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Wednesday, 31 August 2011


Sylvia Pankhurst: Everything is possible, is a feature length documentary
which, in essay form, traces the context, campaigns and political impact of
inspiring suffragette and revolutionary Sylvia Pankhurst. Follwed by a Panel
Discussion (Q&A), Wednesday 5 October 2011

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Zimbabwean unions elect new leadership

Zimbabwean unions elect new leadership
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions held its 7th national congress in Bulawayo
in August, and elected a new leadership. Annie Watson reports.

Euro package for Cyprus economy?

Global intelligence agency Stratfor, in a report on Cyprus warns that a bailout might be needed in the wake of the Mari naval base disaster (a power station was blown up) because the country was “not far from the edge”.

The agency however points out that because of its relatively low national debt and small economy, any financial help from Brussels would be both manageable and temporary, and wont be as large as the one needed for Portugal or Greece . Stratfor said that Cyprus traditionally exercises more cautious fiscal policies than many European states, even running a small budget surplus during the global financial crisis.

Growth prospects in Cyprus have also been more positive and stable than in places like Portugal or Greece, with the country in recent years suffering only one recession - a mild one - in 2009. While the economy was not exactly booming before the July 11 disaster, it was at least growing, the report said. Moves by the current government however to increase VAT and lower public sector wages have been fiercly resisted by the Unions.

TUC News

Earlier in the month, a meeting of public service unions agreed to extend the TUC negotiations with the Government on pensions. Further talks will take place centrally, while individual unions

Monday, 29 August 2011

CYPS Scrutiny committee meeting 6 September 2011

A reminder that Unison and other unions are organising a lobby of the CYPS scrutiny committee meeting scheduled to take place on 6 September 2011 from 6 p.m. Every activist against the cuts should be there to support those fighting against the proposals.

NATO and Cyprus

Astonishing to hear claims about how NATO got involved with resolving the problem in Lybia and how the organisation did what they did because they wanted to support the democratic forces on the ground and restore the country back to the rule of internatinal law and justice.

This sounds good but at the same time the same alliance tolerates the occupation by Turkish troops of the independent and internationally recognised state of Cyprus. A full member of the European Union?? Turkey is applying to become a member of the EU but refuses to withdraw its forces from the island. In the meantime both Greece and Turkey are full members of NATO?? It can not possibly get more hypocritical than that can it? Turkey is occupying EU territory and refuses to remove its troops.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

What after Gadafi?

Dictators have no place in modern society where people should make decisions as to who governs them so the imminent removal of the Gadafi regime is not bad thing. We shouldn't forget however that a lot will have to be done after its all over. Right now there is chaos in Lybia and those who live in Tripoli have no running water, no electricity and the hospitals are not functioning. There is looting and fighting, so there is anarchy every where.

NATO had a lot to do with the decision to change the regime so they must to more to help the country get back on its feet.

I can't help thinking though that NATO are very selective with where they get involved an amazing paradox is that Greece and Turkey both NATO members have still not been able to resolve the occupation of Cyprus so we still have European Union territory occupied by an EU applicant state? It doesn't get any more weird than that does it?? But then Cyprus has no oil reserves right now...

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Lobby of Lambeth CYPS scrutiny committee

Lambeth Council is not fighting against the cuts imposed by a punitive central government but they are instead looking for ways to cut jobs and services.

Unison and other unions are organising a lobby of the scrutiny committee which is scheduled to take place on the 6 September. Everyone who can attend should try and be there. Lets stop them from cutting vital services to the young and vulnerable.

Sally Bercow is out of BB C5

Well as I predicted Sally Bercow has been the first to be voted out of the Big Banana show (brother..) on channel 5. It looks like the general public wanted to punish the speaker of the Commons by sending his wife back to him. On the other hand she raised 100k for several charities which is good...

X Factor

X Factor watchers would have heard that Gary Barlow is apparently annoyed about a remark made by Olly Murs (the new presenter on ITV 1 +1+1-2) saying that Simon C is on balance better than Gary Barlow.

Now I don't think there is anything wrong with Olly Murs expressing an opinion but it is ridiculous to say that Gary isn't a s good given that he has been involved with a successful group and is a brilliant song writer, I mean what talent has SC got?

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Inbetweeners movie

A worth while film to go and see, I love comedy so off I went with my mates.

The film has a very simple storyline. The 4 friends finish school and off they go on holiday to the island of Crete in Greece where all the Brits just spend most of their time drinking, drinking and then in between do more drinking. This is fun but the 4 guys also meet a group of other Brit girls. One of them doesn't want to have any romantic involvement with the boyz as she is seeing her Greek God who, in her opinion, has only got eyes for her. And of course later on we find out that the Greek God (as is the tradition with modern Greek Gods apparently) is shagging a few other girls in between, to relieve his boredom of course. So a bit of stereotyping there but none of my cousins seems to find this offensive.

The film was what I expected it to be full of one line jokes and Neil and Joe were as vile with their expressions as they always seem to be. But hey this is a comedy and it was funny. I give it 8 out of 10 and worth going to see if you are not busy doing your hair over the weekend.

Wallis Simpson

Taken some time off my busy schedule to review the documentary shown on Wednesday night on BBC3 +1+1-2 it was about the situation between American divorcee Wallis Simpson and Edward the something (7th I think)

The most fascinating thing about the documentary was that W Simpson did not actually want to marry Edward and that she remained in love with her ex husband E Simpson. The other interesting thing was the utter contempt the British establishment (excluding of course Edward) showed towards W Simpson. One brigadier type who was interviewed by the docu maker who knew Edward and Wallis went on to say how amazed he was that Edward found WS attractive as she looked like an old boot! This is from someone who looked like the bad end of a no 12 bus on its way to Lewisham central.

Anyway the documentary was interesting as it showed as how the pyramid system in Britain works. There are the few on the very top and a smaller layer beneath them who depend on the top of the pyramid to remain solid so that their own position in fantasy land is maintained. And then there is another layer of those aspiring to get somewhere near the top of the pyramid via a title dishing out process and the story goes on and on. Not that I am a republican of course, who needs a class system?

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Hug it forward movement

I spoke about this worth while cause yesterday and as the deadline for voting is this Friday I would urge everyone who reads this blog to follow the link below and help in any way they can. Go for it and make a difference!

Helping the young unemployed

The stats show us that there are at least one million people under 25 who are unemployed. No civilised society can accept that and more should be done to help.

It's no good for reactionaries saying that the world does not owe the young a living, the fact is that the world belongs to the young as much as anyone else so more government schemes to help should be looked at, I am sure we can find money for this if we stopped bombing other countries? Apparently the cost for one missile is around 800k? Spend that money to be constructive I say!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Hug it forward movement

Hug It Forward is a movement to inspire people everywhere to live their passion while giving back to make a lasting change in the world.

In developing countries we are using eco-friendly technology to create educational opportunity by empowering communities to build bottle schools.

100% of your tax-deductible donation goes towards building the next Bottle School. A separate group of private donors fund the operating costs so you don’t have to.

Read on for more about our 100% model or more about bottle schools.

Take some time to read about this movement by following the link below, its a good thing to be involved with!

Standards of service

Union members join mainly because they believe in the principles upon which the TU movement was created. But many also see their membership as a kind of insurance policy when and if the need arises and compared to other 'insurance policies' quite a few of them pay as much if not more, so a lot of people want to see higher standards of service and quick responses.

But the reality on the ground is that resources made available through facilities agreements are very limited and those who take on the challenge to represent their colleagues at the work place are also expected to do their own work. The result of this is immense pressure and major stress.

In addition to that I know from my own experience that representatives sacrifice their own careers so that they can help others, so whilst I agree that union activists should be better trained and more responsive ordinary members (those who don't take up positions) should be getting more involved by helping out.

Activists who take up positions and represent members should also be given more support from national and regional offices and not left on their own when the going gets tough!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


No one can possibly think that colonel imposing his will over a free people can last for a long time and no one in their right mind can support what he has been doing for 40 years. His end and the conclusion of his violent regime will be over soon.

But I am hoping that NATO has thought about what happens after the change comes in because so far the 'rebels' don't look like they are organised enough to run a country with such potential as Libya. I am hoping that the UN will have more of an involvement with the after Gadafi transitional period and that the people of Lybia are supported in their effort to rebuild their own country, ah and it will help if they all keep that William Hague out of it all!

X Factor 2011

Its all happening again and it looks like its more about what the X Factor PR people are doing to promote the judges. But don't get me wrong I like the new selection of panel members.

Well we are told that Simon C and Cheryl Cole won't take part which of course means that they will both come in, I estimate around pre Xmas period to make them look even better! Then we have Louis Walsh being slightly critical of Simon (just to get the headlines) and then there is Cheryl appearing on several programmes that coincide with the start of X Factor 2011. Of course not many words have been so far about those participating in the show...

Monday, 22 August 2011

Pensions petition

Most union members in a pension scheme will be detrimentally affected by the Government's change to a worse measure for increasing pensions when in payment each year.

For some, this change represents a 15% reduction in their benefits. Please sign up to this e-petition to seek to spark a Parliamentary debate. 100,000 signatures are needed for this purpose – at the point of sending this email there were 10,655 signatures so please forward this email on and encourage others to sign the petition as well.

Tony Blair and interviews

Tony of the Blairs is being accused of refusing to give interviews to liberal newspapers like the Telegraph (only joking about the liberal..)

Apparently he doesn't want to face being put on the spot. He will inevitably be hated by many as every leader always is after they end their term in office but I think he is wrong to avoid doing interviews. He needs to face them and deal with the questions. Many of still want to hear him admit that he was wrong to ignore one million people marching on the streets of London who were against the war. He needs to explain this with a logical answer or he will be more unpopular than the Margaret of the Thatchers is, and that's saying something...

Telly tonight

Good telly tonight, I always find Monday night to be a good night to watch telly whereas the rest of the week is full of rubbish.

So the soaps are on tonight with Coronation street been on twice (must keep up with Deidre Barlow!) The dirty sexy things on E4 and the Pineapple studios documentary on chanel ITV 2+1+1 -2 so not bad for a night after a hard weekend... stay in and relax.

Scotland and England

The difference between the two systems we have which allows Scottish students to receive free university education paid by the tax payer, which I totally support, whilst English students have to pay huge amounts for the same education, should be challenged in court.

It makes no sense what so ever for this major variation to exist and English students should receive the same as their Scottish counterparts. The same applies with prescription charges, free in Scotland (and Wales I think) but not here in England. That isn't right. The government should harmonise us all upwards. It will be easy to find the money if we stop paying 800,000 for every missile we use in wars abroad.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

X Factor 2011

Managed to watch a repeat of X Factor 2011 on ITV+1+2+3 -4 half hour ago.

Like the new panel they are younger and fresher, well new anyway. Specifically like Gary Barlow who has an absolute right to claim he is an expert, Ken Barlow should be roud of him. The man in a legend and has done it all so it follows that he knows a thing or two about the industry, he's been there and done it all.

Another favorite is Tulisa Contostavlos another Brit of Greek extraction 9not the reason I like her) she is young and talented and has no problem saying what she thinks.

Mixed views as to how talented all the participants are so far but its early days init? Worth watching if you have the time in between saving the world and socialising.

The X factor

Well I missed it all last night as I was out so will watch a repeat later as am out soon and do my constructive critique (constructive?) Anyway I hope I didn't miss much? Was Nana Mouskouri and Demis Roussos on it? Or did Sally Bercow audition?

Big brother (celebrity??)

Another dose of big brother on our telly, managed to catch a glimpse this morning when I was waking up (a repeat) this year channel 5 has taken it over. The first observation is where are the celebrities? Well I grant you Kerry is well known and a real one but who are the others?

Looks like Sally Bercrow is up for eviction ( she is the one married to the Speaker of the House of commons) so hopefully she will be gone. No idea why she is in it in da first place? Judging by the selection process I would imagine my neighbour Sharon and her sister Tracey shuld also be on it? Did they miss them out?

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Can the coalition government survive?

Well my prediction is that the coalition government will collapse when the Liberal Democrats realise that the Tories are using and abusing them. I have always had some degree of respect for the Libs but the adventures the Tory boyz are pushing them into means that their name will be shit when it comes to the next election. I predict there will be a rebellion soon by the real Lib Democrats who, in my opinion, should stand up and say enough is enough?

Nick Clegg is just a banana from the planet zanussi, get rid of him! Replace him with Cable? Just a thought?

X Factor

There are those who totally hate it, others that dislike it and some who watch it so that they can whinge about it.

I am not sure whether I hate it or whether I love to hate it if you get the drift. But its back again tonight with a new panel. L Walsh is still participating but the others are new. Gary Barlow is obviously very respectable and if anyone has any idea about how it all works then he will be the expert, not like Simon or Sherryl Cola.

Anyways those who are critical say that the show is all about the panel judges and that is certainly true to some extent but whatever you think the fact remains that the 'programme' allows for new talent to be shown and for that alone it is worth watching. Plus it is always good to have something to occupy yourself with when you are not busy saving the world and its oysters?

Friday, 19 August 2011

Plymooouth city Council - a Disproportionate reaction

Plymouth city Councils reaction towards the decision taken by Unison locally not to sign an agreement where terms and conditions of its members were changed drastically has led to the authority threatening to derecognise the union. This is a ridiculous reaction by the Tory Council, they have no right to do this and Unison will continue representing the interests of its members despite this daft decision.

Its becoming increasingly obvious that the country is being moved back to the Thatcher ethos that dominated the land in the 80s, Unions must stand firm together to fight these attacks.

Lambeth SOS campaign

Great meeting last night organised by Lambeth Unison & SOS and chaired by Assistant Branch Secretary Ruth Cashman. The event was positive and it brought in activists from all walks of life bringing the community and the Trade Unions together.

Many speeches some better than others but everyone agrees that there is a lot to be done to ensure that things get better. More organising and active engagement with community groups.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

White Paper is privatisation manifesto (TUC news)

The Open Public Services White Paper published last month was a blueprint for breaking up the public services, smuggled out while the world's attention was fixed on the News International scandal, the TUC said.

The White Paper was published on the day when the failure of Southern Cross indicated just how dangerous the introduction of the profit motive into public service could be, and the TUC suggested that people ought to be 'very afraid' of what the proposals could mean in practice.

More on this @

Talks continue (TUC news release)

Earlier in the month, a meeting of public service unions agreed to extend the TUC negotiations with the Government on pensions.

Further talks will take place centrally, while individual unions were actively considering also participating in scheme-level talks. The TUC made it clear to government that agreement to continue negotiations did not mean that unions had accepted or agreed any of the Government's objectives or the change in indexation from RPI to CPI.

Meanwhile, the TUC said that new Treasury estimates for the cost of future public sector pensions liabilities were 'scary, meaningless' numbers. The figures were a 'nakedly political' attempt by government to strengthen its hand in the negotiations on public sector pensions, after its continued failure to sustain the argument that schemes were unaffordable.

TUC on negotiations @

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Government contradictions

We first of all had David Cameron declaring his desire to hug a hoodie who is now happy to agree with sentencing someone to spend 4 years in prison, then we have wishy washy Clegg who thinks that those responsible for the riots must give their victims flowers, bake them a cake and look at them in the eye. That will, in his opinion, resolve the problem. No mention of looking at the underling reasons and the social deprivation which may be a contributing factor. What a shower they all are! Who the beggar voted them in?

Keep the balance..

The courts appear to be listening to the politicians and are making decisions and imposing sentences that may exceed what I would consider to be reasonable.

I am of course against anyone involved with the riots and those who were active in organising attacks against their own communities. But the sentence need to reflect reality and putting someone in jail for 4 years for saying something stupid on facebook may be too much! The courts must keep a balance between making sure that those involved get the message but they must also ensure that they are acting fairly and within reason, otherwise people would think that they are biased?

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

X Factor

The X Factor is back on our screens again soon, its return signifies the end of summer. The 'programme' finishes near Christmas which allows the producers to release the winning song on to the charts for the Xmas number one and make them enough money to buy a few extra range rovers for their Kensington manions.

There are many who dislike the arrival of this type of show and those who are critical because the primary objective all along is to promote the image and the interests of those on the panel and the big record company associated with the production.

I on the other hand enjoy watching it as it gives me and my Clapham mates an opportunity to divert our attention away from saving the world. It is probably not done for the right reasons but it is, never the less, entertaining and it has given the opportunity to singers who would not otherwise have been given the chance to exhibit their talent on television... Call me old fashioned but I don't think the principles behind the production of the programme should be taken too seriously?

Public & Private Pension Increases - change from RPI to CPI

Union members and others who work in the public sector are encouraged to sign the online petition as described below.

Responsible department: Department for Work and Pensions

Many workers in the Public and Private Sector have contributed to their pensions on the understanding that on retirement these Pensions would be increased each April by the preceding September's Retail Price Index (RPI) rate. From April 2011 the Government has transferred these increases to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure which in the Treasury's own words " designed to take account of the fact that consumers tend to shop around, switching to cheaper alternatives when prices of similar goods change." This change, which has been introduced in most cases without any prior consultation, will mean a steady reduction in spending power for pensioners as they progress into their retirement. Given the promises that have previously been made, the RPI measure should be reintroduced without delay to ensure that the spending power of these Public and Private pensioners is maintained

Monday, 15 August 2011

Southampton workers vote to continue strike action from Unison web site news release

Public services staff in Southampton have rejected a revised pay proposal by the Tory city council.

UNISON and Unite members voted by four to one to continue with industrial action, while continuing to negotiate for a better deal.

The long-running dispute has seen hundreds of council staff strike over the past 12 weeks - including social workers, waste and recycling workers, street cleaners, library staff and toll bridge collectors.

At the heart of the dispute is the council's decision to sack and rehire all of its workforce, on lower pay, making a total of £6m in savings - £3m from wages and £3m from allowances.

The latest proposal was to return £1m into wages.

But UNISON regional organiser Andy Straker said today: "We have been negotiating around a deal where there are no cuts in pay. We wanted them to put £3m back. So the proposal was nowhere near good enough.

"It's fair to say that the members were very angry last night, and frustrated. They've told the council exactly what they think. The trouble is that the council's not listening."

The "standing room only" union meeting was attended by 600 of the 2,400 UNISON and Unite members directly employed by the council.

In voting to continue industrial action, they accepted that after 15 August - and 12 weeks of industrial action - strikers will lose their legal protection from dismissal.

"The members have made the decision that they want to carry on," said Mr Straker. "We have an idea which sections we want to strike next, and will speak with those members in the near future, to explain what it means. Then we will announce further action."

Mr Straker said that the emphasis in the council's proposal on returning the wages of qualified social workers to their former levels particularly angered members - including the social workers themselves.

"Whether they intended to or not, it was the kind of move that could have turned worker against worker. But in fact it antagonised our members even more, with people getting the money being just as angry as those who weren't.

"The qualified social workers were really unhappy that the unqualified social workers and admin staff - who they regard as colleagues - were not being made the same offer.

"It's typical of the council. They keep making crass, inept decisions that actually make the situation worse."

Mr Straker noted the depth of UNISON support for the strikers, at national and regional level, and from other branches across the South East region. "It's been a real team effort."

TUC condemns arrest of Fijian trade unionist

In a letter to the Fijian High Commissioner in London, the TUC urges the Fijian authorities to release Mr Daniel Urai, FTUC President, without delay and to ensure that the people of Fiji are allowed to exercise their democratic rights without interference from the State.

Jalila al-Salman

The TUC and Amnesty International are calling for the release of Jalila al-Salman and Mahdi 'Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb, two members of the Bahrain Teachers' Association (BTA) who were arrested during the unrest in March and April 2011. They remain incarcerated awaiting trial in a civilian court, which has been postponed until further notice.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Rioters and evictions

It is a daft idea to start evicting those who have been involved with the riots. They are without any question thugs that have turned on their own community and their actions are not excused, but for Wandsworth Council to start evicting them from their council flats is not acceptable. This will only serve in another council having to rehouse them somewhere else. It looks wrong and it is not acceptable if not illegal. But then you will expect such a reaction from Tory Wandsworth I expect.

The police and the PM

It is obvious that psychologically at least it didn't look right for the PM and all the other Tory boys to be away and not come back when the riots started. But the police are not under the command of the PM so any claims by Cameron and co that he and the others sorted things out are simply not true. Cameron thinks that this is an opportunity for him to look tough hoping that some people might see him as the new Thacher (without the hair do of course)


David Cameron wants to bring a New York detective to advise him on how to deal with police matters. Is he bringing Kojak over then?

New York has a similar population to that of London and 40,000 police officers. It is obvious that one of the reasons the figures there may look better than they are here (is that right??) is because of the higher number of officers on the street? I am sure that even Teressa May and Cameron can figure that one out.

Should Cameron save us all the bother and accept that he should not cut the number of police on the street here that way we will not need a long discussion as to what to do and he will have to accept that reducing the number of officers by 20% is wrong. But then he wants to look like the Thatcher reinvention doesn't he!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

The PM and the police

It is totally ridiculous and stupid for Tory boy Cameron and his range rover friends to claim that he is the one who stopped the riots. The police were in the hands of Tory boy Hague during Cameron's cappuccino holiday, Hagues indecision could have contributed to the deterioration of the situation but then you should never leave a foul to run the country.

Anyway saying that the few politicians I saw on the street who tried to calm the situation down were people that the Tories dislike MP's like Diane Abbott did more than any Tory boy could have done. Cameron (who is a minority Eaton boy PM) should leave the police alone bringing in an American to tell us what to do is a typical Tory reaction. How long are we going to tolerate this disastrous government??

When will it all end and where is unity?

Not sure when senior Unison leaders spoke of unity before they meant the Unity who lives down the road from me? She is always down the pub but doesn't strike me as being very interested in the theory of revolution? Or the revolutionary origins of theory??

So am wondering, as are others, whether the statement made by Dave of the Prentis at conference (i think it was there) that there are no enemies in this hall applies to all activists.

Now I know that the hard left and the left of the hard left twice removed don't always agree with one another and I am aware that the right of the centre towards the left of the centre right will always wonder what the origin of life is but isn't this the time for us to actually forget about the Unity that lives down the road from me and concentrate on building a common front to fight the bloody Tories? Call me old fashioned but I think I am right!!

Is the left and the right or middle of the right to the left still arguing?

I saw a piece in another fellow bloggers blog going on about someone who was an NEC member who is no longer a member who is now criticising the union? I am not up to date with the arguments between the left, the hard Left, those on the left of the right and the others who are on the left of the hard left, in fact I am totally lost as are so many other ordinary Unison members.

I would imagine the fellow blogger (who doesn't give out much info) means the members/activists who left and joined Unite? Is that the case? If yes then what's it all about Alfie and how do you expect people to follow this splendid story when they have no idea what its all about geeza mate? Get the drift?

Diane Abbott MP

It is disgraceful and incorrect for the Tories to accuse Diane Abbott for excusing the riots she did not such thing. She clearly stated on several occasions on television and radio that the rioters were not justified in what they have done.

On another point she was one of the few that was actually physically out on Sunday when the trouble was at its height trying to talk to people and get them to calm down. She did much more than many others who, if I remember right, were on holiday having expensive cappuccinos. And where was the glorious Tory boy William Hague when all this was going on? He was no where to be seen. So lets not criticise an MP who at personal risk to herself went out on the streets and did what she had to do! Full respect to Diane Abbott.

Friday, 12 August 2011

BBC and women

I have raised this concern before and have referred to the issue around selecting people to be on BBC programme panels. It just astonishes me that the BBC has a problem finding prominent women to appear on panel shows.

An example of this was Question Time last night. There was a panel of 6 and only one was a woman. Now there is something wrong with the theory that says that more than 50% of people are women yet the BBC is constantly unable to come up with women able to appear on such shows? How are we going to ensure equality if major organisations fail to reflect the composition of the general population? And this is not the first time either!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Race and the riots

I have seen reports in the media and on some blogs indirectly suggesting that the riots were the work of Black youth. This is simply not accurate or right. The riots were committed by a group of thugs of all races. I don't think anyone who watched television reports from Manchester can say that those rioting were black? It is scary but simple, the riots were the work of a small group of criminals attacking their own communities, there was no political motive for these vile actions.

Malcolm Wicks MP and police numbers

Malcolm Wicks MP was right to stand up and ask the PM to reconsider reducing the number of police officers on our streets. The criminal riots this week make it necessary for us to retain a higher number of well trained officers on the streets. Malcolm Wicks and others should demand that the government abandons its obsession with cutting down public services.

Tariq Jahan

Tariq Jahan the father of the murdered Asian youth in Birmingham was right to ask people who were determined to exact revenge to go home. Revenge and vigilante action will not help bring normality back to the streets of England. It is important that the police and the criminal justice system deals with the thugs and criminals that have terrorised our communities.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The political class

There are huge doubts in my mind as to whether our existing political elite (what ever that means) is capable of dealing with the vast problems that are suddenly unfolding in our society. It will appear that those in power right now keep making mistakes that is costing and damaging our society.

I will never accept that the cuts imposed by the dreadful current all over the place government can excuse the riots that we have seen on our streets. But there is no way that the idiots in charge can ignore the correlation between striking and increasing inequality and anger. People are getting to the point where they have to chose whether they have enough money to feed their children or pay the bloody rent.

Clean Clapham initiative

The people of Clapham did not chose to go down the road that the vigilantes chose to in Southhall and SE London and instead took on their brooms and went down the high road (yesterday and today) to help clean up their own streets, the mood was of optimism and not despair. Londoners will not allow a small minority of idiots to destroy their communities.

Those responsible for the opportunistic violence and looting from Sunday night onwards are not making a political point. I do not consider smashing up a shop and walking away with a 52 in HD ready telly to be a political act. Attacking and stealing from a young guy in Barking who was injured makes those responsible for that crime criminal thugs, they should be punished for what they have done and by punishing them I don't mean give them a suspended sentecne and give them 12 red roses...

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Lambeth Unison statement re the riots

I received the following statement from Lambeth Unison dealing with the disturbance and riots in our cities. Click on the link for more info

Older people in employment by the TUC

I am reproducing this excellent article published by the TUC regarding older people in employment. This will be of interest to older and retired members.

The last 20 years have seen a significant increase in the proportion of over-50s and people over retirement age in employment, the TUC reveals today (Wednesday).

A new TUC analysis - published to coincide with the latest unemployment figures, which will be issued later this morning by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) - finds that the jobs market has changed significantly since 1992.

Age and Gender: What has changed in the labour market in recent years finds that 56.5 per cent of people aged between 50 and 64 were in work in April 1992. This rose to 64.9 per cent by December 2010.

Over the same period, the proportion of those aged over 64 in work rose from 5.5 to 9 per cent. This is a significant increase for retirement age workers, who now make up a bigger share of the total working population.

The report also reveals that young people have become less likely to be in employment over the same period - mainly because of the expansion of education, but also as young people have been hit hard by the recession.

In April 1992 48.8 per cent of 16 and 17-year-olds were in employment, but that figure had dropped to around 23.6 per cent by December 2010. Around two in three (65.8 per cent) of 18 to 24-year-olds were working in April 1992, but this fell to around 58 per cent by the end of 2010.

The proportion of 'prime age' workers (those aged 25 to 49) has remained steady, despite the recession, according to the TUC analysis.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Older people bring a wealth of skills and experience to the workplace. The increasing number of over 65s in work shows that older workers are highly valued and that the government is absolutely right to scrap the default retirement age.

'But there is a darker side to people to working beyond their retirement. Low wages and poor pension provision, particularly in the private sector, mean that many people simply cannot afford to retire at 65. The failure of far too many employers to help staff save for their retirement is forcing these people into pensioner poverty and placing a huge cost burden on the state.

'It is a mistake to blame older workers for youth unemployment - they tend not to be doing the jobs young unemployed people might expect to get. The main reason for young people's jobs crisis is that there just aren't enough new jobs that are appropriate for young people to do being created. And of course the more people we have in work overall, the more the economy grows and the more jobs are created.

'We've seen record youth unemployment figures this year, and the government's decision to scrap the Future Jobs Fund, months before its poorly-funded replacement was due to start, has helped drive the rise in the number of young people out of work.

'Scrapping Education Maintenance Allowance and hiking university tuition fees will only further reduce the chances of young people - and with inflation rising at over twice the level of earnings, those in work are also finding it hard to make ends meet.'


- Age and Gender: What has changed in the labour market in recent years is available at

White paper criticised by TUC

The Open Public Services White Paper published last month was a blueprint for breaking up the public services, smuggled out while the world's attention was fixed on the News International scandal, the TUC said.

The White Paper was published on the day when the failure of Southern Cross indicated just how dangerous the introduction of the profit motive into public service could be, and the TUC suggested that people ought to be 'very afraid' of what the proposals could mean in practice.

More on this @

Pension warnings TUC

A Treasury announcement at the end of July about proposed increases in public sector pension contributions revealed the scale of the rises that could soon hit millions of public servants, the TUC said.

At a time when workers were already in the middle of a pay freeze and facing huge pressure on living standards, the proposed increases would have a significant impact on real incomes.

Full TUC reaction @

Monday, 8 August 2011

Government and holidays

Everyone needs a break and those who want to get to elected in positions of power must have the right to have leave, but it is ridiculous that almost every key Minister is away at the same time. Its all very well for Nick Clegg to say they are all in constant touch with one another but it is a fact that most of the problems that the 'markets' can create are based on physiological factors (that's why the existing system is daft) There is no way that Clegg and Cameron can be away at the same time.

TUC warning to the government

A Treasury announcement at the end of July about proposed increases in public sector pension contributions revealed the scale of the rises that could soon hit millions of public servants, the TUC said.

At a time when workers were already in the middle of a pay freeze and facing huge pressure on living standards, the proposed increases would have a significant impact on real incomes.

Full TUC reaction @

TUC Motions

The preliminary agenda for the 143rd TUC Congress has been published, with labour rights, public sector pensions, the impact of cuts, and an alternative economic strategy all prominent themes.

This year's event takes places at Congress House from 12 to 14 September, with unions debating a full range of motions. Due to limited space, no visitors will be allowed. However, the TUC will for the first time be streaming Congress proceedings via its website.

An outline programme of business, plus other Congress information, will be added to the TUC website shortly.

More on this @

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Cuts hurting, by the TUC

Figures revealing that Britain's GDP grew by just 0.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2011 showed that the Government's austerity policies were failing, the TUC said in response.

'Ministers told us that deep, rapid cuts would get the economy back on course and leave the private sector room to grow', said Brendan Barber. 'But the treatment has turned out to be worse than the disease.'

Ahead of the publication of the growth figures, the TUC warned that the Government's economic strategy was failing 'even on its own terms'. Borrowing was £14bn in June 2011 as opposed to £13.6bn in June 2010, with faltering growth indicating that borrowing was likely to rise further.

Message to Norway from the TUC

The TUC sent messages of condolence to our Norwegian counterparts following the murder of more than 70 people, many in their teens, by a right-wing fanatic who appeared to have been in touch with extremist groups in the UK.

TUC staff joined in a two minute silence on the Monday following the massacre at the island of Utoeya and the bomb blast in Oslo. At the General Council meeting later that week members stressed the importance of maintaining our own vigilance in the face of ring-wing extremism

Saturday, 6 August 2011

There's a crisis in my soup..

The bloody media are at it again spreading doom and gloom everywhere. The markets are panicking because some posh boy in the city couldn't get his hair cut on Friday afternoon and panic selling has lead to a crisis that has wiped out billions of trillions of pounds off the face of the planet zanussi where all these Tory boys live?

Well I was in Brixton market with a friend of Friday morning and there was no panic there the price of the bananas was the same as the week before. In other words ordinary people who don't ever see the trillions of blah blah that the city markets blow up continue with their lives as the city guys keep playing their games so that brigadier Trolly and lady plentyof cash can park their 3 range rovers in Westminster and Kensington. Nothing changes, the system is wrong!!

William Hague in charge??

Yes unbelievable as it may sound Tory boy William Hague (the man who somehow slipped through the net..) is in charge of the country as Cameron Pinky and Clegg Perky are both away fishing..

The markets have panicked and panic selling has created a storm. Did some one think carefully before letting this Tory boy be in charge of the country? Shall we all be worried? Not that Pinky and Perky are going to do a better job when they get back. Its all going wrong.. we are doomed!! lol

Friday, 5 August 2011

TUC News

The TUC and Amnesty International are calling for the release of Jalila al-Salman and Mahdi 'Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb, two members of the Bahrain Teachers' Association (BTA) who were arrested during the unrest in March and April 2011. They remain incarcerated awaiting trial in a civilian court, which has been postponed until further notice.

The end of the Euro?

It is a matter of opinion as to whether the Euro can withstand the latest attack upon its value and credibility. The 'markets' are of course showing huge concern about the validity of the currency and whether the Euro land project can survive? These are the same markets that pushed Germany and France into taking a major gamble with economic convergence (half baked) with totally different and weaker economies. Portugal, Greece and Ireland could never compete on the same level with the Germans or the French they have totally different economies yet they are trapped in the same currency.

I have of course supported the political aspirations behind the idea of having a united Europe and have argued that you cannot have a political union without an economic one. But it looks like those of us who supported the idea ignored the fact that the monetary union of countries with very different economies was not sustainable. This might be a good time to pull back and review where Europe is with this ambitious project? On the other hand there are those who would argue that this crisis will allow for fiscal union to take place and that would strengthen not weaken the 17 economies? I am not that sure...

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Death penalty

The blood thirsty brigade are out again trying to get a vote in parliament to bring the death penalty back. The main argument in favor of the return of capital punishment is to do with the increase in the murders.

We had all the arguments before and MPs voted against restoration so it is pretty obvious that those in favor will lose again.

So although I have no doubt that reason will prevail it is disturbing to see that whenever there is a turn the subject is being brought back. I am all for having an effective deterrent but would not agree that the state has the authority or the moral right to take someones life, this is barbaric.

I am also not a soft leftie and believe that we should punish those who commit crimes against another citizen so I would be in favor of longer jail sentences for those who have committed murder if there is no reasonable doubt that they were responsible. And definitely agree that the sentence for murder should be at least 25 years in jail.

SERTUC Film Club Screens: Sylvia Pankhurst: Everything is Possible

Sylvia Pankhurst: Everything is possible, is a feature length documentary which, in essay form, traces the context, campaigns and political impact of inspiring suffragette and revolutionary Sylvia Pankhurst. Follwed by a Panel Discussion (Q&A), Wednesday 5 October 2011

TUC News

The Trades Union Councils Joint Consultative Committee (TUCJCC) held its meetings during 2010 to 2011 on 25th October 2010, 10th January 2011 7th March, 13 May and 11th July.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Lambeth One O'Oclock clubs

Met with activists in the Lambeth O'Oclcok clubs. This is a valuable service provided by Lambeth Council to parents with young children and it is very popular.

Lambeth Council seems obsessed however with the idea of reducing or getting rid of the service all together. The vast majority of those who work there are part time women who are very dedicated to what they do.

There will be a meeting on Tuesday 6 September in Lambeth Town Hall to discuss the future of the service and all are invited to turn up to support the fight against the cuts!

Dirty sexy things, E4

Now I have to admit that when am home (usually Monday nights) I relax by watching soaps and whatever reality show there is on.

I got into trouble a few times when I wrote about my observations on some of these 'shows' and I had a succession of nasty comments when I was commenting on the X Factor about a year ago. I am glad that people I don't know or ever will take an interest in what I think, suppose that my mother is right when she says it is better to be talked about than be ignored? Or was it Oscar Wilde? Who cares..

Anyways this reality show programme is about some photographer called Perou or Venezuela (can't remember) he puts together a group of 8 'models' so that he can save the world by taking their pictures and putting them in his exhibition. And of course there is nothing wrong with that at all.

My only observation is that the 'models' look extremely ordinary and I would go as far as to say that at least half of my friends are better looking then they are. But then of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or is it in the eye of the possessor?

Anyway these 8 people go around bitching about each other and sticking fish on their heads so that the photographs look better? They clearly dislike each other and of course that is because they are competing with one another. The absolutely worst thing about the show is that they refer to themselves as 'the models' with irritating remarks like '.. oh my God what happens when you put 8 models together..' blah blah blah

My advise is to keep it real and make themselves more likable by not actually believing their own fantasy? The programme shows that a model is someone who is willing to put up with a lot of shit and treated like pooh and it also proves that you don't have to look super cool (whatever that means) to get there! I would say, however, that on the whole the programme is entertaining and it should not be taken seriously!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Westminster Council

Westminster Council forced new measures through last night which means that those who wish to go in the centre shopping with their cars can no longer park on Sunday as they have been able to do before unless they pay more than £4 an hour.

In addition parking restrictions will be extended until midnight every weekday. This will of course affect those who may go to the theatre or clubbers.

Westminster Councils brigadier brigade have argued that these measures are necessary as they find it difficult to park their 3 range rovers every night without having to compete for space with the proletariat who visit the town.

This is an idiotic move and it will mean that trade in the area will suffer as people will chose to use other centres. It will affect large department stores, restaurants, theatres and clubs. Its all very well to say use public transport but when the tube stops at 12 midnight it is incredibly difficult to make it back!

Westminster was wrong to make this change and I hope they will soon realise this and reverse the measure.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Alarm bells for Cyprus economy too??

Global intelligence agency Stratfor, in a report on Cyprus issued on Thursday suggested a bailout might be needed in the wake of the Mari disaster (a power station was blown up) because the country was “not far from the edge”.

“But because of its relatively low national debt and small economy, any financial help from Brussels would be both manageable and temporary," the agency said.

Stratfor said that Cyprus traditionally exercises more cautious fiscal policies than many European states, even running a small budget surplus during the global financial crisis.

Growth prospects in Cyprus have also been more positive and stable than in places like Portugal or Greece, with the country in recent years suffering only one recession - a mild one - in 2009. While the economy was not exactly booming before the July 11 disaster, it was at least growing, the report said. So it is unclear as to whether the Cyprus economy would need a bail out and if it did it will be for a small amount and short term. And I thought the economy was growing at a higher rate there?

The Royals

A lot was said yesterday as to how the Royals are becoming very popular again. I was listening to 97.3 radio on my way out whilst I was driving around 2 p.m. and the presenter (don't know her name) would have us convinced that the entire country is ecstatic and happy to have the 3,000 royals running around making our lives so much better. She did not of course provide any evidence of this but she did say that people were impressed that the Queens grand daughter who am sure is lovely opens her own car door when she gets out?? How pathetic an argument is that?

Anyway I am not sure as to whether Britain will ever want to replace the monarchy with an elected President but I would hope that if the Royals are kept (to open supermarkets) then at the very least they should follow the tradition of the Queen of Holland and Denmark and be more real and down to earth. They are simply normal people who may (arguable) have a job to do. One of them could do all the supermarket opening and the rest should get normal jobs like every one else. The issue here of course is the media. They on the whole need to have them around to sell newspapers and create tv shows. They are, after all, good value when it comes to gossip.

Tony Blair

Tony Blair is in the news again and of course he is making the headlines for the wrong reasons.

It would appear that the decision to invade Iraq was made a year before the war started and it involved a 'secret' agreement between himself and President Bush. If this is true and the rest of the British cabinet did not know about this then Blair acted outside his authority and had no right to do so. The unpopular war was illegal which means he has a lot of explaining to do.

Westminster Council and parking

Councillors in Westminster will be voting tonight to introduce measures which would mean that free parking in and around central London will be a thing of the past on Sundays.

It is of course a good thing that parking restrictions exist as this regulates the flow of traffic. But Westminster Councillors who are basically greedy want to increase the revenue they get from drivers coming in to shop on a Sunday and it wouldn't matter if the charge was reasonable but at £4.40 an hour this move could kill off Sunday trading. If this measure was introduced the result could mean that Sunday trading in the area would go down the toilet.