Janine's blog

Just Don't Call Me The First Lady

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...

Parenting Classes?

Controversy rages over suggestions of compulsory parenting classes for parents of kids who get into trouble.


Of course there should be parenting classes. Society doesn't let people carry out surgery, sell tickets, sweep the streets or do practically any job at all without a bit of training...

Hospitals to advertise?

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...

In Need Of Profits

Children In Need made 18 million quid for worthy projects for youngsters, thanks to lots of hard fundraising slog from lots of folks.


Tesco's half-year profits were £1.1 billion. Which, if can do my sums rights, means it makes £18 million every three days. And that's not a worthy cause at all. It...

History Websites

I'm currently writing a book about the Poplar Rates Rebellion in the 1920s. So I thought I'd share with you some of the websites I've come across that have proved useful in my research. This does not claim to be a definitive list. If you'd like to add any recommendations, please feel free to log in...

Buying Christmas Cards?

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...

Two Mayors and a Protest

Mayors Livingstone and Pipe will be slapping each others' backs at the official opening of a space in Dalston today. Tempted though we are to congratulate them for finding a space and not building posh flats on it, Hackney community activists will be there to rain on their parade.

Can't make it...

Divers' Strike

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...

Me on CD

Back in the 1980s, I used to do a spot of performance poetry, and did a guest slot on the Neurotics' album, Kickstarting A Backfiring Nation. Yup, I'm 'The Big J' mentioned on the cover. This became available on CD last year, but I've only just noticed this fact (thanks for not telling me, guys).

...

Fireworks Weekend: Fear and Hope

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...

Sun Anti-Muslim Story Revealed As Lies

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.

...

Roll Of Honour

Here are the 12 (count 'em) Labour MPs who managed to rebel against the Government in tonight's vote calling for an inquiry in the Iraq war.

  • Harry Cohen (Leyton & Wanstead)
  • Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North)
  • Mark Fisher (Stoke-on-Trent Central)
  • Roger Godsiff (Birmingham Sparkbrook &...

RMT and SSP: Some Thoughts

RMT has disaffiliated from the Scottish Socialist Party. You can read the union's press release here, and Workers' Liberty's report here, but I'd like to add a few comments of my own.


The union's Executive carried out the wishes of its Scottish regional council, which voted by 7 branches to 5 to...

ASLEF's General Secretary - Loyal to Blair

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...

Off Your Feet?


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.

...

Paying for Rubbish Collection?

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...

Happy Birthday To Me

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...

Torchwood

I didn't blog about Torchwood after its opening two episodes last weekend because I don't like to state a definite opinion after an opening bite. Then a few days later, I realised that wasn't quite the real reason, which was ... that I couldn't quite believe how good it actually was.


This is...

JMcD in Hackney

Last night's Hackney TUC / Leabridge Labour Party meeting with John McDonnell was packed. I couldn't go, as I still languish at home getting used to the falsie. But I spoke to a few people afterwards, and the feeling was generally very positive.

Those who attended the meeting - including fellow...

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