Monday, 24 April 2017

Professor Paul Preston: 'Holocaust Denier'?

Is Paul Preston a soft core 'holocaust denier'?

THE academic, Professor Paul Preston , described in his book ‘THE SPANISH HOLOCAUST’ as ‘the world’s foremost historian of twentieth-century Spain’; in 2012 published an account of what he called ‘inquisition and extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain’.  By the standards of today, as spelled out by the holocaust expert Deborah Lipstadt this week, this comparison of the holocaust now amounts to what she calls 'soft core holocaust denial'. 

In view of recent developments with regard to the Trump administration’s skirmishes with the Jewish community’s claim to ownership of the term ‘Holocaust’, ought we now to be revisiting Pro. Preston’s employment of the word in the context of the Spanish Civil War? 

Deborah Lipstadt is Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies, who wrote 'Denying the Holocaust’ (1993), this week in responding to the recent blunders of the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, she stated in The Alantic journal:
The Holocaust was something entirely different. It was an organized program with the goal of wiping out a specific people. Jews did not have to do anything to be perceived as worthy of being murdered. Old people who had to be wheeled to the deportation trains and babies who had to be carried were all to be killed. The point was not, as in occupied countries, to get rid of people because they might mount a resistance to Nazism, but to get rid of Jews because they were Jews...’
What we have here from Deborah Lipstadt is a claim to Jewish exceptionalism, which specifically excludes claims like that of Prof. Preston about the Spanish tragedy in the 1930s. 

In the last century the linguistic philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein, critising dictionary definitions, argued that the meaning of a word is in its use.  

Having seen the recent film 'Denial' portraying Deborah Lipstadt's defence in the defamation case brought against her by the historian David Irving, it would seem that Ms. Lipstad wants to control the meaning of certain words in a totalitarian manner, which would put the words like holocaust in a kind of sacred category which demands an iron law defence of the meaning 'holocaust' that would have offended Wittgenstein. 

Thus, Deborah Lipstadt told the New York Times this week:
The de-Judaization of the Holocaust, as exemplified by the White House statement, is what I term softcore Holocaust denial. Hardcore denial is the kind of thing I encountered in the courtroom. In an outright and forceful fashion, (David) Irving [another historian] denied the facts of the Holocaust.’

As a conversational analyst I would view this as an attempt by Ms. Lipstadt and others to seize control of certain words like 'holocaust' and to deny use of the use of words to other groups like the gypsies etc. and even to poor Professor Preston's depiction of 'The Spanish Holocaust', as a form of intellectual totalitarianism or bullying..

What we are getting here from Professor Lipstadt and others in the 'holocaust industry', is a kind of tyranny of words, dictated and developed by an ideological group with political vested interests.

Sohm School Support Project

PROBABLY our most successful project to date. We hope it gives you as much pleasure in reading this as it did us in helping make the story happen.

We are proud to have championed and facilitated a transformation in the First Aid provision in Sohm Lower Basic school over the last two years.

This article sets out how it has been undertaken and the spectacular results achieved.

Each year we sit down with the heads of the two schools in Sohm to determine their priorities for our funding them for the next twelve months. Last January a key project for the Lower Basic school was to reconstruct the dilapidated and non-functioning sick bay (see photos).

The way the sick bay was
... and from the outside
We got the head to provide costings for a complete refit that would: re-plaster and paint the walls, re-floor, provide a new door, two beds, a medicines cupboard and some limited other furniture - and curtains. The overall cost was out of our budget, but we found a funding formula that worked - see footnote for details.

So, we were able to give the project the go-ahead and ensure that the money was available for the refurb. Political uncertainties in the country held the project up for a while, but the work was complete by the time we revisited in February this year.

The school was able to proudly show us the results then.

We then worked with a local pharmacist and the first aider at the school to stock a secure medicine cupboard with necessary items (see photos).

.. and is now
A First Aid room/Sick Bay is vital at the school, where children can experience bouts of malaria, debilitating hunger pangs and the older girls experience menstruation for the first time. The medical facilities in the village are almost non-existent, apart from a couple of visiting clinics held every month or so.

Lamin - deputy head (far left), first aider,
 Malamin, head (blue shirt) with teacher and
 three pupils displaying early first aid kit,
 in refurbed sick bay/first aid room
For some time we have been following a UK charity First Aid 4 Gambia on Twitter (@FirstAid4Gambia -, and have been impressed with their work in the local education sector. So we contacted them to see if they could help take the Sohm project on to the next level.

They could - and responded remarkably quickly. For a small annual charge (well within our budget)they have undertaken to completely restock the medicine cabinet each year with appropriate provisions and to provide first aid training every two years for a dozen or so people nominated by the school's head.

The first training session took place within a month of us making the connection, and the results were spectacular - as the photos and comments show.

Head, Malamin Gibba opening the training session

Staff and community members at
 FirstAid4Gambia training session
The head and deputy head, together with the nominated first aider took part, as well as the head boy and head girls (a great move in our opinion), two parents/members of the community and seven teachers.

Community members dressing wounds
First Aid 4 Gambia declared the day a great success and the school was more than delighted with the outcome.

Head boy learning 
respiratory techniques
This small initiative has not only up-skilled members of the school staff, but provided a huge boost to health provision within the whole community - all for £150!!

New first aid kit - courtesy of FirstAid4Gambia
The school head wrote to us:
So pleased with your effort in bringing this wonderful initiative to our school. We have all benefited from the training. Every teacher in the school is now a first aider.

Deputy head practices wound dressing,
 with head as the patient
The First Aid 4 Gambia trainer reported back to his charity that the training went well:
Monday 10 April 2017, New training course with supplies to the Sohm Lower Basic School at the Sohm Village West Coast Region.

Staff practising respiratory techniques
 14 participants received the training including the School Head Boy and The Head Girl respectively attended the training .The school is running a first aid centre which is well organised and clean, two beds in for temporal admission in case of any emergency.
The School First aider was also part of the workshop, along with 2 community members also joined the training. All the topics were briefly discussed which to my understanding was well received and their practicals were perfect too.

Head girl hard at work, using
 some of the training equipment
 FirstAid4Gambia brought to the day
All the participants were certified and the school was fully supplied. Though it was a long day, everything went successful.
On behalf of the School Mr Malamin Gibba the school Head  thanked the Charity for the gesture, as First Aid 4 Gambia have boosted them to a higher level in terms of first aid.

Some of the other equipment used on the day
 He said the community will also benefit from the supplies.
We would like to thank all of our supporters for helping us achieve this. It is quite an extraordinary achievement, made possible by goodwill, and partnership working across charities, with the fullest enthusiasm from the host community.

Deputy head, Lamin, practisng revival techniques

Footnote: The funding formula

The cost of the building work and refurbing the old sick room was in the region of £2,000. This is considerably out of our price range, but our Jersey partners in Sohm were able to persuade the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission to "match fund" our contribution to the cost. So, suddenly tour commitment was halved to £1,000.

The happy, first aid-certified training 
attendees show their certificates
Bearing in mind that we are able to get 25% Gift Aid funding from the UK government for most of the money we raise from UK taxpayers in donations, it meant that we only needed to raise £800 from our donor/sponsors to fund our contribution and kick start this remarkable achievement.
John Walker 07954 153 305 Gambia stuff: @GambiaSchools Forest Gate stuff:, @E7_NowAndThen

DUBAI ON DEANSGATE - Report warns of property bubble crash in Manchester!

Beetham Tower Deansgate

A report published in November 2016, by the ‘Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change’ (CRESC), based at the University of Manchester, outlines Manchester’s transformation over 25-years and shows how councillors and officers working with property developers, transformed Manchester City and Salford.

The report says that what has been built, is a parallel new town in Manchester City, of office blocks and adjacent one and two bedroom flats, occupied by a 25 to 34-year-old in-migrant workforce, that lives, works and plays, within the city centre. Of this in-migrant workforce, 34% were born outside the UK and Ireland and 24% from outside Europe. The report says that many work in junior white-collar occupations, linked to local government, health, education, or the private sector. Alternatively, they work in retail, restaurants, or hotels, which employ 25% of the workforce. The report asserts that this has led to ‘exclusive’ growth and inequalities – “Dubai on Deansgate”, that has not spilled over into other areas of Greater Manchester.

Other areas within Greater Manchester, are described has being economically ‘dire’ and characterised by low-wages and precarious employment. These areas, the report says, have never fully recovered from the ‘de-industrialisation’ of the 1980’s. The report states:

“The plight of Bolton, Rochdale, Stockport, and Tameside, is dire, because from 2008-14 they have lost both private and public sector jobs and, in a period of austerity cuts in public expenditure, some boroughs are now losing private sector jobs faster than they are losing public sector jobs.”

Seemingly, only Manchester City and Trafford have shown significant increases in job numbers, while four of the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester saw net job losses. In addition, 21% of Greater Manchester’s neighbourhoods are in the top 10% most deprived in England and Manchester City, has 41% of Greater Manchester’s neighbourhoods in this category.

The report points out that central Manchester is not like central London, which relies on radial commuting by public transport from outer boroughs – “Long distance commuting is discouraged because Manchester city region combines relatively cheap central flats and inner residential suburbs with low wages and high fares… Most commuting into Manchester City is by car.”

The people who live within Greater Manchester are heavily dependent on public sector jobs. The public sector accounted for more than half of the 46,000 extra jobs created in ten Greater Manchester boroughs between 1998-2008. Manufacturing employs less than 4% of the Manchester City workforce but still accounts for 10% of employment in northern boroughs. Out of total Greater Manchester employment of 1,197k, 447k or 37.3%, are employed in “mundane”, activities. Manchester’s public and state-supported sector, now employs more than 35% of the workforce in a city heavily dependent on health and education spending. The report argues that the Greater Manchester private sector economy, has a very limited capacity to generate good jobs which pay high wages.

It has been argued by some social pundits that Manchester’s growing inequality, is a good thing because like London, it is proof that it has managed to create well-paying jobs for at least a minority of its population, whereas, in other areas, they may be more equal, but this is because everyone is poor.

The report rejects this and says that what is needed is not ‘exclusive’ growth, but ‘inclusive’ economic growth, that spills-over into other areas of Greater Manchester and provides people with real opportunities. What is needed, in the view of the authors, is a move away from property development as the accelerator of urban growth, which has only benefitted the city, towards “welfare-critical basic goods and services” for the whole population – “affordable transport, accessible broadband, and social housing – 80,000 people are on the housing waiting lists of the ten GM boroughs – that would take precedence over ostentatious tower blocks.”

The report also says that there ought to be investment in the foundational economy – food distribution and processing, education and health, adult care, pipe and cable utilities and public transport, leading to low-fare public transport, for all Greater Manchester residents. It is also argued that the 185,000 businesses in Greater Manchester should be made to pay decently (the living wage) and to employ and train local workers, as their businesses, draw revenue from Greater Manchester.

The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF), will lead to the new town in Manchester City, doubling in size from 2015 to 2035. Alongside this, there will be large edge of city housing developments and warehouse parks off the orbital M60. A quarter of housing, is earmarked to be built on green belt sites. The term “social housing”, does not appear anywhere in the GMSF draft.

The authors of this report, argue that the political elite of Greater Manchester, ought to learn lessons from the Brexit vote which revealed an increasingly disgruntled electorate that are asking local, regional, and national politicians, “What have you done for us!” They also warn that Brexit, increases the likelihood of “capital flight, currency depreciation, a rise in interest rates, and a slump in house prices and in construction activity”, which could lead to a property bubble crash in and across Greater Manchester.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Ian Allinson's Thoughts for Unite's Future etc.

by Ian Allinson
MY provisional thoughts are that we should establish some ongoing organisation within Unite. I think it is important that this isn’t primarily focused on elections – it shouldn’t be a rival to the United Left, but occupy a position more like the Construction Rank and File which includes members who are and are not United Left supporters.  Though I disagreed with their stance, many good activists have backed Len McCluskey in the current election and members need all of us to work together after the election.
If its focus isn’t internal elections, what could such an organisation do? Some possibilities, depending on the views and commitment of those involved, could include:
  1. Putting like-minded activists in touch with each other on the basis of region, industry or issue.
  2. Acting as an umbrella organisation supporting groups of activists in particular industries pushing for a more robust approach to specific industrial issues e.g. to reject bad deals, raise neglected issues or challenge partnership arrangements.
  3. If I’m not elected as General Secretary, can we as activists implement some of the pledges anyway? For example a regular bulletin highlighting disputes, campaigns and other information; or collecting case studies of our successes?
  4. Campaigning to change Unite Policies and Rules.
  5. Getting experts and activists together to thrash out effective responses to specific issues affecting many sectors e.g. performance management.
In addition to the issues raised in the election campaign, many members have been raising the need to reform Unite’s election processes, for example:
  • Control of campaign spending. Are the huge sums spent by the two establishment candidates in this campaign external interference in our democratic process? Or are they from Unite funds? Does anyone seriously think members expect hundreds of thousands of pounds of their money to be spent promoting candidates rather than promoting their interests?
  • A level playing field on access to and use of branch, activist and member data to strike the right balance between trying to engage members and preventing them being spammed by candidates with privileged access.
  • Official hustings so that all members can engage directly with the debates.
  • Change from First Past The Post to Single Transferable Vote (as used by many unions) so members can vote for the candidates they want without fear of “splitting the vote?
 Many of the ideas put forward in our campaign have gained wide support – not just from those who voted for me.
  • All meaningful change comes from below, and all meaningful change is the result of collective effort. So how can we most effectively take forward our ideas after the campaign?
    The ian4unite campaign is organising four post-election meetings to discuss this. If you want to push forward the broad agenda I’m campaigning for you are welcome at these meetings no matter who you have supported in the election:
  • Saturday 6 May: 1:30 – 3pm, Avant Garde, 34-44 King Street Glasgow G1 5QT [Facebook event]
  • Sunday 7 May: 2-4pm, Peterloo Room, Mechanics Centre, 103 Princess St (Major St entrance), Manchester, M1 6DD [Facebook event]
  • Saturday 13 May: Alumni Lecture Theatre, Room 110, SOAS Senate House, Paul Webley Wing, Malet Street, London, WC1 7HU [Facebook event]
  • Sunday 14 May: 3-5pm, Briar Rose, 25 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham B2 5RE [Facebook event]
Download leaflet for post-election meetings

Friday, 21 April 2017

Unite's Len McCluskey Wins on a Low turn-out

by Brian Bamford
LEN McCluskey, the incumberant, and the favourite to win the election for general secretary of the Unite union, has been re-elected leader.  Yet the victory was much closer than anticipated:
McCluskey won 59,067 votes (45.4%), Gerard Coyne got 53,544 (41.5%) and the rank and file candidate Ian Allinson took 17,143 (13.1%), on a low turnout of just over 12%, the union announced.
The Coyne team was hoping for a high turnout of up to 20% of the membership, which they believed would have ensured a surprise victory.   McCluskey’s vote dropped from 144,570 in 2013 when the turnout was nearly 15%.
As a consequence of these figures the result cannot be seen as a ringing endorsement of the trade unionism or of their influence in British society.  Even among its own membership the Unite union has struggled to interest the members sufficiently to vote for a leader who might cast a shadow over political life.  And if the union leaders cannot even involve their own members in a significant way for such an event as a union election, why indeed should the general public listen to their leaders' deliberations on social or political matters?
It looks like McCluskey has got 60% less of the vote he got in 2013:  144,570 in 2013 down to 59,067 votes in 2017.
Today, The Guardian website reports:
'Coyne’s camp will this weekend take legal advice over unsent and late ballot papers and what they see as a flawed electoral process.
'Coyne, who ran a campaign alleging that McCluskey was misspending members’ money and was too involved in national politics, responded to the result with a statement calling for McCluskey to change the way the union was run.'
Gerard Coyne is now saying:
'The union machine consistently attempted to bully and intimidate me, something that has continued even after the close of polls.'
'Turnout has fallen disastrously. Many members have reported to me that they did not get their ballot paper at all or, if they did, that it arrived literally on the day polls closed and so was useless. This was no vote of confidence, with falling turnout and a halving of Len McCluskey’s previous vote.'
Wil Hutton on The Guardian website on the 9th, April, arguing that the British left is in 'a malaise', wrote;
 'The brutal truth is that trade unions need root-and-branch reinvention to attract new members. Then, from the legitimacy won by having a base of rising membership, they could start to insist on the rewriting of fairer laws that incorporate new forms of collective bargaining and participation and so recast the increasingly high-risk, low-quality character of the British workplace. McCluskey, like the current Labour leadership he so generously but misguidedly backs, is nowhere near thinking through what is needed.'
I have listened to the arguments for McCluskey and they fixate upon his links to the old left, that he once was a supporter of Militant and he once had a job in the docks in Liverpool.  But I believe my branch members - the members of Bury Unite Commercial Branch - were right to nominate Ian Allinson and get him on the ballot paper to open up a debate and deny McCluskey a coronation.  They were right to do that even though Ian Allinson was a rank outsider.  But in the same way and for the same reasons I agree with the economist Wil Hutton, when he writes 'Coyne is at least attempting to open up the debate about how Unite can grow. The union has an income of £170m; Coyne calls for more transparency in how this money is spent, disputing sweetheart deals backing Jeremy Corbyn'.
It is also clear for anyone who gives the matter any serious thought, that Wil Hutton is right when he argues: 'McCluskey, Corbyn, John McDonnell and the leaders of Momentum are not moving beyond slogans and their preoccupation is less with winning power than hard wiring ancient and outmoded left positions into union and party policies that turn Labour into an unelectable social movement.'
It is not that the old British left is too radical, it is that they are too conservative.  The minds of these men McCluskey, Corbyn and McDonnell are the minds of men who have gramaphone records for brains whose needles have become stuck.  Such men are inadequately placed to solve the current social and political problems.

Gerard Coyne Accuses Unite Machine of Bullying

Gerard Coyne, who narrowly lost the Unite leadership election to Len McCluskey, has put out a statement accusing the union machine of bullying and intimidating him.  He said:

It has been a very close count and the ballot sends some very serious messages to Unite.
I am proud to have run a campaign that faced up to the issues that concerned members.  Unite needs to change, and it needs to put its focus back where it belongs: on looking after the real interests of the members of the union.
It’s been a hard and robust campaign. The union machine consistently attempted to bully and intimidate me, something that has continued even after the close of polls.
Nevertheless tens of thousands of members backed my fight to change our union for the better.
On the downside, turnout has fallen disastrously.  Many members have reported to me that they did not get their ballot paper at all or if they did, that it arrived literally on the day polls closed and so was useless.
This was no vote of confidence, with falling turnout and a halving of Len McCluskey’s previous vote.  It’s time for all those that were involved to reflect on the message that the union’s membership are sending to the organisation."

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Unite Candidate Coyne Suspended!

TODAY the challenger to Len McCluskey to become boss of the Unite union, Gerard Coyne, has been suspended from his job as West Midland regional secretary.
It is believed that this decision is associated with comments he made about Len McCluskey during the recent election campaign in which Mr Coyne was a contender to become general secretary of Unite.  Some statements by Coyne have referred to the purchase of a flat with the help of trade union loans. 
There have also claims that Coyne's campaign used Labour party data to contact members to see whether they would back him.
This suspension from his post ought not impact on the leadership election,.
Ballots closed yesterday, with turnout said to be lower than expected at around 12 per cent.
Insiders have described the result as being 'on a knife edge'.
Unite has 1.4 million members, and last year donated £1.5 million to the Labour party.
Today, BBC news reports:
'The battle to be the union's general secretary is understood to be on a "knife edge," from early sampling of the ballots by both sides.'
Counting is due to be completed tomorrow with the result to be announced next week.

British general election,and a little local difficulty

 LAST July, Les May dissected the local consequences of what would happen if a snap election were to be called following the Brexit vote [see northern voicesmag' link below] .  Below we reprint the original article by Mr. May.  Les May got it wrong when he said he was  'sceptical [when] it has been suggested that the new Tory leader might dissolve the parliament and call an election to give him/herself a so called 'mandate' to try to negotiate with the EU.'  adding 'that might not be so easy to do'.
In the end when Thresa May came to call the early general election this week it proved perfectively easy to engineer.  Jeremy Corbyn has yet to be overthrown, and still clings on to power like shit to a blanket. Yet, some Downing Street insiders even suggest now that one of the reasons that the election was called now was because of the fear that had Labour done as badly as expected in the forthcoming local elections on the 4th, May, Jeremy Corbyn may have resigned and that would have resulted in the risk of Theresa May having to face an election later under a new Labour leader.later.
 Les May's hope that the Labour Party might block a snap election if called, has fairly predicably proved to be a vain expectation.   Turkey's, it seems, in some circumstnces feel compelled to vote for Christmas.  Robert Shrimsley in the Financial Times writes;
 '...Jermy Corbyn, the Labour leader, and his strategists know that they are really fighting to prevent a fundemental political relignment of the left in British politics (or to be precise English and Welsh politics).   There is no doubt that if the most dire forecasts are to be believed - and we have all learned the value of opinion polls - then Labour is in an existential fight for its survival as a major force in politics.'
Meanwhile, at the micro level of political life the Rochdale Labout Party has yet to decide what to do about its former MP, Simon Danczuk, who is still suspended from the national party.  Last July, Les May wrote:  'Simon [Danczuk] is still Rochdale's MP.  Though suspended from the Labour party for sending texts of a sexual nature to a young woman who contacted him and who later turned out to have a nice sideline as a financial dominatrix, there is no sign that the local Labour party have taken steps to distance itself from him or that the national party are in any hurry to reinstate him.'
Rarile this week ROCHDALE ONLINE REPORTED 'Locally, Labour party members are divided on whether or not Mr Danczuk should be welcomed back into the Labour fold, and hence the Labour candidate. One councillor adamant that must not happen is Councillor Chris Furlong, who has long been a vocal critic of Mr Danczuk. Councillor Furlong says he is "seriously considering standing for the Labour candidacy after being inundated by Rochdale members asking him to stand against Danczuk".'
Nationally Labour's National Executive Committee is still conducting investigations.into Simon Danczuk, but regarding Mr Danczuk selection as MP for Rochdale, the party has said:
'The process for selecting candidates in all our seats, including Rochdale, will begin shortly.'
Mr Danczuk, who has been an MP for the town since 2010, has naturally said that he is the 'best-placed person' to fight the snap general election for the party. (Editorial 20th, April 2017)

Brexit, a little local difficulty

publish 4th, July 2016 by Les May
WHEN the milkman called to collect his money this evening his comment on Brexit was 'Well they said there'd be job losses, but they didn't say it would start at the top!'.  Cameron's gone,  Boris has gone and if Labour MPs have their way Corbyn will be gone too, though at the moment I would not bet on it.  So whose next?

In spite of the referendum result no one in government seems to be in a big hurry to trigger the process of actually leaving the EU.  Cameron wisely dumped the problem onto his successor.  Presumably he thought that would be Boris and there would be a kind of justice in him having to clear up the political mess he has caused.  But now we know it won't.

Tory MPs will vote for the candidates who have put their name forward.  The two successful candidates will be go forward to a final vote in which all members of the Tory party will be balloted.  No doubt quite a lot of Labour MPs will be wishing they had a system for electing a new leader like that of the Tories.

In the autumn the new leader will be ordained at the party conference.  And then what?

Though I'm sceptical myself it has been suggested that the new Tory leader might dissolve the parliament and call an election to give him/herself a so called 'mandate' to try to negotiate with the EU.   But that might not be so easy to do.

Fixed-term Parliaments, where general elections ordinarily take place in accordance with a schedule set far in advance, were part of the Tory-LibDem coalition agreement which was produced after the 2010 general election. This was consolidated in the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.

There are two provisions under the act by which an early election can be called.

If the House of Commons resolves “That this house has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government”, an early general election is held, unless the House of Commons subsequently resolves 'That this house has confidence in Her Majesty's Government.'  This second resolution must be made within fourteen days of the first.

If the House of Commons, with the support of two-thirds of its total membership (including vacant seats), resolves 'That there shall be an early parliamentary general election.'

The first of these options would require the government to launch a motion of no confidence in itself or ask the opposition to do so and the second would mean that the government would have to get the support of 434 of the 650 MPs to secure the necessary majority.

Conversely 217 MPs could block it.  Labour has 232 MPs so even without the 56  Scottish Nationalist MPs they could block it.  That puts the Labour leader, whether Corbyn or someone else, in a position of considerable strength.

Even without their present difficulties they might be wise to do so.  After all it's the Tories who got the country into this mess.  What is clear even now, and becomes clearer every day, is that try as it might, no UK government, whether Tory or Labour, is going to get access to the so called 'single market' unless it accepts free movement of workers, a.k.a. immigration.  

This is why:  'The internal market, or single market, of the European Union (EU), also known as the European single market, is a single market that seeks to guarantee the free movement of goods, capital, services, and people – the "four freedoms" – between the EU's 28 member states.'

So why not just sit back and watch the Tories fail?  Why take the risk of being contaminated by the fall out from this failure?

But there are clearly quite a lot of Labour MPs who are deluded enough to think that if there were an early election they would have a chance of winning it after spending most of the past year creating a huge rift in the party by monumental disloyalty and attacks on the present (and quite likely future) leadership.

But if my scepticism is misplaced and there is an election with Labour's passive or active cooperation, then things get particularly interesting for those of us in Rochdale.  You see Labour will have a 'little local problem' in the form of Simon Danczuk MP.

Now Simon has been mercifully silent in recent months.  If it wasn't for the visit to the police station to be questioned about a rape allegation,  being told he had to repay £11,000 he claimed in expenses, the small matter of the claim for parking when parliament was not sitting and the recent £500 claim for 'crisis management', we would have entirely forgotten about him.  The last of these claims is particularly galling as we have known since January that he received £5,000 from the Sun for an interview about the crisis!  Or is it, as the Zelo Street blogger Tim Fenton would have it, that the money was claimed for something else entirely?

But Simon is still Rochdale's MP.  Though suspended from the Labour party for sending texts of a sexual nature to a young woman who contacted him and who later turned out to have a nice sideline as a financial dominatrix, there is no sign that the local Labour party have taken steps to distance itself from him or that the national party are in any hurry to reinstate him.

So what happens if I am wrong and there is an autumn General Election?  Rochdale Labour party would find itself facing an election without a candidate endorsed by the Labour party and with about a month to find one.

But there may be worse to come.  According to a former girlfriend who was interviewed by The Mirror on 2 January 2016, 'he had vowed to stand as an independent if his career was threatened' and that 'He said he would stand as an independent but not do any campaigning'. He said he wanted to make sure Labour lost the seat he won for them.

My advice to Rochdale Labour party is 'start distancing yourself from Danczuk now before it's too late.' 
Does any party want to be associated in the public mind with someone who is seen by people in the town as a freeloader?,_2015

Saturday, 15 April 2017

'anarchy in a Cold War'!

We publish the blurb about the book below without comment, not having read it.
Perhaps if any of our readers have read it, they would comment on it?  (Editors)
This book by Kurtis Sunday might be of interest:

Book description:
Anarchy in a Cold War is a novel by Kurtis Sunday set in the West Berlin alternative-squatter-Punk scene during the latter part of the Cold War. The city, a focal point in the conflict between East and West, was a capitalist enclave smack in the middle of Communist East Germany. It was entirely surrounded by the Berlin Wall, complete with razor wire and machine gun posts. There is much that is familiar and much that is not. The Cold War is raging and the missiles are armed and waiting in their silos. If nuclear war breaks out there will be a four minute warning. There is no internet and perhaps NO FUTURE. Reality? Sur-reality? Or hyper-reality?
There is a also a free (Creative Commons) the ebook version (PDF, epub and mobi) of Anarchy in a Cold War now available at


the Internet Archive:



Yesterday's men (& woman) back Mr. Coyne,

 as Coyne Calls for a Unite union Clean Up

CALLING for a 'clean up' of the Unite union Gerard Coyne, one of the candidates in the Unite election for General Secretary, wrote on his Blog:
'Your union takes more than £150 million of subscription money from members every year. I do not believe there is enough openness about how your money is spent. You deserve better, so I will give members like you oversight of Unite’s finances. Vote Gerard Coyne now and clean up Unite.'
Meanwhile, on Wednesday 5 April 2017 three former union bosses; Roger Lyons Former general secretary, Manufacturing, Science and Finance Union; Bill Morris Former general secretary, Transport and General Workers Union and Margaret Prosser Former president, Trades Union Congress wrote a letter to The Guardian:
'We believe that strong unions are essential to public life and that they are both the best and the last defence of working people against abuse and exploitation. With Brexit adding to the pressures on working people and injecting huge additional instability into the economy, it is essential unions are able to exert the maximum industrial strength....
'Our labour movement always needs to be engaged in renewal and in searching out new ideas and new methods to advance its aims. Gerard Coyne is the candidate who can do most to deliver new ideas and reinvigorate our movement at a supremely difficult moment.'

 Gerard Coyne 'bringing union's name into disrepute'?
There have been criticisms from Coyne that has annoyed Len McCluskey’s supporters, for whom loyalty to the union means not bringing its name into disrepute.
McCluskey, a former employee in Liverpool’s dockyards, has the advantage of a national profile, as well as being a formidable operator at branch level.
His campaign has won the largest number of nominations ever, including from defence workers at the Faslane and Coulport naval bases in Scotland and the Barrow shipyards in Cumbria – despite Corbyn’s opposition to Trident renewal.
Voting ends on the 19th, April, and Coyne has a tough fight before him.  Rupert Murdoch's The Sun newspaper may be backing Coyne, but the Mirror and Morning Star have lined up behind McCluskey.  Most of the apparatus and officers of the Unite union have been seemingly marshalled behind Len McCluskey.
Supporters of Coyne believe there is still a chance of victory, if they can get a higher turnout of Unite’s 1.4 million members to vote.  The low turnout in union elections – 15.2% voted in the 2013 general secretary contest – hands disproportionate influence to its radical activists, many of whom may see McCluskey as too rightwing.

Ian Allinson condemns 'treacherous role of some union officials' 
The third candidate and shopfloor activist, Ian Allinson, may take votes from McCluskey.  On the blacklist in the British building trade, Ian Allinson has said:
'It is great that Len McCluskey has backed calls for an enquiry, but the gap between the blacklisted workers’ view of the evidence and his own is worrying. 
'McCluskey says: “While new evidence has unfolded in the High Court proceedings it is not the case that this evidence points towards present or previous union officials”.
'It is hard to believe that the employers’ blacklist could be as extensive and long-lasting as it was without the treacherous role played by some union officials.'
Commenting on the recent Unite / UCATT merger Mr. Allinson calls on Unite to clean out the stable: 'UK construction workers have, for the first time, the possibility of being organised in one big united union, apart from small numbers of workers in GMB.  However, if the merger takes place at a purely formal and bureaucratic level, the chance to extend real democracy and rank and file control would be lost.  Worse still if we missed the chance to clean the Augean stable of the complicity and corruption which has robbed union activists of their livelihoods and wrecked families.'
Rank & File labelled 'A Cancer'!
Len McCluskey has been in office as the General Secretary of Unite sine 2011, yet what has he done about the alleged crooked officials in the union?  We know from what is being said by the lads on the job, is that many believe that the blacklist in the British building industry is alive and kicking!
When the rank and file make achievements and score victories it is often in spite of the officer class rather than because of them.  But it is often the officer class that claims the credit.
As Ian Allinson has pointed out:
'Construction activists have shown that grassroots democratic movements, the Construction Rank and File and the Blacklist Support Group, have begun to make officials accountable as well as building the beginnings of a real fighting union at workplace and sector level.'
Very often the rank and file campaign has been denounced by the officer class, and it was once describe as 'a cancer' by one trade union functionary still in office. 
Coyne is right the Unite union needs cleaning up!  More precisely it needs an officer class that is answerable to to its members.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Manchester Rank & File Meeting


The next meeting of the Rank and File will be held on:

Saturday 20th May 2017
Mechanics Institute
103 Princess Street, Manchester, M1 6DD
12noon - 3pm
Hope to see you all there.

If you haven't voted in the GS and EC elections, please DO IT NOW. Today is the last postal date for it to be in for the 19th April, due to the Easter holiday. A reminder of who our candidates are:

General Secretary:   Len McCluskey

EC Ucatt sector:       Frank Morris, Joe Pisani, Jimmy Tyson and Tony Seaman.

Gerard Coyne is running a particular nasty campaign, with personal attacks, praying on people's fears and using the Sun to get his poisonous message out. This man is not fit to be the head of our union and should be called in to answer serious questions on his actions after this election.​

In solidarity


Monday, 10 April 2017

Ken Livingstone Hung Out To Dry!

by Barry Woodling
KEN Livingstone has been hung out to dry by Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.  It ill behoves Corbyn to criticise Ken since the former has shared a platform with holocaust denials such as Hamas.  Livingstones comments are supported by a plethora of historical evidence from Zionist, German and other sources.

National Socialists and Zionists collaborated because they had similar ideologies re ethnicity and nationhood.  There is considerable evidence adduced by historians to demonstrate that the Hitler government supported Zionist and Jewish emigration to Palestine between 1933 and 1940.  Joachim Prinz a Berlin rabbi who later became head of the American Jewish Congress wrote in his 1933 book  "Wir Juden"  (We are Jews) that the National Socialist Revolution meant "Jewry for the Jews".  Stephen Wise President of the American Jewish congress and the World Jewish congress told a New York rally in June 1930 "I am a Jew. Hitler was right in one thing.  He calls the Jewish people a race. We are a race".  Even the SS was enthusiastic in its support for Zionism in its paper Das Schwarze Korps in May 1935.   Vide Francis Nicosia. The Third Reich and the Palestinian Question. (1985) p54/55.

The centrepiece of German-Zionist collaboration during the Hitler era was the Haavara or Transfer Agreement concluded in 1932 which enabled tens of thousands of German Jews to migrate to Palestine with their wealth. Hitler reviewed the agreement in July and September 1937 and January 1938 and decided to maintain the Haavara Agreement. (W Feildenfeld et alia. The Haavara Transfer Agreement 1932 p32). This was the most far reaching example of collaboration between Hitlers Germany and international Zionism. Hitlers Third Reich did more than any other government during the 1930s to support Jewish development in Palestine.

In conclusion, the Labour Party witch hunt against Livingstone for his comments about Hitler supporting Zionism is totally unwarranted and yet a further example of the political bankruptcy of the Labour Party and a "shameful" capitulation to the Zionist lobby.