Tribute to Jack Ely

Sad to see that Jack Ely has died, singer with the Kingsmen, whose recording of “Louie Louie” in 1963 somehow better than almost anyone captured the inchoate rawness of adolescence. So much so that the FBI launched an investigation to discover whether the song contained hidden political or pornographic content.

Ely’s work was affectionately sent up a bit, by the great Todd Snider’s compassionate and humorous tribute here:

Hope Not Hate – fundraising CD

goodnight-x

Fundraising CD for HnH. Buy it here:

The full track listing

Disc One

Los Fastidios – In 1968
Inspiral Carpets – Our Time
Section 60 – Champion of the Underdog
Louise Distras – Stand Strong Together
Louis Barabbas & The Bedlam Six – The Tell Tale Hound
The Lottery Winners – Elizabeth
Tracey Curtis – Raising Girls & Boys
Spanish Class – Sven
The Barefoot Bandit – Blue Lights Flashing
Briana Corrigan – 15 Wonderful Love Songs
Attila the Stockbroker – Looters
Rawfolds – We Are the Underclass
The Wonder Stuff – Last Days of the Feast
Disc Two

Billy Bragg – The Battle of Barking
Chumbawamba – The Day the Nazi Died
Paddy Nash – Laughter and Love
Siobhan Mazzei – Courage of Your Convictions
Target By Numbers – Part of the Truth
Terry and Dead – Ballad of the Necrophiliac
Angelic Upstarts – Red Flag
The Rainkings – Nothing Set in Stone
Blossoms – Cut Me and I’ll Bleed
Dan Michaelson and the Coastguards – Bones
Joe Solo – No Pasaran!
The Hurriers – Britain Last
Paul Heaton – Everything is Everything

Keith Vaz in Swindon speaking to GMB members of Goan heritage

keith vaz in swindon

Keith Vaz gave an inspirational speech in South Swindon to around 100 GMB members , mainly of Goan, heritage last Saturday.

He spoke movingly of his parents’ own experience, working hard as first generation immigrants, and by their sacrifice, gave him and his sisters the opportunity of a better life. He said he could tell that our GMB members had hard working lives, he could see it “etched in their faces”, he had joined Labour when inspired by Harold Wilson, saying that Labour would welcome people from every culture and give them equal opportunity.

Labour and GMB are working with the Goan community in Swindon, and they need to help themselves by voting Labour , and returning Anne Snelgrove to parliament, where a Labour government will abolish zero hour contracts and raise the minimum wage.

Swindon takes the lead in removing parking restrictions for Cash in Transit vehicles

GMB, the union for security staff and the cash in transit industry, welcome the unanimous vote, with cross party support, of Swindon Borough Council last night to remove yellow line parking restrictions for cash in transit (CIT) vehicles making deliveries.

The motion was moved by Labour leader Jim Grant, and seconded by Gary Perkins for the Conservatives.

Carole Vallelly, GMB Regional Organiser, said “GMB welcome the decision. The removal of parking restrictions on CIT vans in town centres has been a long standing GMB demand.

“The motion allows security staff making cash deliveries to park on double yellow lines, in order to both shorten the length of time and distance that they have to carry cash, and also to make their movements less predictable, making robbery less likely.

“This move has been the result of effective and persistent lobbying of our local politicians by GMB. We congratulate the Labour group of councillors, and Jim Grant in particular, for skillfully guiding this through with cross party support.

“Up until now, GMB members in the cash in transit sector have had a choice of lawfully parking some distance from the bank where they are making the delivery to, and therefore exposing themselves to the risk of violent attack while they walk to the delivery point, or parking on a yellow line nearer to the bank and risking a parking fine.

“These workers are typically low paid, and have been required to personally pay the parking fines themselves. GMB is delighted that they can now park safely and near to the delivery point, without fear of being penalized by a fine they can ill afford to pay. GMB call on other councils to follow suit on this.”

 

Ed Miliband – a tale of two pictures

This is what happened after the BBC TV “challengers” debate. Ed Miliband went over to talk to the three women leaders, and then respectfully waited while they hugged each other. Then Labour, SNP, Plaid and Green leaders shared a warm conversation, with Farage out in the cold.

 

Live-Election-Debate

So why are so many people (some even on the left) only sharing the picture on social media of Ed waiting, trying to make him look like an outsider?:

HUG

Austerity v humanity and the rise and rise of Nicola Sturgeon

HUGThe story of the lead-up to the 2015 general election is the story of Nicola Sturgeon’s emergence as the voice of progressive politics not only for people in Scotland but all over Britain, battered by five years of a Tory-led coalition government that has extended itself in using the 2008 global economic crisis as a pretext for waging an all-out assault against working people, the disabled, immigrants, benefit claimants, and every last manifestation of the common good in British society – i.e. public services and the NHS.

The latest leaders’ debate – at which Cameron’s non appearance backfired spectacularly, delivering a message of malign contempt for the British electorate – saw progressive politics at long last given a mainstream platform, and how refreshing it was. Austerity is the very antithesis of humanity and its champions have much to answer for when it comes to the roll call of human despair, destitution, and damage it has wrought.

Nicola Sturgeon, along with Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood and the Green Party’s Natalie Bennett, outlined a vision of hope as an alternative to the conservatism of the mainstream parties, Labour included, who remain prisoners of Thatcherite nostrums to greater or lesser extent.

Ed Miliband’s repeated rejection of Sturgeon’s offer of help in keeping the Tory’s out illustrate the bind he’s in. Of course, in the event of a hung parliament, the Labour leader will cooperate with the SNP and other progressive forces in order to govern. But as a prospective prime minister, and with a feral right wing press south of the border to contend with, he can’t admit to it with just a few weeks to go before the polls open on May 7.

It is key that Miliband becomes the next occupant of Downing Street, but that likely won’t be on the back of a Labour majority. When it comes to this the political genie is well and truly out of the bottle, with those who continue to hold to the mantra that the only way of getting rid of the Tories is by voting Labour increasingly tilting at windmills.

This election is not about independence. A vote for the SNP in Scotland in May is a vote against austerity and a progressive alternative to the status quo. That said, Nicola Sturgeon is clearly to the left of many within her own party, and her huge popularity, which now reaches beyond Scotland, brings with it the danger of being unable to deliver on the hope she has unleashed. But, no matter, for those whose lives have been blighted by one of the most vicious Tory governments in many years, hope is more than a word it is a lifeline.

Austerity is not only morally reprehensible it is economically illiterate, the economic equivalent of treating a cut finger by taking an axe and hacking the entire arm off. The country is crying out for an investment-led alternative in order to return sustainable growth to the economy. Such an alternative is founded on the understanding that self interest is indistinguishable from common interest and vice versa.

Yes, Nicola Sturgeon, in articulating the need for transformational change, has become the story of the 2015 general election – to such an extent that the old saw, ‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man’, needs to be amended to read ‘woman’.

Austerity v humanity. The choice and stakes in a general election have never been more stark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The past political defenders of Anne Marie Waters – UKIP’s racist candidate

Readers may recall the role I played in blowing the whistle when anti-Islam extremist, Anne Marie Waters, was shortlisted for the Labour target seat of Brighton Pavillion.

The result was a campaign against me, including a hatchet job by the obsessed wingnut Howard Fuller, (who on another occasion I had to issue a formal warning to, using the pre-action protocol for libel). This story was then picked up by Nick Cohen at the Spectator, also in defence of Anne Marie Waters. As it worked its way up the journalistic food chain, the half truths and distortions about me were expanded and someone, presumably Grant Shapps, saw the opportunity to plant hostile stories about me in the Mail and the Sun, to try to damage Labour. Fame indeed.

All of this blowback against me, was because I argued that Anne Marie Waters was an anti-Islamic extremist, and therefore unsuitable to be a Labour parliamentary candidate. So I was interested to see in today’s Daily Mirror: Watch Ukip candidates spouting vile anti-Islamic hate messages at a far-right rally

Magnus Nielsen and Anne Marie-Waters were guest speakers at a weekend event organised by Mothers Against Radical Islam And Sharia – MARIAS – which has close links to groups like the English Defence League.

The Mirror’s footage shows Mr Nielsen, who is standing in the marginal North London seat of Hampstead and Kilburn, openly telling the audience Britain is “at war with Islam”.

Ms Waters, who hopes to become MP for Lewisham East, South East London, was also filmed telling an undercover reporter “a lot of people need to be deported” and “many mosques need to be closed down”.

UKIP bans its members from being formally involved with far right wing organisations and has claimed it is not a party of racists. Yet activists from fascist groups were welcome to come and hear the UKIP speakers at the MARIAS gathering in Westminster on Saturday. MARIAS leader Toni Bugle recorded a video message to online followers days before, which said: “On April 11, between 12.30 and 1, Downing Street, MARIAS, be there. “I don’t care what you are, I don’t care if you’re Britain First, I don’t care if you’re English Defence League, I don’t even care if you’re National Front.” In another video she said “no matter who you are affiliated with, can stand together under one umbrella.”

But let us look what the so-called “decent” left said when I called out Anne Marie Waters for extremism and racism:

Jim Denham: Religious bigot Newman witch-hunts secular Labour woman

The liar Newman deliberately misrepresents Waters when he suggests she made an anti-immigration broadcast. Watch it for yourself, and you’ll see she makes it absolutely clear that she’s not arguing against immigration.

Howard Fuller: Anne Marie Waters resigns from the Labour Party

Ms Waters departure came as a bit of a surprise given her recent attempt to be selected as PPC for Brighton Labour Party. Her candidature attracted attention from those on the darker side of politics in the form of Andy Newman from the misnamed Socialist Unity website where he conducted a witch hunt which was opposed both here and over at Harry’s Place

Anne Marie Waters is one of the countries leading secularists and is a spokesperson for the National Secular Society and the One Law for All campaign and does some excellent work campaigning for free speech and women’s rights. Her decision to leave Labour is therefore a blow to fighting back against the parasitical pro-Islamist elements like Socialist Unity and Socialist Action.

Howard Fuller: Socialist Unity attacks secularist activist

Ms Waters is also active in the National Secular Society, hardly “extreme” in any shape or form.

Worth noting that Howard Fuller still proudly links to AMW’s own website on the sidebar of his blog, and has had no compunction in himself quoting from the far-right journal “International Dispatches”, a publication which is linked to Fjordmann – whose work was one of the inspirations for the Norwegian mass murderer, Anders Behring Breivik.

My goodness, how would liberal commentators describe a blog that linked to a racist extremist like Anne Marie Waters, and quotes from Dispatch International? It surprised me that Nick Cohen praised Howard Fuller, describing him as “anti-Totalitarian”

Nick Cohen: Extremists and the mainstream: the case of Comrade Newman

The Chippenham Labour Party has decided that its candidate to contest the 2015 general election will be one Andy Newman. As the anti-totalitarian blogs Howie’s Corner and Harry’s Place have already argued he is almost certain to be the worst politician to stand for a mainstream party.

… Newman manages the laughably named “Socialist Unity” website: laughable, not just because it engages in vicious factionalism, but because it indulges the religious strain of far-right thinking. He has campaigned against Anne Marie Waters of One Law for All , which opposes the imposition of Sharia law in the UK. In other words, he has put himself on the wrong side of the struggle between religion and women’s rights.

But how liberal is Nick Cohen really? In November 2013 he himself shared a platform with Anne Marie Waters, at an event where former EDL leader, Tommy Robinson, was guest of honour.

Over at Hary’s Place, Sarah AB: Secular mesalliances: Anne Marie Waters, Fjordman and Socialist Unity

Readers will probably already be aware of Andy Newman’s articles criticising Anne Marie Waters – and of ripostes from Howard Fuller, Nick Cohen and, just recently, Anne Marie Waters herself.   I fully sympathise with the disdain she expresses in her own post for the ‘totalitarian left’, as represented by Andy Newman.

Sarah AB: Socialist Unity attacks secularist activist

I agree with Howie that is absurd to describe Anne Marie Waters as an anti-Muslim extremist and, as Shiraz Socialist reports, Andy Newman misrepresents her views on immigration.

Perhaps there should be a little reflection from those who leapt to Ms Waters’s defence. I know that it can be difficult to distinguish between genuine concerns, and bigotry. But the warning signs were all there with Anne Marie Waters.

LEADING WOMEN FROM BRITAIN IN SOLIDARITY WITH VENEZUELA

Women campaigners from Britain have issued a statement in solidarity with Venezuela and against U.S President Obama’s executive order declaring “a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela.”

The statement declares solidarity with the recent women’s march in Venezuela against right-wing destabilisation and US intervention (see here ) and the signatories pledge to support “the international ‘Obama – Repeal the Executive Order’ campaign” and “continue to support the advances in social progress and women’s rights that have taken place in Venezuela in recent years.

Sian Errington of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, who initiated the statement, said, “Around the world, millions of people are saying that Venezuela is not a threat and President Obama should repeal the Executive Order. Here in Britain, statements from political representatives, trade union leaders, students, peace campaigners, and now prominent women campaigners, have expressed our solidarity. We will continue to campaign for Venezuela’s right to self-determination and against U.S intervention.

The statement was co-ordinated by the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign (www.venezuelasolidarity.co.uk).

STATEMENT: LEADING WOMEN FROM BRITAIN IN SOLIDARITY WITH VENEZUELA –
#VENEZUELAISNOTATHREAT #OBAMAREPEALTHEEXECUTIVEORDER

On March 9 US President Obama signed an executive order declaring “a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela” and imposed a further round of sanctions on the country. This has been condemned by major regional bodies in Latin America and the Caribbean, governments all over the world and much of global civil society.

Over the past 16 years Venezuelan women have been both the leaders of, and the main beneficiaries from, social progress and change. The huge expansion in free health care, education, childcare, social security, poverty eradication programmes, progressive labour laws and the creation of government bodies such as the Ministry for Women and Banmujer (Women’s Development Bank) have transformed the position of women.

This is why Venezuelan Women’s organisations have been at the forefront of organising over 6 million signatures to the campaign ‘Obama – Repeal the Executive Order’ and this week organised a mass women’s demonstration against US sanctions and destabilisation.

As British women campaigners, we stand with them in supporting the international ‘Obama – Repeal the Executive Order’ campaign and will continue to support the advances in social progress and women’s rights that have taken place in Venezuela in recent years.

Yours,
Gail Cartmail, Assistant General Secretary, Unite the Union
Siobhan Endean, National Officer for Equality, Unite the Union
Heather Wakefield, Head of Local Government, Police and Justice, Unison
Linda Perks, Greater London Regional Secretary, Unison
Max Hyde, Ex-President, National Union of Teachers
Karen Mitchell, Legal Officer, Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers Union (RMT) & Venezuela Solidarity Campaign Vice-Chair
Jayne Fisher, SERTUC International Committee Vice-Chair & Venezuela Solidarity Campaign Executive Committee
Zita Holborne, National Executive Committee member, and Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC)
Lindsey German, Convenor, Stop the War Coalition, and author of ‘How a century of war changed the lives of women
Louise Richards, Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group
Natasha Hickman, Cuba Solidarity Campaign
Jude Woodward, Executive Committee member, Venezuela Solidarity Campaign.
Sian Errington, Convenor of Women for Venezuela & Executive Committee member, Venezuela Solidarity Campaign.

How Germany sees us

I was pleased that GMB Wiltshire and Swindon branch was able to assist German TV in making this documentary about zero hour contracts. Contracts that, as the programme explains, would be unlawful in the more successful German economy.

Watch it here: http://www.daserste.de/information/politik-weltgeschehen/europamagazin/sendung/swr/grossbritannien-ausgebeutete-arbeitnehmer-100.html

Der Wahlkampf in Großbritannien ist in vollem Gange, Anfang Mai wird ein neues Parlament gewählt. Die konservativen Tories verweisen auf das steigende Bruttoinlandsprodukt sowie sinkende Arbeitslosigkeit und versprechen weiteres Wachstum. Ein Grund für den Aufschwung ist die Flexibilität des Arbeitsmarktes.

Diese hat aber auch ihre Schattenseiten. Mit “Null-Stunden”-Verträgen kann eine Firma Personal einstellen, ohne feste Arbeitszeiten oder Lohn zu garantieren. Die Arbeitnehmer stehen auf Abruf bereit und sollen nur erscheinen, wenn sie gebraucht werden. Und nur dann gibt es auch Geld. Fast 700.000 solcher Vertrags-Arbeiter gibt es zurzeit, die meisten kaum in der Lage den Alltag zu bestreiten. Sozialverbände warnen vor einer wachsenden Kluft zwischen Arm und Reich und einer Zunahme prekärer Existenzen in den unteren Bevölkerungsschichten.

Autorin: Julie Kurz