Sunday, December 30, 2012

Shanghaied by HSBC

The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) - chiefly famous for money-laundering - have also shanghaied millions of pounds from ordinary customers by a bit of jiggery pokery with Cash Machines.

If you accidentally leave your money in an ATM for about 30 seconds, the machine takes the money back and anyone would expect that the bank would refund the money to their account. RBS and HSBC do not think like that.

For years they have just quietly kept the money unless the customer specifically complains to them. HSBC was the last major bank to reluctantly and grudgingly agree to give ordinary customers their
money back.

With astonishing bravado they have insisted customers "don't call us -we have all the information to sort this out!"In other words it was not a mistake or oversight, they knew all about it.

If you or I tried a stunt like that we would be looking at the inside of a prison cell. Are the banks above the law?

Isn't it nice to know our money is safe in their hands?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Diary of a Common Soldier

I didn't know my father very well. He died when I was seven. However, I did get to know the young man who was a common soldier in the Second World War through reading his diary.
This diary is now available on Kindle thanks to my sister, the writer Janice Robinson. In the introduction there is the following story which my mother always repeated as a dire warning against being "too clever"

"My dad, F R McMillan, known to all but the family as "Mac" was an ordinary sort of chap. During the depression in the 1930s he took any job he could get and when he received his call-up papers in June 1940, he was a baker's roundsman.

"Being of a sarcastic nature, when asked if he wanted to go into the Navy or the RAF, he replied, "Is that all you have to offer?" And he was promptly sent into the Army."

Read his story.
Click on the link below:



Friday, December 21, 2012

STOPP Gove's performance pay chicanery

Only obedient teachers will be getting pay rises in future if Gove gets his way. The union was founded to oppose performance related pay.

There is a facebook page for those who want to comment on Gove's plans and the union's response.

Click here


Monday, December 10, 2012

ASOSA

ASOSA - yet another acronym to learn. This one refers to "Action Short of Strike Action." LANAC is the "Local Associations for National Action Campaign" which held a conference on 8th December in Leicester I attended with Mark Sandell who was suffering from the worst cold in history.
The LANAC conference was an opportunity to exchange experiences of Action Short of Strike Action. Although there are schools with good union organisation where the union group did not have to take action, the consensus was that ASOSA was giving more confidence to rank and file members of the union.

In some cases the union has had to threaten strike action to get recalcitrant heads to comply. This has generally been enough. In one case the union had had to take escalating strike action – one, two and three days before a head was persuaded to see sense. The consequence was that the union group was stronger at the end of it. The head had assumed the strike action would tail off. On the contrary, the picket line was bigger each time and attendance at union meetings went up.

The nature of the NUT ballot was that strike action could be taken at short notice so heads could not make use of delay to undermine the action.

This squares with the reports given to NUT South East Regional Committee in November.

Gove is threatening to cut teachers' pay still further with all pay rises being for “nice” teachers Some of the appalling bullying heads we have heard of will be the people who decide who's naughty or nice.

Moreover schools which are in dire financial straits may be forced to conclude that they have no nice teachers because they cannot afford to pay them!

Under these circumstances it is likely that there will have to be strike action. There was some discussion over whether this will require another ballot. Nevertheless there was a mood of confidence that the union will have to proceed to “phase two” and the NASUWT may be forced to the same conclusion.

Derek McMillan December 10th 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

UKIP want Gove for PM. God help us!


The rising popularity and respectibility of UKIP shows just how fed up with the mainstream political parties people must be. You would have to be pretty desperate to support a man who complains about the EU gravy train then claims £2 million in expenses

One Rotheram voter is quoted in The Guardian "What d'you call him? Le Fage? I saw him on the telly. He should be a comedian." which is about right.

But Labour's disgusting record of supporting cuts and lining their own pockets is unattractive to working class voters. The manufactured story about parents being unable to foster children because they are racist and this being linked to their UKIP membership played right into the hands of the UKIP comedians.

If you listen for five minutes to Farage you realise that a UKIP/Conservative coalition would not be a laughing matter. More tax cuts for the rich and more welfare cuts for the 99 percent, all washed down with a dose of rage against immigrants. The fact they want Gove as leader tells you all you need to know!

Derek McMillan

Monday, November 26, 2012

French page on Amazon



Amazon asked me to make a page for Amazon.fr . I have always been favourably impressed with the attitude of French people towards my attempts to speak their language. It was certainly a lot nicer than the response of my French teacher :)

So here it is


Amazon m'a demandé de faire une page pour Amazon.fr. J'ai toujours été favorablement impressionné par l'attitude des Français envers mes tentatives de parler leur langue. Il était certainement beaucoup plus agréable que la réponse de mon professeur de français

Monday, November 19, 2012

Stories from the Ark

As part of the adult literacy work undertaken by The Ark, one of our students is writing a story which is being blogged here
 
1) This story is being written using a laptop so that spelling mistakes can be corrected quickly and the final result looks OK.

2) Other people are involed in the story because there is an ongoing discussion about the narrative.

3) This is a really good way of boosting confidence and presenting a story to an audience.
People have many different routes into adult literacy but this kind of narrative is just one of them.

4) The problem with a lot of "easy" books is that they are aimed at children. This is not a children's narrative!


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Nationwide proud to be the same?

I always liked that Nationwide advert, I expect you remember it, "we wont charge you for using your card abroad." I was disappointed with the commission charges for foreign travel which my current account attracted. I am always telling people how good Nationwide is.

Pot pourri quiz

Unlike the Reverend Ian Paisley I have no objection to pot-pourri. Here is Xavier's Science Fiction Quiz. It is a bit of a pot-pourri. A chocolate bar awaits the first person to get all the questions right.

Just for fun. Xavier's Sci Fi Quiz

Click here for the Quiz

The Mirror of Eternity is a book of short stories reflecting my love of Science Fiction. It is available on Kindle today

Click here for your copy



Goodbye Mitt

Listening to the vicious little Republican "analyst" used by the BBC to provide "balance". He was named after that river that runs through Egypt and it seemed he was in denial himself.

However if this is what Republicans sound like in defeat, imagine how obnoxious they would be in victory. Perhaps it is that thought that has kept Obama in power.

Wave goodbye to the oven glove. People obviously thought Obama was the lesser evil.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The six faces of Lara Croft


Letters to Lara

Now on Kindle
Click here
The "Letters to Lara" project took about a year. Pupils at a school in Sussex wrote letters to Lara Croft. This is not all that different from a frequent activity in English Literature - pupils writing to a character in a novel or play.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gove 's apology is not enough

Michael Gove has written an apology to his French teacher in this
week's Radio Times. How amusing. Apparently he was a revolting
individual in those days too.

Whenever a secretary of state for education goes, teachers heave a
sigh of relief and pray to St Jude, the patron saint of lost causes,
that the next one will be better.

We are still praying. Each one has new and wonderful "initiatives"
which are brought in without consulting teachers or parents and
usually against the advice of all education practitioners. Gove's
"Free School" fiasco is a case in point.

I am very pleased that Gove has apologised to his French teacher,
albeit thirty years late. I suppose that means that the rest of us
will just have to wait another thirty years. We won't all live that
long.

In any case, as any teacher can tell you, an apology is meaningless without a change in behaviour.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Austerity isn't working

The government response to the TUC march on 20th October was "we don't care what you plebs think, we won't change our brilliant policy." So no surprises there then. This means that Mark Serwotka and Bob Crow may well get their way and precipitate a general strike. See if the patricians will listen then :)


Commentators have noted that Miliband was booed when he tried to turn an anti-cuts rally into a pro-cuts rally. People are not keen on "nice Labour cuts" - or as one banner said "Labour = same cuts with a different knife".


The trade unions should stop throwing good money after bad Labour policies and fight for the policies they believe in:


* make the rich pay for the crisis they caused

* give the people the welfare state they deserve.


No more kowtowing to polticians. People should not fear their governments. Perhaps it is time governments started to fear the people.



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Starbucks

Try going into a Starbucks and refusing to pay for your coffee. My guess is that you would soon find the long arm of the law on your shoulder. They would not tolerate anything so thoroughly dishonest.

However, although Starbucks have been regularly telling their investors that the UK business is highly profitable, they have been telling the taxman a different story. Reuters has compared Starbucks' two versions of events thus: "To its investors, it sells an espresso - strong and vibrant. The UK taxman gets a watered-down Americano." Indeed they have been legitimately claiming that their business in the UK shows a loss while raking in massive profits.

Household names like Starbucks and most famously Vodafone have been using accounting trickery which would get them labelled scroungers if they were unemployed or disabled.

But have no fear. Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander boasted that he intended to recruit a hundred more Revenue men to crack down on tax evasion. What he did not boast about was the fact that 1500 Revenue men and women have been sacked since this government was elected. This is taking disingenuous mendacity to an Olympic standard.

Derek McMillan
Mid-Sussex Socialist Party





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http://classroomteachermanual.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Academy Thought Control


How would Govey react if a local authority school were to insist that all governors support comprehensive education? I imagine he would turn fifty shades of blue and explode.

However, Academies are quite within their rights to sack governors who do not fulfil the person specification "fully supports academy status".

This came to light at St Bede's School in Cambridge where this clauise was used to remove a long-standing governor and trade unionist.

Curiously another person specification for governors was "to be able to think critically." So it seems that on planet Gove you can only think critically if you agree with the Academy program.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Local Associations for National Action

LANAC meeting 30 09 2012

http://nutlan.org.uk/

LANAC is the Local Associations for National Action Campaign. I attended this meeting on behalf of WSTA. 22 Associations were represented. Many were from urban areas but I did speak to a delegate from Leicestershire who clearly had many of the same issues as arise in spread-out areas like West Sussex.

There was a good businesslike discussion about the successes of the Action Short Of Strike Action. These successes are in advance of the actual date of the action and the result of discussions with sensible heads...and not-so-sensible ones.

Action has been taken in schools without a previous record of union activity and with bullying management styles in place. LANAC will share good practice and the union's action will educate heads into the notion that bullying is not necessary for school success.

Examples of the little victories will be posted onto the LANAC website – I was nominated to work on the website - and publicised on a facebook page and on twitter.

If there are cases of individual victimisation, it was thought that the ballot would enable schools to move straight to strike action, giving seven days' notice, without another ballot. It is likely that such action could be sustained so members are not out of pocket.

For the future, it is possible that such action could become generalised.

Meanwhile members of the NASUWT and the NUT are experiencing working together and improving the workload for teachers. This co-operation is despite the fact that some NASUWT members believe that they are forbidden to attend joint meetings with the NUT. An increasing number are turning a blind eye to this instruction.

The Action Short Of Strike Action is against the government and it was thought likely that it would be the prelude to national strike action.

LANAC will be seeking the widest possible support for the TUC demonstration on 20th October. It is likely that co-ordinated strike action involving public sector workers will be necessary to turn the tide against austerity.

There will be a LANAC conference on 8th December to review the state of the action.

Meanwhile here is a model resolution suggested by the vice-chair of the meeting, Sally Kincaid

Model resolution/petition on pensions/pay/workload
We welcome the overwhelming vote in the NUT ballot for action on workload and pay, to add to the existing NUT ballot for action in defence of our pensions, which mirrors the NASUWT votes over the same issues. Together these votes give both unions a clear mandate to defend teachers and education from the assault on all fronts we face from the Coalition government.
We welcome the joint statement by the NUT and NASUWT calling for non-strike action in all schools over workload as part of this battle, but we are worried that the statement contained no clear indication of a plan to move to national strike action.
We pledge ourselves to seek to coordinate the non strike sanctions and any local strikes with the widest layer of schools possible.
But we believe however that if we want to beat the government national strike action is by far our strongest weapon and is absolutely necessary.
We believe that there should be a move to a programme of such action as soon as possible, and certainly this term. We believe each union should do this alongside each other and/or other unions facing similar battles.
 We therefore call on both the NUT and NASUWT executives to pursue discussions with all these unions and agree dates for such national strike action starting this term at their next meetings in early October
NUT: Fax motions or completed petitions to 020 7387 8458 or email a scanned copy (for petitions) or motion with numbers attending the meeting to c.blower@nut.org.uk
NASUWT: Fax motions or completed petitions  to 0121 457 6208 or email a scanned copy (for petitions) or motion with numbers attending the meeting to chris.keates@mail.nasuwt.org.uk

Monday, September 24, 2012

We are all plebs as far as the ConDems are concerned

Mitchell has denied that he called the police officers plebs. Instead he has called them "liars". That is a charge for which they could lose their jobs. But of course he couldn't. Being a liar is more of a qualification for his job!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Statistics

Some odd statistics about this blog.

Pageviews
United States
5063
United Kingdom
1732
Russia
1192
Germany
615
Netherlands
595
Poland
203
South Korea
183
Ukraine
157
France
87
Canada
86

The number of people in the US reading this blog is very gratifying considering it is predominantly about British politics. The sales of Classroom Teacher Manual are higher in the US than in the UK too.

The 157 in the Ukraine is a surprise too!

The browser statistics show an interesting trend

Internet Explorer
5005 (42%)
Chrome
3892 (33%)
Firefox
1866 (15%)
Safari
467 (3%)
Opera
327 (2%)
GranParadiso
59 Mobile Safari
23 Netscape
23 Mobile
19 Java
Putting IE firmly in the lead. However this week's statistics tell a changing story:

Chrome
383 (71%)
Firefox
94 (17%)
Internet Explorer
27 (5%)
Safari
26 (4%)
Opera
4 Mobile Safari
3 BingPreview

The triumph of the Chrome it would seem.

The audience statistics for this week are:

United States
369
United Kingdom
137
Switzerland
11
Russia
11
Germany
5
Malaysia
3
Belgium
2
Poland
1

And a big Dzien dobry to my Polish reader!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Unqualified Disaster - how do we fight back?

This (union branch) notes that the government has brought in the use of unqualified teachers against the opposition of all teachers and heads organisations and a majority of parents. This was brought in without any discussion or consultation.
The government claim that this will enable schools to bring in "brilliant people" instead of teachers to teach our children. We reject this argument as false. Brilliant people are already invited to visit schools to talk to children and to answer questions. If they wanted to teach they would have been brilliant enough to get a teaching qualification.
The government's aim would appear to be teaching on the cheap. Our children deserve better.
We therefore call on other education stakeholders including governors, head teachers, parents' organisations and local councillors to protest this move and to write to Michael Gove telling him that they support the use of qualified teachers to teach our children. They should also query why they were not consulted about this drastic and irresponsible move.
School letterheadings and notices could contain the words "Qualified teachers only" to differentiate schools who care for their pupils enough to insist on qualified teachers. This is as important as hospitals employing qualified surgeons.
Parents have a right to know whether their children are being taught by qualified teachers.



Click here




Sunday, July 29, 2012

Blair has a new master

It is official. No less a person than Mr Tony Blair the 'legacy Czar' of the 2012 Olympics insists that McDonalds and Coca Cola are perfectly healthy.  It is unlikely millionaire Blair has ever had to eat in a McDonalds, smell the kitchens or attempt to digest the food.

In the groundbreaking film 'supersize me', Morgan Spurlock monitored the effects of a McDonalds diet. These included a 13 percent increase in body mass and a cholesterol level of 230. In the American system 200 is the maximum safe level!

Clearly this is regarded as ideal for youth sports by Blair.  Ever ready to grovel to the corporations, The man who started out as Bush's poodle is now McDonald's new chicken McNugget.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Gove behaves like a pickpocket using the distraction of the Olympic Games

The government has sneaked in a proposal to allow academies to use unqualified staff to teach children. This is overwhelmingly opposed by parents and teachers but people had their eyes on the Olympic Opening Ceremony while this measure was introduced without discussion or negotiation.

Commenting on the Department for Education’s decision to remove the requirement for academies to employ qualified teachers, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said:

“This is a perverse decision by the DfE and a clear dereliction of duty.

“The NUT believes all children deserve to be taught by qualified teachers, and it's not just the profession that thinks so. Our 2011 ComRes poll showed that 89% of parents want a qualified teacher to teach their child, with just 1% comfortable about those without Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) taking charge of a class.

“By his own admission, Michael Gove is relaxed about profit-making from schools. He takes his inspiration from Sweden where profits are being made by reducing the number of qualified teachers, and where educational standards have fallen. By contrast, the reason Finland scores so highly in international tables is because they value teachers, trust teachers and pay teachers well.

“Parents and teachers will see this as a cost-cutting measure that will cause irreparable damage to children’s education. Schools need a properly resourced team of qualified teachers and support staff, not lower investment dressed up as ‘freedoms’.

“The Government has no credible argument for removing the requirement for academies to employ qualified teachers, so chooses instead to bury this decision in the hours leading up to the Olympics opening ceremony.”




For Kindle For ipad
For iphone
And also there is a free reader for the PC Click here

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Short story on alfiedog.com

 
Do you feel entirely safe when walking through the crowded streets of the old city in Tunis? Well if you had Omar with you nothing could possibly go wrong!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

John Terry BNP poster boy

The judgement that John Terry was using racial abuse "ironically" will
give a green light to every racist thug to claim "ooh it was all
irony. I was just quoting what this ******* **** said to me". The fact
that the language used on the pitch is traditionally disgusting is not
much of an excuse. If nobody ever has to face the consequences it will
go on being disgusting.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pity the poor tax-dodger

Anyone who thinks the Conservatives lack compassion has only to look
at Philip Circus's column in the County Times "Cutting Tax is the best
way to reduce avoidance." Tories may have to take hard decisions to
cut money going to the old, the sick and the disabled but they are
genuinely fond of the tax dodger. And obviously the way to stop the
poor things dodging tax is to cut the tax. Thus a government hell-bent
on "deficit reduction" still spares a thought for the rich and
generously gives them tax cuts.

But does Circus's idea go far enough? Surely by his logic we should
leave our homes unlocked so there is less housebreaking, perhaps give
goods away from shops to discourage shoplifters, and abolish speed
limits so there is no more speeding.

Mr Circus is a bit of an anarchist on the quiet isn't he.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Euthanasia - don't let them put a red peg on you!

The House of Lords are debating "assisted suicide" soon.

Consequently the issue of assisted suicide (which might otherwise be
called murder
or manslaughter) is prominent in the media. What sticks in my mind is
listening to a young man in a wheelchair at a disabled teachers'
conference. What he said was "Whenever you see stories in the papers
on the lines of 'will I go to prison for helping my husband to die.'
you should ask why the newspapers are never interested in disabled
people who want to live but only in the people who want to kill us?"

Making euthanasia legal would make old and disabled people not fully
human and therefore not entitled to human rights. I understand the
courts may treat each case on its merits and temper justice with mercy
but we cannot write into law an absolute right to dispose of old and
disabled people.

And as they said in "Torchwood" if they put a red peg on you it means
the incinerator for you!

...says an old and disabled person!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Uppity Downs

At the National Disabled Teachers' Conference, Richard Rieser gave a
presentation on the views about disabled people typified by the
eugenicist movement supported by Darwin, Galton, Churchill and of
course ultimately by Hitler and the Third Reich.

He ended with a poem by Micheline Mason called Uppity Downs which puts
an alternative view.

I am glad to be able to report
To Messrs Darwin, Galton, Churchhill and Down
Hitler and the Third Reich
That your mission was a failure

Though you tried so hard to persuade us
With your learned accomplices
To believe in you nightmare
Requiring the extermination of the flawed,
The flawed have nonetheless flowered

Protected from your twisted plan
By unstoppable love,
Now released from the ghettos
People with Down Syndrome
And other endangered treasures
Are rising up all over the world
Getting uppity and visible

Artists and poets,
Actors and dancers
Some quiet and thoughtful,
Some noisy and fun,
A teacher, every one

You could say in fact
That your horrible experiment
Has not simply failed
But gloriously backfired!

Parents all fired up
With fierce and defensive love
For their targeted children
Have joined arms with the Flawed
And other progressive forces
To insist on inclusion for all
Replacing your elitist ideals
Of empire and Might –

Britain forever Ruling the Waves-
With a different dream
Taking hold in many places
Of a slower, more gentle world
In which being born human is enough
To evoke awe, wonder and respect
From each to all

The end of competition
The start of collaboration
A bottom-up revolution
Heralding a new world
In which it is safe for all of us
To be our selves

2007

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Trade Unionists resist attack on disabled "scroungers"

There is - quite rightly - outrage when BNP and other far-right thugs
attack disabled people. Cameron and the media are doing just the same
thing, using their wealth and power rather than their fists.

Disabled people are among the hardest hit in the cuts and the
ideological assault echoes the eugenicist argument that disabled
people are "useless mouths." Cameron really ought to be careful
talking in these terms. For the general public there seem to be plenty
of "useless mouths" around the cabinet table, in the banks and in the
boardrooms.

The Disabled Teachers' Conference took place on the weekend of 30th
June to 1st July. Significantly the conference involved speakers from
UCU and PCS who are also involved in opposing the attack on disabled
people which is taking place. And the attack is ferocious.

Sasha Callaghan of UCU described a "reign of terror" by the
undeserving rich against the poor. "The government's attitude to the
poor harks back to the Poor Law of the 19th Century. Our past is in
front of us." The language used about disabled people; "scroungers,"
"shiftless" and "undeserving" echoes fascist rhetoric.

The NUT's Allan Grey added that in the light of Cameron's vicious
attacks on disabled people "it would believe the Labour Party would
represent us but I hardly need to say we can't."

The PCS representative, Austin Harney, revealed that PCS has balloted
on its political fund with the consequence that they will be able to
stand trade union candidates against pro-cuts candidates from any of
the political parties.

PCS members are being disciplined for merely telling claimants that
they have a right to "access to work" support. They have to accede to
requests but they can be in trouble for telling claimants their
rights.

The government attacks disabled people because they think they are
weak and have no allies. Certainly many of the charities on which
disabled people depend have folded in the face of the government
onslaught. Downing Street should be in the middle of a perfect storm
of recrimination from the charities but they are not. The butcher has
his big knife, but the lamb to be slaughtered has an open mind!

Only the trade union movement can provide the strong allies that
disabled people need. There was overwhelming enthusiasm for the TUC
anti-cuts demonstration in October but nobody wants to wait until
October before taking action against the government's disgraceful
attack on disabled people.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Various Pets Alive and Dead

Various Pets Alive and Dead
Marina Lewycka
ISBN: 9781905490912

This book by the author of "Two Caravans" tells two parallel stories
about a 1970's hippy commune and the adventures of two of its children
in the 21st century. A lot of the humour comes from ridiculing some of
the more ultra-left views current in the 1970s and then contrasting
the morality of the parents with the immoral world in which Serge -
one of the children - has become embroiled.

I don't intend to ruin the plot but the banking world is summarised
for Serge thus:

"Imagine gambling in a casino. Everything you win, you keep. And every
time you lose, a kind-hearted donkey called Joe Public comes along
with a sack of gold and pays off your debts .... He just has to keep
the government onside by keeping them running scared."

Drawn into this world because of the easy money, Serge develops a
whole new meaning for the term "fictitious capital." The parts of the
financial plot which seem most bizarre, like making money out of a
downturn, are the parts which are most accurate.

In the hippy commune, the attempts to explain the role of marriage -
or the "pastry arky of the domestos fear" - to young children are a
salutary warning about fitting your language to your audience.

Marina Lewycka does not spare anybody, left or right, from her comic
ridicule. This is a thoroughly good read.


Derek McMillan
Mid Sussex Socialist Party

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A R K spells ARK

The Ark charity is supported by churches all over Horsham and has been
generously supported by St Johns Church. Ark is there to help people who are
held back by homelessness, drug abuse, alcohol abuse or poverty. It
provides food and companionship, advice and understanding.

Ark is now offering free adult literacy classes with the support of
Kip McGrath. We have three qualified teachers offering their services
to anyone who wants to come. One of our students is even writing a
novel. The work in progress is available on
http://storiesfromhorshamark.blogspot.co.uk/

I have nothing but admiration for our students. Nobody feels
embarrassed if they cannot handle Maths but to admit "I can't read" is
very difficult. It takes courage to accept help.

Another project which has been discussed is setting up a night shelter
in winter. We have been inspired by the churches in Brighton who set
one up last February. Think back to the awful weather and imagine
trying to sleep rough in it.

Ark can always use enthusiastic volunteers and will make the best use
of your skills to help others. This is straightforward Christianity:
"Love one another as I have loved you".

http://thearkhorsham.org.uk/

Thursday, June 07, 2012

20 October - advance warning

London

Saturday, 20 October 2012 - 12:00pm

The TUC has called a mass demonstration on 20 October against the cuts..

It will set off in London and march to Hyde Park for a rally.

For more details: http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21056-f0.cfm

Can we assume co-operation from the police since they are also
demonstrating against public sector cuts?

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The Apprentice – or who wants to work for a bully?

When I could drag myself away from the Royal Circus on the Thames, I
watched the final of The Apprentice. For those of you unfamiliar with
this theatre of cruelty the main character is a pantomime villain,
Lord Sugar, who gets to set tasks of varying degrees of daftness and
then humiliate the participants.

Sugar is a Labour Peer and acts like a less charming version of Lord
Vader. He urges his apprentices to give in to the dark side. After a
day of teamwork they are all forced to humiliate and denigrate each
other in the boardroom.

And what great ideas did these finalists come up with? One was yet
another bloody call centre – even one of Lord Vader's stormtroopers
thought this was a tawdry idea! Then there was a website to enable
people to buy ingredients for recipes. Lord Vader derided the whole
idea that people plan their meals before they cook them. One assumes
his Lordship has someone else to do that for him. A recruitment agency
proposed by someone who already runs a recruitment agency was the
winning idea.

And that leaves one. A fine wine hedge fund. If you want a symbol for
the degeneracy of capitalism this will do fine. This is not for people
who actually drink wine. No. It is for people who want to invest in
fine wine as a hedge against the economic crisis. You can see how this
is an idea to set the nation alight and improve the lives of millions
of ordinary people. Or perhaps you can't.

The apprentice is undemanding entertainment but if it is an exhibition
of the best in British entrepreneurs, heaven help us all.

Derek McMillan
Mid-Sussex Socialist Party

Thank you for the opportunity Lord Vader

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Documentary highlights state of public services

The BBC "56 up" program follows the lives of individuals in an
unprecedented documentary narrative spanning the time since the
participants were seven. This week it highlighted the plight of public
services. Lifelong library service worker Lynn Johnson said "for the
last thirty years I have been banging my head against a brick wall but
now nobody is listening. They say that the work I do, anybody could do
it."

It is worth emphasising she lost her job as a result of "nice Labour
cuts" not "nasty Tory cuts."

Now, rather than being able to take early retirement her husband has
had to take on full time work to make ends meet. "the goalposts keep
getting higher" for retirement. "People who started work assuming they
could retire at sixty, find the situation has now totally changed."

She regrets the fact there "is no party of the left" although she says
she is not political... and adds "they haven't got a clue what they
are doing. Some people are never ever going to recover from it and
unfortunately they will be quite devastated. We have no more left-wing
Labour Party any more. Tony Blair saw to that. They all veer to the
right. "

You can still see it on Youtube if you type in "56 up documentary" and
it is well worth a look. On the same program a wealthy Tory barrister
boasts that there is no class society in Britain :) Lynn felt her work
promoting literacy and love of literature with children had been
worthwhile. How many rich Tory parasites can say the same?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Putin gets a new rottweiler?

Dog owners were reportedly outraged when Spin Doctor Alistair
Campbell, was described as Blair's rottweiler.

Campbell has been in the news recently in relation to the Leveson
Inquiry where he revealed for the first time that Blair's entourage
thought there was a problem with the relationship between the Murdoch
media and politicians - although there is no evidence they ever did
anything about this "problem".

He has now turned his talents elsewhere and will be a spin-doctor for
a firm whose clients include McDonalds, (who notoriously hired
million-dollar lawyers to attack two individuals for handing out
leaflets) Vodafone (whose tax affairs are regarded as a public
scandal) and Google (who have scant regard for the privacy of anyone
who uses their search engine). He will also be working for Tesco's
because every little helps.

Another client is Vladimir Putin. It is hard to tell whether this is a
step up or down after working for Blair. We can at least be sure he
wont be mocking Mr Putin for going to a "bog standard comprehensive".

If anyone wanted yet more evidence of the moral and political
bankruptcy of New Labour - well you couldn't make it up, could you?

Derek McMillan
Mid-Sussex Socialist Party

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Merchants of Death grow fat - cuts for everyone else

Tough times... for some of us. For soldiers who have lost limbs the
government is going to cut their disability payments. For the weapon
manufacturers, the merchants of death, the government obsession with
playing soldiers has earned them a pretty penny.

The government was determined to buy the F38C joint strike fighter
plane but has now opted to buy the F38B. The cost of this blunder has
been variously estimated as 40 million pounds down the toilet or 100
million pounds down the toilet. That money could have provided some of
the "help for heroes" we all hear about.

It is good to know that this is what the government calls "fiscal
responsibility." No squandering money on health, welfare and pensions.
The cost of the F38C has actually doubled to two billion pounds.

Batting on a sticky wicket, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond claimed
that the decision to buy the F38C "was right at the time" but the
decision to buy the F38B was right now. Well for the time being
anyway.

It sounded on the BBC news as if he were saying they needed to fit
catflaps on the aircraft carriers but in fact they needed to fit
"catapults" and "traps". These public school boys know how to have fun
don't they? And it is with billions of pounds of our money they they
are having fun.

In addition to which the RAF air-to-air refuelling planes are alleged
to be costing the taxpayer a good 100 million pounds over the odds.

The question nobody asked, the "elephant in the room" was why on earth
the country can afford this profligate expenditure when everything
else needs to be cut. New Labour were silent on this because – you
guessed it – they suggested the F38B in the first place.

A real political opposition will not come from the hopelessly
out-of-touch political elite.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

Lewisham teacher attacked by racists

Lewisham NUT is outraged by the news that, while campaigning against government cuts on Saturday, our NUT Retired Members’ Secretary was attacked and hospitalised by racists claiming to have allegiance to ‘March for England’, a group closely linked to the English Defence League (EDL). Lewisham NUT believes that it is no coincidence that this attack should take place just a few days before elections to the Greater London Assembly where candidates supported by racist and fascist parties are seeking to benefit from the public anger against the effects of the austerity measures. Racism and fascism provide no answers to the problems facing young people, nor to any part of our community. Instead of bringing people together to defend their jobs, homes, pensions and public services, racists and fascists make it harder to defend our livelihoods by dividing communities instead. Saturday’s outrage shows that, far from standing up for people’s rights, the racists instead attack trade unionists and socialists out campaigning to defend our local communities from cuts. As trade unionists, we pledge to defend our union members and our local community from racist attacks and to continue to campaign for the united trade union action which is needed to defeat cuts and austerity. Lewisham NUT resolves to: 1) Join other trade unionists and campaigners demonstrating in opposition to the EDL when they march through Luton this Saturday. 2) Organise with other trade unionists and socialists in Lewisham to organise stewarding and support to ensure that campaign stalls will continue to be held in Lewisham High Street. The NUT will mobilise members to make sure we can proudly and safely bring our message to the public in opposition to racism and in support of a mass campaign to defend jobs, pensions and services from cuts and privatisation.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lord Hutton's snout in the trough

Lord Hutton is well-known to public sector workers. He originated the
plan that we should work longer, pay more and get less in pensions.

Remember we are all in this together so of course the Labour Peer
(Yes, a Labour peer!) has had to take on the role of chairman of the
board of a privatised pension scheme delightfully named "My Civil
Service Pension" MySCP.

It has been portrayed in the media as an employee-owned business "like
John Lewis". John Lewis should definitely sue for defamation of
character. The employees will not own 75 percent of the business and
certainly won't be allowed to sack the chairman.

Sacking Hutton is mild compared to the views of most civil servants I
have spoken to. They would prefer more draconian measures.

Apparently Hutton is "a firm believer in the power of engaging
employees to drive innovation." and lining his own pocket.

Cutting pensions and privatising the retirement fund management is
something no employee asked for.

In the days of slavery, there were slaves who were liberated by people
who then went on to sell them back into slavery "down the river."
Clearly Lord Hutton, like John Lewis, is never knowlingly undersold
"down the river." To quote another Labour Peer, Lord Thomas who sold
out the 1926 General Strike, "I sold you all right, but I got a good
price for you!"

Friday, April 27, 2012

Abu Qatada - tragedy and farce

Abu Qatada has been tried and found guilty by The Sun and that is good enough for Theresa May. If, as they claim, Abu Qatada had been "continually" committing criminal acts in the UK, the government are being a little remiss in not bringing him to trial.

They seek instead to have him deported to Jordan where the extraction of confessions by torture is standard police practice. Theresa May gets up in the House of Commons and says with a straight(ish) face that she is reassured that he will receive a fair trial in Jordan. Well there is a first time for everything.

Amnesty International has no record of a fair trial in Jordan. Last year, for example, thirty peaceful protestors were locked up under a charge of "insulting the king." and many of them were beaten by the brave police in whom May places such touching faith.

It is not so much Abu Qatada's democratic rights which are being violated. It is yours and mine. Theresa May is avid to utilise the torturers of Jordan. This is "rendition" conducted in the full light of day and with the media baying for blood. The Liberals remain silent. The nominal opposition are so scared of being branded as "soft on terrorism" that they confine themselves to ridiculing Theresa May's incompetence rather than her authoritarianism.

And the proposals of the government to read your emails and texts becomes clear now. "Terrorists and criminals" are going to be targeted. And of course anybody who criticises Theresa May's permissive attitude towards torture is clearly a "terrorist" too and therefore fair game.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fwd: Horsham lobby of Francis Maude 21 April 2012

Members of public service unions expressed their anger to Horsham MP
Francis Maude. In the same month that millionaires in the government
gave a massive bonus to top-rate taxpayers the pay of public servants
was effectively cut by increases in pension contributions.

Teachers and PCS members are seen here.

Phil Clarke of the NUT was among the speakers (pictured with
microphone) "Come into the garden, Francis Maude and we'll tell you
what we think of public service cuts!"

The Conservative party declined to comment having pulled up the
drawbridge at their Horsham HQ.

Derek McMillan

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lobby Millionaire Maude - pension pincher 21 April 11 am Horsham Railway Station

As part of the on-going battle to stop the government public sector pensions robbery PCS are organising lobbies of key MPs in the coalition.

This Saturday 21st April a group are travelling up to Horsham to pensions axe-man Francis Maude constituency.

Assemble at the Horsham Railway Station at 11 am



PCS are very keen to encourage delegations from all unions involved in the battle to join them and bring a branch banner.

A coach is going from Brighton at 9:15am via Worthing to Horsham. The coach leaves 9.15am St Peters Church, York Place, Brighton.

You are welcome to just turn up but if you can let Kev Dale know in advance how many seats you need email kev.dale10@gmail.com


Thursday, April 05, 2012

Big Society Capital(ism)

David Cameron's Big Society idea, has been re-launched yet again with Big Society Capital. It comes at a time when charities are feeling the effect of cuts in funding and many are struggling to keep afloat. The money is largely taken from dormant bank accounts - in itself a dubious activity - and will be paid to "entrepreneurs" so they can solve society's problems.

The NCVO (National Council Voluntary Organisations) has talked of "a perfect storm" of cuts and rising costs creating a toxic mix of circumstances for charities with increased demand for their services, growing financial pressures and an unprecedented fall in income.

Charities are the first casualties of cuts in local government funding. For example, Notts County Council is seeing its funding cut by 8% yet has cut funding to the county's charities by 34%.  Most embarrassingly for Cameron, the flagship Big Society charity MyGeneration run by Big Society Ambassador Shaun Bailey has had to close "due to lack of funds".

This initiative is designed to distract attention from a government in serious difficulties. One wonders how many "social entrepreneurs" will be using their money to pay for dinner with Cameron.

Many social enterprises and indeed charities are run for the benefit of fat cats on 100K plus salaries. They are free from the public scrutiny and accountability which the public services they supposedly replace had.

There isn't a hope  that they can fill the place of the National Health Service which Lansley is hell-bent on destroying.

Still the launch of this bank did give Cameron a good news story which the BBC subserviently treated as a serious bit of news. So the Big Society is obviously good for something.

Oppose Cameron's snoopers on the internet

The government wants to give itself new powers to spy on our internet and email use in real time -- but a massive national outcry can save the internet and stop the big brother law. There are no guarantees that the law will be used against "criminals and terrorists". It can easily be used against legitimate protest, against anything the government finds a bit embarrassing and against "whistle blowers" who draw attention to Tory Party skulduggery.

Public outrage is growing and news reports suggest that Cameron and Clegg are being forced to slow down their march to secure draconian powers to spy on what we do online. If we pile on the pressure now, we can persuade them to back off the big brother bill for good.

The last time this was mooted in Parliament it failed precisely because of strong public opposition. Our call to Cameron, Clegg and Home Secretary Theresa May can protect our privacy and save the internet. Sign the petition to beat back big brother and forward widely.

Click here to protest

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dear Francis

Dear Francis Maude,

As a pensioner I recognise the government view that "we are all in
this together" and I realise that there is nothing in this budget for
pensioners such as myself.

On the other hand exactly how much do you and your cabinet colleagues
stand to gain from the reduction of the top rate of income tax?

I would appreciate an answer to this question because this information
should be in the public domain.

I am sure you agree that MPs are elected to represent the people and
not to line their own pockets.

The argument that the tax cut is part of a package of measures does
not hold water. We are entitled to ask why this self-aggrandising
measure is slipped into the package and whether you can in all
conscience vote for it.

And of course the argument that top earners evade the tax cannot
possibly apply to members of parliament.


Yours sincerely,


Derek McMillan

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Trots?

A spectre would seem to be haunting the British government. People have the cheek to object to being paid nothing to work for Tescos – they are all “Trots”. Teachers and parents object to school privatisation. They are all “Trots” too. And as for Andrew Lansley's NHS privatisation – the “Trots” would seem to include all the professional bodies representing health professionals, patients groups and the trade unions inside and outside the Health Service. Whoever these “Trots” are they do seem remarkably powerful. How come nobody has ever heard of them? If you want to know what “Trots” believe then this little book
will tell you. It is based on an historical public domain document drafted by Trotsky in 1938 yet when you read through it there are surprising echoes of the present day.

“Mankind's productive forces stagnate. Already new inventions and improvements fail to raise the level of material wealth. Conjunctural crises under the conditions of the social crisis of the whole capitalist system inflict ever-heavier deprivations and sufferings upon the general population . Growing unemployment, in its turn, deepens the financial crisis of the state and undermines the unstable monetary systems. Democratic regimes, as well as fascist, stagger on from one bankruptcy to another.”

If we take it as read there are no Fascist regimes nowadays – just an overweight BNP clown in the European parliament sitting on his expenses – the rest of this is very familiar. The people of Greece are expected to put up with cuts in wages and pensions while the bankers live the life of Riley. Millions of the 99 percent feel indignation about this.

And the transitional program has practical advice on how to turn this indignation into action and make the bosses pay for their crisis.

Derek McMillan

March 2012

It is quite easy to publish to Kindle and it is a very cheap way of getting yourself a copy of the Transitional Program without an introduction by Cliff Slaughter.

You have to put up with (or skip) my introduction and it does look as though the Transitional Program was a join work between me and Trotsky :)

Still this is a way to make the text available on kindle. Click here

Monday, March 12, 2012

The arrogance of Andrew Lansley

Kandahar – this was murder




The public in the UK were appalled at the deaths of six British soldiers in Helmand province. Then hard on the heels of that news came the massacre of 16 civilians in Kandahar.

The British soldiers at least had names and faces in the British media. The 16 civilians were just a number for most people. And naturally the authorities started talking about a “lone gunman” as a way of washing their hands of the affair.

The “lone gunman” was armed, trained and shipped off to Afghanistan by the military. They now act surprised when civilians get killed. Remember that these are the people who bombed a wedding party in Kandahar in 2008. 37 Villagers in Wech Baghtu died, including 23 children and 10 women after planes flattened houses shortly after US troops had fought Taliban insurgents nearby. But it is OK. They apologised.

The 400 British deaths pale in comparison with the uncounted – deliberately uncounted – civilian deaths in Afghanistan. And the civilians who are shot down or blown up are not feted as heroes.

Obama has finally realised the futility of this war and plans to pull out with the fig-leaf of “handing over to local forces.” This mass murder in Kandahar will only feed the cycle of revenge killings and more lives will be sacrificed on the altar of American Imperialism.

The likelihood is that the Taliban will end up in power after a further bloody civil war. This underscores the pointlessness of the sacrifice which the politicians hypocritically celebrate.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Progress with Manual for Teachers

I have written 16000 words of the manual for teachers. The introduction now reads like this:

If you were trying to find out how to clean a teapot, the chances are that you would go to someone who had cleaned a lot of teapots successfully. If you want to know how to dance, wouldn't you go to a dancer? Yet when you want to learn about teaching you often find yourself in the rarified realms of some ivory-towered academic.

So this is not a book of educational theory, or pedagogy to give it its Sunday name. My only qualifications are:

1. 32 years of successful teaching.

2. Running a helpline for stressed teachers on behalf of the West Sussex Teachers' Association for 16 years.

3. Founder member of Classroom Teacher http://classroomteacher.org.uk

And of course the one thing anybody can tell you is that teachers are idiosyncratic. In the end you have to teach your way not mine. But listen to an old master – learn from my mistakes then you can make your own!

“Taking ownership of your pedagody” is what they call it. I would caution you to avoid the word “pedagogy” around Sun readers. They will have burnt your house down before they have looked in the dictionary and found out it is not the same as “paedo”

The book is arranged in alphabetical order. It seemed like a good idea at the time but then it took me ages to decide what to put under “Z” I can tell you.

A note on grammar

I will state this now, before it irritates you. I have used “they” and “them” in place of “his or her” and “him and her”.

I could quite grammatically have used “him” but when well over half of teachers are female that is ridiculous. I could have used “her” thus excluding myself from the teaching profession.

I opted for something which is grammatically incorrect. I don't intend to cite Shakespeare as my authority for this. Shakespeare did so many things to the language that you can only get away with if you are Shakespare! (He spelt his name several ways too).

I will cite Jane Austen: Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, the King James Bible, Dean Jonathan Swift, Daniel Defoe, Frances Sheridan, Oliver Goldsmith, Henry Fielding, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, William Makepeace Thackeray, Sir Walter Scott, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, Mrs. Gaskell, Anthony Trollope, John Ruskin, Robert Louis Stevenson, Walt Whitman, Bernard Shaw, Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling, H. G. Wells, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edith Wharton, W. H. Auden,  George Orwell, and C. S. Lewis.

I refer the reader who is really really interested to the website http://www.crossmyt.com/hc/linghebr/austheir.html




Derek McMillan
http://derekmcmillan.com

Friday, February 24, 2012

Welcome to your police station!

The writer Nevil Shute advised a young American from the southern states that the safest place to evade racial attack and abuse in England was a police station.

This has never been a very convincing assertion but with Group 4 Security becoming the first firm to run a police station it may become even less so. G4S have controversially been given a £200 million deal to build and run a police station in Lincolnshire. They hope it will be the first of many and the death of the existing police service.

Jimmy Mubenga was "restrained" by G4S officers whilst being deported in 2010 and the result of their restraint was that he died.

Gareth Myett, a 15 year old boy, died in G4S custody in 2004.

Even the home office seems to have noticed a problem here and reportedly "warned" G4S about their dangerous methods of restraint. However the warning must have fallen on deaf ears because it came in 2006 i.e. *between* the two deaths.

Campaigners in Western Australia believe G4S should stand trial for murder over the death of an aboriginal elder, Mr Ward. Instead the G4S employee responsible was merely fined. Mr Ward had died while being transported in a stifling prison van at a temperature of 55 degrees. You can see that G4S will put health and safety at the top of their agenda.

Privatisation of policing is even opposed by the Police Federation who have not been in the forefront of campaigners against deaths in custory in the past. They can see that a privatised police service "may not have the same level of public duty and dedication as current police force staff."

Privatised police stations, schools and hospitals. The pattern is clear enough. Unfortunately the Coalition can always point to the Labour Party as the originators of their most odious policies. A party of the working class would oppose this.

Unison leadership found guilty of “unjustifiable discipline” against four Socialist Party activists.

Once again, the Unison leadership has been found guilty of "unjustifiable" disciplinary action against four activists for producing a leaflet protesting about the exclusion of resolutions from the 2007 Unison conference.

Today an Employment Appeal Tribunal (Judge Michael Supperstone QC) upheld the unanimous judgment of an earlier Employment Tribunal (Employment Judge Ms H Grewal, 27 January 2011).

That ET judgment last year rejected false allegations of racism against the four and found that the real reason for disciplinary action was that they had issued a leaflet criticising the Standing Orders Committee and the union leadership of preventing discussion on issue of union democracy.

Today's EAT rejects all five grounds on which the Unison leadership appealed against last year's ET judgment.

The four activists who were disciplined by Unison were banned from holding any union office for up to three years. The four are Glenn Kelly (formerly Bromley branch secretary and NEC member), Onay Kasab (formerly Greenwich branch secretary), Brian Debus (formerly Hackney branch chairperson), and Suzanne Muna (formerly Housing Corporation branch secretary).

The judgments of the ET and the EAT completely vindicate the four's struggle to defend union democracy. The unjustified sanctions against the four are part of a wider witch-hunt being carried out by the Unison leadership against activists fighting for union democracy and effective action to defend public services, jobs, pay and conditions. There is now a rising tide of discontent within the union at the ineffective policies of the leadership when faced with a tsunami of attacks on the public sector.

The Unison leadership unscrupulously tried to bolster their disciplinary charges with allegations of racism. This related to a cartoon on the leaflet protesting about the Standing Orders Committee's suppression of over 50 resolutions that used the well-known image of three wise monkeys who see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.

The ET judgment forcefully rejected the allegation of racism: "All four Claimants are committed anti-racists and have fought against racism. They quite reasonably assumed that anyone who saw the leaflet would understand the cartoon to be saying that the SOC was out of touch in closing its minds to and ignoring issues that concern the membership."

"Looking at the context in which the cartoon was used (i.e. to depict the attitude of the SOC towards controversial motions) it cannot be said that any reasonable person would or should have realised that it would cause racial offence, and that not doing so was somehow 'careless'. That is reinforced by the fact that [it] never occurred to many people who saw the cartoon before its publication. These individuals included an Equalities and Diversity officer and black members."

Incredibly, during the case, it was discovered that Unison's own lawyers had used a cartoon of the three wise monkeys.

The tribunal found that the main reason for disciplinary action against the four was that they produced a leaflet criticising the SOC for rejecting a large number of branch resolutions.

It is estimated that the Unison leadership must have spent at least £100,000 on the disciplinary hearings and tribunal cases. At a time when the focus should have been on fighting public-sector cuts, the four have been dragged through four years of tortuous, money-wasting investigations and hearings.

Glenn Kelly, one of the four, is demanding that the witchhunts must stop,and the four branches taken out of regional administration so that the members can run their branches.  Also that the bans on the four should be rescinded and the latest charge against Glenn should be withdrawn.

Glenn  urges UNISON to fight the Condem government instead of hard working union activists.

 

For more info phone: 07595352795

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Oh no they killed Scroogle!

Google has killed off Scroogle . That sounds more like a children's TV story than anything else. 

In fact the big bad Google search engine has been very annoyed for some years with an independent non-profit web service called Scroogle. Scroogle's crime was to offer Google searches without the ads and without Google getting all your personal details on file as they are wont to do. Google tried an imaginative array of dirty tricks against Scroogle. They sought in the US courts to have it declared illegal but even their million-dollar lawyers weren't up to that trick. They then blocked all the Scroogle computers from using Google at all.

Not long ago, Google changed its privacy policy to give itself more liberties with user data. Consequently search volume increased on Scroogle.

Microsoft even blocked anybody using the word "scroogle.org" from MSN messenger. Now Google and Microsoft are supposedly rivals but the corporations will always hang together against anything quite so un-American as blocking adverts.  

The final straw came with a series of "denial of service attacks" on Scroogle by person or persons unknown.  But surely someone else will come up with a similar way of thwarting the dreaded Google! Meanwhile here is a good object lesson for anyone who thinks capitalism equates with freedom of choice.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Trade Unionists and Socialists in London elections


Martin Powell-Davies (NUT) is standing on 3rd May to support 

the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.



Education is under attack from this Government: budgets are cut, schools facing forced privatisation, workload at intolerable levels - yet young teachers are told they should work until they’re 68!

But, shamefully, New Labour's leadership won't oppose these attacks: Ed Balls won’t reverse cuts, Stephen Twigg supports Free Schools , Ed Milliband opposes trade unionists striking to defend their pensions.
 

Teachers know they can’t just fight cuts and privatisation through trade union action alone. We also need political representatives that will speak out in support of union policies. 


The London Assembly elections on May 3rd provides a great opportunity to elect candidates who will stand out against the pro-cuts consensus from all the main parties.
An excellent list of trade unionist and socialist campaigners has now been agreed to stand in the London-wide list section. It has a real chance to succeed in electing at least one assembly member. This would be a real breakthrough for everyone who wants to defend education and public services from cuts and privatisation.



The list will be headed by Alex Gordon, National President of the RMT Union. I am also proud to be part of the list of candidates and pledge my full support to the campaign.

As Alex Gordon has said in the latest TUSC Press Release: (http://www.tusc.org.uk/press160212.php)
 

“We believe ordinary Londoners should have the choice of an alternative to the political consensus in favour of public spending cuts, privatisation and pay freezes advocated by all the three main parties. Recent statements by Labour Party leaders that in government they would not reverse Tory/Lib Dem spending cuts confirms that they do not offer working-class people an alternative and cannot be a viable opposition to the attacks on our communities and our public services.”

  

The full list will be:
Alex Gordon, president of RMT will head the list.
Nick Wrack, TUSC national committee
April Ashley, Unison executive, representing black women members
Sian Griffiths, FBU women's committee
Steve Hedley, RMT London organiser
Ian Leahair, FBU national committee member
Gary McFarlane, anti-racist activist
Martin Powell-Davies, executive member for Inner London of the NUT
Merlin Reader, CWU London committee
Joe Simpson, assistant general secretary of the POA
Jenny Sutton, UCU (FE) London committee
Nancy Taaffe, library worker made redundant, former chair Waltham Forest Unison
Jackie Turner, doctor and health campaigner
Lee Vernon, Young Members convenor for London PCS
Lesley Woodburn, unemployed, Unite rep on SERTUC LGBTQ committee 



Candidates are in a personal capacity 


Public rally to launch London TUSC GLA campaign: 
Speakers: Bob Crow, TUSC candidates, plus others to be announced. If you live in London come along and get involved… Wednesday 21 March, 7.15pm at 235 Shaftesbury Avenue London WC2H 8EP


Get involved
If you live in London and want to get involved in the campaign, e-mailtuscbulletin@yahoo.co.uk with your borough.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Gove the popular

Gove the popular
This will come as a bit of a shock to teachers, or indeed to anyone
who has seen or heard Michael Gove. Michael Gove is the most popular
government minister.
However the people he is popular with are people with money rather
than, for example. pensioners.
Education Minister Michael Gove has received more donations into his
private office since the election than any other cabinet minister
including the Prime Minister and the Chancellor.
He has received £35,500 for his private office and £61,279 at
constituency level.
His constituency has received a staggering 284,416 pounds and 40p
since he became MP. We don't know who gave him the 40p. We do know
that former Lehman Brothers' banker Jeremy Isaacs donated £3,000 to
Gove's office. Isaacs has given £100,000 to the Central Party fund in
the past but this was the first time he is registered as funding an
MP's private office.
Money management firm Christofferson Robb & Company LLP gave £5,000.
Electoral Commission records show Gove started registering his private
office donations in 2009. Since then around three quarters of his
private office donations have come from individuals with business
interests in The City.
The biggest single donation to Gove's private office was £150,000
donated in 2009 by Martin Calderbank of private equity firm Stirling
Capital Partners.
So obviously Gove has friends in high places. You can't call this
perfectly legal activity "corruption". That would be like saying the
whole capitalist system is corrupt.
And we wouldn't want anybody to think that :)