Wednesday, April 30, 2008

One of those damn meme things

Got tagged by Phil .

Here goes ...

1) What was the last 1980s song you heard?

Listened to Yazoo . Mix of songs.

2) What was the last thing you saw on You tube?

Looked up 'The Trucks' that I found via the F Word.
Not exactly Girls Aloud.

Lyrics such as :

what makes you think we can fuck just because you put your tongue in my mouth and you twisted my titties baby?


So why the fuck won’t you go down on me?


no i won’t sit nice and be quiet
no i won’t sit nice and be quiet
no i won’t sit nice and be quiet
no i won’t sit nice and be quiet

Review here, describing them as :

...sounds like the musical lovechild of riot grrrls Sleater-Kinney and gay glam-rockers Scissor Sisters. The foursome’s first outing makes the personal political by letting off steam about subjects as varied as emotionally distant lovers, the politics of neighborhood bullies, sexual assault and concepts of beauty.

Though serious subjects its not all worthy and dull. Check out their myspace page .

3) What was the last entry on Wikipedia you viewed?

The Yazoo one to link to in the earlier answer.

4) What was the last computer/video game you completed all the way through?

Haven't played computer games for years when I used to have a Gameboy.
Does face book scrabble count ?

I have though been given a Poker computer game as a birthday present from Dave. So I'll be playing that soon.

5) What did you last pig out on?

Hmmm, food or drink ?

I'm trying to be healthy at the moment with food, but did go for a meal last week with a friend for a birthday treat and had a really nice pudding. Chocolatey!

With drink, well my birthday and the next day. Rather a lot of red wine.

6) What is the last undeleted text message on your mobile phone?

'Cool', from Jim Jay.

7) When did you last have a conversation with someone other than a family member?

None of my conversations are with family as I don't have any. Bumped into the woman who colours my hair and chatted about the pale pinks bits I put in it myself.

8) Aside from where you live, what is the last village/town/city you visited?

London, but not sure that counts as I spend half my time there .

9) What was the last competition you won?

Can't remember .

10) What are the last three blogs you visited?

Shiraz, Susan Press and Dave's .

Right, I'm supposed to tag some more people. Phil tags six, but I'll just do five.
Will , Hakmao, Darren ( as Phil forgot to ), Volty and Tami.


Special May Day Carnival of Socialism

Last minute request for posts. Carnival of Socialism is hosting a special May Day edition :

Just a reminder that the next Carnival will be hosted on this site ON MAY 1ST so please email blog posts about any or all aspects of international workers' day to

So if you have written one , or planning to, or see any of interest drop them an e-mail.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hopi weekend school

Info from hopi :

Hopi weekend school

Saturday-Sunday, June 14-15, University of London Union, Malet Street.

We are still finalising the agenda, but topics will include:

1.War, human rights and ‘humanitarian interventions’;
2.Iran, Israel and the Middle East and the nuclear question
3.Sanctions and Iran
4.Can imperialism liberate women in the Middle East?
5.National and religious minorities
6.The working class movements and their response to the economic crisis in Iran
7.The 1979 revolution and its aftermath

If possible, please book your place in advance by paying via Paypal or by sending cheques/postal orders to Hopi, PO Box 54631, London N16 8YE.

Even if you cannot come, maybe you/your organisation/your trade union is able to sponsor this important conference? Any financial help is very much welcome!

Book a stall for £20
£20 waged; £10 unwaged

Info at Hopi


Monday, April 28, 2008

Consumer Interlude

OK, so it's not a great thought-provoking political essay, but if you can't sound off about life's frustrations on your blog, then where can you? I even seem to remember 'serious political blogster' Dave Osler wittering on about toasters during some festive season or other.

Anyway, BT have really quite pissed me off. Here is my email to them which explains the problem ...

I received a leaflet with my BT Vision package telling me that the Brother HL2170W would cost me £134.99 rather than £161.99 if I bought it through

I've just visited that page, but can not find any such reduction.

Can I buy it at the lower price or not? This will probably determine whether I buy it at all.

... to which I received this very helpful (not) reply ...

Thank you for your email.

We aim to price as competitively as possible across our product range, and regularly discount products wherever possible. Sometimes we may not always be able to compete with some on-line retailers, who may be taking short term price action to clear stock for example, and who are not themselves re-investing in research and bringing the best possible products to market to meet our customers needs

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

... forcing me to send this ...

Sorry, but could you actually answer my question?!

Can I buy the product at the discounted rate or not?

... to which BT replied ...

It seems that this price has now changed so we can only apologise for this and advise that this is not available at the discounted rate.

What a load of rubbish. Look, I know that capitalism's not fair and everything, but does anyone know whether it is actually illegal to advertise something at a discounted price then charge the full price? I have a thirst for justice.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Richard Barnbrook - News of the World kiss and tell

Now I really don't care what people get up to in bed as long as its consenting adults , but I can't resist posting on Richard Barnbrook getting the kiss and tell treatment in the News of the World today :

BNP boss Richard Barnbrook cheats on Brit with IMMIGRANT
Racist ranter tutu times ballerina

BNP frontman Richard Barnbrook has been cheating on his ballerina fiancée... with a FOREIGN NURSE.
The racist ranter —bidding to be London mayor—was secretly bedding Finn Annika Tavilampi when he proposed to English National Ballet star Simone Clarke.

Barnbrook—who studies Hitler—ADVANCED on Annika, 28, after spotting her on an online dating site, BLITZED her with filthy texts and pictures— and asked her to MARRY him too.

"Richard sent me photos of his private parts before I'd even met him," says the redhead. "I thought this was very odd for a politician."

"He was average in bed. And then there was his drinking—I've only ever seen him properly sober a couple of times. But I still fell for him."


He proposed to Simone over a romantic candlelit dinner. But all the time Barnbrook—whose mayoral campaign pledge is to "remove" London's one million immigrants—was planning to remove a particular immigrant's knickers.

"He's not the most skilful or active lover I've had, but I loved him so much it made up for it— even though the only time he took me out was to a Wetherspoon's."

So much for strong family values, though the reality is its all about hypocrisy and pretence much of the time.

The best bit of course is that Annika Tavilampi accuses him of being crap in bed, sending pics of his dick to women he meets on the internet and that his idea of showing a girl a good time is Weatherspoons .



An Appeal to Ken Livingstone and the Left List. Stop putting stuff through my door.

I have decided to vote Lindsey German 1 Ken Livingstone 2 for Mayor, Left List for the GLA. I have no enthusaism for doing so whatsover, and bitterly regret that the left and the labour movement did not get their act together to run a decent, socialist slate standing up for working-class demands. But, you know, I can't be indifferent between Livingstone and Johnson, the only two candidates who can win and between whom every vote counts; and the preference system allows me to vote for a no-hope candidate first and Livingstone second, thus registering in some weak, insipid way that I do actually thing privatisation is bad, striking Tube workers are not the devil incarnate, and it is not OK for the police to bully and kill innocent people. And I can't abstain on the GLA vote because that will help the BNP get elected (amongst other reasons).

Problem is: every time I get a leaflet through my door from either of my two preferred candidates, it makes my decision even harder to stick to.

Ken's card popped through the letterbox yesterday, pleading with me to Imagine Boris in charge of running London. Suddenly he's not so funny. Good point, but a candidate chasing after my vote should really do more than point out that the other geezer is a clown. Ken's card damns Boris for, amongst other things, voting against automatic five-year sentences for people caught illegally carrying guns. In the pamphlet of candidates' election addresses that the Post Office kindly put through my door, Ken boasts of increasing the numbers of London coppers, without so much as suggesting that they should be more accountable or behave a bit better. Strangely, none of his election material that I have yet seen says Vote for Ken - Privatising the East London Line was a stroke of genius.

The Left List's election material appears to have had the words 'socialism' and 'working-class' surgically removed - totally absent from the leaflet they put through my door yesterday. Although Lindsey does manage to mention in her election address that she is a socialist, her vision of the agency to change society is "a new movement of Londoners", rather than the, erm, working class. Need I really go into why this is both unprincipled and counter-productive? Indeed, wasn't it embarrassment at the S word and the W word that marked the start of Labour's swing to the right under Kinnock in the 1980s (not that it had been exactly 'left-wing' before then!)? The Left List's election material is really lukewarm and uninspiring, a list of worthy slogans about housing, transport etc and bland statements about London's wealth.

Independent working-class representation and principled socialism is more important - but, sadly, seems more remote - than ever.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hillary To 'Obliterate' Iran

Hillary Clinton, plainly not bothering to court any kind of anti-war or even vaguely human vote, has talked of her willingness to "obliterate" Iran.

Yes, last week she told GMA that should Iran attack Israel with nuclear weapons, "I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran ... In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."

Note the use of the word "they". Hillary has presumably not noticed that "they" the regime and "they" the population are not the same thing. If the former "they" attacks Israel (which some on the 'left' might cheer, but not I), then Hillary's US of A will massacre the latter "they".


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Friday, April 25, 2008

A Fine Day Out

I thought I'd share some of the fun, confidence and determination of yesterday in pictures rather than words, starting on a PCS picket line in Hackney and moving on to the mainly-NUT march.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Delete and Insert

Sometimes, you stumble across something that really neatly sums up the difference between the left and the right of the labour movement. And so it was that last week, thumbing through records of London Labour Party Conferences in the 1920s (I'm writing a book on Poplarism), I found this ...

In 1922, the London Labour Party Executive proposed a report to the conference (almost certainly penned by Herbert Morrison, pictured), the introduction to which stated: Fortified by the valuable experience obtained in practical work the London Labour Party faces the electorate with much greater knowledge and experience than it possessed three years ago; it is better equipped than ever to discharge the responsibilities of municipal statesmanship.

Woolwich Trades Council proposed an amendment: Delete "discharge the responsibilities of municipal statesmanship" and Insert "serve the interests of the Working Class."

Well, quite.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Theory as foreplay...part 3 of the sex survey results

Almost there...note to self, do a shorter survey next time with more tick boxes and less free text !

Right ...

If your life depended on it, which TU General Secretary would you shag ?

I left it up to people to add names or comments :

I'd rather die but I guess at pinch Tony Lennon
Christine Payne
Gemma Tumelty of NUS (Is that allowed - she is a LILF, Labour I'd Like to Fuck)
Norman Willis
Was Brenda Dean a GS? I'd like to shag her for selling out SOGAT in the 80s.
Mark Serwotka(3 votes)
Fred Bramley
OMG - it would have to be Sally Hunt. Are there any other women? (2 votes)
am i allowed Paul Mackney?
Bob Crow (4 votes)
Brendan Barber - but only if John McDonnell was allowed to watch
Urgh. WHoever the Musicians Union Gen Sec is so at least we'd have some good accompaniment
Jeremy Dear is hot!
Francis O'Grady

I'd rather shaft all of them
I'd eat the bullet
IF my life depended on it, any of them.
As a dubious ultraleftist I'm not sure I'd recognise a TU General Secretary
All of them.
i would rather be dead (a number of variations on this , suicide, jump, bullet)

Dirty talk, theory as foreplay...

Marx - The second volume of Capital (9.8%) 5
Ernest Mandel's Late Capitalism (7.8%) 4
Weekly Worker (11.8%) 6
A Trade Union rule book ( 7.8%) 4
How many people were on the last anti war demo (7.8%) 4
Was the Soviet Union state cap or degenerated workers state. (35.3%) 18
Swearing al la Will (13.7%) 7
None of the above, that’s too kinky for me. (31.4%) 16

Some of you had your on suggestions for dirty talk :

daniel gluckstein's latest franglais
Marx - 18th Brumaire
Art & Language, Badiou, Stallman.
Pierre Bourdieu
Old issues of Newsline
Bevanism vs. Bennism: The shortest path to the co-operative commonwealth
Sugar production in Cuba

and someone added ...
These questions get weirder and weirder.

So do lefties ever pretend or go along to a political event or join a group for anything other than political motives ? Well...

Have you ever, if you are a straight or bi bloke, ever pretended to be a feminist to get into a woman’s knickers?

Have you ever, if you are a straight or bi bloke, ever pretended to be a feminist to get into a woman’s knickers?

(this was my cynical side coming out about feminist men )

Yes 7.3% 3 (so that's Dave and two others then !)
No 92.7% 38
Other (please specify) 7

Comments ( a few a bit affronted I think ):
Because I am a feminist
I am a feminist, how can I 'pretend'?
I've made a deal about it, but I AM a feminist, so that should be okay.
I *am* a feminist bloke!!!!
I dont get into womens knickers unless im wearing them.
I prefer feminists who are into shagging anyway!

The next one sees aless principled position...

Have you ever bought a paper, trailed along to a meeting, or joined a group, to get into someone’s knickers?

Yes 37.1% 23
No 62.9% 39

one comment :

Yes, but it was the RCP, so I don't think they'll have minded - in fact, I think it was their only recruitment strategy.

Is the personal political?

Yes 86.0% 49
No 14.0% 8

And the final question was "Anything else you would like to tell Stroppy"

Yes, why are lefty men all slightly fucked up, eh!!! Or may be it's just the ones I fancy...

This was quite diverting!

This was quite diverting!

I'm not "left", I'm Green.

Three lefties was too restrictive. There's a lot of nice women on the left! lol

Only in person.

in answering 'there shouldn't be sex-work after the revolution' the answer comes a fortiori from the fact that i don't see there being work after the revolution. and the one member of the tory party with whom i have had sex credits me as part of the reason she is no longer a member of the tory party.

Definitely not.

So there you go, a snapshot of the left and sex. Pretty disturbed but thats why I love em.

oh and thanks again to Jim Jay and Marsha Jane for their suggestions and ideas for questions .

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The AWL, dodgy fantasies and lefties you wouldn't kick out of bed..part 2 of the sex survey results

The second part had a number of questions looking at attitudes around sex.

Would a committed relationship for you be:

Marriage, kids and a Labrador (and no, nothing odd with the dog!) (13.6%) 9
Monogamous. (56.1%) 37
Sleep with other people but not tell. ( 9.1% )6
Open relationship, the odd shag with others. ( 24.2% )16
More than one partner. (10.6% )7
Not into commitment . (1.5% )1

Interestingly the majority (56.1) favoured monogamy , though about 34% did see commitment as taking less onventional forms and a few took the well worn path of not telling.

Those who added comments to ‘other’ included :

Different strokes for different folks, but honesty is mandatory.

Emotional commitment, think monogamy is negotiable but irrelevant

I have all the commitment I need for the revolution.

but i find it hard to do (in relation to marriage, kids , Labrador).

I suppose I tend to think its about real choice, not following what society, religion or families expect. Its shouldn’t be about conforming , but I do think the key is honesty and treating people, whether a one nighter or a partner, with respect.

The next two I think highlight that for many lefties sharing at least some politics is important for a partner but not when its just sex.

Would you knowingly sleep with a Tory ?

Yes (33.8%) 23
No (30.9%) 21
Depends how drunk I was (35.3%) 24

Is it important to share similar political views with a partner?
Yes 73.4% 47
No 26.6% 17

Comments :

Helpful, not essential. Share some views, not others

Depends how emotionally committed relationship is! If so yes, if just sex, no

Depends how divergent their view are

It is important that they are not shared.

I don’t think its possible to agree on everything (and that would be dull!), so I suspect for many there will be issues that are more important to share than others.

The next few focus on the leftie variation of work/life balance, yep shagging or selling papers .

How many sexual partners have you had ? And no, let’s not nitpick on the definition like Clinton!
(Though knowing the left, I gave a nit pick option )

1 7.6% 5
2-5 27.3% 18
5-10 4.5 % 3
10-15 19.7% 13
15-25 10.6% 7
25-30 6.1% 4
30-40 1.5% 1
40-50 1.5% 1
50-60 1.5% 1
60-80 1.5% 1
80-100 4.5% 3
100+ 6.1% 4
Can’t remember ! 3.0% 2
Well you see it does all depend what you mean by sex 9.1% 6

Of course this isn’t cross referenced with age, gender or sexuality, so is is just a snapshot. A few ticked more than one, including the “well you see it does all depend” answer as well.

One person added ‘none’.

So far we have lefties busy shagging every day and only a few too busy overthrowing capitalism, so what do they do on Saturday morning ?

Saturday morning , what’s your priority ?

Sex 38.1% 16
Getting down to reading some serious theory 16.7% 7
Writing a blog post 21.4% 9
Leafleting/paper sale/canvas 23.8% 10

Although the highest number said sex, there were quite a few (25) who added their own priorities :

First three in order.
Sleeping (8)
I do not get up before noon
Dealing with the kids/ kids/childcare/Children waking me up when I'd rather stay in bed. (4)
cup of tea
Walk the dog, buy the Guardian, make breakfast for my lover
Leafleting outside the local Conservative Club, where their posh yet not that old women's section is having a coffee morning, so I can get invited in
Getting up for work
Writing or producing a magazine/newspaper, or helping out at a food co-op

Now regular readers will remember this blog has been described as all about ‘Fisting, fucking and fishnets .'
I think those less well acquainted with the blog were a tad confused by the question and skipped it. To be honest no idea what the question meant; word association , words beginning with F, stream of leftie consciousness…

This is Stroppyblog, soooo

Fisting 16.0% 8
Fucking 68.0% 34
Fishnets 40.0% 20

Those that people added were :
Sucking the stilletto
Cunnilingus. Giving.
Light S&M
all 3

Now how sectarian are we in the bedroom (or wherever)?
This wasn’t tick box, people added what they wanted.

Here are some highlights !
1)What groups/parties/sects have you shagged members of?

You name it, I've shagged it
"Apolitical, mostly... "
"Tory, Labour, Lib.Dem. Trotskyite, Marxist, CND, Maoist, Quaker, Catholic, CofE, many others"
"labour, green, tory, lib dem, swp, awl, sparts, various more or less organised anarchist groups
ISG, Workers Power, IS, SWP, Workers Fight, Militant, WRP, the other WRP, Labour Party NEC "
"SWP, Socialist Labour (crap), SA, Green Party (REALLY don't go there!), Labour (but only as an act of class warfare), CBGP "
"Fond memories of RCP chicks in the early 1980s; hit on 'em and their knickers were as good as off. "

"SWP, Respect, Left List "

2)Which was the best ?

Libertarian leftie women
Anarchist Federation and (tragically) the RCP
The best was undoubtedly the Maoist.
definitely the anarchists, both on average and individually (and collectively :-) )
Militant, as it was soooo forbidden by the church of Grant and Woods
I haven't kept notes... but, there were these two Lib Dems...
Most quite crap, though I do have fond memories of a Millie

3)Is there a group, that no matter how much you fancied someone, their membership of it would mean you wouldn’t shag them?

BNP (any fascist basically) ( a few on this theme, though I was really meaning leftie groups)
Tories and rightwards, pro-Stalinists
Respect Renewal
SWP And, historically speaking and more so, WRP. And Furedisti
Shag, yes. Have a relationship, no.
Nauseating yuppie liberals
I would only have highly abusive anonymous sex with a neoconservative or libertarian.
Hackney Constituency Labour Party
English bit of Lutte Ouvriere,
WRP - I don't fuck apologists for rape
Can't imagine shagging anyone in Socialist Action.
CPGB-ML (wouldn't shag under any circumstance)

What came across from the survey was that the AWL are sort of leftie marmite, people either seem to love em or hate em. They figured highly in who someone wouldn’t shag , but as you will see later they figure quite highly in lefties you wouldn’t kick out of bed or as part of role play fantasy…and Jim is their most popular member !

Which three lefties wouldn’t you kick out of bed ?

I have just listed all the names people put in the survey. Quite a mixed bunch. Some are not that 'left' and one person said they don't 'do' lefties!

Most got one vote, those that got more were :

(some just said one person three times, counts as one)

3 votes


2 votes

Jim Denham
Jim Jepps
Catriona Grant
Stroppy (no I did not vote for myself !)

1 vote

Mary Partington
Sofie Buckland
Gregor Gysi
Hind Hassan
Hannah Sell
Salma Yaqoob
Sian Berry
David Miliband
Segolene Royal
Daniel Randall
David Broder
Jeremy Browne
Nick Clegg
Jackie Grunsall,
Lucy Adler,

Bob Browne (Australian)

“Margaret Thatcher, Mussolini's granddaughter, Segoline Royal, Sargosy's bird (I don't do "bed with lefties").”

Carolyn Leckie
Houzan Mahmoud
Barak Obama
Katja Kipping
Owen James
Jeremy Dear
Caroline Lucas
Gail Sheridan
Jon Rogers
Mark Fischer
China Mieville
Angela Eagle
Matt Wrack,
Dave Osler
George Binette

comments... girlfriend and all the girls I've slept with?,
Three persons known to me.
Can't name third
Um, I'm shit with names.
Really not sure, those dead Russians had some sexy beards though
Not telling you!!!
there aren't that many lefties i would kick out of bed.
“If there were three lefties in the same bed they'd be so busy arguing they wouldn't have time for the sex!”
my partner
Oh god. NEXT!
I daren't comment about anyone associated with this blog...
Too embarrassing to say - even anonymously

Silent ones

Lefties and fantasy…

Can I just say all these role play.fantasies were new to me. I mean i'm as vanilla as they come and any fantasy would be very right on and equal and probably involve gambolling through meadows being very respectful. These were all Jim Jepp's idea .
Hmmm, not convincing am I ;-)

Anyway, gave me some new ideas …

Have you ever fantasised (or role played )about :

Melanie Phillips, spank me baby! 7.0% 3
Nuns, with or without guns 34.9% 15
Women in burquas 23.3% 10
Margaret Thatcher 7.0% 3
Jim Denham 9.3% 4
Yvonne Ridley 4.7% 2
John Mcdonnell 11.6% 5
John Rees and young enthusiastic cadre 2.3% 1
Policemen or women 34.9% 15
Tory business women in French underwear 32.6% 14
Nazi orgies with hookers 14.0% 6
Ruth Kelly in bondage gear 11.6% 5
Harriet Harman, in full riot, telling you what a very naughty boy/girl you had been … 7.0% 3
Lefties in uniform – firefighters, nurses, rail workers… 60.5% 26
Or anything else you want to share ? 16.3% 7

And quite a few did indeed share ...

are you trying to put me off sex for life?
I don't go for authority figures. I like the unconstrained play of equals.
Sex in riots.
dom/mes, /bondage
SPP here again, I forgot to mention fantasising about armed workers in struggle, e.g. the IRA, RIRA, Provo IRA, Batasuna, the Welsh Firebombing Nationalists, the UCK/KLA, FSLN, SDLP, Gadaffi's women bodyguard troupe, South American guerrila movements, and the French Tories Womens Institute (Armed Section). Hang on, not the SDLP.
that famous picture of uniformed Maoist
East German fashion chic
Waterfalls au natural
I am the only true revolutionary, I am SouthPawPunch, spell it properly,!
My girlfriend can't get enough of John McDonnell, if that counts
soldiers, obviously.

And a few that said No!!
Good grief, none of the above.

Next up...theory as foreplay, lefties talk dirty and threesomes with TU general secretaries...

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What lefties do in bed...Sex survey results part 1 !

Yep, the results of the sex survey. Almost as eagerly awaited, and slow, as those in Zimbabwe. No rigging though, honest.

It’s my first blog survey, so it was a bit hit and miss, but hopefully learnt from it for the next. I tried transferring tables over to blogger and it went all wonky, so hope its readable.

Many of the questions are humorous (I hope), but there was a serious purpose. The left aren’t great on sexual politics and I am curious as to how we live our lives. Do we challenge gender roles; do we buy into bourgeois monogamous family units? Do we live the theory or do we muddle along with contradictions.Personally I think muddling along with the contradictions and trying to challenge the accepted norm is the best we can do in this society where the Labour Party bangs on about hard working families (the new deserving poor), when the media still has double standards about laddish men but slutty women and married monogamous bliss is still seen as the gold standard (which is fine if that's what you want rather than expected). Oh and then there’s the role religion plays in moralising about how we live our lives and the odd leftie bemoaning our godless society (if only).

Right, back to the survey !It seemed that most were genuine, with only one obvious spoof. That was someone who said they were 70+, Queer, Transgendered, AWL and had sex everyday. An ‘expert ‘ on the AWL informed me no such member existed, though I think it is Jim and he is just quite well preserved for his age (in whisky I suspect ).

Right, what did it show.

Well the responses were
Pt 1 87
Pt2 69
Pt3 64

The dropping numbers I think a consequence of being in three parts. It was over three surveys because there is a limit on questions with the free package. That has meant its more anonymous, but harder to make links between gender/sexuality/party etc and answers.

What political party/group/alliance are you a member of, if any?

Although free text, and so the option to say none was there, 35 people did not answer this. I suspect some of those were independent and others reluctant to say for whatever reason.

Those who did specify (and it was up to them how they defined it, It was not tick box) :

The Labour Party 9
New labour 1
Labour/LRC 2
Labour Party – Mcdonnellite 1
Green 8
Scottish Socialist Party 3
antifaschiste linke, Berlin 1
SPPP (TORP) SouthPawPunchParty (TheOnlyRevolutionaryParty) 1
“Prefer not to say – Trotskyist” 1
Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire 1
Socialist Party 1
Independent Anarchist 1
Respect 1
Libertarian left 1
Workers action 1
Solidarity (US) 1
Lib Dem 1
Independent /None 10
Tory 1

So a fair mix. One Tory seemed to miss the whole point of the survey, as it was for lefties. And of course we could argue about the Lib Dem as well.Oh and Punchie has said it wasn't him from SPPP, so must have been one of his members (so there are two !).

In terms of sexuality :

Straight 67.4% 58
Bisexual 17.4% 15
Gay 3.5% 3
Lesbian 1.2% 1
Queer 5.8% 5
Other 4.7% 4

From what I could tell it was mainly women who defined as bisexual . No one elaborated on ‘other’.

Gender :

Male 62 (72.1% )
Female 20 (23.3%)
Transgendered 4 (4.7%)


16-21 (16.1%) 14
22-30 ( 29.9%) 26
31-40 (20.7% ) 18
41-50 ( 23.0%) 20
51-60 ( 8.0%) 7
61-70 (0.0%) 0
70+ (2.3%) 2

On average, how often do you have sex?

Celibate ( 4.7%) 4
Oooh that was sooo long ago I can't remember (10.6%) 9
Once a year (1.2% ) 1
Twice a year (2.4%) 2
3-6 times a year (2.4%) 2
Once a month ( 17.6% ) 15
Once a week (10.6%) 9
two or three times a week ( 25.9%) 22
Every day ( 3.5%) 3
More than once a day ( 4.7% ) 4
Depends what you mean by sex ! ( 11.8% ) 10
I’m sorry, but I'm much too busy working to overthrow capitalism to bother with all that. ( 8.2%) 7

Now it does all depend what you mean by sex and also it varies from time to time, so I suppose this was just a snapshot. A few people ticked more than one box.

Glad to see some people prioritising the overthrow of capitalism, not like those having sex more than once a day…comrades what about the revolution ;-)

The porn and sex work ones were interesting and I think reflect the complexities that this survey could only touch on.

Around 2/3rd s said they used porn. In terms of whether it degraded women the majority were unsure. Quite a few straight men said they thought it degraded women but they still used it. Quite a few women said they used porn and it was mixed in terms of whether they considered it degrading. Gay men used it and the survey did not cover whether they felt it degraded men. Whether it should exist under socialism had a mixed response and again the question could not really cover the complexities. Is erotica alright but porn not? What really is the difference between erotica and porn, is one more middle class and arty? Is erotica any less stereotyped about gender roles? Would control by women make a difference .Where does that leave lesbian porn (and not the supposed lesbians performing for men )?
The question is quite general, its talking about the present. But does porn, or erotic/sexual material have to be degrading under socialism?

The sex work question again showed the differences in views on this and also that much depended on what was meant by the definition. Again it did not separate out sex work in terms of straight, gay or lesbian.

How often do you use porn?e

Never ( 35.3% )30
Daily ( 8.2% ) 7
Weekly (22.4%) 19
Monthly (7.1%) 6
Only occasionally (21.2% ) 18
Between relationships ( 5.9% ) 5
With my partner ( 8.2%) 7

Quite a few ticked more than one box, such as with a partner and weekly.

Do you think porn degrades women ?

Yes ( 33.3%) 28
No (26.2% ) 22
Hmmm, not sure . (40.5% ) 34
answered question 84

Should porn exist under socialism ?

Yes ( 72.5%) 58
No (27.5%) 22
answered question 80

Should sex work exist under socialism?

Yes (32.1% 27
No (22.6% ) 19
Depends what type (47.6% ) 40
answered question 84

Do you support the existing age of consent?
Yes (56.5% ) 48
No (10.6%) 9
It should be higher (3.5% ) 3
It should be lower (17.6%) 15
Shouldn't be one (17.6%) 15
answered question 85

Right, coming up...the sexual fantasies of the left, lefties you wouldnt kick out of bed and more...

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Dear Sir / Miss

Tomorrow, I will be handing in this letter to my kids' school ...

To NUT members at Brook Community Primary School

I am writing on behalf of myself and my partner to express our full support for your strike action on Thursday 24th April.

Over the last six years, many of you have taught one or more of our sons Alex, Joe and Harrison. We want you to know that we really appreciate the work of our kids’ teachers, and we understand that you do that work in very difficult conditions. You are not paid nearly as much as you deserve, with the result that not enough people want to become teachers and of those who do, too many become demoralised and leave. As a consequence, there is a fast turnover of teaching staff and instability for kids.

The government should be offering teachers a hefty pay rise, not a miserly offer that amounts to a pay cut in real terms. Perhaps MPs should vote to pay you as much as they pay themselves!

Thursday’s strike may be an inconvenience for parents (though the kids seem well pleased!) – but it is a minor inconvenience compared to the ongoing damage to our kids’ education caused by under-paying teachers.

Yours in support and solidarity
Janine Booth
(on behalf of myself and John Leach)

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Chaos and reasons to be cheerful...

I have not been about much on the blog; dealing with chaos in my flat. Long dull story but suffice to say its not been conducive to blogging .I can't find things, my computer is not in its usual place and everything is upside down (well not literally!).

I have escaped to the calm of Dave's flat in Hackney.Tomorrow I will post up the sex survey results .

Today I'm contemplating this cheery thought :

The biggest lows of our lives are experienced in middle age, according to new research that concludes that Britons are at their most depressed aged 44.

Scientists believe that although we are closer to death as pensioners and powerless in youth, it is the "reality check" years of our 40s that are the most depressing

Many previous studies had suggested that psychological well-being remained relatively constant as we aged but the new research discovered that for both British men and women the probability of depression peaked at about 44 years of age. In the US, unhappiness reached a peak at about 40 years of age for women and 50 for men.

Yep,I'm 44 today.

I plan to grow old disgracefully ;-)

I am not going to start acting my age, buy clothes because they are practical or have hair that is 'appropriate' for my age and if I ever start to listen to Dido please take me out and shoot me.

Now where did leave that bottle of JD.

The badly behaved drama queen Courtney ...


Friday, April 18, 2008

'Immigrant Crime Wave' Revealed As Lie

This week, a police report showed that immigrants are, in fact, not the bunch of criminals that some right-wing rags and ignorant bigots would have you believe. It seems that even in the few crimes where a disproportionate number of perpetrators are foreign, the same disproportion of victims are also foreign. It’s bad news for the BNP, but hey, the truth sometimes hurts. Bad news for the Daily Mail too, but here’s betting it won’t stop them reporting immigrant crime as though it is some sort of rampaging foreign disease threatening to overwhelm us Brits.

I’m old enough to remember that until about the 1980s, newspapers regularly used to refer to a criminal’s race, but only if they were non-white. So you would read that ‘a black man mugged an old lady’, but if a white man mugged an old lady, he would just be ‘a man’. But by twenty or so years ago, a steadily increasing howl of protest had put a stop to this particular brand of racist reporting.

These days, though, I regularly read in the rags that ‘an immigrant’ or ‘a failed asylum seeker’ has been apprehended for drink-driving, or burglary, or assault, or whatever. I never read that ‘a native Brit’ has committed an offence. So the form of reporting that became unacceptable about race and colour in the 1980s is still acceptable about immigration status.

Not only does this fuel presumptions about an immigrant crime wave that this week’s report proved to be false, it also shows that racists who can no longer parade their prejudices about blacks can still direct them against immigrants. And the fact that they prey on people’s genuine fear of crime may get them an audience but is actually sickening.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Victory: Hackney Gazette Will Not Publish BNP Advert

Here's the letter I (and probably everyone else who wrote in) got from editor Mick Ferris.

Thank you for your correspondence concerning the Hackney Gazette and advertisements from the British National Party.

All Archant titles firmly uphold the principles of neutrality, free speech, and compliance with the law. Although supporting democracy and freedom of speech we would not accept any advertisement from any organisation if the advertisement was any in way racist, homophobic, or stirred up religious hatred.

Irrespective of the aims and views of the BNP the advertisement complied with all legal requirements, regulations, and industry guidelines. The BNP is a legally constituted political party placing advertisements in the run up to the May 1st local elections in London. The decision to reject the BNP, for which we hold no brief, should be made by rational argument and at the ballot box, not by censorship by newspapers. That remedy lies with the legally elected politicians at Westminster.

Our decision on whether to publish or not is based on the nature of the local community. Our editors have to balance the need to be consistent in our approach with a desire not to damage the community in which they operate, a process which has been made more difficult by a clearly orchestrated campaign of complaints.

We have concluded that it is not in the best interests of the community to publish the advertisement in the Hackney Gazette. Nor is it right to give the BNP further publicity through a prolonged public debate about the merits of the organisation and its advertising campaign.

The balance of arguments in this debate has been extremely difficult but we believe that we have come to the right conclusion.

Mick Ferris
Hackney Gazette

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Sex Survey results ...soon

Eddie Truman, on facebook, said it was like the Zimbabwe elections when Tami asked where are the results !. Honest, I will post soon on them and no, they aren't rigged. Its just a lot to plough through.

Note to self, next time keep the damn thing simple !!

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Lord Jones - rats and sinking ships

Well what do you expect if you appoint the former Director-General of the CBI :

Gordon Brown’s Trade Minister has told businessmen that he will resign before the next election because he is not prepared to support the Prime Minister publicly during the campaign.

Not one of Brown's better decisions.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

"From Trotsky to Respect"

Busy today doing chores around my flat. To stave off boredom I checked out what was on listen again on R4 and came across "From Trotsky to Respect" :

"Geoffrey Wall looks at the history of the Socialist Workers Party. He talks to members past and present and asks how well a Marxist party is surviving in the 21st century."

Its a two parter, next one on the 16th.

All interviewed were SWP members and as you would expect were upbeat and positive. The presentation was quite rose tinted and I especially loved the bit where Alex Callinicos spoke of being recruited on the lawns at Balliol.

The next part is covering Respect, which might make more interesting listening. Will we hear from Lenny ?
Will it include non SWPers?

Anyone else caught it?

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Hackney Gazette To Run BNP Advert?

It seems that the owners of the Hackney Gazette are forcing the paper to publish an election advert from the BNP in the forthcoming edition.

As we discovered a wee while back, many readers of this blog live in Hackney, particularly the more salubrious part, N16. So please, everyone, click here for more information and contact e-mail addresses of the people who need to receive your protest. Please send it today.

Below is the email I sent to the paper's owners about 20 minutes ago. I'll let you know if I get a reply. Maybe a barrage of emails will persuade them. Better still, maybe the workers on the paper - or its typesetters, printers or distributors - could refuse to handle the filth.

Dear Mr Jewson and Mr Fry

I have heard that Archant intends to force the Hackney Gazette to publish an advert from the loathsome British National Party in the run-up to the forthcoming Greater London Assembly. I hope that this is not true - if it is, I strongly urge you to reconsider.

Perhaps you feel that the BNP has a right to free speech and that therefore you must publish its advert. I, too, believe very strongly in free speech. However, the BNP is well able to produce its own propaganda: its right to free speech does not oblige your company to publish its material. I would also ask you to consider what respect for free speech the BNP extends to its political opponents and those (many) groups of people that it despises. How much editorial freedom do you think your newspapers would enjoy in a society governed by the BNP?

The BNP's election advert may or may not be explicitly racist. If it is, I would like to think it would be obvious to you that you should not publish it. If it is not, though, I still believe that you should not, because doing so would assist the BNP in its manipulative, deceitful project of presenting itself as 'reasonable'. Behind that 'reasonable' facade is a fascist organisation determined to achieve its aims through scapegoating, violence and repression of democracy, a party that poses a direct physcial threat to many people, and to a big majority of Hackney residents.

The BNP has built support over recent years by presenting itself as the champion of white working-class people. Sadly, the fact that government policy has cut and privatised many NHS services, and has neglected housing estates, has given the BNP the political space to do this, lying to people that it is ethnic minorities, rather than government policy, that have caused the inadequacies in our public services. Do not assist the BNP in perpetrating these racist, anti-working-class lies. Where the BNP succeeds in doing so, communities become divided and physical attacks increase.

The purpose of the BNP's advert is not harmless electioneering, but as a platform to organise a physcial threat to our communities. We have a right to defend ourselves against this threat, including to demand that our local newspaper does not assist those who threaten us.


Janine Booth
President, Hackney Trades Union Council

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Even When You Choose A Non-Religious School, Religions Still Get A Say In It

I recently discovered that by law, local Councils which have a Scrutiny Commission responsible for education must co-opt representatives of religions onto that Scrutiny Commission with voting rights (scroll down to paragraph 52 of the link - it refers to Section 21 of the Local Government Act 2000). My own local Council, Hackney, has gone a step further and appointed three extra religious reps, presumably because if you are going to privilege religion, then why not privilege them all equally?!

My first gripe is that any post in government that has any power should be elected. Voting rights for unelected people is anathema to democracy.

But the main issue I want to take up here is the involvement of religion in education. What if you have a complaint about your school or your borough's education system that, for example, it is giving too much of a platform to religion? What if you want the Scrutiny Commission to look at improving sex education? Will you get a fair hearing? Who will speak up for secularists, even for atheists?

And what of 'choice'? Several times on this blog, I have taken issue with the very existence of religious schools. But even if you accept or defend religious schools, this law goes a step further - it gives religious organisations a say in education whether you want them to or not.

My partner and I chose to send our kids to a secular school, Brook Community Primary School. Many defenders of religious schools make their case on the basis of 'parents' choice'. I invite any of them to explain what happened to my 'choice' when unelected religious representatives still have a say in my kids' education even when I opted for a non-religious school.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Islington Registrar Demands The Right To Discriminate

A case in Islington shows how much the elevation of religion in recent years has encouraged those who want to use their faith to demand their right to prejudice. But at least in this case, the state is getting it right. So far.

Until December last year, Registrars - those nice people at the town hall who register births, partnerships, etc - worked in effect as freelancers for the Registrar General. Now, since the Statistics and Registration Act came into force, they are under the control of the Council. In other words, they have become accountable. Which is all too much to stomach if you want to discriminate against queers.

Lillian Ladele (pictured) wants to do just that. Before December, she could opt out of registering same-sex civil partnerships. Now she can't, which offends her Christian principles. (I'm not sure, by the way, whether same-sex couples can opt out of being registered by Ms Ladele.)

Ms Ladele launched her Tribunal claim at the end of last year, claiming that she was a victim of "discrimination or victimisation on grounds of religion or belief".

Her application failed. Let's think ... That'd be because she was not discriminated against at all - she was actually required to do exactly the same as everyone else who does her job. What she is a 'victim' of is an absence of discrimination. The truth is that she is demanding, not suffering, discrimination.

What if every registrar took her view? What if she, or anyone else, wanted to opt out of registering marriages of divorced people because of her religious beliefs? Or registering the births of children conceived by IVF or donor insemination? Maybe registrars could refuse to register people they just didn't like?! Of course, that would be patently absurd. But once you say your desire to discriminate is because of your religious beliefs, it seems to get a credibility that masks its actual absurdity.

Thankfully, it has not worked so far in this case, although Ms Ladele plans to appeal. It's not often I support bosses against workers in Employment Tribunals, and the Tribunal may be more interested in upholding the rights of bosses to tell workers what to do rather than the rights of lesbian and gay couples to get legally hitched. But nonetheless, in this case the boss is an elected public authority and the worker is a homophobe. Here's to the appeal failing.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Feminist Fightback presents...a Teach-In for Reproductive Freedoms

Can't go meself (though might pop to the social!), but thought some of you dear readers might like to know about this event, seeing as how interesting and useful it looks ...

Discussing ideas and planning action for a woman's right to choose
12 April, 12-5pm, Clement House Building, London School of Economics, Holborn (Holborn tube)


Opening speech by Sofie Buckland (NUS National Executive)

a) Imperialism and Motherhood
Speaker: Anna Davin (founding editor of History Workshop Journal)
Facilitator: Gwyneth Lonergan
b) From Abortion Rights to Reproductive Freedoms
A panel discussion with Charlotte Gage (Abortion Rights), Cathy Nugent (Workers' Liberty), Rosie Woods (NHS worker)
Facilitator: Anna Longman

a) Getting your message across
Jill Mountford (former organiser of the Welfare State Network) and James House (TV documentaries producer)
Workshop facilitator: Rachael Ferguson
b) How to campaign
Workshop Facilitator: Anne-Marie O'Reilly (trade union organiser)

Planning for a National Day of Action
Facilitators: Laura Schwartz and Rebecca Galbraith

* Food: cheap vegetarian food will be served from 12 noon
* Free creche: Please register with for a free creche place
* Social with X-talk: 7pm @ The Ivy House, Southampton Row, Holborn
* The teach-in is free to attend but a suggested donation of £1.50 unwaged and £3+ waged is encouraged.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

April 24: Support the NUT strike

For the first time in donkey's, teachers wil hold a national strike on April 24. And quite right too. A pay 'rise' that amounts to a pay cut is just not good enough.

We should all offer as much solidarity as we can. In fully intend to write to all of my kids' teachers personally expressing support. How about you go down to you local school and deliver a message to the NUT rep? Or write to your local paper? Or get a message of support sent from your union branch? Or go along and swell the numbers at the strike rallies? Details below ...

  • Central London: March from Lincoln’s Inn Fields 11am, rally at Central Hall 1pm
  • Newcastle: Grays Monument, Midday
  • Manchester: Friends’ Meeting House, 11am
  • Liverpool: Liner Hotel, 11am
  • Preston: Preston North End Football Club, 2pm
  • Bolton: Friends’ Meeting House, 10am
  • Nottingham: Assemble 10am at the Forest, march to Congregation Hall, rally at 11.30am
  • Barnsley: March from Barnsley College, rally at Town Centre Cinema, 9.30am
  • Calderdale: The Traders Club, 10am
  • Derby: Market Place, 11am
  • Leeds: Victoria Gardens, 11am
  • Sheffield: City Centre, Midday
  • Bradford: Bradford City Football Club, 10.30am
  • Lincoln: Turks Head, 11am
  • Leicester: Athena Conference Centre, 10.30am
  • Birmingham: City Centre, 12.30pm
  • Northampton: Guildhall, 12.30pm
  • Cambridge: Guildhall, Midday
  • Oxford: Picket outside Oxpens FE College 7.30am, March to Town Midday, Rally 2pm
  • Windsor and Maidenhead: Thames Hotel, 9am
  • Medway: Command House, 12.30pm
  • Reading: International Solidarity Centre, 10.30am
  • Bristol: March from Castle Green 11.30am, rally at Marriott Royal Hotel 1pm
  • Exeter: Exeter City Football Club, 11.30am
  • Taunton: Rugby Club, 10.30am
  • Dorchester: Town Hall, 10.30am

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Monday, April 07, 2008

One Out, Several More to Go

The good news is that Mahmoud Salehi, Iranian bakery workers' leader, is now free, released from prison yesterday (see TUC circular below). If international solidarity can get one out, then that should encourage us to redouble solidarity to get the rest of the jailed trade unionists released too.

After all, as we always say - One Out, All Out!

TUC welcomes release of Iranian bakery workers' leader Mahmoud Salehi

The TUC has welcomed the news today (Sunday 6 April) that Iranian bakery workers' leader Mahmoud Salehi was released from the City of Sanandaj's central prison at 3pm. He had completed a one-year jail sentence for trade union activities nearly two weeks ago, but the authorities had refused to release him.

Mahmoud Salehi's release has come after demonstrations outside the Sanandaj prison by bakery and other workers, and a worldwide campaign for his release including a global day of action in solidarity with all jailed Iranian trade unionists a month ago, and a last burst in the past few days with a mass email-sending campaign.

The TUC reiterated its call for the Iranian Government to release bus workers' leader Mansour Osanloo from the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, to free all jailed Iranian trade unionists, and to abide by international labour laws.


Mahmoud Salehi, leader of a bakery workers' organisation in Saqez has long suffered persecution by the Iranian authorities, spending several periods in prison because of their legitimate and peaceful activities as trade union activists and human rights defenders. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience and is concerned for his health.

He began his current sentence on 9 April 2007, and it was due to end on 23 March 2008. He was summoned to appear for questioning by Branch 4 of the Sanandaj Courts on 17 March 2008 when, after a prolonged wait, new charges were issued against him. He has reportedly been accused of 'communicating with those outside prison for the purposes of issuing messages of solidarity' for other individual prisoners on hunger strike and students facing arrest. The new charges appeared intended to justify Mahmoud Salehi's continued detention beyond his scheduled release date.

Mahmoud Salehi has long-term medical concerns. He was reportedly transferred briefly to hospital, unconscious, on 11 December 2007, after repeatedly collapsing in prison between 4-10 December. During an earlier hospitalisation, on or around 4 December, the authorities placed restraints on his bed. He may not be receiving adequate medical care. A May 2007 request by his doctor that he be accorded specialist treatment outside the prison has been ignored. He suffers from chronic kidney disease, as a result of which he requires dialysis. He is also said to suffer from a heart disorder and has been returned to prison where he remains.

Further action

The TUC is urging trade unionists in Britain to redouble their efforts on behalf of Mansour Osanloo and other jailed Iranian trade unionists.

Please visit the International Transport Workers' Federation Free Osanloo campaign webpage here

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Lefties and Sex survey

Reminder : This survey is just for lefties to ascertain their views and experiences. Iain Dale has one for a wider political group.Its also in three parts. A bit of a pain as you have to return to the blog to click to the next part. Do please persist, I have been told by one respondent that the questions get "weirder and weirder."I hope that's an incentive:-)Do you really want to miss out on questions on political fantasies/role play (so far Jim D is very popular, but so are nuns with guns and John McDonnell in a threesome ), your views on commitment, which TU Gen Sec you would shag if your life depended on it and how sectarian are we in the bedroom .The first part is actually the least interesting part!
If you have only completed one section you can still do the others at a later stage.

Its snowing in Brighton, I'm supposed to be putting together some flat pack storage. As a distraction I have been compiling a sex survey.

Its completely anonymous ( I don't have a record of IPs ), so do complete it and be honest!

It is , as I stated in the previous post, a poll for lefties .

First off its in three parts. That's because the survey website charge if you do more than ten questions per survey, so I have broken it up.You need to come back to the blog after each part and then click on the next part.

(links down now as survey closed)

Secondly I want to thank my assistants in this, they are Janine, Marsha Jane and Jim.

Marsha as always lowered the tone, not easy on this blog. Jim kindly spent time on face book making suggestions for the fantasy/role play section. I must though add that none of them are his own personal ones !! At least that's what he told me:-)
Janine added some political insight rather than the smut of the other two.

The purpose of this poll is to get an idea of the sexual attitudes and behaviour of lefties.
There are some serious questions and some not so.
Do lefties challenge the status quo in our relationships or are we pretty bourgeois in the bedroom? Take the survey and lets see…

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Greg Tucker RIP

I’m not good at obituaries, because I’m not really good with death. But I can’t let today end without marking the passing of Greg Tucker, who died this morning at the end of his battle with throat cancer. My union, and the lefty blogosphere, will be sad today, and some have already commented. Why? Because Greg was a lifelong socialist, one who realised that socialists have to be on the battlefield with workers, and because he was a nice bloke, very easy to get along with.

I can not try to present an overview of Greg’s life as a socialist, so I’ll just mention a few things that I will always remember Greg for:
  • His energetic and thoughtful contribution to solidarity with the national signallers’ strike in the 1990s.
  • The RMT General Secretary election in 1999, when Greg stepped into the frame when the rank-and-file needed him to champion our interests. Here’s how we described it in Workers’ Liberty’s pamphlet about Tube privatisation, Tunnel Vision:
    In Spring 1999, Jimmy Knapp was up for re-election. This was RMT members' chance to vote out the General Secretary who had led us to defeat over British Rail privatisation, and to elect one who would not allow slavish loyalty to the Labour Party leadership to hold back our fight against PPP.
    Cometh the hour, cometh Bob Crow? No. Although we needed a more militant, left-wing leadership there and then, Crow preferred to wait until Knapp's retirement, when he could be more confident of winning.
    Greg Tucker stepped in as the candidate for members who wanted a fighting, political union. The press campaigned fiercely for Knapp, largely on the basis of 'red-scare' articles about his opponent. Knapp himself joined in, stating in his election address that "My opponent is supported by extreme left-wing parties and splinter groups."
    Knapp was re-elected.

    But hey, Greg got about a third of the vote.
  • Greg was a train driver at South West Trains. In a grade dominated by the sectionalist, drivers-only union ASLEF, Greg stuck with the principle of all-grades industrial trade unionism and with the RMT. He was Secretary of RMT’s Train Crew Conference for several years, always championing rank-and-file drivers even when that rubbed him up against his own union’s bureaucracy. One example: Back in the days of Jimmy Knapp, Greg set up a website for RMT train crew - the union shut it down! (It doesn’t do that any more.)
  • South West Trains sacked Greg after catching him in a ‘nobody-believes-that-was-random’ speed trap on the day he returned to work after taking extended leave to stand in an election. When it comes to anti-victimisation campaigns, we win some and we lose some. There are several factors that decide, one of which is the respect which the workforce has for the workmate who has been sacked. Greg won.
  • He came to speak at my ward Labour Party once, in Dalston, when we were both in the Labour Party. And Greg and I stood as Socialist Alliance candidates together, after we’d both come to the conclusion that some struggles have to be pursued outside the Labour Party. I thought I’d mention those things, as they weren’t directly to do with the RMT. Being socialists and trade unionists are more fundamental things to have in common than working in the same industry or being in the same union.
What was that about how the good die young?

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The Torch's Progress

As I watch the news, the Olympic torch is proceeding through London, surrounded by coppers keeping demonstrators at a distance, and the police have so far arrested 25 people.

I’m a massive sports fan (more in the spectator than participant sense, admittedly), but the argument that politics should be kept out of sport is just banal. Do I really have to point out that the Chinese regime’s crimes - including executions, sweatshop exploitation and denial of self-determination – are actually more important than who wins the 110m hurdles? I also tend to think that the belief that you can achieve real political change by boycotting sporting events is also banal. But using a sporting event as a backdrop to get attention and support for your cause? Yeah, go for it.

I would happily hold a placard reading ‘Free Tibet’, or ‘Solidarity Against Sweatshops’ as the torch goes past – though I’ll not be waving anything lauding the Dalai Lama – and were I younger, more energetic and actually available to do these things, I’d probably do something more dramatic than wave a placard too.

But what of our ‘Labour’ government? There will be words in support of the right to protest, but the overall approach of the workers’ movement’s political representatives has been to discourage protest and protect the image of one of the most repressive regimes in the world. Gordon Brown manages only to ask the Chinese government to ‘talk to the Dalai Lama’ – whoa, that’d be a meeting where democratic working-class interests got no look-in at all. You don’t suspect fear of protests in 2012, do you? Still, at least they haven’t killed anyone.

Latest: The torch has now hitched a rise on a bus. Any runners in the Marathon fancy trying that?

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Sex and Stroppyblog !!

Polls are soooo last year, its surveys that are the new must have for any blogger.

Tami drew my attention to one that she thought might interest me , its on sex over at Iain Dale's Diary.

The survey is quite good except the only left it has as a category is Labour.But what about the strange sexual habits, or perhaps just very dull ones, of the LRC lefties and left of Labour lefties ? They need a voice ! So I am going to put together a survey specially for the left.

I plan to do this later today . Any suggestions for questions please add to the comments box. Oh and this is Stroppyblog, so don't worry about taste or decency :-)

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Friday, April 04, 2008

FT Debunks Brown's Pay Cut Argument

Interesting article from the good old FT yesterday. Sure, it might be (might be?!) a bosses' journal, but it gives some useful insights at times, and this is a good example. It debunks New Labour's main argument for the public sector pay cuts, which of course then begs the question: what is their real reason? Teaching the workers their place, you think?

[Hat tip: Patrick]

The puzzle of PM's wage stand
Financial Times Thursday April 3rd

By Chris Giles

Published: April 3 2008 03:39 | Last updated: April 3 2008 03:39

The reaction of economists to Gordon Brown's continued insistence that public pay restraint is vital to keep inflation low tends to be a collective scratching of heads. The link between public sector pay rises and inflation is generally thought to be weak.

No self-respecting economist would argue that public sector pay does not matter, but they believe that the effect is generally felt in the cost and quality of public services, not in inflation.

The main reason public sector pay is only weakly linked to inflation relates to the financing of public services, which tend to be free at the point of use. Schools, hospitals, the police force, the army and even refuse collection are financed from taxation, not from direct charges to users. So there is no direct mechanism for higher nurses' pay, for example, to be passed on to higher charges for healthcare services.

In fact, the inflation index is comprised of goods and services that are almost entirely provided by the private sector.

Stephen Nickell, head of Nuffield College, Oxford, told the Financial Times in January that public sector pay rises "have nothing to do with inflation".

Mr Brown's emphasis on public sector pay can therefore relate only to indirect effects of public-sector pay, either on private-sector wages or on demand in the economy. But economists are sceptical, since employment in the private sector dwarfs that in the public sector by roughly four to one.

Martin Weale, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research said recently: "What I really can't believe is that, when private sector pay rises are 4 per cent, a rise of 2.5 per cent for the public sector is inflationary."

Even Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, played down the link in his inflation report press conference in February when he was generally stressing the need to combat inflation.

Public sector pay settlements "affect the tone of the labour market as a whole and will have an effect on the likely path of private-sector settlements in due course", he said.

"But that's a matter for government. We have never set out to say either for an individual company or a sector what the pay settlements should be or what pay growth should be."


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

BNP candidate and his views on women and rape

Seems the "respectable face" of the BNP has slipped to show some of their real views on women .

Nick Eriksen, the BNP's London organiser and the second-highest candidate on its list for the Assembly, has been identified as the author of "Sir John Bull," a far-Right blog which spews hatred and abuse against women.

As The Evening Standard report :

On 24 August 2005, Mr Eriksen wrote: "I've never understood why so many men have allowed themselves to be brainwashed by the feminazi myth machine into believing that rape is such a serious crime ... Rape is simply sex. Women enjoy sex, so rape cannot be such a terrible physical ordeal.

"To suggest that rape, when conducted without violence, is a serious crime is like suggesting that forcefeeding a woman chocolate cake is a heinous offence. A woman would be more inconvenienced by having her handbag snatched.

"The demonisation of rape is all part of the feminazi desire to obtain power and mastery over men. Men who go along with the rape myth are either morons or traitors."

On 5 November 2005, in an item entitled "Give her a slap!," Mr Eriksen approvingly quoted Noel Coward as saying: "Some women are like gongs - they need to be struck regularly." On 8 November, he claimed that "the vast majority of domestic [assaults] are initiated by the woman." Mr Eriksen also wrote on 24 November 2005 that mothers "should never go out to work" and described career women as "unnatural and vile... it is a strange kind of woman who would want to invest [her] energies into her job rather than into a man."

Eleven of the 25 Assembly members are elected on a London-wide basis using a form of proportional representation. The BNP is likely to win at least one of these seats, for which it needs around five per cent of the vote, and has strong hopes of winning a second, for which it needs around seven to eight per cent. If the BNP does win two seats, one of them will go to Mr Eriksen and one to London party leader Richard Barnbrook

The Standard identified the author of the blog :

The author of the Sir John Bull blog, which stopped publication last autumn, is not identified on the website itself. But the Standard established that it is Mr Eriksen by posing as a BNP sympathiser and sending a message to the site's contact email address,

Within two days, Mr Eriksen replied, signing his name, giving Mr Barnbrook's contact number and saying: "As for your kind comments about the blog, I may well restart this after the elections - we shall see what happens! All the best, Nick."

Once caught out he blustered a bit about being provocative but still let slip he does not really take rape seriously:

Contacted by the Standard last night, Mr Eriksen admitted the blog postings were written by him, but said they were "deliberately provocative" in order to stimulate debate.

"I was trying to make the point that there are two kinds of rape," he said. "There is stranger rape and there is so-called rape by somebody the woman knows. I was raising an important issue in a provocative way to allow people to make up their own minds."

Mr Eriksen insisted that he "did not condone violence in any way," but was "trying to highlight the fact that violence against men is unacceptable." He said: "It's typical of the media to distort what the BNP say."

But sexual violence against women is if they know their attacker ??

And this man could get elected.

Hat tip The F Word.

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Survey invitation: the political situation in the UK

Jim Jay has a survey over at his blog :

I'd like to invite anyone who considers themselves as part of the left or progressive part of the political spectrum to take part in my reasonably short survey about the political situation in the UK.

This survey is the beginning of an investigation into how people feel about the spaces and opportunities (or lack there of) for the left in the coming years. It deals with trade union, and campaigning work - as well as examining respondent's own activities and concerns about those areas they feel the left needs to pay more attention to.

I'm hoping to get at least one hundred responses to give me some numbers to crunch and hopefully get some interesting data, so please do take part if this sounds interesting to you.

Pop over for the link to the survey.

Its anonymous, so people can be honest.