Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Lookout Croydon!

Steve Reed, “One Nation Labour” MP for Croydon North, is on a mission to introduce “outcome-focused models of public services”. In a recent article* full of the very latest in management-speak he laid bare his vision for how New Labour will tackle the key issues facing Croydon residents.

His approach is based on something he and his colleagues “came up with” (his words) in Lambeth. They called it the “Co-operative Council”. It is based on the startling insight that council services should take into account the requirements of citizens and, indeed, work with them! Whatever next?

This approach is contrasted with the old model, apparently dating back to the Second World War, where public services were driven by the needs of professionals who “knew best”. This, it seems, has “disempowered” individuals and the community. They must therefore be “re-empowered”.

There is nothing even remotely new about the idea that public services should be built around the needs of those concerned, and with their involvement. Mr Reed must surely know this. This issue is not even political - it is what good public services should be about as a matter of course. It is the simple difference between good administration, and bad.

However, there is also a subtext to Mr Reed’s public service “model” that reveals more about the politics on offer from “One Nation Labour”.

Reading the article leaves you with an overwhelming feeling that Mr Reed blames the “service users” and local communities themselves for their plight. They have, he suggests, lost their self-reliance and have become “service dependent” and disempowered! Because of the old “service model”, he says, “the ability to be self-reliant has been taken away”.

This is appalling nonsense.

The so-called old model “professionals” may indeed have been patronising, especially if they had had a “we know best” attitude; but there is none more patronising than Mr Reed and his New Labour “enablers”!

But even we leave all this aside, you can’t help thinking there is more to the story. Later in the article, we discover the amazing fact that, “even if you’re faced with a 50% reduction in the funding available to you, you can still deliver far better outcomes...”.

It is plain. The strategy of Mr Reed and his co-thinkers is to suggest that government and councils have no choices. They must simply do what they can within the expenditure cuts framework set by Tory/Liberal policy that places the burden of the economic crisis onto working people - not onto the people who caused it. (On the contrary, they were bailed out...).

The plight of Croydon communities and individuals, according to One Nation Labour, has nothing to do with mass unemployment, nothing to do with zero-hours contracts, with public expenditure cuts, with poverty wages, with rising rents, with factory closures.
No. The fault lies with the people of Croydon for becoming “disempowered”!

Labour will do (and is doing) nothing fundamental to change the way society is run. The bulk of the wealth of this country will remain in the hands of a tiny minority, for whom there is no economic crisis - and “Labour” will do their bidding much as before. As for the problems of devastated communities? Sort it out yourself. And for this, we are asked to vote “Labour”?

For our part, the TUSC is very much in favour of communities taking action to solve their problems any way they can. Many TUSC supporters are already part of that. And if the local council can offer practical help, so much the better. And if they were fully funded they could deliver much more - as fully funded, say, as the privatised railways who get around £3 billion a year from the taxpayer.

Communities will take action with or without the permission of Mr Reed and his band of “empowerers”. And one thing they may do is find a candidate in Croydon to stand against him.

*The Reform of Public Services, the One Nation Agenda; in “Renewal - a Journal of Social Democracy”, Vol 22, No 1-2

Saturday, 26 July 2014

UKIP - friends of the people...

The Lords of Haw Haw are a mainstay of UKIP. We want to keep them and the rest of their party out of Croydon and Sutton. We will expose them here, over time. We will explain what they stand for and why their policies serve only the interests of the have yachts. 

Below, is a short description of UKIP’s three current members of the House of Lords. The anti-establishment, “friends of the British people”! There is a fuller article HERE.

The three UKIP Lords are -

1. Lord Leopold David Verney, 21st Baron Willoughby de Broke was educated at Le Rosey in Switzerland and at Oxford. He was a Tory until 2007.

2. Baron Pearson of Rannoch - previously an “Independent”. Pearson was leader of UKIP before Farage. He made his millions in international insurance. He was appointed to the House of Lords in 1990 by Thatcher. A journalist noted that Pearson had stood for election only once in his life - and that was for a prefect “job” at Eton. He has Scottish estates and dines at Whites. He managed to avoid tax expenses of £275,000 on the sale of one of his estates a few years ago, which went for a very reasonable £3.7 million...

3. Baron Stevens of Ludgate. Previously a Tory. Created a life peer under Thatcher. Long time chairman of a media conglomerate (headquartered in Ludgate) which used to own the Daily Express newspaper, until it was sold to pornographer Richard (Dirty) Desmond.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

DEMO for ending the War in Israel/ Palestine this Saturday

This Saturday we were going to leaflet Sutton High Street with our banner and a petition, but the ongoing crisis in Israel and Palestine means that it is more important for us to join the continuing demonstration in London this Saturday (26th).

It starts this time at the Israeli Embassy (2 Palace Green, London W8 4QB) at 1030 am.

The only force in the world capable of ending this slaughter, and the ongoing crisis, is that of the united, non sectarian Palestinian and Israeli workers and youth! Let us hope they can find the means to build a common cause for ending the war and changing society. The ordinary people of the region are the ones with the greatest interest in peace!

Below is an extract from a very good article by Owen Jones in the Guardian about about the massive scale of UK arms sales to some of the most foul, anti-working class regimes in the world, including the Israeli state, the medieval monarchy of Saudi Arabia, and many others. The full article is here.

“If you have even a shaky belief in British foreign policy as a force for democracy, even a cursory glance at the list of destinations for British arms should swiftly lead you to part with your illusions. Israel has now killed close to 600 [it is now over 700] people in Gaza, including 149 children; its land-grabbing settlements place it in violation of international law. Other countries might be deemed pariah states for such actions, but not Israel, which Britain has supplied with parts for sniper rifles, military aircraft, unmanned drones and small arms”.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

National Shop Stewards Network Report following 10th July Strikes

The tremendous 10th July public sector has changed the mood music. All of a sudden it is the government desperately re-arranging the deck chairs on its Titanic with its latest re-shuffle. 

As the NSSN predicted, if the unions give workers a lead, they will respond. Not only that, the action was overwhelmingly popular as all those who have suffered from these cruel cuts were delighted to support someone standing up for them. This is particularly the case as Labour shamefully refused to support the strike.

But it was clear on July 10 that workers realise that to win, we need the action to continue and escalate. Therefore, we welcome Unison announcing its intention to strike again – for 2 days – in September. These dates need coordinating with the other local government unions, the teaching unions and others to ensure the maximum effect.  …

As John McInally, PCS Vice-president urged on the Bristol strike rally, “No more excuses, no more unions taking action on their own. Everyone knows how we can defeat the pay freeze and austerity too – by joint coordinated action across the public sector.” …

The victories by workers in the private sector over the last few days in Hackney and on Tyneside show yet again that there is no division between the public and private sectors. Private sector workers don’t live in a bubble but are the husbands, wives, children and friends of those in the public sector. We all face the same issues of low pay and zero-hour contracts etc and would respond to any call for mass action.

Every speaker on J10 agreed that it was a great day but only the start. Now is the time to confirm the next strike dates and build a campaign to make the next action bigger, broader and better …

The NSSN conference on July 5th agreed that the Network will hold a public rally at this year’s TUC Congress in Liverpool to lobby delegates to keep up the pressure for further co-ordinated strikes.

> 2pm, Sunday September 7th in Jury’s Hotel opposite Echo Arena conference centre in Albert Dock. 

Whether you’re a delegate or not, come along and help us keep up the pressure!

NSSN Website > www.shopstewards.net

PS. We notice we have visitors to this blog from the US, Alaska and Germany. Welcome!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Croydon Labour commits to a living wage??

Electioneering has started. Recognising the damage being done to living standards by the austerity policies of the Tory-Liberal government - policies which Labour nationally has said it will continue! - Croydon Labour is, “taking a lead on securing fair pay across the borough” according to an official statement.

Is Croydon taking a leaf from the TUSC agenda? Surely this is to be welcomed?

Croydon Labour’s policy is ringed with caveats. It is not proposing a £10 an hour minimum, but £8.80. The statement from Croydon says that the extra £2.49 has been calculated to “cover the basic costs of living”. However, according to the statement, only a “handful” of people are not already on £8.80!

Given the amount that workers have lost in wages and public services since the banks were bailed out, what Croydon Labour are proposing is a tuppence ha’penny sop!

It is also somewhat cynical. Living standards for the majority fell also under Blair and Brown’s "Labour" Government and under the previous Croydon Labour council!

As elections beckon, Croydon Labour seems to have just discovered that it is not possible to live decently on £6.31. But, surely, it is hardly possible to live decently on £8.80 either! (We wonder what Croydon’s chief officers get paid…)

And what about those people not directly employed by the borough? “Wherever possible the council will make it a requirement of its contractors that their staff are paid at least the living wage”. Wherever possible? New contracts, will have the living wage "principle” built in. These are weasel words.

With no sense of embarrassment Tony Newman, a key member of Ed Moribund’s party, a party committed to continued austerity and cuts in services, says, “We are determined to root out inequality.”

Croydon Labour will need to do much more than this to turn back the tide of pro-big business policies of the Tories and the previous “Labour” governments!

Will they halt all cuts in jobs and services? Will they freeze rents? Will they kick-off a massive building programme of truly affordable houses and flats? Will they take back under council control schools and outsourced housing programmes? Will they stop all charges and fees for things like sports centres? Don't hold your breath!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Brief Update on Building the TUSC electoral challenge to Austerity!

The TUSC’s national steering committee is considering how best to make a massive electoral left challenge at the General Election in May next year.

We need to be able to stand at least 89 parliamentary candidates if we are to achieve the media threshold for publicity. We will also need to stand 1,015 local council candidates at the same time, to breach the threshold for the council elections that are taking place at the same time.

Parliamentary elections are more expensive. Each candidate needs at least £1,500 for the deposit and access to the free mailings etc. So building the fighting fund starts now!

It is planned that a letter be sent by TUSC nationally to all Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidates. A similar draft letter, for use by local TUSC groups, will be made available soon.

The purpose of these letters will be to ascertain the political stance of local Labour candidates on certain key issues. There are some, few, good left Labour candidates, and they should not, perhaps, have a local TUSC candidate standing against them.

Hopeless careerists, avowedly right wing “Blue Labour” types and “Blairites” should, however, if at all possible, be challenged mightily from the left!

The key issues that Labour candidates will be asked about will probably include - trade union rights, restoration of public services and benefits, the implementation of a living wage, public sector pay, and the question of the re-nationalisation of those key services and utilities privatised by the Tories, and Labour before them.

Other left organisations are being approached by TUSC. The hope and intention is that we all work together to achieve the biggest impact, and reach the greatest number of working people. TUSC is committed to the broadest possible left challenge. That could include all other left parties, organisations, community groups and and anti-austerity campaigns, etc.

Therefore an approach is being made (where it hasn’t already) to Left Unity, the People’s Assembly, the Communist Party of Britain, Respect, the National Health Action Party, the Socialist Labour Party, Tower Hamlets First, and all left trade union leaders.

So, if you know anyone in any of these organisations, approach them with a view to comradely discussions about taking this forward. We have nothing to lose, but everything to gain!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Second Successful Sutton Croydon TUSC Meeting!

We met on 9th July. We reviewed progress and planned work for the next period. We now have an excellent, large banner. We have produced 2,000 leaflets, the text of which, if you haven’t seen it already, is available HERE. We leafleted Croydon town centre on Friday 4th and got a very good response from most people. If you want some leaflets, let us know at the email below.

We resolved that each of us would play our role attending picket lines and the main strike rally on 10th July in London. We put a strike support message here on this page, with paid targeting on Croydon and Sutton. It reached nearly 5,000 people and provoked a lively response - overwhelmingly favourable.

One of the key issues we agreed was to prepare a petition campaign for lobbying Croydon and Sutton councils. It will be used at street leafleting events and will also be put online and circulated to trade union branches, etc. This will be a central part of our effort to raise our political profile in preparation for electoral work, especially for when by-elections are held. It is likely to focus on low wages and the shortage of affordable housing - whether for rent or buy.

It is essential that councillors are held to account, and not permitted the luxury of quietly drawing their expenses, attending business lunches and soirĂ©es whilst achieving precisely nothing measurable for residents of the boroughs! 

We agreed to set up a Twitter account. We also agreed that appropriate agitational statistics should regularly appear on our Facebook page

We are planning very soon to start lobbying council meetings. Watch this space!

Our next two meetings will be held on the Wednesdays of 13th August, and 10th September. The first of these will have as its main discussion - “Where next after the 10th July strikes?”.  If you would like to come along, please email us at SuttonCroydonTUSC@gmail.com for details.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Solidarity with Striking Workers Today!

When employers close firms, permanently, because the shareholders aren't making enough money, the government and the corporate media lament and wring their hands about how very unfortunate it all is.

When government closes schools, hospitals, and social services, permanently, the corporate media lament and wring their hands about how, regrettably, we must cut public expenditure, and how very unfortunate it all is.

When workers close a firm or a school, temporarily, because their conditions are terrible and their wages are rock bottom, it is an affront to humanity, freedom and democracy and must be stopped at all costs!!


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Labour Councillors leave "Labour" to work with TUSC in Leicester

History was made in Leicester last night. At a packed meeting in the Town Hall, around forty people came together to welcome two councillors who recently resigned from the Labour Party to work in alliance with the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

Councillors Barbara Potter and Wayne Naylor voiced their anger at the fact that the Labour Party no longer represented normal working-class people. Both were frustrated at the unwillingness of Leicester’s Labour Council to present a political alternative to the Con-Dems, and were disgusted at the onslaught of attacks on vital public services.

With two principled councillors now willing to stand opposed to all public sector cuts, their active and vocal support to workers and communities will give hope to people who understandably feel that no-one has been representing them. Click HERE for more info.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Austerity? Not for everyone...

Excellent article here from Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary. For the rest of the article click HERE.

"In these times of austerity, when there is less money around, we have to face up to reality, we can no longer afford to do this, we all have to tighten our belts..."

Politicians of all parties continue to trot out this rubbish daily to justify huge cuts in public spending, including the jobs and pay of millions of public servants from jobcentre staff to tax credit advisers and from nurses to teachers and firefighters.

But is there really less money around? Of course not. Our economy is still one of the largest in the world and some people are still doing very nicely, thank you very much.

Monday, 7 July 2014

National Shop Stewards Network - NSSN

If you are a trade unionist and want to keep up to date with what the National Shop Stewards Network is doing, you can sign up to the regular NSSN email bulletins. Click HERE.

The Network was initiated by the RMT and now also has national support from PCS, CWU, NUJ, NUM, POA and BFAWU as well as many branches, trades councils, etc

If you Tweet, you can follow @NSSN_AntiCuts

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Some people will say, 

“Not interested in politics. Doesn’t affect me”.
But -

You eat? Are food prices not affected by politics?
You have a home? (if you are lucky). Are rents and mortgages not affected by politics?
You travel? Are bus and train fairs not affected by politics?
You aim to stay healthy? But is the state of the NHS not affected by politics?
You work? (if you are lucky) But isn’t employment affected by politics? Are your wages not affected by politics?

You may not be interested in politics. But politics is interested in you!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Croydon Leafleting!

Excellent time leafleting in Croydon yesterday for about two and a half hours in lovely sunshine. We distributed at least 800 leaflets.

We don't get exposure from the corporate media, so we must create our own publicity! And this is one relatively easy way of doing it. Plenty of leaflets left though, if anyone wants to distribute some themselves - a leaflet drop through the doors round where you live, for example!

If you want some, email us at - suttoncroydonTUSC@gmail.com

Click HERE for the text (not the format) of the leaflet, for info. 

Thursday, 3 July 2014


We will have 2,000 leaflets later on today!

TOMORROW (Friday 4th) - with our new banner! - we are meeting in CROYDON at the South end of the high street between midday and 2pm. Here we will publicise the existence of our new local branch of TUSC!

With luck we may find some people who want to know more about the TUSC and how to get involved.

If you are free, please come along! You may also want to take some leaflets away with you for distribution at your workplace, etc.

The leaflet covers four themes -
1. Fair rents and affordable homes
2. No Job Cuts, No Service Cuts
3. £10 minimum wage
4. People before profit

We will put the full text up on this site later today, or in the morning.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

TUSC Electoral Alternative to Austerity!

Click here for an extract of a leaflet penned by TUSC Chair, Dave Nellist, aimed at the delegates to the Unite conference. It is about the TUSC electoral alternative to austerity.