’ll hopefully come back and in more detail on some of them another time.

Some key issues from the day (in my view) –

Don’t confuse “Responsible investment” with “Ethical investment”.

Major UK asset manager Credit Suisse had a Fair Pensions responsible investment score in 2008 of only 1 out of a possible 36 (bottom of list).

We can all see what irresponsible investment has done to our funds”...Who could argue with a (do no harm to the wider financial system) clause in your statement of investment principles...what fund manager is going to argue that their decisions will cause harm? (David Pitt-Watson).

It costs nothing to be a UNPRI signatory (a donation is of course welcome). So why is your Pension fund or fund manager not a signatory?

Ask your fund managers (and importantly - potential ones at “beauty parades”) how many staff they have working 100% on responsible investment issues?

The over emphasis on short term 3 monthly fund performance by Pension funds has contributed to the present financial crisis.

Organise, organise and organise. Ironically, basic trade union organising values are as necessary to the effective Capital Stewardship of pension investments as in any bargaining issue. Survey your members, involve them and find out what they think? Report back regularly. Make sure that representatives are properly trained and supported by the union; make sure they have sufficient time off to properly read papers, research and plan. Work with your fellow trustees. Try to win things that are achievable.

Most importantly of all, believe absolutely and utterly that:

1. What you are doing will change things, and at the very least you will help get rid of child labour, environmental damage, overpaid executives, public corruption and unjust or unsafe Labour conditions.

2. Responsible long term investments will enhance the value of your funds and outperform rivals.

Raid in Forest Gate Station

This morning on the way to work I came across the aftermath of a criminal “raid” (Robbery) on security guards transporting money to the cash point machine inside Forest Gate station main hall.

I’m not sure exactly what happened. I spoke to the security guard who I understand was involved to see if he was alright and he seemed okay and even quite relaxed about things. The Police would not (understandably) give any details apart to confirm that there had been a “raid” but no one was hurt.

Thanks for small mercies. The cash point in this hall is rather isolated and separate to the ticket office. Probably not the best place to safely service a cash machine?

I wonder how much money these (GMB?) security guards get for risking their lives for giving us easy access to our money?
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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Holocaust Memorial Day - Stand Up to Hatred

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day. I have just become the 24,755th to light a virtual "candle of remembrance" on its web site. Please visit this site.

On a more practical point I also received today this “Face book” message from Hope Not Hate.

“Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) is an international day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust and other genocides - Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda to name but a few.It commemorates the victims and honours the survivors of the Nazi genocide as well as more recent genocides, in an effort to ensure that these unimaginable horrors are neither forgotten nor indeed repeated, either in Europe or anywhere in the world ever again.

This year's Holocaust Memorial Day is based on an important theme - to stand up against hatred. And I'm writing to ask you to join me in doing just that. Over the past few years, Nick Griffin has made a series of disgusting and degrading statements about the Holocaust.

To call him to account we've launched a petition to demand that he retracts these horrendous statements.We'd like you to sign it -http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/apologisenow

While on trial for incitement to racial hatred, Griffin wrote -"I am well aware that the orthodox opinion is that 6 million Jews were gassed and cremated or turned into lamp shades. Orthodox opinion also once held that the earth is flat ... I have reached the conclusion that the 'extermination' tale is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lie and latter witch-hysteria."

In an interview with the Mail on Sunday Griffin added: "It's well known that the chimneys from the gas chambers at Auschwitz are fake, built after the war ended."

We need your help in fighting back against these disgusting and degrading lies. The Holocaust remains a horrific scar on humanity's conscience - but the Nazi message of hate still remains a corrosive force within our society. It damages all of us. Only by confronting and defeating this hate can we build a country based on humanity and justice. We must fight his lies and he must be held to account.

Please join our campaign to get Griffin to publicly retract these remarks and then invite your friends to do the same.

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/apologisenow

Thank you.HNH

Monday, January 26, 2009

GCHQ trade Union Ban

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the then Tory Government decision to ban GCHQ (a government intelligence centre) employees from being members of trade unions.

14 civil servants were eventually sacked for refusing to give up their trade union membership. In 1997 the new Labour government reversed this decision. Check out further
details here.

Despite many current “problems” with the Labour Party this event reminds us all of the absolute fundamental importance of re-electing the Party at the next election.

Diss-Respectful Liars

I missed this until today. Check out Ilford South Labour MP, Mike Gapes web and his astonishment on finding out the lies that the George Galloway “Respect” Candidate in the local Council by-election in Valentines Ward had put out. This Candidate claims to be the Director of the government sponsored “Redbridge Against Islamophobia and Extremism (RAIE).

A totally fictional public meeting supposedly organised by RAIE with Respect dork Galloway and Mike Gapes was invented with the headline “The Iraq War was good for Britain!” Posters were even placed in local schools and handed to people outside mosques in the area (paid for by whom?). Mike had not been invited and was totally unaware of this meeting.

The extremist Galloway Respect candidate has now resigned as "Director" (believe it or not) from the anti-extremists group RAIE – but apparently not as a "Respect" candidate?

The best way of countering these utterly vile people is of course to help out with the Labour campaign

Sunday, January 25, 2009

London Progressive Conference

This was well worth attending yesterday and a surprising good use of a wet and windy London Saturday in January.

“London Progressive” was set up by Ken Livingstone after he lost the London Mayor election to Boris.

Its web site states that it is a “a unique coalition, launched by Ken Livingstone, and involving people and views from across the political, cultural, community, generational and artistic spectrum, to promote the kinds of progressive policies which have made London such a success and a place where people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds can be themselves and come together around common goals”.

This is a pretty ambitious goal. Still, any coalition that can get the deputy leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman, to attend alongside leaders of the Greens and Liberal Democrats has not only got ambition but quite some pull. Mind you, the utterly vile Gorgeous One was also apparently there, as was Mr McNoHoper MP.

There were of course plenty of rumours circulating about what Ken hopes to get out of this coalition. Many feel he is angling to be the Labour Party candidate for London Mayor for 2012 (which I think is pretty much a given if he is chosen) or is he keen to build up a coalition similar to that of 2000 so he can stand as an independent in 2012? I don’t think so and I think that if he thought that he would have never rejoined the Party. The most Machiavelli theory was that Ken is building up support in the expectation that Labour will get a hammering in 2010 and he will be parachuted into Parliament as a leadership candidate. Yeah.

While the “nice but dim” trots in Workers Liberty dismiss Ken as a “fake career leftist” – whatever that means.

London Politics is obviously different to national since we have a PR system in City Hall and it appears that with Boris at least, all the democratic opposition political parties have an incentive to work together. Boris is after all very much a unifying Politician (to his critics).

It was certainly very well attended. The main conference hall at Congress House was packed with all seats taken and people having to stand at the back. There was a refreshing absence of head bangers. Harriet had some very silly heckling but the vast majority of participants told them in no uncertain words to shut up. She did really well and got the best cheer I think of the day. The seminars I attended were also packed with many standing up because there were no seats left. The lifts in Congress House are subject to conservation orders and are clearly inadequate to transporting lots of people from room to room, so to get anywhere in time, you need to use the stairs. Very green and pro public health.

I will post on the various seminars I attended and speeches during the next week. There was some really interesting debate and comment. It was also a bloggers delight since a lot was going on politically and it was great opportunity to chat and network with lots of people face to fact that you have only met previously on line. There is still no absolute alternative to such personal contact. It was a good day.

Myners blasts “fat cats” Masters of the Universe

Tom P at Labour & Capital links here to a superb interview in the Times with government minister Lord (Paul) Myners.

I've met more masters of the Universe than I would like to, people who were grossly over-rewarded and didn't recognise that. Some of that is pretty unpalatable. They are people who have no sense of the broader society around them . . . I think there is quite a lot of annoyance and much of that is justified. Let us be quite clear: there has been mismanagement of our banks.”

Of course, Tom also makes the valid point that workers pension funds didn’t challenge these rumination packages. The vast majority of trustees would have not been even aware that their fund managers were actively supporting this "mismanagement". This has got to change in the future.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Plug No 2 from London MEP Mary Honeyball

The 2nd positive plug of the week for this blog was from Mary Honeyball , who is one of the few (very few) female MEP bloggers.

She is having a go here at the new “Labourlist” - a Labour Party supporting blog set up by Derek Draper.

She thinks it is too London centric, there is not enough on Europe or foreign affairs, not enough women contributors and not enough from the regions. She also recommends that :-

“Labourlist should also make cleverer political judgments by, for example, remembering that the majority of Labour representatives, including myself, are in opposition rather than power. Someone like Stephen Cowan reporting from the frontline fighting the Tory Taliban in Hammersmith merits a slot. For a Trade union voice active in the Party, LabourList should perhaps include John Gray”.

This is picked up by on-line Guardian blogger, Dave Hill, here

Of course... I couldn’t possible comment (or disagree).

Plug No 1 from “Local Labour Round Up”

It‘s been a positive week for “John’s Labour Blog”.

On Thursday the leader of the Labour opposition in Hammersmith & Fulham Council, Stephen Cowan, here in his blog “The Cowen Report” mentioned my attack on “Why Corrupting Boris is now beyond a Joke”.

He was reviewing Labour supporting blogs.

Camden Labour Councillor and Theo’s Blog author, Theo Blackwell, has had the excellent idea of setting up a regular Labour “blog round up”. Different Labour activists will take turns at reviewing Labour blogs.

What a great idea! I'm trying to do something somewhat similar by posting on public housing issues every few weeks - "housing matters".

Griffinism for Dummies


I’ve just joined the facebook Group "Vote AGAINST the BNP in the 2009 council and EU elections!".

A worthy cause of course.

Then I came across this photo and could not resist posting it.

Spread the good word!

Hat tip thingy to Mark Bull from the Facebook group.

My Election Statement - Regional Council AGM 2009

Further to my last post here is my election statement. I am standing for re-election as the UNISON London Regional Finance Convenor (and as a member of the Regional Health & Safety Sub-Committee).

This election will take place at the Regional Council AGM on Wednesday 4 February 2009. I am also standing for re-election to the Regional Health & Safety sub-Committee.

I am also calling for delegates to support the re-election of Gloria Hanson (Regional Convenor), Conroy Lawrence (Deputy Regional Convenor), Lynn Bentley (Regional Publicity Convenor), Gill Brown (Regional Equalities Convenor) and election of Emma Rolland (Regional Young Persons Convenor).

UNISON is the biggest trade union in London with 130,000 members in the region. There are 152 London branches who are entitled to send delegates to vote at the AGM for Regional Council Officers (I’m applying for one of these posts), the Regional Committee and its sub-committees. If anyone wishes to contact me to discuss my statement with me please ring 07977 285 297 or email via my profile section.
Many thanks

Election Statement: London Regional Finance Convenor 2009

I am currently the Regional Finance Convenor, and strongly believe that strong management of our member’s money is the foundation to organising campaigns that deliver for our members.

If re-elected as the Regional Finance Convenor I will continue to ensure that the member’s money is used to support branches focusing on real issues for real members such as:

Recruitment

Defending the NHS and Pensions

Campaigning for directly provided services and to defend our public services

Campaigning for equalities

Strengthening our influence in Education and in Private Contractors


OPEN AND TRANSPARENT

Financial decisions need to be open and transparent and be easily understood by activists.

I want to make sure that activists better understand the financial support that is available to branches and ensure that the money gets to them to support recruitment and organising campaigns.

The Region has the money to back a growing union – the bigger we are, the stronger we are – let make sure it happens.

I am an experienced branch officer and regional activist for many years (including holding the position of branch treasurer, assistant branch secretary, branch health and safety officer and member nominated representative on Pension panel).

As part of the current lay leadership team, working in partnership with the regional office, we have had significant success in the past three years in strengthening our union in London by bringing greater unity, building participation across the differing service and self organised groups, and building a union to be proud of and I hope to be re-elected to continue the work we have started.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Support the Mainstream not the Extreme - London UNISON Regional Council Elections 2009

video
Never mind the recent political excitement in America, nor even the current Derek Simpson and Kevin Coyne fight for Amicus Unite, the real exciting election Battle is about to take place on February 4th – the London Regional Council Elections!

This is a fight for the lay leadership of London UNISON. The Socialist Workers Party (SWP)dominated “United Left” (UL) is standing a slate against the forces of light and reason. The Socialist Party (SP) have even given up on their long sulk and gone crawling back to the UL even though none of their supporters are candidates. Some dirty deal over future NEC elections methinks. Fancy the SP backing the SWP!

The serious point is do we want London UNISON and its funds run by ordinary members or supporters of tiny, obscure, unrepresentative Trotsky sects?

All of the UL (Regional Council Officers) candidates work in London Town Halls, none of them work in London hospitals, colleges, utilities or the voluntary sector. No wonder other London UNISON service group activists think that UL is a Local Government club.

Now I know some of them are very sincere revolutionary activists, not that you would know it from their election statements mind! The question is, will having a union leadership which wants to on strike constantly, wants to provoke confrontation and strife at all times, which takes orders from extremist "central committees" act in the best interests of ordinary members?

I am amazed that UL cannot find any black members to stand for the top posts of convener and deputy convener? This is London for crying out loud! The current dream ticket of Gloria Hanson (Assistant Social Worker) and Conroy Lawrence (Hospital Electrician) are black activists who have done wonders for all UNISON members in London. But what message is UL sending to London black members by only fielding the UL bureaucracy white "usual suspects" as candidates for the top two positions?

The alternative I am part of is a broad base, left of centre, unity alliance of activists who represent all, repeat all parts of our great union in London. I’ll post my election statements and slate next.

Remember this is my blog and I take responsibility for my comments. If you want to have a go at me and my politics then by all means do so – having a go at others and those who can’t answer back will just end up being deleted. Rubbish in, Rubbish out.

Comrade Mercader has sent me a video on these matters that I would like to share with you. Please forward this link to any Regional Council delegates.

Earphones or speakers on!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Main Street" John Gray on President Barack Obama

I thought that instead of me wittering on about yesterday’s inauguration I should post on my long lost cousins' thoughts, who live across the pond on this very special occasion, courtesy of a Google alert.

"I've been watching all night and all day, sleeping a little, then watching again," said Korean war veteran John Gray, 79, of Flint (home of General Motors).

The Mississippi native still remembers coming home from war and having to go through back entrances at certain restaurants.

"It made me feel terrible," he said. "I had risked my life for the country and when I came back, I was treated like a stranger, like I wasn't supposed to be here."

"...Beaumont resident and All Star customer John Gray, 22, who said he did not watch the ceremonies -

"It's a nice thing and a nice time, but we just have to wait and see if something really happens," Gray said".

"Ashtabula resident John Gray spent his birthday shivering, as he stood in long lines at the inauguration. He said Obama’s promises to America are the greatest birthday gifts he could ever receive.

Obama inspires people. He is a breath of fresh air. His actions and his words give you a sense of hope you are looking for,” Gray said. “I was ready for this inauguration.”

For what it is worth - "John Gray" is apparently is the 1,073th most popular full name in America. “Gray” is the 76th surname while “John” is the number one first name. So pretty Main Street?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Responsible Trade Union Trustees needed to Save the World (II)

I was hoping to be the first to post on this TUC press release but as usual Tom P beat me to it. Check out his post here on the call that: -

1. Pension funds should insert a “do no harm” clause into their statement of investment principles (SIP), requiring fund managers and other advisers to satisfy trustees that their investment decisions are not causing systemic harm to the stability of the financial system and therefore to the long term interests of their beneficiaries.

2. Institutional investors, particularly the large pension funds, should sign up to the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI) as soon as possible. The PRI sets out a series of broad commitments for the engagement of investors with firms around corporate governance, environmental and social performance; it now has over 400 signatories, representing US$15 trillion in assets.

3. A collective reporting and monitoring body should be established to ensure institutional investors are acting on commitment 1. One way to do this would be to broaden the remit of the Investment Governance Group set up as a result of the recent review of the Myners Principles.

This has the support of some serious heavy duty folk. My view has always been that investment governance failures has contributed to the present day economic crisis.

Now we have “TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber, Chair of the Treasury Select Committee John McFall MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee Terry Rooney MP, Chief Executive of the Work Foundation Will Hutton, founder of Hermes Stewardship Services and author of The New Capitalists David Pitt-Watson, FairPensions Executive Director Catherine Howarth, Ethical Investment Research Service (EIRIS) Executive Director Peter Webster, Pensions Investment Research Consultants (PIRC) Managing Director Alan MacDougall, HERMES Equity Ownership Services Chief Executive Officer Colin Melvin, RSA Chief Executive Matthew Taylor and Head of Responsible Investment at CIS Asset Management Ian Jones” .

Who all agree for action and are calling for the the economy to rebuilt on these principles and to prevent any repetition of this disaster.

Picture above is of some of my fellow UNISON Capital Stewardship pension reps who are all ready to do their bit and are waiting for the call.

“Yes We Can” – UNISON Black members lead the way.

I have received a number of really positive reports from delegates to UNISON Black members conference which took place last weekend in Bristol.

Apparently it was an extremely upbeat conference with many people talking about how proud they were to be UNISON members and what the union had done for them, and a lot of people speaking about how inspired they are by the example of Barack Obama's rise to power.

Conference concluded with a show of unity as extracts from speeches by Martin Luther King and Barack Obama were read to conference by National Committee members and there was a moving communal rendition of Bob Marley's 'Redemption Song'.

Interestingly, unlike past years, there was not a single SWP or SP intervention in debates and it was refreshingly free of such malign influences.

Apparently three SWP members tried to leaflet the delegates in the hotel foyer as they entered conference on Friday. The hotel called the police and escorted the comrades from the premises, leaving them to stand out in the street away from the hotel's entrance, where they were completely ignored.

I think that black members are showing the way to the rest of UNISON in rising to the challenge of Barack's example and also excising madcap Trotskyist interference from their self-organised group.

A leading member of the London delegation has promised to write a guest post on the conference for me. At this moment he will be heading for a TV screen like the rest of us.

Monday, January 19, 2009

“What Do We Want..Quantitative Easing..When Do We Want It..Now!”

The SERTUC Regional Council meeting on Saturday morning (see previous post) had invited the economist, Graham Turner, of GFC Economics to update us on the “impact of workers of the current economic situation and future prospects”.

A huge topic to cover in 15 minutes. Graham to his credit didn’t seem fazed at all by this and did his best to cram in a minor PhD worth of alternative financial info in the allotted time spam. Despite the odds - it worked.

Graham argued that the Banks are still lending as much as they did during the boom years despite the common perception of a “credit crunch”. However, what they are doing now is lending to the OFC or “other financial corporations” such as lease and finance companies who use to get their money from capital markets. Which have now all dried up. The Banks are using the money they got from the government to lend to this “shadow banking sector” rather than directly to industry and consumers. He wants the Banks to be nationalised outright since piecemeal recapitalisation of Banks is not working.

He feels for Obama “I really do” since he thinks he will be overwhelmed by events - 1:10 US mortgages are in arrears or being foreclosed. This will increase as the recession takes hold. 1.5 million US jobs have been lost or more commonly, people are forced to go part time. The true unemployment and forced part time rate is now 13%.

He believes that the weakening of Unions in the West contributed to the present crisis since it led to a squeeze on earnings which meant consumer goods and homes were unaffordable which resulted in excessive lending

Graham’s solution is the infamous “quantitative easing” - large scale financial fiscal stimulus of the economy. In April 1932 the tide was turned in the States by buying bonds not cutting base rates. The gilt yield at the moment in the UK is some 4% pa; it needs to get down to 1.5%. By printing money or by whatever is needed. There is no current inflation threat only a real deflation threat. We need to learn from Keynes and from what worked in the 1930’s. Probem is that the lesson of history is of course we don’t learn from history.

Graham is based in Mile End around the corner from where I work. Well done to SERTUC for having him speak. He went down very well with the audience. I did my usual question to him about the role of workers capital governance in the current crisis but got my usual reply (he thought that I was talking about the current dire financial state of many pension funds not workers capital – it must be me?).

Graham has a book out called “The Credit Crunch – Housing Bubbles, globalisation and the Worldwide Economic Crisis”. I queued up with many others to buy a copy which now sits on a shelf immediately to my right and is now glaring at me unread.

Two further things of interest – the first question he had from the floor complained that there hadn’t been enough “class analysis” in his presentation. Graham answered by apologising for not referring to the impact of on the working class of the crisis but made no reference to any theories on class consciousness (which was a relief and a welcome surprise).

Steve Hart, the Unite London regional secretary, asked Graham if could think of a more snappy, user friendly slogan to explain what he was arguing about. Steve, quite reasonably pointed out that he could not imagine going on a demo with thousands of people shouting “What do we want...Quantitative Easing... When do we want it?..."“Now”. I think that Graham suggested “Print Money Now” and “No Wage Cuts”. Which are not that catchy but will do.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

SERTUC – Regional Council

Yesterday morning I went to Congress House to take part as a UNISON delegate in the South East Regional Trade Union Congress Regional Council (SERTUC). Which I admit is a bit of a mouthful but actually quite an interesting meeting.

On route to the Council at Stratford Station I was tapped on the shoulder by someone who said “Hello John” and who I knew but could not remember his name or how I knew him from Adam. He introduced himself and reminded me that I had defended him at an appeal against his dismissal several years ago. Unusually (most appeals against dismissal fail) it had been a successful appeal so he was very pleased with me.

He was on the way to work with the same organisation that had originally sacked him. The appeal was successful since grossly incompetent management had received advice on how to deal with him over an issue from an even more mind bogglingly incompetent HR if I remember rightly.

UNISON delegates had a pre-meeting beforehand to decide on how to vote on motions (there was an extraordinary 8 motions on the agenda – normally there is only 1 or 2). We were a little light on delegates since it was UNISON Black members conference this weekend.

Some highlights of the meeting - the SERTUC regional secretary, Megan Dobney, reported on being the sole TUC representative on the London Development Agency (LDA). The present LDA is completely dominated by political nominations made by London Mayor, Boris Johnson, except for poor Megan. Unlike when Ken Livingstone was Mayor, where he allowed representation broadly in line with the political balance in City Hall. Boris has made sure that the Labour Party now has no representation on the LDA whatsoever, which is just selfish Tory gerrymandering of the worse sort. It was noted that one of the first acts of the LDA was to abolish their equalities committee. They are apparently going to “mainstream” equality issues. Yeah.

In what I thought was a very progressive move, the SECTUC executive had invited an economist as a guest speaker to give us a briefing on the Global Economic/Market Outlook. Graham Turner of GFC Economics gave a thought provoking presentation on which I will post separately.

I was pleased about the way that the motions were dealt with by the Executive and the Council. Motions which were not properly thought out were remitted beforehand following informal discussions. I spoke on the motion regarding the London Olympic Legacy and mentioned the missing health centre and No. 10 e-petition.

The rather daft and “pious” motion 5 “Workers reaction to the collapse of the Capitalist Myth” which called for the seizure of asserts and the public hanging of bankers (OK well, not really but the sentiment was there) was knocked back by a whole series of speakers pointing out in the nicest possible way that this motion was completely bonkers. The movers eventually agreed to remit the motion or face it being voted down. Which I obviously think is really positive. The Executive will take it away and come back with a practical motion that is not going to make SERTUC look foolish and may even do some good.

Caroline Gooding from the Trade Union Disability Alliance gave a very good presentation. In recessions the disabled are often the "last in and first out". The CIPD (the HR trade body to you and me) did a survey of their members and 1/3 admitted that they would unlawfully discriminate against disabled members in job interviews. Better and more effective legal rights to protect disabled people are needed. The government scheme "Access to work" was described as "one of the best kept secrets of Government".

While I missed out on taking part in a West Ham Labour Party stall in Stratford that morning I did feel that the Regional Council meeting had been worthwhile and I’m looking forward to the next one.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Evening Standard up for sale for £1 – Associated Newspapers losing millions

Such a shame.
(Hat tip thingy to Col. Roi)



Recruit a friend to the Labour Party

I received a number of these recruitment “postcards” from UNISON Labour Link. You fill out the details of a “friend” on the back who you think might be interested in joining the Party.

You have to write a personal message about why you think they should join the Labour Party. It’s a really good idea.

The list of Labour Party achievements is impressive. There are some policies that I would have liked the government to have introduced and become achievements but that is another matter I suppose.

The “Economic Stability” one is maybe looking perhaps a little shaky at the moment... but we will wait and see. 24/25 ain’t that bad!

(I’ve had to stop myself filling out the names and addresses of people who I know will be annoyed to get such an invite, especially from me! I’ll stick to friends, family and union contacts).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Directors face Porridge over 'elf 'n' Safety

On route this morning to represent a member in Hertfordshire I had to pull over to sort out a flat tyre just when a really interesting topic was starting on the BBC Radio 4 “Today” programme. I’m sure everyone has sometime or other experienced similar frustrating moments!

On 16 January the “Health & Safety (Offences) Act 2008 came into force. Thanks to modern technology I was able to listen again to this report just now on the BBC iplayer.

Tim Hill, from Eversheds Solicitors, was being interviewed. This superb law was due to a private members bill sponsored by London Labour MP (and UNISON member) Keith Hill. Even before this I thought that Keith was an impressive figure. He gave a tour de force presentation at a London UNISON Labour Link meeting last year. Thanks I think to Keith the bill was supported by the Government.

Many fines for breaches of health and safety law have been increased significantly but for the first time, imprisonment is now an option for the Courts for a wide range of offences.

Tim (no relation I assume to Keith) thought that this will have a greater effect than the much better publicised Corporate Manslaughter Act, since far, far more managers will be potentially affected.

Managers and directors must “enable that things are done safely”. The board will have to take health & safety as seriously as they do finance and production. If they turn a blind eye or are reckless and break the law then Eversheds will inform their clients that for the first time that they face Porridge, not a fine that the company could pay and write off against tax.

It’s a lovely irony I suppose that potentially one of the most far reaching laws to benefit workers and meet trade union demands should had been nurtured and brought to life by Tony Blair’s former PPS.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

McNoHoper suspended from Parliament

So “wanna bePrime minister and serial loser, John McDonnell MP, is suspended from Parliament for 5 days for doing a Heseltine and grabbing the House of Commons Mace while shouting down the Speaker.

It must after all be galling for someone who has such a high opinion of himself to have so little influence on anything. So to give himself some publicity he makes a prat of himself.

Blogging MP Tom Harris has a decent post on this issue.

As in national politics, McNoHoper plays to his telephone box audience while ignoring the views of the majority of his constituents. Many of us who have genuine concerns about the proposed Heathrow expansion dispair that an ultra left extremist is trying to "big himself up" and pretend to represent all local sentiment.

No surprise really since you can of course usually judge the person on the quality of their sycophants.

(Caption - the resemblance is remarkable don't you think?)

BNP Nightmare

I received this email tonight via I think this blog:-

Hi, I've just joined the campaign to stop the BNP - you should do the same.While the BNP pretend to be a "legitimate" political party, once you scratch the surface they're the same old racist organisation that they've always been.

But scarily, people don't know the truth - and this year the BNP are running candidates in the elections in June - and their leader Nick Griffin is standing for the European Parliament.

I remember people saying they wouldnt get a seat in the London Assembly.We can stop them if enough people sign up and join the campaign. action.hopenothate.org.uk/defeatthebnp

It is really serious - can you imagine Nick Griffin earning £50plus grand out of the public purse.We can't let this happen. Please get involved by signing up here:action.hopenothate.org.uk/defeatthebnp

Thanks!”

(I have removed the name)

Just imagine it ...“Nick Griffin – British Member of the European Parliament” – if this doesn’t get you out campaigning against the Nazis this year what will?

Check out also the main Hope Not Hate (searchlight) website.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pass the Sick Bag - United Left's Permanent Revolution circa 1979

In case some UNISON comrades wondered what United Left is really all about...(it’s on blogger and in wikipedia so it must be true!)...

Permanent Revolution is a revolutionary Trotskyist group which was formed after 24 people were expelled from the League for the Fifth International (L5I) in July 2006. It takes its name from Leon Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution.
The group was founded after a two year struggle against the perspectives adopted by the L5I at its
2003 Congress [1]. It had first organised as a tendency then as a faction.[2]
The split followed a discussion of how to assess the impact, on class politics in general and the level of class struggle, of two changes:
the effect of the
restoration of capitalism in the former degenerated workers states in 1990
and of the defeats of the
working class movement in the 1970s/80s, particularly in the USA and United Kingdom.
The group gathered together a minority which argued that, almost without exception, the international left had undertaken no serious rexamination of world perspectives and economy since a "stagnation phase" in the 1970s and 1980s.
[3] It felt that as a result, the international left had been unable to explain either the marginalisation of the left or the failure of important protest movements against capitalism (such as the anti-capitalist movement, anti-war movement and Social Forum movements) to sink significant roots into the world working-class.[4][5]
Permanent Revolution argued the L5I perspectives adopted at their Sixth Congress in 2003, that the engine of the world economy had “halted”, that world capitalism was in a “period of stagnation” and as a result the world faced a “pre-revolutionary period,” were fundamentally inaccurate and the refusal of the L5I to correct these perspectives in the light of experience, proved they had decisively broken from the method of revolutionary Trotskyism. In contrast Permanent Revolution argued that the integration of the former workers states into world capitalism, when combined with the defeats of the working class in the 1970s/80s, had allowed capitalism to revive itself through globalisation.[6]
Furthermore, it argued that while the working class movement was no longer in the counter revolutionary phase of the 1990s, the movement had still not fully recovered from those defeats and rather was in a transitional period, with uneven struggles, not yet usually generalised or sustained [7].

Yawn, yawn, yawn and yawn...God, these people are so boring and so full of themselves. What on earth are they going on about? What does this rubbish mean? it's a tendency, then a faction, they are all L5I, who are these degenerated workers? What are they on? and of course, what on earth are they trying to do to our union? (we can guess)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Forest Gate North Welcomes East Anglia Labour Outlook

My local Labour Party ward meeting last week was held at a members’ home in order to have a more informal "brain storming" get-together for the year ahead.

Tonight we welcomed John Miles, who has recently moved into the ward from Ipswich to work for the National Party. Before he got the job John use to run the well respected blog “Labour Outlook” which he had to give up due to workload pressures.

It was a good ward meeting and I am lucky to live in a Consistency Labour Party (CLP) where there are well attended and active local meetings. Following reports from our 3 ward Councillors, they took questions covering subjects such as problems regarding the new earlier refuse collection times, shops taking over the pavements with outdoor displays, possible redundancies following the proposed centralisation of Council offices, update on Olympic Health centre petitions, the closure of Dunning Hall (important local community hall) and will Newham follow Tower Hamlets as a Living Wage borough?

We have a “plan” for the next 12 months (see picture). This month a Stall in Forest Gate collecting petition signatures about the Olympic health centre, then visits to Holden Point in Stratford which overlooks the Olympic site and to Jenkins Lane which is the main Council Recycling facility.

We are inviting London Labour MEP Claude Moreas, our West Ham MP, Lyn Brown and Newham Mayor, Sir Robin Wales, to speak to us (joint meeting with Forest Gate South ward).

The major campaign event of the year is the European Elections in June. We are aiming for a full ward canvass, numerous leaflet drops and high street stalls.

We are planning a Social fund raiser in August (rounder’s game on Wanstead flats?) and fund raising dinner/quiz in the autumn. We are also thinking about each month allowing time for a short political presentation and debate on topical subjects. Finishing the year off with a Christmas Party.

Ward members will also take a full part in the various West Ham CLP and Newham Labour Party (and socialist societies) activities.

If anyone reading is a Labour Party member and has not been to a ward meeting before I would recommend you give your local secretary a ring and give it a go.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Celebrating the Politics & Life of George Lansbury

I’ve mentioned the famous former leader of Poplar Council, local MP and leader of the Labour Party before here and here. I use to manage a building in Bow called “George Lansbury House. Which stand on the site of his former family home. His home was destroyed by German bombers a few months after his death. There is a memorial to him there with the words “A Great Servant of the People”.

I picked up this flyer in my local “Idea Store” (fancy new name for Library) this lunchtime.

There is a whole week of events celebrating the 150th anniversary of his birth. On Saturday 21st February there is a walking history tour of “Radical Bow”, Sunday 22nd a memorial Church service (with Bruce Kent), Wednesday 25th a panel discussion at the House of Lords “Party Rebel and Labour Party leader” (Roy Hattersley, Shirley Williams and Alun Michael MP) and Friday 27th February another panel in Bromley Hall (with Tony Benn) on “The Most Lovable Figure in modern Politics”.

A number of unions including UNISON are sponsoring the events.

Further information contact Nigel Whiskin on 01793 747 362 or whiskin06atbtinternetdotcom.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Why “Corrupting” Boris is now beyond a Joke!

I think that in London (and elsewhere) we have all had a bit of fun with Boris as the “Mayor”. His apparent hopeless bumbling around, hair astray while madly waving flags about has appealed to the British traditional love of eccentricity.

The Damian Green MP affair however shows Boris in a different light. Putting aside for now the rights or wrongs of Green’s arrest by the Police and the immediate aftermath, it is clear that Boris did publically disclose confidential information he received as Mayor and Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority from a senior Police officer, Sir Paul Stephenson, which he did not have authority to disclose.

Then, unbelievably, while a MPA Chair he publicly gave his opinion on the rights and wrongs of an ongoing criminal investigation in his own force, surely potentially “corrupting” it?

The GLA Labour group are right to enquire whether Boris will intervene in the investigation of all criminal suspects in London or only when they are his mates and political allies?

Can you imagine the row, the absolute explosion, if Ken as Mayor had done something similar?

Boris is facing charges that he failed to comply with GLA and MPA code of conducts : -

Transgression of section 4(a):

You must not disclose information given to you in confidence by anyone, or information acquired by you which you believe, or ought to reasonably be aware, is of a confidential nature

Transgression of section 5:

You must not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or authority into disrepute”

Transgression of section 6(a):

“You must not use or attempt to use your position as a member improperly to confer on or secure for yourself or another person, an advantage or disadvantage”.

The GLA and MPA standards committees will meet on March 4th to consider what to do.

Guilty as charged M'lord” I think should be the only possible plea. Mind you, I won’t be holding my breath.

A day in the Life of John Gray, Trade Union Official

The things people say...from A Very British Dude...

"Openly plagiarised from an equally vile American essay entitled "A Day in the life of Joe, Middle-Class Republican," here is the British version: "A day in the life of Trevor, Working class Tory". The real reason John Gray, Trades Union official, penned this patronising drivel is because the author of the original was also called John Gray.

Two smug, left-wing socialists with the same name 3,000 miles apart, united in their belief that "the state" is the answer to every problem. Right on, Brothers!Its form is predictable.

Everything Trevor, "Trev" to his mates, uses is provided ultimately by the state, which in leftie-world is synonymous with the Labour party. Thanks to the Labour party, the state provides, for free (40% of everything earned goes in tax...), everything from the air he breathes, via "safe" eggs and bacon thanks to Government inspection, through to Pharmaceuticals "safe" because of "Big Government Liberals" (yes, in British version!) demanding the state oversee their production.

He ignores the fact that the Clean Air act was a Tory policy and thinks that all environmental protection and trading standards are left-wing, labour policy, all opposed by the evil Tories.In short it is a tissue of misrepresentation, distortion, and exaggeration. Apparently trades unionists fought and died (do you mean WWII?) for "enforceable working standards" like "35 hour working week, overtime and a decent pension".

Funny. I don't remember that from Churchill's "Blood, Tears, Toil and Sweat" speech. We were generally considered to be fighting for freedom, not the EU working time directive. In any case: Pensions? Gordon Brown's assault on British pensions has apparently passed by John Gray, Trades Union Activist.

He neglects to mention too, the 90% marginal tax rates thanks to Gordon Brown's tax credit policy (Trevor is single, male and on the minimum wage, full time) or the fact that the Government is going to have to tax him more for the rest of his life to pay for Brown's pathetic 2.5% VAT scam and profligate spending when neither the Government nor the people of whom the money is ultimately to be extorted can afford it.

Despite the dishonesty, lack of originality, errors of omission and general smugness of this pathetic tirade, the normally excellent Chris Dillow saw fit to give it a "top blogging" link, which is normally a mark of good writing, whether or not I agree with the sentiments.

In this case, Chris, you've let your side down. If that's the best the left can do, there's hope for the country yet.

Posted by Jackart ranted at 1/09/2009 09:07:00 AM
Labels: Blogs, Left-wing Lunacy

4 immoderate opinions:

Anonymous said...
Jack, Another document worthy of analysis is 'Affluenza' by Oliver James. Whilst he correctly attacks avarice and gratuitous pursuit of celebrity, he still manages to present himself as an utter cunt worthy of committal to the seventh circle.Dre
12:27 PM

Angry of SE1 said...
Whatever the Unions were fighting for it was not 100% to defeat Britain's Enemy. The Mineworkers union have the doubtful honour of being the only union to strike in both world wars!Ain't socialism great!
1:59 PM

Blognor Regis said...
Not all perhaps but at least some Southampton dockers went on strike on the night of June 5th 1944. Therefore many troops who'd boarded their craft the day before and weren't allowed off again for security reasons (they'd already been fully briefed) after the invasion was put back a day because of bad weather went hungry that night.You won't find much reference to this sordid episode around but it most definitely happened. The union's, or maybe unions', logic was something to do with helping the Soviet Union reach Berlin first.That said I expect our chum means The Peterloo Massacre or Tonypandy or sommert else instead.
8:28 PM

John Gray said...
Hi Jack
I hope you don’t mind but I’m going reprint this post on my blog. You have given me lots of brownie points with the "brothers and sisters" in TIGMOO!

I hope you enjoy my post on Boris later on tonight.

p.s Blognor Regis - I'm also going to do a post on the “Beer Strikes” of World War 1 soon.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Number 10 E-Petition on Olympic Health Centre Promise

My local Labour Party CLP, West Ham, is running a campaign against the decision by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) not to honour a promise to build a purpose built health centre in the Stratford Olympic Village for 2012. Our Labour MP, Lyn Brown, is fully behind us.

Click here to sign the petition or cut and paste this http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/OlympicPromise/

This health centre had been promised as an Olympic legacy for the local community. Once the Olympics took place, the heath centre should have been passed over to the Newham health authority to meet local needs. We will be collecting signatures at a street stall in Stratford next weekend.

The petition says “We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to take action to ensure that the Olympic Delivery Authority makes sure that the promised Health facility is built at the same time as the Olympic village for the benefit of the athletes and then the wider local community. Also to make certain that the Government will commit itself to ensuring a measurable Olympic legacy for the East End of London in skills, jobs, homes and facilities and create an accountable agency to oversee the legacy to the local community"

Further information
The London Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) had promised that a badly needed £10 million health centre would be built in Stratford, Newham, East London. The centre was to cater for athletes during the Games then to be handed over for the benefit of local people afterwards as an Olympic legacy. A funding crisis is threatening to delay the construction until 2020. Many fear that once the ODA is disbanded after the games then no-one is legally liable to build the centre.

The picture above is of of 13 year old Sylvia Diggory who was the first ever NHS patient in 1948, meeting Nye Bevan. He asked her if "if I understood the significance of the occasion and told me it was a milestone in history — the most civilised step any country had ever taken and a day I would remember for the rest of my life". She said of course, "yes". I thought it was somewhat apt.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Yes We Can (watch on telly)

What a good idea! UNISON Labour Link are celebrating Barack's inauguration for UNISON staff by watching it together live on telly. Hopefully this will catch on in other workplaces.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Jasper the Cat (beware of foxes?)


Very, very off message but since many bloggers appear to enjoy posting pictures of their animals, especially cats. I am now pleased to post a picture of one of my sister’s cats, Jasper, a pedigree Persian with lots of character, sitting uninvited on her kitchen table last weekend.

I always felt a little left out of it since while I am rather fond of pets we live in a flat without a garden, so we don’t have any.

By coincidence I am just back from our local Labour Party meeting where a longstanding party member told us that she remembers seeing a fox running down the street with a dead cat in its mouth!

I have often wondered about this when you see the desperate placards on street furniture about lost cats? Is this widespread? If so I think that the pro fox hunting brigade may get a spike in support!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Big Mac Uncovered – McDonald’s isn’t loving Unions

(Hat-tip thingy to Tom P). No surprise here – McDonalds is taking part in a rear guard action in the States against a new “union friendly” law regarding recognition agreements called the “Employee Free Choice Act”. The SIEU are running a compaign to try and see them off.

McDonald's isn't lovin' free choice for its employees. The fast food giant is reportedly organizing its restaurant owners to oppose the Employee Free Choice Act. McDonald's has reportedly even formed an "internal response team...to actively participate in the opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act."

McDonald's has more than 600,000 employees in the US, many of whom earn less than $10/hour. But last year its CEO took home more than $13 million.

Now McDonald's leadership is actively organizing to prevent its employees from standing up for themselves at work.

Write to McDonalds and say employees need the Employee Free Choice Act - we'll send your letters to McDonald's headquarters to make sure they get the message.


Maybe send a letter to the British Head office expressing your concerns and while you are at it ask when McDonalds are going to recognise unions in the UK?

Head office, McDonald's Restaurants Ltd:11 - 59 High RoadEast FinchleyLondon,N2 8AW

Day in the Life of Trevor - Working Class Tory

Waiting at home for British Gas to come and fix a leaking boiler I received a Google alert about a wonderful story written in 2004 by long lost American Cousin called originally “Day in the Life of Joe Middle Class Republican”. The original was by a John Gray (from Cincinnati, Ohio July 2004). It had been updated following the Obama victory here. I’m sure my “cousin” won’t mind me reworking it to the UK in 2010.

"Trev is determined to have a good day despite it all. He's still disappointed that Labour did so well in the election, that Gordon Brown will be Prime Minister again, and Labour will have a big majority in the House of Commons. But Trev’s a strong, freedom-loving, independent kind of bloke, and he doesn't intend to let the Labour lemmings ruin his life.

Trev and some of his equally Conservative friends have talked about the beatings the Tories have taken in the last four elections. They can't agree on why it happened, but they do agree on one thing, their bedrock truth: Whatever's wrong, it's the fault of the government, the unions and the bloody Labour Party.

Trev thinks about these things soon after he wakes up in his home in the London Borough of Bexley. He showers and walks to the kitchen to get the kettle going. His shampoo bottle is properly labelled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some interfering liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.
The water he uses is clean and safe because, at one time, tree-hugging extremists fought for effectively enforced, minimum water quality standards.

While he waits for his cuppa, Trev takes his daily allergy and blood pressure medications. His medicine is safe and effective because, years ago, some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and got the government to oversee the production of pharmaceuticals. Trev pays £8.54 per month for all his prescriptions thanks to the NHS, because 50 or more years ago, lazy union members helped make sure that a Labour Government was elected which introduced a National Health Service. All the actual medical treatment he has received over the years from his local doctor and in hospital have all been free.

Trev cooks up some bacon and eggs (both of which are safe because of Government food regulations and inspections), then turns on the radio in time to hear a right-wing talk show host rail against "government entitlements." "Bloody right," thinks Trev, "only wusses think the government owes them something ... bunch of Labour slackers."

Trev gets dressed, goes outside and takes a deep breath. The air is clean because environmentalist wackos 30 years ago got all worked up about industries polluting the atmosphere.

He gets in his Jeep and drives to work in the Isle of Dogs on a government-funded, government-maintained and government-patrolled highway. His vehicle is among the safest in the world because some fuzzy-thinking, "Kumbaya"-singing Labour weenies fought for car safety standards. Trev pulls into his office building's parking lot, made affordable for him and his company by tax breaks.

Trev starts his workday. He enjoys paid holidays, a 35 hour working week, overtime and a decent pension because lazy union loafers fought and died for enforceable working standards. Thanks to the Union if Trev is injured on the job, or God forbid, loses his job, he'll get Company and state sick pay, industrial injury compensation, redundancy payments and unemployment benefit as well as help with his mortgage-- all because some Frenchified socialist didn't think people should starve or lose their homes because of a temporary problem.

At lunch, Trev and some work friends drive to a local government-inspected restaurant while listening to Talk Radio. As they wait for their food, they talk about how tired they are of picking up the tab for "lowlifes who'd rather get a government handout than work," and their friends in "government". -- Which reminds Trev that he needs to send off his student loan payment. That money sure came in handy when Trev attended his state subsidised technical college.

After work, Trev goes home, checks his e-mail and surfs his favourite conservative Web sites for awhile. The Internet is readily accessible to Trev because some British-hating liberals convinced Parliament that giant communications companies shouldn't be given quicker Web access than ordinary citizens.

Trev plans to visit his parents this evening, they live out in Bow near Vicki Park. He drives again on the subsidised roads and soon pulls into the driveway of his parents place. His parents couldn’t get a mortgage from a bank to buy their home. They were only able to get one from their local council. And wouldn't you know it -- the house didn't have inside toilets or central heating until some pinko activists got together and demanded improvements and government grants for the area.

Trev, as always, is glad to see his parents, who are now retired. They live on the State pension and a decent company pension, all because some nosy Labourites made sure they could take care of themselves so Trev wouldn't have to.

As Trev drives home from his parents' house, he listens to a radio talk show. The host is talking about a new book that claims Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal in America actually prolonged the Great Depression, even though serious historians who agree with that premise are nearly non-existent. The host goes on, reminding listeners that conservatives are great and socialists are evil. He doesn't mention that it was conservatives who fought like wildcats against every protection and benefit Trev has enjoyed that day. As he pulls into his driveway in Bexley, Trev thinks to himself, "You're bloody right! We don't need any more big-government losers taking over our lives! Why can't everyone be a self-made man like me? People should take care of themselves without government help, just like I have."