"I have long argued that the giving of offence, and even hate speech, should be a moral matter but not a matter for the criminal law. That is as true on the football pitch as on the streets. We should always challenge racism. We should also always challenge attacks on liberties in the guise of faux antiracism." Kenan Malik

Cuts

Mark McGowan: Possibly The Greatest Ranter In The World. We Salute You! #artisttaxidriver



Opinion: I Remember, In Fact I’ll Never Forget…


“Remember when Teachers, Civil Servants, Policemen, Ambulance staff, Nurses, Midwives, Doctors and Fireman crashed the stock market, wiped out banks, took billions in bonuses and paid no tax? No, me neither.”

So goes the recent profile update that is doing the rounds on Facebook and Twitter.

While I agree wholeheartedly, there are however things I CAN remember.

I remember the first time I was brutally assaulted and knocked unconscious by a tooled up gang….of police.

I remember losing my house due to unsubstantiated complaints by a neighbour who was in the BNP….by the nice people in the housing office.

I remember it taking five years to get custody of my small vulnerable children from their mentally ill mother because my word as a father was not given as much importance as the denials of maltreatment by their mother…by the nice lady social worker.

I remember being cut off the dole and having to beg on the street for money due to refusal of help…from the nice people at the Jobcentre.

I remember years of verbal, mental and physical abuse….at the hands of teachers.

I remember being brutalized and tormented while in custody and how currently a friend is having his mail thrown away…by prison officers.

I remember the year long battle to sort out my PAYE deductions that left me having to work an extra 4 hours a day just to break even…by the most helpful people at the tax office.

Yes, I remember.

It’s just as well I also remember that I’d never cross a picket line and I’ll be phoning in sick on November 30th because members of my union are going on strike. Ironic isn’t it….

Rick Dutton


‘Norfolk County Council Ready For Strike Action’


Always enjoyable to read that the County Council are ‘reassuring’ the public! And if you don’t feel ‘reassured’ you can always get in touch with the Councillors named at the bottom of this piece, not for further ‘reassurance’ you understand…but for their individual ‘political comment’….

As you were…

Norfolk County Council is reassuring the public that plans are in place to minimise any potential disruption during next Wednesday’s one-day national strike.

It is impossible at this stage to predict what the exact impact will be but the County Council will post any closures or disruption on the home page of its website – http://www.norfolk.gov.uk – as soon as information becomes available. Your local radio station will also have updates during the day.

So far the County Council has been informed of 43 full of partial school closures but as schools are communicating with parents and carers direct we expect this figure to be substantially higher on the day.

People are being urged to help the authority on Wednesday by only calling about emergency or time critical issues and not about routine matters if at all possible.

Cliff Jordan, Cabinet Member for Efficiency, said: “We are doing our utmost to limit the effects of next Wednesday’s action on front-line services and will try to keep essential services running, wherever possible. Departments are currently working to understand the impact at a local level, and directing resources to support the most vulnerable service users in line with our well established business continuity plans.

“We anticipate a large number of Norfolk’s schools will be closed on Wednesday and parents and carers should expect to be kept informed by the head teacher concerned. We have asked schools to inform families as soon as possible about their plans. I would urge people to contact their school direct if they need further clarification.

“Outside of schools we expect most County Council services, such as care services, park and ride, recycling centres and libraries, to be open for business but we will try to let people know of any disruption as soon as possible.”

County Hall will be open as will the County Council’s Customer Service Centre, which will prioritise emergency social care and highways calls.

Norse Care, which runs 26 care homes and provides care at 13 housing with care schemes in Norfolk, is implementing its contingency plans.

Tricia Fuller, Norse Group Human Resources Director, said: “We can assure residents and their families that we are doing everything we can to maintain the smooth running of all Norse Care homes in Norfolk.

“Arrangements are being made to ensure that sufficient care staff are available to cover for any who do not come in on 30 November. Our priority will be our residents’ welfare and we are confident that this can be safeguarded, even if there may be some disruption to their normal day.”

ENDS>

Notes for Editors

There are 414 NCC schools (3 nurseries, 359 primaries, 39 secondaries, one all-through school, 11 special schools and one short stay school (formally PRU), split across four sites).

There are 15 academies and one free school.

In total there are 430 state funded schools in Norfolk.

For political comment

Corporate Affairs and Efficiency:

Cllr Cliff Jordan (Cons) Cabinet Member for Efficiency on 01362 820422 (daytime)

Cllr Diana Clarke (Lib Dem) on 07920 286637

Cllr Jennifer Toms (Green) on 01603 610032

Cllr Colleen Walker (Lab) on 01493 782272

http://www.norfolk.gov.uk/News/NCC096136


Localism Cuts To Council Housing


Some News In On The Attacks On Public Housing.

‘Self financing’ reform of Council housing finance is based on systematic underfunding. Already Birmingham, Nottingham and other councils plan to demolish thousands of council homesBarking and Dagenham Council are discussing whole stock transfer, in face of Government plans to raise Right to Buy discounts, with no receipts available for new council housing.

A national protest at Parliament next week will challenge Government attacks and demand action to build the homes we need. A Housing Emergency protest on 15 November will oppose attacks on tenancies, rents and benefits, and demand new Council housing – see leaflet. AndDCH Briefing on the Localism Bill.

The Localism Bill, which MPs are now voting through, introduces fixed term tenancies, and powers to reduce succession rights, end homeless access to council housing and remove thousands from housing waiting lists.

Come to Parliament 4pm 15th Nov – bring banners and placards. Arrange to see your MPs to put the case for council housing. See Localism Bill Briefing and leaflet.

Come to the meeting 5pm Committee Room 15 House of Commons, with MPs, councillors, trade unions, tenants and others.

Council consultation on Landlord (Tenancy) policies
Lobby Councils to reject permissive powers, stop fixed term tenancies, up to 80% market rents, and cuts in access to council housing. Organise speakers, meetings and lobbies for a joint tenant, union and councillors’ campaign for investment in the council housing we need – see council resolution.
DCH meeting 10 December 
National meeting 12-4pm 10 December in Camden Town Hall Judd St London WC1H 9JE see map here

 

 

 

http://www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk/dch/dch_displaybroadcast.cfm?ID=2172

 


Councils to demolish homes to cut HRA debt

Councils will demolish thousands of homes to slash the amount of debt they take on under the imminent reform of the housing subsidy system.

Some authorities have drawn up plans in a matter of months this year to knock down hundreds of homes for financial gain. Other councils have fast-tracked proposals, an Inside Housing investigation has found.

They have acted because of an in-built ‘demolition deadline’ in plans to scrap the housing revenue account. Under the system the majority of town halls in England will take on a share of the existing £21 billion national housing debt based on the number of properties they own.

But stock set to be demolished before 2017 will not be included in the calculations – providing a sizeable financial incentive to demolish. It is understood the number of homes councils told the Communities and Local Government department they will demolish exceeded its expectations.

Nottingham and Birmingham councils have drawn up some of the most eye-catching plans – proposing to flatten more than 2,000 homes between them. All councils argue the homes picked would be costly to maintain and would not have a long-term future anyway.

Michael Gelling, chair of the Tenants’ and Residents’ Organisations of England, said: ‘You have all this pressure [waiting lists] on the social housing sector and this will make it worse.’

In a paper seen by Nottingham Council’s executive board last month, the council, which currently has 13,000 people on its waiting list, said its arm’s-length management organisation had assessed all 29,000 of its homes as a result of the HRA reforms.

Demolishing 973 homes would reduce its HRA debt by £10.2 million. But the plans could prove controversial in some areas – 50 per cent of residents responded to consultation on one 209-home estate, with 51 per cent of those saying they favoured demolition.

Birmingham plans to flatten up to 1,279 homes. It failed to respond to Inside Housing’sinquiries but reportedly had more than 17,000 people on its waiting list earlier this year.

Council reports said the homes would be ‘costly to maintain’ and that the job to identify homes ‘is now underway as it will save a lot of money in debt repayment costs if tower blocks are identified for demolition by September’.

A paper presented to Eastbourne Council, which is demolishing a number of retirement blocks, added, ‘further demolitions and disposals of retirement courts will be necessary to allow the council to develop a viable HRA business plan’.

Ian Fitzpatrick, senior head of community at Eastbourne Council, said: ‘This process is all about good asset management over the long term.’

A CLG spokesperson said: ‘As landlords, local authorities are best placed to manage their housing stock taking account of local conditions, both of the housing stock itself and demand.’

http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/development/councils-to-demolish-homes-to-cut-hra-debt/6518666.article




Is #ChloeSmithMP Taking The Piss?


 

"We've discovered rubbing these chocolates all over your skin then seven pairs of thermals will work wonders. Just don't eat the chocs..they're fattening."

Well, you judge for yourselves!

Ms.Smith has been up at Asda on the Norwich ring road today launching her new Warm Up For Winter campaign, which offers advice to people on how best to fight off the cold in the coming months and ‘potentially save lives’.

Obviously she regards the days ‘campaigning’ as a bit of a blinder…

“It was really successful, and a lot of people were extremely interested in the information we had available and I was glad they found it helpful.

It was also positive to work alongside the council and have Age UK provide literature.

No one should face the choice between food and fuel. Too many of the elderly and vulnerable in our community suffer in the cold weather. This winter, it does not have to be that way.

If you have any questions about the help available to the elderly or vulnerable during the winter, please do come and see me at the surgery. I will have information on the financial assistance available as well as lots of practical and simple tips for keeping warm.”

Now we’re sure many of you will want to take her up on her piss-taking offer and get her to explain how exactly Tory cuts will reduce the annual mortality rate of elderly people who die of cold and lack of food during winter. This currently stands at around 25,000 people in the UK so we’re really interested in what this advice she’s offering could possibly be! Fifty push ups in the garden or chucking another family photo album on the hearth perhaps?

Here’s a tip …Jog on Chloe! (Now there’s an idea…)

Her next surgery will be at St George’s Church on Sprowston Road on December 4 at 11.30am.

See you there! 

 


N9 Day of Action events


/ / Student march & demonstration / /

Assemble 12 Noon
University of London Union ULU
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HY
» MAP
» Route of march

The route will take the march from its starting point on Malet Street, through Trafalgar Square and up the Strand, before passing St Pauls’s and rallying at Moorgate Junction. This follows the decision to march on the City, rather than to Parliament, in the midst of fresh financial crises and Occupy LSX.

Website: http://nov9.strikenow.org.uk/
Background information: http://anticuts.com/2011/10/28/november-9th-national-demo-route-confirmed-as-students-prepare-for-the-autumn-of-discontent/

/ / Electricians day of action / /

Rank and file construction industry workers called for a day of action against the attack on pay and contracts conditions.

1st Demonstration 
7:00am
The Pinnacle building site (Bishopsgate Tower)
22-24 Bishopsgate
London EC2N 4BQ
» MAP

2nd Demonstration
11:30am
The Shard
St Thomas Street
London SE1 9SY
» MAP

3rd Demonstration
1:30pm
Blackfriars station construction site
Queen Victoria St
London EC4V 4DY
» MAP

Background information: http://jibelectrician.blogspot.com/
Unite union:https://unitetheunion.org/sectors/construction/unite_for_me_workers/campaign_updates/national_day_of_protest_-_wedn.aspx

/ / Taxi drivers protests / /

London taxi drivers will be holding a day of protest over attacks on the licensed taxi trade, organised by RMT union:

Demonstration
2:00 – 4:00pm
Headquarters of TFL (Transport For London)
42-50 Victoria Street
London SW1 0TL
» MAP

followed by general cab drivers demonstration at
4:00pm
Trafalgar Square
London WC2N
» MAP

Background information: http://www.rmt.org.uk/Templates/Internal.asp?NodeID=151765

/ / Occupy London permanent protest camp / /

OccupyLSX Teach-out
10:30am
Russell Square
London WC1B
» MAP

General Assembly
1:00pm
Occupy London
Steps of St Paul’s Cathedral
London EC4M 8AD
» MAP

Website: http://occupylondon.org.uk/


The Assault on Education.


 by Tony Barrett

Conservative: OED definition;

1. Averse to change or innovation and holding traditional values.

2. Favouring free enterprise, private ownership, and socially conservative ideas.

 

Placing good and Higher Education out of the reach of those that are not part of the ruling elite, or the economically powerful, is a step backward. During the Victorian era good and Higher Education was not for the masses, eventually through reform and investment a high standard of ‘free’ education was made available to us ‘the masses’ (Today this free education is still available, however if the Conservatives have their way it soon, will become a right of the past, and we will witness the education system reverting back to where it was 100 years ago.)

During the 1960s many a new University and campus sprung up to accommodate the mass influx of new students eager to exploit this newfound right of ‘free Education for all’, this decade also saw rapid and radical change, we were now better educated therefore felt able to challenge our masters, through education and attaining knowledge, we the masses had grown in confidence and become powerful.

 

‘It is this power that the ruling elite fear

 

In 2012 we will see Universities in England begin to charge up to £9000:00 for fees, Politicians have expressed their amazement that all universities are going to charge the full amount, whilst still believing that social mobility is still high on the agenda.

 

‘It beggars belief that those in charge of our country can not equate that withdrawal of central funding to Universities will result in said institutions having to raise their fees substantially in order to provide and deliver the best service’

 

This can only lead to Good and Higher Education only being available for the wealthy. The Tories have wanted to “change and rationalise” the education system since as far back as 1984, if not before.

In 1984 a senior Department of Education Officer warned in a report that

 

 

“Legislative powers might be necessary to change and rationalise the schools curricula. We are in a period of considerable social change. There may be social unrest, but we can cope with the Toxteths, the Brixtons, the Handsworth, and the Miners. But if we have A Highly Educated and Idle Population, we may possibly anticipate more serious social conflict.”

 

‘People must be educated to once more know their place’

 

At this time the Department of Education was under the leadership of Sir Keith Joseph, I find it difficult to think that Sir Keith knew of the contents of that report considering that;

 

‘In 1984 Sir Keith’s public spending negotiations with his Treasury colleagues resulted in a proposed plan for extra research funding for universities financed through the curtailment of financial support to students who were dependent children of more affluent parents. This plan provoked heated opposition from fellow members of the Cabinet.’ (Cecil Parkinson was his most vocal opposition)

 

The suggestion that they could cope with the Toxteths etc…. goes to show that Tories have little if no respect for the working classes i.e. the Miners Or the non-white community as the Social Unrest that took place in Toxteth, Handsworth and Brixton were ‘Race Riots’ They however did fear what they named the ‘Highly Educated Idle’. The Tories were extremely aware of the correlation between ‘Knowledge and Power’; they fear the masses becoming highly educated. They saw the working-class and Non-white population as having a low standard of education therefore lacking in knowledge and unable to pose a challenge to their authority, If they did start to challenge then their protests were met with state sponsored violence.

 

To have knowledge is to have an advantage over those without. It enables those with knowledge to dupe those without, creating leaders (those with power) and those that follow (sheep). They need the masses to follow without question. A highly educated population “If” organised can pose a considerable political threat and challenge. If this highly educated population is idle the political threat becomes greater, as they sit about and plot challenges to the ruling elite.

 

For over forty years we have seen the slow demise of the Ideology of free education, Even at Primary school education is only free if one is content to let their child get the basic bare minimum out of the education system. It smacks of hypocrisy, those who are pushing forward these reforms and those before them during the 1980s that voted in the changes to funding in Higher Education, were all beneficiaries of a Free Grant system, the ability to claim housing benefit (During Term Time as well as during the Vacations) and the availability of dole during the times that the Universities were on holiday.

 

‘Universities are fountains of knowledge, from which all those wanting to drink, should be allowed’

 

The destruction of a fair education system began with the change from a three-tier education system to that of just one option (State Comprehensive Schools). The old system categorised pupils according to ability. The Grammar Schools were the gateways into Universities for pupils from less affluent backgrounds. These Grammar Schools threatened the elite ness of the Higher Education system, meaning that not only would,

 

‘Public School Boys have to rub shoulders with those they had always seen as beneath them, also knowledge was being opened up to the masses leading to the ruling elite believing their power base was under threat:’

Hence the statement;

 

‘People must be educated to once more know their place’

 

What must have really annoyed them was once those from less affluent backgrounds gained entry into Higher Education it was for ‘free’. The ruling class must have been aghast at the thought of giving the masses the tools with which their power and authority could be challenged, “Nam liber”

 

With the destruction of the Technical Schools and discontinuation of Apprenticeships, saw another attack upon the education system one can only surmise that the reasons for this was to curtail the numbers gaining top qualifications within industry therefore enabling them a better wage, resulting in large sectors of society being able to climb the economic ladder, gaining economic power. Economic power and knowledge make a formidable mix as we climb up the social ladder our norms and values can and do go through change. If I did not go to University and was in the position economically to support my children I would encourage them to enter Higher Education. With the destruction of our education system this form of social mobility is being curtailed.

 

As long as the ruling elite can deliver a poor education system to the masses it will never fear the masses challenging them. Whilst it changes the funding system for higher education to suit the needs of the wealthy it will not fear its power base being eroded or diluted by a highly educated society. It is all about social control and the need to retain that authority and power amongst their own class.