Sunday, 28 February 2010

March 25 Polling Day?

Well it looks as if the Tory election machine is beginning to wobble shimmy and tilt a wee bit; has Brown and New Labour seen off last weeks bombardment?
Is the tide turning in Labour’s direction as a poll in todays Sunday Times suggests?

Will Gordon Brown now announce March 25 as polling day, and go as they say; to the country?

I’m wondering, will he make his move this week, discombobulating his opposition in and outside of the Labour Party into downward spinning turmoil and wrong footing the lot?

Forget about bullying, will he now bite the dog and call the election?
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Saturday, 27 February 2010

Worker aganist worker!

Yesterday, while at the soup kitchen that is run by the group of monks whom I’ve mentioned before on this blog, about two posts or so ago I think. Well the thing is, I witnessed such an unbelievable, disturbing sight, or let me put it this way, something which I hope not to see again in any kind of hurry, but I fear that it is in fact very commonplace.

In Canning Town we have a large and expanding settlement of what would have been referred to as immigrants in the past: I’m of course referring to the Eastern Europeans that moved over during the course of the last few years, obviously, for the sought after economic benefits such as employment and so on, which from the onset of this post; I will make it clear there’s nothing wrong in that, after all, that’s how all working people have always survived, moving to areas of employment that would sustain them through their working lives. In this country cities and towns grew as the migration to cities was forced on people – they had to go where the work was, and that’s a historical fact of capitalism.

As we all know many Eastern Europeans have moved over for these reasons, employment and an improved standard of living, and who can blame them!

It’s very easy in these the hard times to blame others, and many don’t consider that the problems stem from the system, they conveniently blank out the reality escaping instead to the live episode of East Enders, which casts no true refection of realism! That programme if you ask me is on a par with the Wizard of Oz. Last week the identity of Archie (Nasty) Mitchell’s killer was at last revealed, following the BBC’s run up with continual trailers that were driving even fans of the soap opera mad. About bleedin’ time I heard many say, and yet it attracted over 16 million viewers.

In recent years our soaps have been hailed for breaking new ground in tackling many social issues and tend to focus on more everyday characters and situations than ever, frequently set in working class environments particularly here in the UK. I recently discovered that in 2008 Londynczycy (Londoners) was made, a big budget Polish drama series which follows the lives of a group of Poles as they seek their fortune in London.

Darek is a 30-year-old Polish builder who lives in Ealing, west London. Like a million or more of his compatriots, he rushed to the UK when Poland joined the EU in 2004. He works hard, but his British boss Peter, wants him to work harder. "If I had wanted it to take five days I would have hired Brits. But I had three days, which is why I hired you," Peter tells Darek.

The scenario may be familiar to people in towns and cities across Britain. This show was the first Polish attempt to tackle the post-accession wave of immigration, which has seen many of Poland's brightest young people relocate to Britain, where they often end up working in badly paid jobs for which they are vastly overqualified in a great many cases. However not everyone that arrives has skills to offer employers, thousands only have manual un-skilled experience and like Darek end up being exploited, many in the black economy working for less than the minim wage, I’ve meet one person who worked all day for ten pounds moving office furniture around London, he told me he was grateful for the work as he was not able to qualify for out of work benefits. Many have no forms of identity, passports or anything, especially those that live by me in Canning Town, what I’ve been able to observe is that they are sleeping rough or have made a home in some of the recently decanted council housing that’s making way for luxury apartments, part of the New Labour so-called regeneration of the Olympic Borough and Canning Town.

As far as I can ascertain, our Eastern European migrants are living all over London, many on the streets in the East & West End, many have problems with drink and drugs, drunkenness amongst a proportion of this community is a common site on the streets, including violence which brings me back to that which I witnessed yesterday, an old man being beaten up by his younger countrymen, not only in the street but in broad daylight and outside a monastery that’s running a soup kitchen offering and aiming to help them. At that point, I knew that here in Britain this has confirmed to me that the foundation of social cohesion stands upon a mound of quicksand ready to fall in anytime soon! I couldn’t workout and still can’t understand, just why is it that thousands of poor people have been allowed to move over with no real hope of ever getting any sort of work, and to end up living in the areas that they share with our own poor?

The lives of many of the least well off Eastern Europeans in the UK is harsh, but possibly better than in their own countries, even when they have no regular money or access to it! Some are able to find work from time to time, but most are being used by British capital to bring down labour costs. This stands as evidence of how the system plays one set of workers against another set of workers, whilst local and national politicians turn a blind eye concentrating instead on accusing each other of being bullies!
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Thursday, 25 February 2010

Greece and it's debt crisis...

There sure enough is no finer or unmistakable example, for the moment at least, of what happens when workers put their faith into the hands of the so-called (missed named) socialist parties, than the volatility of what is occurring in Greece. Yesterday (Wednesday) some two million Greek workers having arrived at boiling point co-operated with each other and participated in a second day long general strike. The mass one-day action was called in response to the austerity measures being imposed by the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) government of Prime Minister George Papandreou.

Elected last October on the basis of populist appeals to working class anger over the policies of the previous conservative government, Papandreou quickly bowed to demands from the European Union and the international banks to impose drastic cuts in jobs, wages and social programs in order to stave off a default of government debt by slashing Greece’s soaring budget deficit.

Whilst Tens of thousands of protesters from both public and private sector unions brought much of the country to a standstill as they voiced opposition to the government's austerity programmes. The Greek government was negotiating even tougher budgetary measures with a visiting international financial delegation. George Papandreou, prime minister, has announced a freeze on civil servants' wages and a 10 per cent cut in salary allowances.

The government's room for manoeuvre may be restricted by a threatened downgrade to the country's credit rating. A possible downgrade to triple B minus on its long-term credit ratings - one notch above junk grade and the same as Hungary. This could make it difficult for Greece to tap capital markets for loans. It has to refinance €25bn (£21.2bn) of debt in April and May.

In what can only be described as a move of desperation and the possible start of fallout amongst EU member (joke) nations and leaders as the capitalist crises deepen. Greece touched Germany's rawest nerve by accusing the EU powerhouse of not fully compensating it for gold stolen by the Nazis during the Second World War. Ha… Ha… Ha…

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Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Last steel plant on Teesside mothballed

Glancing and poring over the website of the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph today, the local newspaper furnishing the residents of the town and surrounding villages, I spotted two stories’ that interested me. The first story announced plans to hold Scunthorpe’s first ever Workers' Memorial Day on April 28 and for those of you that don’t know; two of Britain's worst industrial disasters both happened in the backyard of that North Lincolnshire town. The Nypro explosion in Flixborough in June 1974 which killed 28 men and then 11 steelworkers died in an explosion on the Scunthorpe Steelworks in November 1975. We will endeavour to cover in more detail both tragedies around about the time of the proposed memorial.

The second story to catch my eye and not at all unrelated to the first was that of a retired steelworker and Royal Navy officer killed by asbestos-related diseases. His widow was paying a public tribute and expressing her grief following an inquest into his death.

The Scunthorpe coroner confirmed the cause of death was asbestosis.

Now I have chosen to highlight both these stories on this blog because they illuminate and make free from confusion or ambiguity that the system of capitalism is bad for the health of all working people. But whilst we have family and homes to keep we are forced into the wage slavery that keeps our heads above the water level, and for as long as capital has a use for us. We have seen that when there is not a profit to be had, and just like the oily-rag  the worker is discarded, the workers of Redcar could give testament to that. As former steelworkers with family, relatives or friends still employed in the industry we stand full-squire in defence of the community and will use this blog to propagate their case, the following article from the World Socialist Website is reproduced in promotion of that campaign.

Britain: Last steel plant on Teesside mothballed

By Danny Richardson
23 February 2010
Outside the entrance a sign proclaimed, “Corus—Passionate About Steel.” Beneath it a brass band played the last salute as several hundred steel workers, past and present, their families and members of the Teesside community mingled around the gates of Teesside Cast Products (TCP), a company run by Corus, a subsidiary of the Tata Group.

 They gathered on February 19 to witness the beginning of a process called “salamandering,” the shutting down—or mothballing, as Corus management and politicians wish to call it—of the last steel- and iron-making furnace at Redcar Teesside. More than 1,600 jobs will go immediately and others will follow after the work to close the furnace is completed. An additional 8,000 local jobs are threatened at contractors and firms that rely on TCP business to survive. The loss of these jobs will blight the towns and communities surrounding the plant.

As late as the evening before the closure, local and national politicians were talking of a consortium headed by venture capitalist John Moulton, who made £142.4 million by floating his private equity firm Better Capital in December 2009. While head of another venture capital enterprise, Alchemy, Moulton led the failed bids to buy out Vaux brewery in 1999 and MG Motors in 2000. Most workers did not believe a deal would be done.

The plan to mothball the plant was first advanced early in December of last year. The sole action of the unions since then has been to plead for government intervention. All they received from the Labour Government was a promise of community funds to aid the area and a visit by Business Secretary Lord Peter Mandelson, who pronounced that the plant was not dead, just resting until a new buyer could be found.
The “protest” called by the steel workers unions had more the character of a funeral. While the plant’s brass band, dressed in black, played sombre music, trade union functionaries from Unite and the main union, Community, handed out flags bearing their logos.

As the train carrying the massive tanks needed for the salamander process passed behind his back, Keith Hazlewood, national officer of the GMB union, told the gathering that permission had been granted by the National Executive Council to hold a national strike ballot of its Corus members in support of the TCP workers.

Community announced later it had also called for a ballot to engage in what one of its representatives described as “surgical strikes.” The Independent newspaper quoted a Community representative as saying the union would also appeal to Ratan Tata, the president of the Tata Group. “Ratan Tata is a good and decent person who wouldn’t allow this to happen, and we are asking him to intercede to prevent this devastation to the Teesside community,” he said.

A young electrician, just out of an apprenticeship, married, soon to be a father and with a big mortgage hanging over him, was concerned for his future. “I expected to be here a lot longer,” he said. “My father, grandfather and uncles all worked here. It’s in our blood. If my child is a boy, I would have been proud for him to come and work here.“I hope someone does buy us. It’s going to be hell if not. I thought the government would step in. They helped the banks after all, didn’t they? There are seven of us electricians still working inside the plant. Three will go next week. We don’t know who is going. The union has told us nothing.”

During the 1980s, under the Conservative Thatcher government, tens of thousands of steel jobs were lost in the Teesside region, where in 1840 iron ore was found in the Estonhills surrounding the area. At its height, there were 50 blast furnaces along the riverbank.

Janet joined Corus’s predecessor, British Steel, straight from school at 16. She was one of the 29,000 workers made redundant 10 years later. She said, “It’s a very sad day, this closure. My father worked here for 42 years. My brother worked here too. He had to go away to work, and that’s what will happen more and more. Skilled workers will find work outside the area, and we will lose a lot of skilled people.
“My family can go back to 1851, coming here as ironstone miners, and generation after generation came to work in the steel works. Today, there’s no future for the youngsters. There will be no more apprenticeships. Everyone knows a family who worked here.”Reg, from Middlesbrough, had worked at the plant for 35 years before he was laid off on Friday. Like Janet, he joined British Steel straight from school.

In an emotional interview, he expressed his bitterness towards the Labour government and the unions at the plant. “Can I swear, mate?” he began. “I feel absolutely let down by our government! Thirty years I have voted for a socialist government, and this is what they have given us—kicked out!”
Reg is a member of the Unite union. We asked him how he felt about the role of the unions at the plant.
“I haven’t seen any trade union, mate,” he replied. “It’s an absolute disgrace. I expected more fight. We have never had a meeting with our unions.
“Years ago we would have had a meeting if the tea was cold in the canteen. I have never even seen a mass meeting over the closure. Unions are more involved in running the welfare services. I wish they had gotten us all together and asked us what we actually felt and what we wanted to do. It’s the other way around—they are telling us what we are doing.”

Responding to the news that an eleventh hour buyer had come forward, Reg said, “Corus wants to shut the plant, and they don’t want another competitor, and we don’t want a venture capitalist making money off the back of us and selling us on to someone else.” Pointing to the plant, he said, “I can’t see this ever making steel again. I feel for the lads I work with. I am an electrician. I have a trade, but most don’t.”
Eddie Pheonix is the third generation in his family to work at the steel mills around Redcar. He said, “I am part of the mothballing squad. So I’ll be here until the final closure. “We have not been told there is going to be a final closure, but the writing is on the wall, isn’t it? When that blast furnace is tapped, it’s going to take an awful lot of money to get it back online again. Tata have got it in their back pocket, but they aren’t going to spend it here. They bought us to asset-strip us, to take our knowledge and expertise. They bought us to close us down.”

When asked about the role of the unions, Eddie replied, “I am a trade union member and, to be honest, I am not really sure what they have done.... We had a brief meeting yesterday, and they told us nothing we didn’t already know.”    

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"L Is For Labour"

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

“Talking CCTV”

The “Surveillance State” currently referred to as Great Britain is home to 1% of the world’s population, and 20% of its CCTV cameras, a figure that shockingly doesn’t seem to bother everyone. I can’t count the amount of times I have heard the phrase “If you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about” being thrown around in debates on the subject.

I find this mentality to be full of ignorance and those who feel that statement is worthy of approval usually possess little knowledge on the subject…

There is little evidence that CCTV deters criminal activity; in fact, there is considerable evidence that it does not. A report by UK Police Chiefs concluded that only 3% of crimes were solved by CCTV, and in London, a Metropolitan Police report indicated that only 1 crime was solved per 1000 cameras. Despite that, some municipalities have gone as far as to install “Talking CCTV” which enables them to communicate with any offenders they spot. Imagine the whole street looking at you as a voice shouts at you through a speaker system, ordering you to relocate your litter to the appropriate bin…

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Worst yet to come...

Image via Wikipedia

Great Depression: man dressed in worn coat lyi...You’ve probably noticed that I often bang on about unemployment on this blog amongst other things. Well I suppose being unemployed has something to do with it, being part of that ever growing pool, an un-economic reserve army of modern day labour, scratching it about at the local Job Centre. Thinking about it, I feel a bit like a pigeon in Trafalgar Square, before Ken Livingstone declared war on Trafalgar Square’s world famous pigeons, by banning the traditional sale of corn on the Square in an attempt to starve the flock, how cruel was that!

Well let’s hope that this science is not applied to the unemployed, that is to say starving us to death by cutting benefits, having said that the government have been cutting benefits or making it harder for people in real need, to claim them, but more about that latter in the week.

First let’s for a moment just consider last week’s statistics regarding unemployment. It was reported that Britain’s unemployment rate has fallen slightly, according to labour market data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

During the fourth quarter of 2009 the unemployment rate was 7.8%, with 2.46m people out of work–some 3,000 less than in the previous quarter.

However, the employment rate also declined, by 0.1 percentage points to 72.4%. The number of people in employment fell by 12,000 to reach 28.91m, while the number in full-time employment declined by 37,000 to reach 21.22m. This was the smallest quarterly fall since the three months to July 2008.

There were 1.04m employees and self-employed people working part-time because they could not find a full-time job, the ONS says.

This is the highest figure since records for this series began in 1992, and is up 37,000 on the quarter.

The Department for Work and Pensions says the figures are broadly in line with Treasury projections.

Yvette Cooper, the secretary of state for work and pensions, says: “Unemployment is much lower than expected last year, reflecting the tough decisions families and businesses have taken to protect jobs, as well as the substantial extra investment in getting people back to work.

Who is Yvette Cooper kidding, tough decisions are being forced upon families, forced upon workers, who don’t have any real say when they are faced with the choices presented to them, such as a cut in the hours worked or even full time to part time, all with reductions in take home pay. Did the 1600 steel workers at Redcar choose to go on the dole last week, or did someone else make that decision for them.

A lot of workers are under pressure, apart from reduced working time, to take wage freezes or wage cuts of one sort or another.

Unlike the 1930s and at the moment there are no hunger marches or tent cities of the homeless and jobless in Europe’s biggest economic slump since the Great Depression. Welfare states built after World War Two, and labour market regulation in many West European countries thus far have cushioned workers and their families from the full force of the collapse of banks, the credit squeeze and a deep recession.

But for how much longer?

Short-time has become a system that enables firms to retain experienced staff while reducing their wage bills, demonstrating that working people are paying for the crisis of capitalism.

The impact of economic stimulus programmes and the return of at least some timid growth have not clicked in as expected, saving they say many households from poverty and averting a potential double-dip recession due to depressed demand. In fact the talk in the UK has been of a double-dip recession, and I fear the worst is yet to come!
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Railroaded and Dragooned

Railroaded and dragooned were the precise words that passed through my mind the other day as my partner and I drove around looking for a place to park.

Most of us realize from time to time, that in our modern day society, we all get railroaded into many things, but the situation I was in was beyond a joke.

We were visiting our local Hospital in Scunthorpe trying to keep an important appointment, and all the surrounding road's, main and side had double yellow lines on both sides, hence nowhere to park, once onto N H S grounds, double red line's everywhere, the upshot was nowhere to park. The Highway Code states, double red lines, no parking at any time under any circumstances” or words to that effect. Once getting onto the Hospital car park, and after reading when, were, and how we had to pay, I then had to double check the white line's of the parking bays so as to be sure that none off my tyres were touching them or my vehicle would be clamped for certain and I would be fined. All these lines, all these threats, if we don't tow the line and park where we are told or we are made to pay for it. And that’s what it's all about, pay, pay and pay! Getting the public to pay for it yet again and for what they have all ready paid for in the first place, isn’t it good here I said to my partner.


I do not know about anyone else, but I get really uptight with it all. I think about that T.V. Advert that shows the young couple after a night out getting their car crushed for not renewing their road tax, it’s well out of order in my book. Only the capitalist system can threaten to do damage to property and get away with it.

I was in business myself, well what I mean is I was a self-employed car mechanic, more a labour of love than anything else, and a few people chalked up some debt, owing for work done, and although I needed the money like the next man if only to pay my own bills, but I could not threaten to smash up their property, for one thing I would have been prosecuted myself, and if you are £20 short paying your community charge or you owe any part of the system, you are in deep trouble, threatening letters, the bailiff is coming to take your goods, you could be taken to court, And you will have a black mark on your credit rating. But what really gets my goat, is we all accept it… WHY? When things could be done much differently!

Post By: Brian Hopper or In the Box

Monday, 22 February 2010

Crisis Point

I came across this comment which is posted beneath, on an on-line discussion board, so decided to share it whist at the same time posting a link for the full text of Gordon Brown’s speech: A Future for All:

I think capitalism has reached crisis point. Don’t take my word for it just listen to the systems greatest supporters! It cannot pay people a decent pension, look after the increasing elderly population, provide basic public goods, utilise nature in a rational efficient way. Instead it must make savage cuts, force people to work in dead end jobs until they drop dead, waste vast human and material resources on making profits and controlling its social antagonisms. Neither the Tories nor the Labour party will address these problems. It is socialism or barbarism my friends!

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A future fair for all

The campaign for the general election truth be told; started weeks ago. But this weekend, and what a weekend it has been, witnessed the stage-managed rally of New Labour in the City of Coventry. Gordon (typewriter) Brown cranked up and started the government’s election campaign, in its attempt to win a fourth term.

New Labours new slogan: A future fair for all.

Some slogan is that; and whom I wonder dreamt it up, like a wine taster in the act of sensory examination and evaluation of fine wine, swirl, sniff, sip and savor. I soon spat it out into the spittoon, a pint of mild tastes better, if its not that much cheaper these days under Labour, which reminds me of watching as a boy in the 1960s a news report of Harold Wilson arriving at an election rally held I think in Huddersfield when an egg was hurled at the great man but missed, and I remember the first thing he said from the speakers platform:

“It’s only under a Labour government that they can afford to throw eggs.”

Well talking about throwing wobblers, objects and mud. This has been the weekend for it. The gloves are off and the main contenders are squaring up to each other for the bear-knuckle fight to winning that much sought after and coveted prize of running capitalism in the UK for the next five years. And I would like to use this post to make a confession, yes that’s what I said a confession!

For years ordinary people around me have been telling me that politicians, that’s ‘mainstream’, and the, I really do know what’s good for you and the country politicos, "they are really all the same." Well they were right all the time, if this weekend’s shenanigans are anything to go by, mischievousness’s, reckless and malicious behaviour that causes discomfort or annoyance to others has been on display for all to see.

And how can we forget that this election campaign comes with the backdrop of the worst economic crises since the 1930s with all the hardship that it brings to working people, an unstable situation of extreme danger and difficulty for us all, and they the ruling class are behaving like this!
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Saturday, 20 February 2010


Health Secretary, Andy Burnham is trying to work NEW LABOURS latest (Scam) stratagem, not happy that last year 45,000 elderly people had to dig into their lifetimes savings or even sell their homes to help pay for their health care, and let’s not forget that these are the individuals that battled, defended and brought us through the aftermath of the second world war, they carried on that struggle through the hard times of poverty and the ration books.

Not what my country can do for me, but what I can do for my country the words of President, John, F .Kennedy come to mind here, but they did do for their country, with blood, sweat, tears and all. And now after all their purposeful and industrious endeavours’ the politicians have come to realize that all that hard work, struggle and saving that they selfishly did for family and the next generation, has necessitated that their property and equity has increased in value, believed to be in the region of one TRILLION POUNDS.

And they the bailing-out the banks political class, want it! £20,000 death duty, I hope the people of this country, will not let this happen, this attempt to deprive by deceit!

THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM is failing us all!

The National Deficit has been brought about by the same 10% of the people that run and own the country, now they want the people that rebuilt the country in the hard times after the war, to do it all again in death, how much lower can they sink!

Post By: Brain Hopper or In The Box
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Decommissioning begins of Redcar's Corus steel plant

The process of decommissioning the Corus steel plant on Teesside began in earnest yesterday; a mighty blast furnace is put to sleep or mothballed as more than 150 years of steelmaking in the area ended on Friday when the giant Redcar blast furnace was shut down.

The move will mean the loss of at least 1,600 jobs, with unions preparing to take industrial action.

Decommissioning is likely to take about six months, with any potential buyer expected to have to spend up to £50m to restart the furnace.

The Socialist Way could not allow this to pass without comment, given our connection to the steel making industry. We know the Redcar plant will never see a reawakening with a fairytale happy ending, this sadly is the end. We wish the former steelworkers of Redcar all the best of luck as they are flung onto the scrapheap, whilst Brown and Mandy talk crap, up to 8,000 jobs will be lost in the wider community as a result of the mothballing.
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Friday, 19 February 2010

Things can only get better...

Regular visitor Chris H sent the following comment to our last post, I found it so funny that I decided it must be promoted to a guest post, so this is what we think James Purnell really meant!
"I have today told the executive committee of my local party that I'm now far too important to be the candidate for Stalybridge and Hyde at the next general election.

I have been honoured to have had the privilege of getting my snout in the Westminster trough whilst representing Nu Labour and this has been an extremely difficult decision to make. But I have decided that I have networked enough contacts to keep me in directorships for the rest of my life.

I've never done a days work outside of Westminster. And while this has been a huge privilege, I'm sure there's still a few bob to be made outside of frontline politics.

I'm looking forward to hammering the last nail in the socialist heart of Labour at Demos. After that my hope is to make money on the after dinner circuit like my special friend Tony.

I do want to thank all the gullible sods who voted for me in the last two elections, and especially the saps of the local Labour party, who thought I might have actually cared for people rather than capital. Har har!

I hope they are as proud as I am of what we've done together, not least the way I've made the scroungers doff their caps for their pittance, and the trousering that my friends can expect from the new PFI funded hospital.

Guest Post By Chris H of Lansbury's Lido Blog

Everyday things are getting closer...

Everyday brings something new as  we glide towards the General Election, and so today the former Department of Works and Pensions Minster James Purnell has quit front-line politics as he calls it. Just another Rat jumping the stinking ship before being push off the plank by the enfranchised citizens of his constituency perhaps!   

Read James Purnell's resignation statement in full:

"I have today told the executive committee of my local party that I do not wish to be the candidate for Stalybridge and Hyde at the next general election.

I have been proud to represent the people of Stalybridge and Hyde. And this has been an extremely difficult decision to make. But I have decided that I no longer wish to be an MP.

I have spent all my working life in or about Westminster. And while this has been a huge privilege, I've realised I don't want to have spent all my life in frontline politics.

I'm looking forward to completing my project at Demos. After that my hope is to contribute ideas to public service and to the Labour party.

I do want to thank all the people who voted for me in the last two elections, and especially the members of the local Labour party, for all their support.

I hope they are as proud as I am of what we've done together, not least the improvements to our schools and our hospital that are now on the way."

And no mention of the attacks upon those of us on benefits, he didn't say how proud he was that the unemployed will be made to work for their dole!
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Manning the Barricades!

This an article I found on Thursday evening on the Tory Daily Telegraph website, I've cut and posted it here because of it's significance, and strangely enough Brian Hopper and I were discussing this as a real possibility yesterday afternoon. 

Bouts of social upheaval are set to disrupt economies and topple governments around the globe over the next two years, the Economist Intelligence Unit warned.

Britain is at "moderate risk" of the protests with "far from a clean bill of health", the study said, in contrast to previous years when western European states were almost automatically rated at "low risk".

Pawnbrokers could spread like Starbucks The paper, called Manning the Barricades, identified Britain as one of a group of "heavily indebted economies that experienced housing bubbles" and "are particularly vulnerable to deleveraging and asset price declines".

It added: "The UK has been among the worst-hit developed countries by the global downturn and the majority of the population fears a deep and long recession and the onset of mass unemployment.

"Popular discontent and anger are likely to rise, and populist sentiments to strengthen. The news of big personal payouts to bankers who have failed spectacularly has incensed public opinion."

Ninety-five countries were ranked in the "high" or "very high" risk bracket, while Britain was placed 132nd on the list, alongside Ireland, and behind France and the US.

Top of the list were Zimbabwe, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cambodia and Sudan, and there were three European countries among the 27 rated as "very high risk" – Ukraine, Moldova and Bosnia & Herzogovina.

Citing a recent poll for Prospect magazine, in which 37 per cent predicted serious social unrest in British cities, the report identified the use of immigrant labour at a time of soaring unemployment as a possible flashpoint for unrest in Britain.

It said: "The mood of the country is also revealed by the results of a recent FT/Harris survey that showed that almost 80 per cent of British adults believe that immigrants should be asked to leave the country if they do not have a job."

The most serious economic downturn since the 1930s is driving up poverty and unemployment and fuelling demands for protectionist policies which could deepen the recession into a lengthy depression, said the report.

It added: "Popular anger around the world is growing as a result of rising unemployment, pay cuts and freezes, bail-outs for banks, and falls in house prices and the value of savings and pension funds.

"As people lose confidence in the ability of governments to restore stability, protests look increasingly likely.

"A spate of incidents in recent months shows that the global economic downturn is already having political repercussions.

"This is being seen as a harbinger of worse to come. There is growing concern about a possible global pandemic of unrest."

Thursday, 18 February 2010


FRIDAY 19th FEBRUARY, 2.30pm

Over 50 women have been on hunger strike at Yarls Wood Immigration Prison near Bedford since Friday 5th February, demanding their immediate release from indefinite detention.

Serco, the company that runs Yarl's Wood on behalf of the UK Border Agency, has tried to brutally repress the hunger strike, most notably on Monday 8th February when Serco guards locked the hunger strikers in a corridor for 8 hours without access to water or toilet facilities.

London NoBorders calls for the immediate release of the hunger strikers and an end to immigration prisons and is calling for a demo in solidarity with the hungers strikers this Friday at 2.30pm outside Serco's offices at 18-22 Hand Court (off High Holborn), London, WC1V6JF. Please bring banners and instruments.

More information:
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The World - The Point is to Change It!

I’ve decided today that the time has now arrived for me to pay a return visit to Scunthorpe; the Town where I grew up, it’s a place that for me holds many memories, in the early 1970s I cut my political milk teeth there, on the journey of my life.

The journey, my life’s journey from Scunthorpe to Canning Town has been jammed packed to the rim with experience and an uncanny habit of being in the thick of it at times. I’ve given up or lost more than most people do in a lifetime, in my attempt to stand fast and reach out with others to make and demand that our world becomes a much better place for the human race. During the last few days, somehow I’ve found myself in a political hole, and have had to take some time out from blogging to think things through, and that’s through and through, big time!

The Socialist Way the blog that I started almost two years ago, and now joined in joint ownership with Brain Hopper has relinquished any connections with any political organisation, and without wishing to waste time with unimportant details, this blog is now a totally independent entry in cyberspace.

We will continue to work with all genuine advocates of change, whether they are Anarchist or Socialist, playing our small part in defeating the ideological defenders of capitalism. We are proud to promote and hope to continue to work with such blogs as Lansbury's Lido, who we respect as a Christian Radical Socialist, and the other blog links we promote. In the next few day’s Brain Hopper and I plan to publish our position in regard to the forthcoming General Election. In the meantime we would like to take this opportunity to send out our sincere socialist greetings to the world’s working class with this famous quotation: The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it ~ Karl Marx

Sunday, 14 February 2010

St.Valentines Day and the poor are still dying on a grand scale!

A Robin Hood Tax on banks’ financial transactions could raise hundreds of billions of pounds to fight poverty, protect public services and tackle climate change. Is the new idea being shown the red carpet by those who still think that capitalism can be regulated and made obedient as the command given to a dog ordered to heel.

The Robin Hood Tax campaign is calling on the leaders of the UK’s political parties to support a global tax on the banks to help repair the human damage caused by the global economic crisis, protect public services at home, fight poverty abroad and help foot the bill for climate change.

The campaign, supported by almost 50 organisations including Oxfam, the TUC, Barnardo’s, the Salvation Army, ActionAid and Save the Children, is launched with a promotional film starring Bill Nighy, and written and directed by Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Comic Relief). It is backed by regional events, advertising and online promotions challenging politicians, public and banks to Be Part of the World’s Greatest Bank Job.

Today on St.Valentines Day and despite not receiving  any cards, I became quite angry on the Sunday-morning walk to my local shops for the papers. I was thinking that poverty its existence is very much treated like the throwaway food containers, that litter the streets of Canning Town. Poverty in Africa or Asia evokes much sympathy not least because people living on less than a dollar a day are often so visibly ill or hungry. UK poverty comes in less stark form and is therefore trickier and almost ignored by the media, often do I wonder why coverage of UK poverty is curiously anonymous?

However poverty is mentioned in another context often, crime, heath and education.

The World Heath Organisation (WHO); has said that "social injustice" is Killing people on a grand scale. In countries with high levels of inequality, the poor, even if they stay of the booze and drugs, fags and crisps, and even if they are comfortable by international  standards, will die early.

African Americans have a lower life expectancy than, for example, inhabitants od Jamaica, Cuba or Lebonon. Poor children in parts of Glasgow won't live as long as children in India, Philippines and Poland.

That's something to think about and it wont change even if Robin Hood himself came back!        
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Friday, 12 February 2010

Stand up to the hard times!

I’ve decided that my membership of the Socialist Party (SPGB) should now be allowed to lapse, following  Wednesdays appalling Central London Branch meeting that has hammered for me at least the final nail into this antediluvian (as it seems) organisations coffin, and despite being invited to contest on their behalf the Canning Town South Ward of Newham in the May local government elections. However I’m now considering the possibility of standing as an independent alternatively; campaigning against poverty, unemployment and in support of the new National Unemployed Worker's Union whilst hopefully building a branch that will stand up for the unemployed, but all this will need some very careful consideration of what’s involved as I did this once before ( ) in Frodingham Ward Scunthorpe.

Coming back to my disagreement or rather a conflict of opinions or actions or the lack of them in the case of the Socialist Party. It has taken me some time I must admit to arrive at this view, that the party is nothing more than a debating society of a sort. Whilst I support the case that is advocated by the party, I’m not convinced that all their members do, and that some of their members are so out of touch as to look down on the unemployed and those of us at the bottom of the capitalist shit heap, and here underneath is an example of an exchange between myself and two members last week on a party discussion forum about unemployed people and literature sales by on-line credit card harmonizing rather than sending  cheques, which may prove to be a bigger problem than they think, as cheques are being done away with, anyhow my post starts as thus:

And if you’re on the dole maybe the Department of Works and Pensions would
accommodate us by stopping it out of benefits?


I can assure you, Jim, the mere fact of being on the dole doesn't preclude you
from having such a facility. It certainly didn't stop me getting a mastercard
in the past, - not to say having one thrust upon me!



I really did have to rub my eyes in disbelief at Sandy Easton’s suggestion
about the mastercard and his misinformed, highfaluting view of what doesn’t
preclude someone like me being unemployed from obtaining such a facility.

What planet are you living on Comrade: or rather, you don’t live on £54.30
unemployment benefit do you?
If you did you would know that there’s not much change spare these days
from that pittance. I’m sure yore comments were meant in good faith
trying to be helpful I suppose. However you don’t know what you’re talking
about and that goes for anyone who thinks life on the dole is a simple walk in
the park, it’s not!

I’m appalled!


To be fair Jim,
I've had credit card offers, credit increased etc when I was on the dole as
well, so it wasn't uncommon about 3 years ago when virtually anybody with any
kind of credit rating to get one or an increase!! A lot of my mates got these
offers as well and they were in the same financial predicament as me at the


I'm not concerned in 3 years ago, but in the here and now please have a look
at this.


My point is that you as a employed or unemployed worker can currently have the
1) you can live in the real world2) live on the dole 3) credit agencies can
Offer you credit with a view of making a profit 3) offer credit that you may or
May not be able to pay back 4) you can, as worker or an unemployed worker, take

Advantage of this facility to buy things

No more, more less.


But what about 5) which you didn't put; that's to change the world and the way
we do things; simply to impotent to be left off that list, which is my point really!

And that believe it or not is the way it went, and with one other who asked what's my point This party forum has 102 members on it; you have to be a member to be able to participate in discussion, but not one member had the gumption or the dignity to stand up for the unemployed which in my book is a fucking disgrace, and I’m very upset!

Now what happened at my branch meeting may not be connected but indirectly I believe it is, but that aside, as an unemployed person (long term) whose blacked in terms of gaining any employment through past activities in the Trade Union movement. I feel that I can not stay a day longer, in such an outfit that has a dismissive attitude to those of us on the dole and through no fault of our making. I’ve been up to now bit hesitant to say that this winter, I’ve found that the daily decisions have been weather I spend the little money I have on heating or food which is not only  reality for me, but for thousands! That’s why I will join with those of us who will fight back and not just talk about it!

This post is being sent out to all the unemployed activists that I work with, and I would very much welcome your comments!
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Monday, 8 February 2010

crocodile tears!

This photo was taken by a cell phone it shows an Afghan child who was allegedly killed during a US- led raid in Azizabad village of Shindand district of Herat province west of Kabul, Afghanistan. The bodies of at least 10 children and many more adults were covered in blankets and shrouds. I've put it up here with another image of the war that Britain participates in; because these are the innocent whose blood is shed and spilt  without any political leader here or in the US spilling a single tear of concern. I post them on my blog because despite being upsetting and horrific they bring home at least to me, the murder that a vast majority of our elected (not all) representatives have had a hand in, who consoled and comforted their parents then, not tearful Brown or Campbell nor 'I've no regrets' Blair!     

And this a war injured child.

Please read the comments on the last post.

Who says boys don’t cry?

What a weekend I’ve had; yesterday my mum made herself absolutely clear, that she considered all politicians to be crooks and criminals, and she wasn’t going to vote for any of them. The phone I held in my hand was vibrating with anger from this 74 year old, and I would imagine her views are held by many as we run up to the general election.

And also this weekend with careful co-ordination the press was fed details of Gordon Browns appearance on Piers Morgan’s show “Life Stories”. It emerged that Brown had wept when discussing the death of his daughter Jennifer, who died in 2002, a few weeks after her premature birth.

What’s wrong with that you may ask?

There’s nothing wrong with any parent being upset at the death of a little one. And please rest assured, it’s not our intension here to make any judgment on Brown in relation to the death of his daughter. However, we can’t help wondering about what he previously had to say; and seen by many as criticizing David Cameron for drawing on his family and David Cameron’s references to his son Ivan, both before and after the latter’s death in February 2009. For example telling Radio 4:

“I am as open and honest as possible. I don’t parade my family around the place. I came from a pretty ordinary background in Scotland.”

The Piers Morgan interview has opened up Brown to criticism for the deployment and the high public manner in which Brown’s emotions have been displayed.

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Sunday, 7 February 2010

The Respository of the Undiscovered

It wouldn’t be at all unique to describe or say that life on earth for a vast majority of its human inhabitants is not too unlike living in a giant fish bowl. Have you ever fed goldfish in a clear water river with white bread crumbs, and experienced the satisfaction of them trustfully excepting the free meal. I remember feeding fish in the river that runs through St. Ives in Cambridgeshire as a young boy in the early 1960s.The River Great Ouse and is world famous for the Chapel on the Bridge which we had a great view of from our house, but it's the fish feeding that fascinating, absorbing and becharming spectacle has remained with me throughout the years, of course there’s a majestic calmness as the fish take and disappear with each bread crumb. And before I forget interestingly St. Ives other claims to fame is for nearly 1,000 years the wide centre of St. Ives, now known as Market Hill, has hosted some of the largest public markets in England. Many years ago these markets included livestock and for a time was one of the biggest of its kind. Today the Street Markets still fill the town centre on Mondays and Fridays. On every Bank Holiday Monday however the market swells to fill almost the entire town with traders coming from all over the country to sell their wares to the thousands of people who attend under the watchful eye of Oliver Cromwell, one time resident of the town, whose statue stands in the centre of the Market Place.

I was thinking about this today when I sat amongst my friends in a soup kitchen run by some wonderful Franciscan Friars of the Renewal who are based in Canning Town where I live, which is one of the poorest of areas in Britain. Well I say poorest what I mean by that is that poverty amongst my neighbours and in my neighbourhood is dire and I have written much about poverty, child poverty and the hopelessness of unemployment in East London on this blog before now, but I must say that it is all around and not just confined to where I live.

The goldfish in the human fish bowl don’t always have or are even able to obtain what they need, and like the fish in the river they become very much dependent on crumbs which they have to earn as salary or wages just like a performing seal in a circus. Wherever we live in the fish bowl and upon whatever excessively abundant rife of landmass, the story of existence is very much the same for the vast majority, life if we care to admit it, is one big shit struggle constantly waged each and everyday by the many throughout the world in that fish bowl, shark attacks, the entangling octopus hunt and pray upon the shoals of little fish hiding in the shipwrecks resting and rusting, rotting away on the seabed along with the sealed containers of toxic waste and washed-out, nay dumped sewerage and waste matter of a civilised society. “Marine pollution is a generic term for the harmful entry into the ocean of chemicals or particles. The biggest culprits are people who use the rivers for disposing of their waste. The rivers then empty into the Ocean, and with it the many chemicals used as fertilizers in agriculture. The excess of oxygen depleting chemicals in the water leads to hypoxia and the creation of a dead zone.

Marine debris, also known as marine litter, is a term used to describe human-created waste that has found itself floating in a lake, sea, ocean or waterway. Oceanic debris tends to accumulate at the centre of gyres and coastlines, frequently washing aground where it is known as beach litter”.(1)

Whilst I’m on the subject of pollution and chemical dumping lets spear a thought about the waste we still tip down the drain everyday and without thinking. In London it has been the trend for some time now to have the car cleaned by the many personal hand vaulting services that are all over the place; mostly makeshift operations who use a cocktail of chemicals to reach that pleasing sort after result. However let’s be honest, do we ever stop to think that the waste is washed off via rainwater drains into the system, it’s similar if you like to when household waste was dealt with differently, simply slung it into the back yard or the street, as you can imagine the stench must have quickly become unbearable. Well let’s not get too involved in this issue of man made pollution; it’s just a passing consideration.
There’s no end to the comparisons of marine life that we could use to explain and highlight a great deal with what’s wrong with our society; and relating to the characteristics of capitalism in the world. I think of the deepest ocean with descending levels of depths, at the very bottom there is marine life as yet undiscovered by man, hidden in the darkness, a treasure trove of unknown fish and other marine species is blanketing the 30,000 seamounts of the world, researchers say, sometimes comprising up to 40 percent of the life forms found on these remote, undersea mountains that remain some of the least explored areas on Earth. The enormous wealth of undiscovered sea life, biodiversity, geological features and other oddities that exist on the flanks of these towering subsea peaks - areas that have been called the "lost worlds" of the oceans. Researchers have learned, there exists an amazing number and variety of fish, corals, deep-water mussels, red squid, sea spiders, sponges and other species, many of which have evolved to thrive at great depths, enormous pressures, or in very narrow temperature ranges, fed by unusual food chain dynamics. These isolated fountains of evolution are literally giving birth to many of the marine world's newest species, evolution or what? The only conclusion must be whilst they remain undiscovered they are safe from the capitalist beasts that stalk the land.

Image and photographs:

(A) Occean life

 (B) The River Great Ouse and the Chapel on the Bridge

(C)  friar of the Renewal outside the soupkitchen  in Canning Town

(1) Information via Wikipedia

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All of you are guilty...

There was a saying in Scunthorpe that use to annoy me no end: 'If Labour put up a donkey then people would vote for it.' I never did understand what exactly they meant by that back then, and that must have been all of thirty years and more, another saying that often did the rounds was ‘they are all the same politicians’.

Anybody that reads our blog on a regular basis may correctly guess that the two authors one based in London and the other in Scunthorpe and have a strong connection with the Town, but more than that, we have the history of political activity in that community behind us from a Socialist perspective. In fact Brain Hopper was the Socialist Labour Party candidate in the 1997 general election offering an alternative to the procurement of the donkey.

The years have come and gone, not always nice years under New Labour, especially when we think of the wars started or supported by them in other parts of the world, and the on-going recession, unemployment and so on!

Thirteen years on and we face in a few months or even weeks another general election, this election comes when the parliamentary system stands in total disgrace, far worst than when John Major led his sleaze ridden party to defeat. How many Martin Bell’s will it take to clean up British politics some may ask, we would say not any of that type not even a single Ester Ranson. It’s ironic that thirteen years fast forward and more MPs have been helping themselves by the spoonful to money, homes and the other benefits of office whilst as it seems, sticking two fingers up!

Now the three MPs charged with false accounting in the Westminster expenses scandal say they should be judged by the parliamentary authorities, not the criminal courts. It is reported that opposition leaders have reacted angrily to the news that Labour MPs Elliot (Scunthorpe) Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine may claim that their expenses are covered by parliamentary privilege, a principle intended to stop MPs being sued for things they say in the House of Commons. Before we go any further let’s not forget that all the party leaders had to pay back expenses they wrongly claimed, and their reaction to these three is nothing more than political scapegoating of the worst kind. The report by Sir Thomas Legg, the independent auditor, showed that abuse of the system was far more widespread than the few "bad apples". A total of 381 MPs will be forced to pay back an average of £3,000 after the review criticised politicians for putting personal gain before protecting public money. More than £1 million will be repaid in the wake of the expenses scandal uncovered by The Daily Telegraph (Tory) Newspaper.

"All of you are guilty of having gone along with a system which you must have known was flawed, even if you were not personally guilty," Sir Christopher Kelly of the Committee on Standards in Public Life told MPs. "I suspect that most of you were as unaware, as everybody else was until The Daily Telegraph revelations, of the extent to which people were manipulating the system."

And yet still they sick together; Grimsby MP Austin Mitchell has offered support to his Scunthorpe counterpart, who has been charged for making false expense claims.

Scunthorpe MP Elliot Morley will face two charges of false accounting relating to his claims for mortgage expenses on his Winterton home, in the wake of the nationwide MPs expenses scandal.

Mr Mitchell – who voluntarily paid back £10,000 in mistakenly-claimed expenses on his second home mortgage – said: "Elliot is a very hard-working MP. He's had a lot of national and international responsibilities which could have distracted his attention from the nuances of expense claiming.

"It's come as a total surprise and I'm very sad to see it happen."

We have our own bone to grind when it comes to Elliot Morley for all the obvious political reasons, but we shall not rub salt into the wounds of a man whilst he is down; it’s not our style - not even you Morley!

You can view Elliot Morley speaking about his role as an MP  here

Friday, 5 February 2010



These are words from an email I received from a comrade campaigning with others in Britain trying to protect our Benefits and Welfare system and its recipients, the poor and unemployed, the many dependents from being bulled and attract by members of our own Placement, that which is happing already while further arrangements’ are now being planed to force the unemployed to work ultimately for their keep!

Well that’s an issue; of which we need to ask why, just why are unemployed people being attract in the way they are; by this government and by the MP’s who helped themselves unreservedly whilst thousands of us ether live in poverty, lost our jobs or worst homes, but every bit unforgiving the real exposure of our own children to the horrors, the reality of war.

MPs' expenses: A damning indictment of brazen dishonesty and greed; is the headline of the Tory supporting Daly Telegraph reporting the findings of Sir Thomas Legg’s review of the House of Commons’ additional costs allowance to MPs.
Sir Thomas Legs review speaks for itself, it stand up magnifying an unpleasant truth of the thieving that’s been going on, and highlighting just about everything that is rotten about the so-called Mother of Parliaments!

We don’t want to comment too soon about things, not just yet, because the collaborators of this blog have an interest historically in the journey of New Labour and one of its miner and subsequently insignificant players, after all! Eliot Morley is a name that will standout and be remembered for all the wrong reasons in the Scunthorpe Labour Party. We can say this on this blog about Elliot and more importantly New Labour because we opposed it from the very start, and we remember when it was unpopular amongst our fellow workers to say anything against Blair and the New Labour project. And yes, we do remember that in Scunthorpe Morley was the standard bearer, the messenger for New Labour. We can proudly say that we rightly stood against, and from the very beginning walked the walked in our determination to stand up to New Labour, this is not only fact, but actually we did it! The one thing that hurts more than anything is that we have been right about them from the start!

Whilst we wish no ill-will to Morley and despite what he and his supporter must have thought and probably still think of us. The thing is we are still around; this may have become apparent through posts placed on the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph during the last year and the posts of this blog! The point is we never went away or stopped fighting, all the time propagating the socialist case. Tomorrow we are aware that the Crown Prosecution service will name the Parliamentarians who are to be prosecuted in regard to the MPs expenses, and amongst them is Morley. Nervously we await the announcement to see if he is to be prosecuted; which would represent political disgrace for the local Labour Party that once we were officers and members off, so we await; bated berth like!

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