Labour council oversees deskilling of its workforce
All this week I’ve seen about 30 young people in Braunstone Park lopping off branches and trimming the grass as I walk my dogs. They didn’t seem to have any special clothes or equipment so I asked some of them what was going on.
They said they were part of a charity project for British Gas to do up the park. I asked if they were being paid. One said yes, another said no and an third said “I’m here because I want to be.”
Then a couple of supervisors came over and started having a joke with me. I think they wanted to stop me asking questions.
Until a few years ago the park was looked after by council employees, but they were made redundant and it got more and more run down. Recently it’s been in a right state.
So now you’ve got a skilled job that people used to be paid for being done on the cheap by British Gas. The Labour council goes along with it and we’re supposed to be grateful. You’d hope a Labour council would be against replacing skilled workers with untrained people.
This kind of thing makes me so angry. I’m retired now. I joined the International Socialists (forerunner of the Socialist Workers Party) in the 1960s. My parents were both solid Labour.
My mother asked why I’d joined with revolutionaries when Labour was providing us with everything we needed. She must be turning in her grave now.
Tax the Tories
We should tax the Tory party’s overpaid donors more heavily. It’s grotesque that such people have so much wealth while so many grow hungry.
I can’t believe the harsh poverty that’s growing rapidly in Britain. The Guardian newspaper recently highlighted how teachers are bringing in food for hungry pupils.
Food banks are appearing too, so that hungry families can get fed. It’s like a return to Victorian times.
Boss’s big pay off
Tory-run Kent County Council was forced to declare the amount paid to former managing director Katherine Kerswell, when she left her job after just 16 months.
Kerswell was on an annual salary of £140,000 when she departed last December. At first the council stubbornly refused to reveal the amount of the pay off, and now we know why. It was £420,000. Apparently we are not “all in this together”.
To put in context, £420,000 would pay for 35 teaching assistants to work in our primary schools, developing key skills in literacy and numeracy to our young children in society.
Remember Rodney King
The media couldn’t ignore the death of Rodney King, the ordinary black man who was brutally assaulted by police. But they tried to forget that the acquittal of the officers responsible led to the biggest urban uprising in US history.
Mike Davis said in Socialist Review, “Few of the thousands arrested were actually gang members and only about a third were even African American.
“The majority were poor immigrants or their children, arrested for looting diapers, shoes and televisions from neighbourhood stores.”
Today that sounds all too familiar.
We’ll miss socialist singer
I was sad to hear socialist entertainer Brian Hibbard has died. He was best known as the lead singer of the Flying Pickets who had Christmas number one in 1983 with “Only You”.
The Flying Pickets came out of the 7:84 theatre group. This got its name because 7 percent of the population own 84 percent of the wealth.
Brian was an actor in Coronation Street. He appeared as Karaoke Dai in the black comedy Twin Town and starred in the anti-racist film Little White Lies.
In 2003 he addressed a huge anti-war rally in Swansea alongside fellow actors and activists. He will be greatly missed.
Support trans woman jailed after attack
Cece McDonald is an African American trans woman who was violently attacked outside a bar in Minneapolis in June last year.
She survived, however one of her attackers was killed. CeCe was the only person arrested and is now facing 41 months in a men’s prison—a very dangerous place for a trans woman.
She has been sentenced this month, the anniversary of the Stonewall riots when trans women of colour led the battle by LGBT people who were tired of police harassment, against the New York police department.
This year World Pride will be in London, where LGBT and straight people will march united and demand an end to transphobia and homophobia.
Real meaning of LOL texts
Remember all the jokes about how David Cameron regularly signed off texts to Rebekah Brooks LOL (“lots of love”) until she told him it meant “laugh out loud”?
After his performance at the Leveson inquiry where his most frequent seemed to be “I don’t remember”, it looks like it also means “let off lightly”.
Abandon the health service?
I can only assume that the government want doctors to abandon the NHS. After all, the bills will get paid a lot quicker if they can get us to partly fund health out of our pittance of disposable income. All in this together? My arse!
Don’t just put up with it
I can’t fathom for the life of me why the British put up with the crap our governments dish out. For god’s sake what does it take to put an end to capitalism and inequalities in this world.
Renationalise our transport
I work for one of the big bus companies and fully support our union Unite in calling this week’s strike. It’s about time they renationalised the buses and railways again and ran the transport network properly.
Bonds keep bankers happy
The morning after last week’s election, Greek ten-year bond rates were still above 25 percent. It’s not surprising the bankers were happy. Much of the capital was borrowed from the European Central Bank at 1 percent. So a risk-free profit of 24 percent is virtually guaranteed.