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Friday, 30 November 2012

The case for a dog licence

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



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

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

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

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Steve Reed for Croydon North



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

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Low earners suffer weakest growth - TUC

 


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

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

Find out more @

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

Monday, 26 November 2012

Poor pension provision hits low-paid

 


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

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

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

More on TUC Pensions Scorecard @

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



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

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The uninspiring generation of low intelect politicians



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

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Long life stats

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

These are apparently the main reasons.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




 
 



What about earwax?

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

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



 

 



 

Friday, 23 November 2012

Go green to reduce inequalities

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


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

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

More on climate change conference @

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

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The goal was and still is fiscal union and full integration

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

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Is the euro crisis over?

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

Monday, 19 November 2012

House of Lords

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

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Pay lifeline must be raised

 

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

Friday, 16 November 2012

Light at the end of the tunnel..

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

Thursday, 15 November 2012

European fiscal fundamentalism is the road to nowhere


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

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

Report from Spain

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

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


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

More protest action in Greece

Greece protests at further austerity

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

Action against austerity today 14nov2012


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

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

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

TUC letter to Spanish PM: change course now

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

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


Monday, 12 November 2012

Living wage campaign takes off

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


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

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

More on the living wage campaign @

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

Sunday, 11 November 2012

TUC letter to Greek PM: no to austerity

TUC letter to Greek PM: no to austerity

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

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


Saturday, 10 November 2012

Costa Rica Bans Shark Finning


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

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Against Fox hunting

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

Tell Irish Parliament to ban fox hunting dig-outs.

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

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

Tell Parliament to put an end to dig-outs.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

4 More years

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

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

48 hour strike in Greece



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

What happens after the 20 October then?

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

Monday, 5 November 2012

The reports on Greece

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

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

Sunday, 4 November 2012

More strikes in Greece

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

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

Friday, 2 November 2012

Cypriots to sue UK government for torture

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Unions must merge

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