Friday, December 31, 2010

Alternative New Year Honours

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

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


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jayaben Desai RIP

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

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

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

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

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

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

SSP statement on Sheridan conviction for perjury

From the SSP website :

SSP statement on Sheridan conviction for perjury


Tommy Sheridan’s conviction today for perjury was inevitable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The fall of Tommy Sheridan - cross post

Cross posted from Dave's blog :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Catholic church renounces hospital over life-saving abortion

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

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

Full story here.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Don't forget Bradley Manning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Remembering Kirsty MacColl

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

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

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

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Monday, December 13, 2010

LibDem MP tells constituent to get a life and stop whinging

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

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

Letter from Bob Russell MP

Ooh, don't hold back there .


Sunday, December 12, 2010

"My dissertation is huge: " Trot on the pull

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

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

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Friday, December 10, 2010

"Off with their heads:" Charles and Camillia faced with rioting 'subjects '

Seems one Police Chief took this very seriously. Yep, throwing paint, kicking a car and shouting slogans could have led to some students being shot. Gosh and they weren't even Johnny
foreigner who looks like a terrorist .

The news has been bleating on about how dreadful it was to inconvenience the Royal benefit scroungers , to whom tuition fees is surely like small change , having to face a public that wasn't bowing ,scraping and bearing flowers .

The Mail (apologies for linking ) states in its usual huff and puffery :

Met chief Sir Paul Stephenson today mounted an extraordinary defence of armed protection officers after the worst Royal security blunder in a generation.

Sir Paul hailed the 'enormous restraint' of the team guarding Prince Charles and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall, implying the rioters were lucky not to have been shot.

Camilla was left terrified as their Rolls Royce came under fire from a snarling mob of student fees rioters as it made its way to the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium.

The car was kicked, rocked and hit with paint bombs as up to 20 demonstrators attacked it and chanted 'Off with their heads!' and 'Tory scum', leaving the couple visibly shaken.

The Prince and Duchess were not hurt but the potential risk to their safety raised worrying echoes of the 1974 kidnap attempt on Princess Anne.

Yep, they weren't hurt or kettled or hit with a truncheon and needing a brain op like Alfie Meadows.

So they saw a glimpse of the anger from those at the sharp end of this Government and then scuttled back to their cosseted lives. Tough .

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Nick Clegg - "Say goodbye to broken promises ."

Oh the irony , no more broken promises . Vote Lib Dem, get a Tory Govt .

Hat tip to Nick Cohen on Facebook.

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Student protests

I wasn't able to go on the demo today due to having to work on job applications that may lead to me earning enough to live on again. This had to take priority, alongside being available for any temp work that may come up. Dwindling redundancy money and a mortgage tends to focus the mind.

I do hope that the coming months will see an increase in action against cuts to public services , which has already started in some areas . This must be the start of building a united fight against all cuts .

I notice some Lib Dems and the odd Tory voted against the Fees increase ,including standing down from their Government positions. Clegg and Cable though were still defending the indefensible .Clegg may say he has nothing to be ashamed of, but it seems his colleagues are finding it harder to justify their actions , shying away from the real reason of power at any price . Hopefully they will get hammered at the local elections .

There was though cause for celebration.Watching BBC News 24 I was amused that there was much relief that although Prince Charles and Camilla got their car kicked, they still arrived unflustered to the Palladium and the show started on time. Phew, that makes up for the vote .

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Sunday, December 05, 2010

More squirming from the Lib Dems: Danny Alexander on QT

A very Brighton response to snow !

Matt Whistler's Merry Christmas 2010 Southover Street Brighton from Convict Films on Vimeo.

I'm sure there aren't many delicate types read this blog, but just in case , this contains nudity !


Friday, December 03, 2010

Woolas and Chaytor , a disgrace to politics

David Chaytor pleads guilty to expenses charges and Phil Woolas loses bid to overturn a court decision to strip him of his commons seat and bar him from politics. Not a good day for labour and politics in general, thoughI must say though hearing the Lib Dems call for clean politics show irony is not lost on them.

Woolas played a nasty campaign that fed into fears and prejudice of Muslims and yet Labour MPs voted him on to the Shadow Cabinet . Some backbenchers were 'rebellious' and defended him . Hmm, shame some of them don't have the same gumption when it comes to voting against the Iraq war and more recently for John McDonnell's Trade Union Bill. Seems they can get all worked up to defend the indefensible.


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Some thoughts on all the protesting malarkey , positive ones as well !

Attached a smaller size snow dawg

I have been a bit quiet with the blogging,doing temp work is very unpredictable. I tend to be rung up first thing and asked to go asap to a job. I have done some very long two day shifts recently and all in all found it hard to get my head into the right place to do a post.Lots have been going on and I wish I had been able to go on some of the demos, but paying the mortgage and bills comes first I'm afraid. Here though are some thoughts on the last week or so.

A little while back I did what was perhaps a bit of a jaded post re the students demos . My concern was that the protests around education should be part of a wider movement around the cuts to the public sector and should involve those who have or are at risk of losing their jobs as well as those who rely on the services they provide . With regard to the last group this needs to be done sensitively , not always a trait of the left . At the moment there is much anxiety and also expectations being dashed for them.

Over the last decade , people have been encouraged to be more independent and have more control over the support they receive. Older people have been helped to live in their own homes or extra care housing where they have a flat and not just a room . People with learning disabilities have moved out of long stay hospitals and many now live in their own flats , some of which are shared ownership or housing association, rather than large homes. Same with others , such as those with long term mental health issues .

The old ways of people being expected to be happy with day centres , separate from the rest of the community , have been being eroded . People with learning disabilities, for example, have been moving from only having the option of day centres to being more part of their community . Many have chosen to do training , voluntary work or paid work. In this climate that is becoming less likely. The cuts mean that these improvements , that people can live like the rest of us , could be coming to an end. I know of a number of areas that are looking backwards to residential care as a 'cheaper' option . The chances of people getting into the employment market is less likely now, the day centre beckons. Expectations raised are now dashed . Anxiety increases with all the uncertainty. Having choice, control and independence for people who need support will be seen as a 'luxury' when the cuts are made . It will be a return to the old ways and the cheapest .

OK, gone round the houses a bit here . My point though is cuts to public services are not just about jobs, they are about the day to day quality of life for people . That will diminish and we will start to go backwards . There are a number of strong advocacy groups nationally, as well as local ones. They need to be part of campaigns and that will mean the left listening to their concerns and experiences and not trying to lead .

As an old cynic I must now admit I am becoming more positive with recent developments . The energy and determination of the student and schoolchildren movement is encouraging and it seems quite infectious. As is so often the case in the NUS, and unions in general, the members have been more radical than the leadership. The actions and pressure of the students have forced the NUS President to back them and admit the NUS had been spineless and too cautious. TUC take note.

I haven't been on the blogs much, I hope to do a bit of a round up of reporting on the demos in the next day or two, but I did notice Phil has written about the storming of Lewisham Town hall against the Council making cuts . Very heartening to see the direct action being taken to the Town Halls and against the cuts in services. I have also seen that students joined the RMT picket lines this week, that's what is needed , united against all cuts . It also seems that the Coalition of Resistance conference was both well attended and not dull in the extreme , pretty good going when faced with many speakers and a long day. Liam , who lets just say can be a tad cynical as well, even went as far as to call it 'exhilarating.' High praise indeed .

Now I'm not naive enough to think this is 68 again, that the revolution is on its way or that the left will be united , but hey its not a bad start is it ?

Pic: Eddie and Cat's Dawg . Totally unrelated to the post, but couldn't resist!

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