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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.