Janine's blog

Just Don't Call Me The First Lady

Submitted by Janine on Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:53

John Leach has won the election to be National President of the RMT for the next three years. John is my partner, but RMT activists will be aware that I don't subscribe to the Tammy Wynette school of trade unionism, and regularly refuse to stand by my man on industrial issues. But I am convinced he was the best candidate in this election, and am delighted to say that he romped home.

The members voted for a representative who would fight the employers rather than cosy up to them.

Here are the scores on the doors:

Poplar Council 2001: Last Words Before Prison

Submitted by Janine on Thu, 11/23/2006 - 22:25

In 1921, thirty Labour Councillors in Poplar went to prison to protest at an unfair rating system that penalised poor boroughs. They eventually won their fight. Here are the parting messages from the Councillors (well, most of them, anyway) as printed in the Daily Herald on 1st September 1921, the date that arrests began.

Sam March - We are as determined as ever to see the matter through. The workers must stick to the fight. They must follow it up while the Council is away.

Hospitals to advertise?

Submitted by Janine on Mon, 11/20/2006 - 10:27

The marketisation of the NHS has reached a point where it would be laughable if it were not true. The Department of Health is to publish a marketing code allowing hospitals to advertise to attract patients.

Both the BMA and NHS trade unions have made the obvious point this morning - NHS money should be spent on healthcare not on adverts!

Slush For Brains?

Submitted by Janine on Mon, 11/13/2006 - 14:24

As jblog's regular reader and various locals will know, I am in the habit of writing to the Hackney Gazette. Of late, this has largely been on the subject of East London Line privatisation. One letter per subject would usually suffice but oddly, the advocates of the policy have come up with this bizarre argument that privatisation is not in fact privatisation, so I had to give it a few more shots (one of which I've copied below).

Buying Christmas Cards?

Submitted by Janine on Sun, 11/12/2006 - 14:50

You wouldn't usually catch me advertising Christmas cards, but this seems a worthy exception, so here goes ...

BEHNAM ASKARI is a young Iranian student whose threatened deportation with his family to face persecution in Iran brought protests by staff and fellow-students at his school, Quintin Kynaston, in St.Johns Wood.

Divers' Strike

Submitted by Janine on Thu, 11/09/2006 - 14:02

I'm not in the habit of posting news of every strike going on this blog. Or there wouldn't be room for anything else. But sometimes, a strike pops up that is particularly worth reporting and worth commenting on.

This time, it's the North Sea divers strike. You can follow the background and the story in a succession of press releases about it from the RMT here.

Fireworks Weekend: Fear and Hope

Submitted by Janine on Sat, 11/04/2006 - 12:57

This last week, the crack of fireworks has been the backing music for every evening. Outside at night, you sometimes feel like you're in snipers' alley.

Last Saturday, there were even fireworks being let off in broad daylight in the afternoon. After dark, I can reassure myself that it's probably just people doing a private display, and it's probably safe. But in daylight?! The only reason to let off fireworks in daylight is if you are being an arsehole.

Sun Anti-Muslim Story Revealed As Lies

Submitted by Janine on Fri, 11/03/2006 - 20:27

Remember that story a few weeks back about how "Muslim louts" had vandalised a house in order to prevent returning squaddies from living there? It was one of a rash of disgracefully bigoted stories pointing an accusing finger at Muslims - and whipping up hatred against immigrants in general.

Daily Mirror Witch-Hunts Council Workers and Union Reps

Submitted by Janine on Thu, 11/02/2006 - 15:46

The Daily Mirror has launched a pathetic witch-hunt against public sector workers and against union reps. And apparently it does not see the irony in lambasting an engineer for being "overpaid" on the same front page that carries pictures of the genuinely and obscenely overpaid celebs who populated the National Television Awards.

Luke The Spook

Submitted by Janine on Mon, 10/30/2006 - 22:11

I've only just noticed that Luke Akehurst has posted a blog entry about the latest Hackney Socialist Unity leaflet. I can't work out how to post a direct link to it, so you'll have to visit his October archive and scroll down to the 18th. That's if you've got nothing better to do, like the Autumn mulching for instance.

Luke's cage seems a little rattled.

ASLEF's General Secretary - Loyal to Blair

Submitted by Janine on Fri, 10/27/2006 - 23:50

Visiting ASLEF's website today, looking for an explanation for their appalling deal with Heathrow Express, I stumbled across Keith's column, where General Secretary Keith Norman pens a truly awful piece pledging loyalty to Tony Blair and denouncing all those who want him to go.

This concept of 'loyalty' is the same loyalty that a dog shows to the master that repeatedly beats it. It's sad and painful to see.

Off Your Feet?

Submitted by Janine on Thu, 10/26/2006 - 21:24

UNISON Yorks and Humber region's website rightly leads on the urgent need to save the NHS. But it's main slogan is rather perplexing ..
THE NHS IS ON ITS KNEES,
GET OFF YOUR FEET
TO SAVE IT!

Huh?

Fortunately, the official publicity tells us to get on our feet. Which makes more sense.

Meanwhile, I suspect that in the local boozers after the various protests, various comrades will be attempting to get off their faces to save the NHS.

Hat tip to Ben (again).

Paying for Rubbish Collection?

Submitted by Janine on Wed, 10/25/2006 - 18:27

Here's a little snippet that caught my eye and got on my nerves …

£200 to empty your dustbin
Householders are to be charged for the collection of non-recyclable rubbish, under Department for Environment plans. Councils could charge up to £200 to empty bins, to encourage recycling.

Huh? If it's "non-recyclable", then what on earth else are you supposed to do with it other than stick it in your bin?! And how can the councils "encourage recycling" of rubbish that is non-recyclable?!

Hackney: Worst Place To Live In Britain?

Submitted by Janine on Tue, 10/24/2006 - 17:00

It's that time of year again, when stuck-up TV presenters decide that they know best which are the 'best' and 'worst' places in Britain to live. And, according to a programme on Channel Four this Thursday, this year's top hell-hole is Hackney.

Er, excuse me, but what the F*** do you know, Phil Spencer/Sofie Allsop?! You don't live here! In fact, you apparently think that the posher the town, the nicer it is to live in, and especially recommend Epsom and Horsham.

Happy Birthday To Me

Submitted by Janine on Sat, 10/21/2006 - 15:52

Today is my fortieth birthday, so don't expect any long, informative blog posts. However, tune in tomorrow, and if I can drag myself out from under my duvet, I'll treat you to a report on the conference on Hackney housing that I went to this morning.

And at some point soon, I might blog about the terrible Aberfan disaster, which happened on the day I was born.

Union Organising in the Workplace: a 'Left-Wing Policy' from 1925

Submitted by Janine on Wed, 10/18/2006 - 12:20

Browsing Lansbury's Labour Weekly again, I found this article from June 27 1925. So, what do you reckon? Are union branches obsolete? Is organising in the workplace the way forward? Is the policy outlined here unworkable in small, scattered workplaces? Personally, I'm inclined to agree with the broad outline of this.

A Left-Wing Industrial Policy
ORGANISE THE WORKSHOPS