Category Archives: Uncategorized

Class battles often begin when individuals stand their ground

This post started as an email response to an argument over whether reliance on Section 44 of the Employment Act/ Health & Safety of 1999 was risky. It grew into a longer reminiscence of something I had long been meaning to write.

When I  worked long ago in a notoriously unhealthy and dangerous steel works, Stanton near Nottingham, we often had disputes about safety. When I first worked there the plant had the worst industrial accident record in the East Midlands region. Worse than any colliery. More deaths, limbs lost, massive burns as well as cancers and lung disease as a result of fume inhalation.

Noise levels were rarely less than 100 decibels. In some areas over 125dB. Not surprisingly when the company was eventually required to give hearing tests, one third of the workers were found to be suffering from it, Including myself who religiously wore ear protection. Most likely the result of perhaps  a couple of shifts or part of shifts, like many of my work mates, when I didn’t stuff cotton wool in my ears – the only protection available in the first years. I suffered the consequences with Tinnitus ever since. Continue reading

The dirty infighting behind tactical votingi

The article in the Guardian today reports how angry Anna Soubry is for being excluded as the PV campaign’s preferred candidate in her constituency of Broxtowe.

She is quoted “What are they going to do in Broxtowe? The People’s Vote campaign have to get behind the people who launched the idea of a people’s vote. We were making the case in the face of total derision from some people who are now on board.”…

The article continues “Organisers acknowledge that there will be hard cases in which “brutal” decisions will have to be taken” Poor old Soubz.

[PLEASE NOTE, THE PV CAMPAIGN IS DISTINCT FROM THE CONCEPT OF A PEOPLES VOTE, OR FINAL SAY REFERENDUM. I SUPPORT THE SECOND NOT THE FIRST.]

So which way should Remain voters vote? Sure, lots of voters are confused about where Labour stands on the issue of Brexit. It took a lot of time explaining to MPs and candidates that hiding from the racist backlash within the Brexit movement was not the way forward. Some Labour MPs and candidates still stupidly refuse to personally call for a final say referendum. Continue reading

The unbelievable coyness of Amber Rudd’s being

There are two surprising things about Rudd’s resignation and the response of other business Tories sacked by Johnson.

The first is her and their complete lack of fight to save their party. They are just giving up – they appear as petulant as the leader they leave behind.

The second thing is how coy they are about their ambitions. It is as if they have never been politicians. “Nah, just not that interested”.

At this time, at this place they become apathetic? I’m sorry, I just don’t believe it.

The only sense I can make of it is that something is afoot. Continue reading

Workers must take lead in Hong Kong

Yesterday Chief Executive, de facto ruler of Hong Kong said she was considering using Emergency Regulations –

Hong Kong’s emergency powers are viciously totalitarian.

They are a remnant of HK’s colonised past – last used against ‘Cultural Revolution’ Maoists in 1967. They could be a stepping-stone into potential HK absorption into the China regime.

Many protestors expect invocation of Emergency Regulations soon and there are no end of tweets with the hashtag #HKlastwords. They expect the total closure of the Internet and their own arrest facing life imprisonment or extradition to China to face worse.

At the same time the police banned the more radical trade union federation, the CTU, holding a rally. The implications for CTU affiliated workers who work at the target of the protest – Cathay Pacific airline who have sacked 20 democrats – are extreme. They would face immediate dismissal.

The rally has been relocated but may still face legal harassment.

Hong Kong teachers, one of the most militant sections of HK workers and also affiliated to the CTU, are being named as trouble-makers by the People’s Daily of the Chinese regime. They are clearly targeted for arrest.

I think Carrie Lam is making threats on Emergency Powers that she may not be able to deliver. She doesn’t have sufficient forces of repression to enforce the totalitarian elements of the emergency powers.

The Chinese regime is known to be divided between ‘hawks’ and ‘doves’ regarding Hong Kong. If Beijing sends their army in, it will massively damage not only the Hong Kong economy but that of the whole of China.

The protestors need to stick to their demands, refuse to be intimidated and seek out additional and alternative working class methods of struggle; strikes, defiance built in working class neighbourhoods etc.

However the Hong Kong trade unions are still new. Unlike the South African trade unions during the dying days of apartheid that were modeled on the Lula-led Brazilian unions, the Hong Kong ones are modeled on British unions of the post-Thatcher era. Focusing almost exclusively on workplace bargaining. There is no history of them organising united working class political struggle.

They need to learn fast. A successful fight for democracy in Hong Kong needs them.

And new layers of working class activists are getting involved.

A general strike is planned on Sept 2-3. It’s announcement an hour ago is the first picture. https://www.facebook.com/200954406608272/posts/2394427653927592?sfns=mo

There is an informative Twitter thread on https://twitter.com/kongtsunggan/status/1166602215525625856?s=21

If you are on Twitter, Kong Tsung-Gan’s well worth a follow

Students are marching today as universities start up -2nd and 3rd pictures.

The CTU Cathay workers have just started their rally now.

There is both determination and hope in spite of the shameful silence from elsewhere in the world.

Speech on Johnson’s taking power

Made at protest in Nottingham on Monday, 22nd July


50 of us in Nottingham came back on Saturday from Another Europe Is Possible’s protest in London. On this occasion 100,000 people marched under the No to Boris, No to Brexit call. The two cannot be separated.

Johnson is where he is now because of the demand from Tory members for a new party, significantly worse than any Tory Party before.

There was a time when the Tories used to promote themselves as the professionals in running capitalism. Some people, including workers voted for them because they thought they knew how to run the economy in alliance with their big business friends.

We now have a Tory Party that models itself on UKIP and hopes to pull the Brexit Party into it. Continue reading

They’ve gone – and there is nothing we should want to do about it

It is hardly news that seven Labour MPs are leaving the Party or their proclaimed reasons.

The reasons they give are shallow but not without any substance. The Party has not got to grips with left antisemitism and its failure to be clear in opposing Brexit has lost it a great many opportunities to blast this, the worst Tory government ever.

But these aren’t the real reasons why the ‘Gang of the Seven’ are quitting.

The real reasons are these. Continue reading

Why De Piero doesn’t understand her constituents

Ashfield’s Labour MP, Gloria de Piero has written an interesting but superficial article for the New Statesman examining the Leave views of some of her constituents.

Gloria is on the right of the Labour Party. She is a continuing opponent of Labour’s 2015 Corbyn turn and two weeks ago defied Labour’s whip and abstained on taking control of the Article 50 deadline away from May.

Her article is fairly certainly her justification for possibly further supporting a Tory Brexit.

The most interesting bit of the article are the interviews with working class Leave voters. However there is nothing here that would surprise anyone who campaigned in working class areas against Brexit in either 2016 or now.

Ironically the Leave voters she interviewed are unlikely Labour voters. Only one having voted Labour before – and that was not recently. And, although she reports they were not strongly anti-immigrant, she doesn’t seem to ask them much on that. Continue reading