Janine's blog

Add Weight, Change Person?

OK, it's the latest in my occasional series of things that really really annoy me. And the latest is ... the Weight Watchers advert currently running on TV.

And in particular, the closing scene of the bloke pushing the child on the playground swing saying with a relieved smile, "I've got back the...

Beat The Bigots – No Reduction In Time Limits For Abortion

by guest blogger Glen Burrows, Secretary of Bristol Rail branch RMT


They’re at it again! The combined forces of religious bigotry, conservatism and patriarchy are having another pop at women’s abortion rights – meagre as they are.


An abortion is legal in Britain if the pregnancy has not...

When Judgementalism Replaces Politics

My soundtrack to yesterday morning was BBC Radio Five Live and its phone-in discussion about whether the NHS should refuse to operate on people who refuse to give up smoking. Apparently, a doctor has suggested that it should. Other doctors, to their credit, immediately responded that they have a...

Solidarity With Rail And Tube Cleaners

On Monday, I joined other RMT activists protesting outside City Hall in defence of Rail and Tube cleaners. In particular, we were demanding that Mayor Livingstone intervene to prevent cleaning contractor ISS culling 200-plus jobs. It was a lively protest, with a strong display of cross-grade...

Hayden Phillips, Trade Unions and Party Funding: a contribution to the debate

A group called 'Unlock Democracy' - a project of Charter 88 and the New Politics Network - made a submission to the Hayden Phillips review of party funding. They interviewed various trade unionists, one of whom was yours truly.


I've attached their report (you have to be logged in to this website...

Socialism and Kilt-Wearing Soldiers

Hat tip to Stan for this one, but I am struggling to believe it is actually true ...

'Solidarity' motion to Scottish Parliament

"S2M-05356 Ms Rosemary Byrne (South of Scotland) (Sol): That the Parliament believes that the Royal Regiment of Scotland should use the highest quality woollen cloth...

Tower Hamlets Respect: Aping Tabloid Moralism?

Respect is heading a campaign against sex and strip clubs in Tower Hamlets.


There is an important debate to be had about whether or how to oppose these venues, but I'm sure as hell that this is not the way to do it. Naming and shaming? Isn't that what the News Of The Screws does? Former Respect...

Three Books

My friends gave me lots of books on the recent occasion of my fortieth birthday. Cheers, guys (in its non-gender-specific meaning). There was polemic, poetry and non-fiction a-plenty. But I kicked off with three works of fiction.


The notable thing was that all three of them are novels/memoirs...

My union branch's women's newsletter

You have to be logged in to this website to look at this newsletter.

I've recently produced a women's newsletter for my union branch, RMT Stratford no.1. Some of the issues are specific to where we work, but I think there is enough of general interest to justify posting it here.

I'd be...

The Cleaners' Christmas Carol

The video below is a short one put together by RMT about its campaign to organise, and improve the pay and conditions of, rail and Tube cleaners. It features the union's demonstration outside Metronet headquarters on Monday 4th December, and some words of wisdom from Alex Asare-Ansah, RMT cleaners'...

Labour Anti-Bolshevism in 1919

Reading through some old issues of the East End News and Chronicle (I think I might have mentioned by local labour history nerd-ism before), I stumbled across this short article. Although much as changed since the days when Socialist was spelt with a capital 'S' and paragraphs went on forever, some...

Welcome to No 10, now please leave the country?

From the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC), Monday 11th December

Asylum seeker who was invited to Buckingham Palace, now invited to 10 Downing Street

"In recognition of services to the voluntary sector, The Prime Minister and Mrs Blair request the honour of the company...

Vote to Repeal the Anti-Union Laws

Radio 4 are looking for nominations for laws which should be repealed for a discussion programme they want to do in the new year. It would be a good opportuity to nominate laws passed since 1984 which restrict the movement of trade unions.

To vote just follow this link.

Hat tip to Pauline

Celebrating Pinochet's Death

My Spanish is practically non-existant, but I'm pretty sure that this video (below) is film of Chileans celebrating the death of murdering, torturing scum Augusto Pinochet. There have been some displays of mourning by his supporters, but they wouldn't look this happy, would they?

Televote TV Goes Wild

Now this is getting ridiculous. Tomorrow night sees the start of a new TV show where celebrities hang out with endangered species. Then you the viewer get to vote for which animals should get help to survive.


Yes, really. Don't vote and the furry fellas die out. You choose. Will it be the Polar...

Community Fightback In Rural Wales

I'm linking to this video (below) for two reasons. Firstly, a good friend of mine, formerly of Hackney, now lives in the town concerned, and it's good to see that campaigning goes on outside cities as well as in them. And secondly, because it's also good to see a community get organised and fight...

Unions and politics: getting lost?

A resolution on political candidates that my (then) RMT branch passed in the summer finally made it to the Regional Council last week. It was defeated. I understand that it might not be everyone's cup of tea, and that there might be political differences, but some of the content of the debate has...

Tube cleaners and annual leave

RMT is currently in the middle of a fortnight's intensive organising work amongst Tube and rail cleaners. Yesterday, I and others spent a lot of time talking with cleaners on London Underground's Central line. Every one I spoke to is a member of the RMT - some for up to a decade, some more recently...

Scratch A Tory, Find A Racist

No matter how hard David Cameron tries to appear all cuddly and progressive, his party salwarts can't seem to help letting the racism slip out.


Embarrassed MP Bob Spink says it is "silly" to accuse him of racism. But, er, Mr Spink, you said that more criminals are black. And, er, that's racist....

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