Friday, 24 October 2014

Karen's Full Frontal Feminism Derided

KAREN Danczuk's brave proclamation of full-frontal feminism, has now been challenged by the old-fashioned Socialist from Whitworth, the Hon. Alderman Eileen Kershaw.  Hon. Alderman Kershaw has written a letter in tomorrow's Rochdale Observer entitled 'Karen is insult to great socialist women':
'So you want to know what other women feel about Karen Danczuk's behaviour, particularly in view of the fact that she has sought office in the town (Rochdale) as an elected representative on the borough council, a position which has always commanded and generally earned respect from the electorate, those people who voted for someone they thought had thorough decent values and motives whose main objective was to unfailingly serve, represent and respect the needs of the ordinary citizen of the borough.'   
Alderman Kershaw writes that socialist women in the past 'were assertive, sometimes bossy and occasionally hard to please...' but '[t]here was always a strict code of dress and behaviour...'.    She then writes:  'They must be now turning in their graves at the antics of Karen Danczuk.'   The Alderman then lists some of her local heroines - 'Annie Taylor, Bertha Radcliffe, Clara Gordon, May Kaufman Alice Chorlton, Florence Allcroft and Evelyn Thornton.'   
So speaks Hon, Alderman Eileen Kershaw, who describes herself as 'a tyrant', commenting on Labour Councillor Karen Danczuk's full frontal feminism in presenting her deep cleavage in photos on the Internet.    
The good Alderman goes further arguing:
'Pack it in Karen. She is a disgrace and a permanent insult to all those intelligent women who may be long gone but also who will never be forgotten' and advising Karen 'don't ever stand for election again.'   
And yet, if we go back before the straight-laced worthy women-folk mentioned above, there was an aristocratic brand of women in the romantic movement that are now seen as forerunners to the modern feminists that had more of a free spirit like Karen. One only has to think of an earlier generation feminists: the likes of Mary Shelly and the poet Shelly and Byron, and the pre-Raphaelite women. 

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Barcelona: Making Everywhere the Same!

Threat to our culture from globalisation 

LAST July, residents of La Barceloneta, a seaside area of Barcelona, held street protests to object about the noisy tourists hanging around, and putting-up in overcrowded and unlicensed rented appartments.  This is port suburb of the city, where when I first visited in early 1963 it had a shanty encampment of migrant workers on the beach, and I wrote an article for the FIJL (young libertarian/ anarchist) publication 'Nueva Senda' entitled 'Where the tourist never go!'.  But since 1992, when this port area was tarted-up and overhauled for the Summer Olympic Games, this area has become more fashionable and tourist friendly. 

Barcelona had a record 7.5 million visitors last year, compared with about 1.5 million visitors before 1992.  More recently with the slow removal of rent controls Barcelona has suffered from a gradual gentrification with traditional shops being priced out by multi-national stores in the older parts of the city, and this is now destroying the character of the old historic town and provoking a questioning of what's going on.  Next May, Barcelona is down to hold municipal elections, and these issues are now on the political  agenda.  
Ada Colau, who is expected to run for Mayor of Barcelona as the candidate of of a leftist civic platform, has said she and her family stopped going to the Gothic Quarter because it was overwhelmed by foreign tourists and global brands.  She has said:  'The main attaction of Barcelona is a certain way of living, but we are allowing this to be replaced by what I would call a fast-food model.' 

In 2005, Tameside Trade Union Council invited the Catalan town planner Edward Masjuan, who was then associated with the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist CGT (General Confederation of Labour), to Manchester, and he spoke alongside the blacklisted electrician Steve Acheson at the Friend's Meeting House.  Mr. Masjuan then told us of the difficulties the city of Barcelona was facing, including the planning failures that had forced many of the traditional residents of the city out of the centre and areas like Barceloneta.  This had led to many having to live on the outskirts of the city and created social problems.  Masjuan also said that at that time political corruption was a serious concern in the city.  

Now with many traditional shops having to close down because of the higher rents being asked many jobs are being lost and it seems that the multi-national stores are winning the battle for business.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014


Managers like Liz Keates shedding crocodile tears now for her part in blacklisting 3,213 workers won't wash, neither will the Nuremberg Defence of "just following superior orders” says GMB
GMB will hold a protest demonstration in Wolverhampton on Thursday 23rd October to shame Liz Keates, Head of Employee Relations at Carillion plc named who was in Parliament as a blacklister. She has yet to come clean and apologise for the hurt and damage she did blacklisting 139 workers. See some examples below.
Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the ICO seized a Consulting Association database, run by Ian Kerr, of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.
This is the third date in a national “Crocodile Tears” protest tour to shame 63 construction industry managers named as blacklisters who have yet to come clean and apologise for their actions. See notes to editors 1 for the 10 dates in the first leg of a national tour and notes to editors 2 for the list the 63 managers and where they worked.
The details of the protest are as follows:

At 11am Thursday 23rd October,
Outside Carillion,
Birch Street
Wolverhampton, WV1 4HY
At the protest there will be a person in a crocodile suit accompanied by union members with flags and banners and slogans “Nuremberg defence on blacklisting won’t wash” and “Blacklisters come clean”.
GMB representatives from Carillion at Swindon PFI Hospital will be there. 51 GMB members are pursuing claims at an ET to hold Carillion to account for race discrimination, bullying and harassment and victimisation that Liz Keates failed to deal with at the hospital after 21 days of strike action in 2012. GMB members work as porters and housekeepers in catering and cleaning and other support roles. GMB members demanded that Carillion management act to stop the culture of bullying on the contract and for an end to discrimination in the application of pay and conditions on the contract.
Liz Keates (LK), Head of Employee Relations at Carillion plc was named by Ian Kerr as the main contact for Carillion / Crown House Engineering and Tarmac. She joined Crown House Engineering, which was part of Tarmac, in 1998.
The initials LK appear 92 times against 75 different individuals in the blacklist files while working for the company 3271/81, the code used for Crown House Engineering, Carillion and Tarmac. 64 separate workers have been refused work after Liz Keates checked their records with The Consulting Association. 11 of these were refused work twice and 2 workers refused work three times.
Carillion, and associated companies, have been described by Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd as ‘heavy users of the Consulting Association in terms of the amount of information provided by the Carillion Third Parties on workers. Further, the number of occasions on which the Carillion Third Parties are recorded as refusing employment to workers is particularly high compared to other members of the Consulting Association.’
These are some examples:

    · An electrician from Edinburgh blacklisted in 1977 applied to 3271/81 in March 2003, 26 years later and was not employed by LK.· An electrician from Dundee, blacklisted in November 1976 applied to work for 3271/81 26 years later in September 2002. LK given details and was not employed.
    · A pipefitter from Suffolk blacklisted in 1978 for being an alleged ‘strike leader’ in 1998 applied to 3271/81 and was not employed. He applied again in 2000, LK given details and not employed.
    · An electrician from Liverpool put on the blacklist by Costain in 1993 applied to work for 3271/81 in 2000, in 2003 and 2005. LK blacklisted him 3 times.
    · An electrician from Warrington was put on the blacklist by Haden Young with the comments ‘would not re-employ – assistant shop steward” applied to 3271/81 in 2003, LK given details and not employed.
    · An electrician from Essex was put on the blacklist in 1977.’ Applied to 3271/81 26 years later in 2003, LK given details and not employed.
    · Same contact, same outcome for a Glaswegian plumber blacklisted in 1978 when applying to 3271/81 for a job in October 2000, 22 years later.
    · One electrician from Tooting applied to 3271/81 on 4 occasions in 2000, 2002 and 2003. Refused work all four times, three of those times by LK.
    · A pipefitter from Essex was put on to the blacklist in 1980 because he was spoken to by a journalist from the Morning Star and their replies formed a feature article in the paper. Because of this he was not employed by LK in 2002 when he applied to work for 3271/81.
    · An electrician from London blacklisted by Morgan Est on the Jubilee Line’ in 1998 was refused work by LK and 3271/81 at their Norfolk & Norwich Hospital site. Another electrician from Gateshead was also refused work on this hospital site in 2000.
    · An electrician from Braintree, blacklisted in 1985 for being ‘politically motivated’ was refused work in 2003 by LK and 3271/81.
    · In 1977 an electrician from Manchester found himself put on the blacklist for being ‘mixed up with a left wing organisation’. He applied for work in 2003 with 3271/81, LK given details and not employed.
    · An electrician from Glasgow was put on the blacklist in 1978 as an ex-employee of Balfour Beatty. Despite further information stating that a company ‘experienced no problems’ with him and ‘did not regard him as an activist’ he applied to work for 3271/81 twice in 2002. On both occasions LK was given details and not employed.
    · A welder from Kent was put on the blacklist in 2000 by LK for being a ‘main agitator with mechanical sub-sub-contractor at Pfizer, Kent.’ After this he was refused work twice by Skanska.
    · A joiner from Hartlepool applied to work for 3271/81 on the GCHQ, Cheltenham contract. Danny O’Sullivan at Kier blacklisted him in 1997 for having been ‘drawn along by the course of events at JLE. Not in front-line of action’. He was refused work by LK in 2002 and again in 2003.
    · An electrician from Glasgow, blacklisted in 1974 for being a deputy shop steward at the Methil Power Station Site applied to 3271/81 for the Hymires Hospital contract in 2000. LK was given details and did not employ.
    · An electrician from Durham, blacklisted in 2003 by Costain at Barrow Power Station was refused employment twice in 2003 by LK.
    · An electrician from Croydon, blacklisted in 1985 was refused work by LK on their Gatwick Airport contract in 2000.

    On October 16th there was a hearing in the High Court on compensation for 122 GMB members blacklisted by Carillion and other construction employers on claims served in November 2013. GMB’s claims were joined with a further 449 claims by other unions and parties at a High Court Hearing in July 2014. The next hearing is 17th December
Talks between GMB and lawyers for Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC on a compensation scheme broke down in June over the amount of money being put into the scheme. Employers have unilaterally launched a cut price scheme GMB estimates will cost less than 2% of the combined profits of the eight construction firms.
So far 1,724 out of the 3,213 on the list know they are on blacklist and of these 570 cases are covered by claims in the High Court. That leaves 1,489 still to trace. See notes to editors for details of where those blacklisted come from.

Justin Bowden, GMB national officer, said “Liz Keates and the rest might have thought they had got away scot-free, so shedding crocodile tears now for the systematic blacklisting of 3,213 building workers and environmentalists won't wash, neither will the Nuremberg Defence of "just following superior orders".
These so-called HR Professionals who ran the blacklists for the construction companies knew exactly what they were doing and they need to either apologise, come clean and say what they did, or get used to accounting in public for the damage they did to those they blacklisted and their families, especially with the Public Inquiry Labour has pledged after the next election.
Just as the construction companies who paid their wages are being called to account in parliament, the courts and the media, every single one of these secret blacklisters will have their role dissected in public.'
Contact Carolle Vallelley on 07912 181 476 or Justin Bowden on 07710 631351 or Maria Ludkin 07956 632 657 or GMB press office at 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823
For information on High Court action contact Leigh Day: David Standard 07540 332717 or Michael Newman 0795 223 9358 or Chris Benson on 07795425649.
For people to identify more names on the blacklist call please call Phil Read at GMB on 07840 897997 or email him
Contact Dave Smith 07882 579 452 re Blacklist Support Group
Notes to Editors
1 The dates for the first leg of the Crocodile Tears Tour are as follows:

    · Darlington - 21 October Lynne Day, Personnel Director, Cleveland Bridge: · Leeds – 22nd October Valerie Bennison, HR for Head Office Directorates and SCS at Child Maintenance Group, DWP: Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds,
    · Wolverhampton 23th October Liz Keates of Carillion, Birch Street
    · Sandy Bedfordshire 28th October Paul McCreath, HR Director, Kier Group: Tempsford Hall, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2BD..and Kathy Almansoor, Group Employee Relations Manager, Kier Group: Tempsford Hall, Sandy, Bedfordshire
    · Glasgow 29th October Gerry Harvey, HR Development Director at Balfour Beatty Engineering Services: Lumina Building, 40 Ainslie Road, Hillngton Park, Glasgow
    · Aberdeen 30th October Kevin Gorman, Vice President HR, Harland Group: Ocean Spirit House, 33 Waterloo Quay, Aberdeen AB11 5BS.
    · Reading University Tuesday 4thd November for lecturer in HR Shelia Knight, EMCOR.
    · London Wednesday 5th November Paul Raby, Group HR Director, Balfour Beatty: 130 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1LQ.
    · West Midlands on Monday, 10th November 2014 details to be confirmed.
    · Cheshire Tuesday 11th November - Arnold Nestler, Human Resources Services Director, AMEC: Booths Park, Chelford Road, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 8QZ.
2 Managers named as blacklisters- to be part of Crocodile Tears Tour 2014/15. (Most initial are from the files of those blacklisted.)
· Michael Aird (MA) - Balfour Kilpatrick - Glasgow
· Kathy Almansoor (KA) - Kier Group – Sandy, Bedfordshire
· Dave Aspinall (DA) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton
· Alan Audley (AA) – Vinci - Watford
· John Ball (JB) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton
· Ron Barron (RB) - CB & I – Tonbridge, Kent
· Valerie Bennison (VB) – Whessoe - Darlington
· Ernie Boswell (EB) - Kier Group – Sandy, Bedfordshire
· Richard Bull (RB) - HBG Construction (BAM) – Colindale, London
· Iain Coates (IC) – Emcor – Kew Bridge, Twickenham
· David Cochrane (DC) - Sir Robert McAlpine – Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire
· Ann Cowrie (AC) - Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering - Edinburgh
· Tony Crowther – AMEC – Knutsford, Cheshire
· John Dangerfield (JD) - Balfour Beatty Scottish & Southern - Basingstoke, Hampshire
· Lynn Day (LD) - Cleveland Bridge UK – Darlington
· John Dickinson (JD) – Skanska – Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire
· Frank Duggan (FD) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton
· John Edwards (JE) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton
· Kevin Gorman (KG) - Carillion / Crown House - Solihull
· Elaine Gallagher (EG) - Balfour Kilpatrick - Glasgow
· Gerry Harvey (GH) - Balfour Kilpatrick - Glasgow
· Roy Hay (RH) – Tarmac - Solihull
· David Hillman - Sir Robert McAlpine – Birmingham
· Keith Horner (KH) - Ballast Wiltshire
· Dianne Hughes (DH) – Tarmac / Crown House - Solihull
· Geoff Hughes (GH) – Costain – Maidenhead, Berkshire
· Greg Ingleton (GI) – Emcor – Kew Bridge, Twickenham
· Prue Jackson (PJ) - Haden Young - Watford
· Vince James (VJ) - Balfour Beatty Scottish & Southern – Basingstoke, Hampshire
· Armar Johnston (AJ) - Balfour Kilpatrick – Livingstone
· Liz Keates (LK) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton
· Sheila Knight (SK) – Emcor – Kew Bridge, Twickenham
· Ian Leake (IL) - Taylor Woodrow, Watford
· Tim Llewellyn (TL) - Walter Llewellyn & Sons Ltd, Eastbourne, East Sussex
· Alf Lucas (AL) – Mowlem
· Bridget May (BM) – Nuttall – Camberley, Surrey
· Cullum McAlpine - Sir Robert McAlpine – Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire
· Paul McCreath (PM) - HBG Construction (BAM) – Colindale, London
· Steve McGuire (SM) - Morgan Est plc – Warrington
· John Morrison (JM) - Morrison Construction - Edinburgh
· Arnold Nestler (AN) - AMEC – Knutsford, Cheshire
· Lisa O’Mahoney (LOM) - Laing O’Rourke – Dartford, Kent
· Danny O’Sullivan (DOS) - Kier Group – Sandy, Bedfordshire
· Sandy Palmer (SP) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton
· Harry Pooley (HP) - Rosser & Russell - Watford
· Derek Price – Morgan Ashurst – Stratford upon Avon
· Stephen Quant (SQ) – Skanska – Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire
· Paul Raby (PR) - Balfour Kilpatrick - Glasgow
· Murray Reid (MR) - NG Bailey – Ilkley, West Yorkshire
· Roger Robinson (RR) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton
· Sylvia Smith (SS) - Laing O’Rourke – Dartford, Kent
· Trevor Spice (TS) – Costain – Maidenhead, Berkshire
· Lisa Stevenson (LS) - Shepherd Engineering Services - York
· John Stoddart (JS) - SIAS Building Services - Keighley
· Alan Swift – Crown House Technologies - Manchester
· Pat Swift (PS) - BAM Nuttall - Guildford
· Alan Thorniley (AT) – Vinci - Watford
· Brian Tock (BT) - Carillion / Crown House - Solihull
· Ken Ward (KW) – Costain – Maidenhead, Berkshire
· Trevor Watchman (TW) - Balfour Beatty Major Projects – Redhill, Surrey
· Steve Wigmore – Crown House Technologies - Solihull
· Allison Wilkins – Skanska – Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire
· Carolyn Williams (CW) - Haden Young - Watford

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Bristol Radical History Group

Two excellent historical writers from 'across the pond' visiting Bristol, the latter marking the beginning of nearly three weeks of events entitled Remembering the Real World War One. The full programme is here

The Commons or the True Commons

Venue: Hydra Bookshop, 34 Old Market St, Bristol, BS2 0EZ
With: Peter Linebaugh
Price: Donation

As part of his whistlestop tour of England, we are very pleased to have Peter Linebaugh visiting Bristol. His co-authored book (with Marcus Rediker) The Many-Headed Hydra: The Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic both inspired BRHG and provided Hydra Bookshop with its name. His recently published Stop, Thief!: The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance (PM Press, 2014) provides the basis of this talk.
Setting out to George's Hill in April 1649 Winstanley and a dozen others announced in their pamphlet The True Levellers Standard, a departure from the Levellers of Parliament, the franchise, and the Army, and their intention to level in practice without Parliament, voting, or armed force by collectively digging upon the commons. After a short historical pause of one hundred and fifty years, the debate resumed in England during the decade of the 1790s amidst famine, war, riot, insurrection, slavery, and enclosure. Where had the debate gone during the 'pause'? Thrown by a many-headed Hydra it boomeranged to the Caribbean and north America returning to Britain and Ireland with revolution. Commoners of the world neglect this experience at our peril. Nowadays, "the commons" is cried on every hand, and yet the true commons would turn the world upside down. The "particular proprietors" or the "grand possessioners," as the One Per Cent world-wide were called, must common or be commoned. There are no two ways about it.
1914-1918: The War within the War


Venue: MSHED, Princes Wharf, Wapping Road, Bristol BS1 4RN
With: Adam Hochschild
Price: £5/£3 Concessions
As we mark the centenary of the First World War, this epochal event is usually remembered as a bloody conflict between rival alliances of nations. But there was another struggle as well: between people who regarded the war as a noble and necessary crusade, and a brave minority who felt it was tragic madness and who refused to fight. Writer Adam Hochschild describes this battle in an illustrated talk, focusing on the country where that tension was sharpest, Great Britain.
Adam Hochschild's writing has usually focused on human rights and social justice, and as a magazine journalist he has reported on such issues from four continents. His seven books include King Leopold's Ghost: a Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa, which won a J. Anthony Lukas award in the United States, the Duff Cooper Prize in England and the Lionel Gelber Prize in Canada. Bury the Chains is the story of the antislavery movement in the British Empire. To End All Wars, about the First World War, has been published in seven languages. His earlier books have included accounts of apartheid in South Africa and of Russians coming to terms with the legacy of Stalin. He teaches at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley.
See you there,
_______________________________________________ Brhmob mailing list

Monday, 20 October 2014

Masculinity in Cuba!

Masculinity in Cuba
Myths & Legends

Wednesday, 23 October 18:30
What is masculinity?, can we speak about different kinds of masculinity?, what is the difference between macho, male and masculine?, have the roles of masculinity changed in the last decade?

All these questions will be answered by Raúl Marchena Magadán, Manchester University and I.Cervantes teacher, based on his latest research proyect about this complex topic in modern Cuba (+)
Free event. Please book in advance on: Tel. 0161 6614200/1

Alternative World War I Day School

Alternative World War I Day School - Saturday 15th November 2014, Manchester
The programme and booking for the Alternative World War I Day School is confirmed and open- and they are the hottest tickets in town!
Further details, including booking information online at:
Please spread the word!
We hope to see you there!

Rochdale Council Boss Insists He Knew Nothing

RICHARD Farnell, Labour leader of Rochdale Council, in a letter in Rochdale Observer (11/10/14), insists that he 'knew nothing of abuse allegations' at Knowl View School in Norden, Rochdale during his term of office as leader of the Council up to May 1992.  In his letter in the Ob. Councillor Farnell writes:
'Although it is 22 years since I was previously Leader of the council, I have made clear that allegations made to health and council staff during the seven months towards the end of my leadership were not brought to my attention.  I ceased to be leader in May 1992.  I have spoken to all the leading councillors from that time and they were all unaware of allegations made at that time.'

This is slightly evasive because Councillor Farnell must know that the leader of the Rochdale Conservative Party at that time, Pamela Hawton, knew about it in her capacity as Chair of Rochdale Health Authority. 

Recently Rochdale lad, Les May, wrote to the Rochdale Observer:
'So far as I am aware only a heavily redacted version of the first report has been placed in the public domain. Evidence that this was also seen by Ian Davey, Acting Director of Social Services, and by Councillor Pamela Hawton, who at that time chaired Rochdale Health Authority, and that a second report written by a clinical psychologist, Valerie Mellor, was presented in February 1992, can readily be found on the World Wide Web.'

Councillor Farnell couldn't now speak to former Councillor Hawton because she is dead, but it begs the question as to why, as the leader of Rochdale Council Richard Farnell didn't know about the events at Knowl View if the leader of the Conservative Party was aware of it in April 1991, over a year before he left office.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Farnell's letter is his reference to 'allegations'.  It seems the report by Phillip Shepherd definitely did not contain allegations about Cyril, and there is no reason to suppose the second report by Valerie Mellor did either.  So while it may be true to say that he didn't know of any 'abuse allegations' against Cyril Smith, it is still possible that he was aware of the report written by  Phil Shepherd although it is likely that he had no knowledge of the report by Valerie Mellor that came out after Councillor Farnell had ceased to be leader of Rochdale Council in May 1992. 

Friday, 17 October 2014

Report on policing at Barton Moss published

MORE robust planning and better engagement with protest groups will help improve public confidence and trust in Greater Manchester Police, says a report into the Barton Moss anti-fracking protest. It also found that protesters should do more to recognise their responsibilities when protesting.  
The report has been written by the independent panel set up by Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd to examine the policing of protests and demonstrations. It was established amid public concerns about policing and other issues around the Barton Moss site and a need for independent scrutiny of related police operations.
Panellists visited the Barton Moss site to see the policing operation first hand, and reviewed social media content, video content, and media coverage.  They also spoke to police officers, protesters, local businesses and residents Salford Council, iGas and members of the media.
The panel found that although the majority of people at the site were there to protest peacefully, a small number wanted to antagonise police and cause trouble. This led to all protesters feeling they were treated as criminals because of the actions of a few and resulted in a breakdown of trust between police and protesters.
Claims of police brutality have not been substantiated and specific claims of alleged injuries found to be untrue.
Certain high-profile incidents at the site led to a breakdown in trust between the police and protesters. These included ‘flaregate’ where it was alleged a protester fired a flare at the police helicopter coming in to land at City Airport and the arrest of a member of the camp for alleged drink driving, an incident which was filmed and broadcast online and was later thrown out of court.
The report makes a number of recommendations for the police, protesters and other public bodies, including local authorities to take on board. These include:
·         The police should do more to engage with protest groups in the run up to and during  similar policing operations with  a senior officer  given the specific and sole role of engaging with protesters during complex protests.
·         Protesters must recognise their responsibilities during protests – while the majority acted lawfully there was a handful whose behaviour was unacceptable including abuse of police officers and social workers who were there to ensure the welfare of children at the site.
·         During major protests, GMP should consider inviting a nominated representative of the protesters into the police control room, on the same advisory status as other third party bodies. This should help build trust and confidence in the police operation.

Martin Miller, Chair of the Independent Panel, said
“Barton Moss attracted significant public and media attention. It was a complex and difficult operation which created a number of issues, and saw officers subjected to daily abuse as they carried out their job. We also found that some protestors were shoved and felt they were treated badly, although I want to stress that allegations of police brutality have not been substantiated.
“This  is not about finger-pointing or blame,  it’s about giving constructive, valuable feedback to the police, public bodies and also the protesters involved so that lessons can be learned and the management of future protests can be improved.
“Although there were many things that were done right, we found that many of the issues could have been mitigated or resolved by better pre-planning and more constructive communications and engagement with the protesters and wider public.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said: 
“The police have a duty to ensure that people’s right to protest peacefully is facilitated and respected and although Greater Manchester Police has a good record in policing protests this is a frequent challenge.
“The Barton Moss protest was particularly complex and contentious and, amid the legitimate public concerns raised, it was clear that independent scrutiny of this operation was needed in order to build trust and public confidence in our police service.
“I want to thank the panel members for their observations and advice and for giving up their own time to produce this report. Now I’ll work with GMP and other public bodies to make sure these recommendations are put into practice.”
Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Sir Peter Fahy said: 
"The policing of protests is often contentious and the Barton Moss protest put GMP between those wishing to obstruct the drilling process and a company and landowner wishing to carry out their lawful business.
“It is important that police action is independently scrutinised and we welcome the first report from the Protest Panel. All the recommendations are accepted by the Force. The Panel has highlighted the difficult issues of how to ensure all agencies preplan the response to protest, how the police communicate with protesters when some don’t want to engage with the police and how the police communicate information on a protest without introducing any bias.
“It is crucial in all its dealings with protest that GMP is seen as impartial, policing is not a popularity contest and the police are often stuck in the middle. The policing of this protest cost GMP £1.7m, money which could not then be spent on local policing.
“There is considerable frustration in the Force with the weaknesses of current legislation and the lack of clarity on such issues as obstruction which puts officers in very difficult position. We hope that as the Panel continues its work it can also examine these matters and provoke a wider public debate."
The report has been presented to Tony and Sir Peter Fahy, who will respond formally in the coming weeks.

'Boys on the Blacklist': OUT NOW!


  Tameside TUC's In-depth Report on Blacklisting

OUT today is Tameside TUC's study of blacklisting in the British building trade.  This unique 52-page A5 book concludes our research into blacklisting stretching back for over a decade of struggle by a group of Manchester contracting electricians.  This book illustrates a special investigation by two officers of Tameside TUC focusing on cover-ups, collaboration, and complicity by major British construction companies affiliated to the now defunct Consulting Association.  We consider the behaviour of local authorities in providing contracts to companies that blacklist workers in the British building trade; especially those in the Greater Manchester area such as Tameside MBC, Salford and Manchester City Council.  The book also asks questions as to who else was involved besides:  what did the unions do to expose what was going on for decades; who were the whistle-blowers who helped to bring out the truth; what part did the police and special security services play in the history of blacklisting that goes back beyond the days of the Economic League?

Copies of 'Boys on the Blacklist' available by postal subscription:
£3.00 for one copy (post included).

Make cheque payable to 'Tameside TUC' and send to:
46, Kingsland Road, Rochdale, Lancs.  OL11  3HQ.

Bundles of 5 copies - £14.60p a package (post included).

Tel.:  01706 861793.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Rochdale Council: Politics in your Backyard

Selfies; New Chief a rising Star; Adult Care; Foreign Policy   

COUNCIL leader, Richard Farnell, told Rochdale Full Council last night that he wouldn't be putting any pictures of himself on the Internet.   Meanwhile, Labour Councillor Karen Danczuk behind him sprawled like a lounge lizard sniggered from where I was in the public gallery I couldn't see any sign of cleavage but I could see she wasn't doing much tweeting last night.   

A motion on Gaza was moved by Councillor Farnell seeking to get Israel and Hamas to negotiate a permanent ceasefire.  The Conservative leader Councillor Dearnley moved an amendment which was lost.  The Conservatives considered that such foreign policy motions were futile and merely 'grandstanding'.  It is interesting that a Rochdale Labour Council should be so keen on foreign policy today, I understand that for much of the 1930s the Labour Party took the view that a future Labour Government wouldn't have a foreign policy no doubt as a reaction against historic British colonialism.  Today, far away issues like the Middle East are close to the heart of Labour politicians.   Indeed nowadays, almost the smallest of political enclaves seem to want to have a foreign policy position.

The appointment of Steve Rumbelow as the new Chief Executive for Rochdale was announced.  Councillor Farnell said he was 'universally recognised as a rising star' in local authority administration, and he came from Burnley which had similar difficulties to Rochdale.   

Gail Hopper, Director of Children's Services presented a glowing account of an ever improving service.  Ofsted having inspected Rochdale as well as Rotherham, Oldham, and Camden, was had yet to publish their report on Rochdale.  But Ms. Hopper said the signs were good. 

The Cabinet Member for Adult Care reported about the rise in requests for 'Deprivation of Liberty' assessments following a legal judgement that these must be taken in a 'wider number of care situations'.  The council has allocated more resources to Adult Care to assist in this. 

This week, the Daily Express reported that there had been a study by the Care Quality Commission that 'shows that the “variations of care” means sufferers (from dementia) are left for hours without food or drink'.  But perhaps old folk in Rochdale has no need to worry because Councillor Iftikar Ahmed, the Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care told the Council:

'Lyn Romero, the national lead professional social worker for adult care, ... (had visited Rochdale recently and) I am pleased to say that she was very impressed with our social workers, noting their commitment and positive spirit, and posted some very complimentary tweets!'  

Get away with you!  It's very reassuring to elderly people to know that  both Councillor Karen Danczuk and  the 'lead professional social worker' Lyn Romero are abreast with modern technology and know there stuff when it comes to twitter. 

Take action: Invite organisations to Keep Volunteering Voluntary!‏

We are publishing below a recent briefing from Boycott Workfare:

"All week we’ve been inviting people to take part in online action to challenge workfare. If you haven’t had a chance to do so yet, please take a minute to:
Today we’re supporting the Keep Volunteering Voluntary campaign’s call for people to contact the charities and voluntary organisations you support to invite them to pledge to shun workfare too. Read on for more info and a template letter, and follow Keep Volunteering Voluntary on twitter and facebook.
There are a lot of organisations who have said they won’t take workfare, but still a lot who do. We want all voluntary work to be freely chosen, not a means for private companies to make profits or Jobcentres to force people off benefits. Keep Volunteering Voluntary (KVV) have set up a pledge and already 430 organisations have signed!
You can help to encourage organisations to sign up to Keep Volunteering Voluntary in several ways. Firstly check whether they are already on the list of sign-ups.
  • If you use or support a charity, try to find out whether they use workfare, and in any case ask them to sign up to KVV.
  • If there is a local charity shop, go in and talk to the people there: find out whether there is anyone there on workfare, and ask the organisation to sign up to KVV.
  • If you work or volunteer at a voluntary organisation, try to get them to sign up.
  • If a place you work or volunteer at has any links with a voluntary organisation, try to contact them too.
Download this template letter you can take to a charity shop, or adapt as an email to send to a voluntary organization.
Some responses you may get and how to reply:
“We’ve already signed up.” – great, well done!
“We don’t have anyone on workfare.” – so you won’t mind signing up to KVV then.
“We’re helping the unemployed gain experience.” – that’s not of much value if they don’t want to be there.
“What’s wrong with (unpaid) volunteers.” – there’s no objection to genuine volunteers, but to compulsory schemes and coercion.
“The people on placement want to be here.” – that’s fine, but they shouldn’t be threatened with sanctions.
If you can get any kind of statement from an organisation, that’s always useful – a way in to further dialogue, or good publicity for the campaign. Let Boycott Workfare know and we’ll pass it on to KVV as well.
Some charities – such as Age UK – have a national office but each local area branch is ‘independent’ and may sign up separately. So if you see a local branch signed up but not your area, that’s an added incentive for your local to sign up too.
Without charity’s support, workfare schemes will collapse. That’s why every extra new organisation to sign up is so important – helping build consensus in the voluntary sector that workfare is completely at odds with its aims and values.
A massive thanks to everyone who has taken part online and organised demonstrations throughout the week of action! There are more protests in Amsterdam and Peckham today, and in Bristol, Haringey and Sheffield tomorrow! "

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Blacklisted workers assaulted during peaceful protest at Laing O'Rourke HQ‏ !

Blacklisted workers have made a complaint to Kent police after being assaulted during a peaceful protest at the Dartford headquarters of Laing O'Rourke. The incident happened at 1pm today (Wed 15th October) when 20 activists from the Blacklist Support Group attempted to distribute leaflets (attached) about the role of the construction giant in the Consulting Association blacklisting conspiracy. 

The attached photograph (credit: Reel News) shows the treatment of Blacklist Support Group secretary Dave Smith ( pictured above) inside the Laing O'Rourke offices. Smith said afterwards:

"Workers have been victimized and blacklisted for standing up for their rights in the traditions of Jim Larkin. Laing O'Rourke were at the heart of this anti-union conspiracy. They can sack us, they can blacklist us, they can assault us: but we will keep coming back until we get justice." 

Laing O'Rourke were chosen for the protest because of the role of the company's head of global security, Anton Setchell. Prior to joining the company, Assistant Chief Constable Setchell was the head of the British secret police spying operations including undercover targeting of trade unionists and social justice campaigners. Senior police officers from the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NECTU), that was under Setchell's command, attended the secret meetings of the Consulting Association and shared information with the blacklisting organisation. 

Laing O'Rourke are one of 8 construction companies facing group litigation over the blacklisting scandal in the High Court tomorrow (Thursday 16th October). Full list of companies: Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC 

Press Photo-Opportunity
9am 16th October 2014
Royal Courts of Justice 
The Strand
(nearest tube: Holborn or Temple)


Blacklist Support Group

Liberty80: At Royal Exchange


The Mezzanine Gallery – Royal Exchange Theatre
St Anne’s Square
Tuesday 21 October 2014 -  Saturday 17 January 2015

Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre is set to stage a free exhibition which marks the 80th anniversary of Liberty, the campaigning organisation for human rights.   

Liberty80 – The Anniversary Exhibition – which runs at the Exchange’s Mezzanine Gallery  from Tuesday 21 October to Saturday 17 January 2015 - celebrates eight decades of Liberty holding the powerful to account, showing battles fought and won for freedom, fairness, justice and equality – with some striking parallels between 1934 and the present day.  

Historic items on display range from a copy of the original Manchester Guardian letter announcing NCCL’s formation in 1934 to a whiteboard depicting Labour’s backbench rebellion on 42-day pre-charge detention during Liberty’s victorious Charge or Release campaign in 2008. There are also pieces from Turner Prize-winning artist Gillian Wearing OBE, Dame Vivienne Westwood DBE and photographer Mary McCartney.   

Admission is free to the exhibition and the Mezzanine Gallery is open on Monday to Friday, from 10am to 7.30pm; on Saturday from 10am to 8pm and on Sunday from 11am to 5.00pm.  

For further information please contact JOHN GOODFELLOW (Press & Communications Manager) on 0161 615 6783 /

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Instituto Cervantes & Manchester Literature Festival


Ada Parellada

Vanilla Salt

Wednesday 15th October, 6.30pm
Instituto Cervantes

This intimate event at Instituto Cervantes offers audiences a rare chance to hear Catalan chef and restaurateur Ada Parellada wax lyrical about her debut novel Vanilla Salt. A richly sensual exploration of the kitchen and the human heart, it’s a Catalan love story in which an eccentric chef and a beautiful Canadian woman discover that, despite their different backgrounds, they share a painful past.
Parellada made a name for herself with the innovative restaurant Semproniana in Barcelona, and now also owns Coses de Menjar and Acontecimiento in Lisbon.
An ideal evening for lovers of Catalan culture, food and romance
more info...Free event: Bookings on: and 0161 6614201

Monday, 13 October 2014

Take action: No grounds for green-washing workfare‏!

We are publishing below a recent briefing from Boycott Workfare:

"Take online action today against Groundwork, the green charity using unpaid labour. Branches of Groundwork up and down the country openly advertise their involvement in all kinds of workfare, including the latest and most exploitative programmes.

Charities and voluntary organisations should know the value of volunteering. Instead Groundwork is taking thousands of unemployed people on workfare placements with no pay and putting people at risk of sanctions. According to their own statistics they forced 4,500 people through workfare last year alone. They trade on the goodwill of their ‘volunteering’ projects to secure government money for unpaid labour schemes.

Groundwork is also taking part in the latest draconian scheme, Community Work Placements (CWP), as a sub-contractor of G4S in Merseyside, Lancashire and Cumbria. CWP is a six month long placement – twice the length of the maximum community service sentence for committing a crime.  Workfare criminalises unemployed people and then punishes them more harshly than other people who are forced to work for free. It does this without even the appearance of judicial process: people are punished just because they’re unemployed. More than 400 charities and 22 councils have rejected CWP and other workfare schemes by signing the Keep Volunteering Voluntary pledge. They understand that workfare is punitive and that it doesn’t help people find jobs.

Following the latest attacks from the government on unemployed people, in which the Tories are promising to cut benefits and roll out more of the harsh schemes like the ones Groundwork provides, we need to show those involved in workfare just how unacceptable it is.

A lot of green charities and recycling companies are involved in workfare schemes. The environment is a useful alibi for forcing people to work for free, because it makes it easy to claim that the work unemployed people are doing is for “community benefit” – which it is supposed to be, if the scheme is one that people can be directly forced to do, like CWP or Mandatory Work Activity.  This is why there’s so many environmental charities, city farms, and recycling firms on our list of workfare exploiters.

Workfare schemes cannot operate without charities that are willing to take on unpaid workers, but Groundwork’s involvement is deeper: they help organise the schemes as well. Groundwork say they recognise that Jobcentre Plus is enforcing a “stricter application…of conditions and sanctions”, but they continue to help to run this punitive system anyway. 

Let them know about the hardship and destitution that benefit sanctions are causing. Let them know that forcing people to work under threat of destitution for no pay is wrong.
Groundwork are on Twitter @groundworkuk and on Facebook here.
Or you could contact them through their website, or on the phone (0121 236 8565).  They have local branches throughout the UK.  To find contact details for the nearest one to you, look here."