Janine's blog

On The Move Janine Tue, 07/17/2007 - 10:16

This blog will not be running on this site any more. I am now a contributing blogger on Stroppyblog. The old stuff will stay here.

Poplarism, Christianity and Socialism Janine Sat, 07/14/2007 - 14:17

As my regular reader will know, I am writing a book about Poplarism in the 1920s. I'm just drafting a section about the extent to which the Poplar struggle was influenced by religion. But I think there is more to be said about this than I want to include in the book, so I thought I'd share it with you here ...

Missing Words Janine Wed, 07/11/2007 - 09:05

Here (in italics) you will see Respect's entry in a guide to political parties for people with learning disabilities produced by the Disability Rights Coalition. The text was submitted by Respect themselves.

Defend Victimised Teachers Janine Mon, 07/09/2007 - 14:53

35 teachers at Haggerston School in Hackney face disciplinary action for refusing to cross a Unite!/T&G picket line of striking school meals workers. You can read all about it on Hackney TUC's website. Below is an email I have just sent to the head teacher.

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I am writing with great concern having heard about disciplinary action against Haggerston School teachers for respecting school meals' staff's picket lines.

Discussing German socialist women Janine Fri, 07/06/2007 - 10:45

May saw the start of a very-welcome socialist feminist discussion group in London. Organised by Workers' Liberty, it is meeting every month. The first discussion was about the German socialist women's movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. As this is a pet subject of mine, I was happy to be asked to introduce the discussion.

OK ... three themes:

Campaigning to Keep Ticket Offices Open Janine Wed, 07/04/2007 - 12:13

Apparently, when you complain about your union not producing a leaflet, you are in fact volunteering to produce it yourself! So here is a leaflet against Tube ticket office closures which I and other RMT activists will be dishing out to passengers, together with stuff from TSSA too.

Meanwhile, the online petition on the same subject has nearly 600 signatures now, so if you haven't yet added yours, please do.

Thanks, Jon Janine Sun, 07/01/2007 - 09:00

Jon Cruddas has emailed me to thank me for supporting him in Labour's Deputy Leadership election, even though I, erm, didn't.

The thank-you note is copied below. I particularly enjoyed his description of Harriet Harman's "compassion", a view I am sure is shared by the single parents whose benefits she cut.

Having heard yesterday of Cruddas' personal intervention to prevent MPs nominating John McDonnell for Leader despite having promised John support, I am more glad than ever that I did not back him.

Dear friends,

Save Minnie's Clock! Janine Thu, 06/28/2007 - 14:50

One of my great heroes is Minnie Lansbury. She is one of those socialist feminists who would be an icon if more people had even heard of her.

Fat cat scandals Janine Mon, 06/25/2007 - 18:21

Fancy a billion quid between you and your mate? Pierre Lagrange and Noam Gottesman are in line for what the papers call a 'windfall', surely one of the greatest under-statements of our time.

Keep Estate Cleaning Public!

Submitted by Janine on Thu, 06/21/2007 - 09:41

Hackney Council is carrying out an appraisal for estate cleaning and ground maintenance services, and are considering three options:

  1. Full outsourcing of contractors for both services across Hackney Homes.
  2. Bringing all estate cleaning services back in-house as the external contract elapses.
  3. Entry an effective partnership with another organisation following an appropriate procurement process.

Hackney Tenants' and Residents' Associations have been consulted on our views, and naturally, ours voted for option 2.

Faith Schools Petition Race

Submitted by Janine on Mon, 06/18/2007 - 17:08

Take a look at the second and third petitions on this page of the Downing Street petitions site.

The first wants the Prime Minister to "continue the support for faith schools and to ensure that in all schools the teaching of traditional ‘faith’ views of origins is included alongside the more recent scientific ‘theories’ which many scientists ‘believe'", and goes on to argue that "Evolution and other scientific theories should not be taught as fact but instead along side other ‘faith’ views of origins."

Labour Deputy Leader election: zero out of six

Submitted by Janine on Mon, 06/11/2007 - 13:21

The other day, the pamphlet of election addresses for Labour’s Deputy Leader dropped through my letter box. Regular readers will know that I am not a Labour Party member and my union is not affiliated, both of us expelled for preferring socialist candidates in elections to Blairites. But I am a member of another affiliated organisation, the Labour Camapign for Lesbian and Gay Rights – so I get my voting paper.

Calm down, any witch-hunters out there: I shan’t be casting a vote. There’s not one of the six who deserves my cross on the ballot paper.

OK!, Derek Draper and Nip/Tuck Celebs

Submitted by Janine on Sun, 06/10/2007 - 21:05

A kind friend thought I would appreciate a look at OK! magazine. Not because I’m a celeb obsessive, of course, but because of the eight pages devoted to my erstwhile political sparring partner Derek Draper – the man who once threatened to get his cousins from Chorley to come and sort me out.

Derek is now apparently enjoying marital bliss with GMTV presenter Kate Garraway and invited the obsequious pens and snappers from the superficial glossy to accompany them on a trip to Hackney City Farm to celebrate their baby daughter’s birthday. Aaaah.

TSSA Backs Brown and Hain

Submitted by Janine on Thu, 06/07/2007 - 17:07

How it is that union leaders are so pathetically accommodating to the class enemies who run the Labour Party, but hard as nails in refusing to do their members' bidding?

We have already heard of embarrassing fawning to Brown and the coterie of right-wing no-marks scrabbling to be his deputy from leaders of the T&G, CWU and others.

Ken 4 Crud

Submitted by Janine on Wed, 06/06/2007 - 19:26

I have reported to blog readers before that I am receiving unsolicited 'spam' email from Jon Cruddas' campaign, who seem to think there is some reason why I might back their man. Me being a principled socialist, there is not.

But just in case I were tempted to back Cruddas, I got another piece of spam today that would put the nail in his careerist coffin. Yes, Ken Livingstone is backing him. You know, that bloke who called on members of my union to scab on strikes.

Racial Segregation in East End Schools

Submitted by Janine on Sun, 06/03/2007 - 10:01

A report has claimed that East End schools are dividing by race.

While 17 Tower Hamlets primary schools have more than 90%+ Bangladeshi pupils, nine have fewer than 10%. Three of the borough's 15 secondaries have less than 3% Bangladeshi pupils, while two have more than 95% Bangladeshi pupils and three over 80%.

A Union Women's Newsletter: Is It Divisive?

Submitted by Janine on Fri, 06/01/2007 - 08:49

At yesterday's RMT Regional Council, our new women's newsletter had its first outing, with 500 copies distributed amongst delegates. Mostly, it was well-received, welcomed by both women and (most) men, who expect it to go down very well in the workplaces.

I say "most" because in the bar afterwards, I had my ear bent by a couple of geezers who believe that simply producing a women's newsletter is "divisive", will "alienate men" and may even "lose us half our members".

A strategy for equal pay for women

Submitted by Janine on Sun, 05/27/2007 - 20:13

The Women and Work Commission was New Labour's attempt to address the embarrassment and injustice of the enduring gender pay gap. But its report was woeful, in great part blaming women and girls for going into low-paid jobs and men and boys for renouncing those jobs for better-paid work. Bastards.

RMT Women's Newsletter: 'Time Of The Month'

Submitted by Janine on Tue, 05/22/2007 - 19:40

I have just finished laying out the new women's newsletter for RMT's London Transport region, amusingly entitled 'Time Of The Month'. It was put together by our regional Women's Officer, Jackie Darby, and myself - with contributions from several other women members.

It's attached for your perusal (you have to be logged in to access attachments) - although I couldn't upload page 4, so you'll have to e-mail me if you want a look at that. If you are logged in, you can also see a rather entertaining graphic culled from its pages.

Police Homophobia Lets Queerbashers Get Away Wtih Murder

Submitted by Janine on Wed, 05/16/2007 - 20:07

Homophobia within the police hampers investigations into 'queerbashing' and murder, according to an independent review. The report was conducted by the Metropolitan Police's Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Advisory Group (LGBT AG) and sanctioned by the Met itself.

Vote for John McDonnell - on the BBC website, now.

Submitted by Janine on Sat, 05/12/2007 - 19:40

Click here.

Update: the poll is no longer on that page. Instead there is an article about how John McDonnell is struggling to get on the ballot paper. You can help make his struggle easier by emailing one or more of the following 'undecided' Labour MPs, urging them to nominate John.

Managers Cause Workplace Stress Shocker

Submitted by Janine on Sat, 05/12/2007 - 10:02

Oh yes they do. It's official.

Joint HSE/CIPD research - 'Management Competencies for Preventing and Reducing Stress at Work' - shows that "a manager's behaviour can have a major impact on employees' stress levels affecting the well-being of employees and organisational performance."

When I told workmates about this, they rolled about laughing - and pointed out that expensive academic research was not necessary, the HSE could just have popped in and asked us!