Unite Gen Sec nominations

September 24, 2010 at 12:18 am (class, Johnny Lewis, unions, workers)

Simon Hearn (the Returning Officer) reported to the Unite Executive Council this week on the Gen Sec nominations (not always a reliable guide to the final result of elections, btw: ask Geordie Landles):
Final branch nominations (these are the most important as they appear on ballot paper – workplace nominations in many cases will be double counting of membership)
Len McCluskey   692
Les Bayliss          117
Jerry Hicks           102
Gail Cartmel         61
Workplace nominations (like branch nominations, workplace noms appear on UNITE website. Workplace noms do NOT appear on ballot paper)
Len McCluskey    137
Les Baylisss         97
Gail Cartmel          36
Jerry Hicks             35
TOTAL nominations ( workplace and branch noms added together – be aware this may involve some double counting of membership)
Len McCluskey    829
Les Bayliss          214
Jerry Hicks           137
Gail Cartmel         97
We know that Len McCluskey’s noms cover over 350,000 members and if you include invalid noms well over 400,000. In fact his noms cover more members than the others put together.
Bayliss has done a massive mailshot we think, and Simon Hearn is collating complaints to pass onto the Election Commissioner Keith Ewing. Something like 97% of the complaints are about unsolicited communication from Les Bayliss. No decision on what to about this was possible this week at the EC – we await a final report.
GPMU exec members also complained in exec council about Bayliss’ comments (never denied) in the  Murdoch Press – seen as an absolute treachery by our members in the print industry (25 years since Wapping) .

It’s almost certainly a waste of time, given his egotism and sectarianism, but we should still be demanding of Hicks (and raising amongst his more serious supporters)  that even at this late hour, he stands down in favour of Len.

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Landing now in Suffolk: easyCouncil

September 24, 2010 at 12:04 am (capitalism, Jim D, Lib Dems, Tory scum, unions, workers)


It was Barnet, north London, where people first started talking about the ‘easyCouncil’ approach: a plan to model local authority services on the budget airlines. Now Suffolk county council is taking an even more vicious approach to public sector cuts by proposing a “virtual” authority that outsources all but a handful of its services.

The Tory-controlled Suffolk County’s “new strategic direction” could see almost every service outsourced to the voluntary sector or private companies. The aim is to turn the authority from one which provides public services itself, to an “enabling” council, which only commissions them. The council hopes offloading services could shave 30% off its £1.1bn budget, as part of the government’s drive to reduce the fiscal deficit.

Councils have outsourced their services before, but these proposals are regarded by experts as the first time a local authority has considered not directly providing any services at all. Thousands of jobs are at risk, and even child protection services are not exempt from the privatisation threat.

This is the Con-Dem “Big Society” in practice.

(see the Graun)

More details from Coatsey.

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Emergency: save “Child M” and family from deportation to Iran!

September 23, 2010 at 4:38 pm (asylum, Human rights, immigration, Iran, islamism, Jim D)

We have just a matter of a couple of days to save this 10-year old and his mother from deportation to the tender mercies of the mullahs.

“Child M” and his mother, Farah Ghaemi, face deportation to Iran where Farah and her 23-year old daughter face persecution for distributing the ‘Satanic Verses.’

“Child M” is already traumatised by his incarceration at Yarl’s Wood detention centre. Now the family face deportation to Iran and the barbarous, gynophobic, islamofascist regime there. 

Kaufman (not always our favourite MP) explains the position very well here:

Gerald Kaufman MP on Woman’s Hour, Radio 4
Friday 17th September CLICK HERE

The Graun‘s report, here

Details of the campaign, here

What Can You Do?
Sign the petition – download a copy here
We need to collect thousands of signatures. Make sure you’ve signed it! Take a copy and collect signatures yourself – they can be returned to the Campaign address.  But given the urgency, the following is now more important:
Sign the online petition here
Write to (or, preferably, email) the Home Secretary
This is one of the best ways you can help the campaign. In it you need to:
– include Home Office reference numbers: G1158044, G1158044/2 and G1158044/7
– ask for the whole family to be given leave to remain
– say why Child “M” and his family would be in danger if they are sent back to Iran
– express concern at how Child “M” and his family have been treated
– send it to the Home Secretary, Home Office, 2 Marsham Street London, SW1P 4DF, or email: 
Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Home Secretary: mayt@parliament.uk
Child M on Facebook

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Mieville of Pseuds Corner

September 22, 2010 at 10:04 pm (blogging, Champagne Charlie, crap, stalinism, strange situations, SWP, wankers)

“Mieville has just launched into a serious discussion of the effects of consumerism on culture when the doorbell rings. He bounds down the stairs like a man possessed – an accessory for his new iPad has just been delivered.

“‘What’re you going to do, consumerism, well, you’ve got to buy stuff to live,’ he explains rather sheepishly, fondling the surprisingly enormous cardboard box. ‘And sometimes when that stuff is just so lovely … you have to surrender, I suppose.

“I ask if he and the box would like to be alone together for a while. Mieville seems to consider the proposition for an agonising split second, before deciding that the politics of storytelling are just too important. He pours tea from a silver teapot and calms down a little.

“‘You can’t escape narrative, and as a culture we need to think so much harder about how stories are deployed politically,” he explains. “Narratives can be very powerful without convincing anybody.”

Laurie Penny interviews science fiction author, SWP’er and intergalactic-standard pseud and poseur China Mieville for the Morning Star. Read the rest, here. If you can be bothered.

£10 paid for entries.
Please email submissions, with full name and address, to pseuds@private-eye.co.uk


On the subject of pseuds, poseurs and the like, Yer Man From Brockley has come up with his list of bad influences on the left:

  • Noam Chomsky – gives a veneer of apparent wisdom and academic rigour to simple-minded explanations and a manichean view of the world, thus giving teenagers of all ages over the world permission to think they are being clever and radical when they’re not.
  • John Pilger – has squandered the immense credibility he has accumulated from his investigative journalism to promote a darkly moralistic view of the world, but a moralism that is curiously silent about dictators and falsely attributes all evil to the US/UK/Israel axis.
  • Slavoj Zizek – admittedly funny and clever, this posturing windbag and his ne plus ultra radicalism (oh so daring celebrations of violence and of totalitarian dictators) is so completely divorced from the real world that anyone caught in his headlights is lost to the effort of making it a better place. 
  • Hugo Chavez – hugely influential for attempting to de-link Venezuela from the neo-liberal hegemony, Chavez has managed to persuade otherwise sensible people outside his country that socialism can be achieved via thuggish repression of journalists, trade unionists and dissidents.
  • Frank FurediFuredi and his cult have probably been more influential than any other bit of the British far left in the last decade. Although some of this influence has undoubtedly for the good, some of it has been very malignant. They give a veneer of intellectual respectability to denialism about climate change, have acted as PR agents for the agribusiness, airline and pharmaceutical industries, aided and abetted AIDS denialism and its enormous death toll in Africa, given succour to Serb nationalism at its most aggressive, helped Boris Johnson capture London, provided ideological cover for cuts in the funding for arts, reduced the number of decent free festivals in the parks of London, and, arguably, are the architects of David Cameron’s election victory. Or am I paranoid?
  • But he’s also named some good ‘uns and some who deserve to be better known. And he’s invited us all to join in…

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    Tonight in London: Trotsky commemoration meeting

    September 21, 2010 at 3:14 pm (AWL, Jim D, Marxism, trotskyism)

    “For 43 years of my conscious life I have been a revolutionary; and for 42 I have fought under the banner of Marxism. If I were to begin all over again, I would try to avoid making this or that mistake, but the main course of my life would remain unchangede. My faith in the communist future of mankind is no less ardent – indeed it is firmer today – than it was in my youth.” 


    70 years on: celebrating Leon Trotsky’s revolutionary life

    Tuesday 21 September, 19:00, Second floor, University of London Union, Malet Street WC1E 7HY

    A meeting to celebrate Leon Trotsky’s revolutionary life, on the 70th anniversary of his murder, organised by Workers’ Liberty

    Speakers include:
    Sean Matgamna (Workers’ Liberty)
    Jill Mountford (Workers’ Liberty)
    John McDonnell MP
    Farooq Tariq (Labour Party Pakistan)
    Kim Moody (American union activist and author)
    Yvan Lemaitre (New Anticapitalist Party, France)

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    The Pope in Brum: defiling human decency…and Newman’s memory

    September 20, 2010 at 12:00 am (Catholicism, child abuse, Christianity, Jim D, religious right, strange situations)

    A portrait of Cardinal Newman by John Everett Millais

    Newman (left): “Conscience first, Pope afterwards.”

    Yesterday I joined the anti-Pope protesters at Cofton Park, Birmingham. I last visited this place about thirty years ago when us Longbridge shop stewards put it to rather better use.

    The anti-Pope protest was very, very tiny: little more than a dozen of us; but then( as we asked the left-footers in the course of our generally good-humoured exchanges), how many did Jesus start out  with?.  To be honest, I hadn’t intended to stay very long, but because we were so few in number I felt obliged to stick around. I’m glad I did. Not since the miners’ strike have I felt so comfortable on a demo: so sure I was on the right side and glad – proud –  to be there. Our emphasis was on human rights – especially those of women, gays, lesbians and transgender people. We also raised the issue of the Church’s cover-up of child abuse, and the effective genocide in Africa caused by the Church’s lies about condoms. We said, and chanted,  nothing that could possibly be interpreted as bigoted anti-Catholicism. We made the point that a pastoral visit (as in 1982)  would be unobjectionable. But a “state” visit, subsidised by British workers at a time of cuts, is outrageous.

    I knew I was on the right side here. This was despite (or maybe because of ) the fact that no-one else  from the organised “left” was there. ‘Shiraz’ has already given ample coverage to the extent to which the SWP/Respect -influenced “left” has sold the pass to organised religion, betraying and misrepresenting at least one hundred and sixty years of Marxist opposition to religious superstition.

     From Cofton Park, the old bigot went on to Birmingham Oratory to beatify Cardinal Newman. Newman is on record as rejecting sainthood in advance, and also being (shall we say) somewhat non-committal on the question of papal infalibility:  “I shall drink – to the Pope, if you please, – still, to Conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards”, he said.

    If not quite the liberal figure that some would wish to paint him, there can be little doubt that Newman would have hated the present Pope and the entire beatification business.

    In fact, there is a delicious postscript to Newman’s story. He was virtually “married” to the Reverend Father Ambrose St. John (1815 – 24 May 1875) and when his own time came,  insisted upon being buried with him. Whether the two were actually what we’d today call “gay” in a physical sense, cannot of course, be known. What is beyond doubt is that the two loved each other, and that Newman wished to be buried with his friend/companion – which he was.

    But here’s a strange thing: when the whole “beatification”  business started back in 2008, the left-footers decided to “transfer” Newman’s remains away from the grave he shared with Ambrose in Rednal, Birmingham. Well, they opened the grave and found…nothing. No corpse, no bones: nothing.

    According to the official pamphlet I was given at the Cofton Park gig, the explanation for this is that “the coffin was wooden and the burial took place at a damp site.”

    But that is not the true explanation; this is:

    “On a wet October day in 2008, an assortment of priests and grave-diggers arrived at the cemetery in Rednal, armed with shovels and a mechanical digger. They planned to transfer Newman’s remains to a tomb back at his church in Birmingham. Nothing was found except the brass name-plate and a few bits of rotten wood. A solution to the mystery was discovered in the archives of the Birmingham Post. A journalist at the burial reported that, on Newman’s orders, the grave was filled with compost to hasten decomposition.”

    From beyond the grave, we can hear The Venerable  John Henry Newman laughing at Ratzinger.

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    Betrayal, Conspiracies, Sacrilege, Heresies

    September 19, 2010 at 12:11 pm (anonymous, Catholicism, Max Dunbar, religion)

    Just a couple of thoughts on the Pope visit:

    1) The Catholic Church and fascism

    There’s a piece by the smug, moon-faced idiot who edits CiF Belief, in which he attempts to close down debate while stampeding for the moral high ground. Contra Brown, it is entirely appropriate to raise the Church’s relationship with Nazism, because Pope Benedict gave a speech on it, in which he failed to acknowledge either the religious and spiritual aspects of the Third Reich or the role of his church in railroading war criminals to safety.

    The speech itself reads like a CiF column. The fact is that, despite having the evidence, we atheists have lost the argument on this one. People will always believe that Nazism and Stalinism are atheist ideologies and atheist crimes. Sam Harris writes that ‘[t]he romantic thesis lurking here is that reason itself has a ‘shadow side’ and is therefore no place to turn for the safeguarding of human happiness.’ Against sentiment such evidence is useless. But it’s also worth repeating, whenever this lie is broadcast, Pascal Bruckner’s point that Nazism and communism were both overthrown by the secular, reason-based democracies of Enlightened Europe and America.

    2) Celebrating the Geopolitical Epicentre of the Culture of Death

    The visit kicked off with a comment from the Pope’s right hand man to the effect that multiculturalism had turned the UK into a third world country. Any American or European politician, making this Powellite slur on our country, would be condemned rightly as a racist. But Kasper’s words stirred no reaction from the pro-faith left, which will forgive and forget just about anything. Benedict’s Edinburgh speech was along the same lines with lots of pissing and moaning about multiculturalism, the marginalisation of faith, and the degenerate state of the UK. The British taxpayer is in the surreal position of paying to be insulted.

    Recently there have been more and more clerics hectoring the nation about its deterioration into sexual permissiveness and metropolitan pretensions. Earlier in the month we had the archbishop of Westminster complaining that the passage of gay rights law had turned the UK into a ‘selfish, hedonistic wasteland’ and London into ‘the geopolitical epicentre of the culture of death’. What’s worse is that his condemnation of liberal, cosmopolitan Britain is being listened to with sage nods and serious expressions because the rest of us also, by some tragic perversity, love to denigrate this aspect of contemporary life in the UK.

    The point is that if you condemn the Vatican’s reactionary statements on this you also have to condemn the intellectuals and cultural commenters who refuse to stand up for the UK’s diverse and urban way of life. Hedonism, intoxication, irreverence and sexual freedom should be celebrated and valued, and in time they may have to be fought for.

    Read Laurie Penny in the NS:

    But why on earth shouldn’t we congratulate ourselves? We are one of the most tolerant cultures on the planet, taking a stand, in the midst of domestic turmoil, against global religious oppression. Can’t we feel just a little bit proud?

    If it is anti-Catholic to believe that child-rape ought to be eliminated, that stopping the spread of AIDs in Africa trumps religious squeamishness about condom use, and that human happiness is more important than dogmatic adherence to cobweb-crusted notions of purity and morality, then I for one am proud to be part of the geopolitical culture of death.

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    Afghan elections: three million-plus defy the fascists

    September 19, 2010 at 2:37 am (Afghanistan, anti-fascism, Champagne Charlie, democracy, Human rights, islamism, terror, thuggery, women)

    Above: anti-fascist Afghan women: they know how to deal with the Taliban

    “Although the “west” has all but given up on Afghan democracy – the agreed-upon euphemism for this betrayal appears to be “working to lower expectations” – it would seem that a few million Afghans have voted in today’s elections anyway, braving Taliban threats of dismemberment and death…”

    Read  the rest of what Terry Glavin has to say, here

    Permalink 27 Comments

    Clegg spells it out to fucking idiots like Kampfner

    September 19, 2010 at 12:04 am (Champagne Charlie, Guardian, intellectuals, Lib Dems, wankers)

    “Why I’m backing the Lib Dems

    “It started with Iraq. But in 2010 Nick Clegg’s party has become the natural home for left-liberal Cookites like me”

    “Yes, I feel queasy. But I don’t regret backing the Lib Dems

    “Those of us on the centre left who ditched Labour weren’t wrong. Fighting hard for electoral reform is how Clegg will prove it”

    Nick Clegg: There is no future for us as left-wing rivals to Labour

     As the Liberal Democrats’ conference begins, their leader gives his party an uncompromising message

    By Andrew Grice, Political Editor, The Independent

    Saturday, 18 September 2010

    …He said: “There were some people, particularly around the height of the Iraq war, who gave up on the Labour Party and turned to the Liberal Democrats as a sort of left-wing conscience of the Labour Party.

    “I totally understand that some of these people are not happy with what the Lib Dems are doing in coalition with the Conservatives. The Lib Dems never were and aren’t a receptacle for left-wing dissatisfaction with the Labour Party. There is no future for that; there never was.”

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    Letters to the ‘Graun’: the Catholic Church and Nazism

    September 18, 2010 at 10:34 pm (anti-semitism, Catholicism, Champagne Charlie, Christianity, fascism, religion)

    And the Pope has the nerve to link Nazism and the Holocaust with atheism !

    (Source: Wikipedia)
    . .            

    Above: the Concordat between the Vatican and the Nazis. Cardinal Secretary of State, Eugenio Pacelli (later to become Pope Pius XII) signs the Concordat between Nazi Germany and the Vatican at a formal ceremony in Rome on 20 July 1933. Nazi Vice-Chancellor Franz von Papen sits at the left, Pacelli in the middle, and the Rudolf Buttmann sits at the right. 
     The Concordat effectively legitimized Hitler and the Nazi government in the eyes of  the Catholic Church in much of the world.The full text of the concordat appears on the Concordat Watch website. (click here to see the text).  

    Today’s Guardian (all to often the mouthpiece for religious apologists), publishes some good letters on the whole subject of Catholicism and Nazism:

    I feel compelled to respond to the pope’s comments on atheist extremism (Report, 17 September). The reality for many Catholics is that while accepting guidance from the church on aspects of faith, they are inclined to discount its strictures when it strays into the realms of politics and the private lives of others. This is possible because the Catholic church (like most organised religion in this country) is largely confined to the private sphere, with only a marginal influence on public life, which is as it should be. It is worth contrasting this to those countries where the Catholic church has been able to wield greater influence over the institutions of state. At its best, such influence has led to social, cultural and economic backwardness. At its worst, it has seen the church lend its support to almost every rightwing dictatorship willing to deploy death squads against popular demands for the most basic political, social and economic rights.

    And as for the Nazis, perhaps the pope should consider the role the deeply held antisemitism of the prewar church played in creating an environment in which the antisemitism of the Nazi party could lead to such a great inhumanity as the Holocaust.

    Liam Hetherington


    • So the pope blames the Holocaust on atheism. In 1944, while Pope Benedict was in the Hitler Youth, my father Renato Sorba – a non-believer – joined the Italian partisans in Piemonte at the age of 17 to fight against fascism. During the second world war Nazi Germany’s closest allies were Catholic Italy, Catholic Croatia and Catholic Vichy France (while Polish Catholics slaughtered their Jewish neighbours in Jedwabne). Officially neutral but actually very pro-German were Catholic Spain and Catholic Ireland. After the war Nazi war criminals fled to the warm embrace of Catholic South America. Why? Because they had been defeated by the atheist USSR.

    One of us is a fool who should know better. I guess it must be me because the pope, after all, is infallible.

    Luke Sorba


    • Whatever Hitler’s beliefs may have been, most of the ordinary Germans who carried out his orders to exterminate European Jews were either Lutherans or Catholics. Both churches portrayed the Jews as Christ-killers for many centuries, and it was not until 1965 that the Roman Catholic church abandoned its dogma that Jews both past and present were responsible for the death of Jesus, and that God had rejected the Jews because of this. This vile theology undoubtedly made it easier for many Catholic Germans to send their Jewish neighbours to the gas chambers with a clear conscience.

    Dr David Harper


    • In 1941 Adolf Hitler said, in My New Order, “Christianity [is] the foundation of our national morality”. You would have thought that an organisation like the Vatican, with such close ties to the Nazis in 1933 (the year they signed the Reichskonkordat), would know that.

    Tom Trainer


    See also: Hitler’s Pope by John Cornwell

    A lot more nasty photos of Nazis hobnobbing with Catholic bigwigs, here.

    Permalink 10 Comments

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