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Sunday, 30 December 2012

Ocean conservation

The UK government is boasting about the 31 conservation zones it created to protect marine habitats. That's just not the true story. 96 conservation zones were rejected by the UK government, meaning about three quarters of ocean-saving conservation zones will NOT come to the ocean's rescue.

The UK government’s own scientific advisors said 127 conservation zones are needed if ocean life is going to have a shot at sustainability. The 31 conservation zones the UK plans to create are just a small sliver of what the environment needs. The UK government is taking a weak stance in the face of firm scientific evidence and a crumbling marine environment.

Now is the time to listen to the experts--all of which understand that this is our chance to save species from plummeting. The UK government is taking baby steps when it should be taking giant leaps toward a thriving ocean.

Tell the UK government: Create ALL 127 ocean conservation zones!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

David Beckham and restaurants

I understand that David Beckham who is apparently a good role model for young people  will be opening a new restaurant. He is not just happy covering himself up with tattoos and selling cheap nickers he will now be frying egg and chips in some establishment in central London. The power of PR ah? Next it will be Emily Bishop and Pat Butcher going on dancing on ice.. and why not? Or perhaps Anne Widicomb becoming a stripper?

Friday, 28 December 2012

Defend animals


Animals can do a lot of things. They're compassionate: Dogs will stay by our side when we're sad. They express emotions: When rabbits are happy, they jump and twist. Chimpanzees will embrace each other as a sign of consolation. They experience pain, fear and love: Elephants mourn death, are visibly upset when a baby is injured, and celebrate the homecoming of their friends.

But one thing animals can't do is defend themselves from cruelty. Poaching, trophy hunting, abuse on the streets or cruel tests in research labs: many animals are helpless against the harm humans can inflict on them.

That's why animals need your help! Join Humane Society International, one of the world's most effective animal protection organisations and become an Animal Defender today. Choose which of our life saving programmes you want

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Miserable Enders getting worst

When is the BBC going to learn that they are better off sticking to making documentary programmes about what type of underpants Henry the 8 was wearing or whether Cinderella was a communist and stop producing rubbish soaps like East Enders.

The story lines on that crap programme are dull, boring and completely incomprehensible. I stopped watching East Enders a few years ago but I had the misfortune to watch it over Xmas coz the people I was spending time with insisted and what a lot of bloody rubbish it was!! Get rid of.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Fox hunting is cruel

Most fox hunting gatherings will take place today. There is an argument for reducing the number of foxes that run wild in the country side. I don't agree that this is a major problem as the animal itself is very territorial which means that their numbers are reduced by wars between themselves and that is of course what nature intended.

It is not acceptable, on the other hand, for greedy humans to pin this beautiful animal down and execute it in a most cruel way. The fox hunting 'fraternity' have managed to defend their immoral actions by getting PR firms to present the argument as one between those who live in cities and those who reside in the countryside. This is of course a clever way to divert attention on what it is that they do. Tearing up animals for sport is not morally right and it's  and it must be stopped. I know of many people in the country side who are against this so their argument is not correct.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Xmas to everyone and a happy new year!

Monday, 24 December 2012

What time is the end of the world then?

I am quite annoyed with the media in general, most of us are most of the time. But on this occasion I have got 4 tickets to go to the theatre tonight with mates and I have just heard that the end of the world wasn't on the 21st but today? Can someone let me know how I can take out an injunction to stop this as I have paid good money that I haven't got to buy those bloody tickets! What's wrong with these people? If they are going to predict the end of the world they should get it right! Whats the TUC doing about this??

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Deidrie Barlow Rashid and the Xmas speech

 
Deidrie Barlow Rashid is thought, by many,  to have her finger on the pulse..
 
I understand from totally unreliable sources that the Queen may not be doing the traditional speech on Xmas day so the BBC will be using an alternative. Deidre Barlow Rashid could be asked to make a statement to the nation as it is believed this will be more relevant, down to earth and more real. The rumour started when Emily Bishop left Weatherfield last night on her way to London. Have no idea whether this is actually true or false but then no one really cares.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

What happened to the end of the world then?

Not that I am complaining but we was all expecting the world to end yesterday so as a result Deidre Barlow Rashid cancelled her acting lessons, Phil Mitchel stopped his subscription to 'Bambi was a communist' magazine and Emily Bishop came out as a lesbian. All this was done as the future would not matter as it would not exists! Wonder what other nutcases will come up with next?

Religion is good as it keeps some people off the streets and Xmas is an opportunity to stimulate the economy and of course we wouldn't have Xmas without religion but apart from that am not sure it serves a great purpose? The world will end when we blow it all up not because some religious sect says so.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Happy Xmas


With the family...


Taking a short break from the busy fight to save the world and its oysters. Happy Xmas to everyone and remember there are no enemies just some people who don't agree with you. Don't waste your energy on negative issues the bucket is always half full and Jon of the Rogers is capable of sometimes making sense.

Meryy Xmas!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

RSPCA Xmas appeal

Best way to celebrate the festive season and give presents is to make a donation of your chosen charity. It would be wonderful if you found out what a friends favourite charity was and you then made a donation to that organisation. My chosen charity is Water Aid and the RSPCA I suggest we all change the way we think and help those who need help most.

https://www.rspca.org.uk/donate/online?source=12EA070406&gclid=CNSugbWiprQCFbMbtAodqWMAFw

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Pensions

Pensions progress


A new pensions industry code of conduct on communicating information about changes in defined contribution (DC) pension schemes to employers has been welcomed by the TUC.

As part of auto enrolment, many employers are required to set up a workplace pension scheme for the first time. Under the new code, providers and advisers will be required to tell companies how their staff will be affected by charges taken out of individual pension pots.

Meanwhile, the TUC has also responded positively to the publication of the Government's new reinvigoration strategy for workplace pensions.

TUC on code of conduct @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21713-f0.cfm

Monday, 17 December 2012

Appalling Remploy decision

The TUC has expressed its revulsion at the 'heartless' decision by the government to close more Remploy factories, with nearly 900 employees facing compulsory redundancies.


Many of these workers would have little chance of finding alternative employment, the TUC said. Of the first 1,000 employees made redundant during recent factory closures, just 35 had subsequently found work.

TUC response in full @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/equality/tuc-21742-f0.cfm

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Do we have a responsible media?

The recent and tragic incident of the nurse at the King Edward hospital who committed suicide has seen the media falling over themselves with hysteria.

It is of course sad that an ordinary worker felt under so much pressure that she took her own life but the media deciding that the two Australian djs were to blame is wrong. The djs were definitely stupid to do what they did but they had no plan or intend to contribute to the tragedy or could have foreseen the reaction that their action produced.

What is more significant is that the nurse had left letters stating that she had been put under pressure by those managing her. The media should do more to look into this rather than convict two idiotic djs for getting involved in a prank. They should not be the victims in all of this.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Mission impossible for new Bank boss

 

Reacting to news that Mark Carney is to become the new Governor of the Bank of England, the TUC said that the Chancellor's policies had made his job 'close to impossible'.

Austerity measures had sent the economy back into recession and threatened a lost decade of stagnation, the TUC said, adding that while the Bank had been given an important new role in regulating banking, the Government wanted to water down the Vickers recommendations.

More on this @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21708-f0.cfm

Friday, 14 December 2012

Greek economy out of the woods at huge cost to ordinary people

The Greek PM Antonios Samaras annouced today that specualation around the exit of the country out of the Euro was now dead and buried. Merkel rushed to confirm this so in the usual Euro tradition all seems to be well and fiscal integration is a few weeks away. It will mean the ECB will have powers over the 17 Euro zone member states to regulate what national banks do bbut more than this it will also mean that they can tell governments what their budgets can or cannot include.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Greenfield land development

The British countryside is embedded deep in the nation's culture. But, frankly, there isn't much unspoiled land left.

That's why the Tories' plan to sell off huge tracts of what's remaining for a quick profit is so wrong.

Right now, the government wants to put 2 million "greenfield" -- read "unspoiled" -- acres up for development. Ostensibly, this plan is supposed to help alleviate pressure for more housing. But destroying untouched land is not the solution -- especially when there are plenty of previously-developed "brownfield" sites around the country that could be sustainably developed.

The government's job is to protect Britain's land and heritage, including the natural sites that are left, not just figure out how best to exploit our country's resources.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

There is an immigrant in my soup!

Based on stats released by the Home Office it looks like the hysteria produced by the media earlier on in the year regarding a huge influx of Greek migrants due to the Euro crisis was all a lot of rubbish.

According to these stats there were more Brits moving to Greece in areas like Corfu and Crete buying cheap property there than Greeks moving over here.

In addition there were more Irish, Portuguese and Spanish citizens choosing to come to the UK than Greeks. Wonder why that 'fashion icon' Teresa May decided to make public statements saying she will introduce legislation ( which she obviously can't due to EU laws) to stop the Greeks? Perhaps May and the others think that Greece could be an easy target? Well she got that wrong.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Maverics with dodgy politics

It always amazes me when those on the very hard left (and I mean hard as a rock left) criticise those of us who belong to mainstream parties.

There is of course a selection of about 32 versions of the hard left and the majority of the activists in these little groups believe in what they say and most of the time do good things. But they take the biscuit when they go around dishing out criticism to the rest of us who are involved with parties that can at least have some chance of forming a government. The best thing for these few people to do would be to join the Labour party ( if they would have them ) and try and influence real life politics in real time? Time to grow up?

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Austerity is failing

Earlier in November, the TUC said that an analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies showed that the Chancellor's economic strategy is failing 'on all counts'. The IFS warned that the Chancellor may have to abandon his fiscal target on falling debt and announce more spending cuts after 2015.


In other economic news last month, the TUC reacted cautiously to news that the Bank of England is to transfer the excess cash from its quantitative easing programme - worth some £35bn - to the Treasury. The TUC said it was little more than an accounting sleight of hand.

TUC on IFS study @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21701-f0.cfm

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Regional pay - partial retreat

The TUC did however welcome the Government's retreat from plans for regional pay for many public sector workers, which was announced in the statement.


The groups saved from the postcode pay lottery include workers in the NHS, prisons and civil service. But the decision to press ahead with plans to set teachers' pay at the level of the individual school was roundly condemned.

'Unfortunately we've not seen a complete u-turn, and now teachers are to be singled out, selected to become the guinea pigs in the Chancellor's ill-advised public sector pay experiment', said Brendan Barber.

More on this @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21738-f0.cfm

Friday, 7 December 2012

Pain without purpose

 

The TUC condemned the main thrust of Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement, delivered on 5 December, as lacking any vision of a future economy that could deliver decent jobs and living standards.
'When you are self-harming you should stop, not look for better sticking plasters', said TUC general secretary Brendan Barber. 'With the economy still scraping along the bottom, unemployment set to rise and the Chancellor missing his own debt target, we need a fundamental change in direction, not more muddling through.'

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Has PASOK had its chance?


The results from the last general election in Greece in June speak for themselves. The Socialist party appears to be in crisis as it has only managed to come third after the Tories and the hard left Syriza. The question must be whether this is a temporary phenomenon or whether the outcome in the summer is a clear indication that the country has swung towards the two opposite extremes? PASOK is very similar to New Labour with policies that could almost definitely have been translated from English into Greek.

My opinion is that the summer result reflects the anger of those who have been hit by the severe austerity measures endured by the whole country and that the electorate will soon move back to embrace the Socialist message?? I won't hold my breath though!





Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Incomes under pressure

Reacting to official figures showing a huge drop in household incomes, the TUC said that an over-reliance on the housing bubble and personal debt exaggerated income growth in the run up to the recession. High-quality jobs and a fairer distribution of decent wages needed to be at the heart of a plan for economic recovery.


Meanwhile, last month's inflation figures - showing CPI falling to 2.2 per cent and RPI falling to 2.6 per cent in September - would not make up for sluggish wage growth, the TUC said in response. Although the fall in inflation was welcome, the latest data had to be seen in the context of continuing real wage reductions, meaning families continued to get poorer.

More on household incomes @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21556-f0.cfm

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

United left and Regional Council

I admire the United Left in the London region for putting up a motion to go to go to regional Council asking for a reduction in the numbers required to hold  meetings.

I also agree that branches have a duty to send a full delegation to these meetings but it all goes very wrong when the stats show us that those urging branches to mobilise are rarely in a position to have all their delegates in attendance? I can be forgiven for thinking that this does not make much sense?
Call me old fashioned but this does not make sense??

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Insulating homes would boost growth

The TUC has welcomed a report from Consumer Focus saying that the best way to boost growth and create jobs in the UK is to make the homes of low-income households more energy efficient.


'The financial case for insulating the homes of low-income families across the UK is overwhelming', said Frances O'Grady. 'It would bring thousands of new, highly-skilled green jobs, reduce energy bills for the UK's poorest households, and give an economic boost to the UK that would far outweigh the cost of public investment'.

Further information @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21625-f0.cfm

Saturday, 1 December 2012

World Aids day 2012

Remember those suffering and encourage wider testing

http://www.worldaidsday.org/

Friday, 30 November 2012

The case for a dog licence

Picture of my dog Sparky who has agreed to be photographed if it helps other animals..



Those of you who either have or have had a dog or a pet would know that the bond created between 'owner' and them is a strong one. Dogs are particularly responsive and get attached and they become in the majority of cases very good loving and loyal friends.

It is for that reason that it annoys me when I hear of horror stories where animals are badly treated and used as commodities. The newest story is when an animal charity found little defenceless puppies kept in a bucket! Around 5 of them in a small container.

Another story is where an idiotic owner kept their dog in the back of their car at night! People like that need therapy and should be banned from keeping an animal. But one way to help the situation is to introduce a pet licence. This will not necessarily stop cruelty but it will help keep control over the blemish that scars the human character. Stop unnecessary cruelty to animals and act now!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Steve Reed for Croydon North



Today I shall be voting for Steve Reed at the Croydon North bi election. I have worked with Steve for many years and have found him to be man of great integrity and high intellect. I have not always agreed with some of his 'projects' in Lambeth but that will not stop me from actively supporting him. He will make a great MP! Better than any of the others on offer!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Low earners suffer weakest growth - TUC

 


Official statistics showing that low-paid workers have suffered the weakest earnings growth over the past 26 years have been seized on by the TUC as further evidence of the shocking scale of inequality in Britain.

The TUC said the figures showed that despite the important role the minimum wage has played in boosting the pay of the poorest workers, inequality has risen throughout the UK over the past quarter of a century.

Find out more @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21619-f0.cfm

Monday, 26 November 2012

Poor pension provision hits low-paid

 


Low-paid workers are far less likely to have a workplace pension than their better paid counterparts, and those that do have far lower employer contribution rates, according to a TUC report published late in October that assessed the health of UK pension provision.

The TUC Pensions Scorecard report examines the membership, contribution rates and governance of workplace pensions across the UK, as well as the retirement incomes they generate, identifying trends and areas where improvement is most needed. It focuses on the defined contribution (DC) schemes into which most workers will be automatically enrolled over the next few years.

In other pensions news, the TUC has said that restrictions on NEST - the low-cost pension scheme established ahead of auto-enrolment - are harming consumers who cannot take advantage of the new arrangements.

More on TUC Pensions Scorecard @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economyhttp://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?



http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=1027012696648038180#editor/target=post;postID=3934752880819430642

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The uninspiring generation of low intelect politicians



The problem with today's politicians is that they are all of very low intellect, people who see becoming an MP as a short cut to having an easy life and a career progression. Beware of those who may sound good but produce nothing, in other words all 3 major party leaders. Lets face it we are in trouble with the selection we have in British politics! That's why Trade Unions are a much more important platform through which to achieve change and justice as none of the current leaders are capable! What a mess!!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Long life stats

Natives of the Greek island Ikaria have remarkably long life-spans. On average, they live an astounding 8 to 10 years longer than Americans, are 2.5 times as likely to survive to 90, and are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. The New York Times Magazine this week published author Dan Buettner’s research with the National Geographic Society on why that might be so.

These are apparently the main reasons.

1) Plenty of rest: “Wake naturally, work in the garden, have a late lunch, take a nap.”

2) An herbal diet: “Many of the teas they consume are traditional Greek remedies.”

3) Very little sugar, white flour, or meat: “Low intake of saturated fats from meat and dairy was associated with lower risk of heart disease.” A doctor cites “the absence of sugar and white flour.”

4) Mediterranean diet: Olive oil, goat’s milk, wild greens, wine, and coffee are all cited for health benefits. “Subjects consumed about six times as many beans a day as Americans.”

5) No processed food: “Another health factor at work might be the unprocessed nature of the food they consume: as Trichopoulou observed, because islanders eat greens from their gardens and fields, they consume fewer pesticides and more nutrients.”

6) Regular napping: Taking at least three a week was found to correlate with a 37 percent reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease.

7) Healthy sex lives after 65: “A preliminary study of Ikarian men between 65 and 100 that included the fact that 80 percent of them claimed to have sex regularly, and a quarter of that self-reported group said they were doing so with ‘good duration’ and ‘achievement.’”

8) Stay busy and involved: ”Social structure might turn out to be more important. In Sardinia, a cultural attitude that celebrated the elderly kept them engaged in the community and in extended-family homes until they were in their 100s. Studies have linked early retirement among some workers in industrialized economies to reduced life expectancy.”

9) Exercise: “It’s hard to get through the day in Ikaria without walking up 20 hills.”

10) Little stress of any kind: Relaxed work and social cultures, little emphasis on time, and a caring community all get frequent mentions. For example, “You’re not likely to ever feel the existential pain of not belonging or even the simple stress of arriving late.” Or, “Even if you’re antisocial, you’ll never be entirely alone.” And don't take the EU crisis too seriously!




 
 



What about earwax?

I totally agree and in fact I want issues to do with inequality to be covered extensively by TV producers when making their programmes but some of the idiotic stories on East Enders and Coronation street are somewhat ridiculous and misleading. Both programmes are competing with each other and the writers keep coming up with minority type of story lines that do more damage to those groups than help.

The latest nonsense in Corrie is where a gay man wakes up one morning and is no longer gay whilst in East Enders there remains no subject that the producers have not covered. It is all total nonsense. Soaps should concentrate on entertaining and not promoting the idiotic fantasies of sexually frustrated writers! Get a life! Or if they want to continue then how about covering the issues around earwax?



 

 



 

Friday, 23 November 2012

Go green to reduce inequalities

Investing in green growth is essential if the UK is to reduce its trade deficit and reverse damaging regional economic inequalities, TUC general secretary designate Frances O'Grady argued in her speech to the TUC's annual climate change conference last month.


Other speakers at the event included Business Secretary Vince Cable, Climate Change Committee chair Lord Deben, shadow minister Luciana Berger and Green MP Caroline Lucas.

Last month also saw the launch of a new report on the future of energy-intensive industries, warning that Britain would lose out in terms of jobs and investment unless it accelerated its transition to a low-carbon economy.

More on climate change conference @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21555-f0.cfm

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The goal was and still is fiscal union and full integration

The current crisis was a device used by those who want full integration and fiscal union. The crisis was used to scare off the rebellious Greeks and the sceptical Spaniards to ensure that they did not object too much when the scheme was imposed. That is at least what the Greek press is saying now and although I don't subscribe to conspiracy theories I think they might have a point with this one! United States of Europe is here...

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Is the euro crisis over?

The idea that the current financial crisis was invented by some to achive fiscal union within the euro zone is some what ridiculous on the other hand and as we are witnessing with the handling of the Greek and Portugese problems it will seem that what was a major catastrophe 2 months ago is now presented to us as being a major problem. So there is a shift from the impossible to the managable. It all sounds suspicious and those who subscribe to the conspiracy theories might be right? Was this about imposing fiscal union??

Monday, 19 November 2012

House of Lords

Good debate at national LGBT conference this weekend on motion 32 calling for the abolition of the 12 Church of England Bishop lords. But I don't think the motion went far enough there is simply no need for a House of lords the institution symbolises inequality and we don't need that in a modern society!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Pay lifeline must be raised

 

The government had to increase the minimum wage next year so it at least kept pace with inflation and earnings growth to prevent low-paid workers from being left behind, the TUC warned earlier this month.
As the TUC presented evidence to the Low Pay Commission, it said that with ongoing cuts to tax credits and benefits, the incomes of hard-pressed families were being squeezed even tighter.
Further details @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21620-f0.cfm

Friday, 16 November 2012

Light at the end of the tunnel..

The head of IMF has insisted that the next meeting of EU ministers finds a solution to the 'Greek financial problem' There are huge concerns that the Greek rebellion will spread to countries other than Portugal, Spain and Italy with France being the next to be joining in the resistance. Greece has already been granted a 2 year extension ( which will no doubt be turned into 10) and more of its debts will be written off. Who says that resistance doesn't pay?

Thursday, 15 November 2012

European fiscal fundamentalism is the road to nowhere


TUC General Secretary Designate Frances O'Grady's speech to a Coalition of Resistance rally on the evening of the ETUC Day of Action against austerity.

http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-21658-f0.cfm

Report from Spain

Our colleagues in the Spanish trade union movement sent us a report on Wednesday afternoon about the early hours of the European Day of Action in Spain.

http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-21666-f0.cfm


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

More protest action in Greece

Greece protests at further austerity

As their contribution to the ETUC Day of Action against austerity and for jobs
and growth, the Greek trade union confederations ADEDY and GSEE held a two day
general strike on 6 and 7 November, to coincide with the Parliamentary debate on
the latest austerity package. At their request, the TUC sent a letter of protest
to the Greek Prime Minister.
http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-21656-f0.cfm

Action against austerity today 14nov2012


The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has designated Wednesday 14 November 2012 as a day of action against austerity, for jobs and growth. Unions across Europe are taking action and demanding a change of course. Here's a quick guide to what's happening, what's on the web, and what resources you can use.

http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-21663-f0.cfm

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

TUC letter to Spanish PM: change course now

TUC letter to Spanish PM: change course now
As part of the run up to the 14 November ETUC Day of Action against austerity, for jobs and growth, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has written formally to the Spanish Prime Minister – at the request of Spanish trade unions – calling on the President 'and the rest of the European leaders and institutions, for a policy change. We demand measures that foster growth and create employment.'

http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-21635-f0.cfm


Monday, 12 November 2012

Living wage campaign takes off

The campaign for employers to commit to paying all staff a 'living wage' is now showing signs of taking off in a big way, with growing political and media support and a week dedicated to the promotion of the campaign at the start of this month.


An announcement early in November from the Living Wage Foundation and the Greater London Authority that the guideline rate for the living wage is to rise to £8.55 an hour in London and £7.45 elsewhere was welcomed by the TUC, though far too few large employers were paying the new rate - despite having the resources to do so.

Over the past month Labour leader Ed Miliband has taken a number of initiatives in support of the living wage and his brother David jointly authored an article on the subject with UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis at the start of the Living Wage Week.

More on the living wage campaign @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21614-f0.cfm

Sunday, 11 November 2012

TUC letter to Greek PM: no to austerity

TUC letter to Greek PM: no to austerity

As part of the run up to the 14 November ETUC Day of Action against austerity, for jobs and growth, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has written formally to the Greek Prime Minister – at the request of Greek trade unions – expressing 'anger and dismay about ... measures which will hit harder the weakest and will deteriorate further the dramatic social and economic situation in Greece.'

http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-21634-f0.cfm


Saturday, 10 November 2012

Costa Rica Bans Shark Finning


http://www.care2.com/go/z/e/AG91Q/znbW/Aus7JThe government of Costa Rica recently enacted a law that bans all elements of shark finning within its borders, including the transportation and importation of fins from other countries. Hopefully they will act as an example for the rest of the world!
Read more.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Against Fox hunting

First, half-starve a terrier. Next, send it underground after a fox hiding from hunters. Then, let them fight underground and each take serious injuries. Finally, pull the terrier and fox out from underground and throw the live fox to its death at the hands of hounds. You've now participated in a dig-out, a legal "sport" in Ireland.

Tell Irish Parliament to ban fox hunting dig-outs.

Fox-hunting is a cruel blood sport in any form. But the dig-out is just about the worst type and causes serious injury and unnecessary suffering to both foxes and the terriers used by hunters.

Dig-outs serve absolutely no purpose other than entertaining people with a warped sense of what's fun. Because the foxes are so mangled in the process, their fur isn't even usable. This is the 21st century -- it's time governments took a stand against cruelty for cruelty's sake.

Tell Parliament to put an end to dig-outs.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

4 More years

The reality is that those of us who live in Europe are affected by American foreign policy and that never changes irrespective of who the President is. On the other hand it is good to see that the USA is mature enough to understand that out of the two candidates Obama is on balance the best. We won't see many fundamental changes but at least Obama brings some hope to those who in the past felt excluded.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

48 hour strike in Greece



The entire country has started a huge 48 general strike with almost every employee refusing to work. ADEDY the major public services union has instructed their members not to turn up for work whilst marches in cities like Athens, Thesaloniki, Patras Iraklion and others have been organised. I am not able to be there this time but I am hoping that the TUC would have at least send messages of support...

What happens after the 20 October then?

Our great leaders allowed us to march down the streets of London on the 20th October more than 200,000 of us were there and there were many more in other major cities of the country. But what happens now? How do we follow on from that? Is local action the way to continue the struggle or was that it? Many members have been asking these questions but I don't know if we have the answer?? Why can't we use that energy and enthusiasm to move on? Or have we given in?

Monday, 5 November 2012

The reports on Greece

Glad that Jon of the Rogers has referred to the collective strike action organised by TU's in southern Europe. I have been reporting about the new phenomenon of organising in the south and the luck of support from Britain for months now. Greece, for example, would see its 10th big strike on the 14th of this month (plus many marches)

It is true that the rise of the far right golden shower party (or is it golden dawn?) is responsible for a number of terrible incidents in Athens. More disturbing is the fact that they have gained 6% of the vote (similar to France) On the other hand there has been a number of demonstrations against them and ordinary people on the streets are organising themselves to resist and the majority of MPs in the Vouli have signed a petition wanting to outlaw them. I did not see this reported on Jon's 'armchair socialist' friends blog nor did I see any reports of the movement that occupies supermarkets and forces big chains to reduce their prices. I think more is done in Greece to resist the tyranny of capitalism than Jon and his mates can imagine! Less chat more action mate??

Sunday, 4 November 2012

More strikes in Greece

Finance Minister Stournaras is in desperate discussions with the two partner parties in the Greek government coalition trying to convince them to agree the austerity measures that he has agreed with the Troika.

In the meantime the Greek TUC announces more strike action for next week. The country has suffered a lot because there are in a treble recession and the economy has contracted by 4.3% unless Greece finds a way to make the economy grow a default at some stage will be inevitable... It don't look good and Syrizas dream of reinventing Argentina in the middle of norther Mediterranean could become real...

Friday, 2 November 2012

Cypriots to sue UK government for torture

A group of Cypriots are determined to sue the British government for damages and an apology for torture during the fight against colonial rule. The specific case of a 17 year old Evagoras Palikarides, a school boy who was hanged because he brought down a British flag in his school, is also to be looked at again.

A British court has already ruled on the right of three Kenyans to pursue damages for torture in the 1950s, which “has paved the path for us to carry on.

Because of the Kenya decision, two questions are answered: whether a law suit would be admissible in court and whether the court would admit a case dating back over fifty years.

Top secret foreign office files made available this year, have showed that activists and civilians were brutally tortured between 1955 and 1959.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has said it will make more documents available by September 2013 that will also need to be studied.

Leading Cypriot lawyer Clerides confirmed that about 20 cases stood out, although about 60 individuals have detailed alleged abuses and said they are willing to go to court.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Unions must merge

I was involved with another discussion yesterday afternoon with a number of activists who do not think that the 3 main unions should merge. I disagree with this view and I strongly suggest that if more work isn't done to find ways of bringing the 3 main public service unions together we will be facing further decline. Merging will allow us to manage our affairs better and enable us to serve the interests of our members better with concentrated resources. Unite, GMB and Unison must find a way out of their rivalries and unite!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Ban shark fishing

You've heard of snake oil, perhaps -- the famous "medicine" peddled by con artists that usually contained nothing that would actually help people. But have you ever heard of shark oil?

In the UK, many fish oil supplements contain material from endangered sharks.

The reported benefits of Omega-3 supplements vary widely. Many experts say that the way to reap the rewards is to include them in a balanced diet, rather than popping the pills. But regardless of how you get your Omegas, one thing is for sure: those tablets that people are buying by the truckload often contain parts from endangered shark species.

Oil from endangered deep sea shark species such as the goblin shark and the leafscale gulper is widely used in the omega-3 supplements sold in the UK with almost no restrictions. As a result, the already threatened sharks are under more pressure than ever before.

Monday, 29 October 2012

What Euro crisis?

It looks remarkable when you compare the headlines between May to September this year and then you look at what is being said right now. The Euro crisis seems to have gone or at least the press has got bored with the whole affair and has moved on to more 'interesting things'. We are all victims of media manipulation and that will never change.

What is becoming apparent now is that the entire outburst had at its centre the desire by the Eurocrats to achieve fiscal integration which is of course a few metres away from the United States of Europe. That, I would imagine, is the entire reason behind scaring the underpants off most of us!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

X Factor 2012

Yes I know I am always critical of rubbish on television but I had guests staying this weekend from Manchester who insisted on watching X Factor so I was briefly exposed to the entire PR show because at the end of the day that's what's it's all about. A Jeremy Kyle type of formula that satisfies the armchair wannabes.

Anyway this year is no different to any other. A few years back they had a dreadful act called Wagner and people kept voting him in. This time around there is an appalling man called Rylan who has the singing ability of a bag of chips left on the drive way over night. Again people keep voting him in because lets face it Britain loves shit on television!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Euro crisis? What crisis..?

I think I am right and not paranoid to have thought right from that start of the current euro zone crisis that the purpose of it all was to drive wages down and make the general population more submissive.

I have very little doubt about that. The issue about debt is a nonsensical one. Countries will always have to borrow money to do things, they always have. Its the markets that create the crisis by increasing their interest rates constantly. Control the fucking markets and stop punishing the general population its not the right way to do things!!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Promote union mergers

I have written about the need for TUs to join up and merge and others have agreed that this is indeed the way forward.

It is time for us to face reality and accept that many workers are either indifferent or scared and avoid joining the TU movement. More should be done to stop this and putting all our resources together is the best way to ensure that we can be more effective. There should, for example, be one union representing those in local government.

Merging means evolving and if we don't evolve we face extinction!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Local action?

I agree with activists that I normally disagree with that local government and health branches have got to organise local campaigns and fight employers without having to wait for a national mass mobilisation on the scale seen in Greece or Spain as that ain't gona happen mate!

Strange that my own branch, Lambeth Unison, voted for a ballot at the annual AGM in January and nothing has materialised yet? Do we just talk the talk, or am I waiting for some major revolution to take place!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Austerity means poverty



A poster from Athens found all over the city. Here is the translation:

Homeless in Athens need your help NOW!

Underneath it it states: Blankets and winter clothing needed urgently;
Requests for basic food and thick winter blankets!

This is the state of modern Europe with its austerity measures now!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Day of action and where to next?

We all had a superb day yesterday, more than 150,000 people marched on the streets of London demanding the end of austerity and the introduction of policies that stimulate growth. This is indeed what most of those fighting the injustice are demanding in the rest of Europe.

The big question following the great mobilisation yesterday is what is the strategy and the next step? It is important that we have clear tactics that can prove that we have not given up and that we know where we are going to next! More local action is what we need to concentrate on next!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Greece to get the 31.1 billion after all

Looks like all the talk about not continuing to support the Greek economy by the Germans was meant for domestic consumption. The German Chancellor announced that the second package of loans will be paid given that their man in Athens, PM Samaras, has managed to behave himself and has shown signs of improvement in the last 3 months.

The EU needs to come up with policies that encourage growth and abandon restrictive austerity measures otherwise the crisis will get worst!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Greek general strike

My ADEDY friend ( public services union) texts me to say that the march in the centre of Athens is strong with people protesting against the severe austerity measures imposed on the general population ( strikes and marches all over Greece not just Athens ). He also reports that there are a number of Spanish, Portuguese and French flags in St Sophia's avenue but can't see a British representative. Maybe this is because we are all getting ready for the big London march this coming Saturday? Hope so..

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Standards of service

I accept that campaigning for a better future and getting involved with other activists to achieve change is a very important part of what we do as union members. But there is no excuse for allowing ourselves to fall behind with the work needed to help and support ordinary members who need our help.

That is after all why unions were formed. There is not point creating armies of arm chair revolutionaries who spend a major part of their time fighting a class struggle in cyber space. Lets have minimum standards of service and lets ensure that we meet these.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Why are unions losing members

Why are unions losing members or perhaps why is it that union members lose faith with those they perceive as being part of the ruling  bureaucracy? These are big questions that need to concern us all.

The simple answer is that whilst many union activists on the front line are fighting to protect fellow workers rights those who are in a position to make things happen and help them when they have a work related problem take for ever to do anything. This is an endemic problem and one that full time 'orators' and followers of hot air who spend most of their lives up their own M25  should deal with.

I am currently dealing with a case of a low paid member who has been asking for legal advice on a matter to do with his employment position. This member is facing dismissal at the end of the month. We submitted case forms and requested legal advice more then 4 weeks ago but nothing is coming forward it's one excuse after another.

My argument is what is the point of having a revolution to save the class struggle when you can't be bothered to help an ordinary loyal member who needs support? And I know for a fact that this is not an isolated case. The orators who love the sound of their own voice and are so obsessed with the theory of revolution should do something practical to offer support.  Do I f...g need me to state the obvious?? What is the purpose of the uprising if you can't save a single member?? No wonder more than half of those who work in public service don't bloody join!! Lets change that!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Decisive EU summit

The October EU summit later on this month will make major decisions on how to deal with the current financial crisis in the South.

There is strong evidence that member states are doing a U turn understanding that huge austerity measures imposed on the PIGS  will kill growth and be counter productive. The President of the IMF has already gone on record saying that countries like Greece and Portugal need more time to pay off their debts. Amazes me that it has taken them so long to understand this simple principle of economics!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

EU Extension to be agreed

As expected by almost everyone with more than one brain cell the extension demanded by Portugal and Greece to repay the support loans will be agreed. I have never doubted that the north EU states would come to understand at some point that the policy of killing the patient would not help recovery! Growth and not austerity must be the fundamental principle for recovery. If there is no growth then the revenue goes down which means inability to pay back loans.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Make the 20 of October a success

Get your placards ready

Union placards and flags will no doubt dominate the march, and as at the March for the Alternative in 2011, there are likely to be lots of individually made, personalised messages.
This year, in recognition of this particular art form, a competition for the best placard is being organised with an invitation to demonstrators to make videos explaining why they are marching.

Average worker is £1,600 worse off

The fact that most people are now getting poorer year on year will be a big feature of the demonstration, with new TUC research showing that the average worker is now £1,600 a year worse off than they were three years ago.
The study showed that workers will have to wait another nine years to get back to the level of income they enjoyed in 2009, during which time they will have suffered an average of £8,500 in real terms wage losses.
Further information @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21485-f0.cfm

Friday, 12 October 2012

Greece will stay in the euro

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the northern states of Europe would not want Greece out of the Euro as this would not be in their interest. They count themselves lucky that the feeble coalition of Conservative Samaras and Socilaist Pasok with fat boy Venizelos is holding together and they won't be taking the risk of bringing them down. The alternative will be the mad pro Argentinian Alexis Tsipras who has no policies other than fighting everyone and anyone. That would not do. So I can't see any changes and all the 'hostile, tough' statements made by northern leaders is simply serving internal market politics. They have no intention of letting Greece or Spain go!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

EU and poverty

It is astonishing and sad that the 4th largest economy in the euro zone has been allowed to deteriorate to the point where the Red Cross is distributing food parcels to the growing army of the very poor.

The situation in Spain is now so severe with 27% of those of working age being unemployed. The reality is that although having a United States of Europe is a novel concept  the economic system that was going to make that union a reality has not work. A large rethink is needed right now before Italy also joins Spain Greece and Portugal. If Italy defaults there will be nothing to stop the collapse of the Euro and the European Union dream.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Angela Merkel in Athens

I don't agree with the method used by the EU and the CEB which has as its centre the need to impose massive austerity anti growth measures on countries like Spain, Greece and Portugal. The punishment dished out on the general population using such a system is unfair and it affects the most vulnerable in society.

I also know, as many others do, that not allowing these countries to promote growth in their own economies means that they will never be able to repay the huge debts they have accumulated. It is pure madness to use a method which kills the patient in order to cure his illness? Total madness.

At the same time I think that the anti German hysteria in countries like Greece is not justified and the decision taken by Angela Merkel to visit yesterday was a positive one. There were 50,000 demonstrators in the streets of the capital city with a population of 4 million, which is, by comparison, small compared to many other similar events. The people of Greece must be heard and Angela Merkel's visit was a reasonably good idea. Alexis Tsipras can move to Argentina if he feels so strongly that the Argentinian model is so Utopian. Many Greeks I know would gladly pay for his one way no return ticket.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Future that Works: countdown

The TUC's Future that Works march and rally is now less than two weeks away, with the 20 October mobilisation shaping up to be another momentous day.

The aim of the demonstration is to highlight the immense damage government austerity measures are causing to the economy, public services and communities, and to call for an alternative future based on jobs, growth and tax justice.
The event got a big publicity boost when, in response to a question at the Labour Party conference, Ed Miliband said that he would be taking part. The main focus of the day will be in central London, with a march forming up at 11 am on the Embankment and heading to Hyde Park for a rally. Events are also taking place in Glasgow and Belfast.
The demonstration website is being regularly updated with information about the route and timings, and details of transport arrangements for the day. Those attending are urged to plan ahead as there is some disruption to the tube network in London on 20 October.
Visit the Future that Works website @
http://afuturethatworks.org/

Monday, 8 October 2012

Tory party conference



The Tory party conference starts today with the usual announcements from Osborne and the rest of his executioners on who they are going to make more people homeless and how they can achieve this to ensure that the ruling class continue to enjoy total domination of the country. So of course the target is those people unfortunate enough to be on benefits or those who have to live on pensions.

Amazing that the Liberals have allowed Clegg to support the government as long as he has. They face total oblivion at the next election and they will suffer huge causalities!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

One nation Labour

Am not sure the one Nation slogan adopted by Ed Milibank is going to persuade the voters of Clapham. They are the sort of people New Labour/One Nation Milibandites need to win over if they are going to get their posh well paid jobs in the government they form.

Was in Clapham village last night and 8 of of 10 people getting pissed there did not even know what the slogan meant the other two were more interested in a pint or six of babysham. So it don't look good! Try something else like having policies that make sense?? A shift to the left might help?

Friday, 5 October 2012

One Nation Labour. Its not about PR!!

What I object to with the Labour party decision to use the old brigadier trolley slogan 'One Nation' is that the battle that the party has chosen to fight is on the PR field.

It is now evident that it's  all about what key words to use and which slogans to dish out and of course this is wrong. The electorate is not stupid to buy the shift towards the war of terminologies  and they will soon decide whether it is the substance that matters or not. Get some good policies to the left I say otherwise you might as well get Deidre Barlow to be the leader she has a steady following and will get a few more votes!! And its all about that isn't it??

Thursday, 4 October 2012

A future that works

Growth not austerity hope not despair. Those are the slogans that you hear on the streets of Athens, Madrid and Portugal and now London. Join the march on the 20 October and show the government that the people want and demand a better future.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Newish Labour different slogan?

I am beginning to think that New Labour is taking us all for a ride. The shift that most of us wanted to see is taking place but it is to the right and not the left. The reality is that the only change is to do with altering the PR approach so we are now to use an old Tory slogan and dish out the term used by some brigadier years ago to make the public think that we are further to the right than Cameron?

The New Nation term used by Ed yesterday is a ridiculous idea and it won't take long before the likes of Nick Robinson and Andrew Neil start taking the piss and if they do then I might just agree with them. We are beginning to look ridiculous!!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Can Labour make it?

A lot of hot air at conference in Brighton this week coming out of shadow Ministers desperate to convince the voters that they are not just career politicians looking for a long term job in politics. Yeah right..

My disappointment with what we have with the Labour party is not diminished by my commitment and my firm belief that the party can be changed from within so I remain a member and will strive for a real Labour party the one that was created by the trade union movement? I truly believe this can be done!

Monday, 1 October 2012

South Europe Socialist Alliance

Encouraging news from the 9th meeting of Socialist parties of Southern Europe and the  decision to form an alliance. I have always been an advocate of a strong link between the Socialist movements of Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy. We all have common problems and we can deal with the challenges created by our northern neighbours better if we stick together. I see this as a first step.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

20 October. Make it happen!

It is important that the message we send to the coalition government on the 20 October is loud and clear and whilst I have been critical of the fact that the strategy of concentrating on taking one day of action in isolation of all else we must do all we can to make sure it succeeds.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Rebellion in the South

The good people of Spain and Greece have had enough of the austerity measures imposed on them by the bankers friends and marched in the streets of Athens and Madrid protesting and showing their anger.

It is clear the the strategy of killing the patient to cure his illness is not going to work and it will produce a more undesirable situation which could involve more instability and even conflict. The brain box politicians in Brussels better rethink their policy again before we return to pre war conditions!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Seal Pups

Back soon..Seal Pups Saved From Certain DeathSuccessOver 140,000 Care2 members helped save two seal pups, Zak and Mika, from certain death. The pups were taken from the wild for display at the Aquarium des Iles in Quebec, even though aquarium officials knew they would be senselessly killed at the end of the tourist season. Read more.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Shell Backs Away

Shell Backs Away from Arctic DrillingSuccessShell Oil announced it's finally putting its controversial plans to drill in the Arctic on hold. Irreversible damage to endangered species, irreparable oil spills and draining the resources of native communities are just a few of the injustices Care2 members helped avoid.

Back soon

Back soon

Monday, 24 September 2012

20 of October must be big!

I know I have been critical as have many others of the TU's not having a long and coherent strategy that delivers long term objectives and I am also cynical of us thinking that by marching into central London for one day we can achieve much, we all know that one day will not bring the government down and it will not force Cameron to become more reasonable.

Saying that we must ensure that we do our best to be part of this big day of action and show the country that many of us are determined to fight on!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

The Life of Brian should be part of the school curiculum

I don't want to get into a massive debate about the merits of religion or the effects it has on humanity as a whole and althugh I understand and accept that believing in the metaphysical aspect of it all helps many people deal with their day to day problems it is as equally important to teach the alternative and there would not be a bteer way to do that than by introducing The Life of Brian as a subject at school. Pupils should be able to think fr themselves and that classic film could help them question the big questions in life.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Call for Catalan independence

The financial crisis in Europe is creating many problems and it is more severe for the time being in countries like Spain, Greece, Portugal, and Ireland.

In Spain there are calls from Catalan nationalists for independence. They claim that the region pays more than 50 billion more in tax than any other area. The approach by the EU so far has been one of inactivity and the policies formed to deal with the troubles remind us all of what happened before the start of the second world war. It will seem that we in Europe are totally incapable of learning from history!

Friday, 21 September 2012

'Ask not what the union can do for you but what you can do for the union' belongs to the last centuury

There is no doubt that the only way to deal with declining levels of TU membership in Britain is to have major recruitment initiatives.

But it will be a mistake to have a strategy that simply deals with dishing out membership application forms outside major workplace buildings. A wider strategy is needed  that explains to the 24 million working people who are not TU members what the unions are and what they can do for them.

The current approach which says ask not what the union can do for you but what you can do for the union belongs to the last century!! Change the attitude or face a smaller movement made up of those on the so called hard left!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Animal rights issue

Lion Is Off the Menu At Kansas Restaurant
http://www.care2.com/go/z/e/AG_p6/zMTc/Aus7JTaste & See, a Latin-fusion restaurant in Wichita, Kansas, cancelled its plans to serve lion as part of a special big-game tasting. Chef Jason Febres noted that pressure from animal-rights activists (including those from Care2) influenced his decision.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The truth about the Greek financial crisis

The Greek press have never been interested in not covering issues that are current and newspaper editors have not shown any reluctance in saying what they think and how they feel.

Like many other European countries the press is divided between those on the left, the right, the far left and the mad right. The difference with any other country is thus very small in that respect. The same is the case with the 12 or more television channels and a plethora of radio stations that are constantly dishing out different versions of the same story.

The one thing that everyone seems to agree with in Greece is that the system used by the state to collect taxes and revenue was incredibly weak and measures to ensure that things were done correctly did not exist. This major deficiency produced a huge problem since the Greeks have been used to have a good standard of living in the last 20 years with excellent public services. Children would get a portable computer at 14, waiting queues for hospital treatment were very low and the transport system in the major cities was above average plus most people could retire on a good pension at 50.

But this great improvement was financed by successive governments who simply borrowed money from the international markets. This of course produced a huge debt which stands at 130% of GDP. And of course this is what induced the current crisis. Irresponsible and weak governments with career politicians who were only interested in making themselves be loved and staying in power for as long as they could.

The way to deal with this problem is to allow the country to go for growth and encourage more investment from outside. This would be the only sure way for Greece to be able to repay their debts. Killing the economy will not allow the state to have the funds to pay back the debts so the stupid career politicians of Euroland have got that one very wrong. Europe will be cutting its own nose to spite their face if they continue with the unfair austerity measures. The fact is that it is Euroland that will suffer more if Greece, Portugal or Spain go down. Anyone who can't see that is simply following the path that lead the world into a catastrophic war in 1940. They better think again!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

U turn on Greek financial crisis?

The current visit of the Troika in Athens appears to have been a 'success' ( a word used by them to describe their mission) This was their 4th visit in the last year and their intention was to establish whether the Greek government has done enough to comply with the expectations raised by the EU.

The reality is that out of the 11.4 billion of cuts in public services the Greeks have been able to identify around 8 or 9 so there is still a so called shortfall. The Greek government has been pushing for an extension by another two years but they have not been asking for more money.

The truth is the targets will not be met and everyone knows this. The change in the climate and the use of more positive rhetoric comes from the political changes that have taken place recently, namely the Dutch election which has produced a pro Euro result and the German High Court decision which says that dishing out more money is not illegal.

The other reality is that if the Greeks were 'allowed' to leave the Euro then Europe would be cutting its nose to spite her ugly face. In other words Portugal, Spain and Italy would definitely be following. It would also mean that the credibility of the Union would go down the toilet and if the Greeks were to exit it would prove that the EU can't sort its own house. It will also mean that Syriza, the mad left wing party in Greece, would take control and lead the region into oblivion avenue changing the geopolitical balance in the region and creating major instability!

Monday, 17 September 2012

838,000 Acres To Be Protected For Jaguars

838,000 Acres To Be Protected For Jaguars http://www.care2.com/go/z/e/AG_p3/zMTc/Aus7JThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service formally proposed protecting 838,232 acres - an area larger than the state of Rhode Island - as "critical habitat" for endangered jaguars in southern Arizona and New Mexico.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Belo Monte Dam Construction

Brazilian Court Halts Belo Monte Dam Construction
http://www.care2.com/go/z/e/AG_p4/zMTc/Aus7JA federal judge in Brazil has suspended construction work on the world's biggest hydroelectric project in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Tens of thousands of Care2 members, along with other activists around the world, succeeded in placing a halt on this construction.This was truly an international grassroots movement.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Harry and the The PR machine

Most of us are not at all interested in whether Harry parades his bush in public or not and most do not want to know about how Kate Middle class relaxes when she is with her husband. The press must respect every ones privacy.

The most intersting part of the two episodes for me however is how the PR machinery have quickly moved to shift the emphasis from Harry's fun night out to how important it is for the us to have him fighting in Afghanistan? I would want to know who is paying for managing this media story and I am hoping its not the public? If the UK insists in having a monarchy (and I think the majority of people want that) then they should become cost effective. There is no need to have so many of them being paid lots of money to open supermarkets and going around dishing out titles? A streamlined monarchy, if we must have one, should be the aim as should be the abolition of titles that are so incompatible with Equality principles. Why do we have to live in total fantasy and complete denial?? Revise and streamline I say!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Killing badgers

At least seven out of every ten badgers will be shot across two areas in England over a six week period. The culls could begin in a few days and if it is rolled out across the country it could result in the deaths of up to 130,000 badgers! These animals could completely disappear from many areas and injured individuals could suffer a slow and painful death.

Killing badgers is not the solution!

Scientists who conducted the largest ever study into the issue concluded that the badger cull would have no meaningful effect on eradicating bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle in England. The policy to cull badgers will not help farmers or cattle, but it will decimate badger populations across the country.

The government is planning this cull while alternative humane solutions exist! They should focus their efforts on reducing cattle-to-cattle transmission and on producing viable vaccines for both cattle and badgers instead of the cull. They should be listening to scientists and the public by focusing on tackling the root cause of the problem.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Pakistan workers appeal

Over 300 workers burned and suffocated to death in their workplaces, a garment factory and a shoe factory.
Some died while trying to jump out of windows to safety.
There were no emergency exits, no escape routes.
Not in Victorian England in the 19th century. Not in New York City a century ago.
But this week, in the second decade of the twenty-first century.
They died in Karachi and in Lahore, making the garments and shoes that you may be wearing right now.
We honour the memory of those lives cut short by demanding justice --
  • an impartial inquiry into what happened - and punishing those at fault;
  • compensation for the families of those killed and injured;
  • and an investigation into the failures of those public authorities who should have been there to ensure the workers' safety.
The unions in Pakistan are asking us all to take a minute and send off our messages of protest to the Prime Minister.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Guevara to lead US embassy vigil

The annual Cuba Solidarity Campaign vigil in support of the Miami Five will take place on Tuesday 18 September outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, London, from 6 to 7.30 pm.


It is now more than 14 years since the five Cubans were imprisoned in the United States and the TUC has been among the many organisations worldwide campaigning for their release.

Dr Aleida Guevara, daughter of Che, will lead the 18 September demonstration and will be joined by campaigners and trade unionists including TUC deputy general secretary Frances O'Grady.

More on this @

http://www.cuba-solidarity.org.uk/news.asp?ItemID=2290

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Greek claims to compensation from the Germans justified

I am in favour of the select committee that has been appointed by the Hellenic Vouli (Parliament) to look into the reparations that Germany did not pay following the devastation the Nazis inflicted on the country.

The Germans were particularly harsh with the Greek population because unlike other nations they resisted fiercely and as a result more than 300,000 people starved to death during the occupation from 1941. It is ludicrous that the current situation is seen as a separate issue and that the post war state is seen as not having a connection with what happened before. The Greeks did not receive Marshal Plan aid and in fact were led into a catastrophic civil war by the Western allies following liberation to ensure that communism was kept out of the country? And for what? Time for all to pay up I say!

Conference season

Its like a cycle but of course it is a cycle. I mean you have Xmas, Easter, the summer break, big brother, x factor and then the party political conference season with the three major players stage managing the events to convince us that they are carrying a half full bucket of hope.

So should we expect anything different this time around? Unfortunately all 3 parties have very little to say and the only conference am looking forward to watching is the Liberal party one only because I want to see how Nick Clegg is going to explain not meeting any of the promises he made in his manifesto before the general election. It will be interesting to see how he explains that the promise to create many more jobs has led to just creating one, the one that he has!!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Olympians and Paralympians as role models

The British Olympic and Paralympic teams did very well, they have inspired a generation. It is now up to the press to use athletes who have succeed through effort and hard work as role models for a new generation and stop pushing the likes of Beckham and his devotion to complete shallowness onto us.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

In search of Argentina..

All I can say about the comments made by Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras who wishes that Greece became another Argentina is that he has shown his true colours. The reality is that his party exists simply because they can say what the people want to hear knowing that the policies they want to push through will never materialise and even if they were able to implement them the country would be driven to oblivion.

The example of Argentina is a very bad one  and not applicable to Greece. Argentina declared bankruptcy and its people were starving for 20 years before the country was able to recover  by using the vast natural resources the country has, something that Greece has not got. The man is irresponsible!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Syriza looking for Argentina!!

General outcry in the Greek press today over remarks made by Syriza party leader Alexis Tsipras who wishes that Greece could become another Argentina.

Argentina went bankrupt and through a major depression that lasted for more than 15 years with people starving on the streets of major cities. What Argentina also had that Greece has not is huge natural resources so they were able to eventually export and achieve full recovery.

The remarks made by Tsipras and his 'flash in the pants' party are irresponsible but they expose the reality behind a movement that came out of nowhere. They concentrate on making statements on what could appeal to the general public but do not come up with empirical evidence on how their fantasy scenarios can be implemented. My argument against them is that if they were so good then the other more established parties on the real left would have had no problem forming a coalition government with them? Instead they don't want anything to do with them!!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Ticket office moves on wrong lines

Campaigners from Action for Rail held a day of protest on 26 July amidst fears that the Department for Transport will give the green light to the closure or reduction in opening hours of 86 of the 90 stations operated by London Midland.


Rail unions say that the Government's recent fares and ticketing consultation included leading questions hinting that ticket office closures would be inevitable as part of its wider plans for cost-cutting across the rail industry.

More on this @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/industrial/tuc-21268-f0.cfm

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Regulating programmes on tv

The idea of allowing or rejecting programmes shown on telly in a free and democratic society is of course unthinkable and it would be a regressive step it is, however, a great concern that absolute rubbish is being shown all the time. Programmes that can be offensive and misleading often dominate our screens.

You have, for a small example, the so called Jeremy Kyle 'show' where a totally unqualified person induces people to show how nasty and violent they can be and then makes them look as small as a pile of pooh, they are then made to take a lie detector test (a method shown to be scientifically unreliable in many studies), and then they humiliated depending on the result of such an idiotic test.

The argument for showing such shit content programmes (if you can call it a programme) is that there is demand for that sort of thing but it is not acceptable in a civilised society to encourage the production of such total crap. The alternative to not allowing this type of thing is to have an independent regulator marking programmes for content, so JK will be given 0 out of 10 this way people will know what it is that they are exposed to. Will it work? I don't know, but its better than being exposed to total shit on telly!!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Polar bears in danger

There is a reason that polar bears are the silent spokespeople for stopping climate change. They are the unfortunate result of decades of environmental destruction. And now, drilling in the Arctic threatens them even further.

Enough is enough. It's time to declare the Arctic off-limits to drilling and industrial fishing!

Big oil companies -- who have played a major part in causing climate change -- are now ready to take advantage of the retreating sea ice. They want to start drilling in the Arctic for oil, putting the polar bears' fragile habitat at even greater risk.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Employment law update

The Institute of Employment Rights will be holding its annual Employment Law Update event on 10 October at Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London in association with Old Square Chambers and the TUC.


Details @

http://www.ier.org.uk/events/employment-law-update-2012-ken-gill-memorial-fund-0

Monday, 3 September 2012

Farewell to quality welfare

Changes to the social security system which include the removal of Job Grants, In Work Credits and Return to Work Credits would impoverish people and make finding work even harder, the TUC said last month. The TUC also warned that the delays in reforms to social care would mean extra worries for families.


More on welfare changes @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21209-f0.cfm

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Energy jobs need a boost

High energy costs and the UK's emissions targets are making life hard for the UK's steel, cement, ceramics and other core industries who have warned that thousands of jobs could be at risk without more government support for companies in the energy intensive sector.


A report produced by the TUC and the Energy Intensive Users Group says that there are currently 800,000 people working in the UK's energy intensive industries. But it warns that heavy energy users are operating under difficult conditions and, without ministerial action, jobs and investment could be lost to overseas competitors.

Summary information @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/industrial/tuc-21270-f0.cfm

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Unions' register victory

A report from the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee on introducing a statutory register of lobbyists has been welcomed by the TUC.


The Committee recommended that the Government should scrap its plan for a statutory register of lobbyists which would have required unions, but not employer bodies, to register.

More on this @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/industrial/tuc-21211-f0.cfm

Friday, 31 August 2012

TUC Conference season

The TUC will be holding a number of seminars and conferences during the autumn.


On 18 September the TUC will be holding a seminar exploring the changing relationship between women, the labour market and the welfare system. To register, go to: www.womenbenefits.eventbrite.com

Thursday, 30 August 2012

C4 On the Paralympics ceremony



An absolutely great opening ceremony for the 2012 London Paralympics spoilt only by the incompetent handling of the event by the C4 director who kept cutting the show for frequent adverts.

At one stage C4 chose to cut the Greek delegation and move to adverts. The country that invented the games was pushed out for commercial purposes. The question must be why wasn't the BBC given the job? This is not the USA!!

Good luck to all the athletes taking part.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Asbestos fund needs to go further

The Government is to make compensation claims easier for the thousands of people who have mesothelioma - as a result of asbestos exposure at work - but have until now been unable to claim because their employer no longer exists.


However, unions fear the new scheme falls 'well short' of what ministers had proposed a few years ago and will provide no help to workers who develop other cancers or life-threatening diseases and who still have no means of claiming compensation.

Full TUC response @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace/tuc-21271-f0.cfm

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Priced out of justice

July's announcement of the scale of fees that the Government is to introduce for employment tribunals received a highly critical response from the TUC, which said that these would deter many workers, especially those on low wages, from taking valid claims to court and warned that rogue bosses would flout the law without fear of sanction.


Further reaction @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/equality/tuc-21213-f0.cfm

Monday, 27 August 2012

How real is the current financial crisis?

Well its very real and nasty and has affected many people if not all. But I won't bore everyone by dishing out the usual stuff about the capitalist system, it won't help. We have what we have and until the general population finds the right leaders to motivate them towards the revolution we will be stuck with what is an unfair and unequal system that is sellf destructive.

I would say that there has never been a time when the world did not have some form of a financial problem. We just have periods where everyone forgets there is one. We have called these periodic stages when the accountants wake up and realise there is a problem a recession, a depression or a double deep recession. The terms don't matter that much what is important is that ordinary people are destroyed by the whim of a mad system.

The one truth is that we could never repay the collective debt of any states so why do we keep worrying about it? Why not make a new start and say that from Tuesday afternoon, and am sure there will be those who will go into opposition and would want the day to be Wednesday,  wipe out all debts and make a fresh start? No? Well.. what else can we do?

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Harry and his ginger bush..

There are enough serious incidents in the world to concern those of us with more than two brain cells available for use not to give a fig as to whether the Queens grandson, Harry, is parading his ginger bush around.

I am not too keen on having an unequal society to be honest and do not recognise titles as they are the symbol of inequality but what Harry and his mates do in their own private time is no business of anyone else? The entire incident shows us how the media can manipulate the unsuspecting population. Are we all so bored as to want to know what this below average looking guy gets up to?? Put him in a flat in a high rise block in Peckham and make him do some voluntary work I say.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Its not just about the euro...

Speculation has been around for months now as to whether Greece and then possibly Portugal would be forced to leave the euro.

But looking at the impact the economic crisis is having on the euro zone on its own is too simplistic. Its not just about the economics of the currency related issues that are of concern.

The real problem with a country with a significant geo strategic position like Greece would be the impact an exit from the euro would have on the stability of the region and the subsequent consequences.

Would, for example, a new crisis allow for a government of the extreme left and would that then lead to more anti Western adventures? A Syriza government will definitely challenge NATO and the EU so Merkel and co will have allowed their man on the ground, Samaras, to depart and replace him with the hostile Alexis Tsipras. I don't think the Germans will take that risk and big daddy in Washington will not be happy at all. So I can't see a Greek exit from the euro and if this was to happen then Italy will be next and not Portugal or Spain. That would be the final nail to the euro coffin..

Friday, 24 August 2012

Prince Lorenzo??

Moving on to another matter that concerns those of us with spare time and on the subject of celebrity big brother there is another guy in there who calls himself Prince Lorenzo. Now he is meant to be a Prince from Italy which is strange as Itaky is a proud Republic with no Princes or Queens. So God knows why the hel someone is allowed to call himself a Prince? I though they needed a kingdom to induldge their out of date fantacies??

The occassional table, celebrity Big brother 2012

Nothing is more witty and amusing than eccentric English sense of humour and no one is better at it than Julian Clary. He is in the celebrity big brother household with a few other people including Julie Goodyear (Bet Lynch) Martin Kemp and Heahter from East Enders. The rest of the wannabes just happen to be there.

Anyway there is some guy in there from the USA who calls himself 'the situation' (no idea why) this man is as exciting and interesting as a bag of chips left on Jenny Jone's driveway on a wet Tuesday afternoon.

Julian is of course not at all amused nor can understand why this person calls himself 'the situation' so he is very cleverly referring to him as 'the occassional table' I am hoping this will stick from now on although thinking about it the description does not do justice to tables all over the world. Tables have, after all, some use?

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Why is Greece going to get an extension?

Greek Prime Minister Antonios Samaras has been called to Berlin where he will be meeting the German Chancellor tomorrow and then the French President on Saturday. He will be asking for a two year extension which will allow the country to sort out internal problems and meet its 'commitments' re the bailout.

There has been speculation in the press about whether there is any truth in the hard line taken by the Germans and of course its all for show. It is obvious that if Samaras does not get his extension he will lose control of the fragile coalition he has put together in Athens and the mad Syriza party will have a chance of taking over. This will create a major problem for the EU and will definitely lead to instability so it is most unlikely that the Greeks will not get the extension they are looking for! Antonios Samaras is after all the German Governor of Greece and the Germans will not want to see him go??

Crucial meetings for the German Democratic Republic of Greece

PM of Greece Antonios Samaras will be meeting Angela Merkel tomorrow in Berlin and the French President the day after. Samaras is now asking for an extension by two years instead of more money. This will allow the German Democratic Republic of Greece more time to implement systems in place (systems that should have existed tears ago) to collect more revenue.

It appears that whilst the German Chancellor has in the past made statements showing how tough she can be she is privately happy that there is a true Tory running the country and would not wish to mess his chances of continuing doing the EU's job for them. So according to the German press it is more than likely that the extension of another two years will be granted.

The Greek press reports that if Greece would leave the Euro unemployment will increase to 40 % instead of the current 25% and it will mean a real catastrophe for the country. In the mean time the EU representative currently in Athens has refused a request to meet with the Syriza leader Tsipras who wanted to have talks with him.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Greek debt problem

Many in Greece are now saying that the so called deficit that represents around 130% of GDP is a simple matter for accountants to sort out and that its all about creative or in this case negative accountancy practises. This is of course not true. Almost every member state of the Euro zone apart from Germany, Holland and Finland have huge deficits.

The reality is that a state the size of Greece, Portugal or Ireland need to borrow to finance public services, so there are no easy solutions. The long term way to deal with the problem is for countries like Germany and France to redirect some of the industries they have to these countries and invest in their growth. That way the gap will get smaller and loans will be paid back. Making sure that Greece or Portugal go bankrupt will not in any way help the northern states! On the contrary it will give them bigger headaches!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

What must Unions do?

Membership figures for TUs in Britain are going down all the time. This is expected during a recession since there are many jobs going in the public sector. Unions are under pressure from many fronts and front line activists are struggling to defend what they have.

But we need to have a strategy that helps us manage our affairs better and attract more members. Increasing membership is perhaps the highest priority. To do this we need to clear our image and ensure that the general public and potential members do not associate unions with the bastions of left wing revolution they think we are. It will also hep if we had single sector unions. A wider and more mature debate needs to take place soon before its too late.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Bosses play pass the pension charges

The TUC has called on the Government to ban employers from passing on to staff the costs of taking advice from consultants on the implementation of their new legal duty to enrol workers in a pension scheme.

The largest employers need to start enrolling staff from this autumn, with other employers following in a phased programme finishing with the smallest employers in 2016. Many employers are seeking help from outside consultants to ensure that they are meeting their new pension duties.
Further details @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21281-f0.cfm

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Young people not sharing in jobs growth - TUC

Last month's unemployment figures were described as 'excellent news' by the TUC, but there was alarm that young people were not sharing in the 'welcome' jobs growth and long term unemployment was still rising.

On the positive side, the TUC said that people would be relieved to see unemployment falling sharply, redundancies decreasing, vacancies going up and full-time jobs making up three quarters of recent employment growth.
On the negative side, however, long-term youth joblessness was up by 18,000 on the quarter to reach 421,000. The TUC said that the Government had to prioritise tackling youth unemployment before any more careers were wrecked before they got off the ground.
Full TUC response @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21233-f0.cfm

Saturday, 18 August 2012

LGPS Ballot. Dishonesty of simple tactics?

I am not at all amazed by those few who have been campaigning for a No vote during the ballot on the LGPS scheme. They have continued going on about rejecting a proposal that we could not defeat because we are not organised enough to mount a decisive campaign against the government. They know that marching down London twice a year will not bring the Con Libs down and the 'deal' will be imposed.

So if they know members will be voting to accept the new scheme why campaign with such vigour to get people to say no? Some would say that this is a traditional method used by the hard or the left of the left groups in Britain who know the end result but want to protect their credentials amongst each other. They would be better off putting more effort into organising their local branches and increasing membership that way they will have a real lever to use when it comes to a fight? Some branches have around 20 to 30% membership of the workplace. Why not put effort into changing that?