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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Collapse of the Euro imminent

There are two versions of the Euro story. The first says that the current crisis is there to enable the Germans to push for fiscal union and thus achieve ultimate control over the zone. Then there is the second version that suggests that the countries of the south plus Ireland, would have to exit the currency and revert back to what they had before.

The reality is that reverting back to original currencies will not let these states reduce their deficits as they will still have to repay back their loans. So it remains to be seen what the final solution is. Its obvious however that Spain is about to collapse and Italy's real problem is beginning to hit the headlines. And there won't be any way in which the rest of Europe can get the Italian economy out of its current state. The truth is some accountant will invent another type of a computer which would allow them to add a few more zeros to the balance sheet and buy a few more years...

Monday, 30 July 2012

Easing not enough - TUC

The Bank of England's decision to increase its quantitative easing programme - which sees the creation of more electronic money - underlined that the double dip recession could be deeper than first thought, the TUC said in response.


As well as active monetary policy, the TUC argued we needed co-ordinated action by both government and the Bank to boost demand and create jobs.

Full TUC response @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21177-f0.cfm

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Replacing the Euro? A way out?

The Eurobanana is on its way..

According to totally unreliable rumours the ECB is considering replacing the Euro with a banana. The argument, allegedly, is that you will be able to eat the banana if its value goes down which is in contrast with the current currency. So it looks as though the resolution to the current euro crisis will be swiftly and competently dealt with by the introduction of the banana. I am all for it I must say!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Olympic ceremony 2012. An outburst of creativity

A fantastic opening ceremony last night at the London 2012 Olympics. The event was immensely successful because it managed to impress even those who have been cynical about the whole concept.

At the end it was a great show displaying an outburst of creativity celebrating diversity, hope and youth. The creator of the night managed to import that all important Monty Python type of humour that Britain is so famous and well known for. Also good that the Queen managed to stay awake so late.

Well done the 2012 Olympics, the organisers and the many volunteers.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Deirdre Barlow and the Olympic flame

                        '... I didn't do it Ken love..'

Totally unreliable rumours have confirmed that Deirdre Barlow will be the one lighting the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony tonight. Apparently she has agreed to leave the green pastures of Weatherfield and come down to London to do the honours. It will mean Ken Barlow will be left on his own for another night giving him the chance to have another affair. Sources not close to David Beckham at all have also denied that he is unable to perform as his is doing his nails.

Happy Olympic games!!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Workers at Togo Footwear in Turkey

Workers at Togo Footwear in Ankara, Turkey  formed a union in April this year and their employer's reaction was to sack 35 of them - in violation of Turkish and international labour law.
Their union (Deri İş) and the newly-formed IndustriALL Global Union have appealed for international support through an online campaign on LabourStart.


Please forward this message to your friends, family, co-workers and fellow union members.

Celebrate the Olympic spirit



There are those who are critical of the Olympics and their commercialisation and I for one agree that huge companies that sell products that are harmful or have policies that are not ethical should never have been allowed to be main sponsors of this fantastic event.

On the other hand having the Olympics in our home town is an excellent opportunity to celebrate what brings the world together. Let young people compete with each other in one of the most diverse cities any where in the world and celebrate the spirit of the Olympics.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Spain follows Greece..

It is tragic that the markets are forcing the 4th largest economy in the Euro zone to borrow money at record levels. Spain will now have to be bailed out but since there is no more money in the ECB it remains a mystery as to what will happen next.

It is inevitable that the single currency will break up. Greece was a smaller country to rescue but Italy and Spain are too large to save. The people of Spain should not be made to suffer the same indignity that the Greeks were put through a few months ago. But it was said at the time that the media focus on Greece was an attempt to focus attention away from the real big problems of the zone. Just scrap the whole project and start again I say!

Beckham and the Olympics

No idea why some people are still insisting that D Beckham is a great role model to young people in Britain and he should therefore light the flame at the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

I have nothing against the man I am sure he is nice and cares about animals and fish but he is definitely not someone I would want my 14 year old nephew to aspire to be. He does not live in the country to start with and therefore does not pay tax here. He is also a big trooper for the shallow life and the fact that he is dishing out cheap underpants in second rate shops does not make him a hero at all.

It will be infinitely better to get someone who is in touch with the real people of London and the country to do the honours but Beckham is not the right role model.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Olympic spirit

For thousands of years the Greeks celebrated the coming of a tradition which brought all the Hellenic tribes together. Wars and disputes were stopped as the different city states send their athletes to compete in the games which lasted for a period of two weeks in Olympia south West of the Peloponnese.

The Olympic spirit lives on and London is fortunate enough to be holding the games this year with many young people throughout the world arriving here to compete. London which is one of the most diverse cities in the world is bringing the spirit of the Olympics and diversity together.

There are some who correctly criticise some aspects of the commercialisation of the games and I for one do not agree that the event should have anything whatsoever to do with either Coca Cola or bloody MacDonald's. It is also wrong to allow for the exploitation of workers who have produced a lot of the products on sale for below minimum wage pay. But beyond that the games is an opportunity for the whole world to celebrate diversity, that is what the Olympics is all about. Lets celebrate what we have in common and ignore our differences.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Welcome to team Brasil in Crystal Palace

My home town of Crystal Palace is proud to welcome team Brazil during the London Olympics.

The Brazilians have chosen Crystal Palace as their base after doing a thorough search of all the London venues. You can feel the positive atmosphere on the streets as you walk through the town centre. Brazil are of course hosting the next Olympics in 2016. Welcome team Brazil!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Turkey on Human Rights

Amazes me how politicians are able to convince themselves that they are morally right and justified when they criticise others but ignore what they are responsible for within their own country.

This is certainly the case with Prime Minister of Turkey Erdogan who has been critical of Syria's record on Human Rights. He is right of course but he needs to remind himself that the Turkish state refuses to allow a 12 million minority of Kurds to speak their own language in Turkey and have resettled thousands of them by force over the years. The systematic arrest of Trade Union leaders is also something he needs to be looking at. As for Turkey's international record he should also review the record on how Turkey occupied an independent sovereign state, Cyprus, in 1974 and continues to do so even today despite numerous UN resolutions.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Cyprus. 38 years of occupation

It has been 38 years since Turkish troops invaded the Republic of Cyprus in 1974 their excuse was to re establish the constitution as they were one of the 3 countries guaranteeing the 1960 agreement. But instead they based 40,000 troops on the island and taken over 38% of the Republics space.

There has been numerous UN resolutions demanding the withdraw of foreign troops but of course the Turkish military refuse to comply. Their intention is clear they want to use the island as their base.

Britain is one of the guarantor powers but of course UK foreign policy very much thrives on the divide and rule principle and despite statements made by the government in favour of a just solution it remains obvious that British interests will not be served if there was a resolution as Britain is obsessed with keeping the two bases in Cyprus open. So unfortunately it doesn't look too good and a solution is not imminent at all!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Labour market caution

 

The TUC  reacted cautiously to labour market figures published in June, showing a fall in unemployment.

While it was good news that new full-time jobs had been created, employment was up and unemployment had fallen, the TUC said there were still 'real concerns' about the number of unemployed young people and unemployed women.

More on this @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21131-f0.cfm

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Spanish workers on general strike

More than 2 million public sector workers and others have taken to the streets of major cities in Spain today protesting against the severe austerity measures the government is imposing on them. The situation in Spain resembles that of Greece in the last year. Good to see fellow TU activists from ADEDY and other Greek TUs being on the marches in Spain. The European resistance is spreading and solidarity amongst workers is strengthening.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Facilities

It is bizarre but not surprising that the current government and their mates are trying their best to change as much of the positive stuff promoted by the last administration on Employment Law as they can. They want to ensure that employers get the upper hand and wish to reduce working people to obedient servants.

The first significant change came in with the increase by another year on qualifying periods before an employee can take a claim for unfair dismissal to tribunal. In addition people will now have to pay up front before they submit a case.

The attack continues on facility time with the taxpayers alliance (we are all bloody tax payers by the way!) working out the cost of having facility time. What these silly little Tories should be doing is working out the cost of not having facility time. The amount of Industrial Relations disputes would double and productivity will fall. They should be made to take an a 'accountancy made simple' course to learn the facts of industrial life!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Divided Cyprus 38 years on..

It will be 38 years since the Republic of Cyprus was invaded by Turkish mainland troops. This resulted in the occupation of 38% of the island. The Turkish military then went on to declare a form of UDI in the north that is only recognised by themselves.

Cyprus is today holding the revolving Presidency of the EU so in affect the Turkish military is occupying part of EU territory. This is an unacceptable state of affairs and can not be allowed to continue. Successive attempts to resolve the 'dispute' have failed dramatically and the main reason for this is because the Republic is not prepared to accept the presence of 40,000 Turkish troops on the island on a permanent bases. No independent state can tolerate this.

Britain is one of the three guarantor powers under the 1960 treaty which guarantees the independence of the Republic but the British governments interests are served by the continuous division they are only interested in keeping their two bases there. More pressure needs to be exerted to ensure that the two communities are allowed to get together to find a solution without outside interference and until that happens there will be no solution. This is one case where the international rule of law must prevail.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Italy to leave the Euro?

There is speculation that the first country to be leaving the Euro won't be Greece or Portugal but more dramatically Italy.

The Italian and Greek press have reported concerns about the volume and the magnitude of the problem. The major issue is that the Italian economy is so vast in comparison with the other states that have been 'bailed out' it will be impossible to apply a similar rescue package meaning that the only viable option would be the return to the Lira. The beginning of the end of the Euro then?

Sunday, 15 July 2012

David Beckham and the torch

David Beckham's PR people were right to tell him to make a statement saying that it should be an Olympian who lights the Olympic torch or some one who is a real life model for people.

The hysteria around DB is not justified at all as there are others who are as capable and have achieved more. DB does not want to live, work or pay taxes in this country so he is not the right person to represent the country at this global event. We would otherwise be telling people that not wanting to be part of this country is a good reason for you to represent us??

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Pay for justice

It is outrageous that the government are going ahead with their proposal to introduce fees that employees have to pay up front before they can even go to tribunal. The amount they would need to pay for unfair dismissal, for example, would be up to £1,200 this is of course designed to ensure that the tribunal system gets fewer claims but it is unfair and unjust and would force, especially low paid workers, to just put up with any bullying and harassment at the workplace.

The TUC has responded by publishing a document at their site http://www.tuc.org.uk/equality/tuc-21213-f0.cfm it remains to be seen how unions will deal with an influx of members who would demand that their union pay that fee in advance of any claim!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Austerity damaging economy - TUC

Revised growth figures for the end of last year confirm that the Chancellor has steered the UK back into a double-dip recession for the first time in 40 years, with falling living standards continuing to depress consumer spending.


The TUC has argued that continuing with 'self defeating austerity' is not only choking off recovery, but also risks causing permanent long-term damage to the UK economy. A new plan based on investment and jobs was now more vital than ever.

Earlier in June, the TUC welcomed falls in both CPI and RPI inflation, but said that prices were still rising faster than wages, putting a squeeze on workers' finances every month.

TUC on growth figures @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21157-f0.cfm

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Young face huge jobs crisis - TUC

 

There has been a huge increase in long-term youth unemployment over the past 12 years, according to a TUC analysis of official figures published last month.
The number of 18 to 24-year-olds who are out of work has risen by 78 per cent since the start of the century, while unemployment across all age groups has increased by 42 per cent.
Over the same period, the number of young people unemployed for more than a year has leapt more than eightfold, from 6,260 to 60,955, underlining just how hard young people have been hit by the recession.
A presentation on the long-term evidence was given by Nicola Smith, Head of the TUC Economic and Social Affairs Department, at a TUC seminar held on 4 July. The seminar featured contributions from David Miliband MP, who has taken a close interest in this issue over the past year, journalist and author Shiv Malik, and Balbir Chatrik from charity Centrepoint.
More on the research @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21125-f0.cfm
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21158-f0.cfm

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Stacey Dooley bbc3

Another excellent documentary and the final one of the mini 3 part series by Stacey Dooley on BBC3 last night. It is great to see that the producers of the BBC have finally understood the importance of bringing in new and young talent to present shows and do more content interesting documentaries.

Stacey a 25 year old journalist did a good job following the fortunes of young people in 3 countries affected by the severe economic climate across the world. She started with Greece moved on to Ireland and finally last night ended the series with a visit to Japan. Every one thinks of Japan as being that all superior and successful economic model but that does not seem to be the case. People there spoke of having to work 18 hours a day to keep a mere job and others expressed their frustration of not being able to get any work.

Excellent documentary worth watching on I player if you have not seen it yet. We want more of Stacey and less of the likes of Andrew I am everywhere Neil!!

http://www.lawatwork.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/stacey-dooley-bbc3.html

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

House of Lords

The debate on how to reform the House of Lords comes to an end with the vote on the proposals going to the House of Commons. The only House where representatives are elected. The idea of changing the system with one where Lords are elected for a 15 year period does not go far enough.

I agree with those who say that a new reformed Lords will become a rival to the Commons and this could create bigger problems than what already exist.

The big question for me is whether we need to have an upper chamber with people in it that carry titles and are therefore, by implication, seen as being higher than the rest of us. The obvious answer to that is that we do not want such a system and all titles are incompatible with Equality principles.

So we need to change the debate and start asking the question of what to replace the Lords with? The answer would be with a Senate of Equals who are elected for a 5 year period and do not come with titles that are, at the end of the day, concepts of pure fantacy and very much out of date!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Campaign website launched by the TUC


Arrangements are continuing ahead of the TUC's latest mobilisation against austerity, which will take place in London on 20 October under the banner of 'A Future that Works'.

The demonstration now has its own dedicated website featuring campaign materials as well as practical information for those hoping to take part in what promises to be another huge national occasion.

Find out more @

www.afuturethatworks.org

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Inadequate reform


The Government's white paper on reforming the banks, which came out in the middle of the crisis, received a lukewarm response from the TUC. While there was 'welcome recognition' of the need to make UK banking safer and to ring fence retail banking operations from riskier investment banks, it was disappointing that minimum capital requirements recommended in the Vickers Review had been watered down.

Meanwhile UNI global union leader Philip Jennings, whose organisation represents 20 million service sector workers worldwide, has called for an international inquiry into the finance sector. In a letter to the Financial Times, published on 4 July, he said what was needed was a 'global truth and reconciliation commission for errant financiers'.

TUC reaction to white paper @

http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21123-f0.cfm

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Banks out of control TUC

The TUC has called for a fresh start for the finance sector and a Leveson style inquiry to deal with over-mighty bankers.
The call came following news that banks have been mis-selling risky insurance products to small businesses and that Barclays sought to manipulate the inter-bank lending rate, but before the resignation of Bob Diamond and the former Barclays CEO's appearance before the Treasury Select Committee.
'Britain's banking system is out of control', said TUC general secretary Brendan Barber. 'We are now paying a heavy price for the decades when banks and finance persuaded politicians that they were the new engines of growth'.
Full TUC response to scandal @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21160-f0.cfm
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21165-f0.cfm

Friday, 6 July 2012

Jon of the Rogers vs J Gray

To me it isn't that much about who is right when it comes to deciding whether to accept the deal that has been presented by the negotiators on LGPS but more about who is conveying the message clearer.

We have two fellow bloggers, Jon of the Rogers and John of the Gray, explaining their views in very different ways. Is it all about style over substance?

Jon of the Rogers uses long and some times convoluted language to convince us that the proposal is a bad one but loses the opportunity to persuade by not keeping it simple. John of the Gray, on the other hand, adopts the 'simple and clear is best' style and puts the argument in easy to retain short paragraphs with the main points highlighted. So as far as  style is concerned a member who is busy trying to get her/his children to work in the morning and has 10 minutes to spend reading a blog will, in my opinion, have no problems digesting what JG says.

What I am saying above is what I have said to our Jon many times before which is try to keep your message short and simple and avoid the temptation of showing to people that you are capable of explaining the theory of evolution in a blog which is read primarily by Doris Bayswater and Virginia Sydenham. It won't work and people have better things to do.

On the other hand I would say that on balance the deal that has been 'negotiated' is presented to a confused membership at a time when the whole world and its oysters are in deep trouble. It is not a good offer and it involves major concessions. It is also true that in order to defeat the government and their proposal the unions would need to coordinate action on a national scale more effectively and look more decisive. Taking one day of action every 5.4 months based on walking down central London is also not going to scare off the establishment. My advice would be to preach rejection if we know we are capable of prolonged and sustained industrial action and if not then at least explain what we think to members in a clearer and more concise way.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Is the 20 October off then??

Not sure whether the rumour about the decision to postpone  the one day of action on the 20 October is true? I would imagine what is true is that in the event of a no result to the strike action ballot conducted by Unison members will be told not to take to the streets?

At present there are those arguing that the 'deal' on local government pensions reached by the negotiators is good enough to accept and those who urge action and rejection. I think it is better not to talk about avoiding action until we see the result of the ballot but there can be no argument, in my opinion, that the offer made by the government is simply not good enough!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Stacey Dooley BBC3

Excellent documentary last night and a week ago called 'Coming here soon' on BBC3. The title serves to warn us that what we are seeing in Greece and Ireland could be imported here in the UK as well.

Fantastic to see a young journalist, Stacey Dooley, cover the stories that matter to young people affected by the severe economic crisis in Europe and then Japan. The docu takes us first to Greece which was shown last week and last night to Ireland. Stacey mixes with people in their 20s and sees how they are facing the harsh reality of the problems created by the bankers and incompetent politicians.

In Greece we were shown the contrast between how people on the streets and in the centre of the capital, Athens are treated and how the rich who live in the affluent suburb of Kifisia are dealt with by the police and the state. A story of two worlds but one city.

In Ireland last night we saw how many young people are now having to leave the country and immigrate to other parts of the world like Australia. This is a familiar story as the same phenomenon is prevailing in Greece as well.

Its good to use a new young journalist to do this kind of programme. I have been critical of the BBC using the same old people, like Andrew Neil etc to cover everything so its great to see that new and talented people are given the opportunity. Quality and content get 10 out of 10, can't wait to watch next week the programme covering Japan. You can watch previous episodes on I Player.



Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Reform the House of Lords

Interesting how the debate on whether the House of Lords needs reforming or not keeps coming up. The only party with a consistent line on this have been the Lib Democrats who are too polite to say the entire system needs to be got rid of and instead talk about reforms.

Looking at it from a purely practical point of view it is obvious that we do not need to have a huge number of unelected people sitting in an expensive building in the centre of London falling asleep most of the day and getting paid big money for doing so.

My objection to having a House of Lards is that in a free society where Equality is meant to be of  paramount importance we should not have titles and certainly not accept the continuation of hereditary ones. The entire concept is a full contradiction to all the Equalities legislation we have brought in over the years.

I propose that we have a senate of 200 elected reps who get paid £25,000 a year to do a job of scrutinising legislation, that way we will avoid the career politicians and encourage people with talent who want to help society. Get rid of all titles I say and the Lards!!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Communist President of the EU

Congratulations to the Republic of Cyprus for taking over the EU Presidency. The President of Cyprus is of course the only Communist politician to have ever taken on this role it will be interseting to see what the 6 motnhs bring to the deveopment of the EU.

http://www.cy2012.eu/en/Footer/the-cyprus-presidency/programme-and-priorities

Referendum on Europe

I don't think David Cameron is keen on holding a referendum on Europe but he knows that if he doesn't offer one at this stage then UKIP will take away a fair amount of the Tory vote at the next election. So any declarations about a referendum are not strictly speaking honest. I am sure it will all change after the election and if the Tories stick the promise in their manifesto then the likes of Hague (how did he get to be a minister??) will ensure that the question put to the electorate will gurantee a yes to staying in Europe vote. The question will most probably be '.. do you want a disaster and leave Europe or stay in and be part of a big party..' well something like that!

The only thing clear today is that we are being managed by a collective of career politicians who only make a move if it will ensure that they keep their well paid jobs in government for a bit longer! Change the system I say and pay them 25k a year, that will ensure that only those who want to serve the country go for parliament!!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

More reasons to visit Greece in 2012..

Visit Greece this summer and experience the warmth, blue sky and blue sea..