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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Thatcher's legacy

 

Frances O'Grady used an opinion piece in the Guardian newspaper to highlight the social and economic damage caused by Thatcherism following the death of the former prime minister on 8 April.
She called for a genuine alternative to free-market fundamentalism based on smart intervention, industrial rebalancing and decent work for all, with worker representation on company boards.
Read the article @
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/09/clearing-up-margaret-thatchers-mess?INTCMP=SRCH

Monday, 29 April 2013

Tony Blair and his expenses

Apparently Tony Blair, who is worth more than 30 million dishes out lectures around the world talking about his hair and how he made it big time in the world, he makes 200k each time boring everyone to death. He should perhaps explain how after he was appointed to be Middle East envoy he has managed nothing more than visit the area with no progress to show.

Anyway the issue here is that whilst he swans off to the land of abroad talking to jolly foreigner with his ugly wife we the tax payers have to pay extra for his security people which include those who accompany him on the trips? Why the hell should the tax payer be paying for his holidays abroad especially since he makes money from the boring lectures he gives out?

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Protect marine wildlife



Tell UK leaders you won't settle for half-hearted protection of our precious marine life.

The government conducted an expensive two-year consultation with scientific advisors to figure out the exact extent of the damage to marine wildlife in the oceans around the British Isles and what exactly needed to be done. But after all that, Minister Benson decided he knew better than all those scientists and imposed his own inferior plan.

Native sea species, including oysters, spiny lobsters, short-snouted seahorses and more, are at risk if we don't take serious action. We can't let the government's poor decision-making drive them toward extinction.

Demand UK officials designate the full 127 marine protection zones to save native species.
       

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Demonstrate against the Troika



A mass demonstration organised by TU's across the 5 countries affected by the Troika, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Cyprus will be taking place on the 1st of June 2013. It is time that independent sovereign states resisted the oppression imposed on them by filthy bankers who want to shift the burden of blame on the weak and powerless workers of the EU. Hoping to see some signs of support from the British left and the TUC??

Friday, 26 April 2013

Workers memorial day

Remember the millions of workers...

Jon of the Rogers, NEC and slates

Brother Jon recommends that we should vote for the UL slate ( I think that's what they are?) I have no doubt about Jon's ability to do the job and do it right. He is perhaps one of the very few who can do the work of representing the London region. He sits on the fence some times but this is probably because if he didn't he would climb down and get wet.

Jon is on balance good at challenging the establishment and reflects the views of most of the members plus he has leadership qualities that others do not have! But to ask to support a slate made of  people who may not be able to do the job is not what should be about. Some, like Phoebe Watkins will do a great job so I am supporting her, but the fact is that others are not that good. The only reason I might vote for some of the others is because the alternative is even worst, so they need to work on their skills and prove they can do the job, like smile occasionally and pretend they can be nice? Whatever anyone thinks of John of the Gray he is good at that, polite and approachable. Others need to learn??

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Jon of the Rogers for the NEC

Time goes when you are having fun, at least that's what they say in the Fiji islands.

And that time of year has come again where the good the bad and the lets have a go stand for election for the UNISON NEC. You don't hear much from them when they get the seat but Jon of the Rogers, on the other hand, has a lot to do and much more to say. Not always right of course but at least he is relied upon to annoy the powerful. He is consistent on seating on the fence but also consistent with showing he cares. So I will be voting for him. I am also voting for P Watkins who, despite her politics, is  hardworking and means well. No idea what to say about the others. Ah and Marsha could do well so she might get my vote too.. I would vote for Margaret Greer as well but haven't seen a ballot paper with her name on it?

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

New minimum wage rates

The TUC has reacted cautiously to the announcement by Business Secretary Vince Cable of new minimum wage rates.

Although the TUC would have liked to have seen the rates go up further to provide a bigger boost to economic demand, there was a positive response to the decision to increase the apprentice rate.
Meanwhile, the TUC has welcomed the decision by HM Revenue and Customs that two telecoms companies are to be forced to repay £100,000 after being found guilty of not paying the minimum wage.
TUC on new wage rates @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-22101-f0.cfm

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The Reich direction

 

The TUC is hosting a high-profile event featuring Professor Robert Reich in his only scheduled UK speech this year.
This will take place on Tuesday 21 May at Congress House, from 5 to 7 pm. Robert Reich is now Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, and was formerly Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration.
Further information @
http://www.afterausterity.org.uk/?p=740

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Another year of pay misery

 

The announcement in the Budget that public service pay is to be capped for another year - with incremental pay progression set to be scrapped - will put a further squeeze on the incomes of millions of families, the TUC warned.
Public sector workers have seen their pay frozen as the cost of living soars, with thousands now finding themselves earning less than the living wage.
More on this @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/industrial/tuc-22026-f0.cfm

Friday, 19 April 2013

Families lose £3,000

 

As tax credit changes took effect earlier this month, the TUC updated its tax credit calculator to help parents find out how much they stood to lose from the reforms.
The calculator shows that a dual earner family with incomes of £25,000 and £15,000, two young children, and with £300 a week childcare costs for 45 weeks annually would stand to lose over £3,000 a year by 2015/16.
Meanwhile, the TUC described the cut in top-rate tax that came into effect on 6 April as 'a slap in the face for struggling Britons'.
More on tax credit story @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-22073-f0.cfm

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Ease-off on austerity

 

A call by the IMF that the UK government should ease off austerity measures and invest in growth has received strong backing from the TUC.
Earlier in April, there was also a positive response from the TUC to the call by US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew for European countries to relax austerity cuts and instead prioritise growth.
TUC reaction to IMF @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-22103-f0.cfm

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Germany and Euro crisis and double standards

The relaity is that Germany has defaulted on its own debt after the war and should have paid huge amounts for the destruction the two wars had caused.

The dispute originated in the 1920’s when Germany issued series of bearer bonds in the USA for revitalisation of its economy following the devastating effects of WWI. Acting as trustees, financial institutions such as JP Morgan and Lee Higgins & Co. produced and sold bonds in America raising funds that would be invested in Germany.
These bonds corresponded to Agricultural Loans signed by 14 German banks and guaranteed by the German government. Of these 14 banks four are still active and are part of the troika mechanism.
From 1933, Germany defaulted on interest repayments to Bondholders, as the new Nazi leadership considered the debt that Germany faced following WWI as illegal and issued a moratorium on bonds owed to foreign investors.
In 1952 following years of German debt crisis, the London Debt Agreement restructured Germany’s debt to be sustainable by the agreement of its creditors.
The way this deal would function was to provide the option to the bondholders of German debt, to either accept the repayment terms of the LDA, or to forego attempts to claim their debt until 1993. The rationale being, that you can cash in today from a weak Germany, or wait for a full settlement after 40 years of German growth and development.
Assenting Bondholders: For bondholders who wanted to cash in their bonds immediately, they could receive partial payment, and new bonds, with a discount on the value of their bonds (depending on the issue, between 20% - 60%). For this to be implemented correctly, a procedure of Validation was set up to ensure that anyone presenting bonds for payment, could prove that they were indeed the beneficial owner. This would guarantee that all of the disbursements paid went directly to Germany’s creditors in the correct manor.
Non Assenting Bondholders: For bondholders who chose to wait for full settlement by their next generation in the future, their course of action was to maintain the debt instruments (the bonds) safely, and not request a settlement until the 40-year grace period had expired.
Validation boards were established in the three US states (where the bonds were initially sold) to carry out the compliance requirements for the bondholders who chose to accept the option presented in the LDA. Having performed their role, these boards were subsequently closed a few years later.
By 1993 the German government had succeeded in revitalising its economy and began to respond to requests for payment. Unfortunately, they chose not to honour their debt. To the surprise of many bondholders, Germany would receive payment applications with the physical bonds attached, perforate the bonds, and stamp them as invalid.
The reasons given by the German Government and its subsidiary bodies are: Germany has compiled a list of Bond serial numbers that Germany considers stolen, and hence invalid. The procedure of validation must be complied with.
The German government claims that during WWII Russian soldiers looted the Reichsbank vault, where many bonds were kept, and that these bonds were reintroduced into the market for payment. The simple problem with this claim is that the only bonds that were in the German vault, had already been paid off or pledged, for which there is a public record, and no active bondholders had their bonds physically in Germany. Furthermore, the building which housed the Reichsbank had been completely destroyed, the contents of which had been removed by Germany before the arrival of Russian soldiers to Berlin.
The bonds were “bearer” instruments, and bondholders would cut off the coupons from the papers for their interest repayments. This claim however, was acceptable in the few years immediately following the war, as it was obvious bondholders would not be able to recover their principal or interest at the time, and was the reasons for the Validation Procedure outlined in the London Debt Agreements.
The so-called ‘Validation Procedure’ which was intended to apply to bonds that would be submitted for payment in 1952 added additional security requirements for the bondholder to comply with. Not only was it clear in the legislation that this only applied to Assenting Bondholders in 1952, subsequently indicated by the closure of the Validation boards, but it would be simply impossible for any bondholder to comply with them 40 years later.
When bondholders and creditors have asked to see this list, the German government categorically denied access, stating that it is not in their national interest, and has classified this list as a “national secret”.
What followed was a series of lawsuits in the US where German legal defence has never denied the liability for its debt, but has systematically used technical issues and delayed court cases, to the point that many bondholders have paid millions more in legal expenses. Many of these claims continue today, by some of the surviving bondholders, and the acquirers of that debt, and will be making appeals to the European Courts in the near future.
There is no question in the minds of the many experts in banking and law, with substantial knowledge of international financial instruments, that these bonds represent unpaid debt of the German government and its subsidiary bodies.
We, as a Cypriot company, have spent much time and resources acquiring, not only the bonds, but the wall of evidence surrounding the sovereign and national debt of Germany and the impressive ability of a great state to escape its obligations. For over three generations the same sovereign debt has been postponed and avoided. The inheritors and purchasers of this debt have been obliged to adopt expensive and cumbersome avenues, to force the German government's hand to respect and honour its obligations, a fundamental of our modern European society.
German economic historian Albrecht Ritschl argued in an interview with Spiegel in 2011 that Germany was ‘the biggest debt transgressor of the 20th century’. “During the 20th century, Germany was responsible for what were the biggest national bankruptcies in recent history. It is only thanks to the United States, which sacrificed vast amounts of money after both World War I and World War II, that Germany is financially stable today and holds the status of Europe's headmaster. That fact, unfortunately, often seems to be forgotten,” he said.
The undeniable truth is that authenticated bank bearer bonds worth $9,750,000,000, that’s nine billion seven hundred and fifty million US dollars according to the gold price of today, owned by a Cypriot company, issued on the back of German sovereign debt that remains unsettled.

Poor outlook: living standards slump

 

A raft of recent data has underlined the scale of Britain's deepening living standards crisis.
Inflation figures showed that workers were suffering as price rises - in particular recent hikes in energy bills - continued to outstrip wage increases. Meanwhile, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed middle-income households were thousands of pounds worse off than five years ago.
There was also an angry TUC reaction to figures showing that executives have enjoyed a 15 per cent-plus hike in their reward packages over the past year. Fair pay will be one of the central features of TUC campaign work over the coming months.
More on inflation figures @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-22102-f0.cfm

Monday, 15 April 2013

Animal cruelty is unethical

I am incresingly aware that cruelty to animals and especially dogs throughout Europe is becoming the standard norm. It is important that people for whatever reason decide to keep animals are not allowed to treat them like commodities. Under English law my dog is seen as my property but I feel that legislation should be brought in to protect the rights animals have to fair treatment. Why should we allow maniacs to abuse and use dogs and other defenceless animals? Make it a crime!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Stella English and Sugar

Not at all surprised that the Employment Tribunal ( very much part of the establishment ) had no hesitation throwing the claim from Stella English against Sugar daddy or whatever his name is out. He in turn went public to call her a one off and a rotten apple. I might have believed him until he made that remark to be honest. The BBC programme showed every year with my money has run its course and it should be stopped. I always suspected that Sugar wasn't as sweet as he appears to be.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Glenda Jackson on Margaret Thatcher

A dignified and wise Glenda Jackson spoke for many yesterday when she reminded everyone of the affect of Thatcharism on the country in the House of Commons. She reminded us of the impact Thatchers dogmatic policies had on the weak and needy. Full respect to Glenda Jackson!!

Poundland case

Earlier in February, a judgement on the Poundland case by the Court of Appeal - which ruled that it was unlawful for someone to be made to work for free under the welfare to work schemes - was welcomed by the TUC.

More on this @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21926-f0.cfm

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher day 3

And so it continues. We now know there will be a state funeral held at St Paul's cathedral and that the Queen, who never liked her when she was alive, will be attending.

Questions have been raised as to whether it is appropriate for MT to receive a state funeral whilst Tony Blair ( who has been  politically dead for years ) never got one! Where is the equality in that??

On a more serious note I would agree with those who want to know why given all the money MT made giving lectures on how exciting Ronald and Nancy Reagan were, she did not buy a descent handbag? A nice LV would have improved her image? I have no idea why the media are not covering this subject but instead give brain box ( not..) William Hague the chance to totally bore us on telly with his ideas on who she was and what she did? Country's gone mad!!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher day 2

As expected a lot of activity in cyber space and sites like facebook and others flooded with comments either in favour or against who MT was and what she stood for.

The most interesting thing to me was the absence of any comments reminding people that it was her own so called supporters that removed her from office so comments form some of my friends who like what she did saying that us lefties should stop being critical are lost on me. It was Hesiltine, Howel and Lawsone who stuck the knife in?? Get it right!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher is brown bread..

Just heard that Margaret Thatcher is dead. I don't want to speak ill of those that pass away but she destroyed Billy Elliot's family and forced Billy to turn into ballet. It remains to be seen whether history sees her as a great leader or a dogmatic one who did not understand what flexibility and compassion is? I am not sure Arthur or many TU leaders would want to turn up to her funeral..

May she rest etc.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Pensions divide within DC schemes

 

Pensions data published last month by the Office for National Statistics illustrated an important and growing divide within defined contribution (DC) schemes, the TUC said.
Increasingly, workers in trust-based schemes have employer contribution rates above eight per cent, which is essential to build up a decent retirement income. But a growing proportion of workers in contract-based schemes have employer contributions of less than four per cent.
Full details @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21956-f0.cfm

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Bosses still raking it in

 

The beginning of March saw further evidence of the scale of workplace inequality, when figures published by Incomes Data Services showed how executive pay in FTSE-100 companies outstripped both average wages and inflation in 2012.
In some instances, FTSE-100 directors' pay rose over seven times faster than average wages last year, underlining why worker representation was required on remuneration committees.
Find out more @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21981-f0.cfm

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Green shoots

 

The TUC is holding a high-profile panel debate on growing the green economy, which will take place on 15 April from 2.00-4.00pm at Congress House.
This is the fifth event in our 'After Austerity' series, and the event panel will comprise Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Lord Deighton, Emma Howard Boyd of Jupiter Asset Management, Mike Rolls from Siemens UK Energy Sector and Frances O'Grady.
Find out more @
http://www.afterausterity.org.uk

Monday, 1 April 2013

Cyprus crisis. An island too far?

There are many theories as to why the financial crisis in Cyprus attracted severe punishment from the EU and the ECB. Many on the island are saying that the measures imposed on the Republic will only affect 0.1% of the population as not many people ( apart from the politicians and their mates ) have more than 100k in the bank. But the method used is seen as experimental and as a model to be used in other member states so the markets are nervous. The Orthodox church will, for example, be losing 100 million and some of the Russian oligarchs much more. The general population will also be affected as the economy will shrink. The only thing that is clear is that the Euro is and always was an experiment that has not worked!