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Saturday, 30 June 2012

David Beckham and the Olympics

I don't understand why some people think it is wrong not to ask D Beckham to represent London at the Openic ceremony at the Olympics. I for one totally agree that he is inappropriate. I don't see why someone who doesn't want to live in London and pays taxes in the USA should be representing our diverse city? He is better off selling cheap underpants at H&M and should stick to that.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Angela Merkel does a u turn

German Chancellor A Merkel went to the summit yesterday making it clear she will not give in to the south but she did a u turn following threats from Italy and Spain who made it clear that they would stall on all proposals within the EU if Germany did not give in. Seems like the Italians did not just win at the footbal last night!

Fiscal union

It looks obvious following the big Euro group meeting yesterday that what the German Chancellor is holding out for is for total submission to the idea for fiscal union. It will mean, in simple terms, that individual governments will no longer have as many powers as they have to set budgets and it will mean that expenditure, taxation etc will be done centrally. A Merkel should come clean and make her wish clear so that the whole of Europe can decide whether they can live with that or not.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

PIGS states in the final of Euro 2012

Excellent game between Italy and Germany tonight. The Italian team played much better and scored two goals and they could have scored another two as they had more opportunities. The referee then decided to give Germany a panalty so they managed to score one but that did not prevent the Italians winning.

It will be two of the 4 PIGS countries in the final so Italy will be facing Spain. Spain of course won against another PIGS state last night, Portugal. Well done to the South, if you want to see it that way! We may have a financial crisis but we sure know how to play footbal!

Visit Greece in the summer of 2012



The bad news is that you can't rely on the British summer weather and as we are expecting to get more rain in July and August it makes sense to cancel that bbq you have been planning for with aunt Meredith and uncle Trolley and take a trip down to the Greek islands.

Greece has a plethora of islands to choose from (around 1200) each and every single one of them unique in a different way. In addition it is probably cheaper than spending a week in Scanthorpe or Bognor. Two friends who have just returned back from Skiathos (The Sporades) report great weather, cheap food and wine and no problems having to reserve your sun bed every morning.. wonder what they both mean?

So help the Greek resistance stand up to the Troika and visit Greece, you will not be disapointed. I recommend non tourist destinations like Skiathos, Skopelos, Samos, Chios or Mykonos. Go for it!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Greek default?

Many think that Greece and possibly Spain will end up having to default on their debts and if that happens then the affect will be catastrophic. It will seem that Berlin is trying to show the rest of Europe that it will get tough with the Greeks to ensure that the others, Portugal, Ireland and Italy, fall in line. I fear this is really what's going on. So the battle for supremecy is being fought on the streets of Athens and other major cities of Greece whilst Lisbon and Madrid are sitting back watching how it all unfolds.

There is an excellent entry on the Unison Active blog (always well written) which compares the situation in Greece with that of Argentina. They of course ended up defaulting on their huge debts but are now out of the worst and doing better http://unisonactive.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/greece-and-eurozone-lessons-from.html Unison Active think that Greece could do the same and whilst most of what they say is valid there are some major differences and other factos that can not be ignored.

Greece holds one of the most strategic positions in the South of Europe controlling the Agean sea. This is where the Russian fleet will first get to after it leaves the Black sea, Russias ambitions and aspirations are well known. The area is extremly volitile with some newly formed Balkan states waiting for an opportunity to settle old scores. The military alliance between Greece, Israel and Cyprus also means that tensions will rise if the region got further destabilised. In other words the picture looks quite similar to the one Europe had before the start of WW1

It follows that if Greece was allowed to disintegrade into chaos forces on the extreme could lead the country into civil war or they could get a government that will be looking for hostilities as a way to divert attention from internal economic problems. I don't think this will happen as there are enough democrats in the coountry to ensrue that this doesn't take place. But the EU leaders ( not a collective of intelligent people unfortunately) will be wrong to let the situation get out of control. If they do then we will be facing another 20 years of instability and recession or even war. We are so unfortunate to be governed by career politicians who are as intelligent as a bag of chips!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

20 October day of action. Arm chair leaders?

I am just wondering whether the new tradition we have established of setting one day of action two or three times a year is actually going to have a major impact on those who are ruling us? We should all work towards ensuring that the 20 October is a success but wonder as to whether having long periods of inactivity in between dilutes the effort and the message??

I am also very critical of arm chair leaders at branch level where the membership has asked for serious action to be taken and where the leaders have done very little to implement their wishes. This is not the way to win what will be a very difficult battle for fairness and equality.

Monday, 25 June 2012

PIGS countries in semi finals Euro 2012

Bad luck to the English footbal team last night but the Italians were, on balance, much better.

Also interesting to see that the final will be between one of the 3 PIGS states left and Germany? On the other hand Germany could be out if Italy win. The other PIGS state, Greece, went out last week so we are left with the 3 Sounth European states, Spain, Italy and Portugal and the Germans. It will all be interesting. My money and faith are on Spain winning it!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

PASOK in the coalition

Many have criticised the PASOK leadership for agreeing to go into a coalition government with ND (Conservatives) but I think many more would have been critical if PASOK did not show willingness to work with another force in the country to try and get Greece out of the current crisis. So despite the fact that the majority of PASOK members would have preferred not to have any links with the Greek Tories I am glad that the party is mature enough to understand the reasons for this ridiculous marriage. We just ain't got no choice! Syriza will no doubt continue its obstructive opposition and will no doubt have very little constructive to say but the fact is the country is in the worst position since 1827 and something has to change!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Conference 2012

We were finally able to get to Bournemouth conference centre yesterday as observers. Interesting motions and debates in the afternoon but shame to see delegates leaving earlier than usual but I assume that's because many of them have to travel a long distance back to where they come from. Its good for all members and activists to participate at some stage with how the conference system works.

Gone fishing

No idea how this empty space happened, must be the cia...

Friday, 22 June 2012

Stop foie gras

Some may call foie gras a delicacy, but obtaining these fatty duck and geese livers is far from a delicate process. We need your help to end this brutal culinary practice!
For a duck or goose raised for restaurant consumption, the four months they have to live contain little more than suffering from the overfeeding necessary to fatten livers. Farmers force them to eat until their esophaguses explode and their blood vessels burst, causing many to die prematurely.
London restaurants serve foie gras to customers despite how liver enlargement affects these ducks and geese. We need to tell London to stop overlooking this cruel practice and take foie gras and other pâté off of restaurant menus.
Speak out! Tell London restaurants to stop serving foie gras.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Stop animal cruelty

Thousands of greyhounds in Spain die from extended torture each year because they do not hunt to their masters' standards. Without our help, Spanish hunters will continue to brutally murder greyhounds. 
To regain honor after a bad hunting season, hunters often torture their least impressive greyhounds to death. They employ methods such as slowly strangling, poisoning, burning, or mutilation, leaving them to suffer.
Spain's national enthusiasm over hunting with greyhounds has kept abused greyhounds from getting the attention they deserve. Every other country in the European Union has realised that only banning current hunting practises can save these animals from torture. Spain needs to follow their example.
Speak out! Tell the European Union to ban hunting with greyhounds in Spain to save dogs from being tortured!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Coalition for resistance 19 June

Good meeting last night at Friends House in Euston with a plethora of mainly good and relevant speakers. Excellent news about the TUC finally getting its act together and organising another mass demonstration on the 20 October. Not sure whether the tactic of going out 2 or 3 times a year will shake up the establishment? But we never the less have to organise and make the day a success.

We had two speakers from Greece. One wasn't actually from Greece but is originally from there who works in the UK but is a Syriza supporter? He explained why Greece was being used as an experiment by the powerful but I didn't actually see how the argument he tried to develop made the point or much sense and it was, unfortunately confusing or inconclusive.

We then had a charismatic speaker who had arrived from Athens representing Syriza. He explained how the rise of Syriza signals the change of politics in the whole of Europe but didn't explain why despite the party winning 26% of the vote last time around ( 6 May) they were unable to form a government because all the other parties on the left, like the Communists with 26 seats, refused to work with them. In other words Syriza will never be in power because to do so they will need to work with the hard left and Syriza is seen as the radical left. He also didn't explain why Alexis Tsipras, their leader, was sending out mixed messages before the election stating that he did not want the country to leave the euro but simply wished to renegotiate the terms of the austerity measures giving the impression that he had the power to do so when most know no single force within the country has that authority.

It is hard for those of us who follow Greek politics in some detail to explain why the 'Syriza phenomenon' is simply a temporary development representing the protest vote. The sudden rise of this party reminds me of the Mavrou era in 1974. Mavrou was the care taker PM after the fall of the dictatorship and whilst he got a considerable number of votes following the first election his party then disappeared without a trace. Syriza is full of rhetoric and the electorate will soon realise that they are a party that wish to remain in opposition and offer very little apart from popular slogans. If they were a force then the 'established left' wing parties would want to work with them. They don't!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Fiscal union at what expense?

A Merkel wants to push Europe towards full integration and fiscal union but at huge expense to the people of most of the country states that would agree this.

It makes no sense to have parts of Europe where salaries, pensions and other benefits will be 50% lower? How can anyone justify that?

A truly united Europe would have to harmonise upwards not downwards. How would the USA cope if the law in New York meant that a worker had to work 36 hours a week and get $500 whilst the worker in Atlanta doing the same job would work 48 hours and get $200 it would not be acceptable but that is what the Merkel school of Euro economics says we should do in this united Europe of German Republics??

Stop Cockfighting!

Instead of keeping cockfighting illegal, the Saint Maarten government wants to allow citizens to gamble with roosters' lives. We can't allow this!

Cockfighting is a messy business with a bloody history. Gamblers have long forced these birds to fight to the death for their own selfish gain, despite current laws calling them out on the heartless practise.

After mutilating roosters by chopping off their combs and wattles, gamblers strip away parts of the birds' feet to make room for weapons that can gouge out opponents' eyes. Once the birds are dead or dying, they end up tossed out like garbage.

Saint Maarten's government voted to remove the penal code for cock fighting. We only have a limited window of time to stop them from reversing this penal code.

Tell Saint Maarten to not legalise cock fighting!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Greek election 2012

The result of the second election this year in Greece shows a shift to the centre right and a majority voting in favour of staying within the Eurozone which also means some acceptance of the austerity measures as long as there are changes to the terms.

Antonis Samaras would not have won had he not promised to renegotiate the terms of the 'package' that came with the loans.

The significant difference between the results recorded between the June election with those of the one that took place in May is that the communist party lost 10 seats and the far right lost 4. Socialist PASOK came poor third.

Antonis Samaras will now have to form a government of 'national unity' which means that his arch rivals, Socialist PASOK, will have to agree to work with him. I can't stand the Greek Tories but I fear that on this occasion PASOK will have to work with them temporarily before the country disintegrates to more chaos! Time to face reality.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Hope and growth

I am hoping that the Greek electorate will vote for hope and change today and reject the populist rhetoric of the parties on the hard left and the two extremes. The country needs stability. Yes to renegotiation the measures imposed on the people but no to policies from Syriza based on fantasy! Vote for PASOK.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Beware of Greeks at European cup matches!

Well done to the national Greek football team for winning tonight's match and knocking out giant Russia! It shows Europe, once again, that the underdog can come back and win!

The day before the election a referendum on the euro

Today is the last day before the second election in a month in Greece.

There are major meetings in all of the squares in all of the big cities in the country with the main parties and their leaders promising change and progress, but non being able to substantiate what they say they can deliver.

Looking at all that's on offer it would seem that PASOK (Socialist) is the only force that has a clear programme that makes sense. I don't agree with their view that the austerity measures cannot be avoided but I can see the logic that a rescheduling and a re negotiated package can help Greece deliver its obligations but do it in a longer space of time. The country is at a major crossroads and it is obvious that leaving the euro will create problems not just for Greece but the rest of Europe so the PASOK 6 point solution seems to be the only sensible way out of the total mess created by career politicians. Syrizas programme is irresponsible and devoid of any logic. PASOK has the only answer!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Irresponsible markets

The week started off with some good news for Spain and the decision to dish out 100 billion from the ECB was welcomed. Some on the naive side of world economics thought this was the solution to the problem but then the markets realised that a bailout without austerity measures would mean that the other PIGS countries would demand the same so they have taken the irresponsible step of raising the interest charged on Spanish government loans to an all high of 7% this is absolutely massive for a sovereign state and it means that most of the funds given out by the ECB will go towards servicing the interest on the Spanish debt. Why are we governed by stupid politicians who are not willing to regulate the global markets??

The Greek election 17 June

The whole of Europe and perhaps many around the world will be hoping that the second general election in a month in Greece on Sunday produces a result that will bring the country and the euro back into some level of stability.

As things look right now the opinion polls do not indicate a dramatic shift from the last result and if this was to be the case then it is possible that Greece will disintegrate into political chaos with career politicians playing games at the expense of a nation in desperate need of real leadership.

I am hoping that Socialist party PASOK do better than last time (they came third) as they are, in my opinion, the only party with any hope of resolving the crisis.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Leveson Inquiry

A lot has been said about the purpose and the scope for the Leveson enquiry but what is becoming apparent with an increasing speed is that its all about putting up a show to keep us mortals silent for a few months then it will all be forgotten and the rulers of the country will revert back to their convenient relationship with their friends. Some other big event like the collapse of the Euro will eclipse the Leveson Enquiry and it will all be forgotten. Prime Ministers will go back to texting newspaper editors with kisses and big tycoons will continue clearing British foreign policy or reject it. Call me a pessimist but its all a bloody show!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Greece. Election on the 17 June

A number of different opinion polls published in the Greek press indicate that the result of the crucial election on the 17 of June will be similar with that produced following the 6 of May. If this is the case then the career politicians that have dominated the country for the last century will continue playing their games and unable to form a government that will be capable of managing the country's crisis. This will indeed be a great shame and it could lead to chaos but I am hoping that the electorate will come to its senses and avoid casting a protest vote in favour of extremist parties. That tactic will not help and it is wrong. I am of course hoping that Socialist PASOK will gain a majority but my hope isn't based on any evidence that can be substantiated by opinion poll results.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Stephen Fry on the Marbles

I am grateful to Stephen Fry for standing up and defending the right of the Greek people to have the Parthenon Marbles returned back to where they belong, in other words the Parthenon.

It is a shame that the curators of the British museum do not see the opportunity to do the right thing and have the matter resolved once and for all. It is barbaric and unjust to continue telling us that they are better at looking after them than those who have a legitimate claim to them.

The Parthenon Marbles are part of Hellenic culture and belong to a nation that is currently going through huge challenges for its very survival. This is the right time to take the final step to show cultural solidarity. A big thanks to Stephen Fry and others for their support, the battle for the return of the marbles will continue and the BM curators know that it is a matter of time before they hand what was stolen back.

'..The Greeks were a proud people suffering terribly, Stephen Fry told the audience in London's Cadogan Hall, but "no matter how much the sovereign debt crisis means they owe us, we will never repay the debt that we owe Greece."

He said he revered the British Museum as "one of the great flowerings of the Enlightenment" but that returning the Marbles to Greece would be an act of "grace and decency".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18373312

Euroland trouble

It has become obvious that the Spanish government was given preferential treatment with the bailout of its banking system this week. The 'package' did not come with the same austerity conditions imposed on the Greeks. This is to do with showing the rest of Europe that those who work with the system will receive less of a punishment from Brussels in other words the Greeks are being singled out because they dare to resist! This is not the right way to deal with partner countries!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Employee rights by the TUC

More than three million people working in companies with fewer than ten staff will be turned into second-class citizens if right-wing government supporters get their way, according to an analysis published to coincide with the launch of the new trade union campaign Employee Rights Stop Employment Wrongs.

Led by wealthy businessman Adrian Beecroft, opponents of workplace decency are using the economic crisis as an excuse to try to smuggle through further attacks on employee rights, despite Britain ranking second lowest among 34 OECD nations for its workplace protections.

Launched on 30 May, the new campaign has its own website featuring posters, a petition and two videos that supporters can download and pass on the friends.
More on this story @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/equality/tuc-21079-f0.cfm

Sunday, 10 June 2012

TUC Day of Action 20 October 2012

The TUC has named Saturday 20 October as the date for a major demonstration in London when unions, workers and campaign groups will join together to call for a Future that Works.

The event, which aims to build on the huge success of last year's March for the Alternative, will begin with a march through central London and end with a rally in Hyde Park. The aim is to highlight the failures of government austerity and call for economic policies that work - and get people back to work.

A new website detailing arrangements for the 20 October mobilisation will appear shortly, a link to which will be on the TUC website.

Summary details @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21056-f0.cfm

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Mass demos throughout Greece against rise of fascism



Mass demonstrations throughout the country have been organised by the TU movement and progressive forces in Greece against the rise of fascism. This follows a tragic episode on Antena tv on Thursday where during a debate amongst parties the rep from Hrisi Avgi (fascist party with 26 MPs) physically attacked a female communist MP. The attacker broke down a studio door to escape and is now wanted by the police, he has been condemned by every political force in the country.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Good result for the Greek national team Euro 2012

Good result for the Greek national football team in Poland today. Many happy Greeks in Southgate north London tonight! Shame Garakounis missed the penalty opportunity out! Sort yourself out mate! lol

Referendum on EU membership

It is obvious that the time has come when the people of this country have to make a final decision as to whether they wish to stay within the European Union which is planning a full and real Federation or whether they wish to stay out and form closer links with the rest of the world.

It looks like the Franco German alliance will push for full fiscal integration which means the creation in real terms of a United States of Europe. The people of this country must be given the right to chose.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Is the EU capable of facing reality?

The tragic thing about the question of whether the EU is capable of facing reality is that what it asks in real terms is whether the Germans are willing to take proactive action to stop the destruction of the euro. They are the only ones in a position to do this as the euro project is clearly there to further the interests of their economy.

If Europe was truly united as some claim it is then we would not be having the current crisis right now and we would have had a functional fiscal union long ago.

The other thing that is amazing is the situation with the Spanish crisis. The Spanish government want bailout money to go straight to the banks which will of course mean that the austerity measures associated with the packages given to Greece, Portugal and Ireland would be avoided. The Germans are of course refusing to do this. I can't see how the euro can be saved any more...

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Alexis Tsipras




SYRIZA has been telling Greeks that the European Union is bluffing when it threatens to cut off its aid lifeline unless Athens takes painful reform measures. Party leader Alexis Tsipras's (picture above)pledges to nationalise banks and reverse budget cuts have led markets and international lenders to compare him to Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez.

Opinion polls show that while most oppose the terms of the bailout they still want Greece to stay in the euro, something that Tsipras says he can offer. But this is very questionable given that the EU will stop providing loans if the bailout terms are not met. In addition international lenders have made clear that Athens must meet its reform pledges if it is to receive further loan instalments. It remains to be seen whether the election on the 17 June will produce a conclusive result or whether the country will return to further instability.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Is it possible to have true democracy?

It has always been difficult to have true democratic institutions running without interference from external factors but what has become very obvious in the last 4 years is the power of the markets and our subservience to mad economic theories that allow for countries like Brazil to destroy the worlds forests so that they can release timber to the markets and service their huge debts whilst a lot of their people are on starvation point. The bankers and the lenders make more money whilst the rest of the planet is threatened by deforestation.

We have also seen how the markets control developed countries to the point of turning them into slaves. These trends have proven to be dangerous in the past and have produced major uprisings and upheaval but they can be controlled if democratic countries regulated the handful of individuals responsible for this carnage. Democracy must prevail but for that to happen we need brave and pure politicians and I don't see many of them around?

Monday, 4 June 2012

The Monarchy

I have done my best to stay out of arguing in favour or against having a Monarch as I am very well aware of the fact that the majority of the population in the UK appear to want to keep the Queen. It will be patronising to tell 75% of the people that they are wrong. That very Greek concept of democracy is after all based on the principle of majority rule.

All I can say is that the flotilla on the Thames yesterday was not very impressive at all and it reminded me of those boats in the harbour of Hong Kong, it would have been more realistic if the small vessels involved were also carrying their frying pans. It could have been done better. Katie looked good and I do like Prince William, he appears to be humble and in touch so if he was to stand for the position of President of the UK against Boris Johnson I would definitely be voting for him.

On the other hand I have looked carefully at all Equalities related legislation and have found nothing that can justify keeping on a social pyramid with a special family on top? Can't find it any where. I can probably live with having a Queen as Head of state but having a plethora of others around them seems to be out of date, boring and irrelevant. I see no reason why there should be so many brigadier Trolley type of Dukes and Barons this  that and a bit of the other. Make it simple and keep it real guys!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Can Spain be saved?

The markets have been in control of governments and major democratic institutions that are supposed to withstand attacks from any non democratic factors. But this is not the case with the money markets as they are clearly in control of everything and everyone. It is absurd that at a time of major financial turbulence the markets are increasing the rate of interest imposed on Spanish and Greek government loans creating further instability. What the hell are we doing electing politicians who are incapable of understanding how the real world works and are totally unable or unwilling to take on the markets?

Saturday, 2 June 2012

The Irish referendum

It is not surprising that 60% of those who voted at the recent referendum on 'fiscal union' in Ireland agreed with the draconian changes.

The methods used in Ireland by politicians from within and abroad were designed to scare the general population off. Similar tactics are being used by Greek politicians and those in Brussels to convince the electorate there that the vote on the 17 of June is a referendum on the euro, but the majority in Greece see it as agreeing or rejecting the severe austerity measures.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Can Europe be saved?

The Spanish and Greek press are reporting statements from leading politicians who are trying to promote different ideas on how to manage the current crisis within the Euro zone. Philipe Gonzalez, previous Socialist Spanish PM declares that Spain is at the brink of the worst ever disaster facing the country. Meanwhile the Portuguese government is keeping silent in the hope that the money markets see them as a lower risk and reduce the high level of interest they pay on their debt. But none of these moves can save the euro in the long run, the only thing that seems certain is that the Germans need to keep the common currency as their economic success depends on that.

ND party leader ( Tory) Samaras and Alexis Tsipras of the radical left keep promising solutions that they know can not be delivered with pledges that they can create another 150,000 jobs? Sounds good but how would they finance these projects? In the meantime PASOK (Socialist) are convinced that growth and the rescheduling of the debt over a much longer period is the only way to handle the problem. I just hope that the electorate is not going to be confused and that a clearer result will be delivered at the elections on the 17 of June otherwise the country will disintegrate into chaos and the fallout will take down other euro zone states and the euro!