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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!