Total Pageviews

Thursday, 31 December 2009

The end of 2009

Another year nearly gone. 2009 was eventful in many ways, there were good and bad events and developments, but then again that is how it always has been. The hope, as always, is that the new year will be a better one for everyone and the most important thing for me is that hope is in the air (with her legs up the air! bad joke I know...)

Wishing the thousands of you who do and don't read this blog a Happy New Year. There is optimism in the air. How do I know that? I am a firm believer that if you say something many times it will happen, so go and do it!

My NY resolutions are: Remain a free thinker, defend the underdog, reject dogma, keep a balance between the need to be nice and the necessity to make things happen by managing real situations, spend more time with my teacher partner (lots more) resist shallowness, finish my second novel, remain gorgeous, stay humble, be critical of those who deserve criticism and remain focused on pure Trade Union principles.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Sarah Brown

I will not be exaturating I think if I said that one of Labours most valuable assets is Sarah Brown. She is a major hit with the trend setters and appeals to voters of a liberal mind. In addition she has the makings of an inspirational role model for some and could attract votes from Middle England and of course Middle England where Brigadier Trolley, his wife Porcia and daugther Lucricia Fairbottom live are important if Labour is to win the next election. And I am not publicly saying that I am promoting Labour (apparently I am in a politically restricted post so can't publicly encourage anyone to vote for anything??) So bearing that in mind it would appear that Sarah Brown, who fascinates me, is a vote winner. And lets face it Gordon Brown's accounting background makes him more trustworthy than David plum in my bloody mouth Cameron. I hope the country makes the right choice when the election comes up.
And Happy Birthday to my comrade Jon of the Rogers who works so hard for the Branch and has done so much to help so many people. He is a true Helper a breed of people who give up themselves and their careers to help others. Happy birthday mate!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Where did 10 years go??

with close friends in March...

Difficult to believe but we are just about to exit 10 years of history. Where did an entire decade go and why does time go so fast? Is there life on the planet zanussi and indeed is there such a planet? Are these questions relevant or have I been on the bloody sherry again like Ms Marbles.. ( a younger version if you don't mind..)

Well for me the 10 years went a little too fast but as an optimist I am looking forward to the next 10 with my lovely new partner who, I am hoping, will also be the last (5th one so far so hoping to get this one right..) I am still a bit behind Henry the viii I know but would like good old Henry to keep that title.

My grandmother died at the age of 95 in 2005 so that was one bad event in our family but she had a good life and was a strong powerful woman who managed the family and didn't take any nonsense from any man. Then my dear uncle Nikos died suddenly at 70 back in 2008. I was very close to him and he was such a huge inspiration to me. He always saw great potential in me and was openly proud of his nephew ( he was married to my auntie so not a blood relative but still a treasure) but the man was such a lovely person and could not ever think that any human had negative thoughts he thought all men (and women) were good rather than the reverse. He was devoted to his family and those close to him. We often had little arguments about his position (he was the founder of one of the largest Insurance groups in the Hellenic world and therefore a capitalist so would never join the United Left...)I know he is resting in peace.

I also met my previous partner in April 2000 and we had 6 good years together. We are still very close friends and live near each other.

And of course my first novel was published in January 2000 and got some good reviews (and some bad ones) on amazone. It was also listed in the booksellers magazine which made me feel that I achieved something. I once saw a copy of it in Waterstones in Oxford Street. Bugger knows why I stopped writing after that but hey its one of them things and I intend to change all of that by finishing my next novel which will be even more controversial than the first one!

Became Branch Secretary for Lambeth Unison in 2003 ( still there) and continued to be Finance Convenor for the London Region until Feb 2006 (1999 to 2006) So the last decade was busy for me.

In the mean time and in the real world Tony Blair decided to invade Iraq and then Afghanistan which was a major error of judgement and a strong signal of pure arrogance. His disregard of democracy is unforgivable. Then we had the execution of an Innocent Brazilian on the streets of London who was mistaken for a terrorist. And of course we had the collapse of the banking world because the bankers messed it all up by dishing out cash which would give them bigger bonuses but fuck the rest of the economy up? I am amazed that no one got disciplined for such an act of incompetence and I know for a fact that where I am any of us would be on charges if we were in that position?

But there were also good things happening in the last 10 years. Greece managed to host the best Olympics ever in 2004 despite the racist motivated criticism from the press (mainly the British press)and proved to the world that the underdog can win and good always prevails. And then Greece also won the European cup in the same year not to mention the Eurovision crap contest.

In conclusion I would say that like any decade there were good and bad things happening to the world, to our friends, families and those around us that we know and love. I am sure that the next 10 years will be as eventful but hope is in the air (what's she doing in the air again? Thought she went to Spain with Stuart?) and I know that we will all be fine and get on.

Happy New Year to all my friends who read the blog and a special one to my mate Martin Granaher in Germany who I lost touch with and then found out that he actually reads this blog and therefore knows what am up to! Have a good one Martin come and visit soon? Good luck with your next single!

Saturday, 26 December 2009

New novel for 2010...

Hoping to put the final touches to my new novel, still trying to find the time to re write the 3 last chapters. Here's a link to my first book which came out in 2000.. well one every 10 years isn't that bad!

Cut copy and paste job..

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo

Mentioning a few important people in my life the day before Christmas and wishing them all Buon Natale. Friends to start with and associates who have worked with me over the years, but my close mates first.
Martin, Nicky, James, Martin Granaher, Gordon, Mark, Denise, Madline, Andre, Nigel, Jackie, Pepe, Jose, Carlos, Lucia, Lilliana, Claire, Rene, Barbara, Louiza and of course David. These are my close friends some of whom I have known since university days back in 1827...
And of course members of my family who are close to me and friends. Helen, my sister in law and Janet my other sister in law, Flora, Anna, Antroulla, Maria and another Maria my cousins.
And then there are people I have worked with closely in the last 20 years who have also become friends. Juliet, who is more of a sister to me, Anne, Claire, Hassina (she is fascinating) Jon (my second younger brother..) Chester Paul and Jackie and of course Marsha Jane Thompson who has become a good friend, we clash sometimes but she knows at the end that I am always right. She is truly amazing but isn't aware of her true potential I think and allows others to be negative about her when she does nothing other than radiate positive thoughts around people she is close with, an asset worth having I think!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Lambeth Unison AGM report

Happy to say that the AGM report to be presented to the Lambeth AGM on the 14 January 2010 is ready and with the printers. My branch has a good tradition of having good popular AGM's every year that are well attended and we always manage to produce a report well in advance.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Snow every where...

A picture of my road early this morning. Apologies to Andrew for not having a picture of myself to fulfil the prophecy of wanting my ego enhanced... lol

My nephew who is 12 finds it exciting and my neighbours daughter, little Marta, who is 8 also thinks its great. We are surrounded by snow and although it looks lovely it is difficult to get the car out and drive up the hill! My mother also wants to know where this greenhouse that's going to make England warmer is? But seriously the snow looks lovely and it looks like we might get a white Christmas. In the meantime I am breaking the Leviathans code to wear formal wear as I have no intention of breaking my legs wearing hard shoes so there you go!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Triumph of common sense with Xmas number one..

Delighted to see that Simon Cowell's attempt, based on greed, to control the Xmas number one position in the charts has been successfully torpedoed by Jon and Tracy Mortimer who campaigned to make sure this doesn't happen. This is of course a shame for young Joe from X factor who won that competition and whilst he is far better than what the Mortimer's have been promoting the point was made very clearly which is that the general public are not going to allow one individual with little or no talent (apart from being able to manipulate) to control and monopolise the music industry. I am hoping that the next stage for this will be to discontinue the dominance of Cowell and remove him from our tv screens. Talent should be helped and allows to develop without middle men making vast fortunes and controlling the industry. Its got to stop!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Lambeth Unison Xmas get together

Was good to spend time with comrades and friends at the annual Xmas get together last night. We had fun and a great thanks to Juliet for organising it all. I made sure that the main subject for discussion was general gossip. Hassina and I deviated a little bit and spend time debating the meaning of life and the relevance and impact sausage factories have on this. Apart from that the red wine went down well and we all managed to love each other for 6 or 7 hours which is splendid if I may say so! Long live the Republic of Lambeth!

Friday, 18 December 2009

British Airways and the press

Hey lots of snow down here, looking good so far!

Not at all surprised to see that the High Court ruled in favour of British Airways management and declared the Unite strike illegal. It is a well known fact that the courts will almost always take a stand against the workers. The courts have decided that balloting the 900 members of Unite that were in between being with BA and leaving makes the action invalid. They were not interested in the Unite argument that the information, although requested was not made available to them. This would be seen as a totally ridiculous situation anywhere else but not here.

In addition the press presented the result as a victory for common sense. One idiotic travel writer (whatever that bloody means?) went on television and destroyed his ticket in front of the camera screaming and stating that his holiday had been ruined (this was of course before the result) so the 'lets all be miserable and hate everyone' mood so encouraged by the media prevailed again and the message once again is the workers have very little rights and it doesn't matter if management want to reduce their pay by 30% and destroy their terms and conditions of service they should be grateful for having a job and get on with it! But, and its a big bad, we should continue working hard to bail the bloody banks out and pay bankers their bonuses for taking major risks and messing the world economy up?? This isn't right!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

British Airways and strike action

Two things to say today. First the developments with the British Airways strike action and two a statement from me about the recent criticism from Ms anonymous on Jon's blog.
I will briefly state that the impression given on Jon's blog regarding what the UL thinks of me (I was described as being politically untrustworthy by a member of the UL) is a silly one. The comment implies that I have been running after the UL seeking their approval. I will state that I stood for the position of Finance Convenor in 1999/2000 as an independent and won an election against Ruth Styles. I was never a UL candidate (they were called something else at the time) I then served another 4 years in office. In a subsequent election the UL openly supported me when someone stood against me in 2003 and of course I welcomed that. I won that election. The UL then asked me to attend their meetings and I did. There are some splendid activists involved with that group. But I always thought that the marriage between SWP and Labour didn't make sense at all. And politically they are a world apart!! There are many more Labour party members in the region who are not in the UL so the whole concept doesn't make sense. I stayed with the UL for a year or two out of loyalty to Jon and Marsha who are personal friends but politically I was never persuaded by the SWP and Labour love affair?? So any comments on any blog giving the impression that I was seeking approval from the UL is a total non sense. I am a very active Labour party member and have centre left politics. I am a Euro Federalist and a reformist. I don't think the UL has worked well enough in the region and as far as I am concerned there are 3 sections/factors in the region. The UL the non UL and the independent thinkers who come mainly from a SOG perspective. If anyone doesn't understand how this works then that's their problem. Personally I am much more comfortable with SOG issues than dogma and incomprehensible arrangements between groups that have nothing in common. I will resist and fight any attempts for any group to force their views on any individual.
British Airways
I wasn't at all surprised to see the London Evening Standard taking up the opportunity to do a big article on how splendid the terms and conditions of BA staff are compared to other cabin crew. As a result the television channels took the opportunity to inform the general public of how good BA cabin crew have had it for years and why it is about time that we should all reduce our pay and lose our terms and conditions and in effect harmonise downwards. In other words its not and shouldn't be about improving everyone conditions but bringing everyone down to make sure that the bankers find money to maintain theirs. What a ridiculous situation we have been pushed into? I thought the aim would always be to strive for something better? BA cabin crew work hard and long hours especially those serving on long haul, the terms and conditions they have achieved came from long struggles over the years negotiated for them by their trade union so the idea that they should be forced to give it all up because we should all be miserable and on lower pay (not the bankers or MP's of course..) is a ludicrous one. I am hoping that the High Court will make a fair judgement today but I am not holding my breath! Harmonise upwards I say and not downwards!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

British Airways

British Airways is challenging Unite in the High Court today. The existing laws allow for employers to take injunctions against a TU for getting a minor detail wrong. I won't say much on what I think about this today as I could be send to the electric chair given the draconian laws of this country. But what I would ask is why it is that an employer can take a TU to court if they got one address wrong whilst cutting down the pay of am employee by as much as 30% cannot be challenged in the courts. This is not right and not fair, but then again we don't live in a fair world. BA management is known for its nasty attitude towards its staff and I am so glad that of the 80% of Unite members who voted in the recent ballot some 90% of them voted to go on strike. BA is a nasty Levithan all Trade union activists should consider boycotting them!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Can we learn from BA cabin crew staff?

Two of my friends work for BA one was recruited last year and came over from Portugal to work as cabin crew for BA based at Gatwick on lower pay and different conditions of service. The other has been cabin crew with BA for many years and he works from Heathrow with better conditions and pay than H who works from Gatwick. They are both members of unite.
BA has been in financial trouble for sometimes or at least their share holders who are not very interested in fairness have been complaining about the fact that their dividends have gone down so BA started a programme of action which includes the Gatwigfication of terms and conditions.
BA wants all staff to be on terms and conditions that reflect what new recruits based at Gatwick have. But they went even further and they are now going to be reducing salaries even for those who work from Gatwick. So all cabin crew members are, correctly, up in arms and the recent ballot showed the strength of feeling with 80% of unite members taking part in the process and 90% of those voting for strike action! That is an amazing result! So based on what friends who are in the profession say (and there is lots of them in my community) the talk is about fighting and not putting up with the disgraceful behaviour that BA management have embarked on.
In conclusion I would say that both the postal workers and cabin crew staff have shown us that it is possible for those of us active in the union to take unacceptable policies on and fight for what is right. We should now be preparing for what is going to be a year of hardship and should be ready for a fight. Organise, recruit and fight back. Those are the words that should determine what we do in the next year for we will face a major attack by our employers who want us to pay for what mess the bankers created! Lets take them on!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Independent thinking...

Some of you would have seen the comments made by 2 anon people on the Jon Rogers blog. These comments refer to my criticism, as they put it, of Jon. I have of course replied, even though I don't really think anon comments deserve a response, stating that I do not consider what they say seriously. On the other hand there are two fundamental things to say. One is that the anon people who write the stuff could in fact be those who wish to create an argument and two anyone who does not wish to reveal who they are does not deserve attention as they do not, after al, exist? In other words if they are not brave enough to put their name to what they say they are cowards and they are obviously afraid of what others (or me) say about their inability to understand the real world?
Focusing briefly on what they said I would respond by saying that the comments I make about Jon are almost always a joke and the relationship between myself and Jon of the Rogers is a very good and constructive one and if he had a problem he would have told me a long time ago (and sometimes he does) Of course the criticism the anon and non existing people make of me re taking the side of the right wing as they put it, is total non sense. This assertion assumes that there is, to start with, a right wing in the region (and of course there must be) but the people they identify as being on the right are simply people who don't agree with the mixed up politics of what some on the ultra left have. They are not on the right they just disagree with what some on the ultra left think? Most of the so called right are members of the Labour party? So this is simply childish. In fact I distinctly remember violent disagreements within the united UL camp on many occassions so how do they explain this? Don't start me...
I would state again that what I say on my blog is a matter for me and there is no need for any of them to read it. The best ever joke came from one comrade who a few weeks before told me that he never read my blog then a few weeks later complained about something I said. My blog is a personal diary with entries that are read by friends and others and it is an alternative to face book bollony. That is a matter for me to decide.
The non existing person who criticised me says that I am politically untrustworthy what he or she means is I have deviated from dogma and don't agree with their politics (do they really have any politics??) They don't want to understand that at least 35% to 40% of those in the region are free thinkers and they exercise the right to think freely without having to abide by virtual reality discipline? Anyway this is what these anon critics have to say and this is why they will always be far behind when it comes to winning major elections. I will remind the anon critics that after Geoff Martin I have been the longest serving elected lay officer in the region having served a 5 year term as Finance Convenor. They are so politically trustworthy they never won anything! Hoping that whoever the anon pearson was she or he grows up! There is more I can say but I will leave it there...

Saturday, 12 December 2009

A weekend in shallow land...

I used to be snow white but now I have drifted...

Well got friends staying from Portugal this weekend so we are all out socialising so all serious debate suspended until Monday when I return back from shallow land... am too young to stay home and knit a jumper!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Official opinion polls...

A survey of those attending a pub round the corner from where I am, following the pre budget report, has shown that the majority of those asked would not vote Conservative. They were also not happy with Labour policy or those around Gordon Brown but most thought that Gordon was the right person for the job given his finance background.
An opinion poll which coincides with the majority of those of you who never read this blog, confirms that whilst Gordon Brown doesn't look good on television and could never win Ms World competition, they would trust him to go for growth policies rather than take total wipe out measures to deal with the crisis created by the bankers (where is the w in front of that word??) And this of course is what I also agree with, the majority of people faced with the prospect of voting in an outright banana like Cameron (not Diaz..) would chose the safety of Gordon Brown. This is of course what I have been arguing for all summer stating publicly that those idiotic Labour MP's who wanted to get rid of Gordon would have taken us all down the banana hole!
So I put my money (not that I have any) on Labour coming back with a small majority and as long as the likes of Miliband are kept away from our tvs Labour will have a reasonable to good chance of winning! Go back to your constituencies and prepare for government? (who said that, think it was David Steel..)

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Pre budget report

Our darling Mr Darling found himself in a very difficult situation. The pre budget report did not of course have any good news for any one. The only people who might benefit are those on incomes less than 20,000 but with inflation still much higher than any pay rises and with VAT going back to 17.5 % no one is gaining and there will be many losers.

The question with what we have here is whether the pre election pre budget could have been any better under the Tories or the Lib Democrats. The answer is a sure no it would have been worst. That does not mean that the Unions should not oppose the decision to impose a limit of 1% for pay rises (this means a real terms cut with inflation above 2%)

I am in two minds as to how to react and whilst I am certainly not happy with the fact that we are all being forced to pay for the mistakes committed by bankers who were allowed to do what they liked for 10 years with no real controls I am reminded that the reality of the situation is that we are in a real financial mess. What amazes me is the fact that no government is brave enough to follow standard audit rules which would allow for the tracing of those who put the country in such a mess. I worked in an audit division for years and I know that the audit commission insists that standards should be adhered to (as does Cipfa) so tracing the trail and finding who did what and trying to recover fund misuse should be used in this instance and the bankers should not be allowed to get away with the crisis they have created. But of course that in itself will not resolve the problems we have so the question must be do we work with what the Chancellor has proposed or do we oppose them? The debate will no doubt start. The one thing that is sure is that under the Tories more than one million jobs would be removed to pay for the bankers mistakes so it would appear that the choice is between financial hardship or job loses. The debate will start now

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Lambeth Living

Lambeth Living is an organisation that was imposed on the good people of Lambeth who were told that by creating an imaginary structure (called Lambeth Living) things would get better for them and of course this did not happen. All that Lambeth Leaving (it should be leaving) have achieved is to introduce longer waiting lists and major financial problems and hardship. The way they treat staff is also not so good with arbitrary decisions being made on policy and procedure. HR in LL seem to be weak and they simply accept whatever management tells them to do.

The reason I am focusing on this ridiculous organisation is because they seem to be obsessed with spending money which they clearly do not have on numerous consultants and invent HR policies as they go along. I don't think the decision to create this virtual reality outfit was a good one and the Council made a huge mistake like the one they made in 1997 when they put Benefits out. We should fight them like we did in that instance and bring the service back in house where it belongs. It is a disgrace! It would not suprise me if the Labour administration lose the local elections in May because of this huge error of judgment!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Is the region in chaos?

The answer is no and the truth is there is a power struggle between the regional Secretary, Linda Perks, and the forces on the left (well left as in United left and a few additions from other planets..)

The United Left was in control of the region during the Nick Wright years when I was the Finance Convenor. Then Linda Perks arrived (following the departure of Chris Humphreys) and started to get alarmed about certain practices (the opposite of what is happening today where there are no motions coming on from anywhere) She worked well with Geoff Martin who was at the time a very popular Convenor and I had no problems working with her either. So we managed to organise a successful European Social Forum and despite the criticism against Linda Perks she did not try to stop me getting funding for the Forum a task, I imagine, that the real UL would not have been able to achieve.

Then there was a period when the brain boxes on the left wanted Geoff Martin out so they started their school boy 'strategies' to persuade them to go not realising that his departure would have been a signal to others. They then agreed that I would be the alternative to Geoff Martin given my neutrality and my record on being able to keep the balance and work with the office. But they then made a last minute decision and put Jon of the Rogers up for the job. This of course made it look like I was in on the game and that I had deliberately given signals out that I would be the candidate for the job of Convenor when I wasn't and I was used as much as anyone else. Either that or they were more incompetent than I thought.

Those opposing the UL then decided that they could not deal with a clear UL candidate (Geoff Martin was not a UL member and neither was I) so Alan was selected to fight the election and as I predicted the anti UL vote won the day. This showed clearly the arrogance of those on the hard of the UL who always think they know it all. They may mean well but they know as much about tactics and strategy as I know about Swedish nationalism in the 12th century! So cut a long story short they have now ended up not bothering to put a motion to regional committee or Council! How organised! Passive resistance? Doubt it...

On the other hand you have the 'current administration' who have not been able to inspire the region and have not been able to get more than one meeting a year to be quorate? That isn't very good now is it?

In conclusion I would say that the 30% or maybe more of those of us who are free thinkers should think seriously of what is happening in our region and get more involved. I come from a Self Organised Group perspective and the activists involved with those groups (quite a few in number) are free thinking individuals who want to see the region do more to help members. The UL should grow up and the 'others' should do more to inspire people, they can start by making regional meetings more exciting, accessible and interesting!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Daniel is out...

Going back to the real world of shallowlad I was happy to see that Daniel, one of the contestants in the x factor that no one apparently watches, was voted out last night by the great British public. He will of course be using the opportunity he has been given to do a lot of other things but at least his arrogance will not be rewarded and he is not going to be the winner. It is always great to see confidence on display but there is a huge difference between that and arrogance and that should never be rewarded so I say good that the public voted him out!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Regional matters

There has been some talk and there will be more of it on organising regional Council meetings and the regional AGM.

The fact is AGM policy is to have 4 meetings a year so it remains a mystery as to why only one of the 4 can attract enough delegates. This is in contrast with meetings before the last 4 years when we were able to gather more delegates to these meetings. So the question from the 'free thinkers wing' will be why have we not been able to get things sorted in this 4 year period and who is responsible for this failure? Is it my mother? Would it be her neighbours son? Or is it maybe those lay officers who should, in my opinion, make more of an effort to ensure that AGM decisions are carried out? Lets not start giving each other labels and concentrate on answering the questions that will make more of those in the middle (more that 35%) vote a different way? And I am not saying I know the answer but I would like to know what has gone wrong and what the relationship between making democratic decisions at AGM is with those with the responsiblility to implement these? Answers please....

Friday, 4 December 2009

Is Lambeth Unison really the bastion of Militant activity?

I was at a regional meeting last night doing regional business with many friends and comrades. After that I had the chance to talk to a few people. One of them asked me a few questions about Lambeth Unison implying that we (at Lambeth Unison) were well known for our political activism and trades union work. The person in question looked and sounded enthusiastic and confessed that she had wished that her own branch was as half active as my branch. This has of course confirmed what I have always known which is that there are those who want to label Lambeth Unison and Lambeth activists, as trouble makers but the truth is we are a well organised, diverse and very active branch one that I am very proud of with achievements second to none.

And yes it is true that some of our activists get a bit more excited than others but that is what makes us unique, successful and probably the best Branch in London. The reason we are good is because we have been able to take the huge diversity of talent and skill mix it up and blend it to produce a success story. And as for rumours that there is opposition against me or Jon (of the Rogers of course) well there always has been different opinions expressed (must admit never understood how anyone can disagree with me.. lol) but that makes us more alert and any form of constructive opposition is surely a positive thing? Its part of the democratic process?

And there will of course be those who come back and say well you have all the privileges like more time off for tu duties etc. Well yes Mr wise guy but who the beggar got those improved conditions? Was it my mother? Was it her neighbour or her cousins second cousin twice removed? No it was through long and protracted fighting and long term strategies based on campaigning that produced those results. So what is stopping others doing the same? You need to answer that question! Nosotros Estamos Prepardos is the moto and not Perdido en espace.. like some are!

I will deal with the conversation I had with a friend with whom I have a love hate relationship in the Branch (we love each other really) tomorrow (he called me an airhead! lol)

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Tiger Woods and Bankers and the United Left ...

The thousands of you not reading this blog on a regular basis will be wondering what the connection between Tiger Woods (an American golfer and a very rich man) is and UK Bankers? The answer is non what so ever. I just thought those two stories were quite interesting but in very different ways. Variety is the spice of life and all that bollonie!

Interested in the Tiger Woods story because it reminds me of how absurd it is to expect a man to spend 40 years of his adult life pretending to be John the Baptist (no he wasn't a United Left candidate at the 2004 regional Council) It is astonishing that society condemns a person who was just having some fun? Yes I know that he has a family but monogamy (and this is where I get into trouble) isn't real, it doesn't work and the opposite of monogamy (or taking your dog for a walk as it is sometimes referred to) can be ok if done occasionally. Now I am aware of this from my own experience of life and I know that many of my friends in relationships are happier when they get the balance right and this applies to women as wel as men. You can love someone and have a special person in your life who whings at you every day but also have fun? Can this principle be the basis of a new up to date religion? I know the bishop of Bollonie land will not be happy with this but hey this is the 21st century??

Now I come to bankers? Well all I can say on this is that there is a w missing from the start of that word. The public have invested billions into saving these incompetent lot so that they will now be paid extra bonuses? Have we all gone mad? Has society lost the plot? What with Cheryl Cole being presented to us as a singing phenomenon and Tiger Woods as being the Arch Satan of the universe for having a bit of 'how's your father' we should get serious and sort ourselves out before the United Left pass another motion!!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

What's going on?

I have been asked on a number of occasions and more vigorously in recent times as to what is going on in the world of the region. Some of you have been wondering as to whether the forces on the left have given up and will no longer be challenging those they perceive to be on the right. The evidence for this 'theory' comes from the lack of motions being presented at both regional committee and now regional Council. I can understand why people think that things have changed but I believe that this tactical withdrawal of 'effort' in the direction of motions is simply a way of sending out a message. And what is that message you may ask? Well I would imagine the message is obvious? I would imagine it will all be revealed when the business of the Regional Council AGM is announced soon but I don't think for a minute that the 'left' has given up!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

World AIDS Day

Each year, we mark World AIDS Day on December 1st. World AIDS Day is an opportunity to remember those we have lost to the pandemic and to battle against this deadly killer.
The World Health Organization announced recently that HIV/AIDS is the number one cause of disease and death among women ages 18-49 worldwide. AIDS has already taken the lives of 25 million people and 33 million more are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS around the world today.

And yet, as infection rates rise, the public's level of awareness of their very real risk for contracting HIV wanes. We have a funding crisis for HIV/AIDS worldwide. Even the current budgeted relief programs come nowhere close to meeting the need we have to get those who require treatment into care. And stigma continues to prove as deadly as the disease itself, keeping people from getting tested and treated for HIV/AIDS.

Those of us involved with the Trades Union movement need to do more to promote awareness and fight for more resources and equal distribution and support those in poorer countries living with the disease.

Monday, 30 November 2009


Dreadful news about a 4 year old child been killed by a dog that went wild and of course my sympathy goes out to his family, it is a terrible end of a young and Innocent life. What has driven a dog though, man's best friend, to kill and who the hell is controlling this new craze that allows irresponsible people to breed and keep animals in flats and treat them like objects? More should be done to educate young adults before they leave school so that they understand and respect animals. They are not here to be mistreated and although man is dominant in the animal kingdom that dominance and superiority comes with the need to show respect and treat other creatures well and give them some dignity. The government should licence those who have dogs as pests and those caught without one should be dealt with.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Lambeth Council and confusion...

Again I will be boring and start by saying that the majority of what Lambeth Council does is good and those who work for the organisation do so because they are dedicated public servants and not banker like people.

The problem with the organisation however comes from certain sections not functioning well and this is without any doubt (and based on my 21 years of working with the Levitan) to do with complete lack of central coordination or control. This is definitely the case with matters to do with HR policies and procedures. I have deliberately left a number of job evaluation appeals parked to see how long it takes for the machinery to sort things out and set the panels up. I am not at all surprised that the 3 in question have still not been scheduled even though they were submitted in July. I know for a fact that when I start screaming they will be arranged but this is not the way to do business? I will report here next week when I will be announcing that after my intervention these will be done. This is no way to do things and that is where Lambeth (a fantastic place to live in) goes wrong!

Friday, 27 November 2009

Titles and Equality

There are major contradictions in every aspect of society but the one that makes little sense comes from the tradition to dish out titles in a modern age where meritocracy should be the dominant factor. I am fed up switching the telly on to watch the news only to hear that Mr Trolley and Madam Shopping basket are now titled peers. The trick is to create an illusion where someones status is suddenly elevated by adding a title to their name. No thought is given whatsoever of the fact that to have this 'class' of people simply perpetuates inequality. I will never forget the incident where Dr Owen of the SDP was suddenly made into Lord Owen. You then had the same person parading up and down looking more important. I have nothing against Dr Owen but he, and others less able than him, should have more sense and understand that titles simply make inequality more severe. It is all nonsense and the original title class (aristocracy) got where they are through some funny business so why should they be seen as different I do not know. And no I am not having a go at the Queen. You need to have a head of state and she would be as good as some unknown so that isn't the issue. Just get rid of all the titles for God's sake otherwise we should all start calling ourselves Lord this and Lady that. At least the inequality gap will then be narrowed!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

The x factor nonsense...

Well the x factor has been around in different formats for a number of years and it is a programme designed to make people think that they are involved with making decisions when in real terms they are not they simply help promote large music producing companies needing to make more money and bring out talentless people who normally wouldn't make it. Saying that I would admit that Will Young was good and Leona Lewis could sing. But then there's others riding on this big money making machine like Simon Cowe who is simply at the right place at the right time and Cheryl Cole who is as much of a vocal singer as I am a Swedish nationalist! Anyway fact is a lot of people watch this shows which give them the hope that maybe one day they can make it in shalowland! This is the first year ever that no one in the 'competition' has shown any signs of talent. Might as well have the United Left singing the Lambeth walk on it!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Domestic violence

I welcome the new initiative by the Education department to teach young school children the need to respect each other in relationships. There are many horrific stories emerging every day about women (and it is mainly women) being abused by their male partners and indeed quite a few of these are either murdered or injured.

I would also add that any initiative teaching children to respect each other must include lessons about psychological torture which is often exercised against partners in what must be catastrophic relationships. I don't know what can be done to stop us all behaving like animals but one way to deal with this is to put more emphasis on teaching children at a young age that it is not acceptable to behave in such a way. Men must respect women and women must demand respect. The same of course applies to same sex partnerships.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The Inquiry into the Iraq War

The inquiry starts today and whilst no one expects the establishment to find that Tony Blair did anything wrong I am hoping that some evidence will come out showing that the true principles of democracy and decency were ignored by someone who was elected to office by those he ignored. That is what I am hoping will come out of this. Many young men and women sacrificed their lives for something that wasn't true. Removing a dictator from office is always a splendid idea but there are many corrupt governments around the world and I don't see us doing much about removing them. The other excuse was that Sadam had weapons of mass destruction which is something that we discovered not to be true afterwards. The dictator was also not too fond of Osama Bin whatsit so that excuse was out of the window. So why didn't Blair tell the truth and explain that since Iraq produces 10% of the world oil supplies he could not take the risk of having Bush worry about the supplies of oil to the West and therefore he had to be removed? That was the real reason otherwise there would have been a task force send to Rwanda? Hypocrisy is a nasty disease!!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Margaret Greer

I am writing this morning to express my support for Margaret Greer who has declared her intention to stand for the position of Regional Convenor for London Unison. I have known and worked with Margaret for many years and she has my confidence and that of many other free thinking non dogmatic independent activists.

I think it will be great if Margaret wins as she will bring a new approach into the way London deals with union business. She is a hard working no nonsense strong independent individual who has done a lot for Self Organised groups and specifically the Black Workers. I declare my support publicly and I hope others follow my example.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Weekend comments...

I am still trying to get used to the idea that I have to be involved with a debate to try and persuade friends and comrades on the 'left' to drop any opposition to supporting Margaret Hodge at the next general election in order to ensure that Nick Griffiths doesn't get elected. This is of course hard to do and the task will be difficult. Margaret Hodge, ex leader of Islington Council and Chair of the LSPU where I worked from 1984 to 1986. I knew her quite well them days when as a 25 year old committee clerk I used to have dealings with her majesty (and my friend Linda Bellos)

So what am I saying? Well its simple and its all about tactical voting. If those on the 'round the corner and next to the traffic lights left' (otherwise called ultra left) don't put some effort into getting Hodge elected then the BNP will get a large vote which no one, as far as I can understand, wants. So its all to do with convincing the gurus of the SWP (who are very hard working) and those of the Socialist party (and others) to play the tactical game?

Saturday, 21 November 2009

What is a true Brit?

There is some discussion on one or two other blogs referring to the concept of true Britishness and all I wanted to say is that I as a true Brit born living and contributing here support anyone fighting against stupid ideologies from far right parties such as the BNP who are only interested in gathering publicity. But we must be careful how we use some terms sometimes and to refer to someone as a true Brit would imply that there are two categories of British citizen? That is not right at all and must immediately be challenged. It also means that if someone is a true Brit then someone else is less of a Brit?

Friday, 20 November 2009

Euroland gets sensible...

Glad to see that Ms Ashton got the top foreign affairs job in Euroland and will be the chief of Foreign affairs. I don't know much about her career so far but she will be better than Miliband. Good news that Blair didn't get the job either that would have been a nightmare or as one Italian newspaper stated a few days ago it would be like getting Margaret Thacthcer to become President of the Miners Union, it just wouldn't do! Don't know much about the Belgian Prime Minister, Herman van Rompuy, who will now be the first Council of Europe President, but that fact alone makes him more suitable than Blair (someone should tell him to do something with his hair though its a bloody mess!).

Very disappointed to see that the top names in the race came from the north of the continent and that there were no real candidates from Southern Europe but then again Baroso was Portuguese so it could be argued he paved the way forward. Will the predictions I made in my book, Kleintown (published in 2000 and then available via amazon)come true and will Europe end up having a civil war between north and south? I hope not!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Big night in Euroland...

Well tonight is the night when Euro leaders decide who to appoint as President of Europe with the Latvian politician and the Belgian PM being the favorites. There is, unfortunately, a high risk that the Euros will cave in and give the job to the one person with the worst record on international issues. So Blair has got a chance. The man who encouraged the invasion of Iraq under false information? Or the man who messed up the middle East situation? What assets has he really got? He will

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Silence on the Regional committee front...

I was puzzled as to why there were no motions presented at the Regional committee yesterday. The event also finished by 12.00 noon which is a first! The meetings usually go on until 1.00 and more time is also needed. It looked like there was a deliberate air of silence and I wondered if this is because of preparations for the February AGM? Could be because some new and big names (some..) are standing for election for the Lay Officer positions? Who knows what the tactic is. One activists after the meeting simply said that there was no point putting up motions as they would always be ruled out of order.

On a positive note I was pleased to hear that Louise Couling is standing against the BNP man in Barking at the next municipal election and would want to wish her all the best for that. She will have my support and that of others.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

American foreign policy

It is tragic that Britain continues to ignore the wishes of its own people and follow whatever decisions are made by the USA in the sphere of foreign policy.

A lot has been forgotten and the fact that it was brain box President Bush who started this global policy of military intervention, Vietnam style, should be remembered. The causes of world instability must be looked at again and more should be done to deal with grievances that have given rise to hostilities from some extremists against the West.

The policy of accepting de facto situations imposed by Israel, like the building of the wall to separate them from Palestinian territory or the attack on Gaza last summer, must be challenged. It is ridiculous that today we have allowed the media to present the current situation in black and white terms and the causes of the 'conflict' which gave rise to terrorist activities must be examined carefully and not by people like Blair!! An independent European foreign policy needs to be developed away from US intervention. We are not here to safeguard the oil supply routes to America!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Can we retain Lambeth?

There is speculation as to whether we will be able to ensure victory once again within our Lambeth borders in May 2010. The majority of those I know and I have worked with the last time there was an election assume that based on our last success and the fact that Labour increased their majority during the European election a Labour victory is guaranteed. Well I am pretty sure that any one can gurantee anything in love or politics but it seems that the organisational structure is there for Labour to score a victory. On the other hand some unpopular decisions have been taken by Labour since 2004. The decision, for example, to force an Almo onto tenants could affect the vote. On the other hand the Tories never managed to gain anything other than Gypsy Hill or at a push Knights Hill. The Lib Democrats have a greater chance but they have seldom been able to form an administration on their own which leaves Labour with perhaps the best chance?

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Religious law and the rule of law

First of all I will agree that the Rule of Law is supreme and whilst the courts in this and other countries do not always make fair judgments the fact remains that what we have today has been developed over the centuries and it is the best we can get so any idea that religious dogma and principles deriving from that can be incorporated within the British legal system is wrong and must be resisted. We must all be subject to the same rules and creating variations of the concept is wrong.

I am specifically concerned about the demand that we should be changing some aspects of family law and base new ones on religious ideology and whilst I do not want to make fun of religious regulations I would say that some of the rules coming out of religion are not logical and are definitely discriminatory so there will be a huge conflict between the principles of equality and fairness and religious dicta and that must never happen. To allow for a law that says someone must should be stoned for their sexuality, for example, cannot even be contemplated. This is a no go area!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Labour could and will win...

I think it was in April that I predicted that Labour will win the next election and the result in Glasgow north east yesterday kind of proves that. I know we will retain Lambeth in May because we are well organised.

It is unfortunate that people like myself who have strong disagreements with New Labour are forced in the position where there is no choice but to support them but I am hopeful that we can change the party from within. There is a lot wrong with some of the policies that New Labour are pushing but Gordon Brown appeals to me and as long as the Milliband opportunity knocks movement is kept in check we can achieve great things and enact changes in the fourth term. Gordon is proving to be a steady pair of hands and is a pragmatist. He has my support and that of the community I am involved with and will campaign for a fourth term!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Friday 13th

Apologies to the thousands if not millions of those of you who do not read this exciting blog! I am off today and my partner was staying over here last night so we had to concentrate on that aspect of my life and satisfy the standing orders committee. My 5th partner (yes I am competing with Elizabeth Taylor!) is a teacher and rather demanding not to mention a few years younger than me. And what is the secret of my success you will all ask? Well its simple. Be gorgeous, stay focused flirt with shallowness and remain hyper active and never worry about annoying everyone else! Call me old fashioned but I never do!

Have a good Friday as there isn't much to report on today apart from the fact that the Queena is still on the throne, Prince Charles's ears are getting bigger and Camila is still trying to find out which animal she should twin with? Ah and the new Sugar Babes single is out (all about the girl..) that comes from hanging around with a younger partner and their mates!

Thursday, 12 November 2009


First of all let me make it clear that those of us on the left should be careful about making any comments or criticisms that could be interpreted as us being anti our troops. Young men and women are send to war by governments that we elect. The actual policy of invading another country with the objective of subjugating its people has never ever worked and even the great big empires of the world at the end collapsed. So we should learn from history. Afghanistan has always resisted invasion and its people will never accept a foreign power telling them what to do.

The other thing to say is that I am completely opposed to the methods used by the Taliban and the oppression they inflict on the civilian population. But this 'conflict' has its origins elsewhere and the reason or excuse the Taliban have used is the crusader approach used by the West. The West has been blind to the reason used by religious extremists for the hostility towards us and its origin can be found in our insistence to support whatever Israel does or says. A balance needs to be found and more work should be done to find a just solution to the Palestinian problem and I don't think appointing Blair to sort that one out was the right thing to do or gave the right signal??

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Twining with Larnaca town...

Forgot to mention the fact that whilst in Cyprus in May this year myself and the Vice Chair, Anne, decided to twin with the city of Larnaca...

Why doesn't Lambeth Council, as an organisation, work some times??

I always start any criticism aimed at Lambeth Council by making it clear that most of the organisation works fine thanks to the hard work put in by those who have dedicated their lives to serve the public so that stays the same. But there are occasions when it looks like there is total chaos and no control is exercised centrally by the Levitan, the great big beast that is unaware of what the right arm is doing, there is little or no coordination!

A small example of how things can go very wrong came to me this week when I was disconnected from having access to the intranet and Internet on my office blackberry and threatened with dosconnection on all other systems (so no more emails for me) This is despite that fact that I contacted the right department last week explaining that the course I was meant to do in order to retain my access to the system was not responding because my office computer (an office paid by Unison by the way and not them) was not a Lambeth computer. So not only do they not provide me with an office or care about the safety aspect of my environment and where I work they don't even give me a pc. This is despite the fact that they have hundreds of these stored somewhere (don't think they know that but I do!) anyway cut a long story short my computer (paid by Unison as I couldn't wait to be 67 before I got one from them) will not work and allow me to do this course, something to do with their fire wall. So despite having told them this last week and despite asking for their help to sort this out they went ahead and cut my blackberry connection off? This is a typical example of how things go wrong when the big Levithan has no creative skills or the ability to sort simple problems out. Not to mention the fact that it took me 2 years to get them to give me a Blackberry?? And following the receipt of that Blackberry it took 3 attempts before they could get it to work and then had to change the provider in the middle of it because they realised there was a better deal somewhere else of course.

I am appalled by how they work and I can only extend my sympathy to those members who have suffered similar fates! I will from now on lift the ban on me talking to the press to expose them on other things. I will do this of course in my capacity as Branch Secretary!!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Theorists and theory on the planet zanussi...

I just had a go at my friend Jon of the Rogers (apparently that will be his title when Mandelson becomes the PM and sends Jon to the house of Lardships..)

Had a go at Jon for going on on his blog and talking about stuff that is obviously understood by those politicos who frequent conference halls and live for this. Jon and a few others post things on their blogs that is understood by a few people and by doing so limits his audience. He and the others might as well email each other and save cyber space the extra pressure? Blogs are meant to be universal and should be accessible to all so when Jay in my branch asks me what does reference back mean etc etc etc I shouldn't have to explain it to him? So no apologies for having a go. He has this habit and so do others on the left who forget who the vast majority of members are.

Sort it out mate or you won't be going to the house of ladrships or is it lordships? ...

Monday, 9 November 2009

In memory of Hilda Dufty...

Brief intermission from the world of blogging to remember my friend Hilda Dufty who died in her sleep last night at 8.30 I met Hilda through my close friend Martin in 1983 and she was always positive and kind to me. She was a young girl during the last war and worked in an ammunition factory to ensure that the fascist didn't win. Will always remember her kindness and devotion to her only son Martin. May she rest in peace.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Remembrance day...

It is appropriate and right for me to dedicate today's entry to remembrance day. We must all remember those who died in a number of wars to defend basic freedoms and simple rights.

Millions of people all over the world mostly very young died so that we can all be able to be free and whilst I know and understand the arguments about imperialism and conflicts created by capitalist states competing against each other the fact remains that normal people were brutally killed and that is what we remember. Remember specifically those from smaller countries that were invaded and the hardship suffered by the Innocent civilians. More than a million people died in Greece during the second world war and thousands more after the war during the civil war that followed between the communist and the the Royalists a war inspired by the Western capitalist states who wanted to control the area. And milions more volunteers died from the parts of the world that constituted the commonwealth people who had very little to do with whatever conflicts we had in Europe Lets remember them all and make sure it doesn't happen again.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

The trouble with Lambeth...

Let me start this by saying that the vast majority of what Lambeth does or wants to achieve is positive. The vast majority of those who work for the organisation are dedicated hard working public servants who have chosen to be involved because they care. That is a fact.

Lambeth Council therefore has two faces. The face and the persona which comes from those who have dedicated their professional lives to serve a community and the face of internal confusion, chaos and incompetence.

One area where things are clearly not working too well and never have done is the HR department. Now I don't want to be one of those TU guys who always has a go at comrades who work in Personnel and indeed I have many members and friends there but it must be said that this is specifically a section where there are major concerns. I already explained why the constant changes in HR have undermined the confidence of those who work there in my piece yesterday.

The best way to illustrate why things are wrong with say the policy making section of HR is to focus on Lambeth's inability to produce, consult on and agree a policy in a 'reasonable' length of time. An example of this is the issues and procedure concerning the Job Evaluation scheme. I think we are on version 12 of the policy and it still hasn't been agreed or implemented. As a result we don't have a finalised product that can be used to promote and service the objectives of the scheme. So this policy, like many others, is floating in space somewhere or as the Spanish say '.. aperdido en espace..' lost in space!

Another distaster area is the policy around Flexible Retirement. The changes in LGPS mean that Lambeth and other authorities must have a policy to allow them to consider requests for flexible retirement. Lambeth have of course not developed an approach or a policy. The situation with this is so dire now and it means that some people who are eligible for this cannot apply and expect their applications to be treated fairly. One senior HR officer has already told me this won't be a problem as all requests will be rejected. That is of course not right and not fair and it is against the spirit of what the scheme intended. An individual, for example, who is 50 today can apply for flexible retirement but she has until March 2010 to have the application considered and agreed otherwise that same person has to wait until she is 55. So if she was to be made redundant in between (which can happen) then she Will be put in a position where she has been disadvantaged because the Council have not sorted themselves out to have a fair process or policy to deal with this.

I do not think this is an acceptable situation and will be looking at gathering information about how Lambeth have communicated the changes to its staff and what process and procedure (none by the way) they have set in place to deal with applications in a fair way. I will campaign around this as it affects a number of people with long service who will be penalised because of Lambeth's incompetence. They need to be exposed for what they are!

Friday, 6 November 2009

Congratulations to Postal Workers for standing firm..

Agreement reached on postal dispute

The TUC has helped broker an agreement to end the current postal dispute. The settlement provides for 'a period of calm' in the run up to Christmas that will allow further discussions about Royal Mail modernisation to take place between management and the CWU.

The preceding two weeks had seen the TUC facilitating lengthy discussions between both sides to try to resolve the 'difficult and complex' dispute, with TUC general secretary Brendan Barber chairing talks at Congress House.

The TUC had previously assisted both parties to reach the 2007 Pay and Modernisation Agreement.

Read TUC statement on agreement @

Read TUC statements on the dispute @

General Council statement of support for CWU @

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Will Lambeth ever get the HR Division it deserves?

I have been involved with major reorganisations in Lambeth for the last 21 years and have seen change after change. The HR division has been reinvented on more occasions and there have been more movements in that area than I have had visits to the toilet (apologies for the analogy)
The obsession, in my opinion, with this area of the Council is influenced by two major factors. First you have powerful predominantly male Directors who see HR as having a policing role which is something they do not like and they would prefer to have their own UDI' without having to answer to a Head of HR. These powerful empire building Directors resent the existence of HR and often try to control what HR does. The second factor that affects what happens in HR is the one around personalities and if the Head of HR happens to be weak then HR will often be pushed around. On the other hand and when the Head of HR is assertive or over the top with it there are constant wars between that section and front line Directors which then leads to an open war situation. This explains why HR in Lambeth has been centralised, then decentralised, only to be centralised and then be partially devolved. The difficulty and the product of this constant musical chairs movement comes from having a very weak HR team consisting of those who will either get fed up with the games and leave or have people who simply come in and do the minimum. That in turn produces a situation where new people are brought in with little or no experience of how the 'Levithan' works and they either get a major shock or simply put up and do the minimum.
So how can all this be challenged? Well the politicians should get more involved with this area of work and ensure that whoever is responsible for making the decisions they are aware of the strategic significance of this division. They are there to manage and deliver change and having a section full of people who are feeling insecure and unstable does not help deliver this aim? Either they do this or some of us who know a lot more about the organisation then most of the Chief Officers who have been recently appointed should start exposing this ridiculous situation (some of us know where all the skeletons are buried..) And why am I saying all these stuff right now? Because I can sense that we are about to get another reorganisation in HR pretty soon! Not right, not good and very destabilising. Get it right for God's sake!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Why the Left is wrong about Europe

I had a heated debate yesterday with a comrade at work who was opposed to my enthusiasm for a united Europe. My friend is a member of a non mainstream left wing group that have in the past come up with some good initiatives but are strongly opposed to any of us being affiliated to the Labour party and whilst I can understand that I am at a loss as to why almost all the groupings on the left are so anti Europe.
It is true that the idea of a united Europe was build on the need to 'liberalise' capital and to make it easier for Industrialists to use and abuse the system, but on the other hand we should all be more grown up and learn lessons from history. The fact is that we had two major wars on our continent in the last century and we could easily have more conflict in the near future unless we become more united. The Left in Britain should therefore concentrate on the benefits a united Europe can bring and try and get more involved with the process that would help the workers. I do not think, for example, that the Working Rights Directive would have been invented by any British government and the fact that some of the legalisation has been forced on us is actually a good thing. So whilst I understand that I am in a minority position on this one I would argue that the Left has not done its homework on this subject and more should be done to educate people about the benefits of Unity. Maybe some of them should take a trip to Lisbon?

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

The power of the media...

An overdressed Cheryl Cole, is she the creation of the media or has she real talent?

I watched carefully how the media decided to pick up and promote (quite randomly I would imagine) someone like Cheryl Cole. She is a member of the successful Girls Aloud group which has replaced the Spice Girls. The media made the decision to pick Cheryl up and push her upwards and as a result she has now managed to get a number one single in the charts. I am specifically concentrating on this 'media event' as I am fascinated by how it all works. It is evident that getting somewhere has very little to do with having a lot of talent (the girl can't sing) and whilst I have nothing against Cheryl Cole at all and wish her the best of luck I am just impressed by how she was even moved up the ladder and is now an 'expert judge' on the x factor show? So its not what talent you have but whether it suits the media to take you on and put the big spotlight on you. I remember only 5 weeks ago when Cheryl's single first came out how Capital FM and Choice FM played the track almost every 6 minutes on drive time morning radio shows and how after 3 weeks of that my 18 year old nice who can't stand Cheryl Cole started whistling the 'tune' almost instinctively and of course this is because mass exposure to something creates a print in ones brain. This is powerful stuff and this is the way we are all manipulated but unfortunately the key to having this at your control is to be able to be one of the powerful men in grey suits who control media outfits. PR and publicity is what makes for success these days and we can learn a lot from this.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Refuse collectors strike in Leeds

I was astonished to hear the Leader of Leeds Council come on national television and say that he had no choice but to reduce the pay for refuse collectors as the equal pay act forced him review pay and harmonise it (downwards as per usual unless you are a banker..) This is because using the method used to evaluate jobs there is little or no skill in wheeling a bin from the front of a house and onto a collection lorry as a result a collector who today earns 19k will end up with less than 14k? Well the Leader of Leeds Council is wrong and of course if the Council were to use proper evaluation system the impact the job or the action would have on the organisation or those contacts it serves would produce a better result. Employers also use Recruitment and Retention allowances or additional payments to bring pay up with market levels. It obviously becomes a problem if others who do similar jobs do not get the same payment and of course the solution to that is to give everyone doing the same sort of job the increase. So harmonising should mean bringing everyone up and not, like Leeds want to do, down! So good luck to the strikers up there for standing up for themselves!

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Good and bad news...

Well the good news is that the Blair coup seems to have died and Merkel is getting her way (thank God!) One of the criticisms in the British press, which I find astonishing, is that Merkel is against Blair because she wants Europe to shift to the right? How ridiculous, Blair couldn't be any further to the right!! So stupid criticism but then that's the British Press! She doesn't want him there because he is anti European and an opportunist plus he sounds boring.
The bad news is that Miliband, with his vast 2 years experience as Foreign Office Minister (amazing!) will probably be the first Euro land FM this will no doubt allow him to go to Brussels for a few years and come back in time to go for the leadership of the Labour party! What a nightmare! Keep Brown in I say at least he is honest and Scottish!!

Friday, 30 October 2009

Postal Workers Strike

Congratulations to the postal workers for taking up the challenge and not giving up to the bullying and harassment by their overpaid management team this is a crucial test for the rest of us who will no doubt have to endure the hostility of employers who will come for us after the next election. Best of luck to the postal workers

Tony Blair must not...

Peggy Mitchell for Euroland President..

I have been accused of being anti British because I have made my view about Tony Blair and his unsuitability for the Euroland Presidency clear. Well I am British born and I am certainly not anti British, I am simply anti hypocritical and against someone taking up a job and a role that they don't believe in. I dont think I need to go on with this any more but would remind people that this is the man who was seen as Bush's closer ally (unbelievable..) took us into Iraq and promised a referendum on Europe then dropped the plan. In addition and for the rest of the Europeans, he does not believe in a united Europe, fucked the middle East problem up (the invasion of Gaza was during his watch?) refused to have anything to do with the Euro and can't speak a fucking word of any other bloody language?? At least Barosso speaks Portugese, French English and German?? Spot the God damn difference? Lets get real! Might as well have Barbara Windsor doing the job. Blair and Milliband look like the uncomfortable mop and I hope the German Chancellor whips them both into shape. Long live a United States of Europe!!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Jon of the Rogers and John of the Gray...

A rare opportunity, picture without Jon of the Rogers...

I have been previously accused of spreading gossip about the two bloggers, Jon of the Rogers and John of the Gray, who spend a lot of their time telling us how not to do things or how not to boil the milk in the morning. The truth is these people don't have to accuse me of anything because I admit that I do like a bit of gossip, in fact I think gossip makes the world go around so it will not surprise the thousands of readers who do not read my blog to know that this is the 5th or 6th time when these two have been away from blogging and on holiday the same time!! Research conducted by a mega think tank last night, when I was asleep, has shown that both the Rogers and the Gray have stopped blogging at the same time for more than 6 times in the last two years! You can make your own conclusions from those striking statistics but as far as I am concerned there is no way these two would be away the same time without a good reason! Shocking you will say but there you are. Where are they? What are they up to? Does anyone care? Is the earth really round? And how much edam cheese is there on the moon? I don't care as long as neither of them are out there helping Blair ruin the European union even more!!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

European leaders coming to their senses...

Feel a bit better this evening having seen the reaction of key European Leaders and their statements regarding Blair and the Euroland Presidency with Mrs Merkel, who is having dinner with French president Nicolas Sarkozy tonight, stating that she does not like the idea of “having to listen to Mr Flash all the time”. I wonder what she means?? Just keep him out I say! I hear Sainsburys are recruiting for trainee managers so he should apply for that!
Nick Venedi

Tony Blair and Europe

It looks like various politicians in the Labour party are intensifying efforts to make sure that Tony Blair gets the first job as European President. Some of these people signed the petition to remove him from the position of Prime Minister. In addition they are pushing for a man who took the country into the Iraq adventure without regard to the wishes of the great majority in the country. None of this makes any sense Blair is as suitable to become first Euro land President as I bloody am! He is an anti European who did the US dirty work in Europe and his mission was to weaken the Federation by forcing its expansion thus ensuring that it became weak. I hope that other major states resist the temptation to shut the British up by offering him the position. He has also failed in the middle East and he would be as good doing this job as Attila the Hunt would be as General Secretary of the UN!! Get real!!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

The future of the Branch

Looking for secondments to deal with...

We are all aware that there will be a major attack on our members jobs and terms and conditions of service irrespective of which government comes into power in May 2010. In addition we are expecting a radical review of the time off for those of us who have given up our careers to serve in our positions. The ACAS code of practice talks of two separate areas where time off is required by union activists and elected representatives. The major part of what most of us on time off do is to do with duties rather than activities such as preparing for disciplinary hearings, sickness panels, reorganisations (which can sometimes last anything from 3 to 6 months) advising on terms and conditions of service, attending negotiating meetings plus a plethora of other major matters.

Lambeth Council have already warned me, for example, that the fact that they allowed on a temporary basis as they put it for two of us to share the position of Branch Secretary they can no longer afford to have that. The original agreement, as they remind me, was for Jon to be on full time for a period of 6 months and that was to do with trying to finalise policies and procedures and the formal sorting out of single status. Now my glorious employer may be aware (of course they are) that they have not been able to finalise these policies and procedures so whether they can afford to disturb that large donkey or not is a matter for them to decide. What we must be ready for is the imminent attack on those of us who are on secondment. So the world has forgotten that the financial crisis was created by greedy bankers and the likes of us in the public sector have to pay for their mistakes oh.. and their huge bonuses!!

Monday, 26 October 2009

LSE students occupy the lecture theatre at LSE..

A close friend of the family at the LSE tells me that student activists have occupied the main lecture theatre there protesting about the atrocities committed by Israeli troops in Gaze. This conflict is something that disturbs many of us on the progressive side of West European politics. It cannot be just or right that a well equipped army (supplied fully by the USA) is allowed to go off message and attack and kill Innocent civilians. It is also unacceptable that the event happened in the period where the US Messiah (otherwise known as Tony Blair) was supposedly unleashed on the middle East to sort things out. Some bloody sorting out he has managed to do then? And now the sleeping men of Europe want this same man to be the first unelected President of Europe?
It is clear that my generation has failed to achieve a just world but I am hoping that the next generation, represented by today's students, is better able to get some sense out of an unfair world.

Radovan Karadic

Radovan Karadic, war criminal, goes on trial

The trial of Radovan Karadic who was, at the time of the Balkans war, the leader of the Bosnian Serbs, starts today.

The world sat back and waited for years before action was taken to stop the genocide of Muslim Serbs. Karadic's idea was the creation of an ethnically, as he put it, Serb Bosnia which required the extermination of all Muslims. This was wrong and unacceptable as was the indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets by NATO forces in Belgrade. Many Orthodox Christians will not forget the decision to continue the bombing of Serbian cities during the Orthodox Easter.

I totally support the bringing to trial of all war criminals but wonder as to why certain prominent US politicians responsible for the assassination of Heads of state or the start of wars and invasions have not been brought to trial yet? Is this because war criminals are only to be found on losing sides? Am I wrong or was it a famous Secretary of State who was responsible for a few wars around the world and the murder of an elected South American President in 1973? Double standards will not help the quest for fairness and justice.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Europe and Tony Blair

Those who know me are aware that I have always advocated for total political integration in Europe and I am a well known Euro Federalist. I believe passionately that a United states of Europe will deliver greater security and real prosperity for all the people on the continent. I also accept that there is a lot to be done to improve the structures and work must be done to ensure that we do not create a fortress Europe situation. But the one thing that annoys me is the idea that a true anti European like Tony Blair has the audacity to want to become the first President of Europe. That is not acceptable at all. Blair was a well known US poodle and made it clear that his only mission in Europe was to ensure that his masters in America did not feel that their power was withered away by a stronger more united EU, so how the hell he wants to become the President of something he so openly wanted to destroy I do not understand! It will be immoral and wrong to allow this man who also ignored 1 million protesters marching into the streets of London who were against the Iraq war to have anything to do with Europe. And as for Millibak becoming the first Euro Foreign Minister? Well that takes the bloody biscuit! Keep them both well away for Gods sake unless you do, like they do, want the collapse of this great union!!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Nana Mouskouri...

One of the greatest artist of our times Nana retired at the age of 70 (she doesn't look it) not only was she a classical and popular singer she also served as a Euro MP for an Athens constituency (be it in the wrong party) she was and still is one of the greatest artists of our times... Hoping the the rumours of her return are true!

Time off for Trade Union Duties

There is no doubt in anyone mind that one of the first targets for a Tory government (if they come in ..) will be to attack facility time for trade union officers. People who spend most of their working lives trying to support fellow workers at the workplace and by doing so, in many ways, sacrifice their own career paths, will be selected for all sorts of punishment. The Tories and their friends will justify this on the basis that it is a waste of public money. The reality is that in my own Council for example, Lambeth, we have to deal with more than 2000 members. The employer has a team of 120 officers most of them on very high grades, dealing with HR related issues. Trade Union officers deal with disciplinaries, sickness panels, capability issues, dismissals, pension and payroll inquiries and problems. So in our case the 5.5 full time equivalent officers have to represent 2000 members who are being scrutinised by an HR team of 120? That isn't fair and in fact we should be demanding more time off and more training so that trained officers can support those in need. But we all know that things will be changing and I know for a fact that my own position is now being looked at and I am expecting redundancy news to be announced any minute.

Friday, 23 October 2009

The BNP performance

Was the BBC right to allow the BNP to appear on the question time programme last night? Well most of the people I know watched QT and said more or less the same thing. That the BNP man showed his true colours. First it was obvious that Nick Griffith was enjoying the exposure (for the wrong reasons) and second some of the panel members were not as good as I would have expected them to be. But it was no surprise to me that the audience participation and the way they questioned the Nazi philosophy won the night. The BNP are a party of hate with an ideology based on race and stupid notions of racial purity something that does not exist anywhere. In fact most successful societies were build on diversity. There were 120 languages spoken in Rome and more than that in Constantinople in other words areas where there is economic success attract different people and this helps rather than hinder. Any economist will verify this. On the other hand Nick Griffiths idea of purity can't go very far if we take into account the fact that the Roman legions were here in England for more than 300 years and they obviously contributed to the genetic make up of the 'indigenous' population. The Romans were people from all over the Roman empire and whilst they were here they did not stay home at night and knit jumpers!! We are all a mixture of different things and that is a good thing something that makes us stronger and not weaker.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Freedom of speech and the BNP

Of course the real story today is that one to do with the start of the postal workers story. The decision of the CUW to take action was made following tremendous pressure put on them by the manager level who want to change the organisation at the expense of workers. Congratulations to the postal workers for standing up! Messages of support can be posted on the web site
The other story is the one to do with the BNP being allowed to appear on BBC question time tonight. That will of course give them a platform and maximum publicity but I do not believe it will do anything other than expose what they really stand for. The only concern is that the BBC has chosen people to be on the panel who may not have the intellectual ability to achieve total defeat and they should have chosen (assuming that they were right to allow this in the first place) more capable panel members? I am not sure that the reason for allowing the BNP to be on the programme is an acceptable one and whether a party that will abolish freedom of speech should be allowed to enjoy the facility? Are we back in the 30's and is this Nazi Germany??

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

The Postal strike

There is of course a great risk to me personally in that if the postal workers go on strike (and I hope to be honest they do) I will not get the thousands of letters from you every day and also no Christmas cards either but hey worst things happen at sea, as the actor said to the bishop.
On a more serious note I would like to publicly congratulate the postal workers union for not putting up with the shit dished out by the idiotic top level managers in the post office. They want to modernise to ensure that their huge salaries are preserved and that is no justification as this would be done at the expense of those on the lower grades. Good that the union is taking a stand and telling them to piss off and stick it! I hope that the management there are smashed and the workers win!! All branches should support the action!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Time for discipline

The thousands if not millions readers of this blog will know that what I mean when talking about discipline is not the type you get in those funny establishments that some politicians tend to frequent (not mentioning any names specifically here) but the discipline that is required for large organisations and political movements so that they can be successful. Democracy is of course the most important ingredient for any mainframe or small party but once decisions are made in a democratic way then the rest of us have to follow policy that has been formulated. An example of this is when decisions have been taken by Unison national conference only to be questioned later on by those with other interests who may wish to push their own agendas. And that can't be allowed to happen. We debate, agree policy and then we follow the rules otherwise we will have little UDI's everywhere in the country. The same applies at branch level. When decisions are taken those decisions must be adhered to and those who wish to change that will be undermining the basic principles of democracy.