Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy birthday MarshaJane !!!!!

Today MJ turns 30, yep no more Socialist 'youth' groups for the now old bird :-)

I am sure she will follow my good example of growing old gracefully and demurely , yeah right .

Look forward to the party , I suspect a repeat of below, with snow !

(BTW, this isn't really MJ, but is a pretty good representation !)


Friday, November 19, 2010

UN vote against sexual orientation protection "shameful"

Press release from Peter Tatchell :

Comfort to homophobes, green light to homophobic murder

The United Nations voted this week to remove sexual orientation from a resolution calling on countries to protect the life of all people and to investigate extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions that are motivated by prejudice and discrimination.

The UN:


Commenting on the UN vote, gay rights and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said:

"This is a shameful day in United Nations history. It gives a de facto green light to the on-going murder of LGBT people by homophobic regimes, death squads and vigilantes. They will take comfort from the fact that the UN does not endorse the protection of LGBT people against hate-motivated murder.

"The UN vote is in direct defiance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees equal treatment, non-discrimination and the right to life. What is the point of the UN if it refuses to uphold its own humanitarian values and declarations?
"This vote is partly the result of a disturbing homophobic alliance between mostly African and Arab states, often inspired by religious fundamentalism. LGBT people in these countries frequently suffer severe persecution.

“Many of the nations that voted for this amendment want to ensure that their anti-gay policies are not scrutinised or condemned by the UN. Even if they don’t directly sanction the killing of LGBT people, they have lined up alongside nations that do.

"South Africa and Cuba claim to support LGBT human rights, yet they voted to remove sexual orientation. They can no longer be considered gay-friendly states. Both countries have allied themselves with tyrannical, violent, homophobic regimes, like Saudi Arabia and Iran. Presidents Raul Castro and Jacob Zuma should hang their heads in shame. They've betrayed the liberation ideals that they profess to uphold," said Mr Tatchell.

Also check out this post for a personal reflection .

How countries voted :

The votes to amend the resolution were as follows:

In favor of the amendment to remove sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (79):

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Brunei Dar-Sala, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Opposed to the amendment to remove sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (70):

Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Micronesia (FS), Monaco, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela

Abstain (17):

Antigua-Barbuda, Barbados, Belarus, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Colombia, Fiji, Mauritius, Mongolia, Papau New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

Absent (26):

Albania, Bolivia, Central African Republic, Chad, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Marshall Island, Mauritania, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Sao Tome Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Togo, Tonga, Turkey, Turkmenistan


The reinvention of Ann Widdecombe

I don't actually watch Strictly Come Dancing, but from clips on news sites and reports I have looked at, it seems old Widders as she is affectionately known is coming across as a bit of a card . Willing to be pulled across the floor looking ridiculous, being a good sport and feisty with the judges seems to add up to being the latest 'national treasure.'

Well she may be willing to make a fool of herself, but she certainly isn't some nice eccentric old bird .
Well for those of you with short memories , Pickled Politics has a handy list and links to highlight why old Widders is actually an unpleasant reactionary piece of work . The post reminds us of her homophobic, sexist, anti abortion and more. The only plus point is she is against fox hunting .

The F-Word has a link to an Abortion Rights planned protest . Widdecombe is speaking at a fundraiser for an anti choice group , exploiting her new found image as a nice harmless old eccentric. Details here.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More on anti gay bullying in schools

A little while back I posted about bullying of LGBT teenagers in the US and the rise of suicides .

Check out this clip of a gay teenager defending a teacher who was suspended for disciplining an anti gay student. A very eloquent and brave young man .


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Paul O'Grady on student protests

More from Paul O'Grady, this time on student protests :

Much prefer this to some of the more macho ego driven male leftie 'leaders .'

Note to lefties, sense of humour is a good way to get the message across !


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Class and student protests

I couldn't join the protest yesterday, I was sleeping off a 12 hour waking night shift in a care home . I was paid just over £7 an hour, yet I have a degree ,a masters and am a qualified social worker.

I am the only one in my family to have got a degree. I think I am pretty much the only one not to have left school at 16. I don't now have any family, certainly not a nice middle class one who could bail me out when I lost my nice well paid job this year.

I'm still not really sure how I did end up doing a degree, I certainly didn't have any roles models to follow. I sort of just kept going and my mother encouraged me as she saw it as the escape route from the council estate and poverty. It would have been a much easier option for her to have got me to get a job .

She had worked hard all her life, as had her mother , but two ill husbands meant money was not plentiful . One image that has always stuck with me was her wrapped in a duvet with a hot water bottle, to keep the heating bill down.

So I worked hard . I escaped . I looked after my mum, bought her stuff, took her abroad for holidays. The first time she left the country was at 60.

So why am I going on about this ?

Well I did work hard and pulled myself out of the gutter. There were even more obstacles than poverty but I'll leave those for another time, but the point is however far I came, I never really became middle class. Why not, I mean I bought a flat, got educated etc etc. Yep, but what I am learning now the hard way is that it slips away much easier when its not yours by birth . I never felt I fitted in and didn't want to anyway.

Many of the students today feel cheated , we older ones have it all. But we don't . Its not about age, but class. I didn't inherit when my parents died, I could never fall back on my mother to bail me out . I didn't think, oh well when I'm older I'll pay off my mortgage with my inheritance or mummy can give me a deposit for my flat . Instead I helped her out , made her life more comfortable . She gave up a lot to encourage me to study , I owed her that .

I feel pissed off that I was unemployed back in the 80s and am again now.

I do feel angry that students face fees and debt, that they won't have the jobs they perhaps expected they would. But lets also remember that some younger people will be hit harder than others . Some will be lucky to get a decent basic education and getting to university is as likely as getting to the moon.

I'd lay bets that my dads family, who I have not seen for nearly 20 years (long story), are still doing factory work , probably getting asbos and stuck on a crap estate .
I do hope the students remember them, their expectations have not been dashed, they had those beaten out of them long ago.

I hope that further action will be with workers , with those relying on public services, the unemployed and the left does not put all its hope in students . I have heard mutterings that some sections of the student protest were not wanting to broaden out the demands to no cuts AT ALL. We need unity, not cuts or fees for education, but no cuts also for public services.

The young are getting fucked over by this Government , but lets not get caught up by age . Some young people will be hit harder , some older people will be hit harder. The poor more than others .

Also, remember that losing your job when older is pretty crap as well. What are my expectations now, fuck knows .At 46 I am now back at square one . I am doing temp work for crap wages , I am facing potentially having to sell my flat . I don't have family money to fall back on. I was homeless as a kid, my flat is my security .

I do understand , and support, the students and their anger at an uncertain future . But lets make this a fight against all cuts, and please remember that.

Finally, what inspired this post was reading this post by Laurie on yesterday's demo:

This is about a political settlement that has broken its promises not once but repeatedly, and proven that it exists to represent the best interests of the business community, rather than to be accountable to the people. The students I speak to are not just angry about fees, although the Liberal Democrats' U-turn on that issue is manifestly an occasion of indignation: quite simply, they feel betrayed. They feel that their futures have been sold in order to pay for the financial failings of the rich, and they are correct in their suspicions. One tiny girl in animal-print leggings carries a sign that reads: "I've always wanted to be a bin man."

Two things. It is not just about making sure those who get to university get the nice well paid jobs they expect , its about making life better for ALL, not just those with degrees. They may feel betrayed, well many many people have felt like that for a long time and we need to listen to them and include them.

Plus what really pissed me off, the 'tiny girl in animal-print leggings.' Somehow I doubt she knows any bin men and her sign is pretty elitist and insulting . Sorry, poor thing, mummy and daddy I'm sure never brought her up to be a bin men. I wonder if there were no fees etc, would she actually ever give a damn about those who are bin men, who also face cuts in their work ? Or would she just walk on by to her life with fulfilled expectations ?

This should not be about making sure some young people have bright futures and ignore the 'bin men' of this world.


These are the students that ruined it for the rest ...

Tossers .

Via Face Book


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The left fails Muslim women

To get some thinking and discussing going, and to liven up the blog in these trying times, I'm cross-posting an article from Workers' Liberty, the original of which is here.

Muslim women fighting for women’s rights have been largely abandoned by the left, by human rights organisations, and by anti-racist campaigners.

That sums up the basic argument put forward by Gita Sahgal at a meeting held in Glasgow on 28 October as part of Black History Month 2010.

Sahgal left her post of Head of Gender Unit at Amnesty International earlier this year after Amnesty had ignored her complaints about the organisation’s collaboration with Islamists (specifically, Moazamm Begg and his “Cageprisoners” organisation).

Sahgal began her talk with excerpts from a documentary which she had helped make about war crimes committed by the Islamic-fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh during its war of independence in the early 1970s. Members of the organisation massacred hundreds of thousands and committed mass rape.

Bangladesh achieved its independence. As a result of the growing influence of Islamism, it falls well short of being a fully secular state. But there is now an ongoing popular campaign to secularise Bangladesh, spearheaded by women and youth.

It was therefore wrong, concluded Sahgal, to see secularism as something imposed on other countries by the West.

From Bangladesh in the early 1970s Sahgal moved on to Britain in the late 1980s, dealing with the attempts to ban Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, and the campaigning work undertaken by women in the Muslim community, such as Women Against Fundamentalism, in opposition to the increasing influence of Islamism.

Jamaat-e-Islami provided the link.

British Islamists who called for an extension of the blasphemy laws and for Satanic Verses to be banned included Bangladeshi Jamaat-e-Islami members who had migrated to Britain. The Islamist campaign against Satanic Verses also gave rise to the later emergence of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), in which Jamaat-e-Islami supporters continue to occupy leading positions.

Excerpts from documentaries which Sahgal had made at the time showed women from the Muslim community staging counter-demonstrations against the Islamist anti-Rushdie demonstrations, and also organising demonstrations in protest at domestic violence.

Their slogan was “Here to Doubt, Here to Fight”. This was an adaptation of the anti-racist slogan of the 1970s, “Here to Stay, Here to Fight”. It meant that women in the Muslim community were not prepared to surrender their right to question the social “orthodoxies” which the increasingly vociferous Islamists were wanting to impose on them.

But the excerpts from her documentaries also showed the start of a different political response to the reactionary Islamist mobilisation around Satanic Verses: a readiness by politicians to accept the Islamist leaders as genuine representatives of their communities, and a willingness to accommodate to their demands.

Both Labour and Tory MPs, for example, put their names to a Bill which sought to extend the blasphemy laws to cover Islam as well as Christianity. (By contrast, the late socialist Labour MP Eric Heffer was shown calling for the abolition of all blasphemy laws.)

This failure to confront Islamism and this accommodation to its political demands was described by Sahgal as “one of the most remarkable and saddest aspects of politics since the Rushdie Affair, or since 9/11 in 2001.”

Organisations like the MCB had been boosted and funded as government partners, supposedly providing a conduit into the Muslim community. As Sahgal pointed out, this was a continuation of an old colonial policy: to allow some self-appointed leaders to rule over their followers as they wished, provided that they kept them from rebelling against the colonial power itself.

In Afghanistan and Iraq the West had espoused the cause of women’s rights. But it had not hesitated to abandon the same cause by appeasing and forming alliances with Islamists. There could therefore be no reliance on Western governments to promote women’s rights.

On the left, organisations such as the Stop the War Coalition had boosted the Muslim Association of Britain (the British “section” of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood) while the political party “Respect” was effectively an alliance between sections of the left and Jamaat-e-Islami supporters.

The MCB was not even prepared to recognise Ahmaddiya Muslims as Muslims, still less represent them (or, Sahgal might have added, defend them against the murderous attacks of Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan).

The Islamic Human Rights Commission, another Islamist organisation popular with the left, was concerned only with what it defined as the breaches of human rights of Muslims committed by Western governments (and Turkey) but did not lift a finger to defend the human rights of those oppressed by Islamist regimes such as Iran.

And yet, in the name of “anti-racism”, the bulk of the left and the bulk of the anti-racist movement had shrunk back from confronting the threat posed by the rise of Islamism as a political movement.

Nor was there any reason to suppose that the situation was going to improve in the immediate future as more funding was being made available for “faith-based” groups to fill the gap left by cutbacks in local-authority social services.

This would provide an opportunity for Islamist organisations not only to secure more funding from the government but also — as the holders of the purse-strings for local social expenditure — to exercise a greater degree of influence and control in Muslim communities.

Some of what Sahgal said was open to criticism. But it was refreshing to hear a spirited denunciation of Islamism and the threat it poses to women’s rights in particular.

It would have been better to have heard such a denunciation in a socialist meeting or in a trade union meeting rather than in the Glasgow Centre for Contemporary Arts.

But the venue for Sahgal’s talk underlined the point she was making: the bulk of the left, having accommodated to political Islam at the expense of women’s rights, would not be prepared to hold such a meeting.

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Monday, November 08, 2010

Not blogging much as life is shite at the moment !

Sorry. Too stressed, scared and depressed!

Doing very low paid bits of temp work. If that does not improve I won't be able to afford my mortgage . I'll have to rent flat out or sell, re home my old rescue cats that I have had for 10 years and move to Dave's (not suitable for them there ).

I don't have parents with money to bail me out.

I can't put my thoughts into words very well, so will be quiet from me .

Real life is getting in the way , and I'm trying desperately to get better paid work .
The only positive thing is lots of support from Dave .

So blogging may be quiet, or I may get inspired . Who knows .

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


Today, I am striking again alongside thousands of my London Underground workmates - our third monthly one-day strike.

The reason? London Underground is planning to cut hundreds and hundreds of jobs, which will seriously reduce safety and services for passengers. I and my workmates do not share the company's view that the Tube can manage with up to 800 fewer staff on its stations, and 800 fewer 'support services' staff, many of whom are not paper-shufflers but play essential roles in maintenance, safety and other areas.

The threat to the Underground's standards is so severe that the TSSA trade union, known for its extreme reluctance to take industrial action, is out on strike alongside my union, RMT. Members of both unions spent months and months campaigning, lobbying and negotiating before resorting to strike action.

To read more about the issues, and reports on our campaign, please click on one of these two links:

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