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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..

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?

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 @

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 @

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 @

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 @

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 @

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 @

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.

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.

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!!