Janine's blog

Dodgy Business

1. Rod Aldridge, Chair of Capita, has resigned in embarrassment over lending money to the Labour Party. His company holds several government contracts, including the administration of the Congestion Charge, and the Criminal Records Bureau's IT systems (a Public-Private Partnership, so I hear).

That...

Women’s Pay: Mind the Gap

The hot topic of TUC Women's Conference was the gender pay gap – the fact that, three decades on from legislation supposedly guaranteeing ‘equal pay for work of equal value’, women still earn significantly less than men. Just a few days previously, the government’s ‘Women And Work Commission’ had...

TUC Women's Conference: Iraqi & Kurdish Women Speak Out

Nazanin T. Ali, Head of Women in the Kurdistan Workers’ Union, was a conference guest speaker.


She brought solidarity greetings, and talked of the struggle to improve workers’ conditions and women’s rights. She described the women’s contribution to the Kurdish national liberation movement, giving...

Trade Union Rights are Women's Rights!

On the first evening of TUC Women's Conference, I spoke at a fringe meeting called to promote the Trade Union Freedom Bill. Here's what I said ...


Three examples from workplace struggles of my own union, RMT, which illustrate that the anti-union laws are unfair, and also rather wacky.


Example...

Where Are The Women?

Each year’s TUC Women’s conference has an hour-long informal session, and this year women delegates were asked to talk about the (under-)representation of women in union structures, and to give our views and those of our union (in my case, these are not necessarily the same thing).


I’m more than...

SureStart pulls plug on Hackney Playbus


A letter from me to Queensbridge & Dalston SureStart ...


Withdrawal of funding to Hackney Playbus


I was shocked and disappointed to discover recently that Queensbridge & Dalston SureStart has ceased its funding to the Hackney Playbus.


The Playbus is now no longer able to attend its...

Vote for me!

I'm standing as a Socialist Unity candidate for Hackney Central ward in the elections on May 4th. Click here to visit my election page.

Child Trust Fund: Who needs it?

It seems that about a third of parents entitled to set up Child Trust Funds have not done so. While the banks and the government tear their hair out wondering why, they might consider the fact that parents of babies are just a bit busy and just a bit tired.


I finally got mine (or Harrison's...

BBC4's 'Lefties': News On Sunday - I was there!

Back in the 1980s, I supplemented my student grant by writing for News On Sunday, the "left-wing" tabloid which is now usually referred to as "the ill-fated News On Sunday".


And ill-fated it was, as documented by tonight's BBC4 programme. It was born and died in the same year, 1987.


It would...

Happy birthday Di

I'm posting this a bit late, but I must mention going out to celebrate Diana Udall's 60th birthday a couple of Saturdays ago.


When I first started work on London Underground, nearly ten years ago, Di was the person who gave me the most support and encouragement to get involved in the union. Yes...

Cartoon Chortle

I received an amusing email the other day. I don't usually copy emails onto my blog (it's an unreasonable thing to do, and it tends to stop people communicating with you!). But, as you can see, this one specifically requests recipients to circulate it widely. So here it is - followed by my reply....

Oi! Hands off Bart’s and the Royal London

I’d support any campaign in defence of hospitals and other health provision, but you’ll forgive me if I have a little extra drive to help save the two hospitals that saved my life.

Bart’s and the Royal London hospitals here in east London are under threat of bankruptcy and even closure because of...

Know Thine Enemy

Searching for some graphics, Googling the term “anti-union”, I came across this gem, ‘The Complete Union Avoidance Manual’.


Apparently, “this book's powerful ideas, wisdom and professional legal advice will help you successfully identify and/or defuse any union's attempt to organize your...

Is Religion the Root of all Evil? Part 2

My thoughts on the second part of Richard Dawkins' Channel 4 programme. (By the way, did anyone else notice that there were very few adverts during this programme, and would anyone like to speculate as to why?)


In part 2, the Prof tackles religious schools. “There is something exceedingly odd...

A trip to Docklands

Yesterday, we went on a trip to the Museum in Docklands. It’s a family favourite, and I’d recommend it. There is a great under-12s area called Mudlarks, which is relaxed yet adventurous, and more imaginative than your run-of-the-mill soft play area. After a session in there, your kids will usually...

Recycling Your Recycling

We in Hackney have received plenty of literature of late promoting the benefits of recycling. A cause that I wholly support.

The problem is: once you have read this literature and been convinced to act on in, how do you dispose of it? The Council, you see, has not collected the recycling boxes for...

George is In Da House

This is a blog, and therefore contains personal musings. So, although my objections to George Galloway are political (read more here), I will pass comment on his appearance in Celebrity Big Brother.


I couldn’t resist checking what Socialist Worker has had to say in the past about BB and its...

Let's do the time warp again: 1998

Following my earlier whistle-stop tour through 1997, let’s move on a year …


1998 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the National Health Service, and of the nationalisation of the railways. Tony Blair’s newly-elected New Labour government celebrated these twin milestones of Labour government...

That was the year that was: 1997

Off on long-term sick, I'm passing some time sorting through various stuff. In particular, I am dispensing with those obsolete items known as floppy disks. Which is some task, as I have hundreds of them.


Over the last few days, I have trawled collections of political files from around 1997...

Vote for Iraqi women!

OK folks, here is a way you can support women in Iraq against both the occupation and the Islamists. It will take a minute of your time to click on the link below and vote for the Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq to win twenty grand. Please do it.


********************************


Vote...

Not such a SureStart

The National Evaluation of SureStart (NESS) has published some early reports. It seems that these contain both praise and criticism - in particular, that it is not reaching some of the most needy kids and families. This has prompted me to dig out an article I wrote three years ago on this subject...

Dad Stuff, or Sexist Stuff?

Two weeks ago, the Guardian published in its Family supplement a double-page spread called Things every dad should know. Said 'things' include:

  • How to start a fire
  • How to fly a kite
  • How to make a bow and arrow
  • How to teach a child to ride a bike.


These nuggets are from a book called Dad Stuff...

Insight

Some random observations about recovering from my accident and living with one eye:

  • Apparently, lots of my friends have been walking round with one eye covered, to see for themselves what it is like. I am very touched by this.
  • For the first time in my life, I now own a cosmetic mirror. Not for the...

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.