Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Red One

A quick note to readers: I have decided not to run a particular story this evening and don't have time to do another one so I hope this post from my other blog will be of interest.

Cross-post from: Howie's World of Comics

Red One #1 (Image Comics)

Xavier Dorison (w) Terry & Rachel Dodson (a)

The Red One was created by Comrade Stalin at The Twelfth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to honour the female comrades who fell fighting capitalists during the revolution.

That's the gist of what lies behind this slightly tongue in cheek tale from the now long forgotten days of the "Cold War".

Take one American Porn Star, being murdered by what turns out to be the USA's first "super-villain" , the "Carpenter" inspired by politician who makes Mary Whitehouse seem almost Liberal by comparison and what do you get?

The KGB to the rescue?

They send for the more than sexually liberated agent Vera Yelinikov.

What do they want her to be? An All American Superhero of course.

Their rationale to undermine the growing capitalist threat (in the form of  killjoy Jacky Core (and I quote):

"To fight propaganda...create different propaganda. We are going to create a different superhero in the states. A rival to the carpenter. Our superhero will have to move there under an assumed name. The win the hearts and minds of the Americans.

And when that is done and not before they will eliminate the "Carpenter". This superhero has been chosen by comrade Brezhnev..it's you."

And off goes (a very unhappy) super spy. Our Vera.

Even the flight doesn't go without erm..incident. Vera joins the "mile high club" (as any secret agent seems to do) and arrives in the USA to begin her mission.

Great fun, not always "politically correct", but well worth a read!

Can't wait for the second issue......

Monday, 30 March 2015

Musical Interlude: Lesbian Bed Death

Everywhere I look these days there's trigger warnings, faux offence about this that and everything and you know what.... I'm sick of it!!

So here's a song that will have some dopey navel gazing intersectionist somewhere reaching for their puppy videos and phoning their shrinks.

Get over yourselves!!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

SWP "kicked out" of University occupations

"Jazz hands" aside, there are still some students who engage in  the old fashioned tactic of occupations. It seems that the "comrades" only brought attention to themselves by handing out literature for their ever declining Marxism event,

The following statement was published by a group calling itself The Free University of Sheffield (complete with the inevitable trigger warning):
Statement on the SWP 
Content warning: discussion of the SWP rape crisis, victim blaming, rape apologism.
For the past few days, members of the Free University of Sheffield have been in London to support the student occupations at the London School of Economics (LSE) and the University of the Arts London (UAL). It has come to our attention that longstanding, active members of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) have been attending meetings at the occupations, at some points handing out literature for SWP-run events. 
As we understand it, for a while the members of the occupations did not know of the SWP’s presence. The literature which was handed out was for ‘Marxism 2015’, an event run by the SWP but now with minimal SWP branding. After a number of Free University of Sheffield activists raised the issue with members of the occupations, it came to light that many people (although not all) in the occupations did not know about the SWP’s recent history. We therefore feel it is important that we reiterate our stance on the SWP’s presence on campus, and explain our reasoning behind it. 
The Free University of Sheffield completely rejects the SWP and its members. The SWP are not welcome in our meetings, they are not welcome in our occupations, and they are not welcome on our campus. Their history of dealing with allegations of rape and/or sexual assault is unacceptable, and this has been shown to be a problem for the party as a whole, not just a problem for a few individuals. The issue is especially important in an occupation. All occupations should have safer spaces policies, and people who compromise the safety of the space for others should be ejected. 
In December 2013, members of the SWP (including one member who has been active at the current London occupations) attempted to enter an occupation at the University of Sheffield. They were physically refused access. A safer spaces policy had been agreed upon, and it was agreed that a safer space could not be maintained with the presence of the SWP. We would like to recommend that future occupations in the UK should have a safer spaces policy which bars members of the SWP from entering. 
Below we have included an account of the SWP’s recent history, and a number of resources which explain the events in greater detail.
We hope this issue is resolved quickly, and we support the occupations at LSE and UAL in any attempt to remove the SWP from their spaces.
The rest of the statement gives a brief account of the "delta" affair with links which has already been discussed at some length on this blog.

Whilst I have no time for the SWP, where does this kind of policy end?

Is "safe spaces" itself a new kind of censorship? 

I think so!

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Islam's false "victim-hood" and the anti-imperialist "left"

A story caught my attention in the London Evening Standard on the way home from work last night. It referred to one of the parents of the "Jihadi Brides" that have been in the news of late. Ben Morgan reports:

The father of one of the three runaway "jihadi brides" marched at a flag-burning rally led by hate preacher Anjem Choudary, it has emerged.

Abase Hussen, whose daughter fled east London with two school friends to join Islamic Stae militants was filmed chanting "Allahu Akbar" alongside a sign reading "The followers of Mohammed will conquer America" according to the Daily Mail"

This from a man who told a Parliamentary sub Committee that the Police, Turkish authorities and everyone else as to blame for his daughters "plight".

Smoke & Mirrors methinks.

Attending one of Choudary's hate rallies is not normal activity for anyone, let alone a parent who claimed not to understand how his daughter became radicalised.

The Mail runs this as it's lead story today and guess what. Mr Hussen employed a somewhat "radicalised lawyer. The Daily Mail reports:

Tasnime Akunjee has gone on record in the past to declare that no Muslim should co-operate with the British police force because the Government’s Prevent counter-terror policy is ‘straightforward, paid-for spying on the community’.

He once asked in an internet rant: ‘Does she [Home Secretary Theresa May] have Nazi blood in her veins?’

Imagine the furore if someone had insulted a Muslim leader in the same vein.

The wider public might not have heard of Mr Akunjee until now but behind his self-righteous performance in the Commons, behind his fancy legal credentials, behind his respectable upbringing (his father and two younger brothers are all doctors), is an individual with links to what some might describe as the ‘who’s who’ of Islamic extremists in Britain.

As far as I'm concerned the "Islamists" ARE the new Nazi's and should be treated as such, not that the so called "anti-imperialist" left are much better.

The recent furore over the mass murderer Jihadi John created by an unsavoury alliance of Cage and Counterfire (a breakaway from the Socialist Workers Party) shows what not just a nonsensical but down right evil world some of these people live in.

Hearing followers of the religion of peace intolerance calling a murderer a "beautiful man" and being supported in this by John Rees not just a Counterfire member but a leader of the misnamed Stop the War Coalition disgusts not just me but the vast majority of decent people in this country.

But there are others. We all know that the SWP slavishly follows Islamism and describes any criticism of their religion (even from atheists) as "Islamophobic" but in the new Left Unity "party" there is a chap called John Tummon who has become notorious for trying to describe ISIS as an "anti-imperialist" movement. He's now part of the LU leadership.

If anyone is in any doubt about the fascist, genocidal and Islamic imperialist nature of ISIS they should watch the Unreported World documentary on Kobane and the Kurds broadcast on Channel 4 last night (it should be on-line by now).

The fact is Islamism breeds on unjustified "victim-hood" and far too much time is spent placating them rather than opposing them in defence of human rights which the left is supposed to be about.

Trouble is blinkered the blinkered ideology of "anti-imperialism" has become one of appeasement to the rise of the new fascism.

Most of the left can no longer be trusted.

Neither can today's student activist generation who are too busy either ignoring hate preachers on campus in case they upset "Muslim students" and ignore the rights of women, gays and frankly everybody else from this far-right ideology.

Still the student comrades can either wave "jazz hands" or hide in one of their "safe spaces watching videos of puppies (I do not jest this happens in one American University) whilst the new Nazi's grow.

There needs to be a "new left". One that ditches the failed ideologies of the last two centuries and moves forward with human rights, free speech and secularism as it's creed.

The old left has failed. Lets build a new one.

Let the works of Marx Trotsky & Lenin, Chomsky and all the rest collect dust on the shelves. We need new thinking.


Friday, 27 March 2015

“Sodomite Suppression Act” proposed by US Christian lawyer

Cross-post from the National Secular Society

A California lawyer has proposed a "Sodomite Suppression Act" and warned of "God's just wrath" should the state of California not put homosexuals to death.

The lawyer who is proposing the legislation, Matt McLaughlin, says "buggery" and "sodomy" are an "abominable crime against nature" and a "monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us to suppress on pain of our utter destruction".

McLaughlin is calling for homosexuals to be executed "by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method."

The Sodomite Suppression Act warns that "any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death" and that no person may "distribute, perform, or transmit sodomistic propaganda."

It adds: "Sodomistic propaganda is defined as anything aimed at creating an interest in or an acceptance of human sexual relations other than between a man and a woman. Every offender shall be fined $1 million per occurrence, and/or imprisoned up to 10 years, and/or expelled from the boundaries of the state of California for up to life.

"No person shall serve in any public office, nor serve in public employment, nor enjoy any public benefit, who is a sodomite or who espouses sodomistic propaganda or who belongs to any group that does."

The proposal contains a clause that the law may not be invalidated "until heard by a quorum of the Supreme Court of California consisting only of judges who are neither sodomites nor subject to disqualification hereunder.

"Seeing that it is better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God's just wrath against us for the folly of tolerating-wickedness in our midst, the People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method."

McLaughlin must now collect over 350,000 signatures for his proposed ballot initiative in order for it to actually appear on the ballot paper. However, the California Attorney General is seeking permission from a state court to reject the proposed initiative.

There is currently a petition with over 51,000 signatures to have McLaughlin disbarred by the California Bar Association, in response to his voter initiative.

Whilst this proposal is almost certain not to be seen by voters on the ballot paper in 2016, it is not the only piece of anti-LGBT legislation currently being discussed.

Indiana has recently passed a 'religious freedom' bill that would allow discrimination against homosexuals. The American Civil Liberties Union said the legislation appears "to invite the use of religion to discriminate, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity."

The Belfast Telegraph compared the legislation to the 'conscience' bill in Northern Ireland that is being pushed by the DUP, in response to the Ashers bakery case, which is currently being heard in court.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

A Life of Brian moment in Bermondsey

Left Unity  Bermondsey Republican Socialists

The new political formation that laughingly describes itself as Left Unity is taking tentative steps into electoral politics. But in the usual Life Of Brian fashion not all is going well even on the micro-scale that the comrades are operating.

One small problem has arisen in the constituency of Bermondsey, the seat occupied by David Hughes and where Peter Tatchell makes his name way back in the unsavoury eighties when homophobia was quite open and rabid. He was described as an "Australian Poof" by one leading Labour Party member whose name escapes which is probably best.

But I digress.

Now there is a small organisation that most of you may not have heard of. They are called The Republican Socialist Party and are led by a certain Steve Freeman whose politics (as far as I can be bothered to ascertain) are summed up thus: "In order for socialism to succeed the bourgeois revolution must be completed first".

Hence republicanism as a, nay central precept for any "socialist" organisation". The abolition of the Monarchy and the creation of a republic. Trouble is there aren't many takers amongst the "bourgeoisie" for Republicanism. Constitutional monarchy seems to suit most people. Even most of the working class aren't much bothered by calls for the abolition of the monarchy.

But never mind. Comrade Steve Freeman the cults leader has a cunning plan. He's going to stand for parliament in Bermondsey as a republican socialist candidate and remind the masses about the betrayal the "45%" feel in Scotland about being "cheated out of independence". He's even called on the radical Independence Network for "backup".

Not sure exactly how that will motivate the voters of the London Borough of Bermondsey but I'm sure Comrade Freeman has the interests of the workers at heart.

Trouble is in order to do this he has to stand against Left Unity of which he also happens to be a member. They have different plans apparently and these don't include running poor Steve as their candidate.

Kate"CND" Hudson has written to comrade Freeman sternly:

I am writing to inform you that your intention to stand as a candidate in a constituency where Left Unity is standing a candidate is incompatible with Left Unity membership.....

I urge you to withdraw your candidacy and support the ‘Left Unity - Trade Unionists and Socialists’ candidate, Kingsley Abrams, who has been endorsed by Southwark branch and Left Unity national council.

If you persist with your candidacy, I advise you to resign from Left Unity. If not, I will pursue withdrawal of your membership with the appropriate party bodies.

That's not acceptable to "our Steve" who rants:

Thanks for your letter (March 20 2015) advising me of the intention to expel me if I do not stand down in favour of a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate. I will not be standing down...

If Tusc does well in the election, this will make the Tusc-LU merger which is now on the cards more or less inevitable. The expulsion of a republican socialist from LU, combined with the dominance of the lash-up between the SP-SWP and RMT bureaucracy is the death knell for LU as an independent party. All the votes that pile up for Tusc nationally and in Bermondsey are but fuel for a funeral pyre for LU.....

The plan to expel me from LU is, thus, a curious combination of political ignorance, gross stupidity and the behind-the-scenes manoeuvrings of dark forces.

No he doesn't mean the Romans (I think), he's referring to Socialist Resistance another tiny group that has weaselled it's way in the faction driven Left Unity "party".

Personally I think he should just shout "splitters".

Answers on a post card as to why the far-left are incapable of ever achieving anything.

Like, ever.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

NUS Womens Conference: No wonder they call it TWITter

nus women

Mary had the right response!

However the TWITters at NUS are encouraged to use "Jazz hands" (WTF?)

original complaint nus women

Jazz hands? Only the Black & White Minstrels come to mind. Not very PC I'm told!

Actually I've had my anxiety raised by the same conference debating a motion to abolish the Industrial prison complex". Apparently Prison is about "punishment" (who knew). 

So let's not put all these muggers, thieves, rapists and murderers in prison. Just give them a good telling off and a book on political correctness to read eh comrades?

And they worry about clapping?

I'd tell these individuals they are deranged, but it'd probably make them anxious.

Poor souls. How will they cope outside the hallowed corridors of higher education in the real world.

Big hat/tip to: The Backbencher

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The dark side of multiculturalism

For some reason there seem to be double standards applied to freedom of speech when it comes to Islamists and those who oppose them even if they are former Muslims themselves.

Or "Apostates" as Islam describes them.

Take this report from the Irish Independent:

Iranian-born Maryam Namazie was due to give a talk to the Society for International Affairs on Monday on ‘Apostasy and the rise of Islam’ but decided to withdraw from the event after college security imposed “certain conditions”.

“I’ve just been informed… that college security (why security?) has claimed that the event would show the college is ‘one-sided’ and would be ‘antagonising’ to Muslim students,” she wrote on her blog.

Ms Namazie, who is from a Muslim background but stopped practising the religion several years ago, said she would not do the talk "since such conditions are not usually placed on other speakers.”

“I was told that two conditions were required for the event to go ahead; one, that it only be open to students of the college, and two, that there would be a moderator to chair the talk”.

Speaking to Independent.ie, Ms Namazie said she decided against speaking because “such conditions had not been placed on other speakers.”

Last month preacher Sheikh Kamal El Mekki was invited to Trinity College in an event co-hosted by the TCD Muslim Student Association (MSA) and the Irish branch of the AlMaghrib Institute.

His visit to the university was controversial because, in the past, the scholar has explained why apostates should get the death penalty and why the punishment of stoning exists for adultery.

Double standards. Actually no standards would be a better way of describing the University's actions.

As Ayaan Hirsi Ali puts it in the Huffington Post

"Instead of contorting Western intellectual traditions so as not to offend our Muslim fellow citizens, we need to defend the Muslim dissidents who are risking their lives to promote the human rights we take for granted: equality for women, tolerance of all religions and orientations, our hard-won freedoms of speech and thought.

"Multiculturalism should not mean that we tolerate another culture's intolerance. If we do in fact support diversity, women's rights, and gay rights, then we cannot in good conscience give Islam a free pass on that spurious ground."

Spot on I'd say!

But I'll leave the last words on this to Pat Condell who has a thing or two to say to the so-called "progressives" on the left who ignore these issues.

Monday, 23 March 2015

The Putinisation of Israel

Cross-post by Eric Lee


In a sense, not much changed in the Israeli elections of 2015, despite media reports of a “landslide” victory for incumbent Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

The country is still almost equally divided between Left and Right. The parties of the Zionist Left (Labour and Meretz) have seen their combined vote steadily increase over the last three elections, from just 16 Knesset seats (out of 120) to 21, and now to 29. The voting strength of the Arab parties is larger than ever, with a single united bloc now holding 13 seats, a record result.

The main parties of the Right (Likud, Jewish Home and Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu) grew by just a single seat, from 43 to 44. The difference though is that while previously Likud held just 18 of those seats, it now holds 30 – and the other two Right parties dropped by 11 seats.

The two ultra-Orthodox parties lost a considerable amount of support, dropping from 18 to 13 seats.

It almost sounds like I’m describing a win for the Left, but of course it will not be the Left forming the government – it will once again be Netanyahu.

The reason for this is that a coalition of the Right parties, the ultra-orthodox and one of the centre parties (the new party Kulanu, headed by former Likud minister Moshe Kahlon, which won 10 Knesset seats), allows for a majority government headed by Netanyahu.

So while the Left grew, it did not grow by enough, and things will stay pretty much the same. Except for one thing – Israeli politics changed, and changed for the worse, in this campaign. The change can only be described as the “Putinisation” of Israel.

In the course of an election campaign which saw Netanyahu struggling to survive, and only days before the election facing near-certain defeat, the Israeli Prime Minister used a number of tactics which seemed to have been inspired by the Russian President.

He made an election issue of the role of “foreign money” in Israeli politics and was particularly concerned with “foreign-funded” non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This is not new; the Israeli Right has long been concerned about groups which promote, among other things, human rights for Palestinians. But Netanyahu embraced it, focussing in particular on V15, a non-partisan NGO that campaigned for his defeat. In a post-election interview with MSNBC, Netanyahu continued to allege that “tens of millions” of dollars were spent by shadowy foreign sources to topple him.

This of course has been central to Putin’s rule, and the Russian President has long alleged that any and all democratic revolutions that take place in Russia’s “near abroad” such as Georgia and Ukraine are almost by definition foreign-funded plots. This is not unique to Putin; other dictators such as Sisi in Egypt have similarly cracked down on NGOs that receive foreign money. What is unusual is for this to be a central issue in Israeli politics.

Putin came to power at a time when Russia was experiencing a flowering of freedom of expression, with a number of independent newspapers and television stations, many of which have since been shut down. Media loyal to the regime dominates and dissident voices are heard only with difficulty. Israel, on the other hand, has long been seen as an oasis of press freedom in the desert of a region dominated by dictatorships of various kinds. Newspapers like Ha’aretz have long played the role of critics of Israeli governments and critical voices could be heard on television and other media as well.

But taking another page from Putin’s book, Netanyahu has tried to clamp down on the Channel 10 television station which was seen as hostile to his rule, and with the financial backing of an American gambling tycoon, funded his own free daily newspaper to rival the established ones which were seen as too critical of his policies. Chief among these is the daily newspaper Yediot Ahronot, which faces both a commercial and political challenge from the free paper. Following the election, Netanyahu’s supporters were quick to take to the airwaves to protest how the mainstream media covered the Prime Minister with none-too-subtle hints that something needed to be done to reign in excessive criticism of the country’s leader.

Like Putin, Netanyahu’s strong point is that he’s seen as “Mr Security” – someone who will stop at nothing to defend the country. Both Putin and Netanyahu have made much of the Islamist threat, and both have expressed concern that the West doesn’t understand that threat as well as they do. In the case of Putin, it’s the Chechens and their allies in the North Caucasus. In Netanyahu’s case, it’s Iran, Islamic State, Hamas and Hizbollah. Netanyahu campaigned on the issue of the Islamist threat to the exclusion of everything else. Social and economic issues played little role in his campaign. Like Putin, who’s proud of his KGB past, Netanyahu still trades on his youthful exploits as a member of an elite unit in the Israeli army.

Most shamefully, in the final hours of the campaign, Netanyahu launched a racist tirade against “busloads of Arabs” who dared to vote. He called upon his supporters to rush to the polls, otherwise the Left might come to power. Putin too has encouraged anti-Muslim racism and xenophobia in general as a way of keeping Russians united around his rule.

As Putin grew stronger and more popular, he refused to debate his opponents and preferred to delegitimise them, and in some cases jail them or kill them. Netanyahu refused to debate his main rival, Yitzhak Herzog of the Labour Party, and uses every opportunity to delegitimise the opposition.

The parallels between the two leaders are striking, Right down to some details. Putin, for example, has found an admirer in washed-up “actor” Steven Seagal, star of such forgettable films as “Under Siege”. Putin and Seagal apparently share a love of martial arts.

Netanyahu’s B-movie actor is Chuck Norris, star of “Walker, Texas Ranger” whose video message supporting the Likud leader was promoted to the world through the Prime Minister’s official Twitter feed.

Blaming foreign-funded NGOs for stirring things up, accusing his opponents of disloyalty, threatening independent media, and so on are all tactics Netanyahu has adopted from Putin. This is not good news for Israel.

While at the moment the country remains a democracy (except in the occupied territories), with a lively free press, that could begin to change. Netanyahu would still like to close down Channel 10, to intimidate newspapers like Ha’aretz and Yediot Ahronot into silence, and to cut off foreign money that might be funding NGOs he doesn’t like.

Faced with those possibilities, the Israeli Left needs to be thinking how to cope with an increasingly authoritarian leader who’s learning from Putin’s book. Normally one would turn to see what the Russian democrats and dissidents have been doing, but there’s no success story to report.

It’s up to the Israeli Left and their supporters abroad to develop a strategy to block any attempts by Netanyahu to undermine Israel’s democracy. Netanyahu’s victory is widely being interpreted as a gift to those supporting a boycott of Israel, and the growth of the BDS campaign which will almost certainly result from this will not make the work of the Israeli opposition any easier.

There is no road map to block Putinism. And there are no short cuts. The fight will be a long and hard one, which the Israeli Left can win – but they cannot win it alone.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Unite: McCluskey prepares to move to the far-left


Britain's largest union is in two news stories this weekend as Len McCluskey ups the ante in advance of the general election as reported on the Unite website:

Such are Unite’s concerns, the union’s executive is recommending to members that the words “so far as may be lawful” are removed from the rules governing the union’s actions in recognition that a Tory government will introduce laws to prevent working people mounting a decent defence against employer abuse.

In a far reaching speech covering the journey from the Margaret Thatcher’s assaults on unions to the present day, whereby a single judge can deny hundreds of workers the ability to take lawful industrial action mandated by legal ballots, Len McCluskey warned that the fundamental human right to strike is “hanging by a thread”.

Emphasising that Unite is committed to operating effectively within the law, he says that the time has come to ask “can unions stay within the law any longer?” .......

“These words will go not because we are anarchists, not because we are suddenly planning a bank robbery - but because we have to ask ourselves the question, can we any longer make that commitment to, under any and all circumstances, stick within the law as it stands?

A challenge that will add to Mr Miliband's difficulty in getting elected. 

And McCluskey's not exactly helping much there either. 

According to the Sunday Times today (no link£):

The general secretary of Unite will move to sever the unions links with the Labour party within weeks if Ed Miliband loses the election according to an insider.

Unite, Labour's biggest donor, will hold a rules conference that would re-write it's constitution so that it can support other parties instead.

McCluskey will back the change if Miliband fails to make it to No 10, the source predicted.

Such short sighted sectarianism all resulting from the Falkirk clash could seriously damage the unity of the Labour & Trade Union movement in this country for years to come.

These proposals come at a time when far-left forces are already disrupting a number of trade unions most notably the nearly bankrupt civil service union PCS.

Such ultra-leftist posturing could be the key Serwotka and his Socialist Party cronies need to get the merger they want through conference.

Mcluskey the Marxist is playing a dangerous game. 

Labour supporters should ensure this nonsense is beaten off and act now, not just at Unite conference this summer.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

SWP join Jihadist fan club

It seems the supporters of Islamic fascism have gained yet another far-left "anti-imperialist" group to their cause. The Counterfire rabble under the leadership of John Rees & Lyndsey German have been backing the disgusting "Cage" organisation directly.

Now the Socialist Workers Party line up with the pro-Jihadist Cage organisation as theis article in this weeks edition of Socialist Worker reports: 

Right whip up Islamophobia over Isis

Detainee rights campaign group Cage and its director Moazzam Begg have been the target of more Islamophobic smears.

The Mail on Sunday newspaper claimed it had evidence that Moazzam visited the camp where Londoner Mohammed Emwazi allegedly trained as an Isis fighter.

It quotes unnamed “official sources” speculating over the identities of men wearing balaclavas in a photo from around 2012.

The paper had already attacked Cage and Moazzam for saying that it was Western imperialism and state terror that helped make Emwazi, known as “Jihadi John”, into an Isis fighter.

Mohammed Tasnime Akunjee, the solicitor for the students from east London who have allegedly travelled to Syria to join Isis, has also come under attack.

Andrew Gilligan in The Telegraph newspaper said that he is an “extremist” with links to “terror apologists” Cage. This was after the solicitor criticised police handling of the case.

The sisters of the students also now face “radicalisation” tests as the tide of Islamophobia grows higher around such cases.

This week three teenagers from Britain were arrested in Turkey on “suspicion of preparing terrorist attacks”. They were bailed pending further inquiries.

Words almost fail me.

This is just further evidence of a growing pro-fascist trend on the far-left. 

The Socialist Workers Party, Counterfire and people like John Tummon of the Left Unity organisation should be driven out of the trade union & labour movement.

Unite Against Fascism!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The Socialist Party Splits, the SWP trips...

The budget has been the focus of most peoples attention today so by way of something different I thought a quick trip around the wacky world of the far-left might be a little fun. Except for the last story which is more serious in nature..

But first, the Socialist Party (Scotland) has had a "Life of Brian" moment despite it's short and inglorious existence. The organisation (believed to contain around just 50 or so members has walked out of an alliance with Tommy Sheridan.

Surprised it took them that long really but on their rather dull website they proudly proclaim:

Socialist Party Scotland has today left Solidarity, a party we co-founded in 2006, following long-running political differences with party leader Tommy Sheridan.

Tommy Sheridan has been calling for a vote for the SNP at the Westminster elections since the days following the independence referendum in September last year. This has been done at the same time as the SNP-run Scottish Government and local councils have been carrying out brutal Tory austerity.

Solidarity conference today has voted in favour of urging “YES supporters across Scotland to consider lending their vote to SNP candidates on the basis of continued support for independence, nuclear disarmament and in opposition to unacceptable and unnecessary austerity cuts to public services and jobs.”

Tommy Sheridan and Solidarity’s decision marks a significant move away from a principled socialist position and is a step to the right politically. Under these circumstances, and despite being founding members of Solidarity in 2006, we can no longer be associated with the approach that Tommy and a majority of Solidarity members are currently taking.

Oh well at least they are still on first name terms.

The SP(S) continue:

We appeal to all those seeking a genuine alternative to pro business parties to help Socialist Party Scotland and TUSC build a fighting socialist alternative to cuts and austerity.

There's not much hope of that being much of a success but at least they still have the support of Madame Godrich, President of the PCS union for another year since she and their rest of the far-left in her union have cancelled internal elections. The charming Janice (who once wrote on Face Book that i "had an unhealthy fascination with small far left parties", despite err.. belonging to one herself, the aforementioned 50 strong SP(S) is doing her best for the comrades.

Their website gleefully reports:

A packed room of eighty people attended the inspiring election launch conference of the Scottish Trade Union and Socialist Coalition in Glasgow on 28 February.

Present were candidates, agents, campaign organisers, community campaigners and socialists from across Scotland. Trade unionists from the RMT, PCS, Unite, EIS, UNISON, NUJ, UCU, Equity and the GMB took part.

Must have mobilised every possible person they could think of for that meeting. Not that anybody noticed their "inspiring" rally. Other than us "inveterate Trot watchers" that is.... meanwhile the report continues:

Janice gave her personal support to the TUSC campaign and appealed for support for the PCS in its fight against the government’s attempts to break a fighting union organisationally and financially. She finished by calling for a co-ordinated industrial response to austerity by the trade union movement.

Well she would wouldn't she. Janice is a member of the SP/CWI.

Onwards to losing deposits and err not getting a general strike that our Janice perennially calls for.

Meanwhile the Socialist Workers Party on the one hand gives us a laugh by:

The Socialist Workers’ Party faced embarrassment after accidentally sending details of the mailing list for the ‘Wales Stand Up to UKIP’ campaign to UKIP members.

The email revealed a number of unexpected names for the hard-left group, including three Tory Members of the Welsh Assembly: Nick Ramsay, Mohammed Ashgar and William Graham.

It urged members on the list to donate their time at a series of stalls throughout the election period in an effort to smear UKIP candidates and the party.

On receiving the email, UKIP Wales replied to the group, telling them that “you appear to have sent us the details of the entire membership of your ‘stand up to UKIP organisation’ in Wales.”

Adopting a tongue-in-cheek tone, they added: “On a more positive note we have studied our events calendar and are able to confirm that none of your action days as listed clash with our own and we are therefore able to give you clearance to carry on as you feel fit on that front.”

Couldn't make it up if you tried. Brietbart news concludes:

So far no one from the SWP has chosen not to respond to our questions on the involvement of members of the clergy or Conservative Assembly Members participating in their group.

Oh dear. Street cred right out the window.


Meanwhile on a serious note concerns have been raised about the identity of a certain leading member of the misnamed "Unite Against Fascism" organisation who writes as "Milo Samuels". Same initials as one "Martin Smith" not that any concerns have been responded to by the SWP controlled UAF.

Owen Jones the new "luvvie" of the left has said he would quit UAF if this was true.

Has the "delta" returned to leading activity in the UAF.

I think we should be told.

The SWP still haven't learnt any lessons from their recent troubles and splits and remain pariahs on the left.

Not that anyone expected the Professors cult to learn humility by admitting to any failings.....

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

PCS faces collapse of membership in the HMRC

The PCS union is now facing a major crisis in it's HMRC group as leaked documents to their Group Executive Committee shows. They have failed to sign up of half their membership by direct debit as the deadline looms next month and competition has appeared in the form of a new breakaway union, the Revenue & Customs Trade Union.

So bad is the situation that PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka has been pleading for the end of "check off" to be delayed at a meeting with senior management last month. Relations between the PCS and the department have "been at an all time low" according to Chief Executive Lin Homer.

Responding to Serwotka's request for more time Homer responds that PCS were initially informed in November that "check off would end", and:

 " When ExCom took the decision to remove the  facility PCS were given over three months notice of the change with final deductions to be made from the April payroll on the 30th of that month. PCS were already actively persuading members to change their payment method before I formally informed representatives of the intention to consult and that given by April 30th it will be six months from 10th November I believe HMRC has provided adequate time for PCS to encourage its members who wish to remain in the union to change their payment method."

I do not think there is any value to you, your members or HMRC in now altering the declared date.

A quite clear response.

However Serwotkas replies in a letter dated March 13th:

"..it is therefore disappointing that your letter has not addressed the key points we made at or meeting, particularly on check off where you have rejected our proposal for an extension to the time available to the time available for switching our members to direct debit".

As it happens I totally oppose the end of "check off", but the problem with Serwotka is he either can't read or more likely exists in a dreamworld where he always gets his own way. The answers he was given were clear.

The real problem is not with management but with PCS. Barely just over 40% have signed up for DD despite strenuous efforts by the unions reps. The question the comrades should be asking is why members so reticent, particularly in the HMRC about remaining in PCS.

There is widespread dissatisfaction in the union (and not just the HMRC) about the way PCS has been run. 

I don't just mean to financial ruin.

One of the other points raised by the comrades was a demand, not a request that Management refuse to talk to the new RCTU union.

On this Lin Homer also responds quite clearly:

"You asked for a guarantee that HMRC would not speak to representatives of the newly formed RCTU. I cannot provide that absolute guarantee but I hope you are reassured that HMRC was in no way responsible  in the formation of the group nor did we give them any encouragement. Rather I believe the formation of the RCTU has its roots in internal disagreements within PCS. There have been a small number of informal meetings with those responsible for forming the RCTU in order to ensure HMRC is aware of what RCTU are seeking to do in our business. HMRC's position in respect of RCTU is entirely neutral and no facility time or other resources have been provided to RCTU. HMRC's position going forward will, under current legislation, have to be informed by their ability to attract and retain members."

Of course the RCTU is a newly founded union and it will take time for them to establish themselves. They are a certificated union and obviously pose a bigger threat to PCS than Serwotka and his chums are prepared to admit.

Clearly PCS in the HMRC is in sharp decline. 

A situation of the PCS far-lefts own making. The unions current crisis (not just in the HMRC) all stems from Serwotka's ridiculous posturing of threatening a strike by Border Staff at airports based on an 11% turnout the day before the Olympics.

The other unions were rightly furious then and we are all reaping the consequences of Serwotkas nonsense.

No wonder so many people are seeking an alternative.

Monday, 16 March 2015

The end of the socialist mirage that was Venezuela

Tariq Ali has just published a new book. As readers will recall he is an old Trotskyist firebrand from the sixties and seventies that would best be remembered for his role in the now defunct International Marxist group. According to a review by James Bloodworth on Left Foot Forward:

Unwise in a book dedicated to the promotion of ‘genuine democracy’ is the repeated praise for the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The blurb on the back of Ali’s book – ‘What is the point of elections? The result is always the same?’ – is in fact similar to things I have heard said by Cuban friends over the years, only with a very different meaning. A grim irony like this fails to register with Ali, who is more comfortable making arguments about the costs and benefits of historical experiments from a safe distance.

Ali dedicates the nearly 200 pages of the book to ‘Hugo Chavez, the first leader of a movement that defeated the extreme centre’. Again, when Ali holds up the ‘Bolivarians of South America’ in a chapter entitled ‘Alternatives’, he resembles the French fellow travellers Arthur Koestler described as peeping toms, peering through a hole in the wall at history while not having to experience it themselves. Blanket statements (with a sprinkling of the usual ideological buzzwords) replace objective analysis, with the hollowing out of Venezuelan democracy by Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro either ignored or laid at the door of the ‘US Empire’.

A yes Cuba and Venezuela those strongholds of democracy. Two long term popular causes for the anti-imperialist left. Both countries led by two, nay three men who can do no wrong. Castro, Chavez and his successor Maduro who famously converses with the ghost of his former (and quite dead) mentor.

No really. He does. (stop sniggering at the back)

Things are not going well in the "socialist paradise of Venezeula and I'm not talking about the perrenial lack of toilet paper in their shops. The regime which rules by a mixture of bribery (when it has the resources), suppression of opposition media and "un-socialist" programmes like err the Simpsons has finally shown it's true face by deciding that their new "Dear Leader" Nicolas Maduro can rule by decree.

The BBC reports:

A law giving Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro the power to temporarily govern by decree has been met with criticism by opposition politicians.

The law was passed on Sunday by the National Assembly, where Mr Maduro's party has a majority.

Critics of the president called it a power grab.

I wonder how "temporary" that will be?

Still they've given the decree a wonderfuly appropriate name: 

The new "Anti-imperialist Law for Peace" allows President Maduro to bypass the National Assembly and take action to "protect against the meddling by other nations in [Venezuela's] internal affairs as well as any warmongering or external or internal activity which breaches the peace".

Anti-imperialist law for peace.

What a load of (enter your favourite expletive here).

Tariq Ali must be so proud.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Francis Maude to target PCS over Unite "merger"?

The continuing collapse of PCS is likely to lead to a renewed focus on a merger (nee takeover )of the largest civil service union.

Faced with difficulties in signing up large layers of it's membership as check off ends in the two largest departments (DWP this month & HMRC in April) and facing competition from new unions like the RCTU and Unison, which now has negotiating rights in the civil service, the PCS leadership has kept it's options open.

Despite losing an initial policy motion at last years conference, delegates did agree to continue talks with "conditions" attached. However given the financial state PCS is likely to find itself in over the next year, especially now the sale of their major financial asset the headquarters building has been "put on hold" the impetus for a merger may be take on a new life.

However the proposed merger has caught the attention of Francis Maude who responded to a query about a possible merger with Labour affiliated Unite by Tory MP Charlie Elphick thus:

The perception of political impartiality in the civil service is fundamental to our system of government and that should not be imperilled in any way.

This indicates that a future Tory government, still possible given the perilous nature of the opinion polls, may act to prevent this.

Now as a former member of PCS and now in Prospect I do believe that the civil service should be independent of political parties and oppose the unions affiliating to any party. Concerns have been expressed about the involvement of individual leaders of PCS who are involved in extremist political organisations such as the Socialist Party (Militant) and the Socialist Workers Party being at the centre of the so-called Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition.

There is a difference between Individuals undertaking political activity which is covered by existing civil service rules and an entire apparatus consisting of (mainly) civil servants undertaking a role which would be orientated to one political party.

Certainly the PCS leadership will face new difficulties if the merger process goes ahead. A warning shot has been fired across their bows whether one agrees with Maude or not.

Problem is the PCS leadership are notoriously self destructive, with at least one TUSC  activists claiming that several of the unions branches are helping in their campaign. The interests of PCS members (and those of other unions) would actually be better served by the return of a Labour government.

However the sectarians that control PCS seem to prefer the idea of another Tory government as it would suit their ideological interests better.

The fact members (of all unions) would suffer in the interim does not matter to these ideologues.

That's why PCS is becoming a failed union. 

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Australia: Hizb ut-Tahrir leader says Jews are “evil creatures” and calls for their eradication

Hardly a day goes by without some bright spark on the supposed "anti-imperialist far-left" attacking any criticism of Islam as "Islamophobic" and yet these "comrades wilfully continue to ignore the rampant anti-Semitism within ever growing sections of the Muslim community world-wide.

Need evidence?

The Times of Israel reports:

Australian Jewish community leaders requested action be taken against Ismail Al-Wahwah, spiritual leader of the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, for terming Jews “evil creatures” and calling for their eradication.

President of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies Jeremy Spinak lodged an official complaint with the state’s Anti-Discrimination Board for a rally Al-Wahwah held in Lakemba, Australia, last summer during Operation Protective Edge, the video of which only recently surfaced.

During the speech, Al-Wahwah called Jews “a hidden evil,” the Australian Jewish News reported Thursday. “The entire world suffers from the children of Israel… Who will set the world free from the children of Israel so that the world will be able to say that it has rid itself of that hidden evil?” Al-Wahwah asked.

In his complaint, Spinak requested that Al-Wahwah and Wassim Doureihi, a spokesperson for Hizb ut-Tahrir, be prosecuted under the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act.....

In a sermon on March 3, Al-Wahwah declared, “The Jews are the most evil creatures of Allah

See how he weaves so-called anti-Zionism seamlessly with outright anti-Semitism . The Israelites (historical, not current) are responsible for beginning prostitution usury and every other evil in the world. 

Islamists are the new Nazi's. 

Friday, 13 March 2015

A Friday night miscellany

Left it a bit late to write anything tonight so I thought I'd share a few bits & pieces with you.

First off is a really good article on the current Middle East crisis by Michael J Totten which appeared on the World Affairs website:

Let Iraq Die: A case for partition

Secondly is an interesting article from Sarah AB over at Harry's Place:

Muslim comic book superheroes come under attack

And I've been busy over at my other blog this week where you'll find articles on a variety of old comics Blackhawk, Tommy Tomorrow, Rip Hunter and a couple of previews of upcoming titles:

Howie's World of Comics

To finish a gentle song for the night!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

The TUSC: Delusions of grandeur

TUSC - Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

There's only what 55 days or so to go to the general election and the major parties are still squabbling about whether David Cameron should attend all the TV debates. Everyone is trying to get heard not just Labour, the Lib-Dems, UKIP or the SNP. But also the Greens, the DUP and now it appears the Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition who write:

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has reached the broadcasting authorities' threshold for 'fair media coverage' in May's general election.

The latest approvals by the TUSC national steering committee take the number of parliamentary candidates to 111. A full list of those agreed so far can be found at www.tusc.org.uk/txt/324.pdf. TUSC will have the sixth biggest presence on the ballot papers in May.

This number of candidates, with more to come, is well over the threshold for a party to receive 'fair media coverage', including a TV broadcast, of standing in one sixth of the seats up for electi
on. Now we will see what the broadcasters mean by 'fair coverage'.

Now there's a thought. According to them the TUSC (backed by the Trotskyist cult known as the Socialist Party or the Militant Tendency to older readers) is the "sixth biggest presence" on the electoral scene.

I don't think so. The fact this loose alliance of Trots, the RMT and a couple of Left Unity supporters is hardly the "sixth biggest challenge".  Hardly anyone, let alone most trade unionists will have even heard of them or even care less as to who they are.

At the last general election they managed a grand 0.04% of the vote. Yes they have a handful of Councillors, most of whom were malcontents kicked out of the Labour Party but the average worker is not going to be attracted by demands for open immigration, when the main concern raised by working class people is exactly the opposite.

Hence the rise of UKIP which the activists of the far-left has proved unable to cope with.

Except shout at.

Which is pretty much the level of most these comrades.

They bureaucratically take over (and bankrupt) other organisations through tactics of rant and bore. 

  • In the eighties in Liverpool council: Sent their own workers redundancy notices by taxi.
  • And now in 2015 in the PCS union: Planning to make half the unions staff redundant.

People might want to take their "anti-austerity" with a rather large pinch of salt

The Socialist Party has at most around 2,000 in it's cult, probably less and an alliance with the Socialist Workers Party now down to well under a thousand is hardly a major electoral challenge, even with some financial backing from the RMT union.

The real choices at the ballot box will be among a number of parties and with the decline of the Liberals both UKIP and the Greens will make inroads into the electorate . In Scotland the SNP are seemingly set to supplant Labour as the largest party.

Even the DUP will get a seat or two in Northern Ireland, where politics are somewhat different to the rest of the UK.

The TUSC? At best will get a few votes in marginal constituencies and let the Tories back in.

Which is the last thing that trade unionists need in this election.

The TUSC is yet another waste of effort that may distract a few people who should know better.

Anyone remember the Workers Revolutionary Party standing a slate in 1979, the year Thatcher came to power?

Only us inveterate Trot spotters probably.

Here out of historical interest is Corin Redgrave (Vanessa's brother) in some clips from their election broadcast. (Couldn't find the full one which I recall also heaped praise on a certain Libyan Colonel amongst others.

Didn't impress the workers much then. Not sure a TUSC one will manage any differently.

Still maybe there will be slightly different scaremongering. Slightly less military coup talk. Can't wait.

Meanwhile over to our "favourite" Trotskyist Thespian:

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The fallacy of Islamic human rights

Photo: Femen Sweden

The statement by the Arab League that "Sharia (Law) protects human rights" is one of the most ridiculous staements that I have ever heard. We're talking about a religious system that puts men above women (whose statements are worth only half of that of men), sanctions the killing of gays and apostates and treats us "Kufir as second class citizens unless you are Jewish in which case third class would be lucky or a Yazadi where you'd end up being murdered or sold into slavery.

That's the reality of "Sharia Law". The most unequal and brutal imposition of some desert Prophets imaginary friend possible.

Take this report about the death of an eight year old bride in Yemen:

An eight year-old child bride died in Yemen on her wedding night after suffering internal injuries due to sexual trauma. Human rights organizations are calling for the arrest of her husband, who was five times her age.

Al Nahar, Lebanon, reported that the death occurred in the tribal area of Hardh in northwestern Yemen, which borders Saudi Arabia. This brings even more attention to the already existing issue of forced child marriages in the Middle East.

This atrocity happened in 2013 and still goes on today because attempts to abolish it are apparently "un-Islamic"

But of course the religion of peace misery is beyond criticism and extremists in our communities are trying hard to censor those who speak out against their medieval theology. Their supporters exist across the political spectrum.

We know about Cage and the far-left Counterfire alliance but the Tories have their problems to.

Take Baroness Warsi, the "acceptable face of British Islam" (sic) as she joins a parliamentary meeting to launch a Muslim Manifesto. Sharia Watch reports:
...the manifesto demands that the British government act in accordance with the wishes of Muslim communities, above all other considerations. Some points of note are these:
Defend the right to a Muslim way of life, including halal meat; religious clothing; circumcision; and flexible working to accommodate Ramadan and festival observance.” 
What this means is that arguments against the burka/niqab, the halal meat industry, and circumcision (does this mean male and female?) should be ignored, and such practices defended by our politicians.
On a more sinister note:
"Introduce more robust legislation to curb media hate campaigns against Muslims." 
The media must be controlled – free speech and democratic press freedom must be destroyed.
“Guarantee the Muslim community the opportunity to evolve independently of government social engineering programmes.”
What does this mean? That “the Muslim community” should be exempt from certain social policies? To live “independently” of the law? 
“Acknowledge that the holy scripture of Muslims (the Qur’an) does not endorse terrorism and the murder of innocents.”
Only positive depictions of the Quran should be permitted, irrespective of truth or opinion. Free debate on Quranic text should be prevented.
In other words Muslims can say & do as they wish. We cannot criticise or prevent them from doing so.

Quite clear.

As if that wasn't bad enough the totally misleadingly named Islamic Human Rights Campaign has launched it's own campaign against what it says is the "demonising of Islam".

In a statement issued by the organisation they say:

..it is unacceptable to label as ‘extremist’ numerous normative Islamic opinions on a variety of issues, founded on the Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), implying there is a link between them and violence, using such labels as an excuse to silence speakers.

Really. Even a cursory read through the Koran throws up some charming thoughts from the desert prophet. Hamas use it to justify their killing of all Jews in their founding statement. ISIS use the Koran to justify their use of slavery (sanctioned by this "prophet" apparently) and mass murder of non-beleivers if they don't pay a special tax.

Or their faces don't fit.

Problem is that both this Muslim Manifesto and Statement entirely miss the point.

Ideas do not have rights. Only people do.

These followers of an imaginary "god" think they have the right to impose their beliefs on us.

The need to stand up against religious bigotry has never been greater.

"Islam" does not have rights. It's just a set of punitive ideas concocted in a cave some 1400 years ago by a man who went on to be a warlord and imposed Islam in an imperial war of aggression which occupied lands that were inhabited by others and now claimed to be "historic Muslim lands.

ISIS includes Spain.

Yet when Jews lay claim to their historic homeland of Israel the anti-imperialists cry foul and support the imperialism of the religion of peace war, ignoring any history that does not fit their outlook and lines up with those who seek to take our freedom.

Western democracy must be defended. It is worth saving.

The alternative is barbarism.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

PCS leadership in panic about new RCTU union


The PCS union issued an extraordinary statement today in response to the establishment of a new union in the HMRC, the Revenue & Customs Trade Union. The opening paragraph disingenuously opens by saying:

It has been brought to our attention that a group purporting to be a new representative body for staff within HMRC has begun accepting members this week. Based in a room above an e-cigarette shop on the outskirts of Liverpool, they describe themselves as a “trade union” but are not recognised as such by HMRC, PCS or the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

The inference that is that PCS was not aware of this group is rather odd given that all mention of it has been banned for some months on the unions own Face Book Page . PCS has been avoiding confronting this development from the beginning. Only recently I reminded readers that Mark Serwotka wanted me to remove a post from this blog whilst I was still a member of PCS.

The far-left are obviously running scared.

The fact that the RCTU is "not recognised" by the PCS is laughable since the comrades have been hoping the whole project would simply whither away.  As for Management, since the union is busily setting up it's structures and membership base, it will be a while before the new union finds a place at the table. Such is the way things work. But as PCS grudgingly admit the RCTU are actually talking to management.

One piece of information that the PCS statement deliberately overlooks is the fact that the RCTU has been recognised and given accreditation by the Trade Union Certification Officer.

So the RCTU is an officially recognised trade union.

According to the PCS "comrades" that " Though at this stage the new group in HMRC is no more than a minor distraction to PCS" they later seem to contradict themselves when they write that the RCTU is "Hopefully not" a threat.

Make one of your minds up comrades...

Meanwhile some shenanigans are taking place on Face Book. 

A couple a false RCTU pages have been put up by some comrade or two. There's also a false Twitter feed apparently. No evidence as to who put them up, but as most detectives would say, who would benefit from this?

The RCTU has responded on the Face Book issue stating:

It has come to our attention that someone has set up both a Facebook and Twitter account both purporting to be RCTU. This is not the case.

RCTU do not have a Facebook page, as we believe that the membership area on this website will be a much better place to address our members directly.

RCTU do have a Twitter account that was set up some months ago, thus far there has been little activity on Twitter but as and when more members are on our Twitter we will start communicating there more often with smaller, more immediate information for members as required.

For the avoidance of doubt the bona fide Twitter of RCTU is @RCTUnion on twitter.
Any other Twitter accounts claiming to be official are insincere.

I understand the RCTU will also be responding to the main PCS statement about them in due course.

The RCTU can be found at: https://rctunion.org.uk

Monday, 9 March 2015

Labour Party responds to questions from the Prospect union.

Prospect: Union for professionals

The general election is fast approaching and before people get bored with it there is a real need to pay attention, especially those of us in the trade unions and the public sector.

The Prospect union has launched a website to get answers from the political parties about the issues that concern us.

Labour Party answers to election questions

The Labour Party is the first national party to respond to general election questions drawn up by the union earlier in this year.

1. Prospect has published a manifesto for good work. Do you support our manifesto and what will you do to implement it?

The Prospect manifesto for good work highlights a number of problems in the labour market, including growing insecurity, the prevalence of zero-hours contracts and stagnating wages. Tackling these issues is a priority for Labour.

Fairness in the workplace, to build long-term productive workforces, will be a priority for the next Labour Government. That’s why we’ve set out plans to abolish exploitative zero-hours contracts, increase the National Minimum Wage, and encourage more employers to pay a living wage.

More broadly Labour want to see representatives of employees, employers and other stakeholders building genuine partnerships that help to raise productivity and tackle Britain’s low skill, low wage culture. For this reason the next Labour Government will work to ensure working people have the capability to address workplace issues more effectively.

2. Research has shown that the early influence of the health and safety regulator and trades unions involved in constructing the London Olympics site helped secure contractor ‘buy in’ to the business case for a healthy, productive workforce that ensured the Olympic park was built without loss of life, on time, sustainably and to international acclaim. How would your future government ensure the Olympic learning is embedded within UK businesses, including government setting by example, to reduce the toll on our NHS, UK plc and the lives of workers and their families of preventable occupational ill health, injury and death?

Labour believes in safe and healthy workplaces and are committed to reducing the toll of workplace injuries, fatalities and ill-health. To achieve this we will ensure that the prevention of occupational illnesses, diseases and long-term health conditions are given priority and that no workplace is free from inspections by health and safety authorities, with a better independent inspection regime for perceived low-risk workplaces.

Labour will also ensure that all self-employed workers are properly protected, and that the Health and Safety Executive can operate as an effective enforcement agency.

3. The number of claims to Employment Tribunals has fallen by over 70% since fees were introduced, which demonstrates that fees are a substantial barrier to access to justice for working people. Will you support the abolition of fees for Employment Tribunals?

The current employment tribunal system, which charges workers for taking their employers to court, is unfair, unsustainable, and has resulted in prohibitive costs locking people out of the justice they are entitled to. But it would be a mistake to return to the broken system of the past, where tribunals were so slow that meaningful justice was not available. The next Labour Government will reform the employment tribunal system to ensure that all workers have proper access to justice.

4. Do you agree that zero hours contracts for workers should be regulated by law, so that the 1.4m people who are on zero hours contracts are protected from the exploitative elements and used appropriately so that both employee and employer benefit from the flexibility they provide.

With Labour, exploitative zero-hours contracts will be abolished with rules introduced to give new rights to employees on zero-hours contracts, including the right to receive automatically a fixed-hours contract when they have consistently worked regular hours.

We will ban employers from being able to require zero-hours workers to be available on the off-chance that they will be needed and prevent employees from being required to work exclusively for one firm if they are on a zero-hours contract.

Labour will also ensure that zero-hours workers who have their shifts cancelled at short notice receive compensation from their employer.

5. Do you agree that government should leverage its own procurement to ensure that suppliers and contractors operate sustainably and offer a commitment to provide good opportunities for apprenticeships and graduate trainees.

Labour is committed to a positive public procurement process that supports local and national employment, job protection and creation, apprenticeships, skills and growth as well as social, economic and environmental considerations.

The next Labour government will insist on a wider social contribution from those receiving major government contracts, including:

· ensuring the provision of high quality apprenticeships are a pre-requisite for any bid for significant government contracts;

· ensuring that central government learns from the experience of Labour Councils of using procurement to encourage employers to pay the living wage

6. What role do you see for modern trade unions in the economy and in wider society?

Trade unions are an important voice for people at work and in wider society, and have a central role to play in boosting training, pay and conditions for their members and helping Britain win the race to the top. At a time of rapid global economic change and a cost of living crisis at home, it is vital that the UK continues to have strong and modern trade unions as a genuine voice fighting against discrimination and abuse.

Labour is clear about the positive role the trade union movement plays in delivering fairness, safe working conditions and supporting productivity in the workforce.

Prospect logo.png

Sunday, 8 March 2015

A terrific British entry for the Eurovision Song Contest

Time for a quick break from politics tonight to have a listen to the British entry for the Eurovision Song Contest in May this year.

I have to say this is the best song this country has put forward for years and frankly deserves to be in the running to win, though the "politics" of the way the votes are cast these days will probably preclude that.

So here for your listening pleasure is Still In Love With You by Electro Velvet.

Bonus interview with Scott Mills who presents the Eurovision semi finals on BBC 3:

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Problems for the Socialist Party in Unite the Union

The decision of the Socialist Party to stand candidates, particularly in marginal seats where Labour could lose on  the basis of a small number of votes has attracted the ire of a number of leading activists in the United Left inside the Unite union.

The Socialist Party have responded in their usual sectarian manner and try to claim that it's "not just them" and quote the rise of the pro-Putin Syrzia as an example of why they should continue with their project despite the derisory votes the TUSC obtains.

The United Left write:

Open letter to Socialist Party supporters in Unite


This Coalition government has been responsible for attacks on our class that go far beyond anything Thatcher would have dreamed of. Their austerity policies have been targeted on the poor and vulnerable in our society. They have lined the pockets of their Hedge Fund backers and speculators in the City with billions of public money. They have been responsible for attacks on the organised labour movement and have been open in their support for even more draconian legislation if re-elected. New proposed laws which would make effective trade union action virtually illegal - The Tories are not campaigning in this election as the Hug-A-Hoodie, party that can be trusted with the NHS, they are back as The Nasty Party fighting on a class war programme.

While Unite policy is to support Labour, in fact to do all we can to elect a Labour Government, your organisation has decided to stand candidates in the forthcoming general election. Of course that is your right; we are a trade union not a political party, we do not have any disciplinary means to force you to support union policy and rightly so.

Within the UL there is then a clear political difference; on the one hand the majority, working for a Labour victory who are also intent on developing the left within the Party and your goal, of standing candidates in the election as part of becoming the political alternative to Labour. In our view a big claim for some 1,000 -2,000 people, whose track record in elections is derisory.

While we know we can't dissuade you from standing candidates we consider you have crossed a line by standing candidates in marginals. We would ask you to withdraw your candidates from the 100 Labour must win marginals. In our view standing in these seats is a breach in a working class front against the Tories.

You are not a rival to Labour. While Labour are standing to win every seat and form a Government, you know very well you will not win one seat let alone form a government. Rather your goal is to recruit to, and make propaganda for your organisation.

By standing in marginals you are not just 'building the party' you are also taking votes from Labour - those who vote for you, and those you influence not to vote Labour. While the numbers you convince will be small, in such a tight election where every vote counts you must realise it may mean Labour losing seats, in effect allowing seats to be won by the Tories or their partners in crime the Lib Dems.

The logic of your position goes further; it is to argue, where there is no SP candidate, workers should abstain. If of course we have misunderstood your position then why are you fielding candidates in marginals Labour can win?

The only rationale for this cavalier attitude is because you believe there is no difference between Labour and the other capitalist parties. This is blind sectarianism, yet Labour is supported by nearly every union, and unions are the mass organisations of workers, do the unions not count for anything?

We urge you then as fellow UL members to reconsider standing in marginals and so not breaking the front against the Tories.

Tony Woodhouse UL, Chair Unite Executive Council

Mark Lyons UL, Vice Chair Unite Executive Council

Martin Mayer Chair Unite UL

Terry Abbott UL, Chair North-West Regional Committee

Dick Banks UL, Chair North-East Regional Committee

Liam Gallagher UL, Chair Unite Ireland

Mike Jenkins UL, Chair Unite Wales

Jim Kelly UL, Chair London & Eastern Regional Committee

Gordon Lean UL, Chair South-East Regional Committee

Kev Terry UL, Chair South-West Regional Committee

However the Socialist Party have made it clear they are "not for turning" as Mrs Thatcher might have put it.

Members in other unions where the Socialist Party has numbers of activists like the PCS, should use the remaining time in the run up to the general election to dissuade the "comrades" from their sectarianism.

Yeah I know, little hope of that.

With the election wide open and small numbers of votes making a difference as to whether the Tories get back in we cannot afford the intransigence of far-left political activists putting themselves before the interests of trade unionists.

The very survival of trade unions may depend on the outcome of the election.

The Socialist Party and it's TUSC will only help the Tories.

Friday, 6 March 2015

PCS provides some light relief

A couple of PCS union reps finally found their way to my workplace today. One was known to me the other a stranger who desperately tried to entice members of staff to sign up to the union by Direct Debit as union subs cease to be collected via "check off" this month.

One of the items they gave out (though pointedly not to me) was a letter from PCS DWP Group President Fran Heathcote addressed to all members in PCS South West Thames Branch.

What an honour.

Dated 3rd March (there's a reason for me quoting the date) Fran informed the members that " the ex PCS Branch Secretary is no longer a member of PCS".

Sure everyone knew that already. Members were sent my letter of resignation back in January, but just in case there's any doubt here's the link in case anyone missed it.

Prospect logo.png

Comrade President then calls on members to attend the Branch AGM the following day as it is an important meeting. The future of the union is at stake.

Trouble is that would have been Wednesday 4th March and erm..today's date is the 6th I believe.

So unless any remaining PCS member in Wandsworth has the keys to the Tardis I doubt they'd be able to go.

Never mind comrades try another tact.

One of my colleagues was asked if she was going to sign up by DD. When the reply was a firm no, I'm leaving PCS was given our intrepid PCS representative enquired if "Howard was trying to influence your decision" My colleague replied in forthright tomes that she was "capable of making her own mind up".

Oh dear how to win people over.

Such a sad state of affairs the PCS finds itself in.

Meanwhile the hierarchy of PCS  are trying to undermine the launch of the Revenue & Customs Trade Union launched earlier this week (see here).

Image result for revenue & customs trade union

The Stalinist Morning Star has taken up the PCS Grandees cause and reports:

A “scab union” has launched a recruitment drive in tax offices just months after leaked documents revealed that revenue chiefs had connived to “encourage” workers away from true union PCS.

R&C Trade Union was registered with the certification officer in January.

It launched a flashy website on Wednesday promising “open and constant dialogue with members and the employer to protect and promote the terms and conditions of the staff to deliver a world-class public tax service.”

No justification for describing the union composed of dissatisfied ex PCS members as a "scab union" but you're talking about a paper that backed that well know purveyor of truth Uncle Joe Stalin himself.

They quote unnamed PCS sources as stating the organisation "only had a handful of supporters".

If that's the case why are the PCS so concerned about the RCTU. Could it be because several thousand of their members in the HMRC expressed an interest before the new union was launched?

The unions Trots don't stop moaning about it. While I was still in PCS the "Dear leader" Mr Serwotka himself tried to get me to take down a post from this blog about the breakaway.

Truth is they are worried.

The Star also tries to claim no breakaway union has had any luck conveniently ignoring the highly successful setting up of the National Crime Officers Association when a whole Department of members walked out of PCS a couple of years back.

Still going strong as you can see from their website here.

PCS is in sharp decline as reports from inside the union continue to confirm.

Members should know there are alternatives to PCS.

Prospect was my choice along with a growing number of people I used to work alongside or collaborate with in PCS.

Join a proper trade union today: Go to: http://www.prospect.org.uk/