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Thursday, 31 May 2012

Too busy to observe Equality Regulations?

I was recently told that it is difficult to observe and implement Unison rules on Proportionality and Fair Representation because the volume of work is too high and there are other priorities.

I know for a fact that things have never been good and although the situation at front line is currently worrying and the need for support high we have had very bad times before.

I remember, for example having to deal with the horrific privatisation of Lambeth Revenues and Benefits in 1997 which involved the removal from the public sector of 300 staff. I had to do that with very little branch support and with just a handful of hard working and dedicated stewards and activists. It was hell but we did not deviate from national rules and would not have dreamed of ditching Equalities rules because there were other priorities. The battle to save members jobs and the fight to protect public services is as important as protecting the Equalities regulations that make Unison the great union that it is.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The consequence of the election result

The second general election scheduled to take place in Greece on the 17 June this year is a referendum on the austerity measures imposed against the people by partner EU northern states. Most of the changes introduced are against EU Employment Directives and declared EU Equality legislation.

A lot is being said right now by some in Brussels and elsewhere as to why the Greeks have to get their house in order. Some of the criticism is valid but a lot more is irresponsible and designed to scare the general population off so that they vote the 'right way'. If the aim is to get the Greeks to worry and vote in a pro euro government this won't work and it will in fact produce the opposite result. So it is better to stop parachuting in making silly statements then pulling out.

I am also hoping that parties like radical left Syriza will stop inflating peoples heads with ideas like bringing the Russians in, this is destabilising and meaningless talk. Tsipras needs to remind himself of the human rights violations and the corrupt regime in Russia before he proposes a union with them?

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Syriza on relationship with Russia

Alexis Tsipras leader of radical left party Syriza in an interview with Russian television has described the Greek government obsession with the 'Western allies' as irresponsible and counter productive.

Tsipras accepts that Greece is a full member of the EU but insists that the country's interest are best served by developing  closer cooperation with Russia. He described Russia as the major power in the region and suggests a closer link with them ignoring the list of human rights violations in that country.

His interview is seen as a warning on which direction the country will take if Syriza was to form a government after the 17 June. His intentions are not clear yet but it could mean that a Syriza government pulls the country out of NATO and brings the Russians in. This will destabilise an already unstable region.

Referendum on austerity

The illegal and anti Equality measures imposed on the Greek workers by the Brussels 'rescue package' are being questioned by the Greek press. The media is widely reporting and presenting the election which is scheduled to take place on the 17 June as a referendum on austerity rather than the euro. The serious newspapers are also saying that the EU mob are trying to scare off the electorate by making threats that the EU can't afford to carry out.

The conclusion is that the Greeks will be voting as to whether they are prepared to accept measures imposed on them that are against EU Employment law and Directives or whether they should be treated the same way as the rest of the 'Union'. In the meantime A Merkels power seems to be under threat with some of her own MPs rebelling against her intransigence. I she going to be the next one to be going?

Monday, 28 May 2012

T May on immigration

The Home Secretary T May was quick to jump on the band waggon and state that she will take measures to ensure that migration from Spain and Greece linked to the collapse of those economies will be controlled by the government.

There are two facts connected with her outburst. First the majority of young people from Greece who may chose to leave the country will try Australia, Cyprus and  the USA first before any other place on earth and this is because many have family connections and support systems there. On the other hand there are no restrictions on the movement of labour especially when it comes to well established EU states and their citizens so T May is trying to get her name in the headlines just in case Mr and Mrs Brigadier Trolley are reading the right wing press.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Syriza on the euro

I am just about to give up on Greek politics.

Can't understand how Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras is now giving interviews to German newspapers stating that his party or government will do everything they can to keep Greece in the euro? It would seem that Mr Tsipras has tasted power and wants to modify his approach to make sure that if elected Merkel gets to invite him at her jubilee party in Berlin? Either he is against austerity which means Greece exits the euro or he  is in favour in which case he better tell the unsuspecting public that they will have to take the punishment! Sort your self out mate!

George Michael and the BBC

George Michael is correct to be critical of the content chosen by BBC producers in some of its programmes. He is specifically concerned about the story lines in East Enders which is, in my opinion, one of the most dreadful and pathetic shows invented on this planet.

On a more serious point George points out that bombarding the general viewers with negative stories about almost any subject they can come up with damages the minority groups they try to focus on.  It is an unfortunate fact of life that people are influenced by what is shown on television so the BBC should understand that and be more responsible with what they produce.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Eurovision 2012

Not that I am going to watch this but people across the world will be put through another round of Eurovision rubbish tonight. A collection of idiotic groups and individuals parading up and down the stage screaming their tits out. The 'show' is as exciting as the future of the euro..

Opinion polls on the euro

The latest opinion poll conducted by the French institute Ipsos shows that 78% of Greeks are in favour of the euro compared to 72% of those in France, 63% of the Spanish and only 57% of the Italians.

The figures are  not surprising but they show a massive contradiction when compared with the election results in Greece on 6 May where the majority of the vote went to anti Europe parties?? What is going on? The euro cannot be retained in Greece unless the Greeks accept the austerity measures so they need to think hard when they go back to the polls on the 17 of June.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Can the euro survive

Monetary union came from the desire to achieve a united Europe one where constant conflict would be minimised. But the process was not thought out carefully or if it was the problems were ignored.

Greece was the 10th member to join the EEC in 1982 the UK was the 8th or 9th. This shows the significance the European leaders attributed to Greek entry. There were vast political reasons as to why Greece was hurried through and before Portugal and Spain. Those reasons are still there and have nothing to do with the fact that Greece is a major contributor to the economic well being of the continent. It has a strategic importance and that significance remains the same today, so alienating the country is not a good idea as the Greeks might look to Russia or China for help.

The solution to the problem is a difficult one and it will involved giving Greece more space to repay its debts  to the bankers in Berlin and London otherwise the anger felt by the people will torpedo the euro project. But saying that I am not sure the euro can be saved given that  Spain is one street away from collapse and if this or when this happens a bail out will not be possible so the European leaders are taking the piss out of all of us, they know the euro is dead.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

TU Facility time

The question on time off for trade union activists and representatives keeps coming up and an intensive debate re starts every few years. The return of the arguments in favour and against having more or less time off is now a ritual.

It would appear that the pressure from the employer increases whenever there is a political shift to the right, so whenever the so called 'tax payers alliance' decides to have a go employers up and down the country start questioning the amount of time allocated for representing members.

What we must remember is that the current legislation as it stands allows for time off for duties and what it restricts is the time off given for activities and given that the vast majority of those representing members is spend on preparing and doing case work any sensible employer should stay way clear of taking action victimising reps for trying to help others. So whether an employer agrees block release or not a rep can still have time off as long as she/he gives notice in advance of what work they intend to do which relates to duties. The principles governing these matters can be found in the ACAS code of practise and they must be used as arguments against any attempts to restrict time off for union reps.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

What will happen with Greece?

The West can't afford to alienate Greece and create further instability in the region. If the Greeks get a radical left wing government then there will be some major changes. A new radical left Greece would not wish to remain within the NATO alliance and will also break  all the recent controversial military agreements with Israel. This will lead to more instability in an already unstable region. A united Europe is useful as it serves to unite states that were previously seen as hostile. It becomes useful when it turns a free state into a slave satellite.

I am hoping that the Greek electorate will return a sensible government on the 17 June one that is able to implement the reforms needed to bring the country in line with the rest of Europe. But for that to happen Berlin needs to accept the Venizelos( PASOK) plan which requires the relaxation of the austerity measures imposed on the people of Greece. The 6 point plan sees the removal of reductions to pension values and a number of other measures proposed to relieve the burden of the so called package.

The Greeks are not stupid and ordinary people know that more needs to be done to streamline the tax collection system, remove corruption and go for growth. But they also know that it will not be in the interest of the 'Western allies' for Greece to look elsewhere. The Germans could, for example, stop seeing Greece as a market for their products and help by moving some of their industry down south so that people have jobs and are able to pay the so called debt that everyone is so obsessed with. Turn the Greeks and the Portuguese from nations of consumers to centres of production.

Vince Cable and Socialism

I don't agree that Vince Cable is a Socialist at all and in fact I don't think there are many Socialists within the Labour party either so that argument is very irrelevant and pointless.

What I think we have with Vince Cable is a Humanitarian who, like many  sensible Lib Democrats is standing up to the reactionary buffoons of the Tory party and putting them in their place, or trying ot a least.

I  worked with Lib Democrats when I was a Branch Secretary in Lambeth people like Cllr Lumbsden, Trusdale, Heather and others and they are descent people who will not be comfortable when push comes to shove to go down the road of political extremism or take part with adventures that would be against the people. They should all join the Labour party and help its revival!

The European court and Human Rights

The current argument doing the rounds right now in  the UK press is in my opinion the wrong one. The right question should be why is it that we have to rely on the European court to make the judgement it has made and force the government to respect Human Rights and not whether they were right to order us to ensure that prisoners retain their right to vote at elections. We must always remember that miscourages of justice seem to take place quite often in which case it is dangerous and wrong to deny any person their democratic right to vote!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Syrizas objective

Radical left party leader Alexis Tsipras who is also vice President of the Socialist Euro group visited France and Germany yesterday to give the EU a message which is that his party is not anti European but very much wants to promote a more cohesive and Equal Europe. This is all well and good but he still needs to win an overall majority in Greece on the 17 of June as it is very unlikely that his party will not be able to form a government with just 22% of the vote. Latest opinion polls in the country show a shift to the other more traditional centre parties the conservative ND and the socialist PASOK. If this proves to be the case then Syriza could have been a temporary flash in the Greek pants..

Monday, 21 May 2012

Alexis Tsipras Euro dream..

Alexis Tsipras, leader of Syriza, will be in Paristoday  to meet with the leaders of French and German left, in his capacity as Vice President of the European Left Party coalition  and as head of the party delegation. He will meet with Pierre Laurent and Jean-Luc Melanson in Paris and with Klaus Ernst and Gregor Giza in Berlin.
Tsipras told the press that first aim of his visit to France and Germany is "to inform governments of these major European Union countries about what we stand for." "We're not anti-European power"
Tsipras statement says that the Greek left has a message to Europe which simply says Let's talk."
The statement continues on to say that 'We are not an anti-European power, far from it. We strive to save the social cohesion in Europe, " pointing out that SYRIZA is perhaps" the only pro-European force because right now the dominant forces, if they insist on the policy of austerity,  will destabilise and will cause the collapse of the eurozone. "
He reiterated that if  SYRIZA comes to power he will seek a review of the policy framework in order to keep the euro in Greece. The head of the CR considers SYRIZA French President Francois Åland an ally in trying to convince Europe to abandon the prescription of austerity. "For the first time Merkel is extremely isolated," says, stressing that the implementation of austerity policies failed not only in Greece but also in other countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland.

Interesting words from Syriza but the big question is whether the results of the 6 May election will be matched by the results of the election to be held on 17 June. I think that the electorate was registering a protest in May they will now be voting for a party that could navigate the country out of the deep crisis. PASOK is, in my opinion, the only capable party to do this. Lets hope that the 70% of those who wish to stay in the euro vote for a party that can manage this!

Miliband on Europe

There is a strong rumour that Ed Miliband is preparing a major coup by offering British voters the chance to vote at a referendum with a straight choice between staying in or opting out of Europe. If that proposal is true then that would  be a major vote winner. Ed needs to be brave enough to do this as many feel that the question on Europe needs to be resolved once and for all.

Election fever

The Greek press reports that despite being presented with a major challenge by the rest of the world on the state of play of the economy and the future of the Euro political parties continue to be organising on party and ideological lines ignoring the seriousness of the current crisis.

Alexis Tsipras, leader of the radical left party Syriza with 22% of the vote at the recent election is trying to appeal to the voters who want to reject the austerity measures imposed on the country but is not explaining the consequences of what that would mean as honestly as one could. The other two major parities, PASOK and ND are pro European and want the country to stay in the Euro.

The communist with 26 seats refuse  to talk or work with Syriza, Lets just hope that the result of the election on the 17 June will produce some break through.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Community Service Group London AGM

A well attended Regional Community Service AGM yesterday in central London with interesting subjects raised.

Best thing for me was being able to share my experience with others who are in a similar position. I did not realise how common our problems were, like having to take time off to deal with representing members at hearings and not being acknowledged by big branches that are probably too busy to deal with those in the Community sector.

Speakers in attendance made it clear that there were around 500,000 community sector workers in the country but only 20% of them were in unions. The low density will be a challenge for us all and improving membership levels will be a priority. It was good, overall, to be at the meeting.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

The real threat to the Euro

The real threat to the fragile economic system that afflicts Europe and the world one that depends so heavily on the whims of the markets is the collapse of the Spanish banking system which, unlike many others in the west is very localised. The fear of the imminent financial collapse as opposed to an actual downfall will make savers withdraw their cash and bring a major crisis on.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Slaves to the Euro

I am the first admit that I have been a vivid supporter of European union for political reasons. I believed that integration would reduce the risk of conflict and wars that destroyed the continent the last century.

But I also knew that monetary union without fiscal convergence would take Europe to the point of no return. Nations like Greece, Portugal and Spain can not possibly operate on the same level with Germany or France. The current crisis means that the dream of political union can't happen as the economic reality won't allow this.

I have no idea whether the  Euro will survive but if Greece with a 2% staken of the entire Euro zone area can create the current drama it must mean that the system is not capable of withstanding more pressure and the fall of Spain will bring the end of this adventure. You can't expect the Greeks and the Spanish to throw away a generation of young people and condemn them to the oblivion of permanent unemployment so that a currency can be saved and interest rates paid to fat bankers! It ain't going to happen!

Local autonomy

A lot has been said about the return of the Newham branch back to normal as opposed to regional control and I think that on balance it is right and correct for members of the branch to manage their affairs in a democratic way, I celebrate the return of Newham with all the real democrats in Unison.

I don't however agree that branches have the right to declare their own rules and follow their own paths if that is against national policies. The region or national should perhaps put a lot of effort and energy into ensuring that the branch in question understands what conference decisions and policy are before sending in for regional supervision, but I do not accept that the ultimate responsibility is not with national or regional. We have national positions and branches must comply. One way to ensure that we are more democratic is to introduce the one member one vote system for annual elections at branch level.

Spain next..

The media have deliberately stayed away from reporting the real problems facing the Spanish economy and the few papers that have reported the reality have played the real state of things down.

But the markets have other ideas and they have increased the interest charged on loans to the country by as much as they can get sending out the wrong signal and starting panic.

The localisation of the banking system in Spain means that a possible collapse will affect ordinary savers who are already in trouble as very few have jobs. The Spanish economy is much bigger than that of Greece so a bail out will not be possible. So where does the Euro go from then on? Spain will have to default, return back to the Peseta and send the Euro down the toilet of history.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Unison must harmonise

I have said this before and will say it again. It does not make sense that major rules agreed by Unison conference years ago apply to national and regional matters but branches can opt out from these?

I  agree that a branch with say 300 members will have problems implementing the rules on say Fair Representation or low paid women worker seats. But branches with more than 1000 members must be given a time table and be expected to transpose these rules into their local frameworks. Branches must be independent enough to manage their own affairs but  should also comply with rules that are sacred for many members.

Greece. 17 June election

I am holding my breath and hoping that I am right to think that the election results on the 6 May produced the results it did because people were protesting.

What does not make sense is the fact that several opinion polls conducted in Greece have consistently shown that 70% of the electorate want to keep the euro the same number have also voted for the 3 smaller parties that want to leave the euro. This, unfortunately, does not make sense and its a contradiction.

I would urge those eligible to vote on the 17 June to support the only party that can turn things around and that is of course Socialist PASOK I know they are not perfect but the alternative will create a bigger and nastier disaster.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Unison Proportionality rules are NOT an inconvenience!

Those of us who have been active in the Trade Union movement had a choice from the start about which union to join. The reason I joined NALGO in 1988 (with the Civil Service unions before that) was because NALGO was very strong and led the way in the field of Equalities.

Out of that emerged Unison with its proud record of achievement on Equalities and Self Organisation. The rules on Proportionality and Fair Representation mean that Unison has  taken the necessary steps to eradicate Inequality so it bloody annoys me  when prominent long standing activists dismiss these rules as though they are an inconvenience. One of them in fact announced yesterday that proportionality is probably against Equality legislation and that there are other things going on at the work place that are far more important! I was then called a trouble maker for raising concerns about how the rules are interpreted and implemented. I wonder if that's what this 'activist' would have thought of Emily Pankhurst, she was, at the time, described as a trouble maker because she dared to challenge!!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Unison branches must comply with national rules

I am proud that my own branch, Lambeth Unison, adopted the rules of proportionality at the 2010 AGM. I know that the majority of our members believe trully in Equality so proportionality and Fair representation are as important and must remain a priority. Branches must be helped implement these significant rules at branch level and be seen to be acting on them.

Growth not austerity

The French and Greek people voted out those who seek to destroy the small gains made by the ordinary man and woman on the streets in the last 10 years. Protecting the interests of the bankers is not a priority for politicians. Their job is to protect the weak and help the economy grow. Any other politician who isn't prepared to understand that must be voted out without any delay!

Greek rebellion to spread and time for change

The good people of Greece have taken to the streets of major cities demonstrating with vigour. They are angry because they don't want to see 9 year old school children depend on hand outs and eating at soup kitchens whilst fat bankers sit on their luxury houses watching and laughing. They are absolutely right!

I was privileged enough to be present at two of the 9 major demonstrations in Athens between November 2011 and May 2012 and have seen ordinary people not Trots, as the papers are reporting, show their anger. They did not go around leafleting or signing online petitions, that time has passed and that's not the Greek way anyway.

I am glad that people in other countries in Europe are now prepared to do the same with Spain to follow shortly. The tide is turning and the French people have voted out the man who wants austerity and the good people of Germany have also rejected the Merkel approach to managing the economy by throwing out the austerity politicians at a major regional election. Time for change!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Greek default to cause chaos

The EU has got it all wrong. The severe austerity measures imposed on Greece, Spain and Portugal were a huge mistake. Its a vicious circle. Growth must be the only answer and you can't get that with major austerity. If Greece defaults it would be a matter of time before Portugal and Spain follows. That would then led to the removal of A Merkel.

I can't see the Spanish being able to take more financial punishment in order to save the bankers in Berlin, so its inevitable that Spain will need a big bailout and since there isn't any funding around to finance this the Euro will collapse. That is my prediction but I am hoping that I am wrong.

Destabilising talk

I have been accused by a friend who is a frequent reader of this blog of suggesting ideas that could destabilise the Balkans and create a major world conflict. My friend is of course exaturating and she is referring to my view that the Greeks should re evaluate their alliance with the Western powers and look towards Moscow.

The unfortunate fact is that the way the Greek crisis has been handled by the EU has created the problem and the country has already been destabalised. In addition the idea of re evaluating alliances is not mine at all I am merely reporting what ordinary people are saying on the streets of Athens, Thesaloniki, Patras etc. The vast majority of people do not see any real benefit to remaining loyal to an alliance that uses and abuses the country.

The British press on Greece

I have been keeping an eye out for negative comments on the crisis in Greece and have been specifically interested in letters submitted by readers of newspapers. I am happy to say that the vast majority of those who managed to get their contributions in have been supportive of the problems faced by the Greek people. This proves once more than the ordinary reader of a serious newspaper (and I am referring to the mainstream quality papers) understands the magnitude of the problem and the involvement the bankers have had with engineering the collapse of the world economy something that some people appear to have forgotten. I am grateful for the support shown by the British general public. Greece should follow in Britain's footsteps and leave the Euro immediately.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Greece. Basketcase of Europe, or bastion of resistance?

The financial crisis in Greece has affected the country in more than one way. One of the positive things to come out of the drama associated with the method used by the EU to punish the people is to force Greeks to re evaluate their relationship with their Western 'allies'

Greece holds a very significant strategic position especially since it controls the sea from the Bosporus canal to the Mediterranean sea. The country has been used and abused over the centuries by external powers determined to keep the country within the western sphere of influence. Greece has been a 'good ally' by staying firmly on the right side during the last two world wars, and that was the right thing to do.

It was Churchill who made sure that the country did not turn communist at the end of wwii but that meant a long and costly civil war. The country's infrastructure was destroyed and the West did very little to help with reconstruction. In addition the CIA imposed a military dictatorship on the people of Greece which lasted from 1967 to 1974. This was because the Socialist government prior to the dictatorship was refusing the allow the USA use Greek soil to re-supply Israel. We then had the American instigated invasion of Cyprus in 1974 by the Turkish army. The point here is that Greece has derived very little to no benefit by remaining within the so called Western alliance.

So I am glad that Greeks are now re evaluating their position and talk of forming new alliances perhaps with Russia. Greeks know how to set the agenda and will not be pushed into any corner. If the West wants to retain Greece within the Western sphere of influence then they will not achieve that by making 9 year old children depend on handouts and soup kitchens. Time for them to look at their responsibilities otherwise the country should jump ship. A nice little naval base for the Russian fleet will soon get NATO and their masters in Washington re think the whole affair?

Saturday, 12 May 2012

New elections on the Greek Titanic..

Syriza leader Tsipras met with PASOK leader Venizelos but after an hour long meeting it was obvious that they hated each enough to make it clear that they could not form a government  This wasn't the first meeting between Syriza and other parties but all attempts have failed. The communist with 26 seats also refuse to work with the radical left Syriza as they think they are a collective of Trots!! Really?? Reminds me of a certain place..

In the meantime Luca Papadimou, caretaker PM imposed on Greece by Berlin, refuses to continue doing the job in between elections. Respect to Papadimou for standing up for himself.

The Greek press is now preparing the ground for a new election. In the meantime the country is looking like another Titanic ready to sink. What do you expect when you are led by a collection of idiotic politicians who are more interested in proving that an egg should be boiled for 23 minutes instead of 24.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Single sector Unions

It was wonderful to see the strength shown by those who took to the streets of London yesterday protesting against the austerity measures imposed against public sector employees and especially the massive attack on pensions. But it was also obvious that the show of unity would have been more effective and more prominent if more people were on the streets or took action.

I think that the question of having single sector unions should be discussed again. There needs to be a debate as to whether the division we manage to have by having say 2 or 3 unions in local governement for example is desirable. Why do we need to have Unison, GMB and Unite (not to mention other smaller organisations) representing members when we can have one? It will make the union representing those members more effective and that must be in the interest of the members in that sector.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Reply from ADEDY to invitation from Syriza

Radical left wing party Syriza which won 21% of the vote and came second at the general election in Greece on Sunday 6 May approached the major trade unions asking for a meeting. ADEDY the largest union representing governement/public sector workers in the country gave Syriza the following reply which I have translated here:


 Subject: Reply from ADEDY on 08/05/2012  following SYRIZA invitation for a meeting

 Mr President,

 The Executive Committee of ADEDY met on the 08/05/2012 in response to your invitation for a meeting which was proposed to take place on the 09/05/2012. We understand that your approach was in line with Syrizas desire to form a government, and your approach was with a view to consult. You are aware that:

 • 1. ADEDY met with political parties, prior to the election and our position was made clear. We are a TU representing the interest and issues relating to civil servants;

 • 2. It is not the TU movements role to be involved with every level of detail in governing the country as we are an interst group/movement and it is not for ADEDY to have firm positions as to who forms a government in these difficult times facing the country;

 3. ADEDY is prepared, as soon as a new government is formed to submit its views and proposals for addressing the problems of public sector workers and to will make clear its opposition to the austerity measures affecting the people in general and our members.

From the Executive Committee of A.D.E.D.Y

Greece. The absence of a true and gifted leader, slaves to the Euro

This is where I get to show how angry I am with a political class that has failed what is a remarkable country with a dynamic and positive people. Children of Pericles and Homer, Archimedes and many more.

I have spend the last 5 days in Greece and watched the preparations for the general election  and the results. There was a lot of energy around but a lot of it from those involved with controlling the  major parties has been negative and it was, with a few exceptions, about how the party will do and not how the country will remove itself out of the mess.

The result of the election showed that there was no majority for anyone or any clear or positive ideology. This shows a  rejection of the Greek political class. A collection of total morons who know as much about saving the country as I know about the origin of the paperwork that came with the Magna Carta in 1215.

None of the politicians inspires and not one of them is capable of getting people behind them. They all promised what they could not deliver and said what they thought the electorate wanted to hear. The country needs a leader to lift it out of the mess, someone like Eleftherios Venizellos, the question is where is she/he?? Those on the right want to remain slaves to the Euro whilst the rest have solutions that might work on the planet Zanussi but that won't solve the plethora of problems they have..

What is the future of the Euro? 50 years too early..

There are those of us who believed in a United Europe (both of us..) and monetary union was an essential part of that dream. It has become obvious, however, that the whole project was rushed through without much thought.

I have seen people on the streets of Valencia and other cities of Spain and people on the streets of Athens in the last two years and have felt how they are affected to be able to say that the Euro project has failed. It has not worked.

Economies that are very different in scale and capability were merged. That made it easier for the rich parts of Europe to produce and export goods to them but it has impoverished nations like Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy. It just hasn't worked and I am truly sad for that because I believe that a united Europe is important! The Euro came 50 years too early. Come back later..

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Greece. Its now a question of when, Brussles Politburo informed..

It has become clear since the election results on Sunday  that Greece will most probably be leaving the Euro and reverting back to the Drachma. That would of course have massive implications on both the country and the rest of Europe with Portugal and Spain watching to see what the reaction would be following that eventuality.

But the people of Greece have made their choice clear, they will not support the punishment dished out by the Eurocrats in order to keep the Euro and the bankers happy. The majority of people I have spoken to (even those with traditional centre views) are against the austerity conditions that come with the Euro.

The results from Sunday have produced parliamentary chaos with no single party holding a majority. Saying that Syriza (hard left) have got more than 20% of the vote with other left wing parties gaining ground too. The far right have also got 26 seats which is worrying but their rise is seen as a protest vote against traditional parties.

It now appears certain that the country will be going to the polls soon again. In the meantime I would imagine that Syriza leader Tsipras will be forming a weak government with the smaller left wing parties. A letter has already gone to Brussels informing the EU politburo that Greece will not adhere to the bailout conditions something that is apparently understood by French President Holande. Lets see what happens next!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Greece. Election produces chaos

One clear message coming out from the election results in Greece on Sunday is that more than 65% of the electorate rejected the austerity measures and any policies associated with this. Hard left party Syriza got more than 20% and other left wing parties put together another 20% the soft right ND party only managed to get 22% and Socialist PASOK managed to come third.

Discussions taking place yesterday between ND and others produced no results so it will seem probable that another election will have to take place sooner rather than later. The country is virtually held hostage by the main parties who are now obsessed with taking positions that would make them look more electable at the next election. This is unacceptable and irresponsible. A government of national unity is needed very soon!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Europe the morning after the night before..

The first Socialist government in France for 17 years has been elected with the promise to challenge the supremacy of the Germans in Europe and move towards a policy that embraces growth as opposed to austerity.

In Greece the people have rejected the two major parties pushing the Socialist PASOK into third place. Syriza, the radical left party, has emerged as the second largest player with the conservative ND just about managing to get 20% of the vote.

We are all waiting to see whether Syriza is able to form a government in coalition with the other smaller left wing parties but this is unlikely because to do so would require a collaboration with Socialist PASOK and communist KKE I would imagine that a new election in a months time would have to be called. What is clear is that the people of Greece have rejected austerity. It remains to be seen whether this means leaving the Euro and going for a default.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

France and Greece reject austerity

F Hollande is the clear winner of the Franch presidential election. He stood on a platform of rejecting economic austerity and promised to go for growth.

In Greece early results indicate the rejection of the major centre parties with Socialist PASOK coming third for the first time since 1974 with just 14 % of the vote whilst conservative ND appear to have gained 20% the new star in Greek politics is undoubtly Syriza (radical left) who have got around 16 to 18%. The communist KKE vote stayed stable at around 8%

Biggest shock is the emergence of the far right Hrisi Avgi (meaning golden dawn) who appear to have gained 7% of the vote which could mean that they have anything between 10 to 12 seats in the 300 strong Vouli ton Ellinon. Scary scenes on national television channel earlier on (ERT) where their leader was given 5 minutes to talk about his party!

Only good news is that the majority of constituencies in Crete remained loyal to PASOK apart from Western Crete that switched to the radical left party Syriza. Its all chaotic but the people have spoken!

The big question in Greece is whether there is any way in which a government of national unity can be formed or whether a new election will have to be called in a months time which will mean the continuation of the current instability. No government of national unity can be constructed without the involvement of the hard left parties which together have received more than 30% of the vote. This of course means a total rejection of the EU package, known in Greece as the Berlin deal.

Greek election 2012. Radical left phenomenon?

Radical left wing party Syriza appears (so far) to be making huge gains, exit polls put Syriza as getting 22% of the vote, the far right Hrisi Avgi at 8 % and KKE (communist) at 9% this represents a massive shift from the centre to the far right and the hard left. Its all up in arms!!

Syriza is the new force in Greek politics?

Greece 6 May 2012, the heat is on...

Greeks enraged by economic hardship vote today in a deeply uncertain election that could reignite Europe's debt crisis and throw into doubt the country's future in the euro zone and the euro itself. Last minute opinion polls show a shift to the far right and hard left. If the stats are right then the far right will get 12 seats and the hard left around 20 which means that the centre parties, socialist PASOK and conservative ND will need to form a coalition (not between them selves as the level f hatred is far too deep..) but with one of the extreme parties.
At stake in the first general election since Greece detonated a wider European crisis at the end of 2009, is whether it will stick to the terms of a deeply unpopular EU/IMF bailout or start down a path that could take it out of the euro.
Leaders from all sides emphasised the importance of the vote - which pollsters say is impossible to call - for the future of Greece, now suffering one of the worst recessions in postwar Europe.

Election fever, France and Greece

Election day today in both Greece and France. The French have the chance to vote for a new President with a new socilaist perspective whilst the Greeks have turned the election into a referendum on whether they stay in the Euro and take the austerity measures and continue the punishment infllicted on them by Berlin or reject mainstream parties and chose to drop the 'package' they have been offered and bring the Euro down with them.

There are intensive battles going on between the two major parties PASOK and ND both promising things they can not deliver but the quaestion is whether the smaller groups on the far right and the hard left will gain enough seats in the 300 member parliament to force PASOK or ND to go into coalition with them. Its all very unclear! I am, of course, urging people to vote for the Socialist PASOK!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Bojo gets back in

Well everyone knows that Ken now lost and it really is a shame for London and Londoners. There is no point going over why the campaign didn't seem to work but I must say that I had great doubts about the arrogance of Ken's PR team. They wanted to control everything and everyone around him and that was a mistake. If they allowed him to be himself and slightly controversial people would have gone out to vote. And that's where it went wrong. It was difficult to motivate voters to go out and cast their vote.

On the other hand Ken didn't lose by too much although and as my mother always says you either lose or you win. Was also right about the self obsessed Paddick he managed to get the Lib vote to go down to fourth place. It takes more than changing your glasses to win an election. Good policies would help??

The battle goes on!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Our own on Question Time

Was good to see our own Jon of the Rogers and Marsha Jane on Question Time last night. Not sure Jon's outfit was the right choice for the occasion but he made some good comments. Also understand that Marsha annoyed David Dimble  before the programme started which is good because he is a bit of a banana. Anyway next time you vote on an NEC or any other election remember who has had national exposure on telly? Yes, Jon and Marsh!

Ah and another thing, when is the BBC going to be able to find more than one woman to appear on the panel? Have they hard that more than half of the population of this country is female? Maybe they don't have access to google stats? Sort it out BBC!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Vote for Ken!

Busy helping out today. Hoping that those of us who live in this great city of ours get out  and vote for Hope, Progress and better transport system. Don't let the rain put you off, get an umbrella but go out and vote!

Ken is the only candidate with a proven record on Equalities and competence. A vote for him is a vote for progress. In addition he is not totally up the Labour party's ass so he can be relied on!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Ken for London Mayor, vote for Hope and Progress

I am assuming that the Labour party PR people are controlling what Ken does and doesn't do and if that's the case then I hope they are right about keeping a lower profile than he is used to having during an election campaign.

Personally I think they were wrong to make him handle things the way they wanted him to last time round and I know that many agree with me when I say that his best asset is high profile appearances. We don't seem to have had many of those lately? Are we to expect a massive re appearance tomorrow and if yes wouldn't that be a bit late? I hope I am wrong, saying that I also hope that people will go out and vote for Ken tomorrow as there is no real alternative!

Vote for Ken!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

On the march May 1st 2012

A great day and an excellent gathering of activists and those from different community groups who came together to celebrate May day in Trafalgar Square... The pictures tell the story

International May Day

Workers throughout the world are celebrating and remembering the struggles and the challenges facing us all. Join the Unite gathering at Trafalgar square today to take part in the celebrations.