Saturday, July 31, 2010

"Welcome to the ConDemNation"

This video is well, well worth a view. An edited snap shot of the recent political history of this nightmare government and the hypocrisy of its leadership.

Hat-tip to my new Facebook friend of 20 minutes Jase-deb Cridland – check out original on YouTube here.

I love the song of course!

Friday, July 30, 2010

TUC Member Trustee Network Conference: Stronger Stewardship: Trustee Responsibilities in a Changing Pensions Landscape

Hat tip TUC Pension Trustee Network:

"Date Tue, 16 Nov 2010: Time to from 09:30 to 16:30 Location Congress House, Great Russell Street, London

Cost: The cost for attending remains frozen at the level of earlier years and is £50 Unions, £75 Education, Public or Voluntary Sector; Commercial £250. Payments can be by cheque payable to ‘Trades Union Congress’ or by card.

Description: The theme of this year’s Member Trustee Network conference is ‘Stronger Stewardship’ and the conference will take place in Congress House. Delegates will be able to hear from a range of speakers, including the Pensions Minister Steve Webb, about the latest developments in pensions policy. There will also be a choice of workshops.

A buffet lunch will be provided. Please indicate any access or dietary requirements.

The conference will be followed by an early evening reception.

Accessibility Congress House is an accessible building.

Register interest or request more information

If you wish to attend please contact,"

(Picture is of early trade union pension trustees)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nick Clegg's strangeness to the truth

More evidence (if really needed) of the shame faced hypocrisy of our new Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. 

In this pre-election letter to electors in Kingston he claims that "Voting Labour will only help the Conservatives win". 

I love the stuff about "most people remember the damage the last Conservative government did to our country. Record unemployment, cuts to front line services and politics riddled with sleaze...Today's Conservatives haven't changed...funded by billionaires and city bankers...helped cause the economic meltdown...Conservatives want to cut taxes for millionaires while giving the rest of us a VAT rise (yeah)..a vote for Lib Dems will mean lower taxes...investment in schools(!!!)...

The ironic thing is I think that there are many Liberal Democrats who are genuinely ashamed of their Party's alliance but "Orange Book" Clegg is of course clearly not one of them.

Hat-tip thingy Col. Roi

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

William Cuffay - "Britain's Black Revolutionary"

While driving to a meeting with HR today I listened on Radio 4 to former T&G General Secretary (now Lord) Bill Morris describe the extraordinary life of Chartist Movement leader William Cuffay. Bill explained that as the first GS of a major trade union he is often described as the “First black leader of the Labour movement”.

Yet over 160 years ago William Cuffay (another Bill) who was the son of slaves (and also physically disabled) was a leading trade union and national political activist.

But Cuffay is now as Bill explained almost “entirely forgotten” yet at the time of the Great Chartist petition of 1848 he was one of their foremost organisers and orators. After the (relative) failure of the “moral force” Chartists in 1848 Cuffay became disillusioned with such protest and became involved in a “physical force” plot to overthrow the government. He was betrayed, arrested and transported to Tasmania. He was later pardoned but chose to remain in the colony and died there still fighting for social justice aged 82.

The early 19th century chartist campaign was described in the programme as the British civil rights movement. There was immense opposition and repression towards the Chartists at the time by the rich and the powerful. Nowadays nearly all their demands for Parliamentary reform are now fully accepted as being the democratic norm.

This is a great story and you can listen to it here again for the next 7 days on BBC IPlayer. Picture is of William in jail before he was transported which was probably used to make prints and raise funds for his wife to later join him in Tasmania.

This picture (left) of the mass meeting of Chartists on Kennington Common in 1848 which I think is the first ever photo of a political protest meeting?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Hope Not Hate" exposes the EDL as thugs

Unite nominates Ed Miliband as Labour Party Leader.

No surprise to anyone that I was very pleased to hear yesterday that the Unite Executive confirmed that they had overwhelmingly agreed to support Ed Miliband as the new Labour Party leader.  This followed a similar "overwhelming" vote by its national political committee. 

What matters now of course is turning this commitment (and that of UNISON and GMB) to "urge its one million members eligible to vote in the Labour leadership contest to make Ed Miliband their choice for leader of the Labour party" into actual votes. 

Ed Miliband has received the endorsement of the "big 3" affiliated trade unions. The press seem here to be trying to make out that there is some sort of smoke filled room deal by so called "union barons" to make Ed the their choice.  This is complete rubbish.  Now I accept that I have openly supported Ed for a while so what I am about to say could be a bit suspect but I have been pleased at the degree of genuine grass roots support for Ed Miliband amongst trade union activists. The reason is I think because being activists they have either seen him at a hustings, read interviews about him or even checked out his website.

We want someone who has the passion, personality and politics who can change the Party and still defeat Cameron and his CONDEMS.  Ed is the best candidate to do this.

What needs to be done is firstly get Ed in front of as many non-activist members as possible - get him talking to them and answering their questions either in person or via our media. Secondly to encourage activists to talk to their members about the election and about Ed.  Finally the unions must support turnout and encourage members to vote. Simple endorsements by union national political committees will not be enough.

(picture credit Dan McCurry at the West Ham CLP hustings)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Remember the Tory Years

Yesterday I went to Wales for a quick visit and updated my Face Book profile so - and was then reminded by one FB friend about the former SoS for Wales - dear old John Redwood.  I remembered this Youtube video - and yes, the Tories are still singing the old same tune.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Irascible Red Queen

Last night I watched the film " Alice in Wonderland" in glorious HD.

Which I enjoyed and recommend to anyone who hasn't seen it.  It is a really good film and well worth watching.

The "off with their heads" evil and wicked Red Queen did remind me very much of someone? 

I just can't think who?

Any ideas:)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Can this Goat get more followers on Facebook than HM Treasury Spending Challenge?

Hat-tip to TUC new media guru Johninnit YouTube Channel "The UK government's Spending Challenge Facebook page was launched to huge fanfare. Despite a much hyped web chat between Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Prime Minister David Cameron to launch the page, one week later it had just 70 fans.

Surely even a goat could do better that! So our goat got on Skype...

Show your own appreciation for the goat at "

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Lily Allen - F**K You"

 I hope I'm not really a prude but I did think when I first heard this song by Lily Allen that it is a just a little bit too much - but then I found it was also about BNP Nazi leader, Nick Griffin...:)

No other reason!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

UNISON Labour Link nominates Ed Miliband for Party Leader

I heard some great news this afternoon that the National UNISON Labour Link committee had voted decisively to recommend to members that they should vote for Ed Miliband to be the next leader of the Labour Party.

This was a decision taken by the elected lay leadership of the voluntary UNISON affiliated political fund “Labour Link” (it used to be known as the APF fund). The affiliated bodies to the Labour Party (dominated by the 3 million trade union levy payers) will make up 1/3rd of the electoral college that will appoint the new leader. MPs/MEPS will vote for 1/3rd and Labour Party members the final 1/3rd.

I can confirm now that in the consultation meeting here with Greater London UNISON Labour Link Ed Miliband was also overwhelmingly supported by regional delegates.

Check out why I support Ed Miliband to be Party leader here.

UNISON press release quotes Ed:-

"I am honoured and delighted to have received the support of UNISON.

UNISON has gone through a thoughtful and thorough process of consultation with their members. To have received the backing of a union representing millions of frontline workers is a real boost for my
campaign to lead our party.

Millions of those who work in the NHS, local government and in other front line jobs will be watching this Government very carefully. I pledge that if elected, I will lead a Labour party that stands up for hard
working public servants and defends the role of our public services.

(picture college from Sunday’s Husting at West Ham sponsored by Great London UNISON Labour Link)

Labour Housing Group AGM

On Saturday I went to the Labour Housing Group AGM at Camden Town Hall. I have only recently joined the LHG but I have been to their well attended fringe events at Labour Party conferences in the past.

The group is about “developing and promoting effective housing policy" and was formed in 1981. It is one of the Socialist Societies affiliated to the Labour Party. I think membership will give me another vote in the forthcoming leadership elections?

I had just missed the main speaker Karen Buck MP (Westminster North) due to my Council surgery which was a shame. Due to the very high rents vulnerable and unemployed tenants in her constituency will be amongst the first to be forced out or evicted if the CONDEM housing benefits restrictions are brought in as planned. London Assembly member Nicky Gavron was there, a number of Councillors and resident reps from up and down the country and also Rachael Maskell, national officer for housing in Unite.

Despite the recent general election defeat and the general doom and gloom in housing the LHG members seemed remarkable upbeat and positive. It was refreshing to be amongst people who are really, really interested in housing policy – theory and practice. The “round robin” workshop at the end of the meeting was excellent. It was supposed to be about ways of increasing the supply of housing but turned into a wide ranging discussion about housing in general. My pennyworth was about encouraging and supporting “like minded” people to join the boards of Housing Associations and how we should plan to campaign against the regressive CONDEM housing policies and make sure there is “clear red water” between them and us.

The LHG encourages local or regional branches to be set up. There was a number of us from London present and we had some interesting conversations about having a meeting after the summer to discuss possibly setting up a London branch. So watch this space.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

West Ham Labour Party National Leadership Hustings

Many thanks to our MP Lyn Brown and her staff for helping to organise Sunday’s Hustings at the East London University lecture theatre in Stratford, Newham London.

There was about 170 Labour Party members and trade union affiliates there - not only from West Ham but also from all over East London. East Ham MP Stephan Timms was also present.

We did not have the usual “Question Time” panel format (admittedly due to candidate availability problems) but instead gave each candidate a 2 minute space for an opening address followed by 20 minute Q&A then a short minutes finishing address.

This seemed to work pretty well. There were a few scares on the way but all the candidates turned up in time to take their place, speak and go.

Since I was helping out with the stewarding I didn’t see all the speeches or Q&A’s but my impression was: - local MP Diane Abbott got the loudest applause for her ideas; David Miliband’s “who do you think will be the leader who will win the next general election for Labour” did hit home; Andy Burnham came over as a passionate contender with genuine working class roots even though I’m not sure that admitting that the he only usually comes to West Ham to watch “Everton win 3 points at Upton Park” was particularly wise (I declare a past youthful and present day interest in this matter); Ed Miliband was of course in my completely and utterly unbiased view - the clear winner (Nuf said) while Ed Balls in his contribution proved once again to be a cracking attack dog on the CON-DEMS.

It was a good night. Many thanks to UNISON Greater London Labour Link and local CWU for help and sponsorship. The Labour Movement family in our part of East London is alive and kicking.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Mayor’s Newham Show 2010

Busy but on several levels a “good day” yesterday. I helped with the preparation of the West Ham Labour Party Leadership Hustings in the morning (see next post) then attended a local community “Big Lunch” event at the Rokeby Children's Centre in my ward. I had to try all the different foods on offer (including chicken noodles, goat curry, meat curry, jerked chicken, sausage rolls etc. just to be polite:). There was also Double Decker “play bus” from the Children’s play charity “Honeypot” which I had a quick tour.

Then off to the show in Central Park. Some 50,000 people visited this event over the weekend. I really enjoyed it and I think everyone else did as well. It brought all the different communities in Newham together. As I entered the Park there was Russian folk dancers singing a song called “Red Boots”! There was rap music, different types of Asian music and dancing and even a traditional brass band! The kids could ride donkeys on the beach, knock coconuts off the shy, take part in a tug of war or climbing walls. I think mind that they thought the fun fair was best.

There were also tents on health, fitness, hobbies and local interest groups, recycling, Council regeneration, training, community safety and two local history hubs- which I will post upon later this week.

Pity I missed the carnival on Saturday (because - see future post) and already looking forward to this event next year.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Reminder: Labour Party Leadership Hustings tonight at Stratford. E15

Lyn Brown MP sends out an audio reminder to Labour Party members and affiliates to attend tonight's Leadership Hustings. I've thrown together some pics to make a quick video. All the Leadership candidates will be there. It is being held at Duncan's House, UEL, High Street, Stratford, E15. Only 5 minutes walk from the bus, train & underground station. Next to the Party rooms. All Labour Party members and trade union affiliates welcome.  Sponsored by London UNISON Labour Link.

Tower Hamlets Elected Mayor: New Labour Shortlist

 Hat-tip to Dave Hill who is the first person I think to report on the new shortlist to be the Labour candidate for Elected Mayor. 

"The original had contained three: the borough's former leader and current London assembly member John Biggs, and two councillors: Shiria Khatun and Sirajul Islam. Both Biggs and Khatun have made it on to the second shortlist too, while Islam has not. They've been joined by three others, all of whom were unsuccessful last time. They are health service manager Rosna Mortuza, the Council's present leader Helal Abbas and another previous leader, Michael Keith".

I think the all members ballot is in 2 weeks and the election itself is on October 21.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Corporate Governance and Responsible Investment Awards 2010

On Thursday evening I went to this inaugural event at the Globe theatre sponsored by PIRC and US “class action” lawyers Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP.

Pictured is one of the judges – the bearded blogging governance guru, Tom P, of Labour and Capital and the winner of the Corporate Governance Journalism Award, Kate Burgess, of the Financial Times.

The winner of the Responsible Investment Journalism Award was Hugh Wheelan of (you would never guess) “Responsible investor”. You can see here the articles he wrote that resulted in this prize. I’ll try and find links to Kate’s articles.

It was a very pleasant and well organised event but when you think that our entire economy very nearly went down the pan due to the completely rubbish governance of our financial institutions and that our present government thinks that the best way to deal with the consequences is to gleefully slash and burn everything. Then these awards are actually really important and we want to encourage and need more journos to write on responsible investment and governance.

I assume that both of the winning journalists have covered their fair share of award ceremonies in the past? So it was good to see that they were as embarrassed and secretly pleased as everyone else who gets awards in this way.

PS – with elections etc I’ve been side tracked on Capital Stewardship issues but hope to get back on board in the autumn. This is such an important issue (IMO).

Friday, July 16, 2010

London UNISON supports Ken for London Mayor

 London UNISON "Labour Link" (APF) today decided to support Ken Livingston to be the Labour Party candidate for Mayor of London in the 2012 elections.

I chaired this part of the meeting and the decision by the elected Committee lay members was pretty one sided and there was a clear consensus. Everyone present said their bit.

I also reported that UNISON National Labour link had carried out a telephone poll of our levy payers and had found that Ken had 2:1 support.

A number of committee members spoke highly of the other candidate, Oona King, but we felt the person best placed to beat Boris in 2012 and work with UNISON was Ken.

After this decision we then had yet another really good wide ranging political debate about who to recommend to our national Labour Link delegate for London, Rachel Voller, for the Labour Party leadership.  The result of which we agreed to keep confidential until after the meeting of the National Labour Link committee next week.  This committee will decide who we should advise Labour link members to support (or whether or not to make any nomination).  Again, everyone present contributed to the debate and we also watched on DVD the closing speeches of all the candidates at the UNISON Labour Link hustings last month.

Finally, on behalf of the committee I offered congratulations to the other Chair, Lollypop Louise, on her victory last week in defeating the Nazi BNP candidate, Richard Barnsbrook, in the by-election in Barking and Dagenham Council.  Great news!

Members were also reminded of the West Ham Leadership hustings we are sponsoring (and to which local UNISON Labour link members have been invited) this Sunday evening at Stratford, E15.  All candidates have confirmed that they will attend and we will be trying a "different format" than other hustings.
(picture of Ken at our London UNISON Regional Council in May with our Convenor Gloria and BA picket Nikki)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

GMB Nominate Ed Miliband for Labour Leader

Excellent news - The 3rd biggest trade union affiliate to the Labour Party the GMB nominates Ed Miliband.

hat-tip Left Foot Forward

Kaschke Appeal in Osler case denied!

Just heard that the Court of Appeal has refused Kaschke's written request for permission to appeal about her case against Dave Olser being struck out as an abuse of process. 

I've just had this comment on Facebook from someone following this mess "Yippee! I await another interminable conspiracy blaming post...". 

No doubt she will now demand a full oral hearing before the Court of Appeal(as is her right - but of course a further complete and utter waste of Court time and public funds).

We may find out the result of another case tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Incumbent Labour Councillor worships machinegun wielding hero"

Well, what can you say? except once upon a time, a long, long time ago - far, far away from reality there was a planet called Kaschke and ...

(Apparently it was not a machine gun but a "Heckler and Koch 9mm mp5 with silencer. It's an SMG".

La Liberté guidant le peuple

Today is Bastille Day which is a National holiday in France which celebrates the storming of the Royalist Prison in 1789 and is seen  as the start of the French Revolution.

This famous picture of revolution by  Eugène Delacroix "Liberty Leading the People" actually refers to a later French July revolution in 1830.

I hate to say on the anniversary of the birth of the Republic that I agree with the ultra left blogger Liam Macuaid that it was a disgrace that yesterday the French Parliament voted to ban the wearing of the Burka by a tiny number of Muslim woman in France.

While personally I would perfer women not to wear such garment and support the punishment of any male relatives that forced a women to wear a Burka against their will (and recognise that in airport security or inside schools they are not appropriate) if a grown women genuinely wants to wear it in public - it is their choice and nobody else's.  It's called Liberté.

Ironically (I love history) this decision to ban Burka would have been without doubt warmly welcomed by the stormers of the Bastille and all sorts of so-called "revolutionaries" until perhaps relatively recent times.  The French in particular tended to be fanatically anti-religious during revolution and would have not understood wannabe modern day revolutionary Liam's no doubt principled (but Petite bourgeoisie?) opposition.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Southwark TUC: Communities Unite Against the CONDEM Budget

Hat-tip SERTUC

East End German PoW Camp at Olympic Village

 East End journalist and blogger (and fellow North Walian Gog) Ted Jeory has posted here on some fascinating new historical research on German Prison of War camps in Stratford and Victoria Park.  There were 400,000 German PoWs in Britain in 1946.  1500 were held "just a few hundred yards from where competitors will bed down in the Athletes’ Village in two years’ time". 

Hard core Nazi and SS were held in Victoria (Vicki) Park which is being used in 2012 as a Olympic training ground.

About 300m from me on Wanstead flats there was also another large PoW camp - near where the Easter and May Day Fun Fairs, Bonfire night and the annual Circus events takes place.  This is being considered as a temporary Police base during the 2012 Olympics as well.

What I found pretty heartening was the finding that "The documents show that despite being held in the heart of the Blitz-ravaged East End, the prisoners were warmly welcomed by local civilians. Their orchestra was invited to play in nearby Leyton public gardens, they played football against local club sides and were welcomed at council meetings in nearby Chingford".

Monday, July 12, 2010

"Why we need rent controls" by Boris sibling and "The Firm"

Inside Housing magazine is running a great campaign against the proposed CONDEM class cleansing of poor people in prosperous and middle class Councils (my interpretation not theirs) by limiting housing benefit for tenants. This will result in mass evictions.  170,000 households in London could be affected (see link below).

This is a really important battle which I hope anyone with an ounce of social conscious will support. Unless we have balanced and mixed communities across London then we will just end up with USA style ghettos which blight entire cities.

What I was surprised to read on Dave Hill’s London blog that journalist Rachel Johnson (sister of London Mayor Boris and editor of “The Lady” magazine) called for statutory controls on rent levels as the best way of tackling high rents in central London!

More power to your elbow Rae and hope you will get Boris to agree!

(Picture is of the newly appointed *Commission only" rent arrears enforcement advisers to Tory Housing minister Grant Shapps)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Jack of Kent on "Kaschke v. you know who" case

Top legal blogger (and all round nice guy) Jack of Kent reports on the latest round of legal nonsense and complete waste of public funds here.

As usual he cuts to the quick to make complicated legal matters clear to (nearly) everyone.

"Assistant Solicitor of the Year" at this year's Lawyer Awards (June 2010) and The Times "Lawyer of the week" Robert Dougans is also doing his very best to sort out this utter mess.

See what happens tomorrow I suppose. 

This is purely coincidental and nothing to do whatsoever of course with the present case - but can anyone advise me what would happen to a claimant, who let us say, happened to blatantly lie repeatedly about a significant issue to a High Court Judge in a pre trail hearing?

I assume something pretty 'orrible?

Hat tip thingy for the above Jack of Kent caption to Science, Reason and Critical thinking


The classic Battle of Cressy Poem:

"...Ha! cried the Prince, is it thou my gallant Jack of Kent,

Now charge with me my brave lad for thou has been sent

By God, to aid me in the midst of the fight,

So forward, and wield your cudgel with all your might...."

"New York Times" attacks Brit CONDEMS cuts

Amazing but true - the "Gray Lady" (I kid thee not) of American capitalism in this editorial on 9 July attacks the CONDEMS proposed massive public spending cuts.  ".... Britain isn’t Greece. Recovery would eventually have wiped out much of that red ink. The stiff, but less damaging cuts Labour had planned would have done the rest...The less well off, who depend on functioning public services, will suffer most....No reputable economic theory justifies this bleeding. In fact, most mainstream economists have argued for delaying the most severe cuts until a more robust economic recovery has begun.

The coalition budget reflects Conservative Party ideology, which asserts that as the government withdraws money from the economy, private businesses and consumers will step in to replace it. That won’t happen if Britons see only hard times ahead".

So even the good old New York Times admit that in Britain the the poor will suffer the most while the  rest of us are being stuffed purely due to dogmatic Tory ideology...Hope Mr Clegg is proud of himself.

Same old tories...

Hat-tip thingy Col. Roi

Sunday sectarianism: SWP branch resigns over control of Union branch secretary

Interesting post on “A Very Public Sociologist” on the resignation letter by practically the “entire” membership of the SWP in Doncaster. Aside from the fact that the “branch” probably could meet comfortably inside a telephone box. The letter of resignation is rather fascinating and gives you an insight into the murky internal workings of the SWP and its control of union activists.

I’ve always known that all SWP union activists have to do what they are told by their central committee (or else) but now it appears that local SWP branches also think they can order “their” union activists about! Perhaps this has always been the case?

It appears that SWP members who hold full time elected union positions should only do so “in exceptional circumstances and only on the proviso that the party closely monitors the comrade’s work, which must involve the CC, the local SWP branch and the respective union fraction”.

I’ve heard of (un)democratic centralism but now it appears that there is also (un)democratic localism! It seems that an union official elected by trade union members not the local SWP branch had stood up to them and refused to do what he had been told (and stopped selling the Party rag) – sensible chap. He even “often acted unilaterally against branch decisions”. Shame on him.

The Doncaster branch of the SWP are so disgusted with the failure of “their” (not the union) branch secretary that they have now gone off and joined the Counterfire splitters who left or were witch-hunted out of SWP in recent years.

I do hope it is made clear in future union elections that SWP candidates firstly admit that there are members of the SWP and whether they will do what they are told by their Central Committees and/or what local SWP branches tell them.

Finally, the letter claims that it was a deliberate decision of the SWP central committee to break up the ACAS meeting between Unite and BA. If true then the SWP is definitely falling apart even faster then I thought. Shame!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Deputy Mayor Robbins

This elected municipal thing is catching. Belated congratulations to my in-law, Greg Robbins, who was made the Deputy Mayor of Llandudno District Council for 2010/2011 (and I assume will become Mayor 2011/2012?).

Greg is on the left hand side of the picture wearing the bicorn hat next to my very proud sister-in-law Debbie.

It is a very grand looking traditional costume and pendent that he is wearing.

You never know perhaps wearing red for the next year or so will help Greg “see the light” and leave the Welsh Nationalist Party Plaid Cymru and join Labour?


Total Politics Blog Poll 2010

I’ve just emailed my current top ten blogs to the “Total Politics” annual blog “Beauty Parade”. Total Politics impartiality is obviously somewhat dubious since it is owned and run by Tories (with a supposedly “neutral” board overseeing) but it is the political website of choice for many serious politicians.

Thankfully - you are not allowed to post on who you have selected since I am sure that it I will leave some blogging folk I have left out - just a little bit miffed at me for doing so.

Needless to say one cherry short of a Schwarzwalderkirschtorte was not one of the 10:)

You have until 31 July to take part.

BTW - This is the list I compiled in 2008 (but never got round to sending). It has changed since.

(picture of the demonstrators outside the Miss World competition in London 1970. Some of them later broke into the event and threw floor bombs at host, Bob Hope and the contestants . I use to work with one of the protesters in the 1980's, Jake Prescott, who in 1970 dressed up for the first time in his life in a dinner suit in order to get into the venue. Jake then later went off to make other type of bombs).

Friday, July 09, 2010

Lollypop Louise defeats BNP in Barking & Dagenham

 Great New! UNISON NEC member  Louise Couling clearly defeated BNP Nazi Richard Barnbrook in yesterday's by-election in Barking & Dagenham.

Check out background here.

Results for the Goresbrook Ward By-Election

•Ayer, Paul - Conservative Party. Votes cast = 108

•Barnbrook, Richard - British National Party. Votes cast = 642

•Choudhury, Faruk Ahmed - Independent. Votes cast = 11

•Couling, Louise - The Labour Party Candidate. Votes cast = 881. Elected

•Manning, Nobby - UK Independence Party. Votes cast = 50

•Northover, Warren - Independent. Votes cast = 63

•Taiwo, Felicia - Liberal Democrat Focus Team. Votes cast = 136

Turnout = 25.29%

UPDATE: From Luke's blog "Last night's results - some very pleasing ones for Labour in London (suggesting the good borough results in May were not just down to the General Election high turnout) and Wales: 

Goresbrook Ward, LB Barking & Dagenham. Lab hold. Lab 881 (46.6%, +3), BNP 642 (34.0%, +6.8), LD 136 (7.2%, -2.1), Con 108 (5.7%, -7.4), Ind 63 (3.3%, -3.5), UKIP 50 (2.6%, +2.6), Ind 11 (0.6%, +0.6). Swing of 1.7% from Lab to BNP since May this year. This ward returned 2 BNP councillors in 2006."

NB: 3% increase in Louise's % vote!!!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

London UNISON Labour Link Consultation on Leader & Mayor

I am sending this flyer to all stewards and contacts in my branch as well as all Labour levy payers that I have email addresses.

I will also invite them to the hustings in Stratford on Sunday July 18th.

It's been a bit rushed - but hopefully we will have a good response to both consultations.

“You’re a tax appropriating, regulating, nanny”

It's clever, funny and he holds a tune.  USA "left wing" singer Roy Zimmerman.  Similar theme to my favourite John Gray tale here.  Hat-tip thingy to Harry's Place

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Public Sector Pensions Commission Minitrue

More choking on my branflakes this morning listening to the latest rubbish on "Today" from the so-called "Public Sector Pensions Commission" - and it being called an "independent report"! 

Checkout out the TUC blog Touchstone for the truth of the matter.  The Institute of Directors are hardly impartial on this issue.

As pointed out elsewhere would the BBC refer to a report by TUC on bankers' pay as being "independent"?

West Ham Leadership Hustings: 7.30pm Sunday 18 July at Stratford

 West Ham CLP are putting on a hustings event sponsored by London UNISON Labour Link on Sunday 18 July in Stratford E15, the heart of the 2012 Olympics and the historic home of the first ever Labour MP.

London UNISON Labour Link is sponsoring the event and is writing to all 1100 union members in West Ham who pay the Labour Party political levy and inviting them to this meeting.

I am contacting the political officers of all the affiliated unions in West Ham to ask them to do the same.

Please pass this on to any Party members or levy players.

If everyone can bring photo identification with them.

West Ham CLP "deputy Leadership" hustings 2007 here and here.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

CONDEMS axes 14 school construction projects in Newham

Well, don't say you were not warned

Check out the Newham Recorder - we are facing a "predicted 25 per cent increase in the number of four and five years needing a school place in the next three years. 

Executive member for children and young people, Cllr Quintin Peppiatt said: "The coalition government's decision to put a stop to 14 projects in Newham means that thousands of a students will miss out on the better education facilities they were promised.

This was a chance to improve educational attainment. After already seeing their free school meals and free swims under threat, we're deeply disappointed to see another blow to the young people of Newham."

I just hope that the David Cameron's "useful idiots" who poured such bile and hatred on the last (imperfect) Labour Government are feeling very proud of themselves.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Happy 62nd Birthday NHS!

The Tolpuddle Martyrs and the Essex Saxon Church

On Sunday morning I was looking for a short walk in the nearby countryside and picked this “Chipping Ongar and Greensted Church” walk from the Essex “Pathfinder” series. I had read about the 11th century Saxon Church at Greensted and how it is reputed to be the oldest wooden building in the world.

The walk started in Chipping Ongar which is a lovely Essex county village and was only a 20 minutes drive from Newham. It was a great little walk (4.5 miles), warm sunshine and cool breezes with hardly a sole to be seen. A little bit flat but lots of greenery and shade in very ancient woods, enclosed paths and lanes. The church itself was of course chocolate box perfect inside and out (see picture) and it is to me amazing that this building (well, parts of it) has been used continually by the local community, as a place of worship, for just under a 1000 years. There is still a regular service each Sunday at 9.30am.

I then bought a guidebook (via the unmanned honesty box ) and was astonished to read that there was a very topical labour movement history connection with the church. Since the Tolpuddle Martyrs after they had been released from slave labour and transportation to Australia had been unable to return to Dorset due to opposition from local landlords. So they had been given farm tenancies in Greensted and High Laver. One of the Martyrs, James Brine, had actually married Elizabeth Standfield (daughter of another Martyr) at the Church in 1839. The rector of the church later opposed the renewal of the farm tenancies and they emigrated to Canada. (for what it is worth I use to be the estate officer for “James Brine House” in Bethnal Green in the early 1990s).

The weekend after next it is the annual festival at Tolpuddle which I was planning to go down and visit with some West Ham Labour Party comrades but this hasn’t worked out this year since there a number of things going on in London that weekend as well (e.g. Labour Housing Group AGM). Hopefully next year we can organise something better, but I was glad to visit Greensted and enjoy all its history and in a little way, honour the Martyrs nearer to home.

So - if you can’t make it to Dorset on the 16/18 July weekend but have transport, walking boots and sun hat - then I recommend you buy the same guidebook and take yourself off to Chipping Ongar!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

“On the knocker” for Lollypop Louise against the Nasty Nazi.

Yesterday afternoon I went to help out in the Goresbrook ward by-election in Barking and Dagenham. UNISON NEC member and long serving Lollypop Lady (aka "school crossing officer") Louise Couling is fighting it out with BNP Assembly member Richard Barnbrook for the seat. Louise had been elected as Councillor in May but due to a cock-up with the paperwork she had to resign and refight the seat.

Newham Labour members had turned out in the morning to help the campaign including Mayor Sir Robin Wales and East Ham MP Stephen Timms. The meeting point was the 3rd floor of “Transport House” which was only a few minutes walk away from Goresbrook Road. The Anti-fascists “Hope Not Hate” are based on the same floor and I met up there with my former branch secretary Jean Geldart who is spending part of her very busy “retirement” helping them out.

Looking out of the back windows of the building you can get some idea of the problems that have faced this community in recent years. Next door are some decaying Ford buildings. The Ford motor car factory at its peak use to stretch for as far as you could see.  An incredible whole 1 mile by 3 miles and employed 40,000 workers. It even had its own railway station and ferry. No wonder there has been huge difficulties - but let’s not forget that (a much smaller) Ford still produce a million car engines per year at this site.

The voter ID session actually went very well. People were in general very positive and promised to support Louise and Labour - and to keep Barnbrook out. We didn’t see any BNP canvassers although their Führer "I hate Londoners" Nick was supposed to be about. But complacency and a low turn out is a big, big risk and we need to get everyone out for Thursday.

Ring 07540 079 685 if you can help out this week and especially on polling day (this Thursday 8 July).

UPDATE: email from Margaret Hodge "Campaign HQ for the day will be 34 Amesbury Road RM9 6AB, Dagenham, which will open at 6.45am and close at 10pm. It's a two minute walk from Becontree Underground Station, on the district line.  However, the District Line caught fire at Barking on Friday, so we are not sure if it will be up and running again. If it's not, we will lay on minibuses from Barking Train Station throughout the day.

Barking is on the c2c line, which runs every ten minutes or so from Fenchurch Street, West Ham and Limehouse - it takes a maximum of 15 minutes to get here. Look out for people in 'Lollipop Louise' t.shirts.  If you need directions, more information or want to let us know you are coming, please phone  07540 079 685 or e-mail back (margarethodgebarkingATgooglemailDOTcom).

Happy British Liberation Day:)

Today is the day when the British freed themselves from a despotic monarchy and declared independence.

Unfortunately, they were unable to liberate their homeland of the British Isles, but those Britons willing to stand up to a tyrannical king went on to become “Americans” and created a world superpower, invented the corndog, and gave the world Bob Dylan”.

Friday, July 02, 2010

"The devil is in the detail...and I am the detail"

So said the new Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Jack Pickles, at yesterday evenings GLA/London Council’s bash at the 9th floor of City Hall for all newly elected London Councillors.

I suppose many of us present would in fact agree with Mr Pickles self assessment of himself! He actually gave quite an emollient and even a suspiciously constructive speech about the importance of having elected Councillors (who can be “chucked out” by their electors if they are no good) and came close to promising that the Greater London Authority and Local authorities will receive much greater powers and responsibilities from central government and deleted quango’s. Watch this space I suppose.

London Mayor, Boris Johnson was unable to attend since he had to go to a School play. Fair enough although this did not stop cynical souls amongst us reflect that it was more likely because when he planned this event he did not expect so many Labour Councillors to be elected in London.

We did not escape - since he had specially recorded a vintage bumbling Boris performance on a DVD for us to watch (and endure).

Hackney elected Labour Mayor and new leader of “London Councils” (which represents all 33 local authorities in London) Jules Pipe, gave an upbeat and positive speech about us all working together for the benefit of London and the great services that London Councils provide. He didn’t notice Eric licking his lips at the knowledge of more things that he can demand to be privatised.

I had to leave early in order to go and make a report to my ward meeting but as I left I did reflect upon Boris as London mayor and the first time I had been to the 9th floor City Hall - and I hope to return sometime after May 2012 to a reception run by a Labour Mayor of London.

(Eric is bottom left; Jules is next to him and top left is UNISON and GLA Labour Assembly member Joanne McCartney with Newham Councillors)

Thursday, July 01, 2010

taking pictures of me..taking pictures

I posted about my visit last month to the Friends of Abbey Garden summer fair and a photo collage here.

Later I found that on one of their websites there was by co-incidence a webcam picture (bottom) of me taking one of the photos I used in the collage of my fellow ward Councillor Ron Manley (in white on right top).

Well.. I thought this was a little bit interesting anyway.