Archive for October, 2010

Comprehensive Attack on the Working Class

October 21, 2010

I’ve published a response to the Comprehensive Spending Review over at Cedar Lounge Revolution

Privatised Eleven Plus in Postcode Lottery Non-Shock

October 9, 2010

Good story in the Belfast Telegraph demonstrating how far a child’s chance of getting into a grammar school is determined by geography. The story concentrates on the fact that in some schools in places like Belfast, only children with the top grade were accepted. While in other grammar schools, children from every grade were accepted.

What the story doesn’t do, however, is link the question of geography to class, which remains the main determinant of getting access to a grammar school education. That is the real lottery here.


Let’s Cut Straight to the New Thatcherism

October 4, 2010

And so, inevitably, the Tories have stepped up their war against the working people of the UK. We all know why child benefit was introduced, and why it has proven to be a good thing in terms of ensuring children get what they need. Sure, the thought of millionaires claiming for it is hard to take, but even in rich families, there can be an abusive and domineering partner who starves the children and their main carer of money, and for whom the child benefit can be important. Moreover, the blatantly silly fact that a single parent earning just over £44,000 can have the benefit cut while a couple with a combined income of £86,000 if they earn £43,000 each shows just what an inept and ill-thought through idea this is. That in itself is something of a sideshow compared to the idea of replaced all benefits with a universal credit. This again is not something that has been properly fleshed out, but we can be sure that the aim is to cut the amount of money paid to those who need it most. The sickening and callous attitude of the Tories is revealed in this story from the Guardian, where the prospect of uprooting families from central London due to capping benefits is blithely dismissed in terms relevant to the market and not principles of social justice.

And to go along with this, we have Boris Johnson. Good old Boris, the bumbling likeable buffoon. The nice face of the Tory party – after all hasn’t he said that immigration is a good thing, and that he supports a living minimum wage for London? Yeah. Today we get the real Boris, the vicious Thatcherite, seeking to finish off what is left of union rights after the Thatcher and Blair years.

Warning that the tube strike was an “omen for the entire country as we struggle to come out of recession”, he urged ministers to “consider a law insisting on a minimum 50% participation in a strike ballot”.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) claimed only 33% of those balloted supported the tube strike, with the organisation proposing legislation that would require 40% of balloted union members to be in favour of a strike.

However, the unions have pointed out that Boris is seeking to apply a higher threshold of legitimacy to union ballots than politicians are held to – simple majorities win elections in Britain, regardless of the turnout. Why should it be different for unions? Class war is the simple answer.

Final word to Bob Crow of the RMT and Gerry Doherty of the TSSA, the two unions taking industrial action on the Tube today.

The RMT leader, Bob Crow, and Gerry Doherty, of the TSSA, told Cameron: “This strike is not about ‘irresponsible militants’ taking on the coalition – it is about London Underground staff giving up a day’s pay to put safety first.

“Indeed, if the mayor simply kept to his election promises regarding adequate staffing on London Underground, there would be no dispute.”

If Boris gets his way, there will be and can be no labour movement in the UK. Miliband and his cronies, as well as the Lib Dems, have a duty to stand up and be counted if they wish to be seen as progressive.