Saturday, February 27, 2010

International Correspondence

There is a new magazine out this week, produced by my friends in the Fourth International.

More when it becomes available

Friday, February 26, 2010

An excellent new blog

There is an excellent new blog on the blogosphere.

The worldwide socialist network is a group of socialists active in the labour movement, many of whom come from the former Militant tendency background.

Here is a short excerpt of what they stand for:

a worldwide network for socialists!

It has been reckoned that the world is effectively in the hands of some 6000 billionaires: that is to say that national governments, local authorities, trans-national bureaucracies such as the various commissions and agencies of the European Union and of the United Nations as well as the terrifying death-machines deployed by NATO and others exist primarily to serve the immediate needs of the biggest global businesses: hence perpetual never-ending wars – to grab the world’s diminishing non-sustainable resources from the hands of the people who live around them and to secure them from rival would-be super-powers: hence rising inequality everywhere, increasing misery, starvation and disease for the bottom 2/3rds of humanity and increasing exploitation, cheap marketing tricks, cuts in jobs, pay, unionisation, welfare and health, theft of pensions, privatisation of public services, utilities etc.,

All this for the immediate apparent benefit of one person in a million and their inevitable hangers-on.

Their returns are getting ever harder to be sure of: their capital is ever harder to dispose of profitably: investment goes increasingly to fantasy future schemes, speculation in food futures and all sorts of imaginary and invented ‘products’ – their system is breaking down: the world financial crisis is but one aspect.

Modern capitalism had shown a total incapacity to organise effectively against what all now know could lead to the destruction of much of life on the planet – even while it has given rise to the technical means potentially to ensure a comfortable and productive life for all. This is something they will and can not grant us. While they rule the world our prospects are dismal.

But theirs is not the only way. What they will not give us we must take. What is needed is a universal party run for, by and on behalf of all those who have no ‘independent means’, all those who work for a living. The workers of the world have no vested interest in the continuing destruction of civilisation. Today experience has given them the knowledge and experience, the imagination and enterprise, the sheer capacity for work to run the world a thousand times over. Could they only act decisively with one voice everywhere the path to a safe future could be carved out.

But for the workers of the entire world to come together in such a way would be a monumentally difficult task of coordination. Their trade unions and surviving political parties would have to be transformed top-to-bottom.
This site grew out an online discussion forum:

Many shades of socialist thought are represented on this list. There is no ‘party line’ None of us believes that we are the force that will be able to re-form the workers’ movement. Nor are we even the embryo of such a force. But all are committed to do what we can to engage in fight-to-win campaigns on behalf of workers where we can and to promote the general ideas that we believe in.

Caroline Bedale and the Certification officer

What a simply excellent decision!

It is good to know that the rules of the union apply equally to all union members regardless of which wing of the union you are on.

I hope that the leadership of the union now realise that baiting the left is not a useful pastime. I somehow doubt it though.

Well done Caroline.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Starting up again

Well folks, we are back after an absence of some year...

now I have two children aged two and a half and a year old!!!

More later


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Terror in Gaza

I shall be publishing some pictures of the demonstration yesterday, which came just as the terrible news of the land invasion of Gaza came through.

Comrades should listen to Ralph Schoenman's radio show, Taking Aim, for insight into the Hidden History of Zionism and world events. I think their comments are excellent.



Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rural TSC

Ah well, this is what rural Terrington St Clement looks like! And that's on a good day!

Off to wild Norfolk

We are off to the wilds of rural fen tiger land tomorrow to visit my poor old mum who lives in a care home, Terrington Lodge, in the village she grew up in, Terrington St Clements!

I am going to start blogging more regularly and about issues related to social care, as this is one person whom Direct Payments do not suit!

It will be Danny's first really discernable visit to the home of his father!

Stop the Witchhunt of Social Workers

Baby P: Social work campaigners launch 'anti-witch hunt' petition

writes Louise Hunt

The campaigning body Social Work Action Network (Swan) has today launched its own petition to condemn the "witch hunt" against the profession fuelled by the Baby P case.

Swan said it was responding to "an unprecedented campaign in sections of the media against social workers in Haringey".

More than 200,000 people have so far signed The Sun newspaper's online petition, launched last week, calling for the government to sack all the social workers involved in the Baby P case and the council's director of children's services, Sharon Shoesmith. Other petitions have appeared on social networking sites.
Article continues below the advertisement

The Swan petition has already been signed by social workers from across the country.

Witch hunts don't address issues

Swan representative Dr Michael Lavalette, senior lecturer in social policy at the University of Liverpool, said: "Such witch hunts don't address any of the issues raised by the Baby P case - indeed they serve to cover up the real causes of the terrible tragedy: budgetary constraints, marketisation of care, social workers with excessive case-loads, child poverty, inequality - these are the issues we need to look at to reduce child harm."

Swan, which formed in March 2006, is an organisation of social work academics, practitioners, students and service users.
Have your say on the Baby P case and its implications on CareSpace.

Baby P: A Statement from the Social Work Action Network.

Stop the Witchhunt of Social Workers.

The awful death of the child named as “Baby P” at the hands of his mother and other carers is an up-to-date reminder of the challenge social workers and fellow practitioners face in seeking to safeguard children from harm.

Eight years after the death of Victoria Climbie it is clear that on a daily basis many children continue to experience harm, neglect and abuse – even where health and social care professionals are involved.

However, the outcry from politicians and the media against care professionals in general and social workers in particular is unwarranted and counter-productive.

Against the condemnation of social workers, we roundly condemn the abuse of press powers best exemplified by the actions of the Sun newspaper in mounting a national public petition for the sacking of social workers involved with the case of Baby P, and associated practitioners.

The publication of these individual’s photographs alongside requests for anyone who knows them to contact the newspaper represents a witchhunt and call to persecution that places them at direct personal risk.

The effect of such scapegoating will inevitably place more children at greater risk, having caused anxiety and demoralisation amongst key practitioners, and created additional barriers to positive and effective work with families where there are concerns.

The scapegoating also diverts attention from what we see as the three main contributing factors to such tragedies.

First, there is the underfunding of social work services. It is timely to observe that, whilst more than £500 billion has been dedicated to bail out the UK banking system, children’s services remain at spending levels proportionate to GDP of 1993.

Second, the past 10 years has seen the introduction of market forces into every area of social care. The result is that social workers are now pre-occupied with budgets rather than the needs of those they work with, and are forced to spend increasing amounts of time in front of computers rather than spending time with families who need support and help.

Finally, all of this takes place in a context where children in Britain are amongst the most disadvantaged in Europe with at least 1 in 4 children living in poverty, educational achievement among the poorest in the western world, and UK children last in the league for quality of life.

With the recession, including unemployment rising at an unprecedented rate, our great fear is that social work will be further eroded at a time of rapidly increasing deprivation and alienation.

Neglect of social services will result in more neglect of children.

(Iain Ferguson, Vassilis Ioakimidis, Michael Lavalette on Behalf of the Social Work Action Network)


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

And the hat-trick...

...and here's another

and another piccy...from the UNISON pay strike earlier this year

Morning dose of Danno

My Danny, 18 months on 4th november, was deeply thrilled today when he saw the dustcart. As I didn't get a piccy I shall put some others up here instead before work, while he's having his breakfast