Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

under-new-management

For those of you who haven’t followed developments in the comments, there is a significant change here at SU. John Wight will be publishing his writings elsewhere, and we wish him luck, and every success for the future.

John has relinquished his editing and admin rights at SU, and if you were banned by John, then welcome back. I have asked Tony, who brilliantly assists with technical support behind the scenes, to “unban” people (it is quite beyond me). This may take a while to percolate through, so please be patient.

49 comments on “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

  1. brianthedog on said:

    On a more serious note it would be good to have a more in depth discussion on unrestricted movement of labour (EU) and the impact on low pay sectors of the economy.

    You touched on this the other day and I agree that it does supress wages, gives employers free reign to exert its will on workers often resulting in a culture of fear and impunity and with high staff turnover making it difficult for unions to organise.

    I am almost at the point of despair with the trade unions and labour movement position of acting as neo-liberal cheerleaders for EU free movement and denouncing any criticism of this as xenophobia, bigotry and racism.

    Its the Sports Directs, Ubers, ASOS and Hilton’s of the business world who are driving the free movement agenda to maximise profits and exploit workers. Huge sways of working class people instinctively get it which is not a surprise as they are the main ones who are affected by it and they are clearly hacked off with ‘leftie’ liberals (whose own experience of this appears to be hiring a eastern European house cleaner) patronising them.

    You would have thought that the Brexit vote would have been a wake call for Labour and the trade unions as to why large chunks of the working class and our members voted leave.

    But no these ‘leftie’ liberals amongst our ranks are happy to write them off as thick bigots, cheer when French President Hollande says Britain must pay a heavy price for daring to leave the EU empire and are upset when Nissan announces that it will produce the next Qashqai and X-Trial in Sunderland which secures thousands of skilled unionised jobs.

    Who are the fools and idiots in this?

  2. brianthedog: On a more serious note it would be good to have a more in depth discussion on unrestricted movement of labour (EU) and the impact on low pay sectors of the economy.

    I will be writing something about this over the next few days.

  3. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman:
    John Grimshaw,

    Creative differences

    Well it’s your blog and your relationships, but shame really. I didn’t agree with everything that John said but I think he brought something to the debates. Perhaps he needed to let the Brexit thing go for a while. Who knows?

  4. brianthedog: Who are the fools and idiots in this?

    Those who think that scapegoating immigrants is the answer to anything. How about blaming the people actually responsible for our problems: the government, the bosses, the landlords, and in some respects ourselves? Does the term “divide and rule” mean anything to you?

    Speaking as someone who is in the “low pay sector of the economy” and actually works alongside people from Europe and elsewhere the real problems are that we have no job security and no effective trade union presence. Without those you really have no rights at all at work, and the bosses/management/agency can treat you however they want.

  5. Brexit (or, for that matter, no Brexit) solves fuck all. What we need is trade unions in EVERY job and workplace. That’s step one.

  6. brianthedog on said:

    JN,

    Speaking as someone who works alongside people from Europe and elsewhere it would be really helpful if you read what I actually wrote.

    Its a bit difficult to have a serious discussion if you can’t even be bothered do something as basic as that.

  7. brianthedog,

    I did read what you wrote and it sounds a lot like blaming immigration for problems that have other causes.

    brianthedog: Why don’t you organise your own workplace, that would be a good start.

    Because I don’t have the skills and experience to do so.

  8. brianthedog,

    To be honest, I have tried (as part of a small group affiliated to Unite) to organise an ununionised industry. We got nowhere. Really it needs to be a major effort of the big unions if it’s going to have a realistic chance of succeeding in the forseeable future.

  9. brianthedog on said:

    JN,

    I am not blame immigration at all. If you had actually taken the time to read what I actually said I didn’t mention immigration once. Immigration is not the same as EU free movement of labour which in the low wage sectors is driven by big business which seeks to create divide and rule, supress wages and make it difficult to unionise.

    “because I don’t have the skills and experience to do so” Well you certainly feel confident enough to put forward you views on here with such certainty and criticise other that have actual experience of organising workers including migrant workers in the low pay sectors.

    The thing is most workplaces are organised by workers themselves so why not give it a go. If you contact your trade union they will give you some advice and assistance. Speak to your colleagues from Britain, Europe and elsewhere about joining a union, paying a couple of pounds a week and winning recognition and collective bargaining rights.

  10. JN: To be honest, I have tried (as part of a small group affiliated to Unite) to organise an ununionised industry. We got nowhere. Really it needs to be a major effort of the big unions if it’s going to have a realistic chance of succeeding in the forseeable future.

    This takes me back to when I was a field engineer. Many years ago I was in a portacabin on a moor somewhere outside Barnsley, working on some kit where a circuit board had caught fire. i rang the chief engineer for advice, and he said “Andy, you are the only person in the whole world that could fix that”. I thanked him for having so much confidence in me, but asked why he said this, as other people were more knowledgeable than me. Yes, he replied, but you are the only one there.

    Trade union organisation can – in the final analysis – only be built by the workers themselves.

    And there can be myriad factors which mean that a particular workforce is more or less favourable for organisation. Access, issues and momentum. There are several factors which can make it too difficult, for example, too high a churn rate, too much fear of the employer, etc.

    Certainly, trade union officers and lay member activists can work from the outside, can encourage and support, can organise protests and campaigns, but resources are limited, and it not just a question of will.

    Unions have to prioritise.

  11. brianthedog: The thing is most workplaces are organised by workers themselves so why not give it a go. If you contact your trade union they will give you some advice and assistance.

    Indeed, what I have also seen happen, is that a union can gain a toehold, but not progress. But then some months or years later issues will come up, and membership will grow based on that beachhead. I have also seen membership sometimes grow gradually over a very long period in some places, based on successful casework

  12. About time.

    As a regular-ish reader, I’d stopped visiting the site because I’d gotten sick of seeing (frankly) yet another ill thought out rant by JW, against whoever it was that’d ticked him off today. Which seemed to be ‘anyone who isn’t John Wight’.

  13. Andy Newman on said:

    George Hallam: What happened to the fire?

    The fire had burned itself out at the circuit board level. Though there was a bit of smoke damage to other components. There were three sites and I was commissioning the second. So I visited the third one, not yet active, raided it for parts, and had new parts sent by post to my hotel ( not to customer, so they never knew)

  14. George Hallam on said:

    Andy Newman: The fire had burned itself out at the circuit board level. Though there was a bit of smoke damage to other components.

    Thank you. I salute your honesty.

    You have the potential to become a great writer of suspense stories.

    You set the scene well – young engineer lone in isolated portacabin.

    Sudden danger – electrical fire breaks out.
    Desperate phone call to superior…

    I was on the edge of my seat.

    I like to think that the fire didn’t just go out of its own accord. Actually you whipped off your tweed jacket and smothered the flames yourself, suffering only minor burns which have now almost completely healed. But of course you are too modest to mention such details.

  15. Dan: About time.
    As a regular-ish reader, I’d stopped visiting the site because I’d gotten sick of seeing (frankly) yet another ill thought out rant by JW, against whoever it was that’d ticked him off today. Which seemed to be ‘anyone who isn’t John Wight’.

    Couldn’t have put it better myself Dan

  16. John Grimshaw on said:

    George Hallam: Thank you. I salute your honesty.

    You have the potential to become a great writer of suspense stories.

    You set the scene well – young engineer lone inisolated portacabin.

    Sudden danger – electrical fire breaks out.
    Desperate phone call to superior…

    I was on the edge of my seat.

    I like to think that the fire didn’t just go out of its own accord. Actually you whipped off your tweed jacket and smothered the flames yourself, suffering only minor burns which have now almost completely healed. But of course you are too modest to mention such details.

    Surely there should be a young heroine in this somewhere? Am I allowed to say that? Oh dear I’m banned.

  17. John Grimshaw: Surely there should be a young heroine in this somewhere?

    If this were a scene in a film, then yes the fire would definitely by imperiling a romantic interest of mine, sadly real life was more prosaic.

  18. i only came on this website ten year ago as i thought it was the old socialist unity network site, i learnt a few new things while i was on it but at the end of the day i think john writing was the main reason that i have been reading, i believe john is essentially right that the left has suffered a collapse in misunderstanding the meaning of a leave vote and i hope that soon we can grow a new left from the ashes,

  19. Karl Stewart on said:

    jqmark,
    There are a few people saying that JW used to make some good points, strong arguments and thought-provoking articles. Yes at times he did.

    But unfortunately, he also used to regularly ban people for disagreeing with him. In my opinion, that was damaging this site and harming its role as a venue for discussion and debate of ideas, and causing others to stay away.

    New ideas and thought-provoking writing are excellent, but a near-total intolerance of opposing views is unacceptable.

    And I’ll try my best not to revisit this subject again.

  20. #32 I wasn’t aware that he was banning loads of people. I do know that someone I am very closely connected to called Vanya was banned towards the end of John’s tenure, but I suspect that was because Vanya made the error of responding with abuse to John’s offensive stuff.

    I agree with Karl (and to a certain extent with Nick Wright in an earlier comment) that John at times had a lot of interesting and well thought out stuff to say. Regrettably he went over the top in his position on “brexit”, and in fact reached the stage where he positioned himself too far away from those of us (whatever position we took on the EU during the referendum) who are trying to go forward in the new political situation.

    My view is that the political positions he was taking simply put him outside the tent, and what may be tolerable directed from the inside out is not tolerable the other way round. It becomes too uncomfortable and it smells too bad.

    By the way, was Lemmy better in Hawkwind or in Motorhead? Discuss.

  21. Andy Newman on said:

    Evan P: Lemmy better in Hawkwind or in Motorhead?

    I would go with Hawkwind mainly because Silver Machine takes me right back to when I first went to pubs, and it always seemed to be on the jukebox.

    Mind you, Ace of Spades is monumental

  22. I,too, was unaware John was banning people though it was rather noticeable how small the pool of contributors to discussion was becoming. I tended to agree with alot of his writing when I first started visiting the site regularly about 8 years ago. He seemed to develop a particularly surly attitude around the time he got the Huff Post gig and, while it could be amusing to watch him tear into the occasional idiot, he seemed to cross the line far too often and was really overboard on the Brexit issue and his attack on good people like Kevin Ovenden. Nevertheless, he was a good writer and hope he does well.

  23. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman: Mind you, Ace of Spades is monumental

    And that advert he did. That was brilliant. By the way I saw Hawkwind live in 1985. Nottingham Rock City.

  24. John Grimshaw on said:

    jim mclean: Elvis Priestley or something.

    J. B. surely and I know for a fact that he’s brown bread in a church yard in Hubberholme.

  25. brianthedog: We should start a ‘Release the Vanya 1″ campaign.

    We could bust him out of prison by sending him a copy of Edgar Snow’s “Red Star over China” with a space cut out in the middle to hide a file.

  26. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman: No Vanya will have to delay his escape a bit longer

    Where is Vanya? I will have a secret meeting with him, if you like, with a copy of the Morning Star under my arm and a red carnation in my button. The password will be….?

  27. aberfoyle on said:

    brianthedog,

    I was walking the dog the other morning passed by a work place i used to work at some 20 years ago.It was almost seven am, and outside sat four workers all looking not to cheery to be there.I asked,is Peter, who was the boss still a arsehole,they said no,he sold the place some years back.I said when i worked here i was being paid $28-00 per hour,what are you getting to day,$18-00,no we get $17.00 how many of you are trade certified,two said they where,and $17.00 per hour was top dollar.
    Now twenty years ago,unionism was compulsory,and if you started before 8 in the morning you got time and a half travel time,and if you worked after 4pm,your first half hour was time and a half,and after that double time,also aside other human nature things as morning tea 15 minuets afternoon also and a half hour lunch.Today in the work place these are not allowed outside the 15 minuet lunch break.
    So some twenty years ago,the government changed,and introduced non voluntary unionism,within six month the unions where decimated of members, through their not understanding of one very important thing,that compulsory unionism,gave the worker the right to say to their employer,it is the law that says y ou have to pay the union fee out of my wage packet,and i cannot get out of it.
    So twenty odd years on,we have a work force with possible 15% of the work force being union,and the rest at the mercy of the employer,however,even those under union cover in the service and trades industry are being paid minimum wage of just above.
    So,it is the old story, join the union and stand fast, or not join,and get shaged every day,and the more they shag you,the randier they get.

    Now today where i am and today where you are,do you sit at tea break and stand up and say join the union,or do you hold back and don!t rock the boat.