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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

German Democratic Republic of Greece

News from down town Athens, capital of the German Democratic Republic of Greece, is that any idea that Berlin can impose a Governor General (which is what Merkel wants) on the country will be totally rejected.

I think there is a very stupid game being played within Europe right now with the Franco German alliance not being totally sure as to which way to turn. Most of the mainland Eurozone states are in favor of real integration but not at the expense of losing sovereignty. At the end of the day if Greece defaults on its huge debt and then Portugal Ireland and Spain follow the entire Euro dream will turn into a nightmare. Mistress Merkel should remember that.

Offwat is for what?

No idea why Offwat the water regulator is allowing water companies to increase their prices by as much as 5.6% which is of course above the inflation rate.

These private companies are making big money managing resources that belong to all of us and as they make more than enough they should not be allowed to add to our burden by increasing their costs, we are, after all, in the middle of a recession. Offwat should be doing a better job.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Should we regulate television programmes?

No one will deny the fact that there is a hell of a lot of rubbish being shown on the 52000 television channels which are available to watch in Britain today.

Those running these stations have to produce endless programmes to ensure that they get the audience and they more often than not produce stuff with low quality and inferior content. They are after all only interested in the ratings and making money from potential advertisers.

There are programmes that are so appalling and bad that they should definitely not be on telly. Total rubbish for example like the Jeremy Kyle 'show' where people are made to come on and face humiliation and subjected to abuse by people like JK who is not a qualified counsellor.

So should we regulate what we watch? The clear answer to that is an absolute no because we live in a free and democratic society where no one or anything else matters apart from the citizen and that same citizen has the right to expose themselves to absolute rubbish if she/he so chooses. So the solution is to set up some independent body which would then award programmes ratings so for example the Jeremy Kyle 'show' will get junk status etc people will then have the chance to consider whether they wish to expose themselves to that.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Thameslink questions raised, TUC

A Transport Select Committee Report published in December on the handling of the award of the Thameslink contract vindicated many of the concerns that trade unions have raised repeatedly over the past 18 months, the TUC said.

The report showed that the Thameslink procurement process had been flawed throughout, confirming that the UK-based manufacturer Bombardier 'never had a chance'.

Further information @

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Bankers and workers

We are faced with a ridiculous situation where public sector workers who make this country work are being told that they will not be getting any pay rises for years, a lot of them will lose their jobs, they have to pay more contributions into their pension funds, they have to work longer for much less, yet a chief executive of a publicly owned bank with around 1 million a year salary who has not produced the results will be getting paid an additional million on top of his huge salary? Where is the justice or logic in that? Which other public sector organisation has a performance reward system that doubles ones salary if they fail??

Friday, 27 January 2012

Cruelty to animals

The good news is, this year the European Union officially banned the use of battery cages in egg producing farms. The bad news is, 30 British egg producers were found to still be using these cages illegally. The mistreatment of these hens are not only inhumane, but illegal now. This behavior needs to stop.

Battery cages are cramped and do not allow for the animals to separate from the flock to lay eggs, which causes the birds to become distressed.
Even some big name companies such as IHOP and Burger King have recognized the harmful living conditions that battery cages effect on living animals, and have announced that they will gradually switch to using cage-free eggs and pork.
Tell the British Egg Industry Council to get with the program and stop subjecting their hens to unnecessary suffering. Remind them that they are violating the law and are answerable to legal action.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Lambeth Council and TU secondments

I explained to a major opposition Councillor last night why Cllr John Whelers motion about TU facility time was wrong and not correctly thought out.

I pointed out that had Lambeth Council not been an organisation in constant change then there could be a reason to review the distribution of this facility, Lambeth Council has not, however, had the chance to have a normal existence for the last 20 years and starting from the days of the Service plan in the early 90s and then the changes arising out of the Appelby inquiry and many others the organisation has faced at least 7 to 10 major reorganisations every year. This of course means that staff affected have the legal right to be consulted and given that there is a normal 90 day consultation period there is very little or no time to deal with the fall out from these major changes, so I would argue and I am, that Lambeth Council should have more elected representatives on secondment and those that are currently doing the job right now need help and support and not criticism! Councillors have a duty of care to these reps.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Unison rules

Like many other activists and an ex Branch Secretary of a diverse and very vibrant branch I always felt that my ability to act as a front line senior officer was sometimes restricted by what I thought was a plethora of rules and regulations, but as I got older and hopefully wiser I understood and was clearer about why these rules and regulations were introduced and why they must be followed always.

Rules and regulations including procedures did not just grow on a tree on Streatham High road on a Tuesday afternoon they were processes thought of carefully, looked at, considered and voted on at national conference every year, so anyone who says that these rules are undemocratic is ignoring the essence of democracy. It is important that the national union does not, however, use the book to get people who they may not agree with politically and with situations such as that dialogue and discussion must be the first step. We do however have to accept that no one member is above the rule book!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Stephen Fry on Downtoen Abbey

Stephen Fry is absolutely right to ask why there is so much interest in what is surely a second rate programme which perpetuates the myth that the 'upper class' are superior? They are not and the constant bombardment of these idiotic images on our screens simply encourages the brigadier trolley brigade to continue the myth. People should get real and remember how and where this 'class' originated from. And as for all those lovely places build by workers who were definitely not on minimum wage at the time they should be turned into old peoples homes or schools.

Cllr Whelan and TU Facilities

Cllr Whelan, leader of the very small group of Lambeth Tory Councillors, has placed a motion which will go to Council meeting tomorrow night. He wants to know what the cost of secondments are. This is of course a right that he and he group have but he should perhaps be asking what the real cost will be if in times of constant change and non stop reorganisations the organisation was left in chaos and had to consult with all members of staff on an individual basis. He forgets that it was a Tory government which brought it the TULRC Act of 1992. He should perhaps read what section 188 states and try to understand it?

TUC Survey

poll conducted for the Fabian Society with TUC support last month showed widespread dissatisfaction with the way the economy is currently working.

Seven out of ten of those asked thought the gap between rich and poor was too wide, and eight out of ten thought that companies should be willing to forgo profits to meet wider responsibilities.

Further information @

Monday, 23 January 2012

TUC Conference re-named

The TUC Disability Conference and Committee have been re-named as the Disabled Workers Conference and Committee. The change reflects the TUC support for the social model of disability.

More on the TUC's work for disabled workers @

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Health and safety myths dismissed by TUC

Downing Street claims early this month that UK businesses are in a 'stranglehold' of health and safety 'red tape' were evidence of how out of touch with the reality of working life Number 10 is, the TUC said in response.

The government seemed 'hell bent' on trying to stop workers injured by their employer's negligence being able to claim compensation, the TUC said, adding that there are two million people in the UK who have an illness or injury caused by their work.

Read the TUC response in full @

Saturday, 21 January 2012

MOD and war horses

Apparently the MOD has put down 4 healthy horses in 2011 because they had a bad temperament? If this is true then they are a collection of idiots who should be prosecuted for criminal behaviour? Why the hell did they do that and what's the RSPCA and other animal welfare organisation done about this? Who is responsible?

Friday, 20 January 2012

Peter Morgan

I am aiming to be at Peter Morgan's leaving get together tonight but thought that I should say something on my blog just in case I miss the presentation.

I met Peter Morgan some 18 years ago when I was chairing the panel interviewing a number of candidates for a finance job. I was, at the time, a finance manager in central services division. We interviewed 8 people and although I had to convince other members of the panel Peter was the best and I was right. He is a superb worker with superior knowledge and skills in the finance area. But most important he is a great man to know and I am glad he has become a good friend and a member of a large family.

I wish Peter the best of luck and I am sure he will succeed in whatever else he chooses to do.

Good luck my friend!

War Horse

I reviewed the Iron Lady in yesterdays entry on this blog and gave it a 6 out of 10. On reflection and having had the chance to speak to others who went to see it, I would give it a 5 out of 10. It definitely does not deserve an Oscar or a BAFTA although am sure it will get both as the industry self perpetuates and recycles their own all the time not allowing new talent to be encouraged or be promoted. I think that on balance Billy Elliot (the film) did more to show what the handbag lady did rather than this one

Good news is that I went to see War Horse last night with a different group of friends at the Brixton Ritzy (excellent cinema complex) and I was very impressed. The film is well made and the story is excellent, its also well directed. The story is about the hard life a small family have in Devon and their daily struggle. The young son of the family gets to form a close relationship with Joey, the horse what his father buys from the market. The horse then ends up in battle during the horrendous first world war but ends up surviving and gets reunited with the young man blah blah blah. So apart from the long periods of blah blah blah the film is well presented and directed and the acting is rather good. I give this film a 10 out of 10 although some members of the united left and the other groups may find the story rather sentimental.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

The Iron Lady

Interesting film. Went to see it last night with friends. It is difficult to say whether I thought the film was good and or whether I could recommend it? Lets just say its not as good as The Life of Brian or other Monty Python masterpieces.

On the whole the story was accurate and the scenes were well directed. Meryl Strip did her best to interpret the handbag lady but the story lacked clarity as it missed showing the havoc and devastation caused by policies imposed on the north of England and the affect the obsessive free market policy had on the miners. The producers were obviously afraid to touch that area. Shame!

A huge negative point is that 70% of the time we are shown how she is today and assumptions about how she behaves here and now are made. Assumptions that cannot be verified.

I give the film 6 out of 10 but I am definitely not very impressed, am sure, however, that the BAFTAS will shower Meryl Strip with many awards they always award themselves as much as they possibly can. Am I being negative here? Well I just wasn't impressed! Not the best film ever!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband is on a mission to destroy any trace of credibility he ever had. This experienced leader of men and women has now gone on national television announcing that public sector workers should not just accept a pay freeze but they should embrace cuts, this is in addition to the draconian measures imposed on pensions.

His ex union chums have reacted by saying that they don't know where Ed came from. Well the truth is he was created by Union bosses who thought, wrongly of course, that Miliband would be different from the others. Its like saying Attila the Hunt could be re educated and become a pacifist? Got it wrong again guys, but Ed Miliband won't be around long...

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Greek unemployment rate

Greece's unemployment rate jumped to 18.2 percent in October, up from 17.5 percent in September and 13.5 percent a year earlier, according to data released by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTA) this Thursday. Earlier predictions had put the figure at 18 percent.

According to ELSTA, 219.478 people have left the labor market since October 2010, putting the total number of unemployed at 903.525. The unemployment rate is not as high as that of Spain which shows 23% however Greece has got all the adverse publicity through negative reporting.

Unemployment among youth, aged between 15 and 24, reached 45.5 percent, the data showed.

On pensions

A further meeting of the TUC's Public Sector Liaison Group will take place later this week to discuss the next steps in the long-running dispute to secure pensions justice for public sector workers.

The run up to Christmas saw the TUC seeking to facilitate an overall settlement to the dispute that was fair and just - reflecting unions' diverse concerns about the impact of the government's 'reforms'.

This followed separate discussions covering the four main schemes for civil servants, local government workers, teachers and NHS staff.

Further details @

Monday, 16 January 2012

Privatise the royals

It is ridiculous that a major debate is going on about whether we need to spend our money on buying the royals another yacht. There is a recession going on so not the right time or a good idea.

I am not against the concept of having a monarch as a head of state if that's what the majority of people want but I am definitely against the idea of spending money on them or treat them as though they are above the rest of us. They are not. And if the Tory government is so obsessed with privatisation they should put them out to tender and see whether they get a better and cheaper service. I am sure that ex King of Albania will do it for a fraction of the cost. Yes I know this could be seen as treason but it is getting really ridiculous. People need to wake up and smell the reality of life and separate fact from mythology. The royals are just a lower class middle class family, nothing special. And the truth is they make a good soap opera and that's probably why some people want them around the rest are sitting around hoping for a knighthood which will make them more superior??

Royal yacht

Never mind the recession and the concerns about the euro we all need to pay more taxes to ensure that the poor royals get a new yacht otherwise the entire country will collapse? Well, I don't think it will.

I am not anti the concept of having a royal as a head of state if that's what the majority of the population want. But I am so amazed with the mythology that comes with that, in this country at least. The Queen is the Head of state and she should be respected for being that but she is nothing other than a middle class housewife who did well for herself. There is no need for the ridiculous ceremony that comes with the job and certainly no point having the likes of Edward parading up and down his mothers castles trying to be taken seriously? Have a Queen if you want one but let her do what the other Queens do? They do their own shopping and they are not down the race horse joint every other day.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

BBC and hegemony

I have said this before and I think we all have the right to have an opinion on this matter. The BBC gets funded by us the licence payers so we should take an keen interest in what they do and how they manage our station. Having the same personalities all the time dominate our screens encourages hegemony by them.

I am fed up seeing the same faces on television programmes all the time when there is a plethora of many new and younger talented journalist who can be given the opportunity. The BBC has introduced a new Sunday programme with Andrew Neil, again!! He may be good but there are others who are newer and more up to date and they should be given the opportunity to shine as well. I am not against older personalities been given big money jobs but newer talent must be encouraged. It is getting ridiculous seeing the same people all the time! Stop this hegemony.

Colin Barrow resigns

The leader of Westminster Council Cllr Colin Barrow has resigned. He is claiming that his decision was made months ago and before the stupid move to impose restrictions in the centre of our town which would have meant that one could not park until 12 midnight. He did this ignoring numerous objections raised by service users so he did, in effect, have a consultation but chose not to take anything on board. All I can say is that the man is a total banana, his departure is good news for all of us.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

British politicians and the markets

I am not sure that people realise the seriousness of what is currently going on with total control of the global economy going to the markets and credit rating agencies.

In the mean time we have useless politicians, I call it the idiotic generation of politicians, who are sitting on their back sides making declarations and making expense claims for Jacuzzis they never had, which more or less mean that they can't do anything about what the markets decide and therefore we must all lose our jobs, lose our pensions and suffer extreme poverty because those we elect democratically are in fact controlled by the markets and the speculators. Why don't they regulate these nasty people and take back control?

Every voter should make sure that when the next election comes any politician who is not prepared to bring back regulation should not be voted in. Hit the opportunist politicians where it hurts! Let democracy be in control not speculators!

Portugal and Greece junk status

The credit assessment agencies that virtually determine global economic trends or at the very least have a great influence on the markets have downgraded Portugal and Greece's credit rating status to that of junk. They have also removed the AAA score France used to have meaning that it will be more expensive for the French government to borrow more money which in turns means that any further bailout for Italy or Spain will now become virtually impossible.

These unelected collective of people together with the other totally unaccountable individuals who control the 'markets' are pushing the world into a major more damaging recession. If the Euro goes down those who speculated on that will make big money. In the meantime Britain will suffer as more than 40% of our trade is conducted with the Euro zone countries. Who the beggar controls the world? Where is the democratic control and where is the regulation? We the people are meant to be in charge not the bloody bankers and the market speculators!

Friday, 13 January 2012

What price justice for poor workers? TUC document

The Government's announcement in mid December that it intends to charge workers a fee to take claims to employment tribunals was condemned by the TUC.

'Employment tribunals are a key way of enabling workers to enforce their rights,' said TUC general secretary Brendan Barber. 'Government proposals to introduce a fee to lodge an initial claim - and then possibly a further charge for a full hearing - will effectively prevent the poorest and most vulnerable workers from ever being able to get justice.'

Full TUC reaction @

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Lambeth Unison AGM 2012

Lambeth Unison held its annual general meeting today at the Lambeth Town Hall. More than 200 members attended to vote for election of officers, approval of expenditure and budget and several motions to do with the pensions dispute. Great and inspiring gathering. Here are a few photographs taken on the mobile. Chester Danvers got a standing ovation after he gave a speech urging members to reject the government deal and fight to save their pensions. Hassina Malik (first pictire) took charge of the catering and saved the branch more than 50% of the overall cost a move that pleased finance orientated people like myself...

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

TUC on pensions

A further meeting of the TUC's Public Sector Liaison Group will take place later this week to discuss the next steps in the long-running dispute to secure pensions justice for public sector workers.

The run up to Christmas saw the TUC seeking to facilitate an overall settlement to the dispute that was fair and just - reflecting unions' diverse concerns about the impact of the government's 'reforms'.

This followed separate discussions covering the four main schemes for civil servants, local government workers, teachers and NHS staff.

Further details @

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

TFL on pollution??

I received an email message from TFL this morning telling me about cars and pollution so I replied as follows.

Dear Mr and Mrs TFL

Thanks for your message. I am writing to remind you that closing so many roads all the time with no one doing any work or repairs for ages causes more problems and severe pollution? Also having red lights come on at crossings when its obvious that there are no pedestrians around especially at night time also causes severe pollution problems.


Unemplyment issues by the TUC

The latest unemployment figures also show that the public sector is losing jobs 12 times faster than the private sector is creating them.

The top three unemployment blackspots in Britain are Clackmannanshire, where there are 31 people chasing every vacancy; West Dumbartonshire, where the figure is 26; and Hartlepool, where it is 24.

Ahead of the publication of the labour market figures, union research showed that if they became unemployed, low-paid workers such as cleaners, catering assistants and machine operators were more likely than their higher paid counterparts to be on the dole for more than six months.

Long term unemployment up according to TUC study

The scale of Britain's deepening jobs crisis was revealed in a TUC study published in late December showing that nearly 300,000 people were spending their second successive Christmas out of work.

The number of claimants who have been out of work for at least a year has increased by 35,000 over the course of 2011 according to the analysis of official statistics, while the number of long-term claimants over the Christmas period has more than doubled from 122,000 in 2007 to 279,000 today.

Full details @

Monday, 9 January 2012

Lambeth Unison AGM 12 January 2012

Lambeth Unison AGM is holding its annual general meeting at the town hall this Thursday 12 January 2012. The agenda includes election of branch officers, budget proposal for 2012 and several good and progressive motions. All Unison members are encouraged to attend, time off has been agreed by the main employer (Lambeth Council)

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Greek trade unionsist facing oppression

Tragic news from Greece is that the German inspired government imposed on the country by the Franco German alliance is prosecuting trade unionists who have dared to oppose the severe austerity measures forced on the people of Greece. They need all the support they can get.

Ed Miliband, can he survive?

I am going to be careful here as I would not want to be seen as anti leadership thingy. Ed Miliband is a nice enough guy but has very little real time life experience and that, unfortunately, shows through.

I said it before and will say it again the party made a mistake electing him. On the other hand we could be looking at a Michael Foot type of scenario where you place a leader in position knowing that he can not possibly win an election then blame him for the failure allow people to get more fed up with the government and then bring someone in who can win? Simple in tit? as they say up north...

Saturday, 7 January 2012

American Christians and George Michael

Apparently a group of American Christians (whatever that means when its at home) have been praying for the death of George Michael during his recent illness. If this is true then they are a selection of assholes who should be ignored. It makes me sick to hear that people like that would want someone dead? Perhaps they should read their religious guide book again? Do they love their neighbour by wanting him dead? Leave George Michael alone I say and get a life!

Simon Cowell on William Young

Apparently Simon Cowell who is famous for having no talent in anything relating to art or music has called William Young obnoxious and full of himself. Simon has not managed, despite throwing millions at his PR helpers, to have any positive headlines recently so he has resorted to insulting really talented and gifted young singers like William Young who, in my opinion and that of my mothers neighbour, is one of the best musical talents around.

So if the papers are to be believed (they don't always tell the truth) then this ridiculous tired looking middle age man is having a mid life crisis and is obviously jealous of our William. He needs to stay in and do a puzzle and definitely keep away from anything creative. Being negative about a young performer is not nice.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Xmas 2011

A picture taken at the Xmas Unison party with my two favs, looking red carpet ready and photoshot excellent (whatever that means..)

Sister Juliet on my right and gorgeous Hacienda to my left..

Diane Abbott and twitter

Well everyone gets into trouble when they spend most of their time on the Internet or twitter, face book is also famous for creating problems.

No one should be surprised that a politician has placed something on twitter and then lived to regret it. Diane Abbott is a politician and they are very well known for opening their mouths before they think. Saying that I know that Diane is a good MP and is well respected by most of her constituents and she did of course work in Lambeth before going to the political stratosphere so she can't be that bad. She needs to watch what she puts online like most of us should? But she is not a racist at all.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Lambeth Unison AGM

The 2012 Lambeth Unison AGM is scheduled to take place on the 12 January at the Town Hall. Election of Officers for all positions plus budget will be considered. There are also a number of interesting motions regarding further action in support of the pensions dispute, Lambeth appears to be leading the way on this one.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Crimes of hate

There is nothing more unacceptable and disgusting than a crime committed against a person because of who they are and how they look like or where they come from. That is why any one convicted of murder because they hate some one should be punished severely, they are beyond help and they don't have the right to participate in a civilised society.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Predictions for 2012

My predictions for the year 2012 are as follows. Unison will hold a conference in Bournmouth in June and more than 3000 will turn up. The sun will continue rising from the east and set in the west. Australia will stay where it is and there will be snow on the Alps. The euro may collapse and replaced with a banana and Cheryl Cole will try and sing!

Happy New..

Monday, 2 January 2012

Kleintown, revised edition

The revised edition of Kleintown should be ready by the end of February 2012 on Amazon via Kindle book reader.

Sunday, 1 January 2012


The second edition of Kleintown the novel first published in February 2000 by Monolex will be out soon and available on amazon and other quality book shops.