Sunday, March 06, 2011

A break from blogging

I'm very aware I haven't blogged much of late. At the moment it is more a stress, a chore, than a pleasure . The blog has always been something I have enjoyed doing, but at the moment my focus is on finding work after the end of March, paying the mortgage and keeping my home and cats . That is where my energy has to go.

I'm not sure what to do with the blog. I don't really want to give it up for good, but I also know I need to put in work to get back the readership and more importantly the debates in the comments boxes. I'd love to get more women writing for it, but again that takes effort . I need to kickstart the blog before anyone would want to join.

There is some much going on in the world, but I don't get a chance to write . I then feel frustrated as I haven't posted and that then gets stressy .

I find at the moment that it I write a status update or do a link on Facebook, I get lots of comments and debate . Here though, more effort but less response . Is there a point anymore to this blog when I get more interaction with people on Facebook ?

I also need to tart up the design , its all very tired .

But, before all that I need to concentrate on financial survival. That is my priority .

I'll leave this post up for a while, then I will take the blog down while I decide what to do with it.

I feel very attached to this blog, which is why I hate seeing it just going downhill.

I'll give it some thought .


Monday, February 21, 2011

Article for Labour Briefing on London Transport workers' struggles

I have written this short article for Labour Briefing:

On 6 February, despite strong opposition from trade unions and passengers, London Underground completed its cut of 800 jobs from its stations. It slashed ticket office opening hours and removed staff from around the stations, leaving safety and security compromised and passengers without the help they need. Private-sector-run upgrades are seeing repeated failures, and maintenance regimes are being slashed.

RMT and TSSA fought the job cuts, taking four separate days’ strike action between September and November. The two unions are now engaged in a review of the job cuts with LU management which may yet restore some of the cut jobs.

During the dispute, LU took hostages, sacking three RMT representatives in an attempt to weaken the union. LU has since reinstated stations rep Peter Hartshorn on appeal, as his Piccadilly line workmates prepared for strike action. But train driver RMT reps Eamonn Lynch and Arwyn Thomas remain sacked. Both have won ’interim relief’, as Employment Tribunal judges ruled that LU had sacked them unfairly due to their trade union activities. It is very rare for sacked union reps to win interim relief; the fact that Eamonn and Arwyn did so shows beyond doubt that their sackings were an anti-union act.

Eamonn’s and Arwyn’s workmates on the Bakerloo and Northern lines have taken two days’ strike action to demand their reinstatement. RMT is now preparing to escalate the dispute by balloting all our driver members for strikes. Rank-and-file reps and members understand that the sackings are not merely injustices against two members, but an attack on the union and on trade unionism in general.

Workers on the Docklands Light Railway voted in January by a big majority for strike action over several issues, including cuts in pension rights, imposed restructuring, and the sacking of two workmates. But the employer, Serco Docklands, ran to the High Court, which duly obliged them with an injunction against the strike. RMT had not broken any existing anti-union law, so the judge invented a new one and declared the union to have broken that!

The injunction extends Britain’s already highly-repressive anti-union legislation, by declaring that a union must give a far more detailed explanation of how it compiled the information it has to provide to the employer in its notices of ballots and industrial action. So RMT has appealed against the injunction; as I write, the appeal has been heard, but judgment may not be given until March.

Once again, democratic, effective trade union action has been thwarted by anti-democratic laws and judges, bent on serving the employers. It is telling indeed that when a court rules a strike unlawful on a flimsy pretext, the union has to obey and call off the strike; but when a court rules a sacking unlawful on good grounds, the employer does not have to obey and reinstate the sacked worker! David Cameron claims that Britain’s employment law is weighed too heavily in favour of the employer, but these latest cases prove the opposite.

It is easy enough to denounce anti-union laws and judges; it is now high time for a renewed campaign to defeat them. Our unions must mobilise members to fight for trade union rights, and those who claim to represent the labour movement in politics must make a stand against the anti-union laws, rather than staying away when they have a chance to do so, as when John McDonnell’s Lawful Industrial Action (Minor Errors) Bill was debated in Parliament.

Follow RMT in the London Transport region:
Twitter: @RMTLondon

By Janine Booth, London Transport region representative, RMT Council of Executives

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Urgent appeal : Abortion Support Network to run out of funds by the end of the month

Many support the right of women to have safe legal abortions when they need them. Well, now is the time to put your money where your principles are .

from the F-Word :

The Abortion Support Network, which helps women who have been forced to travel from Ireland to Britain for an abortion, is urgently in need of funds and is set to reach the end of its reserves by the end of February.

ASN’s director Mara Clarke sent a pleading email to supporters yesterday, explaining what has happened: in short, more women than before are coming forward as media coverage has made them aware of the organisation’s existence, and a number of expensive cases involving young women and women late in pregnancy.

So far in 2011, ASN has helped women including:

A 15 year old girl
A 20 week pregnant 16 year old
A 19 year old pregnant as the result of rape, who had to go through the added distress of having to find a way to provide DNA evidence to the police
A mother of two who had to reschedule her appointments due to snow, making her later term
A single mother of a young child, recently out of a rehabilitation facility,
A mother of four supporting her family with a part time job only able to come up with £800 towards her £1390 procedure
A single woman who wanted her baby - until she lost her job.
A woman who came to the UK for a 2-day procedure without realising she would need to find her own accommodation
Marta says:

By donating today, you can help break down the barriers preventing women from obtaining timely, cost-effective abortions and, in turn, help us to be able to serve a greater number of women. 100% of your donation will go DIRECTLY toward paying for a women’s abortion.

Right, this service is essential. Donate now .


Friday, February 11, 2011

Links: Workers' and Trade Union Involvement in Egyptian Uprising

While the exciting events in Egypt make headline news, the mainstream media do not tell us much about workers' and trade union involvement. So I have compiled this selection of links:


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Go now Mubarak

So, what exactly did he say ?

Well, he isn't going . Not yet, not until September .

The speech that droned on about commissions blah blah , amendments blah blah , how he has listened , sons of Egypt (err, what about the daughters)and playing the nationalist card.

Oh and lots about bleeding heart and fake concern for those who died while protesting. He will make those responsible accountable . Well that shouldn't take long, look in the mirror.

Oh and its not about him he said. Well yes and no, but the people clearly are calling FOR HIM to go. No in that a bit of tinkering is not enough, real change is needed when he goes .

A very out of touch speech, sickly and repetitive . Bottom line , some bollocks about listening, transition and that he is going nowhere till September.

That was the second nauseating thing I have had to listen to today . Earlier was subjected to the torture that is Coldplay, while being put on hold by a bank. Still at least Chris Martin isn't in charge of a nation.

The response from the people, whose expectations have been dashed seems to be growing anger and a determination not to give up.

The protesters include young and old, men and women and different religions and none . Strikes are happening and building .My fear though is off increased violence by the state .

Time to go Mubarak.


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Blogging and life

I have been so busy recently my fingers have barely touched a keyboard apart from work. I have a few months work at the moment and that , realistically, is my priority if I want to keep my home and cats . I leave the house before 7am and get home after 7pm, zonked.

So much has been going on in Egypt and i haven't had a chance to report . So much else as well.

I hope to do some posts in the next few days this space !


Sunday, February 06, 2011

Update on Brenda Namigadde

On 28th January Brenda Namigadde was placed on a 9:20pm flight en route to Uganda, by UK border officials. Then, at the eleventh hour, an injunction stopping her deportation was granted, and Brenda was taken off the flight shortly before takeoff.

From an e-mail by AllOut:

Brenda is scheduled to attend a High Court hearing on Monday morning to review her case. We are hoping the judge finally grants her asylum, but unfortunately we have plenty of reason to be skeptical: the British government is currently refusing up to 99% of asylum claims made by LGBT people.2

Luckily Brenda’s Member of Parliament, Andy Slaughter, is advocating strongly on her behalf. At a time when the Ugandan parliament is debating a law to make homosexuality punishable by death - and with last week’s murder of LGBT activist David Kato - he understands the grave danger Brenda faces. Slaughter has put forward an Early Day Motion3 in Parliament to pressure UK Immigration Minister Damian Green and UK Home Secretary Theresa May to intervene in Brenda’s case in the event that the court does not rule in her favour.

Our contact in Andy Slaughter’s office has told us that if even just a few dozen MPs sign this motion in the next few days, it will send a powerful message to Theresa May and the Home Office that they must intervene on Brenda’s behalf. Will you take a moment to ring your MP and ask them to sign on and support Brenda? It only takes 2 minutes and will make a huge difference:

1. Find your MP's number:

2. Ask them to support Brenda. Here's a quick script to help:
“Hello. My name is (YOUR NAME) and I’m one of (MP NAME)’s constituents. I’m calling today about the case of Brenda Namigadde, a lesbian who is in danger of being deported to Uganda where she faces grave danger.
Please urge (MP NAME) to sign onto Early Day Motion 1385, sponsored by MP Andy Slaughter. The motion calls on the Government to exercise its powers to allow Brenda Namigadde to remain in the United Kingdom.
I will continue to follow Brenda’s case closely and urge you to sign the motion today before her hearing at the High Court on Monday.”
3. If you make a call, please reply directly to this email and let us know your MP’s response, so we can pass this information on to Brenda and her lawyer. On Monday, we want Brenda to know she still has our support, and we want the court to know how many others in the UK and around the world are standing by her side.

All best and All Out,
Andre, Jeremy, Joseph, Tile, Wesley and the rest of the team at All Out

More info here and here.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Galloway to make an electoral alliance with Solidarity ?

Seems Galloway is hawking himself around to get a seat as a MSP.

Press TV not pay enough? Missing his old MP salary? Bit handy then that Sheridan got banged up, one ego departs and another takes his place .

So, will the SWP now have to start defending him when he stands with the Iranian regime rather than those oppressed by that reactionary state ? How will they twist themselves to defend his Kylie knickers moments in his Daily Record articles ?

Then of course there are the contortations needed to explain why one minute he finds Solidarity too left for his tastes and of course the question of independence.

Expect a bit of doublethink re writing by his supporters and those perhaps returning to trail in his wake .


Monday, January 31, 2011

Autism facts and statistics

Some thought-provoking facts from the National Autistic Society:

  • Autism affects 1 person in every 100. That’s over half a million people in the UK, and two million people if you include their families.
  • In the average local authority area there are likely to be 2,500 people with autism.
  • In the average Member of Parliaments’s constituency there are likely to be 3,000 people affected by autism (people with the condition and their family members).

  • Over 50% of children with autism are not in the kind of school their parents believe would best support them
  • There are more appeals to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal about schooling for children with autism than for children with any other type of special education need. 79% of parents who have appealed to the Tribunal won their case.
  • Over 70% of schools are dissatisfied with their teachers’ training in autism and 44% of teachers report they do not feel confident teaching children with autism.
  • 27% of children with autism are excluded from school at least once, compared with 4% of other children.
  • 34% of parents say that a delay in accessing the right support at school had a negative impact on their child’s mental health.
  • 42% of children with autism have no friends (compared to 1% of other children).

Adult services:
  • Two thirds of adults with autism do not have enough support to meet their needs.
  • A third of adults with autism have experienced severe mental health problems because of a lack of support.
  • 60% of parents say that a lack of timely support has resulted in their son or daughter having higher support needs in the long term.
  • If local services identified and supported just 4% of adults with high functioning autism and Asperger syndrome the outlay would become cost neutral over time.
  • If they did the same for just 8% it could save the Government £67 million per year.

  • Adults with autism say that finding a suitable job would improve their lives more than anything else, yet only 15% are in paid employment.
  • 79% of adults with autism who are currently on Incapacity Benefit want to work.
  • One third of adults with autism, over 100,000 people, are currently without a job or benefits.
  • Over half have spent some time without either work of benefits, some for more than ten years.

  • In a 2009 survey, 68% of carers said they were caring for over 71 hours a week.
  • 69% of respondents of those carers who were not working had had to give up work because of their caring responsibilities.
  • 76% of parents and carers of adults with autism are not currently receiving any support from their local authority.

Health (including mental health):
  • 71% of children with autism have at least one mental health problem, such as anxiety disorders, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder, and 40% have two or more.
  • 1 in every 10 children who use child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) has autism, that’s over 10,000 children every year.
  • In a survey of parents whose children had accessed CAMHS, two thirds said that CAMHS had failed to improve their child’s mental health.
  • Parents are twice as likely to say that CAMHS has improved their child’s mental health where they have had support from a professional who specialises in autism.
  • 80% of GPs feel they need additional guidance and training to manage patients with autism more effectively.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Women of Egypt


Tunisia and Egypt: "l'héroïsme ordinaire des femmes"

Click here for photos on Le Monde website of women in the Tunisian uprising.

If you are on Facebook, click here for women taking part in the mass protests in Egypt.

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Day of Anger ... The Egyptians' Day

This article is from the website of the Centre for Trade Union and Workers' Services in Egypt. A small drop-down menu at the top left enables you to read the English version of the site if you need to.

The Day of Anger … the Egyptians’ Day
Freedom … Justice … Dignity

Center for Trade Union and Workers Services “CTUWS”, 26 January 2011: Egypt witnessed yesterday (Tuesday, 25 January) the biggest popular protests since the “Bread Protests” of 18 and 19 January 1977.

Tens of thousands of Egyptians in Cairo, Alexandria, Mehalla, Suez, Ismailia, Kafr el Sheikh, Giza, Port Said, Fayoum and other governorates protested against the deteriorating economic conditions represented by the widespread of poverty (as more than 42% of the Egyptians live under the poverty line according to the United Nations statistics), the rising rate of unemployment and the soaring prices. Protestors called for political reforms and for dissolving the People’s Assembly (the Parliament) which came as a result of fake elections last November.

A number of protest movements and political powers seeking change called the Egyptians to come out to the streets on 25 January which coincides with the Egyptian Police Day.

Hundreds of thousands of citizens responded to the call of the political movements in Cairo and in several Egyptian cities on the Day of Anger to send a warning message to the regime to conduct immediate political and economic changes.

The “CTUWS” condemns using force to disperse the protestors who expressed their fair demands in a peaceful manner. Four citizens were killed, tens of citizens were injured and several hundreds were arrested in several Egyptian cities. The “CTUWS” calls for prosecution of the officials responsible for killing the four citizens and causing injury to other protestors. Meanwhile, the CTUWS calls for releasing all the arrested protestors.

The “CTUWS” warns against ignoring the demands of the Egyptian people. Any negligence, procrastination or handling these protests as a foreign conspiracy will cause more congestion and will increase the complexity of the situation.

The national duty implies that the government should listen to the demands of the protestors and to conduct real social dialogue with all the political powers and the civil society organizations. The dialogue should reach obliging realistic steps to get out of the crisis and to secure real democratic transformation of the Egyptian political system.


Friday, January 28, 2011


Had a bit of trouble opening this, but seems to work now .Check out live coverage of the protests unfolding in Egypt.

Looks like it won't be long before Mubarak does a runner .


Urgent, petition to save Brenda Namigadde from deportation today

Over at this website there is a petition :


Brenda Namigadde, a Ugandan lesbian in the UK, faces deportation TOMORROW back to the life-threatening persecution she fled eight years ago.

We just found out that one of the leading figures in the LGBT movement in Uganda, David Kato, was murdered yesterday in his home. This awful tragedy makes clear what's at stake for Brenda if she is forced to return.

Will you join more than 20,000 people in 85 countries and sign this urgent letter pressuring U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May to stop Brenda’s deportation?


Thursday, January 27, 2011

David Kato - In Memoriam

From Peter Tatchell:

Heroic campaigner for LGBTI freedom murdered in Uganda

Ugandan LGBTI rights activist David Kato was found murdered in his house on 26 January 2011. He had received homophobic death threats and had been pictured and named by Uganda's Rolling Stone magazine in an article that called for gay people to be killed.

British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said:

"My sincere condolences to Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and to the Ugandan LGBTI community concerning the tragic, brutal murder of David Kato.

"I salute David and his immense, brave contribution to LGBTI human rights in Uganda.

"He was an inspiring campaigner of long and great commitment.

"David will live on in our memories. He will also live on through the rights and equalities that LGBTI Ugandans will win eventually thanks to his many years of tireless groundwork and campaigning.
"I express my admiration and appreciation to all the members of SMUG who are battling for LGBTI freedom in conditions of great adversity and danger. Their courage and tenacity is awesome.

"This savage killing will, I hope, finally prompt Uganda's political, religious and media leaders to cease their homophobic witch-hunts. Their hatred helps create the bigoted atmosphere that leads to queer-bashing violence.

"I urge the government of Uganda to withdraw the 'kill the gays' Anti-Homosexuality Bill, decriminalise same-sex relations and legislate protection for LGBTI people against discrimination and hate crimes," said Mr Tatchell.

There will be a vigil :

Memorial Vigil for David Kato in London

Murdered Ugandan LGBTI activist honoured

Friday 28 January 10.30am, Ugandan High Commission

Friday 28 January 2011
10:30 - 12:30
Uganda High Commission
58-59 Trafalgar Square
London SW1, United Kingdom
(south side by the start of Pall Mall, nearest tube Charing Cross)

LGBTI activist David Kato was beaten to death in his home in Uganda on 26 January.

David's funeral will be held on Friday 28th January. To coincide, a memorial vigil is being held outside the Ugandan High Commission in London.

Please spread the word via your email lists and Facebooks - and join us at the vigil.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Men can’t comprehend the complex rules of television broadcasting, say women

Women everywhere were overheard this morning claming that men clearly don’t have the capacity to understand the complex broadcasting guidelines for UK programmes, and that they have no place using words on television.

Most amusing. Read the rest here.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Urgent appeal: Jailed woman trade union leader in Bangladesh

From LabourStart ...
It has now been more than five weeks since the illegal arrest of Moshrefa Mishu, President of the Garment Workers Unity Forum in Bangladesh (pictured).

There was no warrant for her arrest at the time that heavily-armed plainclothes officers took her off to jail, where she remains - in poor health and badly treated.

Her real crime was leading a protest campaign to demand the implementation of the legal minimum wage.

I'd like to ask you to take a moment to send off an urgent message of protest to the government of Bangladesh demanding her release.

Please click here - - to do so.

If you're on Facebook, please also sign up to support the cause there.

And also please forward this message to your fellow union members - let's mobilize thousands of trade unionists around the world to demand Mishu's release now.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Bankers " school keeps out the poor

So much for Con Dems promises to raise educational standards for all kids:

A CONDEM flagship school set up by fatcat bankers is refusing to take poor kids.
Pupils from a council estate primary are banned from Bolingbroke Academy in Battersea, South London, although it will cost taxpayers £6million a year.


Pupils from a struggling primary that lies on a deprived council estate have been told there will be no place for them at a ConDem free school being set up with backing from City fatcats.
Yet those at four others in wealthier parts of the same area have been singled out as feeders for Bolingbroke Academy – dubbed the bankers’ school – when it opens next year.


Labour MP Lisa Nandy said: “This is a shocking indictment on the Government’s policy on free schools, transferring money from the poor to the rich.

“Labour and teaching unions warned about this when the legislation was passed.” Bolingbroke Academy, being built on the site of a former hospital in Battersea, is supported by leading City finance firms.
Among them are NM Rothschild, Credit Suisse, Citi Group, Barclays Capital, Coutts, Normura, HSBC, Morgan Stanley and RBS.
Tory-controlled Wandsworth council is spending £13million buying the site and more public cash will be needed to convert it into a school. Taxpayers face an estimated £6million yearly bill for running the academy.

The move has sparked fury among teachers and union chiefs. GMB spokesman Paul Maloney said bankers who had to be bailed out with billions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash had “acquired a taste for using public money to fund their pet projects”.

All in it together, I think not. Handouts for the rich .

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Gay Scientists Isolate Christian gene!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Never trust a Lib Dem


Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Lib Dem support hits all time low and Clegg not at all popular - Good !

The price of backtracking on manifesto commitments for power:

Support for the Liberal Democrats has slumped to its lowest level since the party was formed in 1988, according to The Independent's "poll of polls".

Nick Clegg is now the most unpopular third party leader since David Owen led the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1989. The Liberal Democrats' 11 per cent rating in the first poll of polls since last May's election highlights the dramatic slide in their fortunes since they entered the Coalition with the Conservatives.

The 57 Liberal Democrat MPs would be reduced to a rump of just 15 at the next election if this level of support were to be repeated then.

Labour is now on 40 per cent and the Tories on 38 per cent, giving Labour an overall majority of 14, according to the weighted average of the regular surveys by ComRes, ICM, Ipsos MORI and YouGov.

John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, who compiled the figures, said that the costs and benefits of the Coalition had been distributed very unevenly between the two parties in it.

"It is clear that the tone and direction of the Coalition Government has upset many people who voted Liberal Democrat in May, and before, while for the most part those who voted Conservative have been reasonably content with what has transpired," he said.

"Liberal Democrat support is now lower than at any time since the party's troubled years following the merger of the Liberals and SDP." Mr Clegg's party is as unpopular as when the third party propped up an ailing Labour government in a Lib-Lab pact before the 1978-79 "winter of discontent".

The parallel is not an encouraging one for Mr Clegg, since its number of MPs fell to 11 at the 1979 general election – its worst result at any election between February 1974 and 2010.

"It seems that history is repeating itself so far as public reaction towards the party's involvement in support for a government engaged in cutting public expenditure is concerned," said Professor Curtice. "It certainly should not be presumed that demonstrating an ability to take tough decisions in the national interest will eventually reap a reward in the ballot box."


"Mr Clegg has clearly taken a serious hit personally," said Professor Curtice. Only 38 per cent of people are satisfied with his performance as Deputy Prime Minister, while 50 per cent are dissatisfied. These are the worst ratings for a third party leader since Dr Owen's score in December 1989, when 24 per cent were happy with him and 52 per cent unhappy.

Enjoy the power while you can Clegg,propping up the Tories will damage you and the Lib Dems in the long term as well as short. Those naive enough to have voted for them believing they represented some sort of new shiny principled politics will not make the same mistake again in local elections . They have seen the broken promises ,the ease and enthusiasm with which Clegg has worked with the Tories.

I look forward to seeing them hammered in May .


Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Well done - Janine Booth elected onto RMT's national Council of Executives.

Congrats to Janine , from Workers Liberty :

AWL member Janine Booth has become the first ever woman to be elected to the London Transport seat on the RMT's national Council of Executives.
In a landslide victory, Janine received more than double the amount of votes won by her opponents. The key focus of her campaign was increasing rank-and-file control in the union and developing assertive industrial strategies designed to win. With the jobs dispute on London Underground now at a key juncture, the presence of a rank-and-file socialist like Janine on the union's national leadership could make a real difference.

Oh and don't forget to keep blogging here on your experiences .

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Monday, January 03, 2011

Pete Postlethwaite RIP


Communist Manifestoon

A clever and useful vid, I think, for studying - or looking again at - the Communist Manifesto. The cartoons help to illustrate the ideas and keep the watcher engaged. Love the final screen, too.

The only problem, for me, is that the narrator's voice is rather soporific. Although he speaks clearly, I'd like an awesome statement like "The proletarian movement is a self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority in the interests of the immense majority" to be delivered with a little more revolutionary fervour, and a phrase like "bourgeois claptrap" to be spat out with a little more contempt!


Saturday, January 01, 2011


Friday, December 31, 2010

Alternative New Year Honours

I think Stroppyblog should award our own NY honours and dishonours .

Hmm, while I ponder that, suggestions ? Categories, people ?


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jayaben Desai RIP

"What you are running here is not a factory, it is a zoo. But in a zoo there are many types of animals. Some are monkeys who dance on your fingertips, others are lions who can bite your head off. We are the lions, Mr. Manager."
Jayaben Desai, to her boss, at the start of the Grunwick dispute in 1976.

"When they talked of the power of the trade union movement I listened but I didn't really believe. Now I see that power."
Jayaben Besai, when thousands of workers from other industries joined the Grunwick mass pickets.

Mrs Desai was one of the highest-profile and most articulate of the strikers, who proved that workers' struggle takes place not just in its traditional bastions, that Asian women workers can fight the bosses as tenaciously as anyone.

Her example has inspired many women (and men) in the 30+ years since.

Mrs Desai died last week. Her death is a very sad loss.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

SSP statement on Sheridan conviction for perjury

From the SSP website :

SSP statement on Sheridan conviction for perjury


Tommy Sheridan’s conviction today for perjury was inevitable.

Six years ago, as leader of the Scottish Socialist Party, he proposed to sue a tabloid newspaper over stories he knew to be true and demanded that our party went along with his lies. All his closest friends and political allies of 20 years urged him not to take such a reckless course of action.

He will now be dealt with by the judge. We have no desire for vengeance.

What is more important is that all those who have been falsely denounced by him and his allies as liars, plotters, perjurers and forgers have been cleared.

The idea that there was a conspiracy involving Rupert Murdoch, Lothian and Borders Police and the SSP is nonsense and yet this is the narrative that Tommy Sheridan’s supporters publicly promoted for the past 4 years.

By his actions over six years, Tommy Sheridan has disgraced himself and negated his political contribution to the socialist cause over 25 years. History will now record that he did more harm to the socialist cause in Scotland than any good he ever did it.

That astonishing conclusion would not have been thought possible at the height of the poll tax struggle he led so well, or during his early period in the Scottish Socialist Party and Scottish Parliament.

The SSP reaffirms that its aim is to defend the interests of working people, the millions against the millionaires and to fight for a socialist transformation of society in the interests of the majority.

We now draw a line under this sorry saga and move on. The Scottish Socialist Party has been tested to the limit over the past six years and has proven it is a party of principles and integrity.

In this time of savage attacks by the rich against the poor, Scotland more than ever needs a strong left wing socialist party that can be trusted.

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The fall of Tommy Sheridan - cross post

Cross posted from Dave's blog :

THAT Tommy Sheridan was the most charismatic and gifted revolutionary socialist politician of recent decades is beyond serious dispute, and I always used to admire him for that. I still do, I suppose.

In a period where leftwing ideas failed to find a widespread hearing, he alone proved capable of building a substantial electoral base for basic class struggle ideas. Without him, the Scottish Socialist Party would not have achieved the measure of success it did achieve, and the credit for this can never be taken away from him.

That he used the fame that inevitably ensued to his personal sexual advantage is not an issue that should be of pressing concern to anyone other than himself and those with whom he slept. No one should cast judgement on the consensual relationships or others, be they gay, straight, marital, adulterous, based on auto-erotic asphyxiation, or participated in by however many can squeeze into a bed in a cheap hotel room.

At the time the News of the World published details of his visits to a swingers’ club in Manchester, Sheridan had sufficient popularity North of the Border to take exactly that stance. A dignified ‘no comment’ or a rigid ‘none of your business’ line, and he would have rode out the publicity, in much the same way as any other married politician caught playing away by the red tops.

There are enough broadminded adults out there to ensure that nookie with someone other than the missus is not the automatic end of a political career, as figures from Shagger Norris to Paddy Pantsdown can testify.

I cannot imagine what drove Sheridan to sue for libel instead. In a country where religious feelings are more widespread than in England, perhaps he felt that the revelations were electorally damaging. Perhaps he saw a one-off opportunity to make some serious cash. One day his memoirs will presumably tell us.

But what was inadmissible right from the start was his expectation that his comrades were somehow duty bound to stand up in the dock and commit the criminal offence of perjury in his support.

Sheridan’s supporters have argued all along that it is the elementary responsibility of socialists to defend other socialists against the Murdoch press, at all times and in all circumstances, and at any degree of jeopardy. The reality is that everything depends on the political issues at stake. Where there is sufficient cause for such a risk, then the correct course would naturally be to take it.

But unlike, say, John Maclean or the leadership of the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1926, Sheridan was not before the court on charges of sedition. Unlike Jock Haston, Roy Tearse, Heaton Lee and Ann Keen, he did not stand in front of a jury for his support for unofficial industrial action. Unlike Ricky Tomlinson, Des Warren or the Pentonville Five, the issue at hand was not his conduct on the picket line.

Sheridan’s conviction today flows entirely from his insane determination to lie about his inability to keep it in his trousers. As a result, he has destroyed everything he spent the first half of his life building up, just at a time when a party premised on militant opposition to coalition austerity could truly have hit the big time. However sorry one has to feel for the family, the biggest tragedy about what has happened is the setback this represents for the far left as a whole.

Agree wholeheartedly . I also want to send my support to all the SSP comrades who were put in a terrible position because of the ego and stupidity of Sheridan in pursuing this .

Another post to check out is this one , from Scottish Socialist Youth.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Catholic church renounces hospital over life-saving abortion

The head of the Catholic church in Phoenix has stripped Arizona's largest hospital of its Catholic affiliation after he ruled that a decision to save the life of a mother by terminating her 11-week pregnancy was morally wrong.

What a disgrace. Mind you, perhaps the hospital will be better off without its Catholic affiliation. It didn't even come with any money!

Full story here.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Don't forget Bradley Manning

Assange has had his high profile supporters , backing him with money and publicity, but what about Bradley Manning ?

Anyone seen Bianca Jagger or Jemina Khan speak up for him ? Has Assange said anything ? I may have missed it, and do please let me know in the comments if they have .

The harsh prison detention conditions endured by Bradley Manning – the US soldier who is alleged to have supplied classified government documents to WikiLeaks – have emerged.

For the last seven months, Private Manning, 23, has been kept in a cell six feet wide and 12 feet long, in solitary confinement at a maximum security military jail at Quantico, Virginia.

A typical day for Private Manning begins with being woken at 5am in the cell, which has a drinking fountain and a toilet. He is then allowed to put on his clothes, which he surrendered on going to bed the night before.

Under the rules, Private Manning is not allowed to sleep at any time between 5am and 8pm; if he does so, he is made to sit up or stand by the guards. He is allowed just one hour of exercise a day, even then not in the fresh air, but an empty room where he can walk in figures of eight. Any attempt by him to keep himself busy by, for example, doing press-ups, or sit-ups, is forbidden.

He is not allowed to associate with his fellow inmates and has never seen them, although he does occasionally hear their voices.

Private Manning is allowed to watch local television channels, for up to three hours on weekdays; sometimes more at weekends. But he does not have access to wider news coverage. He is allowed one book and one magazine at a time, from an approved list of 15, and is allowed approved visitors at prescribed times. Lt Col Coombes said the guards have, at all times, behaved correctly towards Private Manning. But, under the regulations, their conversations with him must be minimal.

While the left get all excited about their latest male hero, lets hope they do not forget Bradley .


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Remembering Kirsty MacColl

Here are a few you tubes to celebrate the life of Kirsty , who dies 10 years ago today :

Kirsty sang and wrote songs that covered love in a down to earth way, used humour and did social commentary without being dull and worthy. She is much needed today .

Oh and how could I forget, the only Xmas song that is bearable to listen to :

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Monday, December 13, 2010

LibDem MP tells constituent to get a life and stop whinging

Seems one Lib Dem doesn't seem to think he needs to court the voters , perhaps thinking fuck it, can't be much more unpopular. Or perhaps just getting a bit tetchy , I mean can't be much fun being the collective fall guys for the Tories . Thats the price of selling what principles you did have for a sniff of power.

Anyway, back to the delightful Bob Russell, MP for Colchester . The Telegragh publishes a letter where he writes to a constituent :

Letter from Bob Russell MP

Ooh, don't hold back there .


Sunday, December 12, 2010

"My dissertation is huge: " Trot on the pull

American I know, but sadly many similarities as highlighted by Dave a while back, with British leftie men .

Anyone want to add some classic Trot chat up lines ?
Hat Tip John Gray .

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