Monday, 30 September 2013

The Tory message is clear for all to see

That half of all the families hit by the now ‘infamous bedroom tax’ are in debt’ is not only a scandal but the hinge that should bring to an end (one would hope) the dictatorship of top toffs who for the last three years, have been hammering down the living standards of all working people.

The National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, said a survey of 51 of its biggest members found more than half of their residents affected by the bedroom tax – 32,432 people – could not pay their rent between April and June. The survey shows a quarter of those affected by the tax had fallen behind with their rent for the first time ever.

If anybody wanted proof that this government of the toffs, that the rich and upper-class are bearing down with vengeance on workers and their families’ as an act of self-preservation, then this and many other legislated acts of parliament (some more still to come) during the course of the last three years, must go quite a long way to proving that; this then is the proof/evidence that what Cameron meant when he spoke of a Broken Britain, he in fact meant, that he would break the back of the working classes. Funny it is not, that the term used by the The Sun newspaper, and by the Conservative Party to describe a perceived widespread state of social decay in the United Kingdom has now seemingly become redundant. The Sun run frequent stories under the "Broken Britain" theme since 2007. As the phrase is essentially a political one, the frequency of these stories has decreased in intensity since the Conservatives came to power in 2010.

If there are to be televised election debates between the main party leaders next time around, then I would expect Ed Miliband to jump from a great height on the coalition that Cameron leads, and remind the electorate, that Britain and working people are more broke and broken now, than when the toffs snapped-up the reins of government with a sharp cracking sound and formed a coalition that no one voted for in the first place. However there are noises and excuses being made by Cameron in regard to such debates taking place, my money is on them not taking place.

The achievements to reach this stage then, some of this government’s at a glance are the following: Rents up £1,000, Energy Bills up 33%, Rail Fares up 36%, Water Prices up 20% and Wages Stagnating.

And as someone said on twitter ‘my mum didn’t go through childbirth to deliver slaves for Tories. A day’s wage for a day’s work! No Workfare-Not Now-Not’.

So with the Tory conference well and truly underway; never in the field of human politics, has such bad class policies been made with so few braincells. That about sums up the Tories for me, but joking to one side, and keeping to the facts if I can by saying the Irish got it right as originally the word ‘Tory’ was meant and leveled as an insult and derives from the Middle Irish word tóraidhe; modern Irish tóraí: outlaw, robber or brigand, from the Irish word tóir, meaning "pursuit", since outlaws were "pursued men".  

The something for nothing mantra that they love to use in their pursuit of hammering the working class, demonstrates only too clearly that they are still the thieves and privileged scoundrels they always were, nothing but nothing will ever change that, only a revolution of course.  

As we wait for Cameron who is a descendant of slave traders and the son of a tax cheat, to address his conference is there anyone who still believes that the NHS is safe in his hands, whilst behind us all, he plans to sell off the lot to his mates, after all he has the crook gean flowing through his veins, it is nothing to him that one minute someone is deemed fit to work by ATOS; the next, they keel over in his Tory workhouse, and lets be straight about this, many who would otherwise still be alive today are sadly deceased, that more than anything is the real crime of this government.

The Tory message is clear, hammer the poor and unemployed, hammer the sick and disabled, hammer the trade unionist, hammer the immigrants, hammer everyone and anyone.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Lost wallet test shows rich are most likely to keep the cash

Seven out of 12 wallets ‘dropped’ in Amsterdam in an experiment to test people’s honesty were returned to their owners.

But none of the wallets ‘accidently lost' in Amsterdam's luxury shopping street PC Hoofdstraat made it back to their owner, Readers Digest magazine, which carried out the research, said.
'Successful, rich people can look after themselves well,' psychiatrist Bram Bakker told the magazine. ‘The dark side of this is that, given the chance, they take what they can.'
The other Dutch wallets were lost in the less well-off districts of Bijlmer, Pijp and West.

Middle rank

In total, Readers Digest researchers lost 192 wallets in 16 cities. The most honest city was Helsinki, where 11 out of 12 wallets were handed back. Next came Mumbai, Budapest and New York with nine and eight returns.
Amsterdam and Moscow were in joint fourth place. Lisbon, where locals returned just one wallet, was bottom of the list.The wallets contained phone numbers, photographs and around €40 in cash.

Source:  Readers Digest magazine

A Tory foretaste of what's to come

Next week or rather this coming week, and don’t you just know it - is going to be all about them nasty and mean and close-fisted Tories, and, don’t you also just know it, that more working class toenails are going to be pulled-out in the two remaining years that they have remaining in government before and as it is said ‘we go to the polls’.

All the political leaders are now beginning to lift their game, and Cameron will use his party conference to kickstart his naked, knackered old capitalist party faithful into general election mode; and ready for the fight that I think will be one of the most nastiest capitalist election battles we have seen in a long while.

Next week’s Tory party conference will give us a foretaste of what’s to come, revealing as they often do the showcase of Tory Ministers planned movement and the advance of ideas and of policies designed only to ensure that the market, that profit, that the system, that they who worship more than any other capitalist party and including (as a party of capital) Labour who agree only in differing ways of administration, that the system is sustained, ongoing and unceasing.  

I was thinking about that last night (Friday time of writing) whilst riding around central London believe it or not holding up traffic with the sea of bikes that is now the quite famous ‘critical mass’ bike ride, through the city and its west end. I’ve been on a few now, so you could say that I’m a regular of a sort, and with a good friend we join hundreds of others on the last Friday of each calendar month and try as we do, to take over  London's roads and celebrate the real wisdom of pedal power over the dirty killing fumes of the modern fast car. It’s also important to mention that ‘critical mass’ is all things to many different people, no one owns it, it has no leaders and it is not one idea, but many ideas, that come together and become one mass.

This post is not about the bike ride, but whilst on the ride my thoughts turned over in my head the weeks events that had just passed, in the political world that is. Labour and the rebranding a prince for ‘socialism’ and the return of ‘Red the Ed Miliband’. Don’t hold your breath too long, Miliband is no socialist, nor has his very own One Nation Labour anything to do with socialism, and that’s maybe why his mother got a mention in his speech, but his father did not, that’s not strange and it may even be that Ed’s Dad is even seen as a bit too embarrassing for him...wobble...wobble - the table wobbles where the leg is too short. 

So as the ride (critical mass) came to a stop and well earned rest at ‘Buckingham Palace’ where a sound system belted out great jazz music and riders of all ages dismounted and started to dance, and in front of the Old Queens’ house, shocking whatever next and will socialism be like this, that was when I came to the conclusion in my head that the next general election will make little or no difference to the majority, that the first morning of the new government will be the same as the old and proceeding morning of the last government, nothing is really going to change only that we will have possibly a new prime minister and still running capitalism. Most of us will still have to get up and go to work, the dictatorship of the alarm clock will still remind us that dreaming will not pay the bills.

Governments we know, are driven under the relentless pressure of economic competition to pursue strategies based on rival capitalist interests. This is the cause of constant international tension, the world over, the reason why nations remain armed to the teeth, and why, from time to time, struggles over trade routes, sources of raw materials, spheres of political and military influence, break out into war. Governments be it Labour or a coalition of one half of the capitalist mainstream establishment, and the entire system of exploitation which they represent are an anachronism which must be swept away.

The positive action to change the world can only come from one source, which must be separate from the actions of government; this must be the world’s working class organised politically as a single movement.  

In 1848 Karl Marx declared that workers have no country; that they have a world to win. Against the toll of human misery since that time, and against the appalling prospect of continued world capitalism, that call is repeated now with greater urgency.

Friday, 27 September 2013

“There is no workplace on earth quite like the cast-house of a blast furnace

“There is no workplace on earth quite like the cast-house of a blast furnace. Thirty miles west of here, the claustrophobic blackness of the coalpit was familiar to thousands. Thirty miles to the east, the trawlermen set out to dare the lashing grey hell of wintry seas. Here between, the hell-pit is almost literal”. Ex-Scunthorpe Steel Worker
Raw steel production decreased 1.5% worldwide last month, falling from 132.3 million metric tons in July to 130.35 million metric tons during August. The weakening was driven by declines in major industrial markets, especially the European Union, but also in Japan and the U.S.
This is obviously, not a good time for the world steel industry in the general sense, and as a former steelworker myself now living in self imposed exile in Canning Town East London, my thoughts are often with the people, the community once my home town Scunthorpe, an industrial garden town was the town slogan, as the town was often on the receiving end of many a comedians banter and jokes.

I can only tell you that I have seen thousands of jobs go from Scunthorpe Steel Works (fell from 27,000 at its height to around 4,500) since I left school in the early 70s, when I was a boy I remember that everyone’s dad worked on the ‘works’ as we use to call it, so from thousands to just a few thousand steelworkers today, the town has taken a hammering, to top all that off our own Labour MP in the last parliament was convicted of fiddling his expenses, by flipping his two homes about or something like that, and convicted, then sent to the penitentiary; so you can see the towns not been having a good time of it lately. And now there is a real fear that the last few remaining thousand steelworkers jobs and if not the future of steelmaking, production in this country may be coming to a close, this is something that I would never have dreamt of in my wildest nightmare. The Long Products Director, Jon Bolton of Tata steel issued a worrying bulletin to staff warning that a critical point has been reached in the division’s future and that it is imperative that a profit is delivered in the next six months. The bulletin goes on to say “Our plan to deliver profit isn’t just about cutting costs. It’s about improving our processes and minimising unnecessary waste in the business so that we can be more sustainable.  We need to make the most of our people, our assets and our products”.

Workers at the Scunthorpe site complained of the way in which the matter had been handled, some saying that briefings had sounded almost like an open ended threat, with the inference being sale or closure if targets are not met.

Whilst the predominance of the steelworks made Scunthorpe other industries in the town do exist. They include those associated with the steelworks such as engineering, along with food production, distribution and retailing – most of these now employing a large Polish and Slovak workforce, I found this strangely surprising when I found out, but its only the same as anywhere else, that of migrant labour being more flexible and preferable to the bosses who get away with more in the way of worker exploitation, the poor migrant only being too grateful for the work and the opportunity to make a living - shame really that its come to this but that’s capitalism at its worst when it plays workers off the wall like it was a game of squash.

The capitalist system is cruel and callous whilst doggedly holding on to lost memory, it forgets often that its the worker who always pays the highest price even with his or her’s life, this was brought home to me and always when I think

Thursday 4th November 2010 will be the 38th anniversary of the Queen Victoria Blast Furnace Disaster at Scunthorpe Steelworks, 11 men were killed when an explosion occurred in the early hours of that fateful day in 1975.

The Blast Furnaces at Scunthorpe are known as The Four Queens of Ironmaking, namely Mary, Bess, Anne and Vicky. It was on Vicky that the disaster would occur.

Molten Iron was poured into torpedoes ready to be transported via rail to other areas of the Steelworks.
Torpedoes were a relatively new piece of equipment in the past open top ladles had been used.
There had recently been a spate of cooling water leaks due to copper plugs having been replaced with steel ones which expanded at a different rate to the surrounding copper.
This would allow water to enter the torpedo on top of the molten Iron. Steam built up within the torpedo building up a pressure that would prove to be catastrophic.
All of this could have been dealt with but having become aware of the leak the decision was made to move the torpedo instead of allowing its contents to cool.
The molten Iron exploded covering the surrounding area with a deadly shower of molten metal.
There were 23 men in the direct vicinity when the explosion occurred. Four died instantly and seven others were to die later in hospital.
The decisions taken by the men present were nonetheless rational and blameless. All their experience up to that time suggested that the ladle could be safely moved away from the still-flowing water stream, and that leaving it in place was a more dangerous and of course ultimately a very costly alternative.
“Few people guess what molten iron is like. They expect something like the familiar depiction of lava, angry red and viscous. In reality, the metal is a blistering yellow-white, too bright to look at. And it flows with the mobility of water, only with seven times the density.
When the tap-hole is opened, it streams down the runner and thunders into the ladle below with an energy that demands respect.” Ex-Scunthorpe Steel Worker
The disaster occurred just over a year after the Nypro explosion at Flixborough seven miles from the town. This explosion killed 28 men and flattened surrounding houses.  

These two disasters have always been played over and over in my mind time and again, I ask why do we the workers pay the greatest price for man’s obsession with money and the accumulation of wealth, it’s the same as asking why do more workers die in war than owners of the means of production. And then it gets harder, when I ask why do we allow this - why are we still their slaves?

Many thanks to: The Scunthorpe Independent News

Thursday, 26 September 2013

People’s Assembly Against Austerity at Manchester then what?"

It’s all at Manchester then, as the Tory Party and Prime Minister David Cameron prepare to take the political stage at their annual party Conference, the Manchester Evening News is reporting that the police are battening-down the hatches in Central Manchester and reporting that the NHS demonstration may see 50,000 protesters descend on Conference. Greater Manchester Police are taking no chances with this one; the Conference will be protected by a ‘ring of steel’ or at least thats what the police are saying. But somehow I don’t think that they will have much to worry about here, as this is just yet another one of them fad ideas contrived by friends of Labour and left reformism in and outside of the Labour Party. Dreamt up and in the figurative sense of the word by celebrity socialists’, although I would not call people such as Mark Steel and Young Socialist Owen Jones - Socialists”, nor would I, and with all due ‘respect’ follow the likes of the champagne socialist set that includes the likes of John Rees political activist (Counterfire) and his partner Lindsey German who is convenor of the British anti-war organisation Stop the War Coalition.

It may appear to some that I’m a wee bit sectarian or factional, but in fact, I’m not a member of any party or sect. I did collide and barrel with the idea of joining the Socialist Party, but do you know I did discover that you don’t have to belong to a party to be an active socialist’ and working towards a revolutionary change from capitalism to socialism - this is something that I’ve experienced in greatest comfort as an independent and sensitive freethinker, which is more important than swallowing, hook line and sinker, any old party line, what I am saying is I am more for the Revolution - than the Party.

People’s Assembly Against Austerity has its big day on Sunday, and let's wish all those many thousands who will give up the best part of their weekend to travel to Manchester from all the four corners, all our very best, have a great day out and keep safe.

The protest at the Tories conference cannot be seen as a waste of time, there will be many ordinary working class people on it who genuinely believe in defending our NHS from the Vulture’s of capitalism now circling as a wake, hovering over the carcass of a rundown to the very ground health service, that’s never safe in either Tory or Labour  hands as recent history has taught us. Labour has long been proud of its history as the party of the NHS - the creation of a universal, free health service regularly features high in lists of party achievements.

However, Annual real-terms spending on the NHS did show a fall in one year under the Labour government in the 70s. And what Labour say in opposition can be completely different to what they do in government, Tony Blair did prove that.

But if Labour had not made cuts, it has weakened the service severely, by dancing with the devil of privatisation. Labour’s support for the idea that “any willing provider” should provide NHS services dates back to the publication in 2006 of ‘Our Health, Our Care, Our Say’ Labour fat cats have been jumping on the bandwagon bigtime. In the House of Lords, some 37 Labour peers are involved with private healthcare companies giving each scope to benefit financially from the growing privatisation of the NHS in England.

Former Labour cabinet members Alan Milburn and Patricia Hewitt are both former Health Secretaries.  Hewitt was a former advisor to Cinven, and landed a lucrative £55,000 role with the firm after standing down as an MP. Yet she and she alone engineered the huge rise given to GPs as well as the freedom for them to eschew out of hours working.

When in office, Milburn received tens of thousands of pounds from several firms involved in private health care, yet another example of Blairite’s helping themselves to the lucrative trappings of their thirteen years in power which meant lining their own pockets, some got caught and sent to the jail house but many got away with it.

The bottom line must be that we will only ever get a health service that cares and looks after the sick, the old and vulnerable when and only when the market of free enterprise is closed down permanently, and that comrades will take a revolution not a win in a general election - no mainstream politician or party can be trusted with our health service - in their hands.

London becoming the playground of millionaires?

Next year's local elections in the 32 Boroughs that make up the greater city of London may be one of the last times before we see a real decline in Labour’s vote and support, as areas such as my own a part of East London start to change in terms of people demographics, the truth being that working people move out and the rich and better off move in. It has been my unfortunate experience during the course of some 36 years to have been witness from a trickle to an avalanche of change in this wonderful city I love so much.

What makes London so special a city I don’t really know, the shape of its winding old river with its Isle of Dogs. And as, Samuel Pepys referred to the "unlucky Isle of Dogs." You have to really love London as I do to have lived here as long as I have. This is the greatest city on earth, its story is the thing that legends are made from, its history is second to none. But nothing will ever compare with its diversity, its character and the people that made that character as real now as in the past tense.

Capitalism is characterised by the constant revolutionising of the means of production. This means that from its earliest inception one of its key features has been restructuring:
once-dynamic industries go into decline and new ones spring up. Most importantly, this means that the working class is also constantly changing. This process of the constant revolutionising of the means of production was recorded by Marx. He wrote, ‘All old established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. They are dislodged by new industries, whose introduction becomes a life and death question’.

So that explains much and a great deal; the decline of the river docks, new methods of transportation of goods, more emphasis on finance than heavy industry has led to the loss of thousands of jobs as many London based firms have moved out or packed-up all together, this in turn has meant that a vast traditional working class and manual population has felt the capitalist pinch and been not only put under pressure, but become the object of what some now call social cleansing.

The other day I read that an estate agent in Brixton had “Yuppies Out” scrawled across it’s gleaming glass windows.

The graffiti taps into local fears that Brixton is one of the London Boroughs on the front-line of a process of demographic change that is sweeping central London, with a combination of high rents and housing benefit cuts ensuring that places such as Brixton will no longer be affordable to those on low incomes. A similar situation across London has seen councils such as Westminster and my own Newham hit the headlines for proposals to rehouse tenants as far afield as Derby, Nottingham and Stoke.

They also call this gentrification the "Kosovo-style social cleansing" that the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has been repeatedly warned of but to little or no effect, his death ears are of such a balance.

Things are so bad in terms of housing provision, which we read about almost constantly and daily that even the wife of Mark Carney, the new Bank of England governor, was complaining that her family is struggling to find a place to live in London, and holy relics” despite his £874,000 pay packet and £5,000-a-week housing allowance.

Can it be that such comments reflect the reconfiguration of London, shockingly high property prices in "prime" central London continually breaking new records, while large parts of the capital move out of reach for those on low incomes.

While the global financial meltdown and double-dip recessions have left many of us counting the pennies, it seems that the streets of London are still paved with gold for some.The UK capital is home to more multi millionaires than any other city in the world according to figures that boasts London has a staggering 4,224 'ultra-high net worth' residents - people with a net worth of more than $30million, or £19.2million.

Some 40 per cent of UK multi millionaires live in London compared to seven per cent of their US counterparts in New York.

Examples of the super-rich living in London include property developer Nick Candy, whose joint fortune with his brother is estimated to be more than £1bn, and Britain's richest man Alisher Usmanov, estimated to be worth more than £18bn.In total, London is home to 281,000 millionaires, more than Frankfurt or Paris, with 675,000 in the entire country.

So the question that I'm pondering over with my morning coffee, and in a bog-standard council flat in Newham; is London becoming the playground of millionaires? 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Been nice had Miliband payed tribute to them

The reading through of the Ed Miliband speech to his annual party conference, is no great task I like, and have to do it in stages; to be honest I find the leaders speech always boring, crafted and practised, soundbites, jokes and all, very theatrical and staged managed affairs; and its like selling sand to Eskimos in the Inuit and Yupik language of two tribes”.  

I think the next general election is going to get more personal between Miliband and Cameron, more personal than the usual stuff we get on these occasions. Miliband is making a strong pitch with his strand of new One Nation Labourism, and whatever that means. I don’t think that it even stands for the development of a collective organization of working people, to campaign in their own interest for better treatment from their employers and governments, in particular through the implementation of specific laws governing labour relations in our favor.

Nothing in the Miliband Speech alouds in passage to the part Trade Unionist’s have in our movement and society, millions of trade unionists have been on the front line fighting for their jobs and defending services in the public sector; at this moment I’m thinking about the attacks on groups of workers like the coming fight in the fire service; in London that battle has the potential of becoming nasty in time. I understand that a Swedish-based security (Securitas) company has been training its workers ahead of today's national strike, and 27 engines - from a fleet of 167 are being kept in a Territorial Army base in south west London. Mayor of London Boris Johnson is eagerly pushing this fight with the FBU and has confirmed that Westminster fire station would close as part of a massive program of cuts to the service; this closer more than any other could mean the public or should I say tourists being put at risk in the event of and ‘god forbid’ a major emergency that holds the risk to the loss of many lives;  that crews from stations in the famous Shaftesbury Avenue often first on the scene if a fire breaks out in one of Soho’s many restaurants could spell a real disaster, if this service station is taken out, the crews are specialist in navigating the rabbit warren of streets.

My point being that there are many fights and struggles going on in and around our movement; we are fighting on many fronts, todays trade unionists take greater risks fighting for the retention of hard won gains of the past, so when the junior partner in the coalition brags at his conference that they stopped the Tories from further attacks on civil liberties, including more legislation to control if not stop the activities of our movement in the workplace, by them taking direct and militant class action to achieve this political and social goal, would make you not think that a true Socialist leader’ would stop talking nonsense and calling people friends, a true Socialist party doesn't turn the class struggle into a pantomime, it is not an act of kindness, or a courtesy required - a true Socialist party with or without leaders should always support workers in struggle thats the first port of call and it would have been nice had Miliband payed tribute to them.

The rising tide lifts all boats, now the rising tide just seems to lift the yachts” quote was good, but Miliband did lose and confuse me when he said that the scaffolder he met in the street near his home and coming home from a local cafe had told him that he earns a decent wage, but I still can’t make ends meet”?

Miliband, the Labour Party and going by his speech offers nothing new, and I can’t read the rest of his speech I don’t understand the Inuit and Yupik language.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

"sticking to the union ‘til the day I die”

I managed to get hold of a copy of the West End Extra last night whilst visiting friends and dining out on the streets (soup kitchens) of London's famous West End. Flicking through to the letters page this morning I came across this wonderful letter, it’s so good that I just had to reproduce it on my blog and share it with others.

A young man comes to read my gas and electric meters, my “energy provider” sends me a bill and I pay by cheque. The company impose a cheque handling charge of £7.50 and stress that if I switched to Direct Debit I would save the same amount.

The capitalist free market insists that unlike the public sector, for example, it offers customers “choice”. What the company really means is that if all their “customers” were to switch to Direct Debit, they could sack the young man who reads my meters, plus the people who work at the payments centre outside London.

It seems that one half of capitalist Britain is creating imaginative jobs for life, for example, polishing the Mayor of London’s bike racks; while the other half is keen to downsize or even shift to a foreign country; where labour is cheap, there are no unions and one does not worry about health and safety rules.

I am an elder citizen but I am still “sticking to the union, sticking to the union ‘til the day I die”.

That’s my choice.

Bob Davenport

Dirty Dan of the Town’

Thank god’ for music, it takes away the pain...trying as hard as I do. I just don’t understand some people, and especially some people around me?” I’ve always been concerned with the plight of homeless and vulnerable people, and I’m thinking just like a friend that I have acquired whilst residing here in Canning Town for the last seven years; and as indeed time flies on by and yet Dirty Dan of the Town’ has constantly figured somewhere in one’s residence in this neck of the woods.

When I think of Dan and people like him and there are many, I think, can people learn to live again, is it at all possible?

Taken in the contexted and under the influence and the effect of capitalism, under which we must all to a degree conform and comply with, and as in a pointed if not sharpened direction.   
However, many in armed personal resistance to conformity end up becoming the vulnerable victims of the backlash that's handed out for not adequately adhering and sticking fast. These are people who have been torn (ripped apart) into pieces by a life experience (or even life) of one kind or another, or it may be that they may find it hard to cope and manage their lives in capitalism and I think that Dan is one of these people.
I think what it is that attracts my sympathies and interest towards Dan, is his indifference to life, and in a kind of strange way the ‘rebel’ I see in him, but for all the wrong reasons. The problem, and it is a problem for Dan and that’s it, you guessed it and got it in one, its his drinking. He describes himself as an alcoholic so I do suppose that’s what he is then. At this very time of writing Dan is staying with me in my council flat and has been for the last two months, he has not been any real problem, only that the drinking part of his life seems to be bothering me right now, and I do wonder why now. I knew he had a drink addiction and for all the years I have known him, that’s all the years I’ve lived in Canning Town. And yes, Dan is also my mate, to some he may be just the down and out standing on the Barking Road with a Lucozade bottle in one hand hiding his supper brew beverage and fingering-out who will be the lucky person to have the honor and privilege of filling it up or who can he borrow a sub from until pay day; and you can’t miss Dan on the streets of Canning Town, usually sitting opposite the McDonald's fast food restaurant recently refurbished and used in TV adverts to promote the poison they serve up.

One thing stands out in Canning Town in my opinion and that's just how many are addicted to using drugs or alcohol on a regular basis, the drug business is lucrative and rewarding for those who supply but wrought with danger. The supply of class A drugs is common place here in Canning Town, all the time you see addicts standing around waiting for the arrival of the dealer. Sadly it is true, but the decline of the British worker in society seems to have gone hand-in glove with the decline of British manufacturing and the rise in drug addiction in one form or the other, an explosion that is the true legacy of the Thatcher years.

“I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end”
- Margaret Thatcher.

Fortunately, Dan is not using class A drugs only alcohol as his method of escape from the harsh reality that is life today in Britain, and indeed I suspect that there are many thousands doing the same as Dan all over the country - escaping and blocking-out, or at least temporarily numbing the pain that we all feel and made all the worse in these times of austerity.

Alcohol is big business in the UK, estimated to be worth in excess of £41.6 billion a year, with more than £800 million spent annually on alcohol marketing. Sponsorships by the alcohol industry form a significant part of marketing and promotion practices and it has been reported that drinks companies were the second largest source of sponsorship funding in the UK between 2003 and 2006.

Street drinking in Canning Town and indeed in the whole of Newham was so bad at one time that the council banned it from the streets, and shops in my locality lost the right to sell strong brews when their licence was revoked by the local authority, many changed hands, an indication if any were needed of just how profitable the takeaway boozer is to the small retailer.

Whilst Dirty Dan of The Town’ is an addict he is also the victim of unadulterated greed perpetuated by an industry and a society that cares very little for the damage and risk being done to people like him.

I see people like Dan as a challenge, in more ways than one, stop him through friendly, supportive persuasion to cut-down or even stop drinking altogether and then open his eyes to a new world and possibly to socialism, time will tell but I will keep you posted and will be writing more about things here on the ground in Canning Town and in general the street life of the more poorer sections of working people who somehow continue to survive in our capital city.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Lambeth Council has been trying to remove the squatters, to raise revenue to improve housing standards

Police and bailiffs evicted 75 squatters from six blocks of flats in Brixton, South London, last month, some of which were occupied for up to 32 years.

Police blocked off the area in Rushcroft Road in the early hours of 16 July, before bailiffs stormed the blocks to remove residents, including young children, from the 37 flats. Protesters gathered in support, waving banners, blocking roads or lighting fires in bins.

The properties were some of the last ‘shortlife’ housing co-operatives in London, most of which were purchased by councils in the 1970s and earmarked for refurbishment. When funds were no longer forthcoming, they allowed people to live in them paying little or no rent.

However, for the last two years Lambeth Council has been trying to remove the squatters, to raise revenue to improve housing standards across the borough. It is understood that three of the buildings have been sold to developers for an estimated £5.5 million, with individual flats in the street fetching close to £500,000.

The remaining flats will be reserved as social rented housing, according to the council. However, residents and their supporters accused the council, which claims to have co-operative principles, of putting profit over the people of Brixton.

One of those evicted, Peter Piotrkowski, who was on crutches, claimed he fell over when police pushed him.

He told the London Evening Standard: “I was moving slowly because I can’t run and they pushed me twice. I’m going to be homeless now. I’m on benefits, £72 a week. I can’t find any place for that money and I need to keep some money for food.”

However, Lambeth councillor Pete Robbins said: “It is unfair on the thousands of residents in need of housing in Lambeth that a small minority are unlawfully squatting in six mansion blocks and not paying any rent or council tax.”

Sourced and all credit to: the Pavement magazine

the ever rising cost of living


It’s early Sunday morning and I’ve just been checking out a news item that has caught my eye and affects most of us, the cost of living, you can hardly miss the ever rising cost of living, it confronts you almost daily and come to think about it, how can nobody except of course the very rich not have a little concern or even worry about how much it now costs to sustain our families and ourselves. The news yesterday that British Gas is planning to hit 12m household customers with an energy price rise of as much as 8pc in the coming weeks, then this surely must bring it home and hard on many decent working people and their families, the effects of which I think may have repercussions in the decades that lie ahead such as social unrest.

For all the media attention and spin about an economic recovery, and meanwhile down on the shop floor’ things are getting much worse, it seems every day brings more bad news for the majority and if they are fortunate enough to have employment on zero hours or whatever, even had their wages cut (to keep in employment or hours cut) only to end-up tracking off to the nearest food back that helps feed the family these days.

Most day’s brings more bad news and attacks on the living standards of working people, the capitalist is beating down on working people through its agent of government currently David Cameron and his right wing coalition of upper class twats’ now enjoying giving the most vulnerable and needy a good kicking, almost frogmarching and stigmatising the unemployed for being unemployed or underemployed fanned up often by the rotating blades of the media.

More than half a million Britons have resorted to using food banks to stave off hunger and destitution. Major charities have signalled their alarm over a dramatic rise in the nation's "hidden hungry" – families who are forced to ask for help to feed themselves – because of wage cuts, the squeeze on benefits and the continuing economic downturn. The numbers have trebled in the past year alone and are likely to continue rising rapidly despite Britain's status as one of the world's wealthiest nations.  

Cuts to welfare payments – including below-inflation rises in benefits of 1%, Jobseeker's Allowance sanctions and reassessment of entitlement to invalidity benefits – are the biggest cause of the surge in demand for food banks in all parts of the country. The cost of basic foodstuffs has leapt by 35 per cent and the cost of heating a home has jumped by 63 per cent in the past five years – a period in which many incomes have risen only marginally or not at all.

The hunger crisis has been exacerbated by the falling living standards of many people in employment, who have seen their wages trimmed or their working hours cut. Rising food and fuel prices are also driving families into poverty - So with bated breath its over to this weeks Labour Party Conference      


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