Wednesday, April 23, 2014
In fact the first instalment was to come almost immediately. The dangerous radical Bishop of Oxford went to Cameron's office to deliver a letter protesting about food poverty. And Dave Snooty's flunkeys immediately called the police.
It is just as well Dave Snooty never gets to meet common people because a lot of them are more outraged than the Bishop.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Laura Fisher from Wakefield told us the following:
A shepherd was approached by a man in a smart suit in an expensive car.
"If I tell you how many sheep you have, can I have one of them?"
The shepherd was in a good mood and he assented.
The man then used his laptop and satellite observations and eventually came up with the answer "250"
The shepherd gave him a free choice of the sheep and then said, "If I tell you what you do for a living will you give it back to me?"
The man agreed and the shepherd said immediately, "You are an OFSTED inspector."
The man was flummoxed and demanded to know how the shepherd had worked this out.
"Well it took you ages to find out something I knew already and you clearly haven't got the first idea about my job. Now give me my dog back."
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
massive increase can be directly related to cuts in benefits.
Jobseekers' allowance is basically a means of punishing the unemployed
and even the paltry sums provided have been under attack since October.
The minimum sanction has been raised from one to four weeks and benefits
can now be cut for up to three years.
The DWP's Iain Duncan Smith is at a loss to understand this. When he was
unemployed he had the option of staying in daddy's mansion and having
the servants bring him three meals a day. He certainly didn't need a
food bank so nor do these people.
Trussell's Trust have estimated that there has been an increase in the
number of people using food banks of 163 percent. The rules for applying
to use most food banks are quite strict. People have to be referred by a
care professional such as a doctor and food aid is strictly limited.
The DWP consistently pretend that "people are using food banks more
because there are more food banks." This is possibly the stupidest piece
of logic since it was estimated that if there were fewer firemen there
would be fewer fires.
And of course the opposition are going to do something about this.
Actually no. They have meekly agreed to continue with Tory spending
cuts. All Labour is offering is "more of the same". Vocal opposition is
coming from religious groups and charities who normally keep quiet about
the Conservatives to avoid alienating the public..
TUSC are alone in opposing all cuts. The choice is very simple.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
UNITY IS STRENGTH - but how can we achieve it?
In 1963, there were 183 different unions affiliated to the TUC. By 1995 this had fallen to 70.
Now, the number is below 60.
The overwhelming reason for this drop in number is mergers between unions. This process in the last decades has involved the creation of massive organisations, most recently and most obviously with the creation of Unite in 2007.
The benefits of merging are perhaps obvious. After all, unity is strength and less duplication of resources, greater financial clout and reduction of different unions representing different grades in the same workplace is to be welcomed.
However there are downsides in some cases. For example, the union can lose specialist understanding of certain parts of its memberships' work and sections of workers in smaller areas can feel uninfluential in these huge organisations.
The teachers' unions, excepting the creation of ATL, have stubbornly refused to follow this trend. This is despite the prospect of combined teachers' unions not carrying the disadvantages that mergers can bring. We are a single workforce that is doing similar jobs on similar terms and conditions regardless of primary or secondary, academy or comprehensive. A combined teachers' union of 600,000-plus would be tremendously powerful, let alone the prospect of an even- larger all-education union.
The huge advantages of one teachers' union or even simply a merger of NUT and NASUWT hardly need to stated. One voice in negotiations, one voice in the media and most importantly every strike that would bring out 80%+ of the teachers in any school or area you care to name.
This situation is recognised by rank and file teachers in the classroom. I would confidently predict that a ballot tomorrow of NASUWT and NUT members would result in a large majority in favour of a merge.
So why hasn’t this necessary unification happened? One factor has to be the relatively stable membership numbers of the major teaching unions. This may mean that classroom teachers facing the fierce attacks on the profession feel the need for unity far more strongly than their respective bureaucracies.
The NUT does have policy far superior to the NASUWT on supporting ‘one union for all teachers’ but the intransigence of the leadership of the second biggest teachers' union means appeals for unity from the top are not enough.
However, even if the NASUWT cannot be persuaded into taking national action alongside the NUT for the moment, the current industrial action campaign opens up real opportunities.
If the NUT announces an ongoing campaign of action, then some NASUWT members could move across to the NUT. It will certainly create the space and atmosphere for the debate on unity to happen in every staffroom.
Alongside bold action to defend members, the NUT needs to be looking at how it can help our members make use of the desire of NASUWT members for one union to encourage them to pressure their own leaders.
Rather than delaying effective action until we have one union, or risking tail ending the NASUWT in the understandable desire for unity, it is a strong combative NUT that will now apply the most pressure towards one union for all teachers.
Phil Clarke (newly elected to the NUT National Executive for Kent / East Sussex for 2014-16)
Wednesday, April 09, 2014
After drawing all that cash.
She's been spending like a sailor.
Did our girl do something rash?
By siding with Maria Miller before stabbing her in the back, Cameron looks weak, corrupt and disloyal all in one go. So never say he has no talents at all :)
Monday, April 07, 2014
A full list of the candidates so far, broken down into regions can be found at www.tusc.org.uk/txt/292.pdf.