Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Ed Miliband and Labour MPs - Shame on them!"

Many people have sympathy with the socialist idea of a world of common ownership and free access to replace the present system of buying and selling, but then pronounce that such a transformation is a long way off and that in the meantime we must still aim for improvements within the framework of the existing system. 

They point to the changes that have already been made and have taken place in peoples lives since the nineteenth century. They point to the fact that in countries like Britain children no longer run around without shoes on their feet, no-one starves, medical facilities are available to all, everyone receives an education, and many people own things previously undreamed of - a car, a house perhaps, and a host of electrical gadgets. It is worth trying to get more of these improvements, they say, and the best way to do that is to press the government to improve conditions with reforms.

Legislative reforms may have helped to improve the conditions of life for wage and salary earners, but the main factor in this has been the struggle of workers in ‘trade unions’ to gain pay increases and improve conditions. 

The truth is that governments are not there to solve the problems of those who elect them, nor are they impartial. Governments are there to administer in the most smooth and efficient way possible a system whose whole economic mechanism is governed by the search for profits’ the last Labour government and the so-called socialist government in Greece, have proven that, as priority has been given to profits and the capitalist system. 

It is an absolute disgrace that the Labour leader Ed Miliband, has criticised the public sector workers strike all this week, when in fact he should be supporting them, and today did not even mention them at PMQs. But much worse than that is the revelation that Labour MPs would and can cross picket-lines - shame on them!”   

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The Rot - The Decay

“ We should not say that one man’s hour is worth another man’s hour, but rather that one man during an hour is worth just as much as another during an hour. Time is everything, man  is nothing: he is at most time’s carcass”.   Karl Marx

Whilst surfing this here Internet, I stumbled upon a firecracker of a story, well at least I thought it was interesting!”

We hear a great deal about cuts in the UK these days, and if you take a close look around the world - there is one country after another making cuts, implementing some very foul and malodorous programs of ‘austerity’ which is now such an everyday word.

I don’t think that people losing their jobs is a jestingly matter in the least; and in these very uncertain times almost anyone, in any profession or in general dogs-body wage slavery, can end-up on a scrap ‘heap’, with all the many hardships that come with it.

The Rot - The Decay

The rot and decay at the heart of the global financial system is deepening and extending. This is the conclusion to emerge from the annual report of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) released on Sunday.

This Bank, sometimes referred to as the central bankers ‘bank’ was one of the few institutions that pointed-out the dangerous imbalances in the global financial system that led to the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Three years on and its annual report gives clear indications that another financial crisis is in the making. 

But we really don’t have to study or take the word of these capitalist creations , one good look around tells you all. 

Cleveland USA   

Like many a city or state in the US, the city of Cleveland, in the state of Ohio, is struggling to keep afloat in capitalist modern day ‘Barack Obama’s America. This year in the US, it may well become known as the year of the municipal default. And for the bigger US financial system, there are many reasons to be worried, if the crises that now lays at the footplate of these cites and states implodes and bursts inward and outwards, then the economy of the US could become really unstable, and potentially trigger off a far greater crises for American capitalism, which would have comebacks and repercussions around the globe, as indeed has all their other economic 'depressions’. 

One real problem for them is that city revenues are crashing and generally getting worse. High levels of unemployment have been cutting into revenues, whilst increasing costs for services. Any major city could default at any time, or it could be one of the hundreds of small cities that are on the brink of collapse.

But the story that caught  my eye and sums up the situation, is the real mess that the city of Cleveland has got into with a deficit of $47.5 million and could climb it has been said to $400 million by 2015, and now forced to make deep cuts in many services, which include more than 835 council employees laid off, 643 of these are teachers! 

Even the police department in Cleveland, has not gone untouched, the local press reported that 40 police academy cadets who joined the force faced immediate layoffs because of the budget cuts.

“Amid tears and applause, the 42 cadets were let go soon after their graduation ceremony on Friday. The city had planned the cut for the end of May, but after striking a deal with the police union the cadets were allowed to take their oaths as scheduled.”

And then they were shown the door!”

Monday, 27 June 2011

Will they - Won't they?"

This week is set to be an interesting week in the domestic affairs of that battered and beleaguered  nation which is Greece. Last week Euro-Zone finance ministers gave Greece two weeks to approve stricter and sinister austerity measures in return for another 12 billion euros in emergency loans, piling the pressure on Athens to get its hamstrung finances in order. This week there is a real possibility that Greece will not be able to pass a new austerity bill, which would in theory mean, that it won’t get anymore bailout money, meaning an imminent default - and meaning a crises intensifies in the Euro-Zone and deepens’.

It is now being reported that as many as four PASOK deputies are considering not voting for the government’s medium-term fiscal plan in Parliament this week, and possably leaving the ruling PASOK party with the slimmest of majorities to pass the new set of austerity measures through the House.

Greece has been told by its European Union partners and the International Monetary Fund that it has to pass the latest round of spending cuts and tax hikes in order to qualify for a July loan instalment of 12 billion euros and to move a step closer toward agreeing a second bailout with its lenders.

Without the July chash , Greece will go bankrupt. However, the government and its new Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos has yet to convince all 155 Socialist MPs, that they should back the midterm fiscal plan when Parliament concludes its debate and vote on Wednesday.

There are as I say four Pasok MPs from the ruling socialist party who have signalled their opposition to the measures, whether the MPs stick to their guns remains to be seen, and this news should surly be welcome news; something to build upon outside of Parliament were the real opposition has been battling with state police on the streets for months.      

Friday, 24 June 2011

Standing on the edge of an abyss

The Euro-zone crisis appears to have pushed more European tenants into the central London rental market since the beginning of the year, with European tenants taking 30.4% of all new lets between January to May 2011 compared to 25% during the same period in 2010.

What seems to be happening here in London is that our better off and affluent European cousins are escaping the beleaguered simmering Euro-zone; and just what exactly can be read into this if anything at all; well I am not quite sure. But the statistics do speck for themselves and make interesting reading. 

Tenants now comprise 39.4% of all prime London market tenants (Jan to May 2011), down from 45.3% in 2010. But prime central London lettings volumes rose 7% year-on-year in May, after a weaker performance earlier in the year, aided by a slight rise in stocks and increased tenant demand. European and overseas tenant demand helped to push rents higher by 0.5% in May, meaning that rents have risen by nearly 26% since the low point they hit in June 2009, to hit a record high.

It is said that prime London rental market has been one of the main beneficiaries in a ‘posh up market’ recovery in the City and a stones cast off from me in Canary Wharf, with rents claiming by a  massive 25.4% compared to a low that they were said to have hit in June 2009. 

The surge in demand from European tenants reflects staff transfers into London's financial and business service firms, with a big demand from countries which are bogged down in economic difficulties, which paints a picture that some practitioners of fiance have sought refuge in London.

With demand from newly arrived European workers in London likely to continue to rise through this year - rental growth forecasts of between 5 to 10% for central London is expected to be achieved.

So there you have it, London is being invaded by the well paid handmaidens of capital, and where are they exactly coming from then - France, tenants up (80%), Portugal ( 62% ), Ireland (76%), Greece (33%) and Spain (73%). 

Standing on the edge of an abyss looking-down into a bottomless gulf or pit; an unfathomable strong current, its flow so strong and full of electricity sent through a conductor of capitalism it submerges and puts the lights out for many; that’s what the new housing crises building up in intensity will be and is like, an unstable situation of extreme danger and difficulty for working people here in London.

Only the other night London's Evening Standard reported that thousands of schoolchildren in parts of central London could be forced to move because of housing benefit cuts. It said that one in six children at primary schools in Westminster may have to move home - and school in many cases - once caps on housing benefit come fully into force. In Maida Vale, it is said an astonishing 43 per cent could be forced to move, with the limits due to apply to existing claimants coming in from next January. 

I have felt for some considerable time now, that London has been going through a process of transformation, and if you have lived here as long as I have, then you will have noticed the changes, not just in the appearance of familiar places and the ever sprouting-up glass forest of the modern office blocks that try as it may to ravel London's ancient woodland.

In the short span of 34 years I have been witness, and bear it like a scar, an exit of working people, the dieing and disappearance of an industrial and trading past. All gone in a relatively short span of time; travailing around the ‘Smoke’ as we use to call it in the 70s; it is now a rarity and a noteworthy scarcity to see working men and women, the manual working labourer's, of building workers, painters and decorators, cleaners, cook’s and factory workers to recall but a few, travelling to and from their places of work in this great city. Not only has the Routemaster, the famous red double-decker bus, become a non-visible object of a past time, along with it have gone many a factory, warehouse and world renowned docks. 

I could tell you much about these changes, but that would take for ever and that’s not the subject under consideration here, the point being is that capitalism has been the force of change as always, and not just in London, look anywhere and you will see the same forced process at work. Even up North  -  With the mines and steel works gone, with unemployment high, tight-knit rural communities face a daily struggle as well. But in London the transformation that is taking place involves shedding its old skin forcefully for a new one that decants much of the population and replaces it with a new and by far more affluent assemblage that will service this world money laundering centre, trying to retain its place in the world and at a cost - high unemployment, grinding poverty and homelessness!”

Thursday, 23 June 2011

PCS update

This is the latest update sent to me today from the PCS trade union and whilst I am still working on a new post’, thought it a good idea to cut, paste and post the latest information for the benefit of all comrades intending to support the strike on Thursday next.

On Thursday 30 June around 250,000 PCS members will go on strike in defence of their pensions, jobs and pay.

PCS members are striking to protest at the government's slash and burn approach to tackling the budget deficit which will see vital public services being axed, hundreds of thousands of public sector workers thrown out of work, and those that remain having their pay frozen and their pensions cut.

On the same day workers in the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, National Union of Teachers, and University and College Union will strike over attacks on their pensions. Even if you are not a member of any of these unions, you can still show your support by attending one of the many rallies, marches and picnics being organised across the country for 30 June in support of the strike.

Striking for the alternative – 30 June

PCS members have voted by a clear majority in favour of strike action on 30 June in the dispute over pensions, pay and job cuts. Check out our new video on the action and why it’s so important that we take a stand:
If you haven’t already done so, you can see how much you stand to lose with the government’s plans by using our pension’s calculator: See how much you could lose and then ask yourself, can you afford not to strike?
For all the latest strike news and resources:

Reinstate the Liverpool 14

PCS are campaigning for the reinstatement of 14 staff at the Liverpool Passport Office who have been dismissed without notice.
Many of the sacked workers are young people who will find it difficult to find alternative employment at a time of high youth unemployment.
Please email your local MP and ask them to support the campaign:

Tax justice

PCS members are playing a leading role in the fight for tax justice. Our message is clear – a properly resourced, fair tax system will support quality public services and go a long way to eradicating poverty.

PCS’s new tax havens report – written by Richard Murphy – and also supported by War on Want – will be launched at a parliamentary reception on 12 July at the House of Commons. Tax justice remains high on the campaigning front – with PCS joining forces with organisations like UK Uncut and our members taking part in some of the very creative activities going on in high street banks and shops.

Find out the latest on our campaign:

PCS Proud

PCS Proud, the equality group representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) members within PCS is looking for people to show solidarity with PCS LGBT members. Pride events celebrate all our diversities. They are also lively, public demonstrations of trade unionists, communities and individuals, standing together to counter discrimination in all its forms, working together in a united, positive way.

March with us or volunteer on PROUD’s stall especially at Pride London on 2 July. For information about this and other Pride events email or call 020 7801 2683.

Find out more about Proud at:

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Outlawing squatting yet another attack on our civil liberties!"

The government u-turn, climbdown or whatever you prefer to call it, even kicked upstairs and out of sight, will still see far ranging changes made to our criminal justice system; it will take away access to legal aid, which is said to include family law, employment and immigration, debt and housing, education and welfare benefits and what I wish to draw attention to, squatting and squatters - they will be barred from legally resisting eviction in the courts.

The other day I had to go to my local council housing office, which I have to say regrettably and in-itself, was a bit of an ordeal, as I had and still have, an ongoing problem in-regard to getting in and out of my council block, basically the council changed the locks and gave me a key that doesn't work, in fact its the wrong key altogether and I have spent hours in their offices trying to resolve this simple problem but to no avail. Anyway that is not my point. So whilst patently waiting to be seen I could not help overhearing some of the conversations that people were having with the council staff, one in particular was so striking; a homeless man asking the council for help with his housing situation and needs, this man’s dilemma which truth be told is sheared with countless thousands here in London, was that he needed quite simply a home. The visible and the hidden homeless are indeed a very large sprawling and staggering geographical community, and there are no accurate numbers or figures available only those that are held by local authority housing departments of the people marooned and hanging onto the ever lengthening waiting lists, with little or no sight of an offer forthcoming. I don’t know how they operate the allocation of housing stock in other areas, but here in Newham the council run a lottery type of setup, which depending on a points system and counting on how many you have, you then bid for the vacant stock. This would have not been an option for the poor chap in the housing office that day, as I hared the staff member tell him that his only hope was to go private, and of course, I knew that this advise was easily given but in the hard realty of life here in East London, such accommodation is drying up, as indeed It has been for sometime due to property development and those dreaded Olympics.

So what other avenues are there to put a roof over your head then, will I can’t really think of any if you are without substantial resources and funds; there is the hostel system which to be honest is not that much better what with many waiting to be accepted on their waiting lists, and of course they don’t accommodate couples or even families for that matter. 

Street sleeping or rough sleeping, and, which it has to be said is throughout the capital rising, which of course becomes more and more viable, and the expectations are that this will go through the roof anytime soon.

Now whenever I write or think about homelessness, then inevitably I always think of that quote from the bible in which Jesus said: 

“Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”  

I began this post by saying that those who take to squatting would in the future be barred from any legal representation, well in fact it is my understanding that it will be much worse than that - the government intend to make all forms of squatting illegal. This undoubtedly would really close all the options for anyone seeking to find an independent resolution to a housing problem, albeit of a temporary nature.

I think that we should first view any attempt to change or further criminalise squatting as an advance upon the already erosion of our civil liberties, and therefore it goes without saying, and should be resisted in all practicable and possible forms. Now it is all very well and too easy for me to sit here and articulate what needs to be done when I am not homeless or even am I a squatter, but I have been both in the past’. However, this is not or should it be about qualification, its about our civil liberties under renewed attack by the representatives and owning property classes, and we are not talking about someone who works all their lives to buy their home then retire from this slavery, or a life spent in tiresome drudgery" before they can really enjoy it, then only for a few years if they are lucky. 

Squatting in this country has a history that runs along side that of the Labour and the trade union movement, it was one of the big events in the peasants’ revolt. the original form of land tenure, and truly squatting has such a long and proud history on this island. Everyone knows about the Diggers (agrarian communists), in the 17th century, or they should do. What's often forgotten about the middle of the 17th century is that there weren't only civil wars, these were years of grate biting (famine) shortages . A lot of Diggers were actually the very people who kicked up most during the English revolution. A few of the diggers, those that we know about, had been quite comfortably off and had been made poor by the wars. 

Squatting has never gone away in this country. There was a lot of squatting in the 19th century, mostly quite individualistic. We tend to hear about squatting after it becomes organized and when it becomes not so much individualistic but at least when some people doing it have a political perspective on what they're doing.

There was a squatting movement after the First World War, but the big one was in 1946. There was a squatting movement in 1945, which was quite viciously repressed by the Churchill government. They called themselves the Vigilante movement. I think the idea was they were vigilantly scouring the streets for empty houses and making sure they were occupied by homeless people. The 1945 Vigilante movement started in Brighton and the people involved were anarchists, which probably made them more of an immediate target compared with the 1946 Camp Squatters that was to come. Then when that huge one did kick off in 1946 it was still going in the 1950's. There was all sorts of places squatted, all the army camps and RAF stations that were now empty after the war. People just moved in and took them over, as well as many other places.

Just after the war three big spectacular squats were organised: Duchess of Bedford Mansions near Regents Park, and 2 hotels in Bloomsbury that had all been accommodation for offices during the war. Well, the Dorchester Bedford Mansions were going to get rented out to the rich. Rich people rented flats in those days for 30 shillings per week (that's 1 pound 50p), which was huge rent which working-class people couldn't afford. All three squats received huge publicity at the time. There was a big rally in Trafalgar Square in support of the squatters. The police surrounded these squatted places, people chucking food up to the windows, most of it not getting caught. But it was all over in a few days, when they arrested so-called ringleaders, but that wasn't the end of the movement.

To be continued... 

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

“Solidarity Forever”

In our hands is placed a power, greater than their hoarded gold
Greater than the might of armies, magnified a thousand-fold
We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old
For union makes us strong.

“Solidarity Forever”

If the workers took a notion they could stop all speeding trains
Every ship upon the ocean, they could tie with mighty chains.
Every wheel in the creation, every mine and every mill
Fleets and armies of the nations would, at their command, stand still.
Joe Hill

Let Greece sink in the sea of her own debt.

Today’s economic news again focuses upon poor besieged Greece, under attack from the capitalist vulture’s scavenging on what they consider the dead carcase they think is Greece.

Euro zone finance ministers gave Greece two weeks from Monday to approve stricter, sinister austerity measures in return for another 12 billion euros in emergency loans, piling pressure on Athens to get its ragged finances in order. The philosophy of let the week die and go to the wall was very evident yesterday, when our own Chancellor, George Osborne, who said he felt inclined to let Greece sink in the sea of her own debt. 

So after two days of crisis meetings, ministers effectively issued Athens with an ultimatum, they had until July 3 to approve a new package of spending cuts, tax hikes and privatisation measures in order to receive more EU/IMF aid. Talk about holding a shotgun to the head, these ministers demanded without reservation the approval of these measures by that said date, necessitating the acceptance by the Greek parliament and insisting that  it was absolutely essential that it arrive with these demands in a timely fashion. 

This whole situation reminds me of the campaign in the 70s here in Britain, of which I got involved with, that was not to support in anyway entry into what was referred to then, as the common market. If memory recalls during that campaign ( the referendum of 5 June 1975), I did indeed work for a ‘No Vote’ in that subsequent referendum; and Tony Benn, then Secretary of State for Industry, was the most senior figure in the No Campaign. My own thinking put quite simply, was that this was only going to ever be a capitalist trading and banking club, and I remember talking to the late great Joan Maynard, who was dubbed by the press very unkindly as " Stalin's Granny" due to her left wing views, then the Labour NEC member and MP for Sheffield Brightside; she by the way was succeeded by David Blunkett. Anyhow, she told me that The "Yes" campaign enjoyed much more funding, thanks to the support of many British businesses and the Confederation of British Industry. Many Banks and industrial companies slung in large amounts of money led by the likes of Alastair McAlpine; and so this may give some idea of what we were up against and in whos real interests was entry ever meant to be, and still as ever remains the case.

The announcement of yet another round of cuts and savings, has led to a sea change in the mood of the Greek public. Many who accepted the cuts as an inevitable and temporary evil, now begin to realise that they face a bottomless pit of continuous social decline. This must account for the broad and growing widespread opposition to the second round of austerity. 

Many have taken to the streets to vent anger, and thousands gather every night at Syntagma Square in front of parliament to protest against the imposition of austerity. On June 5, hundreds of thousands participated in a demonstration that took placed largely independently of the unions.

The EU has urged the Greek government not to yield to the pressure from the streets, and since Sunday a three-day parliamentary debate on austerity has taken place. It is due to end today with a vote of confidence, highly unlikely that the deputies will vote against the head of government and force new elections, having then survived, the government will then have to seek the approval of parliament for the second austerity package the following week.

There really is no national solution to the crisis in Greece or elsewhere in Europe or even internationally, the real problem is not between nationalities or countries, but as always between classes.  

Workers throughout Europe must reject the propaganda defaming Greeks as being “lazy and living beyond their means.” As workers around the world are being pushed with likewise and the most devastating attacks on their living standards. The only response must be the development of a common political struggle by the European and International working class.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Steve White And The Protest Family - Right To Strike

We are grateful to the PCS trade union for promoting this great song on Twitter, setting before hand a great atmosphere to what should be a truly historical day 30 June, in modern trade unionism. There is nothing better than a song of solidarity to unite us all, and just to borrow from Friedrich Engels, there is no power in Britain which could for a day resist the British working class organised as a body.


8 Hours Labour - 8 Hours Recreation - 8 Hours Rest

So 30 June it is - the day the trade unions in the public sector stick their toe in the water and come out on a day’s strike. The long awaited response to government attacks and plans to shave-away hard won pay, pensions and working conditions, all part of the austerity drive-in, the coalition order and take-away.

The media as one can imagine and indeed observe, is already stigmatising, labeling and pronouncing the strikes as disruptive and harmful to an already fragile economy, such attacks are mild at the moment, and sure as the sun sets in the east they will start to up the tempo and play their part in dividing worker against worker, as the autumn of discontent is working its way onto the print of newspapers - but the reality is that millions of staff face pay freezes, massive job losses and pension reforms described by the unions as nothing short of “daylight robbery”.

The National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers have already announced the results of their respected ballots on the proposed pension reforms. The unions say that reforms will leave members paying more, working longer in a very demanding job, whilst receiving much less when they do evidently and eventually retire.The government spin the tale that they are crucial to getting public spending under control; a classic example of untruths and distortions weaved like a spiders web, in fact a web of real deceit. 

Just one penny, for every-time it is said in the press that our children are not attaining the required schooling standards, would indeed bring in a bob or two. Now of course, we are being told by the Education Secretary (Michael Grove)  that 200 of the worst primaries will be converted into independent state schools under the leadership of a new head teacher amid evidence (allegedly) that too many children are still struggling to master basics at age 11.

For anyone who has chosen education as a vocation, trained and studied to pass-on skills to a new generation this must be a real nightmare - a real note of biting irony and studied insult to all educationalists.

The move marks a major shift in education policy following years of school tinkering with programmes targeting state secondaries. 

It is also a sign that the Coalition is redoubling its efforts on education reform, despite the chaos that is engulfing its attempts to modernise (sorry privatise)  the NHS. 

Well our schools and education system is only but one battleground opening up, and as if they were cavities the decayed area in a tooth, only the government want to extract all our teeth without any anesthetic, they are wrong to think it will produce insensibility, devoid of passion or feeling.

Last week Danny Alexander said that strikes protesting and defending pensions were “unjustifiable” because they ask the taxpayer to work longer so that union members could retire sooner and on a more generous pension package. I am not familiar with currant arrangements in the civil service and public sector, but I do know this, that a system that can afford to generate large sums of money to pay bankers by the bucketful in the way of outrageous bonuses and other additional payments, and with all the many perks of the job, can afford to provide every worker with a decent retirement package of comfort into their old age.

Now there is a lot more to the fermentation of dissent building amongst public sector workers at this moment, but one thing is for sure, this government agitation of turbulent change and  development must be defeated - to suggest that after a lifetime of toil all day long, week in and week out, year in year out. 
That we have to all work longer, is a step backwards in time; in a sane society (which this is not), we should all be working less and enjoying earlier retirement having done our bit. Not only that we should have a shorter working week, without the loss of pay or the need to work any overtime. This was the dream of the founders of the trade union movement; and if anything it should be our goal to realise it.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

The Great Brian Haw R.I.P

I was suffering form writer block during the last couple days; really terrible it is sometimes, the brain becomes a state of stall, like a  malfunction in the flight of an aircraft in which there is a sudden loss of lift that results in a downward plunge - Blimey, and oh my god, sounds dramatic then. 

However that intellectual famine and shortage has ended this very day, and as you know it’s fathers day, which if nothing else is just another commercial event imported from the other side of that great pound which thankfully divides - but I don’t mean to be unkind, and I am not really anti-American, but that country is responsible for much that is badness; and currently going on in and around the world today, proving subsequently, that big is not always beautiful!”

And today we received the very sad news that Comrade Brian Haw, the world famous peace campaigner has passed on by; famous for his peace camp opposite that monstrous mollymawk, the Houses of Parliament. 

Brian, became such a landmark, as big and famous as Big Ben in the decade he stood his ground and made his valid point about war and the war mongering of leaders such as the likes of Tony Blair and others.
I spoke to him once, and found him a wee bit eccentric, and I say that in and with the most gracious and courteous of regards and respect, for what he really was is what maters - a man of great passion and love for peace, who put his principles and feelings into action for a world to know, that war is not the way of a civilised human race.

Karl Marx said, “it is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that that determines their consciousness.” Yet despite capitalism’s erosion and distortion of the basic social instincts in human beings, the fundamental desire to provide practical aid and compassion when it is sorely needed is still there. The system will never succeed altogether in eradicating the understanding we all share of being human and needing one another.

Many can corrupt and change people for the worst, but people like Brian Haw are the complete opposite and thank god for that.

So thank you Comrade Haw, now rest in perfect peace, your contribution will never have been in vain or forgotten!”  

Thursday, 16 June 2011

There is no such thing as Society

I never really quite know, what to make of those monthly totals, and of the unemployment count here in Britain - they say one thing; but it very much feels different down on the ground floor amongst the pigeons. That’s not the best of descriptions to thrust upon those unfortunates, the blameless but lambasted, often bawled out and dressed down by the circus of our leading politicians; and on Tuesday none other than the leader of Her Majesty's Opposition was dishing it out. Now Ed Miliband, may have his own family problems (laugh softly), but that isn't an excuse to hold responsible, and talk, lecture on about responsibilities, to those of us who are currently without gainful employment, whatever that is these days - working for a wage then!”

Unemployment in the United Kingdom is reported to have plunged by its largest quarterly decrease in 11 years by 88,000 to 2.43 million; and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent for the three months ending in April, versus the 7.9 percent rate for the previous quarter
Down at the local Jobcentre, its packed to the rafters with those desperately trying to get out and off the brew and into work of some description, even people are now grabbing part-time work ( a record high of 1.21 million)' so bad it is that people want to escape to these relatively insignificant positions from which future progress might be made if you are lucky, and away from the rigorous governments regime presently under the command of Iain Duncan Smith, but set in motion - least we not forget by New Labour.

And as the welfare reform bill becomes law, some people already poor will become that much poorer, because they are driving people into low paid slavery and on bended knee, crawling and dragging the body until it drops, Another relatively insignificant position from which future progress might be made; its shall and will be done, all in the name of profit; and as the years of executable work gets longer and longer, a sharp step backwards is made.

I'm not going to go on about young people unable to find let alone secure a toehold on the employment ladder, which more often than not if they are lucky at a supermarket shelf-stacking or serving up at MacDonald's. Youth numbers therefore only underline just how far the economy is from delivering sustainable employment for young people, the fall in unemployment amongst the young can be accounted for an increase in education participation, but a sense of worthlessness must remain high for those not in full-time education, and with the governments interventions aimed at keeping young people in education being cut such as the Education Maintenance Allowance will have a detrimental effect on these figures over the coming months; and as the education year draws to a close - expect to see a massive jump in youth unemployment.

I well remember back in the late 70s people talking about not ever having full employment again, but the truth is we have never had full employment, there has always been a residual pool of unemployed workers, this has always been suitable to the system of capital and profit making pursuits. Keeping overheads and running cost down, setting worker against worker in competitive and for the many distressing circumstances.

DAVID CAMERON of course ruled out another U-turn last night, showing total and utter contempt for working people over benefit cuts that Labour warned would take £94 a week from thousands of cancer victims.

The Prime Minister under fire (makes a change) from Labour in the Commons over the plans to means-test sickness benefit after 12 months and withdraw it from any claimant whose spouse or partner earns £150 a week.

What did Margaret Thatcher say in Woman's Own in 1987 - is this the picture of the Big Society to come?”

“There is no such thing as Society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then to look after our neighbours.”   

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

More thoughts on Child Poverty

Some more thoughts about child poverty have been rattling around in my head since last weeks excellent showing of a BBC documentary (Poor Kids) on child poverty here in Britain. Child poverty is one the most worrying issues affecting many families in Britain today, and looks set to rise in the future with cuts to programs like Sure Start being implemented up and down the country.

Severe poverty is defined currently by the Government as a household in receipt of half the average national income, for example, for a family of four this would be pay of less than £12,500. This income figure is also combined with what is referred to as "material deprivation". Examples of Materiel Deprivation include children who are unable to take a holiday or invite friends home for tea and where adults were not able to pay for repairs to essential items such as fridges or afford insurance.

The ‘New Labour’ government in 1999 pledged to end Child Poverty in the UK, and as a result over the following years an estimated 550,000 families were lifted allegedly out of poverty by a series of government funded strategies which included Sure Start. I personally always doubted these claims, and it also fetches into question what use was the minimum wage in bringing about both the eradication of poverty and low pay?”

In the 2010 Election both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats pledged to continue to fight Child Poverty in their election campaigns - as if for one moment that anyone could believe such lies.

The UK has one of the highest rates of Child Poverty in industrialised Europe, what some readers may find surprising however is that 59% of affected families have at least one parent who works, and 57% of affected families consist of a household with two parents.

Again this brings into question that minimum wage - it was never a doubt in my mind that the minimum wage was an economic instrument to blunt the effectiveness of trade unions whilst New Labour and Tony Blair were able to dance about on the international stage, like peacock's vainly displaying and fanning their tails.

Supporters of the minimum wage say that it increases the standard of living for workers and reduces poverty - well from this October the minimum wage is set to increase by 15p an hour; and the rates for 16- to 17 year  oldie's will increase by wait for it - 4p to bring their re-numeration up to £3.68 an hour and the rate for apprentices will increase by a massive 10p to £2.60 an hour.

Vince Cable, the business secretary, has said:

“More than 890,000 of Britain’s lowest-paid workers will gain from these changes. They are appropriate, reflecting the current economic uncertainty, while at the same time protecting the UK's lowest-paid workers. "I would like to thank the Low Pay Commission for doing a good job in difficult circumstances."

Long gone is the myth that Child Poverty affects only those on benefits or single parents. Government data shows this is an issue that is not limited to those on benefit or incapacity allowance but is a serious problem for lots of hard working families around the UK.

It's become all to acceptable in today's society to "blame" people who are out of work or are unable to work because they are genuinely sick or disabled . The £18bn cut in central government funding on benefits, tax credits and assistance to families is however going to see an increase in Child Poverty over the next five years. 

Fighting poverty is made all the more difficult when we are told constantly by the media how benefit cheats and scroungers are ruining the country. This is simply not true, and its not made any better when the leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband sets about the unemployed as he did yesterday; for reading the Sun or Daily Mail won’t save his sinking ship.  

Police assault on democracy continues!"

Protesters yesterday were heavily-manhandled by the police; by none other than our old friends the TSG - well maybe not so much friends; but they arrested students yesterday and last night after a peaceful protest was held outside a London university which had been hosting a lecture by Tory David Willetts, the universities and science minister.

Willetts had been delivering the Neville Butler Memorial Lecture at the School of Oriental and African Studies on social sciences research and longtitudinal studies (SOAS), while student activists and trade unionists staged a protest outside against the government's education cuts.

Protests subject to such unwanted and unwarranted violence has now become commonplace, repeated too often in the past half year and always our young people and dissenters are on the receiving end.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Well whatever the truth is; one thing is for sure and that's the Labour Party remains locked in the cocoon, that silky envelope spun by Blair and the larvae of many insects that supported him now over a decade ago; still protected - the pupas of New Labour eggs and all.
So here we are in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s and the Labour Party, or at least it leaders are engaging in a family feud, which really says it all.

What do they say about mud sticking - whether it sticks or not or that David Miliband has been forced to deny plotting against his brother amid the claims of an ongoing feud over the Labour leadership; this clearly demonstrates one thing and one thing only - the Labour Party no longer specks for or promotes or puts before anything else, the interests of ordinary working people. This is now a party more vainly concerned with looks, appearances, personalty and leaders. It has taken on all the trappings now of a real contending capitalist party, which of course it is.

Tomorrow, the current leader Ed  Miliband, will attempt to relaunch his leadership by trying to make a speech on welfare reform, as legislation is pushing through the coalition's plans to shake up the benefits system, which will punish the unemployed and disabled - is debated in the Commons.

Since the last Labour government disgracefully started these attacks on the most impoverished and vulnerable, and those susceptible to attack cannot expect Labour to defend them under such circumstances.

The difference between Dave and Ed is a cigarette paper; otherwise, they speak the same language and support the same philosophy and would always do the same thing whosoever was leader.

Just a thought on Sunday afternoon comrades - have a good one!” 

The IMF Maintaining Capitalisms World Dominating Position

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organisation of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.

Well at least that’s what it says on it’s website, but in reality, what is the IMF, we hear a lot about it in our daily news these days. For me I remember the IMF back in the 1970s. Well to be precise 1976 and a year that economists are said to be especially inclined to consider a year best forgotten. Founded after World War II to build a working international system for currency exchange and to avert economic crises, the Washington, D.C.-based IMF currently counts some 187 countries amongst its membership.

The Fund has deposits from member countries – commonly called "quotas" – totaling some $340 billion, with additional commitments for about $600 billion from member governments should the funds be needed. 

And as I recall as a young twenty year old it wasn't really that bad a time for me and a great many of the population;  and an index of economic, social and environmental progress even declared 1976 to be the best on record for quality of life in Britain.

So I view that year as the year when things began to drastically slide, and please remember that we were still two and a bit years away from the election of the Iron Maiden, the one and only Margret Thatcher, and her hard hitting Tory governments. When I think back on it now, just can’t help wondering if the IMF played a major part in sending the Labour Party into that downward spiral of a spin that has bejewelled and bequeathed us with what we have today.

Some notable similarity's of yesteryear though, one being that the weather delivered Britain's worst drought for nearly 250 years, an economic crisis, unlike now which is global in nature, and for for the time being, not requiring intervention by the IMF.

The New Economics Foundation (NEF) think-tank, adjusted the official gross domestic product (GDP) to provide a more accurate sense of well-being, and insisted that the year represents a golden age of lower crime, lower energy consumption and less global destruction. 

Let me just run that by you once more - lower crime, lower energy consumption and less global destruction?”

Well as they say ‘Goodness my Guinness’ - a different world to what we have today comrades. This really does pose the question of what happened. Well my memory is really fading with age, but I do remember that people were more happy and content back then, most had job’s and working class children more of them were going on to a free university education than ever before. We had a trade union movement to be proud of with leaders who cannot be held up in comparison to some of those we have today. At seventeen I was elected a shop-steward  which was a great privilege that I will never forget especially when I had the support and tons of encouragement from older more experienced members in the movement at every level.

There I go again off on one, with the many reminiscences of a time sadly past. But back onto the beat of the IMF then. This organisation has indeed been in the news for very much all the wrong reasons, not just that the IMF told our great Chancellor to stick to his deficit plan through the thick and thin of it all, but the scandal that erupted with its former chief Dominique Strauss now awaiting trial on sex crime charges, whether or not this has any implications on its reputation is neither here nor there. All we need to know is this is an organisation that works in the interests of international capital. Osborne may well be on good terms with these bankers because of his and his party’s connections and interests in and with the the world of finance.

The IMF, backed by central banks in the US and Europe, has taken drastic steps since 2008 to prop up economies around the world from Asia to Eastern Europe and Latin America. In as many months we have seen this organisation impose tough austerity measures and conditions, Greece, Spain and Portugal come to mind and deals made with Iceland, Ukraine and Hungary were not at first made public, but the impact was clear and evident.

The IMF has about $254 billion out in loans committed today (only $64 billion which has been deployed). The biggest borrower are Romania, Ukraine and Greece.
What is true, is that the IMF can in no way be seen as a force for good in the world, all the cards of this organisation are held by the stronger nations of Europe and America, and between them they have the real say in dictating economic policy; policy that fits their world agenda, a sort of economic imperialism administrable only by western capitalism. The western media is quick to claim that Tunisian dictator, General Zine el Abidine Ben Ali is single handily responsible for the civil and economic unrest that has plagued Tunisia since he was placed in power in November 1987. What is less widely known is that it is actually the IMF and Wall Street that is responsible for the extreme mistreatment of the Tunisian people. It was the IMF who demanded the stringent guidelines which include the “firing of public sector workers, the elimination of price controls over essential consumer goods and the implementation of a sweeping privatization program”.  These demands were all made by the IMF and were strictly followed by their puppet, General Ben Ali, whom the IMF and World Bank placed in power when the former president, Habib Bourguiba, refused to comply with the demands.
In 2010 the IMF further demanded, ‘’the removal of remaining subsidies as a means of achieving fiscal balance”. These demands have directly led to high levels of poverty, unemployment and inflation which stem from the dictatorship of the IMF and the manipulation of speculative trade on Wall Street. The removal of the dictator Ben Ali will do nothing to change the problems Tunisia is facing because the interim president, Fouad Mebazza, was handpicked, as were all other possible candidates, by the IMF.

The World Bank and IMF have been restructuring the economies of the Middle East for decades, with largely negative results. Now in the wake of the respective revolutions they are poised to play a major role in the post-revolutionary efforts to stabilise Egypt, Tunisia and other post-authoritarian states.

On Friday experts were saying that the global economic recovery has now stalled after the Dow Jones Index fell for the first time since March and drove the stock market lower for the sixth straight week, and Friday's drop extended the longest weekly losing streak for stocks since 2002.

So what is beginning to become clear is that the US economy is in real trouble and I must add whilst the UK teeters on the brink of another, even worst, recession - high unemployment and wide spread poverty, shrinking home markets,means that western capital will of course be eager to maintain its world dominating position especially 
through a colossal escalation of militarisation. The US military are now waging simultaneous drone missile attacks, bombings, special forces-assassination raids and ground combat in five separate countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and Yemen. Pakistan, Libya and Yemen.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Support Obama Still Rings in my Ear's!"

Yemen is a poor, deeply divided country that has been in turmoil since January 2011, when the explosive example of the Tunisian revolution set off mass demonstrations against President Ali Abdillah Saleh. The President has ruled Yemen for 33 years before his control was threatened and challenged by these mass protests which in all honesty should be welcomed by socialists everywhere. 
But as Yemen slipped from political crisis into bloody civil conflict in May, Mr. Saleh’s evasions to democracy became obvious - three times, he promised to sign an agreement to transfer power in the face of vast street protests, only to back out at the last minute for reasons that seem so trivial - well not really, his idea has always been to retain power like a great many nasty authoritarians that have recently been exposed to the world.
At first, many of his opponents suspected that he was playing for time, in the hope that he would figure out a way of defusing the situation. Then bloody battles broke out, observers wondered if his goal were to promote chaos in the desire that it would lead his backers the United States and Saudi Arabia to lend him support.
The conflict quickly spiraling to the verge of civil war, and on June 3 the President was wounded in an attack on the presidential palace that killed three guards and a cleric. Although the wounds were initially reported as minor, Saleh went off to Saudi Arabia for treatment. As one can only imagine protesters rejoiced, but the situation grew even more confused when statements by Saleh's aides advised that he would return to the country within days were contradicted by news reports that he had suffered very serious first degree burns that would take months of treatment.

After the death of several protesters at the first demonstrations which has led to an outpouring of public anger, Saleh pledged that he would not crack down on protests, but then did so repeatedly.Now we read and hear a great deal about the so-called ‘war on terror’ always being promoted at every given opportunity through their many outlets of the world media; where world leaders such as Obama and Cameron and others paint a deliberate distorted visual representation of fact, as they have always done. So it is no surprise that the Obama administration has intensified disgracefully an American covert war in Yemen exploiting the growing power vacuum in the country to striking at alleged militant suspects with armed drones and fighter jets
The United States intelligence officials call unmanned aerial vehicles, and often referred to them as drones, their most effective weapon they say against Al Qaeda but they have killed many hundreds of civilians including children. The remotely piloted planes are used to transmit live video from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to American forces, and to carry out air strikes. More C.I.A. drone attacks have been conducted under President Obama than under President George W. Bush - which really says a lot about Obama, and still the support and calls of some on the left during his said election campaign for the presidency still ring in my ear’s!”

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Poor Kids'

There are 3.9 million children that live in poverty in Britain today, that’s almost a third of all our children; and I have to say this is set to get much worse as we are forced to roll along the austerity rocky road set-out by the government of the very rich. 

Poverty is the single greatest threat to the well-being of children and families. Growing up in poverty can affect every area of a child's development - social, educational and personal. Yesterday on the BBC iPlayer I viewed two very interesting programmes, the first of which was a documentary about the wide spread incidence of child poverty in Britain today, the second was about the governments strong arming the unemployed into work with the so-called new welfare revolution, which they say is about getting people off benefits and into work - as if the unemployed were deliberately and intentionally avoiding taking up employment. Panorama visited the seaside resort of Rhyl in North Wales, in which some parts of the town, nearly half of the adult population are out of work, but the language being used and underlined was not those who are unemployed but those on benefits.

Two programmes sending out differing messages, and both produced by the BBC. Just glad that I don't pay for some of the crap they churn out these days. But to be fair the documentary 'Poor Kids' was really good; informative, factual and very moving.

Britain is one of the richest countries in the world and yet one of the most expensive to live in. Of course you would think that a country such as this would be free of poverty by now? However, almost one-quarter of the population lives in poverty - that's nearly 13 million people and climbing; this including and disgracefully, a third of all children. At the same time some of the richest people in the world live in Britain.

The documentary showed that children living in poverty are less likely to do well in their education, that they are subject to a degree of bullying from other better off children, that they're more likely to suffer health problems, with a lower life expectancy and low employment prospects. 

I was emotionality upset to listen to a young child tell the camera crew that sometimes she had no breakfast, and at other times went without diner when she was at home especially on the school holidays; she had never been on a holiday, but spent her time in school term breaks playing in derelict abandoned housing.

It is these children that are made to go without which has become a way of life for far to many; they go without essential items such as worm clothes and the three all important meals a day.

Just under ten million people can't afford safe, warm housing and have to live in cold damp conditions. And of course yesterday Scottish Power provoked howls of protests after announcing plans to raise gas prices by a lightning 19 per cent along with its electricity tariffs by of inflation busting 10 per cent. This I remind myself is the second rise (25% in all) in just over six months. Over the next few days, surely other suppliers will force up similar price hikes that will put annual bills up by £200 a year. I heard one expert say that that wholesale power prices are going up dew to the increased demand from Japan in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami last march, but the fact is that the poor the working poor can ill-afford such a hike.
The Cost
With food and the cost of living beginning to run away, the cuts and austerity - well things are going to take a turn for the worst, and it would not surprise me in the least if people started to say 'naught is being done for us, just why should we put up any longer with what the politics of politicians who promise and pronounce but in fact do nothing for us - and then see social unrest spread like a wild grass-fire.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

New Discussion Forum - The Socialist Commune

Some friends and comrades, that I have had the real good fortune and pleasure of meeting, not in the flesh you understand but over the Internet during the last couple or so years, have decided we should endeavour to start a socialist discussion forum - The Socialist Commune, a name which we democratically arrived at between ourselves.

What is the Socialist Commune?"

That's a really good question to ask, and the best answer would be to reproduce our opening, welcoming statement for your perusal.

The Forum

The Socialist Commune Group, is a friendly Internet discussion group, set-up, for the exchange and the furtherance of socialists ideas, that well help the nurturing of progress, growth and acceptance of 'socialism' as a viable alternative to capitalism.

Socialist Commune is none-aligned and welcomes all members from the Labour and Trade Union broader movement, benefiting from the broad river of ideas and many varying views held within the movement.

Socialist Commune exists not to tell you what to think, but hear what you and others have to say.

Threads can be started by any members, and others can join in with their own take and contribution - all we ask that comrades at all times respect one another in a sprite befitting what we as socialists vigorously advocate, the long-awaited commencement of social sanity throughout the world!"

What do we hope to accomplish and achieve?"

Well this is not about personable goals of any kind, and we think that the above statement say's it all in a tone of extended comradeship and common political sociability.

But obversely we desire to examine the world it's events and the general political developments around us, and who knows, try as we can to make some sense, a general conscious awareness of it all. During the last three years and indeed before that the world has been a really unstable and volatile place for countless millions, evaporating readily as normal temperatures and pressures explode, bursting with violence, people being set-upon by their rulers who don't without any hesitation use para-militarist and military ground forces.


Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, has now vowed to fight to the end in a speech broadcast live on state television, amid one of the fiercest NATO air strikes on Tripoli by western capitalism. NATO officials have warned for days that they were increasing the scope and intensity of their two-month campaign to oust Gaddafi after more than 40 years in power. The Obama administration has dismissed complaints that it is violating the US Constitution and the War Powers Act in waging an undeclared war against Libya without seeking or obtaining congressional authorization. This open defiance of any legal restraint on presidential war-making is the culmination of a long process of decay of American democracy, extending over many decades.

Republic of Yemen

In the Yemen the Navy and its Royal Marines are on standby of the coast at the ready to evacuate UK citizens as clashes in the country continue, there has been much violence between so-called rebel groups seeking the removal of President Ali Abdullah and his loyal forces. 


Syria's harsh and stagnant dictatorship of  president Bashar al-Assad, son of Hafez al-Assad, who ruled with an iron hand for three decades before his death in 2000. Is not immune to the wave of unrest that has swept through the Arab world after the revolution in Tunisia after which came Egypt. As if the middle east was on fire has been the impression given, although in the west this news is given very little and half-length space in prominence.The besieged regime has threatened to carry out a military crackdown against the town of Jisr al-Shughour in the Northwest of the country near the Turkish border, after claiming on Monday that “armed gangs” killed 120 members of the security forces there over the weekend.

The US has edged closer to a policy of regime-change. Last Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a press conference in Washington, “The legitimacy that is necessary for anyone to expect change to occur under this current government is, if not gone, nearly run out.” 

On going Crisis

For many life is very short; our leaders tell us how to live, and yet many end up dead in unimaginable circumstances, none of us have ever known a world at peace with itself. Always wars or talk of it daily, then is it any wonder that many walk past it on the other side, not giving a second thought, heads down as they battle and struggle to keep afloat themselves.

Somehow this old world keeps on turning is a real wonder when you consider the environmental damage, which as it seems is an inconvenient question.

More damage has been done to the natural environment by human action during the last hundred years than in any previous period in recorded history. The list of problems is endless and growing, global warming, air and water pollution, depletion of the ozone layer, acid rain, deforestation, loss of species and biodiversity, over-fishing, the hunting of certain animals to extinction, The disposal of nuclear and other waste, and the consequences of population growth. these are not separate problems - they are more or less cumulative and mutually influential.

What kind of world will our descendants be living in a century from now? Will it feature much technological change without being basically different from today? Or will humankind have seen far-reaching changes big enough to be called a real revolution?   

At present, the capitalist system - the structures that control our lives, the ways of thinking and behaving that perpetuate the status quo - dominate the world. The system appears stronger than ever, environmental degradation and so - remain resolved. But if history is any guide, capitalism won't last forever.

The 'socialist commune' is not about forecasting the future - we hope it will be a contribution to building that future, through the exchange and contributors  of ideas in debate, what it is is what the contributors make of it, we hope the cross-fertilisation of ideas and fresh minds to how we can build and improve our real battle for the future and above all else socialism!"

You can join the group here:Socialist Commune 

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