Saturday, October 31, 2009

Another Chance to See Me Talk About My Book!

Janine Booth gives a presentation about her new book, Guilty and Proud of it! Poplar's rebel councillors and guardians 1919-1925.

Wednesday 4 November, 7pm
Venue: Pages of Hackney bookshop, 70 Lower Clapton Road
Sponsored by Hackney TUC

Free entry. Refreshments provided. The book will be on sale at this event at the reduced price of £10 (RRP £12.95)

Please email Eleanor at Pages of Hackney to book your seat.


In the aftermath of the First World War, thirty Labour councillors went to prison rather than accepting an unfair funding system. With unemployment rising in 1921, Poplar Borough Council could not help provide relief drawing only on the limited wealth of one poor London borough.

Poplar councillors, including future Labour leader George Lansbury, demanded that rates from richer areas should help. So Poplar refused to pay over rates to the London County Council, and thus began the Poplar Revolt. In contrast, Hackney Council - led by Herbert Morrison - refused to confront the law and insisted on remaining 'respectable'.

This book tells the story of the support mobilised by Poplar Council, beginning when newly-enfranchised working-class voters elected Labour to run the Council in 1919. For the next two years, it improved life for Poplar residents, coming into ever-increasing conflict with the central authorities and the local government funding system. The crisis came in 1921, when Poplar Council refused to levy a portion of its rates.

Poplar's fight took its Councillors to prison in September 1921. After six weeks, the courts released them from prison and the government changed the law to redistribute funding from richer to poorer boroughs: they had won!

With local councils today once again preparing to cut services and/or increase rents and charges, this book - and this event - tells a story that is very relevant and inspiring today.


The author is the former President of Hackney TUC, and Secretary of RMT's London Transport Regional Council.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

MPs expenses, piffle compared to Sarkozy

Duck houses and moats , small fry compared to some of the French President's expenses:

French financial watchdogs slammed Nicolas Sarkozy for spending £160m during his country's six-month stint in charge of the EU – including £250,000 on a personal presidential shower that he never used.

The vast expense is set out in a report blaming poor management and a lack of transparency by the president's staff.

Costs soared because so many of the EU-related events were organised at the last minute, said the report.

On one occasion Sarkozy triggered the cancellation of an entire EU event he was due to host in Evian, because he wanted to sleep in his own bed at the Élysée palace. By then, hundreds of journalists, EU officials and national delegations had either already arrived in Evian or were on their way.

A flood of complaints prompted compensation payments – adding more to the eventual presidential bill.

For one three-day event alone, Sarkozy sanctioned an elaborate upgrade of the Grand Palace in Paris for an EU-Mediterranean summit – one of his pet initiatives to mark his turn at the EU helm.

The event was one of his final EU presidency flourishes last July, and involved hundreds of workmen and millions of pounds.

"The Grand Palace had to be completely refitted for the occasion. Five hundred technicians were mobilised every day, including 300 at night," said the report. Spending included nearly £1m for one dinner for more than 40 government leaders and heads of state who attended the event.

Nearly £300,000 was spent building a conference podium, nearly £200,000 upgrading the gardens and grounds, and a total bill for the Sarkozy shower of almost £250,000.

The audit report said the cost soared because of the complications of installing a state-of-the-art shower to the president's specifications in a listed building.

The president never used it – instead going back to the Élysée palace during the three-day summit to freshen up. The shower has since been dismantled.

OK, not all personal expenditure, but it shows a certain cavalier attitude to money to cancel an event on a whim of wanting to sleep in his own bed. I mean it sort of goes with the job that he has to travel .

And £250 ,000 for a shower , never used and then dismantled. How the fuck can anyone spend that amount ?

MPs, read and weep, you're amateurs .


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Johnson Loves Monks

Unlike some, I am not a regular reader of The Guardian - or The Graun to comrade Denham - but the other arf purchased a copy yesterday, so I dutifully did the puzzles, read a bit of news and browsed the magazine.

Along with some strange household tips, and a mildly disturbing guide to whether you should consider moving to Dalston, there lies a Q&A with Home Secretary Alan Johnson, in which he reveals that the living person he most admires is John Monks. For those of you who can't remember, or never noticed, John Monks used to be General Secretary of the TUC. Alan admires him for being "an ego-free visionary who is kind and self-deprecating".

Never having met Monks, I can not comment on his personality, and he may well deserve Johnson's praise for his kindness and lack of ego, for all I know. But if he was a "visionary", then his vision was that of a trade union movement subservient to the employers and the government, content to plead deferentially for a few crumbs in return for exploitation and anti-union laws, and all in the name of "partnership". So he deprecated not just himself but the workers' movement, and while the former may be admirable the latter certainly is not. But it does, I guess, explain why postie-turned-bureaucrat-turned-Cabinet-minister Johnson likes him so much.

Mind you, Johnson's Most Embarrassing Moment was "Wetting myself in class", rather than "Selling out my former workmates", so I guess that tells us where his conscience does not reside.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy (belated) birthday to Janine

This is for Janine, as I know she likes The Jam :

And one more :

See , Tube related song titles as Janine works on London Underground :-)


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nick Griffin on Question Time

Just watching clips of this on Sky,released by the BBC before the main programme later tonight.

First impressions are he seems on the backfoot , grinning inappropriately (that was picked up by Dimbleby re holocaust denial) and defensive.

I'll watch the full programme and comment more.

If you watch the programme, comment on how you think it went .

Update :Will post about the programme, and the media/internet responses, over the weekend. I have had a quick look round and to be honest, one I'm too busy to post and two I have read/heard enough about the slimy Nick Griffin for the time being .

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Support the Post Strikes

We should all do what we can to support the national post strike due to take place later this week.

Just as with the firefighters' dispute seven years ago (yeah I know, doesn't seem that long, does it?), the employers are banging on about the need for "modernisation", a term which sounds like an inarguably good thing, but actually means whatever the people advocating it want it to mean. In this case, it means "attacking jobs and working conditions", just as it did with the firefighters.

The "modernisation" propaganda is supplemented by a dollop of cant about "Spanish practices". I've no idea what the Spanish have done to deserve this particular term, but you will notice that the employer's side has very little to offer up in the way of specific examples of the allegedly bad practices. The only one I have seen specified is that you can go home when you've finished your work. Blimey, what a terrible thing. Obviously, people should sit around the sorting office doing nothing instead. Or perhaps they should just walk more slowly when out delivering.

Neither can we fall for Mandelson's line that the strike is "suicidal" because it will damage the Royal Mail as a business. Follow that argument and pretty much no workers would ever go on strike, and we would all be powerless to defend ourselves against the employers' attacks.

Mind you, threats by clients, especially big ones, to take their business elsewhere are an issue for strike strategy. Those threats would be seriously undermined if workers in the alternative distribution companies refused to handle post which should go out by Royal Mail. There is a tradition of such solidarity, for example when posties refused to handle scab post from Grunwick in one of the most important disputes of the 1970s. I don't know in detail which of these companies are unionised and if so, by which union - but, as one exmaple, Initial CityLink workers are in RMT.

With Royal Mail planning to take on 30,000 casuals to help break the strike, people who support the CWU's fight can help out here too. Student unions should oppose recruitment campaigns around colleges. JobCentre and benefits workers should refuse to promote scab jobs or to coerce unemployed people into taking them under threat of losing benefits.

But first off - everyone to the picket lines on Thursday morning!

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Monday, October 19, 2009

New Term, New Refusers

Click here for news of more Israeli teenagers refusing to serve in the army.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Canvass for John McDonnell

As mentioned in an earlier post , today was the start of fortnightly canvasses to build support to re-elect John to Parliament. Having set up a facebook group, and harangued others to go, I thought it best if I went along myself :-) rather than have a lie in. I have never been to Hayes and Harlington, and having a poor sense of direction allowed plenty of time. I must admit I almost walked past the constituency offices, believing it was a cottage owned by a dotty old lady with cats . I imagined inside there were old copies of The Lady piled high in every room and a strong smell of lavender. This was on the basis of a very very overgrown garden (hmm, is this perhaps a metaphor for the left, having to battle past the brambles to get to the door ?) and a very vivid imagination. Worse was to come though when I saw the inside of John's car, Mary P had to clamber over LRC bits and bobs and compost !

Now I am a bit of an anorak and actually like canvassing, elections and all the nerdy stuff that goes with it. I enjoy knocking on doors and chatting to people , which makes a nice change from reading the blogs and sitting in meetings where lefties vie for who has read the most obscure Trotsky and still, sometimes debate the nature of the old Soviet Union.

I digress. Today was a good start. We handed out letters inviting people to come along to a public meeting on an estate where there are some problems . Generally a good reaction. Some undecided, a few no thank you's , but no abuse. Some of the responses I got was that John was a good MP, done a lot for the area and one who said he hadn't done her any harm! One woman a tad confused said yes, she would vote for John , believing him to be a Conservative. Hmm.

Highlights included a wide range of dogs, I suspect there are as many dogs on those three streets as people, and 'dressing gown man.'

What struck me was that quite a few people were aware of the hard work John has put in .Not one said anything about him being a greedy politician on the make with expenses or pointed out to me the short comings of New labour (of which I would have had to agree.) This I found heartening at a time when New Labour politicians are so out of touch and run scared of standing up for socialist values .

Afterwards it was all back to the cricket club for a well earned drink and post mortem. Lots of enthusiasm and hopefully more will turn up in future canvasses.They are every fortnight, details here , plus check out the facebook group.

Whatever people think of New Labour, I'd hope most lefties would want to see John back as an MP after the election, we can't afford to lose a strong socialist voice in the Commons. Many will be unable to even hold their nose to vote Labour, let alone campaign for their local candidate. Given this I'd argue, and this is what i'm doing,that people should lend support to those few Labour MPs and candidates that back halfway decent socialist policies . As Mary P said to me today, if your Labour candidate is a tosser, then come and help out with John. Exactly !

Oh and if that doesn't work, John was buying the drinks after and not on expenses !


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Come And Hear Me Talk About My Book!

And wish me a happy birthday too ...

Radical History Network of NE London, c/o PO Box 45155, London N15 4RW
celebrate our history, avoid repeating our mistakes”

Janine Booth speaks on her book
"Guilty and Proud of it!: Poplar's rebel councillors and guardians 1919-1925"
[on sale at this event at £10.00]

Wednesday 21 October at 8pm

Venue: the Postmen's Office at the North London Community House. Its address is 22 Moorefield Road, London N17. The venue is almost next to Bruce Grove British Rail Station, where Bruce Grove meets the High Road in Tottenham.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Jan Moir, Friday fuckwit

The Daily Mail seems to have excelled itself at nasty homophobic hatefulness today. Yes, I know, what do I expect and yes I know I could fill this blog with rants about it forever more . This article though, is low even set against its daily attacks on women (too thin, too fat, let themselves go, not ageing gracefully, how dare they have a life) and its trumpeting of the values of net curtain land, where all would be well if women got back in the kitchen and LGBT people in the closet. Arghh, my blood pressure is rising as I think about it.

Jan Moir, with no regard for his loved ones at this time and lacking in medical knowledge it seems, decides his death was sleazy and unnatural :

All the official reports point to a natural death, with no suspicious circumstances. The Gately family are - perhaps understandably - keen to register their boy's demise on the national consciousness as nothing more than a tragic accident.
Even before the post-mortem and toxicology reports were released by the Spanish authorities, the Gatelys' lawyer reiterated that they believed his sudden death was due to natural causes.
But, hang on a minute. Something is terribly wrong with the way this incident has been shaped and spun into nothing more than an unfortunate mishap on a holiday weekend, like a broken teacup in the rented cottage.
Consider the way it has been largely reported, as if Gately had gently keeled over at the age of 90 in the grounds of the Bide-a-Wee rest home while hoeing the sweet pea patch.
The sugar coating on this fatality is so saccharine-thick that it obscures whatever bitter truth lies beneath. Healthy and fit 33-year-old men do not just climb into their pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again.

Err, yes they do, but hey lets not let facts get in the way of bigotry and muck racking .
An autopsy report differs from Ms Moir, who from what I can tell is not medically trained :

This means that Stephen Gately's death was not caused, as some have been speculating, by either alcohol or drugs: he most certainly did not inhale his own vomit.

“There is nothing to indicate the death was caused by alcohol or drugs,” said a spokesman at the Court of Instruction in the island’s capital.
The official denied earlier reports that the star may have choked to death on his own vomit. “That did not cause his death,” she said.
“Preliminary results of the autopsy found acute pulmonary oedema indicating Stephen Gately died of natural causes.”
Medical experts said such a finding was common in those who had suffered a fatal heart attack.

Obviously it's sad that he died and slightly mystifying to us all that someone so young and apparently healthy can simply fall over dead, one minute to the next. But it does indeed happen as it has done here.

Now the headline states "Why there was nothing 'natural' about Stephen Gately's death." The facts dispute this,so what is her point , what is 'unnatural'? Well she goes on to show that gay men cannot live happily ever after :

Whatever the cause of death is, it is not, by any yardstick, a natural one. Let us be absolutely clear about this. All that has been established so far is that Stephen Gately was not murdered.
And I think if we are going to be honest, we would have to admit that the circumstances surrounding his death are more than a little sleazy.
After a night of clubbing, Cowles and Gately took a young Bulgarian man back to their apartment. It is not disrespectful to assume that a game of canasta with 25-year-old Georgi Dochev was not what was on the cards.
Cowles and Dochev went to the bedroom together while Stephen remained alone in the living room.

So fucking what. They had an open relationship, they seemed to have been honest and not sneaking around or lying to each other. Lots of so-called monogamous heterosexual couples 'cheat' on one another. That to me is sleazy.

Even when presented with medical evidence, Moir just keeps on :

A post-mortem revealed Stephen died from acute pulmonary oedema, a build-up of fluid on his lungs.
Gately's family have always maintained that drugs were not involved in the singer's death, but it has just been revealed that he at least smoked cannabis on the night he died.

Again, he smoked a joint , so fucking what. He did not die with a needle in his arm, from the medical reports drugs did not play a role. In Moir's world perhaps no one sips more than a sweet sherry, but sorry a few joints does not make him sleazy and does not appear to have lead to his death.

Oh but she leaves the best, or should that be worst, to last :

Another real sadness about Gately's death is that it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships.
Gay activists are always calling for tolerance and understanding about same-sex relationships, arguing that they are just the same as heterosexual marriages. Not everyone, they say, is like George Michael.
Of course, in many cases this may be true. Yet the recent death of Kevin McGee, the former husband of Little Britain star Matt Lucas, and now the dubious events of Gately's last night raise troubling questions about what happened.

Well first off , just like heterosexual people, relationships come in all shapes and sizes. Some LGBT people may want a monogamous civil partnership and there are plenty of happy ones around. Lets not though hold up heterosexual marriage as some perfect institution, that just by fancying the opposite sex you lead a life of idyllic bliss. There can be abuse, violence, divorce, 'cheating' and lying in any relationship .

Some LGBT people, and some heterosexual people, don't want to follow the idealised model of marriage and lead more 'unconventional' lives. They though are able to love and care for each other. Its not sleazy , whatever that means anyway.

How does the death of Stephen and Kevin in any way 'raise troubling questions?' Kevin seems to have had drug problems and the relationship broke down because of them. News flash, that happens to heterosexual people as well.

How was Stephen's death 'dubious' and in what way was it linked to his relationship ? Where are her facts that civil partnerships lead to a 'sleazy' death ?

Oh and gay people wanting tolerance and understanding , well not from this unpleasant woman.

It is important that the truth comes out about the exact circumstances of his strange and lonely death.
As a gay rights champion, I am sure he would want to set an example to any impressionable young men who may want to emulate what they might see as his glamorous routine.
For once again, under the carapace of glittering, hedonistic celebrity, the ooze of a very different and more dangerous lifestyle has seeped out for all to see.

What truth is she wanting ? The medical facts seem to have been established, so what else needs to be known? Ahh, muck racking and some sort of proof that 'unnatural' relationships lead to 'sleazy' deaths.

And how was his death 'strange' and 'lonely?' It has been established that sudden deaths do occur in healthy people. How was he lonely, he was on holiday with his partner ? Again, facts seem not to be a priority here.

The facts show this to have been a tragic death, I don't believe the death certificate states being gay or in a civil partnership as its cause .

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Brighton - most godless city in Britain ...

...and he says it like it is a bad thing !

A priest has declared it his mission to transform "the most Godless city in Britain".

Reverend Archie Coates' comments about Brighton and Hove have prompted a concerned reaction among residents.

He made them following his arrival in the city to head the off-shoot of London's evangelical Holy Trinity Brompton church being set up at St Peter's Church - the landmark building dubbed Brighton's Cathedral – in York Place.

The new parish has been "planted" because St Peter's dwindling congregation could no longer afford to maintain the building. It will hold its first mass on November 1.


He said his church could transform Brighton.

Rev Coates said: "Our vision is not just to fill the church but it's to build in the heart of this city a community and do whatever we can to sow our best years into playing our part in the re-evangelisation of Brighton and transformation of this society."

Somehow I think he has his work cut out, but who knows, you might find Stropps a born again Christian this time next year. Hmm, about as likely as a united left by then.

For those who want to see the team taking on the challenge of shifting Brighton from its godless hedonism , check out this video. Yep, they are down with the kids with their U2ish Christian rock soundtrack that accompanies the happy shiny people , all cheery and bubbling with enthusiasm.

Wonder what the odds are on Brighton corrupting them before they show us the light ? Yep, can see them crawling out of the gay clubs singing I will survive any day soon.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Gude Cause maks a Strong arm

In October 1909 thousands of women took to the streets in Edinburgh to demand suffrage - their right to be be seen as people in their own right and with the right to suffrage.  In 2008 some women got together and decided to re-enact the march and set up the Gude Cause (good cause).

On Saturday thousands of women, some men, children and dogs took to the streets and I honestly can't tell you how many but I think it was between 3,000 to 5,000.

It was a great parade, not as many trade union banners as I would have liked but still may.  I marched with the Scottish Socialist party, carrying the banner with PPC for North East Glasgow for the Scottish Socialist Party, Kevin Mc Vey.  You can read Kevin Mc Vey's blog here.

Photos taken by Eddie Truman on the day

Scottish Labour Party on the Gude Cause  - just so I am not partisan on the matter.

It was great to see the march and be part of it I saw people from my history who I literally haven't seen for decades and the sun shone.  Whilst there were no political demands on the march which I think was a mistake even a safe one like Equal Pay would have been good, but as a cultural event it was superb. It was great to see the efforts people went to by getting dressed up, making beautiful banners and learning loads of songs.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Fight to Keep John McDonnell in Parliament!

At the recent Convention of the Left, there was much talk of electoral agreements in certain areas where there were good left candidates . I hope this will apply to John McDonnell . Surely even those who happily chant Labour Out on demos , would want to see John re-elected and are not sectarian . Even those who think there will be no difference between a Labour and Tory Government , and sadly this hypothesis looks likely to be put to the test, should want to retain a good socialist voice in the Commons?

Between now and the election John needs help in his constituency to get re-elected and below is an e-mail with some details of how to get involved :

John McDonnell is appealing for help to get him re-elected. He is a hard-working constituency MP and has consistently provided a platform for socialist ideas.

John has never flinched in showing solidarity for people struggling against exploitation. He has tirelessly represented his constituency, trade unions and the wider movement, having been key in organising resistance to the Government’s neo liberal agenda both inside and outside parliament. This is not about saving one politician’s career but about defending and maximising the political representation of progressive movements throughout the UK.

Despite fighting resolutely alongside his local community and climate change activists to oppose Heathrow’s 3rd runway in his constituency, the undemocratic imposition of the runaway is damaging his chances of being re-elected. That is why he needs your support.

This Sunday, October 18th , the Hayes Labour Party is organising a mass canvass and is appealing for help. The canvass starts at 10.30 from John’s office in Pump Lane, Hayes Middx. UB3 3NB. Tel 0208 569 0010. The office is a short distance from Hayes Station, 20 minutes by rail from Paddington.

John McDonnell MP needs your support and solidarity. Our movement cannot risk losing John’s seat and the platform it provides. Bring as many activists and supporters as possible. Every fortnight from 18th October the Hayes Party will be organising a mass canvass and needs you help.


I have set up a Facebook group where we can post up canvassing etc .


Monday, October 12, 2009

Asperger's and Challenging Behaviour

It is a while since I blogged about Asperger syndrome, and I return to the subject with a little trepidation. I want to write about two specific types of challenging behaviour and how hard they are to cope with. It is hard to do so, because I really don't want to slag off my son in public, so please note four very important qualifications. First, when he is not displaying these behaviours, Joe is a charming, bright, loving and lovable seven-year-old. Secondly, he rarely if ever displays these behaviours at school or in a one-to-one situation with an adult outside the home, in which he is nearly always really good company: he seems to reserve it for groups of family and friends. Thirdly, the distressing behaviour I am about to describe is not "his fault", because - as I hope I will explain - it is a result of his having Asperger sundrome in a society that is not geared to support or accept him. And fourthly, it's not like non-aspie kids are little angels, is it?

I have decided to post on the subject despite my misgivings, as my previous posts on Asperger's have prompted intelligent and sensitive debate from this blog's readers that has been of practical help to me and my family.

Joe is very prone to extreme anger. Things that would seem trivial to other people can set him off into a seemingly-uncontrollable rage, which can last for a long time. Triggers include: someone else "going first" eg. through a doorway; a refusal of a request (eg. to eat a cake just before we are about to have tea); a game not going exactly the way he wants it to; etc.

Joe's rage occurs when something happens that he does not expect or does not want to happen, as he lacks the flexibility to adapt to unexpected events. As usual with autistic traits, the sense of anxiety and anger at sudden changes is something that I recognise in myself and often see in others - but in Joe, it is hard-wired and on a far greater scale.

We have become quite skilled at minimising the occurrence of trigger events, but it has proved impossible to eliminate them altogether. And in any case, even if it were possible to eliminate them at home, the outside world is still going to provoke him.

I have bought a couple of books that I hope will help - "The Incredible 5 Point Scale" and "A Volcano in My Tummy: Helping Children to Handle Anger". I've also been recommended "When My Autism Gets Too Big", but have not got hold of it yet. I know that I need to work through methods like those presented in these books with Joe. I know that if I can teach him how to handle his anger, he will make progress.

But the problem with this strategy is that it will take some time to have the desired effect, and in the meantime, Joe's anger make life very difficult for our family. In particular, he physically assaults his five-year-old brother Harrison several times every day, after just the slightest "provocation" eg. wanting to watch a different film, walking through a door first, laughing when Joe doesn't want him to, etc.

When angry, Joe can also scream at the top of his voice, shout obscenities at the person who has upset him, threaten even more extreme violence, and generally make it impossible to carry on with daily life.

Joe has also developed another form of challenging behaviour. Several times a day, he will act in a deliberately silly way (pissing about, if you like), in order to upset family members or disrupt what he is supposed to be doing. This is very distinct from behaving in a silly way in order to have fun, as if you laugh along with him, he suddenly becomes very serious and tells you to stop it.

It appears that he derives some enjoyment - perhaps fascination - from seeing people upset or angry, and so purposefully provokes that reaction. Joe particularly targets this behaviour at his older brother Alex (age 10). This may be a misguided attempt to entice Alex to play with him, but I am increasingly convinced that it is an attempt to provoke an angry reaction.

Joe also behaves like this when I am dressing him, which makes the task virtually impossible and usually succeeds in making me angry.

I am working with Joe to address this behaviour, encouraging him to write and draw, looking at concepts such as "Funny or Not Funny?". Over the last year, we have worked hard at recognising other people's emotions in their facial expressions, using resources such as the book "Teaching Children With Autism to Mind-Read" and the DVD "The Transporters". While this has been very successful in teaching Joe to recognise emotions in a factual sense, he still lacks empathy. Therefore, if his behaviour makes someone angry, he can recognise that they are angry, but will not grasp that this is a bad thing and that he should stop the behaviour that is causing it.

This all begs the question about what support the state should provide, and what societal changes might minimise these difficulties. I intend to address these points in a future post (I might get back to the weekly aspie posts, you never know), but in the meantime, I would appreciate any comments or ideas, whether sympathetic or empathetc, observational or analytical, political or practical.


LRC Conference & AGM: Building the Resistance

Details of the conference :

Saturday 14th November 2009
10:00am to 5:00pm

The LRC’s national conference and AGM ‘Building the Resistance’ will be held at the Institute of Education, Bedford Way, London (nearest tube: Russell Square). Click here for map and details of how to get there.

Speakers include: Tony Benn, Katy Clark MP (invited), Jeremy Corbyn MP, Prof Mary Davis, Sian Jones (TU CCC), Joe Marino (BFAWU), John McDonnell MP, Matt Wrack (FBU), plus an international speaker

The AGM will also elect LRC officers and National Committee members.

More details on resolutions, elections etc here.



Via Kit on Facebook, if you're a bit bored here is something to amuse .


Friday, October 09, 2009

Dancing Friday Fuck Wit! -

My partner last week announced rather profusely that he hated Anton de Beke, he found him to be an objectional idiot.  He hates him.  I have no opinion of him until today!!  Now I think What a prick and a narcissist.  Read the story here.  Eddie of course feels vindicated


Support Dave Osler !

Those of you who read Dave's blog will be aware he is facing a libel case in November. It has been going on a year and is very stressful and time consuming.

No legal help from the NUJ, though he is a journalist , and only recently a bit of free legal input. As he hasn't got a spare £5-10,000 , he has been doing most of the legal leg work and will be representing himself at a four day libel case .

Now this isn't about whether you agree with his politics, its about the freedom of bloggers. If he loses , and is hit with damages and costs, that affects all you bloggers out there. Oh and it is not just about a blog post, its about what is said in the comments. This will affect you lot .

So get over there , if you haven't already, and show your support.

No attacks on the litigant, don't give her any ammunition to attack Dave.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Bono , wanker of the week

I haven't seen the clip, but according to twitters and comments on news pages , Bono was the warm up act for Cameron.

That will cheer up Liam.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Troops to teachers ??

Arghh, what the fuck:

The shadow schools secretary set out a plan at the party's conference in Manchester to sideline local authorities, scrap the curriculum agency, sack the worst headteachers and return to traditional values in the classroom, with pupils expected to wear ties and ex-soldiers imposing discipline.

The state monopoly over schools would be removed, with every school offered the chance to opt out and become an independent academy.

Gove said the best schools would be automatically allowed to break away from local authority control while headteachers at the worst would be sacked and their schools taken over by existing academy sponsors.

He launched an attack on the "educational establishment", claiming it suffered from "defeatism, political correctness and the entrenched culture of dumbing down".

A Conservative government would champion school uniforms, including blazers and ties, setting by ability and traditional subject-based classes, while a new Troops to Teachers programme would be introduced, with former soldiers retraining as teachers, Gove said.

"We'll develop a Troops to Teachers programme to get professionals in the army who know how to train young men and women into the classroom, where they can provide not just discipline but inspiration and leadership," he said.

New shiny caring sharing Tories or same old reactionary bastards?
New Labour same as New Tories ?

Things CAN only get worse .

Hat tip Rory on Facebook.

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Clay Marzo: Just Add Water - positive film about aspies

Regular readers may have noticed that myself and Janine sometimes write posts on aspergers and we get frustrated at the often negative press. Well here is something positive :

... Clay Marzo, who exploded on to the scene at Puerto Escondido in Mexico last month with his first pro victory, and is now being dubbed the most naturally gifted surfer of his generation, has a high-functioning form of autism called Asperger's syndrome.

The condition makes it difficult for the 20-year-old wunderkind to interact with other people. He finds crowds unnerving, conversation perplexing, and is unable to "read" emotion on someone's face. In social situations he is often – if you'll pardon the expression – a fish out of water.

Yet Asperger's is also the secret of Clay Marzo's incredible sporting ability. According to an acclaimed documentary called Just Add Water, it actually helps him succeed in the glamorous field of professional surfing. He is a unique talent because of the condition, rather than despite it. Some believe it could eventually make him the greatest surfer in history.

Some people with Asperger's are genius mathematicians, scientists or musicians (many believe that Albert Einstein, Mozart and Isaac Newton had it). Others have brilliant memories, such as Dustin Hoffman's character in the film Rain Man. Marzo may very well be the first person with the condition to have developed a genius for surfing.

"He'll have a schema of many waves that he's ridden before, so he's able to predict what to do in that situation," adds Dr Attwood (expert on aspergers SB). "His brain disconnects from everyday functions, and becomes one with the wave: he'll intuitively know what the wave's doing, so he'll anticipate that, and be ahead of everyone else."

Marzo's style of surfing is creative and spontaneous. Unlike most professional surfers, he doesn't plan different manoeuvres in advance, but instead adapts instinctively, suddenly spinning his board into reverse, perhaps, or flipping into mid-air to land audacious 360-degree turns.

The article highlights the difficulties he had before diagnosis and how he now gets support to make sense and navigate what is a neurotypical world.

I particularly like this quote :

"The main treatment for Aspergers is self-understanding and self-acceptance," adds Dr Attwood. "The problem is that people will talk of suffering from it. No. You don't suffer from Aspergers, you suffer from other people. I want people like Clay to be admired, for people to say they've got talent. Don't feel sorry for them, applaud them.


Here is a trailer for the film:


Monday, October 05, 2009

Brendan Barber to Speak at Tory Party Conference

What a plonker.

I was going to write a long tirade, but I thought I'd leave the comments to you, dear reader.

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Sun Sets on New Labour

Tony Woodley rips up the tabloid at the rostrum, a delegate complains that Murdoch's mouthpiece didn't give our Prime Minister a fair hearing, and Gordon Brown rightly points out that voters not newspapers decide elections.

All of which misses the point that No self-respecting Labour Party would want the support of The Sun to start with.

In fact, The Sun's support over the last twelve years is proof if proof were needed that New Labour was doing something very very wrong.

New Labour has walked into a trap of its own making. In the run-up to the 1997 General Election, Tony Blair and his coterie pulled out all the stops to secure Murdoch's support, following him round the world like desperate puppies, promising whatever he asked, even changing policies to meet his demands. And all this despite the fact that Labour could easily have won that General Election with or without the backing of the Sun.

If New Labour lackeys now complain of the excess power of the press over public opinion, they might reflect on the fact that their government has had twelve years to do something about that. It could have legislated stricter controls over media ownership, it could have resourced greater access to publishing for working-class people and progressive organisations.

Instead, it chose to adapt its policies to the baying tabloids and now does not even get their support. Perhaps it thought that wars would impress the warmongering Sun, but today The Sun is lining up bereaved military families against the goverment. Perhaps it thought that promising to corrall feckless teenage mothers into Big Brother houses would win over the redtops, but no - not impressed.

New Labour used to be anti-working-class and popular. Now it is anti-working class and unpopular, so The Sun has jumped ship. But had Labour done the right thing, supporting rather than attacking the working class, implementing socialist policies rather than Tory ones, The Sun would also have jumped ship. And good thing too.

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