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

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