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Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New year 2012



































Just thought I should wish everyone a happy new year on here as there won't be any blogging done tomorrow as we are celebrating Saint Pissartist birthday tonight in the green pastures of Vauxhall.

Here's a few nice pics from 2011...

Friday, 30 December 2011

2011 blog awards

That time of year again when everyone makes up resolutions that they keep for 2.3 weeks then all normality comes back and the world keeps going around. Nick Clegg will continue to look neglected, Ed Miliband will still look like he has lost his lollipop and Ed Balls will struggle wishing he went on that diet before wearing a tight football shirt that showed his belly during the September party conference. And as for Cameron well he will keep a low profile to make sure that Nick doesn't kick him out of no 10.

Anyway determined not to divert too much today and announce the winners of the 2011 blog awards.

Best blog goes to Jon of the Rogers for content interest. Congratulations to our Jon but keep them long articles brief geezer mate as Sharon and Tracey have a short concentration span?

http://jonrogers1963.blogspot.com/

The award for quick info (you can get the news on the hour every hour) read Marsha Jane Thompson's blog, think the blog can do with a few more pictures of me but apart f
rom that its good reading!

http://www.unionfutures.blogspot.com/







Worst hair cut for 2011 goes to Kim Jing from North Korea who despite the famine in his country he managed to retain a double chin and get a hair cut!!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Is Ed of the Milibands a stalking horse?

I have been wondering as to whether the Labour party have selected Ed of the Milibands knowing that he won't win the next election to serve as a stalking horse.

Looking at what he has done and how he reacts when in the House of commons he looks more like a school boy who has lost his lollipop rather than a leader, no offence but that is what he projects. So I am thinking that we in the Labour party (I didn't vote for him by the way) have put him there to prepare the grounds for the Labour Messiah who will come after Ed losses all his lollops?

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Elizabeth Taylor syndrome

I am often asked by the thousands of those of you who never read my blog what my new year resolution is. And of course I always say that my first resolution is not to have one, on the other hand I think it is time for me to try and deal with the problems arising out of suffering from the Elizabeth Taylor syndrome.

Those who suffer from the ETS (discovered by me a few years ago when I was having a bath) would know that it means moving from one relationship to another and whilst I know that Elizabeth had 7 marriages and I have only had 5 long term relationships (so am 2 behind her) she was much older than me and I am slowly catching up. On the other hand why should I worry about it? Its obvious that I am not the one with the problem so who cares!

Euro banana

The BBC has refused to cover the story around the replacement of the Euro with the banana on the grounds that it might upset Nick Clegg before the New Year Eve celebrations. Those of us stuck in the Greyhound in Dulwich last night know only too well that this is a story that should be told. The concern around the world was so great that even Robert Mugabe changed his underpants as a sign of protest.

Replace the Euro with the banana, that way if the currency value goes down you can at least eat the banana! It makes as much sense as North Korea's new leaders hair cut!

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Happy new year..





Getting near 2012, time to have a pint of babysham and chill otherwise make yourself happy and get that dishwasher you always wanted, dishwashers don't argue back and they will not cheat on you. Europe is not just for Xmas..

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Cruelty to animals









Greatly annoys me when you hear of stories which involve cruelty to animals. Animals can't defend themselves and the law isn't strong enough to protect them. This isn't acceptable at all!

One of the ways that you can get involved and help fight against this cruelty is by donating to one of the animal welfare charities like the RSPCA.

Winter is when the RSPCA are needed more than ever. A time of year when financial burdens squeeze homes, more animals will need urgently rescuing from horrific suffering and neglect - like this innocent puppy dumped in a park on a winter’s night. This year the RSPCA is expecting to rescue over 5,000 animals, day and night, whatever the weather.

You can help by donating £5 to pay for petrol so Inspectors reach animals before it’s too late? A Christmas gift of £10 helps pay for warm blankets, hot water bottles and nutritious food. An especially generous gift of £25 goes towards emergency medical treatment for the worst victims of cruelty.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Water aid

Water Aid is great charity worth considering making a regular donation to it. For as little as £5 a month you can ensure that little children have clean water to drink.

WaterAid uses practical solutions to provide clean water, safe sanitation and hygiene education to the world's poorest people.

They now work in 27 countries in Africa, Asia, the Pacific region and Central America.

Find out more about where we work and what they do by googling wateraid.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

On pensions

Excellent piece in brother Jon of the Rogers blog on pensions, good reading here is the link

http://jonrogers1963.blogspot.com/2011/12/accrual-rates-and-revaluation-when-is.html

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

A lot said about pickles but no recipe could be found

I would imagine that most activists are getting ready to fly off to their place of origin right now to spend their Xmas period with family and friends. Saying that I find it hard and difficult to understand why they are so obsessed with pickles? I have looked at every credible menu on the net and have found very few recipes that would suggest that having pickled onions with your Xmas turkey (or the vegetarian alternative) makes sense. So advice to activists is to go back to your constituencies and prepare for a piss up with your family. The other Pickles is simply having very little else to do in his life and any 'controversy' he can create in the media means that his neighbour Sharon might remember who he is. Relax and enjoy Xmas, pickles is just for Xmas..

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Latest on the LGPS

This is the text of a circular received from UNISON HQ on the LGPS;

Since 30 November the Local Government Association (LGA - the local authority employers' organisation) has moved quickly to establish some consensus over the direction of travel within the LGPS and establish some joint principles and a timetable for negotiation, starting in January.

The government and the LGA have accepted that the LGPS is different from the other public sector pension schemes because it is a funded scheme and has assets of around £140 billion at current prices.

There are some key points of agreement between the LGPS unions and the LGA:

 No change until 2014 - avoiding any change before the 2013 valuation

 Prevention of opt outs and maximising of membership to keep the scheme sustainable

 Independent and robust equality proofing at every stage

 Adequate time for unions and employers to consult at key stages of the process

There have been NO negotiations on the detail of future contributions or the design of the new scheme, though they will start in earnest in January, with a view to Regulations being laid in time for the 2013 valuation.

We have had to have Chatham House negotiations between ourselves and the LGA, while trying to get the Government on board, although Chairs of relevant UNISON Committees have been consulted over developments.

We will not know for sure that we can proceed until Eric Pickles as SOS gives the all-clear, which we may not be until Tuesday. We are optimistic that he will say yes and also that CLG will agree to suspend the statutory consultation underway on contribution increases.

As soon as we have agreement and a public announcement is made, the principles and timetable will be sent to you.

There will be a briefing for SGEs covered by the LGPS on 10 January, alongside the Pension Summit, when SGE members within the LGPS will be able to respond to the principles and timetable and agree the next steps.


Our responsibility as UNISON members is to seek the views of as many members as possible and communicate these to our SGE members so that they can take an informed decision on our behalf. Further information will be circulated about this in the near future.




--

Monday, 19 December 2011

Joanna Lumley best celeb of the year award

Joanna Lumley easily wins the best celebrity of the year award voted by this blog.

She looks fab, makes great programmes and still holds that magic touch. Her two recent documentaries, the one travelling up the Nile and the other one focusing on the beauty of modern Greece have shown us that she can still produce stuff with quality and depth.

Well done Joanna Lumley!!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

LGPS Dispute

Looks like public sector union members are being prepared for an announcement which is expected to come out on Tuesday about whether or not there is any possibility of an agreement. Details of this can be seen on http://www.unison.org.uk/acrobat/C7500.pdf I think it will be better to see what Tuesday brings before we react.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Xmas get together

Was great to see Lambeth Unison friends at the annual Xmas get together last night on the green pastures of Streatham. The Unison Lambethians all looked photo fabulous and red carpet ready with Jon of the Rogers bursting into his left of the left type of songs every now and then, I hope that Sky news were not around...

Merry Xmas to all those present and the others who could not make it. Long live Lambeth Unison!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Attacks on TU time off

The right wing press and their friends (both of them..) have, as expected started their attack on trade union facility time. This is of course a favorite pass time for them and a diversion from the mess their right wing government is creating.

But on a serious note those who attack time off for TU reps should always remember the purpose for which this method of measuring the cost of managing change. It is definitely easier and more cost affective (and am talking here as an accountant) to know where the reps are, what they do and who you (the employer that is) are dealing with. There is the small of course factor to do with what employment law says and the detail of things like the TULR(c) ACT. Apart from those logical arguments in favor of more rather than less TU rep time off it is obvious that the attacks are politically motivated by those who spend time with their friends at dodgy parties with their weird mates on the south of France? Know what I mean?

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Further action

I understand form reading Jon's report on the discussions held last week at NEC that no specific action has been proposed following the success on the 30 November. If this is the case then I am concerned as it takes so long to organise and mobilise. Action and the strategy around that must be decided as soon as, why do we always get ourselves in this position?

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Where next with the pensions dispute?

I am happy that my own branch, Lambeth Unison, continues the work they have started in conjunction with community groups in the area and spefically with SOS Lambeth. This is a good strategy and an excellent approach, a campaign which includes members of the community can not go wrong.

I am also very glad that the Unison machinery managed to put a good show on the 30 November it was fantastic to see the action and as I was in Greece on the day (couldn't get out due to air traffic control strikes there..) I can confirm that the Unison banners were on prominently on display on all television channels on the day there. People on the streets of Athens were talking about it the next day as the Greek PAME and TU organisations called the 6th general strike there.

But the question now is where do we go from here and are we prepared for a long hard battle? Are front line branches ready to cover all eventualities that prolonged industrial action would require, have they got their finances in order and have they used the opportunity to recruit more members. Those questions must be asked and answered at every branch committee meeting every month.

The NEC should also be proposing specific days of action and ballots organised in advance as the legal framework we have to work within means we should prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I am hoping the honorable members of the NEC in London have got some of these answers?

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Clegg and Cameron divorce?

The thousands of you not reading this page have not asked me what I think about the current rift between Nicky Clegg and Dave of Cameron. To be honest not many people care what happens between the two of them but the story so far looks like something out of a soap opera.

First there was Cameron banging his Louis Viton handbag on the table in Brussels and saying No to Sarkozi who then run off to Merkel and cried. She then gets annoyed and tells Sarko to tell him how much he hates him. We then know that Cameron rung Nicky at 4 in the morning and woke him up. Clegg was too asleep to say no you did the right thing so he said yeah go on my son you did well. The Cameron PR machine Stachy and Pistachy then put out the story, Vince and other Liberals ring Clegg to read him the riot act so Clegg changes his story and refuses to go to school (known as House of commons) do you get the picture?

Looks like Cameron has his eye on an election and knows that if he appears like he is pissing on Europe he could win on his own without the help of that sex symbol Vince Cable and others. Everyone of course knows that if Cameron goes on to win a term he will then sign up to the treaty (as he will be instructed to do so by his superiors in the USA) and will then piss on the Euro sceptics but it will be too late by then because he would have got the job for at least 5 years... Confused? Well that's politics for you, or am I a cynic?

Monday, 12 December 2011

X Factor 2011

I can understand why the viewing figures has gone down with a 'show' like X Factor, its obvious that the general public are bored of the same old. The biggest difficulty with programmes such as this is that they are extensively manipulated by talentless people who have no specific gift other than making money.

Saying all of that there is a market for something that allows young and older people to exhibit their talent and no one can deny that discovering William Young or Leona Lewis wasn't a major achievement. On another positive note I would say that Tulisa did very well in presenting and managing the group of girls that won this year. She has exhibited great talent for resisting all attempts to undermine her. Well done to her and Little Mix but lets get rid of no hopers like Louis boring Walsh or bloody Simon Cowel.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Thanks to North Lincolnshire TUC

Many thanks to the North Lincolnshire TUC for giving me the honour and the title of having the blog of the month! I am very grateful to them! Cheers keep up the good work!

http://www.northernlincstuc.org.uk/page2.htm

Replace the euro with a banana

I have confessed on several occasions before that I am a pro European and believe in political integration. A totally united Socilist Europe will be a pwoerful and constructive force in the world. But I also accept that we got the common currency thing wrong and things need to be done to make sure that the accountants get it right.

One of the solutions I suggested before is to replace the euro with a banana that way if the value of the euro goes down you can at least eat the banana and not feel so bad? We are told after all that everything to do with the money markets is psychological and its to do with how Tom, Dick and Maria Farandouri feels like. So lets go for replacing the euro with a banana!!

Europe again

Well what can you say everyone I know even my younger circle of friends and the Clapham/Vauxhall mob are talking about it. Its the topic on the lips of many.

Can Britain afford to ignore the existence of a market with 500 million consumers or can we go it alone? Why can't we do a Switzerland and have two currencies? In Geneva you can pay either by using Euros or Swiss Franks. And as far as the relationship between UK and the United Federal States of Europe is concerned Britain could opt to have a trade agreement only and stay safe by getting closer links with Streatham and Hampstead High road.

What is wrong and not at all right is that we can't, over here, simply rely on trading with New Zealand and the USA. The USA for a start needs to have a closer link with the European market (its bigger) so they won't just be happy with supporting a policy that favors Britain. So unfortunately we are stuck between a banana and a bag of chips and have no choice other than to have a good relationship with the continent. Just live with it...

Saturday, 10 December 2011

On Europe

The very fact that most people here refer to Europe when they are discussing what is going on in the world of politics indicates that the British people do not consider themselves to be part of the continent and I think that psychologically at least Britain very much regards itself as an island. Britain wasn't invaded in the last war and therefore did not suffer the same misfortune as most countries and the close relationship Britain has with the English speaking world and especially America makes the Brits feel more secure.

This is of course not the case with the likes of Poland, Belgium, France, Greece and other states that were invaded in the last century so the need for them to achieve a united Europe is far greater and of higher priority, I doubt as to whether the average person in Slovenia or Belgium worry about the Euro but they are concerned about whether or not invasion is a possibility. There is the big bad Russian bear in the East and the Germans could easily get excited again so a united Europe is a better bet...

Friday, 9 December 2011

Cameron on Europe

David Cameron could be right to resist the temptations on offer from Merkel and Sarkozi. I think that on balance Britain is better off having a trade agreement with the rest of Europe and not get into the integration project. He is also right to say that the UK will never adopt the Euro. Saying that I still believe that the rest of Europe must go for full political integration as it is the only way security will be guaranteed on the continent. Those of us on the socialist side of politics should then work hard to ensure that we achieve a real and true Socialist United Europe.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

German Democratic Republic of Greece?

I recently visited Greece to visit friends and relatives and of course witnessed the troubles the general population is going through there but amongst other things I was amazed with the resilience people are showing and how determined the majority of them are to resist and ensure that the current challenge facing most of southern Europe will be one that they manage to win.

I was also shocked to realise that many of the decisions the new and unelected PM there is making had to be cleared by Berlin and Paris. Are we now in a situation where democratic control has been passed on to outside powers or am I getting paranoid here? Is the German Democratic Republic of Greece a reality then?

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Regulate the markets

My good friend ( and not that old mate) Jon of the Rogers is correct to state that 'Working people need an alternative to this failing capitalist system and our trade unions are the only tools in our hands.' He is right in that the trade union movement appears to be the only place right now where democracy prevails (apart from a few minor problems) and where those in membership exercise true control. I am saying this because the current political system we have has shown us that those we elect exercise little authority over decisions that allow us to control our destiny's and politicians are subservient to market forces that control them and the rest of us.

I am of course simplifying the issue here and I know as much as everyone else that we all have to operate within a market and this could be ok if the markets had some responsibility towards democracy and its institutions. Deregulating the markets has meant that the boyz in grey suits are allowed to go in to their expensive offices every day and make big money by speculating on the future of countries and smaller states. The example of what happened to Spain and Italy in the last 3 months shows us how volatile the markets are. Spain was forced to borrow at 6.3% when it has huge debts to repay. Just think what this means when the average mortgage rate here in Britain is currently 2% (if not less) and if you see Spain as a family of many trying to survive and pay back huge loans you can imagine the devastation this interest rate rise creates.

What infuriates me with this situation is the fact that countries allow this to continue and that people simply move on and try to deal with the havoc the markets are causing because they think there is nothing that can be done. Well this is not right and if governments all over the world stood firm and agreed to regulate the bloody markets ( the markets consist of Tom Dicks and Charlotte's and are not bloody invisible ) then things will improve. Right now the only non corrupt institutions are the trade unions but they need to link up on an international basis and deal with this problem otherwise we will end up with another global catastrophe like we had in the last century.


http://jonrogers1963.blogspot.com/2011/12/can-we-buck-market.html

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Who is in control?

We have been used to the idea that every 5 years we go to the polls, sometimes earlier to vote in a government of our preference. This is indeed how democracy works. But I have major doubts now as to whether those in key government positions are in control and it is looking more than likely that a few individuals who manage the global markets together with credit scoring agencies exercise far more power than they should be allowed to have.

The markets that everyone in the media is talking about is not some abstract notion floating on the planet zanussi they consist of and are a collective of individuals that exert more authority than anyone else and this is not right!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Where do we go to next?

There is some debate taking place throughout Unison and other unions as to where we go to following the big day of action on the 30 November. This is a good sign but we all need to prepare for further action as the government is unlikely to make major concessions just because we took one day out. More needs to be done and a comprehensive strategy worked out so that the achievements on the 30 don't become an isolated incident... London Unison is holding its regional Council tomorrow so I am hoping there will be some strong motions proposing what to do next.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Euro crisis uncovers the truth behind policies

It is obvious now from the measures being demanded by Berlin within the Euro zone crisis area (PIGS, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain and Italy) that the priority is to pacify the markets and to save the bankers.

This of course means that those driving the austerity project (the invisible power behind the politicians) want the general population to pay more to ensure the banks survive, so there is very little concern about what happens to the pensioner in Greece or Italy who will be seeing their pension drop from 700 euros a month to 400!! This is the cruel reality of what is happening right now!!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

TUC on day of action

Two million public sector workers, the majority of them women, took part in the National Day of Action for Pensions Justice on November 30.

The unprecedented mobilisation, which dominated the news bulletins, aimed to put pressure on ministers to enter meaningful negotiations to secure a fair and just settlement to the dispute on public sector pensions.

Thousands of events and rallies were held across Britain, with TUC general secretary Brendan Barber addressing one of the biggest rallies in Birmingham and deputy general secretary Frances O'Grady taking part in a march and rally in London. The day was dominated by the workers themselves who told of the impact that the cuts would have on their living standards now and in old age.

As well as rebutting myths about public sector pensions being gold-plated, unaffordable and unfair, the day demonstrated the immense unity and strength of feeling among public servants, as well as the high level of support from private sector workers and the general public.

More on the Day of Action @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/industrial/tuc-20361-f0.cfm


http://www.tuc.org.uk/union/tuc-20343-f0.cfm

Friday, 2 December 2011

Greece. The 6th general strike

The 6th general strike took place in Greece yesterday with all services coming to a complete stand still. There are those wondering as to why the country is still in this situation even after the 6th bail out was agreed. The reason is because the new unelected government in Greece imposed on the people by Berlin is not at all popular and people in general do not see an end to a very deep and messy tunnel.

People on the streets of Athens and other major cities yesterday know very well that the austerity measures imposed on them are not because the EU wants to save them but because they want to ensure that the bankers don't go down so it is looking increasingly difficult to imagine Greece staying in the Euro zone if it means that the average worker loses 400 euros a month from their pay and the standard pension is cut by 30%.

The Greek withdrawl from the euroland project will also mean that Italy and maybe other countries in the south will follow, this exodus is obvious to me and inevitable?

What I would say is that having seen and witnessed the reaction on the streets the day after the British strike, the Greeks and the unions will not put up with what is imposed on them by Berlin...

Thursday, 1 December 2011

World Aids day 2012

HIV facts
HIV stands for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a virus which attacks the body's immune system — the body's defence against diseases.

HIV can be passed on through infected bodily fluids, most commonly via sex without a condom or by sharing infected needles, syringes or other injecting drug equipment.

There are now more people than ever living with HIV in the UK — more than 90,000 — with around a quarter of those unaware they have the virus.

Here are a few more facts about HIV in the UK:

Over 90% of people with HIV were infected through sexual contact
You can now get tested for HIV using a saliva sample
HIV is not passed on through spitting, biting or sharing utensils
Only 1% of babies born to HIV positive mothers have HIV
You can get the results of an HIV test in just 15-20 minutes
There is no vaccine and no cure for HIV
Have any of these facts come as a surprise? There is still loads more you can learn about HIV in the UK by visiting HIVaware — our fun, interactive new website which provides all the information everyone should know about HIV. HIVaware gives you facts and stats on HIV, busts common myths and answers your frequently asked questions.

Take your first step to Acting Aware by visiting HIVaware today.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Monday, 28 November 2011

Join the action

Unable to blog for technical reasons but thought my mate Jon's blog entries would be good as a substitute..

http://jonrogers1963.blogspot.com/2011/11/blairite-blogger-attacks-us-while-tory.html

Sunday, 27 November 2011

PASOK, searching for a leader?

The reality is that Greece is facing a tought time with the current economic crisis, but this is not a problem that is exclusive to Hellas. Portugal, Ireland, Spain and other countries, including Italy are in a similar situation so this is not, in my opinion, the right time for PASOK members to be searching for a new leader for the party.

The decision to go for a national government of unity was a reasonably good one and no one should blame George Papandreou for the few mistakes he made prior to that decision. The fact is that external forces have forced the country to take the current steps but the reality is that these forces can not be ignored and we have to work with what we have even though it hurts. Better times will come and with that more worthy leaders?

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Cyprus EU Presidency

The government of Cyprus has made all the necessary preparations to enable the Republic to deal with its obligations when they take over the revolving Presidency for the EU the term which starts in July 2012 with many projects being in place already.

The communist President of the Republic, Mr Christofias, has already declared that the state is ready to do what needs to be done. It will also be good if at the same time if the reunification of the island takes place before July 2012.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Government threat to unions

The government is trying to intimated the unions by stating that the country will lose 500 million if public sector workers go on strike on the 30th. Perhaps they should consider the damage and the loss in the long term workers will have to endure if they didn't stand up for their rights and acted now.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Lambeth Unison prepares

Proud to see that preparations in Lambeth are well advanced and things are ready for the 30 of November where the biggest protest seen in this country will be taking place. I know that other branches in London have been active but Lambeth has focused on the job and will ensure that the action will be full and decisive on the day. Good luck.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Final preparations for day of action

The government is expected to make a final offer in the hope that the unions will not take their members out on the 30 of November but this will be a gesture and will not go any where near what is demanded.

In addition people in the pensions scheme who have been paying contributions all their lives know now that the increase the government want to impose will not be going into the pension fund itself but will instead be put aside to reduce the government's deficit. I have found this fact to be the most important factor when talking to people who would have otherwise not been taking action, there is a lot of anger around and that will be clearly shown on the 30 when everyone will be out!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Kleintown, will the story become the truth?

In the novel Kleintown published in February 2000 it was predicted that Europe will be in chaos by 2040 and a civil war between north and south would take place. States within the Federation would have Governors appointed by the European President, Maria Fernandez and the English Governor will be hesitating as to which side his state would be on. The US would be invaded by the newly emerging power, Brazil and those in control of the markets will be deciding whether Brazil pulls back or not...

Well I never thought that most of the predictions in this work of fiction would come true but it looks like we are getting near it?


http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kleintown-Nico-Venetti/dp/0953785009

Monday, 21 November 2011

Technocracy in Euroland

The technocrats have taken over in Greece and Italy on instructions from Ms Merkel and Mr Sarkozy who in turn take their orders from the markets.

Spain has now followed with electing a right wing coalition government but at least they had an election. It remains to be seen whether the markers reward the new Spanish government by lowering the interest rates at which Spain borrows. It makes no sense to increase the interest rate a state pays to borrow when the 'markets' know that they can't pay? Every 1% of an increase represents the a huge rise in the total amount borrowed or in real terms it means 10 fewer hospitals and more than 50 new schools being build. This is a ridiculous situation and totally unacceptable. The question of sovereignty is under threat again! Regulate the markets or vote any stupid politician out who comes and tells you that his hands are tight because the markets say so. Beggar the markets!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The end of democracy?

There are those who say that the recent financial crisis has given rise to undemocratic factors who are in control of our destiny. It is not governments I think that create global problems but a small number of incredibly wealthy individuals that control 'the markets' These individuals have astonishing powers and can determine whether governments stay in power or fall as we have seen in Greece and Italy recently.

But I do not think this is a new phenomenon, the clique that controls the 'markets' has been in operation for years and was very active in the last century hence the depression, followed by the recession and then two nasty wars.

And of course we must have a financial system to work with but allowing a group of people who are after all citizens with the same obligations as I have to determine the future of the planet is unacceptable. Get these people in and regulate what they do. I don't want to hear another politician go on telly and say we can't do anything because the markets want this and the other. Why are they forcing Spain to pay 7% interest (highest ever) at a time when they know that the country will not be able to do this? Nationalise the bloody markets I say get the UN to run them if these irresponsible people don't stop their wreck less behaviour, or make them pay 90% tax on all their bloody earnings!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Control the markets!

Many people I talk to think that the current financial crisis is very serious and the problems associated with it complex.

The truth is that whilst the crisis is serious and extremely dangerous the fact is there is nothing complicated about what goes on. Its all to do with little insecure boyz who spend all of their time playing roulette with the future of the world. These are unelected individuals often with very little education. They make anything between 10 to 200 million a year by speculating on whether a country can do x or y they then shift money around and dish out loans and make their profits on selling debt so the current 7% interest rate that Italy and Spain have to pay means that those two countries have to find another 300 billion to feed these peoples greet. The danger here is that this group of people are called 'the market' when what they really are are speculators who could bring in recessions or depressions and throw millions of people in poverty so that they themselves make more money. These are the people who created the preconditions for the first and second world wars. Don't let them do it again! Have we not learnt anything from history yet? States should be sovereign and in control of their destiny not the markets!!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Do we need to have German lessons?

I understand that most of the new unelected cabinet in Greece, the one approved by Angela Merkel, have either started learning German or have some knowledge of the language. That in itself is not a bad thing. Most people who went through the Greek education system had to learn either French or English but I don't remember many who opted for German.

I am of course being semi serious about what is happening in Southern Europe and I apologise to one of my best friends Martin who reads this blog and is himself German. I am not having go, but it looks like that both Italy and Greece are getting their orders directly from Berlin now. The previous PM, Gerorge Papandreou who was elected by his people was quickly removed after deciding to take the package offered by the EU to a referendum. That democratic decision was not welcomed in Berlin or Paris and as a result he had to quickly resign and a new technocrat was appointed (not elected) a man who was previously the Deputy Head of the European Central bank. Same situation in Italy where Berlusconnin was marched out of France after he failed to deliver the accounts Ms Merkel wanted, he was quickly replaced by another technocrat.

It would seem that there is no real democracy left in the world and the absolute masters are the markets. But who makes up the markets? The markets are controlled by people who think its fun to speculate on the future of states, most of them make more than 200 million a year each by playing games. Then you have some powerful governments who are subserviant to the markets and instead of taking control they simply fall in and take instructions from these vile but powerful people. This must be stopped!!!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

All out for the 30 of November

Preparations are being made for the big day of action which is scheduled to take place on the 30 of November but it is obvious that the government will sit that one out and change very little so many of us are hoping that the major unions will be preparing for more action if this proves to be necessary. It won't be enough to have the 26 of March and the 30 of November the action needs to be escalated and a common strategy agreed between the main unions.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

State-sponsored jobs crisis

Unemployment figures published last month were described by the TUC as 'terrible' and were proof that the government's austerity policies were causing a jobs crisis.

It said that ministers could not blame the bleak labour market figures on troubles in the eurozone and that Britain was in the grip of a state-sponsored unemployment crisis. Areas like the north east, where more than one in ten people were out of work, were paying a particularly high price.

Ahead of the latest jobs figures, the TUC published a study showing that the lowest-paid workers have borne the brunt of job losses over the past three years, with the loss of jobs in sales, elementary services and administration responsible for 41 per cent of the rise in the claimant count since 2008.

TUC on latest jobs figures @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-20157-f0.cfm

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Living standards squeezed tighter

New official figures show high inflation and low wage growth are putting a tight squeeze on the living standards of ordinary workers.

With the cost of living currently rising three times faster than wages, the TUC said that instead of supporting hard-pressed families, the government has made things worse by raising VAT and cutting tax credits.

The latest inflation figures also confirm that the government's CPI stealth cut would reduce the value of benefits and pensions by 0.4 per cent next year. Over the next three decades, the value of public sector pensions and many private sector pensions could be slashed nearly 30 per cent, forcing many people into poverty in retirement.

Full TUC response @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-20177-f0.cfm

Monday, 14 November 2011

G20 urged to tackle financial excess. TUC document

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber called for investment in jobs and a Robin Hood Tax to curb financial speculation when he travelled to Cannes for the G20 summit at the beginning of the month.

During the trip he met French President and G20 chair Nicolas Sarkozy, US President Barack Obama, and the heads of the IMF and ILO.

More on this @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-20241-f0.cfm

Sunday, 13 November 2011

TUC document , Sacking horror show

A government-commissioned report that said companies should be allowed to sack workers at will drew a strong riposte from the TUC late last month.

The controversial report by venture capitalist and Tory Party donor Adrian Beecroft, which had been personally commissioned by the prime minister, was made public close to Halloween. Among its recommendations was one that 'unproductive workers' should lose their right to protection from unfair dismissal.

The TUC warned that far from boosting growth as the author claimed, scrapping protection from unfair sacking would damage workplace morale and sap consumer confidence.

Full TUC reaction @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/equality/tuc-20206-f0.cfm

Countdown to Day of Action

As preparations gather pace for the TUC National Day of Action on 30 November, the TUC has put together a special website to support the call for pensions justice, with news, campaigning materials and links to union resources. Details of local events will be added over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, negotiations at scheme level will continue in the weeks ahead following the concessions offered by ministers on 2 November. A further meeting of the Public Services Liaison Group will take place later this month.

TUC statement on pensions dispute @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-20238-f0.cfm

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Lambeth S.O.S











Lambeth S.O.S campaigners met outside the Ritzy cinema today to demonstrate against the Council decision to cut services.


Speakers included Assistant Branch Secretary for Unison Dan Jeffrey and Cyps Convenor Andrew Tullis. Members from the O'clock club also participated with a show of strength.














Friday, 11 November 2011

Remember those who died in conflicts









Remember those who died during war and conflict all over the world. Mostly young people who were killed fighting in wars in the hope that there might be fewer of them in the future..

Lambeth Unison march on 12 November 2011

Lambeth Unison together with other unions and the S.O.S campaign movement will be holding a march which is taking place tomorrow Saturday 12 November 2011 from Wind rush square in Brixton from 1.30 p.m. People are asked to march down the streets of Lambeth in support of the save our services campaign. All activists are asked to attend.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Lambeth Unison action 9 November












Lambeth Unison activists and others attended a gathering outside the Lambeth Town Hall last night in support of the struggle for fair pensions. The Council were debating a motion submitted by the Labour administration which supported the local government pension scheme.


A march through Brixton will be taking place this Saturday 12 November from Windrush Square starting at 1.30 p.m. Activists are asked to make sure that they attend this event which is part of the overall campaign in support of the LGPS scheme.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Yvette Cooper looking good in the commons

Managed to watch the lunchtime news today and couldn't help noticing how powerful and focused Yvette Coopers attack on T May was. Not agreeing with the subject being discussed in the House but looking at the performance I would say that she is a more worthy Leader for the Labour party. Its about time Labour embraced the 21st century and selected a woman leader. Ed Miliband looked like a student who lost his lollipop in the background, sorry but it has to be said!

Student demonstration 9 November

A peaceful demonstration against the government decision to increase tuition fees is taking place today in central London. I am hoping that the police do not use bullets, as they said they might, and fire against their own children?? The students have a legitimate protest and have the right to express their anger..

Lambeth Unison Council lobby 9 November 2011

Lambeth Unison is one of the London branches taking action in support of the local government pension scheme which is under attack by the Con a Lib coalition government. A motion is being presented at Council tonight regarding the pensions situation. Activists and other supporters will be gathering outside the Town Hall steps from 6 o'clock tonight and a 5 member delegation will address the meeting.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Can the euro surive?

Italy is now at the brink and is following the fate of Greece. Its like a GrecoRoman tragedy. But the truth is that the euro will not be able to withstand the pressure placed upon it by the crisis the Italian and Spanish economies create they are far bigger in volume to be seen just as a mere scratch on the surface so I would imagine we are at the start of the end for the currency... This could also see the unfortunate end of the Euro project unless we start right from basics again.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Industrial action 30 November

Everyone I know is affected by the changes that the government are trying to impose on public sector workers. The coalition government have started the war of propaganda by dishing out stories about how public sector workers get better benefits than anyone else. They should stop saying that as it is not true at all, public sector workers keep the country running and provide a very valuable service. I think the propaganda coming out from them will make people more resolute to take action.

X Factor 2011

I managed to watch the results of X Factor 2011 last night as it was only an hour long so less pailful than watching the real thing on Saturday night when I was out. I was annoyed that only 2 of the contestants were thrown out and was secretly hoping that perhaps every participant was evicted. What a shame! Just think what good television it would make if they were all out? Frankie, can't sing Cacoza is just another Wagner..

Government of national unity in Greece

PM Papandreou, the son of Andreas Papandreou who was PM in the 70s and grandson of George Papandreou who was PM before the military coup in 1967 has now resigned and has given in to demands for his departure prior to the formation of a government of national unity.

I don't think the rest of the world is too interested in who does what in Greece as long as the financial crisis is dealt with. Greeks gave the western world their civilisation which included drama so no one should expect events to be less dramatic. I am just hoping that this care taker government gets on with focusing on the real issues and the politicians involved ( none of them are leadership material) get on with the job as the Greek people and the rest of Europe want to move on!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Waiting for that leader..

I was at a very special party to celebrate a very special occasion for a member of my family on Friday night. The venue was in Southgate where a large proportion of the Greek community live.

I was pleased to see and hear from many of the young Greeks who were attending the event that the bad press and negative publicity dished out by the press here and in other countries of Europe would not put them off working towards helping Hellas move out of this bad but temporary crisis. It was good to see 3rd generation Brits of Greek origin be so determined and resolute about what to do. The challenge to Hellenism is a challenge that many of us are determined and capable of fighting off, but those back home need to also do more to put that house in order!

The one thing that impressed me was ow many of these young people were talking about the problem with bad politicians and the lack of a charismatic leader that will take us through this and other problems. That is, apparently, the solution. But where is this leader and where shall we find her or him? Are they amongst us? If they are they would have to sacrifice their own lives for the good of the country and right now I don't see anyone who fits that prescription..

Greece, the games go on..

I know that the Olympics are later on in August 2012 but in Greece the political games are still going on with incredibly selfish and stupid politicians putting their own interests before the country.

The latest in the Greek Euro saga is that opposition leader Samaras wants the current PM removed before he agrees to take part in a government of national unity which could see the country out of the current crisis. This would be fine but he then wants an election held as soon as possible. So on the one hand he declares his intention to help bring the country to some form of stability on the other he wants an election which will in fact create even more of what he is against. These politicians belong to a generation of idiots who should be removed from office. But of course the idiot politician syndrome is not just unique to Greece...

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Euro survives until Italian spagetti hits the fan..

The euro has survived the first round of the fight with reality but the Greek crisis has shown us how weak the entire euro project is. The Greek economy is around 4% of the entire volume of the EU whereas the Italian share is much near the 10 r 12 % if a country with a 4% stake can bring the euro down Buddha knows what the affect of the pending Italian collapse will have on it. So when the spaghetti hits the fan we will all be saying goodbye to the euro...

Papandreou survives vote of confidence and the euro with it temporarily..

The Greek PM came back from his meetings with the great and the bad on the 26 October and brought with him a 'deal' which meant that the people of Greece would have to pay for loans given with high interest rates for the next 50 years at least this would enable the Germean bankers to continue getting their heavy bonuses.

Everyone thought that was the beginning of the end of the story but then he announced that he would be holding a referendum only he forgot to let his Finance Minister know before he made the declaration. The whole place went tits up and the markets ( no idea who these unelected people are?) created a crisis so Merkel and Sarkozi threatened to pull out of the so called deal only their threat could mean that their darling euro would collapse and them with it, so Papandreou was instructed to bin the referendum which he did.

The pressure was then put on on all his MPs and other parties to give him a vote of confidence and he got his 10 majority last night. Meaning that the euro survives temporarily, temporarily because when the Italian spaghetti hits the fan the euro will be chasing its self down the toilet...

News from TUC on day of action

As preparations gather pace for the TUC National Day of Action on 30 November, the TUC has put together a special website to support the call for pensions justice, with news, campaigning materials and links to union resources. Details of local events will be added over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, negotiations at scheme level will continue in the weeks ahead following the concessions offered by ministers on 2 November. A further meeting of the Public Services Liaison Group will take place later this month.

TUC statement on pensions dispute @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-20238-f0.cfm

Friday, 4 November 2011

Joanna Lumley on Greece

I am grateful that in the midst of all the negative and nasty publicity aimed at Greece Joanna Lumley's documentary on the country and its people showed the real Greece. I am also thankful for the comments she made at the end of her programme and I totally agree with what she said which was that the people of Greece are facing a difficult time in their history but will overcome the problems and get through the challenge like they did before. Joanna Lumley should now become an honorary Greek.

Papandreou saga

I could understand if PM Papandreou of Greece declared the need to hold a referendum right after the package was offered but to announce his intention to have one straight after he had agreed with Master Sarkozi and Mistress Merkel was perhaps not a very clever mood.

The country is in a state of instability and to create the preconditions to increase the level of that instability at this stage was not right especially since his only motive is to save his own political skin. The Greek people need to know that there are better times ahead but they are strong and resilient and will overcome this massive challenge.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

30 of November Industrial Action

The unions that balloted members for Industrial Action on the 30 November will be announcing the results later on today. The governments 'improved offer' yesterday does not go near enough satisfying the objectives of what we have so I am expecting Unison at least to be saying that the strike goes on.

Papandreou's democracy

Merkel and Sarkozi are furious with their young apprentice George Papandreou. They wanted him to ensure the survival of the Euro so that their friends the bankers would continue getting their fat big bonus's every year after all the price of range rovers and Ferrari's has gone up!

But George made the decision (last minute it has to be said) to ask the people who will end up having to pay the interest rates imposed on the loan to decide whether they wanted to bail out the Euro and the bankers in a referendum. The markets reacted by wiping out big points off the value of the shares of those who wake up every morning get their 5o pound notes out and eat them one by one.

Well all I can say is that the people of Greece have the right to decide and the war ended in 1945 with the withdrawal of German troops from mainland Greece so the Franco Germans need to learn what democracy means and stop whinging. Papandreou should have had a referendum in October but then he is a politician after all. Let the people speak.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Vote Yes in the ballot





















With the UNISON pensions ballot closing on Thursday, this really is the very last chance anyone will have to vote "YES" in the biggest ballot in the history of British trade unionism.

http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/vote-yes-in-ballot-to-save-your-pension.html



Euro crisis

Students of modern Greek politics were taken by surprise when PM George Papandreou announced last night that he would be taking the 'package' agreed by Euro zone countries on the 28 October to a referendum. It now appears that even his Finance Minister, Evangelos Venizelos, did not know he was planning this. President Sarkozi and Angela Merkel are also shocked by this decision. It means that the uncertainty has been reintroduced back into the equation.

I must say that although I was expecting the PASOK leader to go to parliament for a vote of confidence I did not expect him to go down the referendum avenue. This will take time and of course prolong the crisis. On the other hand it is the democratic right of the people to be given the chance to make a final decision as they will be the ones that have to pay the price. The opposition leader, Samaras, is being dishonest when he asks for an immediate election. An alternative Tory PM is that last thing the country could need right now. It was his party after all that created the mess Greece is into right now.

http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/11/greek-referendum.html


http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/german-warning.html


http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/last-chance-for-euroland.html

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The Greek referendum

Looks like Prime Minister Papandreou has given in to pressure and will be taking the whole package 'deal' proposed by Brussels to a referendum. The austerity measures that come with the 'solution' to the financial crisis have hot the general population extremely hard so it is very unliklely that any referendum would return a vote which approves the reforms, in which case Greece will revert to the Drachma and default on its debt meaning that the markets would then collapse. What a bloody stupid system we have!!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Lambeth Unison Acts in support of the ballot


































Activists from Lambeth Unison attracted interest from the local press and the BBC today when a number of them dressed up in skeleton costumes and stood outside the Town Hall. The pictures above tell the story.. which one is Jon of the Rogers then?

Vote Yes in the ballot

We are getting near the end of the vote Yes campaign to and hpefully all eligible Unison members get to vote in the ballot to ensure that local government pensions are protected.

It is important that all members take part in the ballot and that the reactionary government is prevented for making us pay for their mistakes. Make sure you vote!!

Sophie Habibis

A dignified Sophie Habibis showed up on ITV Daybreak this morning and presented herself in a positive way and avoided the temptation to make any negative comments about any of the other contestants or even that idiot Louis Walsh, the man who somehow and in some mysterious way has slipped through the net and is now a judge? Yeah, he is as much of a judge as I am a Swedish nationalist from Streatham High Road!! Idiot! Well done to our Sophie who has a strong powerful voice, X Factor isn't about good voices though is it?

Sunday, 30 October 2011

X Factor 2011 and prejudice

I haven't been able to watch the X Factor as closely this year as I have better things to do with my time but I managed to switch on tonight only to see how the bitter and twisted Louise Walsh handled his obvious dislike of Sophie Habibis a girl who has more talent in her little finger than he has in his entire body.

Anyway to cut a short story long Walsh has been throwing negative comments aimed at undermining Sophie's confidence and turning the public against this brave and talented girl comparing her to a Secretary who decided to take up singing which makes him look like a donkey who changed his name into Red Rum.

I have said this before and will say it again but those who come from 'smaller minority groups' in British society often find themselves at the end of prejudice which is more often than not subtle but more sinister. The powerful minority are not too worried about picking on someone who comes from a background like Sophie does. I am not surprised that Sophie was send away given that she had to compete with the very talented Misha but the process that created the situation where we were at tonight was one that was engineered by the talentless Walsh.

I could see the difficult position that Tulisa, who comes from the same ethnic background as Sophie, was put in tonight given that if she had send Misha away everyone would have said it was for personal reasons. I am critical of the nasty, personal and negative comments made by Walsh and Barlow, at least G Barlow has a talent but no idea how Walsh thinks.. shame we can't have an investigation into judges prejudices...

http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/simon-cowell-and-x-factor.html


http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/x-factor-2011.html

Qantas Industrial action

I am in full support of the action taken by unions involved with Qantas. The unions have a duty to act when global capital and those who are only interested in maximising the profits of their share holders impose changes that will destroy the future of ordinary workers.

The globalisation programme by Qantas management is total non sense and it should stop. Its all about exporting jobs outside Australia and cutting wages to increase profit. The capitalist class would want us all to be on minimum benefits doing 50 hours unpaid voluntary work and having little prospects. It's got to stop. I am glad union members have stood up against management.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Vote Yes in the ballot to save your pension rights!

Only a few days left for Unison members to vote in the ballot for Industrial Action against the governments attempts to impose massive changes to the local government pension scheme. It is important that all members who are eligible to vote do so!

http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/local-government-pension-scheme.html

http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/message-from-dave-prentis-on-vote-yes.html
http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/vote-yes-in-ballot.html

Friday, 28 October 2011

Local government pension scheme

Some in the media would have us think that workers in the private sector have to pay for the LGPS while local gov workers reap the benefits.

The reality is that everyone pays for everyone else's pension. Companies with occupational pension provision for their employees include pension costs when pricing their goods and services. All taxpayers pay for the cost of inadequate pension saving through the tax and national insurance spent on increased take up of state benefits and demand on NHS and council care services.

Vote Yes in the ballot and save your pension rights!

http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/message-from-dave-prentis-on-vote-yes.html

http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/vote-yes-in-ballot_26.html

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Message from Dave Prentis on the vote yes ballot

I have reproduced below the message from General Secretary, Dave Prentis, to Unison members who are being asked to vote yes in the forthcoming ballot on the pensions dispute.


Take the last chance to save your pension - vote YES in the pensions ballot

I'm writing to you because proposed changes to your pension threaten most of you with having to work longer, pay more and get less when you eventually retire.

These changes are unfair. They mean that many hard working UNISON members will be paying 50% more a month into their pension, working for much longer, and then retiring on a pension worth around 15% less.

UNISON, along with many other public sector unions, is balloting for industrial action. I'm urging you to vote in the ballot and to vote YES.

The ballot closes on 3 November - make sure you've posted your vote before then.

It's urgent that we let relevant ministers know that UNISON members don't deserve this treatment and that we're serious about saying 'enough is enough'.

As your general secretary, I am asking you to use your vote, even at this late stage: we know that those who are against us will argue that any abstention is a No vote and means you're in favour of the attacks on your pension. Don't give them that excuse!

So act now and vote YES to defend your pension. And forward this email to your work colleagues and friends ...

Yours,



Dave Prentis
General Secretary

A German warning

It was correct and brave of Chancellor Merkel to warn European leaders facing the current economic crisis of the shape of things to come if stability is not restored on the continent.

The consequences of us not dealing decisively with the current financial mess could lead to more wars and a return to pre war situations. This statement by the German Chancellor explains exactly what I meant in a recent entry on my blog where I reminded us of the way those from continental Europe think. The fear of instability and war is far greater in states like Poland, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy and Greece than it could ever be here in Britain. The need to achieve a united Europe is greater now than it has ever been before. Europe has to integrate to avoid a repeat of what happened in the last century the economics of it all are of secondary importance but of course integration cannot be real if there is no merging of the economies.


http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/europe-let-people-decide.html

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Vote Yes in the ballot

UNISON members have until Thursday next to return their ballots in the vital industrial action ballots over pensions - but only until next Monday (Halloween!) to request a replacement ballot by phoning 0845 355 0845

http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/vote-yes-in-ballot.html

http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/pensions-calculator.html

http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/09/lambeth-unison-branch-meeting-motions.html

Save the London Fire Brigade Museum

Please sign the attached petition against the fire authorities decision to close the Fire Brigade Museum


http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/lfbmuseum

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Europe referendum

The thousands if not millions of those of you who never read my blog will know that I have always been firmly in favour of a United Europe. A Federal and united Europe will bring peace and stability on the continent. It might even stop the expansion of Coca Cola and MacDonalds.

Saying all of that I also know, and so does my mother and her friends, that the British electorate have major issues with Europe, so it is ridiculous that a Tory PM will not allow for a referendum to decide. The referendum should ask a simple question. It should ask do you want to be part of a European Union? If not then people should vote no and Britain ( I think Scotland will be going the other way) should negotiate a commercial deal with the rest of them and stop interfering with major decisions.

http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/europe-let-people-decide.html

http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/cameron-vs-sarkozi.html

http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/last-chance-for-euroland.html

Monday, 24 October 2011

Europe. Let the people decide

I have made no secret of the fact that I am a pro European. A united Europe is a viable alternative to depending on the USA and it will ensure long term peace and stability on the continent.

On the other hand I am very well of the fact that the British electorate has never been comfortable with the relationship the country has with Europe so it is vital that the government allows for a referendum on whether we should stay in the Federation or not. Britain can't have it both ways. We can't have a situation where the USA determines our foreign policy but we also have a close link with the EU it should clearly be one or the other. A United socialist Europe will be a positive development but if Britain hates the idea so much then the people must be given the choice to decide.

http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/last-chance-for-euroland.html


http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/cameron-vs-sarkozi.html


http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/truth-about-britain-and-eu.html

Cameron vs Sarkozi

It has always been the case that the French and Brits don't really want to spend much time baking a cake together. Everyone knows that in Europe. It is also the case that the Brits never wanted to be in or want a united Europe they would rather be an additional state of the USA.

So it comes at no real surprise when Cameron is told off by Sarkozi who claims that he has had enough of Cameron playing a double game. And of course this is probably true but that is how British foreign policy has always been so its a bit immature for President Sarkozi to lose his cool over this incident.

http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/last-chance-for-euroland.html

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Last chance for Euroland

Interesting time for Europe, the summit this weekend will determine the future of the Federation. If the Franco German alliance wins the argument then the Euro will be supported and the member states will move closer to fiscal integration meaning that decisions about the economy will be made centrally.

I am sure that Britain has no choice other than to continue a close association with Federal Europe as it is a huge market. Britain will obviously not want fiscal integration and will therefore select to remain outside the close circle of those who may chose to go for it choosing instead to remain closer to the USA and use Europe for commercial interests only.

I think the current crisis is an opportunity to sort out the direction of this vast organisation and it will be a make or break point.


http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/greece-do-they-get-bail-out-money.html

http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/greece-economic-mess.html

http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/euro-zone-and-fiscal-union.html

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Greece. Do they get the bail out money ( a high interest loan)

I am hoping that the leaders of the not so free world who are meeting in the south of France this weekend whilst the rest of us can't pay our gas bills will dish out more dosh for mother Greece.

Greece deserves more money, as Joanna Lumley discovered, as they were responsible for all good things in the west? If that's the case then more euros should be found to ensure that the destruction that the west had caused on that country in the last century (well some of it anyway) is repaid.

Greece was thrown into the first and second world wars to fight fascism it was then forced to fight a war against Stalin which went on until the early 50s, then they had the military junta imposed on them in 1967 by the CIA, there was no marshal plan given to Greece instead NATO expected the country to be part of the organisation to protect the oil routes from the unstable middle East, never mind the suffering endured by its people who were never allowed to build up their country. Time to pay up. Europe needs Greece and not the other way around.

http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/greece-economic-mess.html

Simon Cowell and X Factor

I know I should have better things to do than worry about how the media is manipulating us but it annoys me greatly when PR strategists play their little plans and see them develop into facts.

PR strategists have a job to do but they should not assume that we are all idiots and that we don't know what they are up to.

It is now pretty obvious that Simon Cowell who has a degree in looking at acts and eating cream cakes, would have known that viewing figures would go down following his apparent withdrawal from X factor, the changes in the format make it natural that the number of people watching will go down.

We would then all think that the figures have gone down because he and that great soprano of all times, Cheryl Cole, are no longer involved. The media then stirs it all up by having us believe that the return of Simon etc would make it all good again. Cut a short story long Simon comes back figures go up and his head gets even bigger.. Cheryl Cole makes a surprise return she sings ' i don't want a pair of shoes..' we all think she is as good as Maria Callas or Kiri De Kanot do and all is well. More dosh for her and Simon to eat even more cream cakes.

Does anyone in the media really think the great British public will buy this??

Bring back Wagner and give him the title I say!! Or get Jon of the Rogers to go on x factor and sing doing the Lambeth walk..


http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/simon-cowell-and-x-factor-2011.html

Friday, 21 October 2011

Pensions calculator

It is important for those having any doubts about which way to vote in the national ballot on pensions that they get the right information. The attached link shows you how to calculate possible loses if the measures are imposed.

http://pensionsjustice.org.uk/pensions-changes-calculator/

Vote Yes in the ballot

Inaccurate information and misleading statements about the local government pension scheme are rife in the media and are being encouraged by politicians. Unison has a guide highlighting the most prevalent and erroneous of these myths and sets the realities of the LGPS to find out more go on the Unioson.org.uk website there is plenty of info there.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Go compare government

There is no question as to whether the coalition government is in touch with us or with reality. It is all getting rather ridiculous when Cameron in his 'infinite' wisdom proposes that people facing poverty because of his governments inability to manage the economy should go on go compare type of websites to find better deals for their energy supliers? He has obviously lost the plot or worst still he lives in a world of his own with other range rover owners in Kensington?? How the hell can someone in such a senior position have been elected to hold such a high office? How would my 80 year old neighbour who doesn't even know what the Internet is get a better deal on go compare?

Perhaps Cameron and the others should concentrate on stopping energy companies making huge profits in times of recession? Or has he no influence at all? What a mess we are in! Get rid of them all!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Greece. An economic mess

The Greek economy and society as a whole is facing a major crisis. The capitalist system which is based on the need to develop, expand then destruct so that more capital is released to pay for those in power works in cycles.

I am not blaming other countries exclusively for the mess that Greece is in right now but the leaders of the Franco German alliance in 2000 knew very well that the Greek economy was not ready for the Euro yet they insisted (in a hurry to support the then PM Costas Simitis) that Greece should join the Euro zone.

There were no real or hard checks made to ensure that what Greek government officials were stating and the returns they were sending Brussels were correctly prepared and audited, as a result Greece entered the Euro zone in a hurry and at a stage where the economy wasn't ready and there was not, in real terms, real convergence prior to entry!

Foreign banks had no problem lending billions to a Euro zone state which in turn encouraged successive government eager to please the electorate, to borrow more and more.

So we now have a situation where the Greek population is being punished for huge government mistakes. 30% of all public sector workers have or will be fired and even pensions have been reduced by 20% vat and other taxes have been increased and there is more to come. There has been one strike after another as the population and the unions there refuse to be punished any further. The austerity measures are imposed to ensure that the banks get paid at some stage in the future but that is at the expense of major poverty for the Greek workers.

The summit this weekend will determine whether Greece will default in which case all hell will break lose or whether the country will continue punishing the people with more austerity measures. If Greece defaults then other countries might do the same and then more banks will collapse...

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Ken Livingstone

I was glad to see Ken Livingstone and his PR team (we call it election team) get out and about in London yesterday. I think that Ken is caught between two difficult positions. On the one hand he knows that if he looked and sounded a little more independent he would win broader support on the other I am sure he understands that being seen with someone as unpopular as Ed Balls is not going to do him many favours. I do, however, understand that on balance he needs to be seen to be in with the Labour party 'elite'.. just don't over do it Ken! We want you to win!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Simon Cowell and X Factor 2011

Apparently we all believe in father Xmas and think Snow white was a communist. That's what the media seem to think of the general public.

And what may you say is the connection with that statement and Simon Cowell? Well apparently we don't know that its all a PR fix and the reason Cowell left the show to the new judges is so that he could return back in triumph once the number of viewers fell. The PR coup would then have us feeling that he is so good and that the show can't survive without his expert input? And of course the next step will be the re introduction of that magnificent opera singer and great soprano ( not..) Cheryl Cole, and then all will be well and the viewing figures will go up again as they will because the media will make sure the 'return' of Simon is totally sensationalised!

Don't they know that the number of those watching has gone down because people are bored with the same old? Plus many people now do not watch on the same night but catch up, like what I do, on i player which is not recorded as having watched the 'programme' ?

TUC document. Open Public Services White Paper - TUC Response

This paper provides a detailed, evidence based analysis of the proposals set out in the white paper and sets out the TUC's approach to public service reform. The TUC has serious concerns about the direction of Government policy on public service reform and the paper makes this case with reference to a wide range of sectors and sources.
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-20175-f0.cfm

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Unions call on Standard Chartered UK to resolve long running dispute in South Korea

Korean, UK and global unions yesterday delivered a letter calling on Standard Chartered UK to resolve the month-long strike at its Korean subsidiary – the longest in the history of the Korean banking industry.

http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-19859-f0.cfm

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Lambeth Unison RM's AGM

Great to see so many people attend the Lambeth Unison Retired Members AGM the meeting was vibrant and interesting with some new people turning up for the first time and many of those who have been members attending as well. The RM's division received reports and elected officers in line with policy and procedure.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Joanna Lumley Greek Odyssey



Excellent first episode by Joanna Lumley who makes a great ambassador for modern Greece (and lets face it we need one right now). The documentary started by showing us remote and not that unknown places and avoided concentrating on stereotype versions of tourist areas.

Choosing the remote part of the Peloponnese (Mani) was a great choice. Just wonder whether the average viewer who only knows Greece through the eyes of Tulisa Contostavlos and George Michael will appreciate what Delphi has to offer? There is of course Peter Andre or Pete Sampras to chose from so whether sticking Nana Mouskouri in the middle of Epidavros was a good idea remains to be seen.

Great start to what promises to be an interesting documentary.

Steps getting back together

Good news for a change, the popular pop group Steps that was disbanded 10 years ago is being put back together again. Good to see something positive happening in the middle of doom and gloom.

Pension studies, Lambeth Unison

PENSION CASE STUDIES

Whilst the fight to defend our pensions is about much more than just the impact upon each of us as individuals, many members are asking what the individual impact will be.

Here are some worked examples of the impact of the Government's two proposed options for the immediate future of the Local Government Pension Scheme. These come with no particular warranty and are just our best attempt to illustrate what all the percentages and "accrual rates" mean in practice. These examples take no account of the detrimental impact on all our pensions of the change in uprating pensions in payment from the Retail Price Index (RPI) to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is estimated to have reduced the lifetime value of pensions for those who have not yet retired by between 15% and 20%. These calculations also do not take account of any of the possible changes that may be proposed in the negotiations which have not yet begun about implementing the recommendations of Lord Hutton (except that they do anticipate that the pension age in the LGPS will rise in line with the state pension age as the Government clearly intend). Otherwise, what follows is based simply upon a comparison of the Government's options one and two with the current (2008) Local Government Pension Scheme.

Because these examples are for Lambeth they are based upon the Inner London Pay Spine.

CASE STUDY ONE – THE FORTYSOMETHING SPECIALIST

Ed is 47 years old with 28 years service and is at the top of PO2. Under the current scheme he could expect to retire on an unreduced pension in eighteen years at the age of 65. Based on today’s salary for that grade his pension at the age of 65 would be around £23,200 on the basis of the current scheme. He currently pays 6.8% of salary in employee pension contributions (£198.65 a month before tax).

In Option One, his pension contributions will rise to £219.09 in 2012/13; £242.46 in 2013/14 and £254.15 from 2014/15 onwards, leaving him more than £55 a month worse off before tax.

His retirement age will move to 66, and after working for one additional year to get an unreduced pension that pension would be around £23,050. If he chose to leave at 65 his pension of £22,510 would be actuarially reduced to an estimated £21,160 – a cut in pension of over £2,000 a year for life.

In Option Two, his pension contributions will rise to £207.41 in 2012/13; £227.86 in 2013/14 and £239.54 from 2014/15 onwards, leaving him more than £40 a month worse off before tax.

His retirement age will move to 66, and after working for one additional year to get an unreduced pension that pension would be around £22,750. If he chose to leave at 65 his pension of £22,230 would be actuarially reduced to an estimated £20,900 – a cut in pension of more than £2,300 a year for life.

CASE STUDY TWO – THE TWENTYSOMETHING ADMINISTRATOR

Rachel is 26 years old with 2 years service and is at the top of Scale 5. Under the current scheme she could expect to retire on an unreduced pension in 39 years at the age of 65. Based on today’s salary for that grade her pension at the age of 65 would be around £17,000. She currently pays 6.5% of salary in employee pension contributions (£134.44 a month before tax).

In Option One, her pension contributions will rise to £148.91 in 2012/13; £165.46 in 2013/14 and £171.66 from 2014/15 onwards, leaving her £37 a month worse off before tax.

Her retirement age will move to 68, and after working three additional years to get an unreduced pension that pension would be around £15,790. If she chose to leave at 65 her pension of £14,640 would be actuarially reduced to an estimated £12,450 – a cut in pension of more than £4,500 a year for life.

In Option Two, her pension contributions will rise to £140.64 in 2012/13; £148.91 in 2013/14 and £155.12 from 2014/15 onwards, leaving her more than £20 a month worse off before tax.

Her retirement age will move to 68, and after working three additional years to get an unreduced pension that pension would be around £15,400. If she chose to leave at 65 her pension of £14,290 would be actuarially reduced to an estimated £12,150 – a cut in pension of more than £4,800 a year for life.

CASE STUDY THREE – THE FIFTYSOMETHING PROFESSIONAL

Jane is 55 years old with 33 years service and is at the top of PO1. Under the current scheme she could expect to retire on an unreduced pension in ten years time at the age of 65. Based on today’s salary for that grade her pension at the age of 65 would be £19,700. She currently pays 6.8% of salary in employee pension contributions (£188.73 a month before tax).

In Option One, her pension contributions will rise to £208.16 in 2012/13; £230.37 in 2013/14 and £241.47 from 2014/15 onwards, leaving her £52 a month worse off before tax.

Her pension age will remain at 65. Her pension will be around £19,330 – a pension cut of £370 a year for life.

In Option Two, her pension contributions will rise to £197.06 in 2012/13; £216.49 in 2013/14 and £227.59 from 2014/15 onwards, leaving her £39 a month worse off before tax.

Her pension age will remain at 65. Her pension will be around £19,250 – a pension cut of £450 a year for life.

CASE STUDY FOUR – THE THIRTYSOMETHING MANAGER

Dave is 35 years old with ten years service and is at the top of PO3. Under the current scheme he could expect to retire on an unreduced pension in thirty years time at the age of 65. Based on today’s salary for that grade his pension at the age of 65 would be around £24,130. He currently pays 6.8% of salary in employee pension contributions (£214.49 a month before tax).

In Option One, his pension contributions will rise to £236.57 in 2012/13; £261.80 in 2013/14 and £274.42 from 2014/15 onwards, leaving him almost £60 a month worse off before tax.

His retirement age will move to 67, and after working two additional years to get an unreduced pension that pension would be around £22,730. If he chose to leave at 65 his pension of £21,570 would be actuarially reduced to an estimated £19,190 ­– a cut in pension of more than £4,900 a year for life.

In Option Two, his pension contributions will rise to £223.95 in 2012/13; £246.03 in 2013/14 and £258.65 from 2014/15 onwards, leaving him £44 a month worse off before tax.

His retirement age will move to 67, and after working two additional years to get an unreduced pension that pension would be around £22,280. If he chose to leave at 65 his pension of £21,150 would be actuarially reduced to an estimated £18,830 – a cut in pension of more than £5,300 a year for life.

CASE STUDY FIVE – THE FIFTY YEAR OLD CUSTOMER SERVICES ASSISTANT

Sarah is 50 years old with thirty years service and is on the top of Scale 3. Under the current scheme she could expect to retire on an unreduced pension in fifteen years time at the age of 65. Based on today’s salary for that grade her pension at the age of 65 would be around £12,830. She currently pays 6.5% of salary in employee pension contributions (£109.02 a month before tax).

In Option One, her pension contributions will rise to £112.38 in 2012/13; £120.76 in 2013/14 and £129.15 from 2014/15 onwards, leaving her £20 a month worse off before tax.

Her retirement age will move to 66, and after working one additional year to get an unreduced pension that pension would be around £12,780. If she chose to leave at 65 her pension of £12,470 would be actuarially reduced to an estimated £11,850 – a cut in pension of £980 a year for life.

In Option Two her pension contributions will rise to £114.05 from 2013/14 onwards, leaving her £5 a month worse off before tax.

Her retirement age will move to 66, and after working one additional year to get an unreduced pension that pension would be around £12,680. If she chose to leave at 65 her pension of £12,370 would be actuarially reduced to an estimated £11,750 – a cut in pension of £1,080 a year for life.

If you have suggestions for further case studies please comment - or contact the pensions penguin at askthelambethpenguin@yahoo.co.uk.

And don't forget to vote "YES"!

--
Posted By Blogger to Lambeth UNISON News on 10/13/2011

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Jon's letter in the Guardian

A hat tip to the hat tip man Jon of the Rogers for getting his splendid letter printed in the Guardian newspaper, he is a worthy TU Leader.. well done Jon!

Here's his letter..

Thank you for reporting that nine out of 10 City bankers expect a bonus this year (Bankers' bonus expectations undented by crisis, 11 October). This sets an interesting example to us public servants who – unlike the bankers – are obviously deemed responsible for the financial crisis, since we have to make do with a pay freeze and now a raid by the Treasury on the cash in our pension funds.

Unlike a banker's bonus, my pension represents decades of my own saving for retirement as part of a scheme that is secure, affordable and financially viable. Yet, if the government has its way, I shall have to pay more and wait longer to receive less when I retire to help deal with a deficit caused by those still salivating in anticipation of unearned bonuses. Thankfully you also report that there is something I can do about this, by voting for industrial action to protect public service pensions (Unison ballots 1m workers on strike action, 11 October).
Jon Rogers
Branch secretary, Lambeth Unison

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/oct/11/bankers-bonuses-public-service-pensions

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Slovakia says no...

Well the inevitable has happened and the last member state of Euroland has voted no to the EU fund bailout meaning that the measures proposed by France and Germany cannot be put in place.

This could mean that countries like Greece and later on Portugal, Ireland and Spain may default on their debt which will in turn lead to a collapse of the Euro and a deeper recession than the one we have right now. The proposal is being taken back to the Slovakian Parliament end of the week so that they can have another go. The signs are all there the system is obviously not working and something better needs to be put in place.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Time for action

Encouraged to read the statement from General Secretary Dave Prentis about the action organised by Unison and other unions.

The 30 of November should be a major day and the action taken should send a clear message to the government. Saying that I would like to see more branches making preparations locally for local action. I know Lambeth Unison have done well on this and activists there are putting a lot of effort into ensuring that the 30 of November doesn't end there, but more branches should do more and coordinating the approach with other unions will be a very wise thing to do otherwise we will end up with a situation similar to the one we had on the 30 June where it was only the NUT that did anything??

Monday, 10 October 2011

X Factor 2011

It is inevitable and the direct consequence of natural progression that X Factor in its new format would lose viewing figures. The number of those watching the 'show' has fallen by one million in accordance with some reports in the press. I think the introduction of i player and the ability for people (like myself) to watch an episode on a different day rather than on the night could explain the fall.

But I do not think that the drop in numbers has anything to do with the ability of the new judges to inspire confidence. They are all more qualified than the likes of Simon give me more money Callow and Cheryl I can't sing Cole. So that isn't the reason. The acts are also fairly okish so that isn't the reason either. I think that people are bored with the concept and they have found better things to do on a Saturday night? But don't blame Gary Barlow or Tulisa for the fall. Its all a game so that Simon I want more money makes a sudden entry later on to show how brilliant he is... call me a cynic but that's what I think!

The truth about Britain and the EU

It is a well known secret that Britain was never in favor of a United Europe and they thought that the idea would collapse soon after the treaty of Rome in 1956. In fact Britain did not want to join the EEC until they realised that they were losing out, so it was Edward Heath that more or less forced the UK to join and we all know that De Gaul was totally against the idea.

Britain's foreign policy then changed in some respects with different governments wanting more influence over what Europe said and did. The US wants the UK to be there to keep an eye on the Europeans...

The EU is essentially a Franco German initiative and it has attracted medium size states who feared constant conflict and invasion so the way mainland Europeans think about the Euro project is very different from how the Brits see the concept.

Then we had Tony Blair's 'clever idea' to enlarge the EU primarily because he knew that by expanding it so much it would make the whole thing less effective.

Britain is caught between two major strands of thought. The first one supports the idea that the UK is better off staying under the influence of the USA (Hence the strange relationship between Bush and Blair or Thatcher and Regan) the other strand knows and understands that a United Europe is an inevitable consequence of development and progression. The Liberal Democrats are the only party with a clear policy on this.

It will be difficult to see Britain surviving in a world where the major powers are being replaced by China, Russia, India and Brazil. The US monopoly of international control is coming to a close end. It makes sense for a strong and unified Europe to stand together despite the current economic difficulties. Britain's traditional foreign policy of sitting on the fence and being able to divide and rule is now too obvious and as a consequence less effective.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Question on TU facilities, statement by D Prentis

The right wing press has been at it again attacking TU facility time. Here is a statement from General Secretary Dave Prentis on the subject which I have reproduced below:

"Attacking trade union facility time is just plain daft. Far from costing taxpayers money trade unions save the public purse between £170m and £400m every year by creating a more efficient, motivated workforce, and resolving issues. A government report estimates they also boost productivity by nearly £4 billion a year. Public sector union reps also contribute up to 100,000 hours unpaid hours every week. With huge cuts, sell offs and service reorganisations hitting our public sector, workers and employers need unions more now than ever before."