Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Young vs Old & the EU Referendum

by Les May
ACCORDING to a news report on Al Jazeera there's a storm brewing on Twitter about how we 'old people' have denied the young a future by voting to leave the EU.
Now the significance of this is that I learned about it on a Freeview news channel and its on Twitter.  You see I don't 'do' Twitter and Facebook and I won't have a smartphone.  If you scan to the comments below the original Twitter postings given below you'll see one of the reasons why.  Alternatively just look at Karen Danczuk's Twitter postings from 2014 and 2015 for some even more compelling reasons why.
Not being part of Twitter and Facebook, and not owning a smartphone is I think rather more common amongst my generation than amongst the generation of young people who are doing the complaining.  So if anyone wanted to influence our views about the EU referendum perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to base the 'official' Remain campaign around Twitter and Facebook.
I voted to remain in the EU as did my wife and some of my friends; median age  70+.  Our house had six 'Remain' posters in the windows, but the struggle I had to get these may give a clue to why the Remain message failed to reach so many older people.
My first port of call to get posters was the Britain Stronger in Europe website.  This offered me the chance to 'sign up' to Facebook and Twitter.  No thanks!   What about some posters?  Eventually I found a way to contact them but when I tried my computer alerted me to the fact that nine other website wanted to run scripts on my machine.  No thank!
My wife is a Labour party member so we have a large plastic board 'Vote Labour' which sees the light of day at every election.  So my next attempt involved the Labour party website.  Yes we do posters, but we don't have any.
A little peeved by this time I sent an e-mail to office of my constituency MP Liz McInnes. Not hearing anything the day after I phoned and a helpful young man expressed his surprise that the Rochdale councillor who was supposed to be getting the posters out to people had not contacted me after being given my details.  He still hasn't.
I eventually did get both Labour and 'Remain' posters, but only because of the young man in Liz McInnes office who 'imported' them for me.
There's a lesson here for Jeremy Corbyn.  It's fine keeping Labour members up to date with what is going on with weekly e-mails and using Twitter and Facebook to put across Labour's message.  But you've got to find a mechanism for getting that message to those of us who 'don't do' Twitter and Facebook.
My generation was the first to benefit from the Welfare State which Attlee's  1945 Labour government put in place and I am eternally grateful for the chances it gave me in life.  But I think some of my fellow 'oldies' may need an occasional reminder.  

Tameside Council to build on Playing Fields

Hi everyone,
I have sent the following email to Tameside Council on behalf of the Denton South Neighbourhood Planning Forum:
Residents in Denton South are currently in the process of establishing a Neighbourhood Planning Forum for our local area, in accordance within the provisions of the Locality Act 2011. We have attempted to contact Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council to ask if they have any requirements in the establishment of this Forum, but have as yet received no response.
It has now come to our attention that Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council are proposing to build houses on the site of the Two Trees High School Playing Fields.
Please may I take this opportunity to remind the Council both about the new Forum and of a petition of over two thousand signatures which has been raised from local residents opposing the building of any houses on the Two Trees site.
Kind regards
Carl Simmons
Denton South Neighbourhood Planning Forum
Also, the next meeting of the Forum will take place at 7pm, Tuesday 5th July 2016 at the Haughton Green Centre, Tatton Road.
Many thanks!
Carl (Simmons)

Monday, 27 June 2016

Britons ask Google, what is the EU after poll result!


WELL! what an extraordinary situation we find ourselves in since the great British public voted to leave the EU on Friday. While that, public school, half-wit, Boris Johnson, was declaring that "markets were stable", the pound was falling, bank shares were plummeting, as well as company share values, and prices were beginning to rise. There is talk of another independence vote in Scotland and Sinn Fein, are now calling for a border poll on a united Ireland. And nobody seems quite sure when Britain will leave the EU or what leaving actually means.

The REMAIN camp didn't think that they would lose the referendum and the LEAVE camp didn't think they could win, so nobody seems to have thought about a post-Brexit exit strategy. Even Johnson, is now saying there's no need to rush to Brexit. They're all up shit creek without a paddle. As David Cameron, as announced that he will not be triggering Article 50, (the procedure for leaving the EU), he has handed a poison chalice to the next Tory leader, possibly Boris Johnson.

One person who will have worked out a Brexit strategy, is the Kremlin Tsar, Vladimir Putin, Nigel Farage's favourite politician. The Russians have been banging money into anti-EU parties like Marine Le Pen's, National Front for years. They want to wreck EU economies and Nato, so they'll be happy as pigs in shit by the Brexit vote.

As for Corbyn and Labour, many Labour voters were saying that they didn't know where Labour stood on the EU. Jeremy Corbyn, is a well-known Eurosceptic and he was merely paying lip service to the party's pro-Europe policy. By doing so, he's stabbed million of young kids in the back who initially supported him, when he stood for the leadership.

A total of 33,577,342 votes were cast in the EU referendum. Leave (52%) got 17,410,742 votes and Remain (48%) got 16,141,241 votes.
Tameside, a solid Labour area, saw 61.1% voting to leave the EU - 67,829 (Leave) and 42,034 (Remain).
In nearby Oldham, the leave vote was 61% - 65,309 (Leave) and 42,034 (Remain).

The Evening Standard on Friday 24 June reported:

"Eight hours after the poll closed, the internet giant Google reported that Britons have been frantically googling 'what is the EU?" in the hours since the results of the historic referendum were announced."

According to 'How Ages Voted' -YouGov Poll:
18-24 year olds were 75% Remain.
25-49 year olds were 56% Remain.
50-64 year olds were 44% Remain,
and 65+ were 39% Remain.

'Leave' and the 'Democratic Deficit'?

by Les May
LAST Thursday, Martin McGuinness, deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, wrote an article in the Irish Times advocating that the UK should remain in the EU.  But, he suggested, something must be done to address the 'democratic deficit'.  That's politician speak for the notion that politicians are out of step with their electorate.  It's also used by some right wing Tory politicians to mean that remaining in the EU means they cannot just ignore legislation protecting working people and the environment.

Both the Labour and the Tory parties face their own internal 'democratic deficit'.  At the last count twelve Labour MPs had been sacked or resigned from the Shadow Cabinet because they were dissatisfied with Jeremy Corbyn as leader.  The fact that Corbyn sacked Benn could be taken as a sign of strength not weakness.  He could do it because he knew that if it came to another leadership election in all probability party members would re-elect him.  For the moment quite a lot of Labour MPs seem to be out of step with the party members.  And if some of those MPs find themselves facing reselection it's no use whinging (verb: complain persistently and in a peevish or irritating way).

The Tories have their own problems.  The alliance between Gove and Johnson may not hold if Gove concludes that Johnson did not really expect the Leave campaign to win and only supported it to destabilise Cameron and so improve his own chances of being PM.  If Johnson does win the leadership contest and succeeds in becoming PM he will have the task of convincing the estimated two-thirds of Tory MPs who want to remain in the EU that they should vote for the legislation which will be needed to initiate the withdrawal process.  The general consensus seems to be that at the last election older people were more likely to vote Tory and in the Referendum they were more likely to vote 'Leave'.  Not supporting the legislation needed to actually leave the EU could put these Tory MPs at odds with the people who voted for them.

There could be an awful lot of abstentions by MPs from both parties when (if?)  it comes to a vote in Parliament.  

The 'Metro' link above refers to the material below which was posted as a comment on a Guardian website a few days ago:  

'If Boris Johnson looked downbeat yesterday, that is because he realises that he has lost. Perhaps many Brexiters do not realise it yet, but they have actually lost, and it is all down to one man: David Cameron.
'With one fell swoop yesterday at 9:15 am, Cameron effectively annulled the referendum result, and simultaneously destroyed the political careers of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and leading Brexiters who cost him so much anguish, not to mention his premiership.


'Throughout the campaign, Cameron had repeatedly said that a vote for leave would lead to triggering Article 50 straight away. Whether implicitly or explicitly, the image was clear: he would be giving that notice under Article 50 the morning after a vote to leave. Whether that was scaremongering or not is a bit moot now but, in the midst of the sentimental nautical references of his speech yesterday, he quietly abandoned that position and handed the responsibility over to his successor.

'And as the day wore on, the enormity of that step started to sink in: the markets, Sterling, Scotland, the Irish border, the Gibraltar border, the frontier at Calais, the need to continue compliance with all EU regulations for a free market, re-issuing passports, Brits abroad, EU citizens in Britain, the mountain of legislation to be torn up and rewritten ... the list grew and grew.

'The referendum result is not binding. It is advisory. Parliament is not bound to commit itself in that same direction.

'The Conservative party election that Cameron triggered will now have one question looming over it: will you, if elected as party leader, trigger the notice under Article 50?

Who will want to have the responsibility of all those ramifications and consequences on his/her head and shoulders?

'Boris Johnson knew this yesterday, when he emerged subdued from his home and was even more subdued at the press conference. He has been out-maneouvered and check-mated.

'If he runs for leadership of the party, and then fails to follow through on triggering Article 50, then he is finished. If he does not run and effectively abandons the field, then he is finished. If he runs, wins and pulls the UK out of the EU, then it will all be over - Scotland will break away, there will be upheaval in Ireland, a recession ... broken trade agreements. Then he is also finished. Boris Johnson knows all of this. When he acts like the dumb blond it is just that: an act.

'The Brexit leaders now have a result that they cannot use. For them, leadership of the Tory party has become a poison chalice.

'When Boris Johnson said there was no need to trigger Article 50 straight away, what he really meant to say was "never". When Michael Gove went on and on about "informal negotiations" ... why? why not the formal ones straight away? ... he also meant not triggering the formal departure. They both know what a formal demarche would mean: an irreversible step that neither of them is prepared to take.

'All that remains is for someone to have the guts to stand up and say that Brexit is unachievable in reality without an enormous amount of pain and destruction, that cannot be borne. And David Cameron has put the onus of making that statement on the heads of the people who led the Brexit campaign.'  

Annual Report of the Friends of Freedom Press

Editorial Note:
WE are happy to publish below the Annual Report of the Friends of Freedom Press for the last year, which was sent to Northern Voices yesterday.  This itself is something of an achievement because it clearly lays out the difficulties encountered by the 'Friends' in their management of the company over the last year. 
In the past things have been allowed to drift, and there are now considerable complications regarding the condition of the building structurally, and certain sociological dilemmas with regard to some of the occupants of the building.
The Friends of Freedom Press Annual Report for 2015-16:

THIS is the first year of the resurrected Friends of Freedom Press (FFP), and this report is intended to look back on what we have achieved in the last year.   
Firstly, we have met regularly and discussed the situation facing Freedom as a publisher, as a building and as something approaching a social centre. That situation remains stark -  the building is in a poor condition. The Friends own the building, the Collective occupy it and try to maintain it and there is not any money. The remit of the Friends, “to facilitate anarchist publishing” (Editor's emphasis), is very barely being continued. 
The issues as FFP see them are the lack of publishing, both a paper and books; the condition of the building (including fire certificates and lack of disabled access/toilets); and the inability to insure the building.  Richard (Parry), Donald (Rooum) and Ernest (Rodker) each paid £200 for a comprehensive survey of the building, from which came the figure of £50,000 for repairs. 
With this background, and the only asset available being the building, the Friends decided to see how much it might raise. While there was never any intention to sell it without consultation, poor communication compounded by wild rumours saw this attempt to move forward shut down by the building’s users and their allies in a meeting originally billed as a “social”. The buildings users’ agenda was one of defining the role of FFP as merely fundraisers, accusing FFP of being a stalking horse for Northern Voices and failing to consult. The last of these points is the only one we are prepared to concede. The meeting did not address whether it would be in Freedom’s best interests to stay or move and how any activities would be financed. 
There has been some talk that the purpose of the Memorandum of Association should be amended to change the purpose of the Friends to suit how the building is currently run. Legal advice appears to indicate this is not possible. This is one area that the Friends will need to address with the Collective in the coming year.  
We understand that the Collective has set up working groups to address both fundraising and the repairs required. We look forward to hearing more from both these initiatives. 
At this AGM, the three longest serving directors will be standing down, though they may stand for re-election. 
Finally, we would like to pay tribute to Sonia Markham, a Friend until ill health forced her to resign in 2015, who sadly died earlier this year.
(Annual Report presented to the Friends of Freedom Press AGM: 
22nd, June 2016)

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Unite & the Referendum decision

Dear Unite members 
The country has decided.  There will now be discussions to deliver the different relationship with the European Union that the voters, including significant numbers of Unite members, have democratically declared that they want.
What unfolds next is uncertain.  The country faces the prospect of electing a new prime minister and the terms of the exit must be negotiated. 
Please rest assured that your union will be putting your interests first. 
We will do everything in our power to safeguard your rights, your jobs and your living standards.
In the weeks and months to come the process of discussing the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU will begin.  You can be confident that your union, your officers and our expertise will be fully engaged with these discussions and battling daily in your best interests.
In solidarity
Len McCluskey
General Secretary

Monday, 20 June 2016

Adam Barr's Northern Ancestors etc?

Hi Brian (Bamford),

So first of all, you shouldn't make assumptions about people's backgrounds. I come from Hull, and am a proud Northerner. My grandad was a docker, and my other grandad was an upholsterer, as is my Dad. I am the first in my family to get the opportunity to go to university. Unfortunately my Dad failed his eleven plus and so only has one measly O level in woodworking. The fact he didn't get to the opportunity to go to university has been a source of great frustration to him. Please don't think I'm from the home counties or middle class. I'm really not. Also my name isn't double barreled! My middle name comes from my Grandad (the upholsterer one not the docker.)

It wasn't really a spat with Nick Heath btw, we just disagreed. It happens sometimes.

I bring up these organisations because they are on the Freedom Collective, and send delegates to our monthly meetings. They have input on what we publish and occasionally contribute to our output. Far from Freedom basking in the glory of these groups, they are a vital part of the collective. You seem willfully misinformed as to how things are here.

I have no idea which Friend you are referring to? Financing certainly is an issue and it's something we've been doing work on. I've been involved with Freedom for about three years (not that it really matters) so of course things that happened before that are before me time! They couldn't be anything else. It is certainly true that large donations we're apparently squandered, it's a source of great frustration to me that I have to run a freesheet and website on no money. Luckily we've got the 500 pounds together that we need for the website redesign so I'm very happy about that!

I've also read a lot of NV content, some of it is quite good, other bits rather lacking.  I especially like your focus on blacklisting, something that has affected a number of family friends.

From what I understand, again please correct me if I'm wrong, you've spent a good number of years feuding with various people associated with Freedom because you once had a disagreement with an old editor?  Seems a little petty to be honest with you.

I don't particularly care about your past. I care about what you're doing now. And what you're doing now is awful. I think I particular low point was the piece you had published in Private Eye, although that was probably authored by Chris Draper. What an uncomradely thing to do. I'd be really upset if I didn't already think you were a piece of shit.

By the way, I'd be interested to hear what you thought about the freesheet you picked up at the last London Anarchist Bookfair? I can also send you a copy of the new freesheet if you'd like to take a look. It's got a great piece from the Glasgow Anarchist Collective in it about their work against homelessness.

I'd extend you're criticism of the Friends of Freedom Press out from simply a matter of geographical location. Why is there only one woman? Where are the people of colour? Where are the trans people? Where are the disabled? Where are the queers? You've put forward a list of four white men.

Your proposal is a vague, ill thought out load of rubbish. Not much more to say about it.

Again, don't make assumptions on me or my class background. Don't make assumptions as to the class backgrounds of the members of the collective. You're wrong on both counts.

Joanne Cox: Political Class gets priorities right,

as a miner dies in relative obscurity

by Les May

EARLY last Friday morning, a miner called John Anderson was killed in an East Cleveland potash mine.  His death was relegated to page 13 of the 'i' newspaper and merited just a quarter of a page of newsprint.  Last Thursday an MP called Joanne Cox was killed in the street.  So far the same newspaper has devoted eleven pages to her death which today included the fact that £800,000 has been donated to a charitable fund set up by her friends.

For the families of both of these people their deaths are an ongoing tragedy.   But that is all that they have in common.  Mr Anderson's death has been reported to HM Mines Inspectorate and no doubt there will be an inquest.  That may merit a few lines in the national press or it may not.  Local Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, has spoken of his concerns following the death and intends to meet the mine owners ICL Ltd and the mine unions.  There is no reason to suppose that Mr Anderson's death was anything other than a tragic accident.  But history suggests that if that presumption were to prove to be wrong no one would appear in the dock charged with causing his death.  A man has already been charged with the murder of Joanne Cox.

There's a bandwagon rolling and lazy journalists are determined to scramble aboard before its too late.  A particularly inept sub-editor at the 'i' managed to confuse Joseph Priestley who in 1733 was born in Birstall where the murder happened, with author J. B. Priestley who was born in Bradford in 1894.  A day before in the same paper Joan Smith in an otherwise sensible article decided there was a bit of mileage in referring to 'an apparent normalisation of the most grotesque misogyny' and Andrew Grice took yet another opportunity to have a go at Jeremy Corbyn just as he did the day after.  It seems no one can resist the temptation to use this tragedy to further their own agenda.

But it's not just the media which have tried to use the killing to their advantage.  The organisation 'Unite Against Fascism' which sees a climate of 'racist discussion' on immigration having been 'stirred up' during the EU referendum campaigning.  Whilst the Tories, Lib Dems and UKIP all announced they would not contest the seat at the forthcoming by-election the Liberty GB prospective candidate, a former BNP member, announced his intention to stand by saying 'We cannot let Jo Cox's death be in vain'.  The North-east branch of 'National Action' took the opportunity to post on Twitter, '#JoCox would have filled Yorkshire with more subhumans'.  I usually think that invoking the word Nazi means you know you are losing the argument, but for this comment it seems entirely appropriate.
Eager not to be labelled as 'Stirrer up in Chief' Nigel Farage turned psychiatrist saying the killing was the act of 'one man with serious mental health issues'. This line will no doubt play well with those papers which have done so much to use immigration to stoke up resentment against the EU,  'It wasn't me gov it was him'.

Even the usually excellent Al Jazeera news channel managed to use it as an excuse to ask why the killing had not been labelled 'terrorism' when this epithet is so frequently attached to incidents involving Muslims.
Whatever this killing was it was not terrorism.  The whole idea of 'terrorism' is to terrorise the population at large by causing panic and uncertainty about whether you are going to be the next casualty.  Like the killing of Lee Rigby in 2013 Joanne Cox's killing was a carefully targeted attack.  Terrorists see the whole population of a country as a legitimate target.  The IRA Manchester bomb of 1996, the Twin Towers attack of 2001, the London Bombings of 2005, can all be accurately described as 'terrorism'.  By the same token the targeted killing of secular bloggers and academics in Bangladesh isn't terrorism either.

I find it distasteful that after her untimely death Joanne Cox is being given the 'Sleb' treatment by some sections of the media.   It's an old trick.  Lavish praise on what someone has done.  Associate yourself with similar views, which are of course the views of all 'right thinking people', and hey presto, a nice bit of self praise emerges.

Whatever Joanne Cox's qualities personally I'd like to see fewer MPs with a background of university, working for a charitable organisation, then the House of Commons, and more from John Anderson's background.

Whatever I think of Simon Danczuk's antics as an author and MP, he is surely right to draw attention to the fact that so many of his colleagues really do form a 'metropolitan elite'.  He could have added that they inhabit the same 'Westminster Village' as the journalists who write about them.







Enfield Council becomes first British government body to deploy the "Virtual Employee!"

Brexit and European politics

We are publishing below extracts from the 'Monday Briefing' by Ian Stewart, Chief Economist, at Deloitte UK:

* The "What the UK Thinks: EU Poll of Polls", based on the average share of the vote for 'Leave' and 'Remain' in the six most recent polls carried out between 10th June and 16th June shows Remain and Leave tied on 50% in the week ahead of the referendum (adjusting for the removal of "don't knows")

* Instead of parliamentary constituencies, the geographical area for the referendum will be 382 counting areas, one for each local government area in Great Britain, and one each for Gibraltar and Northern Ireland. Each counting area will make a separate declaration which will be aggregated by eleven regional counting officers. The national result will be announced in Manchester Town Hall by the Chief Counting Officer. 

* Unlike last year's General Election there will be no official exit polls, partly because of the difficulty of extrapolating from a sample to a wider population in a referendum. Nonetheless, the Financial Times reports that some hedge funds have commissioned their own exit polls in order to trade on early indications of the result. The movement in the value of sterling during the count of votes from 10pm on Thursday evening will provide one signal of market sentiment about the outcome. 

* According to the latest political betting odds cited by PaddyPower, there is a 31% implied probability of a Brexit vote – down from a high of 44% in the middle of last week 

* A number of polls early last week showed growing public support for a vote to leave the EU, with an Ipsos Mori poll putting support for Brexit ahead by six points (excluding 'don't knows') – the first time the Ipsos MORI telephone survey has shown a lead for Leave

* Leading Vote Leave MP Chris Grayling set out the Leave campaigns' plan for power, with moves to ensure the end of free movement of people and curb the power of EU courts, and reach a new trade deal with the EU, all by 2020 

* British Chancellor George Osborne said he would likely have to introduce an emergency budget if Britain voted to leave the EU, although 57 Conservative MPs said they would block spending cuts and tax rises as part of such a budget 

* The head of Germany's influential Ifo institute for Economic Research warned that "the biggest risk" for the German economy at present is a possible Brexit, adding that "Germany has very little to gain and an awful lot to lose" 

* The European Court ruled that the UK can use strict 'right to reside' rules in order to limit access to child benefit for non-UK citizens, ruling against the European Commission, who had argued that the rules were discriminatory 

* The European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of England have agreed to provide liquidity to each other if needed – to ensure that "there would not be liquidity bottlenecks either at English banks or at European banks", according to ECB governing council member Ewald Nowotny 

* German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble said European finance leaders are preparing for any possible outcome of Britain's referendum, with Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem also stating that the euro area has "the capacity to deal with any shocks that might occur" 

* The Bank of Japan is in "close communication" with the Bank of England and other global central banks ahead of this week's referendum, according to its governor Haruhiko Kuroda 

* European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the EU would not "be in danger of death if Britain leaves, because we'd continue (the) process of closer cooperation in Europe, if not of deepening the EU, and mainly the Economic and Monetary Union" 

* In her strongest intervention to date, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Britain would be treated as an outsider to the single market if it decided to leave the EU 

* During an impassioned speech in Vienna, Christine Lagarde urged British voters to stay in the EU, saying that "Membership has made the UK a richer economy, but it has also made it a more diverse, more exciting, and more creative country." 

* FT analysis of the 2015 annual reports of every member of the FTSE 100, shows that only 26 mention Brexit, and only a few specify the nature of the risks a Brexit poses to their company 

* Shareholders of Virgin Media in the UK approved a late donation of up to £700,000 for the Remain campaign, with company leaders warning that the company would seriously reconsider future capital investment in the UK if Britain votes to leave the EU 

* France's Finance Minister Emmanuel Macron warned that if the UK leaves the EU it will become as significant as the island of Guernsey and "a small country in the scale of the world". The Minister also said the EU would have to send 'a very firm message and timetable' in the event of a Leave vote, saying: 'You're either in or you're out.' 

* Pollsters ComRes reported that more UK voters say they would be delighted if Leave wins (44%) than if Remain wins (28%). A Leave victory would also disappoint fewer people. However, it would also make more people anxious - 41% said a Leave vote would cause them anxiety compared to 33% for Remain. 

* Investors pulled over $1bn from UK equity funds in the week to Thursday 16th June, second only to last May's general election over the past decade, according to flow of funds data compiled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch 

* The FT reports that retail brokers in the City of London have been preparing themselves for a surge in trading this week, including moves to test IT systems to ensure they can cope with the rush to buy and sell before and following the referendum 

* Enfield Council is to become the first British government body to deploy a "virtual employee" for frontline services; with the council working with a New York technology company to deploy 'Amelia', a "cognitive agent" that will carry out human resources tasks and hopefully also respond to residents' queries and help authenticate permit applications

Pale-faced Reply by Irrelevant Old Man!

Dear Adam Lawrence-Barr,
NICE to hear from you.  I only became aware of you after someone drew my attention to your spat with Nick Heath over your interview with the Catholic Worker.  I think he accused you of returning to the 'Big Tent' approach to anarchism, and you humbly said that Freedom had no intention of returning to the 'Big Tent' approach.  I don't know what the alternative is perhaps it amounts to proclaiming what Orwell called the 'smelly little orthodoxy' of left wing politics.  Whatever is the case, Northern Voices would be more than happy to publish your ideas on the NV Blog.
 You mention a few groups or tenants of Freedom that are doing 'work', implying that by offering rooms or collecting rents and standing in their shadows Freedom is somehow made more significant by its proximity to these bodies.  It's a curious argument to pursue, especially when at the last meeting of the Friends of Freedom you revealed that the inmates at Freedom had managed to 'squander' a large sum of money left to Freedom by a benefactor some 7-years ago.  You did say 'squander' didn't you?  And did you go on to absolve yourself by saying:  'It was before my time'?  Also, is it true that a member of the Friends has been financing the Collective out of their own pocket? 
None of these misdemeanours seems to inhibit you from taking that moral high ground in your e-mail and accusing Northern Voices an 'attempt to steal away the means of production from the workers using it by a bunch of old irrelevant white men'.  I'm glad you raised the matter in this for it suggests that you have not read a word of the Freedom archives or even of Northern Voices.  By couching your profound critique in such terms I suppose that you are claiming that you are more in touch with the shop-floor and the world of work?  And that your record in anarchist politics is somehow superior to mine and the other three supporters of the 'Modest program'?
Well, that is interesting:  how long have you been involved in Freedom?  The problem is that you seem to be representing the Metropolitan elite, and apart from David Goodway from Yorkshire, who is on the Friends of Freedom to represent the provinces?  Your own name sounds like something from the Home Counties and the middle-class, it doesn't have a proletarian ring to it does it?  It doesn't sound owt like someone who has been apprenticed in a factory, or has worked in the shipyards in Gibraltar like me, or has been a weighman in a Lancashire textile mill.  Or someone who has done time in Strangeways, or been detained in a dungeon in the province of Segovia in the summer of 1963, before even Stuart Christie went to Franco's Spain.  I'll not mention about the interviews I did for Freedom during the pyramid sales riots in Albania in 1997, and in Belgrade during the general elections there in December 2000.  What today seems to be held to be 'irrelevant' on the left of politics is the concerns of the blue-collar worker:  take the lack of interest in many quarters in the recent High Court case over blacklisting - that is the elephant which has somehow been left outside the room.  Where are the representatives of North & South Wales on the Friends of Freedom?  Where is the Scottish connection?  Where are the Northerners?  Where are the genuine Proles and blue-collar workers? 
 Come-on Adam Lawrence-Barr, who are you kidding? 
 Kind regards, 
 Brian Bamford

Editor Adam Barr replies to Freedom's Critics!

Freedom Editor - Adam Lawrence Barr

Dear Brian (Bamford: an editor of Northern Voices),

Not that modest really (your Our Friends in the North program).  Just FYI the we've just raised the money for a website redesign and we should be receiving sketches and quotes today or tomorrow. What you are suggesting is pretty unanarchist, an attempt to steal away the means of production from the workers using it by a bunch of old irrelevant white men.  Judging by the content you put out on Northern Voices it seems your pretty out of touch with actual anarchist politics today.  I would direct you to the work done by Corporate Watch or Haven Books, or the Advisory Service for Squatters or any of the other groups who use the building to put further anarchist politics but I'm sure you wouldn't really care. I'd have been quite happy to discuss the problems with the website at the last London anarchist bookfair (which i believe you attended) but you didn't seem too interested on that occasion. I have to thank you for your donation for one of the freesheets we were distributing though! We got rid of all 1000 copies over the course of a month you'll be happy to hear.

Adam (Barr):  the latest editor of Freedom.

Only One Prosecution For Blacklisting

ONLY one person has been prosecuted for their criminal culpability in the blacklisting scandal, with not a single construction director behind the illegal operation having faced charges.  However, Ian Kerr, the former head of the Consulting Association – the industry financed organisation that spied on union and safety activists and provided the information to major site firms – has now been joined by award-winning human rights campaigner Dave Smith, as the focus of a prosecution.
Smith, a blacklisted worker and secretary of the Blacklist Support Group, was found guilty last week but discharged at the City of London magistrates’ court for disrupting traffic in Park Lane, London, in a blacklisting protest in March last year.  Commenting after his conviction, he said since the scandal erupted:
'Only two people have ever been convicted because of their involvement with blacklisting — Ian Kerr and me.'  
Smith was not fined but the offence will be held on his record for the next six months.
The Green Party has come out in support of calls for a public inquiry into the practice of blacklisting trade unionists and campaigners.  Outgoing Green leader Natalie Bennett said:
'The time has come for a public inquiry into the shameful practice of blacklisting. It’s vital that those who were discriminated against, and the public, gain an understanding of how this information on suspected trade unionists was collected and how it was shared with prospective employers.'
Green Party member of the House of Lords, Jenny Jones added that companies caught using blacklisting should not be left with the responsibility for ridding the industry of the practice.  'That’s why parliament must step up and kick-start a public inquiry into blacklisting,' the baroness said.  'I’m also urging any worker who was discriminated in this way to speak to me about their experiences. I’ll do all that I can to take this forward in the Lords.'

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Whistle-blower Breaks Silence on Freedom!

by antigr0up on 18/06/16:
'A tenant acting as proxy for Andy's (Meike's) machinations (who pay little or nothing to Freedom) have sickened Richard Parry from staying? A pyrrhic victory. *slow hand clap* Unless Freedom can establish a viable financial plan Freedom will either fold or be forced to move to smaller premises within two or three years -which means the tenants are fucked. What's more the Freedom collective and their tenants have only themselves to blame. on FREEDOM - 'A Mausoleum'!'
Editor's Reply:
Yesterday, I was told that a couple of months ago buyer for 84B, Whitechapel High Street, had been round to the Freedom Bookshop to view the Freedom premises, and had been turned away by someone in the Bookshop.  Could it have been the Laughing Policeman?  If so, it has serious implications for everyone involved.  It would seem that the tenants are on a dodgy wicket here with the shakey situation over the rents (paid or unpaid), and even the Friends seem to have been asleep on the job.  Increasingly, it is looking like there could be tears before midnight unless the Friends clean-up their act and apply themselves to the task of carrying out what is required of them in the Articles of Association.  That is the simply reasoning behind the program of Our Friends in the North. 

FREEDOM - 'A Mausoleum'!

by antigr0up:

JUDGING from everything written so far the collective seem to have lost any sense of perspective. Now Andy and Adam are deploying flimsy, baseless claims towards those who are understandably calling to question the collective's chronic negligences. 
Word is the shop struggles to get five customers on any given day.  By that measure Freedom is more of mausoleum than anything else. It certainly feels like one, but only more miserable.
Five customers a day won't even pay staff wages never mind any of the other bills.  The place must be losing money every week.  Considering this situation has been allowed to operate like this over years it can only mean Freedom must be eating into the last of their financial reserves.  Put this into context:
- The shop is losing money.
- The collective let out spare space upstairs to groups who are unable to pay rent.
- The collective seem incapable of carrying out the basic requirements of any form of book shop, never mind the compulsory condition of doing a on 'Andy Meinke upholds the honour of Freedom!'
 NV Editor: 
ONLY this week we have been told that it is Donald Rooum - the cartoonist - a former member of the Collective himself and now a Friend of Freedom Press, who is bailing out the Freedom Collective to produce the Freedom free-sheets, and that he recently covered them for a debt that they had run-up. 

It may be of some interest that Donald was never made a Friend, while Vernon Richards was around.  Donald will be one of those Friends who as required by the constitution (Memorandum of Association) to stand-down at next week's Annual & General Meeting of the Friends. 

Richard Parry, the solicitor, is another Friend who is having to stand-down, but in this case it would seem that pressure has been applied behind the scenes by one of the insurgent 'tenant groups'.  Mr. Parry, it would seem, has put up some of the backs of those associated with Andy Meinke and the Collective, and they have used some underhand strategy to oust him.  It would seem that Mr. Parry has been doing too good a job for the likes of Mr. Meinke and his 'hangers-on' who enjoy his company.

Bristol History Group & War Resisters

Discovering British War Resisters 1914-1918 Hoped-for outcomes and challenging surprises
Date: Monday 20th June, 2016
Time: 7:30 pm
Venue: Friends Meeting House, Champion Square, Bristol BS2 9DB
Price: Donation
With: Cyril Pearce
Cyril Pearce is Britain’s foremost researcher into World War 1 conscientious objectors (COs) and war resisters. His book ‘Comrades in Conscience‘ looked at the anti-war movement in Huddersfield. Since then, Cyril has extended his work to look for other ‘Huddersfields’ and has created a database of British COs – the Pearce Register of British Conscientious Objectors The database currently contains details of almost 20,000 men who refused to fight in the war and is an invaluable tool for any local research. The 350 names we have published for Bristol are extracted from Cyril’s database.
The database has enabled the creation of maps of all the British counties plotting numbers and densities of COs and identifying anti-war ‘hot spots’. This research process has exposed hitherto hidden aspects of the anti-war phenomenon among them an underground network of safe houses and hiding places and, with the collaboration of Irish rebels, an escape route to North America.
Come and hear Cyril talk about his research, including stories of Bristol people who opposed the war.
Cyril Pearce is an Honorary Research Fellow at University of Leeds, School of History.
For more information email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

Convoy to Calais!


Hi all
We have just left a very charged and moving rally at Westminster for the Convoy, were our amazing speakers gave us messages of support and good luck
We are determined to get our aid through along with our message of compassion and solidarity. As John Rees from Stop the War said from the podium, 'We don't believe that most working people in this country are racists. Refugees are welcome here' . 
Here is all the last information you will need for the day. 
8:30am - Assemble in Whitehall
This is now more important than ever.
See Info Pack in the link below for more details. 

9:00am - Speeches from Richmond Terrace (opposite Downing Street)
9:15am - Photo call at Front of Convoy
9:30am - Convoy departs
Convoy will stay together and travel as much as possible in the slower lane.
Communication will be via text message to each vehicle along the way with updates on progress or with any information that needs to be despatched.
The Convoy will not stop until we reach Stop 24 Service Station located at Junction 11 M20 - 15 minutes from the Port of Dover.
From here we will organise our approach to the port
If we are refused entry to the Ferry by French authorities we will drive out and rejoin the back of the queue and keep trying to enter until this is no longer possible.
If we are still refused entry we will then reassemble  the Convoy, drive back to London and set down outside the French Embassy at 58 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7JT.
If we are allowed on the ferry, the plan for holding an event outside the camp will be implanted.
13:55 Ferry Departs.
16:00 (French Time) Ferry Arrives Calais.
Convoy Heads to the 'Convoy Meeting Point' which is Point 9 on page 3 of your info pack.  
16:30 - 17:30 - Final drop off aid/aid transfer to depot.
17:30 Solidarity Event begins.
21:00 Convoy departs.
22:40 Ferry departs.
Any questions please contact calaisconvoy@gmail.com.
Please remember your passport and something to eat and drink!

See you on the road to Calais. 

The People's Assembly Against Austerity

Friday, 17 June 2016

Andy Meinke upholds the honour of Freedom!

Curious comment from Andy Meinke on the Freedom Collective, Friends of Freedom & the OFIN program:
'THE Freedom Collective does not rent out any of the property. We're a Collective of Anarchists who work in the building and on various Freedom projects such as publishing, website, news sheet. Everyone involved pays what they can to keep the project going. Freedom is run by a Collective that has meetings every month open to anyone in the movement. You get to join the Collective by turning up and doing stuff. The 'Friends of Freedom Press' are a company who owns the building in trust. As you might guess from their name they are 'friends' (editorial emphasis in bold) of the Collective. Mostly former Collective members and generally good eggs. If we need a group called 'Annoying Dicks who want to fuck up Freedom Press' (editorial italics and bold print) we'll leave (sic - let?) you know on 'Who is David?' post below.'
NV Editorial Reply to Andy Meinke:
ANDY Meinke above writes:  'If we need a group called "Annoying Dicks who want to fuck up Freedom Press we'll let you know".'
CAN this be the same Andy Meinke, who in 2014, wrote in the Freedom free-sheet words to this effect:  'Kropotkin started it (Freedom newspaper) but we fucking finished it (Freedom)' ?
CAN this be the same Andy Meinke, who in November 2012, banned a northern regional anarchist publication from the Freedom Bookshop?
CAN this be same Andy Meinke, who in the Summer of 2012, verbally abused the photo-journalist, David Hoffman, over a claim he had raised with Freedom about the theft of intellectual property?  Resulting in Mr. Hoffman having to pursue a formal complaint the consequence of which was that Freedom Press had to pay him a large sum of money?
CAN this be the same Andy Meinke, who in late 2012, allegedly failed to pay the insurance on the property belonging to Freedom Press?  The consequence being that the insurance cover on the building ran out and some two weeks later a fire occurred resulting in extensive damage and further cost to Freedom Press?

Need we go on further?  What is the position pray regarding the insurance of the property now?  Will the building pass fire regulations?  Will anyone insure the property owing to the earlier mismanagement?  What happens if there is another fire at Freedom and it takes the Whitechapel Art Gallery together with the current Barjeel Art collection*, with it? 

HOW many tens of thousands of pounds will it take to bring the Freedom building at 84B, Whitechapel High Street up to standard, so that it meets all the regulations required of it?  Who will take responsibility?  The Friends of Freedom Press, or will it be Andy Meinke and his mates who turn up for a drink and enter the revolving door of the Freedom Collective?  As Andy apparently lives with his parents and is seemingly an employee who manages the Freedom bookshop, perhaps in event of a crisis he will escape legal liability.
The Barjeel Art Foundation holds an extensive collection of art from the Arab world.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Chris Draper's Answer to 'What did the EU do for Manchester?'

Let's have more examples of how governments are really good for us on this allegedly anarchist website!
Or perhaps readers might instead consider a few facts, for example this list illustrating how the EU helps corporations transfer production to where the workers come cheapest!
Cadbury moved factory to Poland 2011 with EU grant.  Ford Transit moved to Turkey 2013 with EU grant.  Jaguar Land Rover has recently agreed to build a new plant in Slovakia with
EU grant, owned by Tata, the same company who have trashed our steel works and emptied the workers pension funds. Peugeot closed its Ryton (was Rootes Group) plant and moved production to
Slovakia with EU grant.
British Army's new Ajax fighting vehicles to be built in SPAIN using SWEDISH steel at the request of the EU to support jobs in Spain with EU grant, rather than Wales.
Dyson gone to Malaysia, with an EU loan.  Crown Closures, Bournemouth (Was METAL BOX), gone to Poland with EU grant, once employed 1,200.  M&S manufacturing gone to Far East with EU loan.  Hornby models gone. In fact all toys and models now gone from UK along with
the patents all with with EU grants.
Gillette gone to eastern Europe with EU grant.  Texas Instruments Greenock gone to Germany with EU grant.  Indesit at Bodelwyddan Wales gone with EU grant.  Sekisui Alveo said production at its Merthyr Tydfil Industrial Park foam  plant will relocate production to Roermond in the Netherlands, with EU funding.
Hoover Merthyr factory moved out of UK to Czech Republic and the Far East by Italian company Candy with EU backing.  ICI integration into Holland’s AkzoNobel with EU bank loan and within days of the merger, several factories in the UK, were closed, eliminating 3,500 jobs Boots sold to Italians Stefano Pessina who have based their HQ in Switzerland to avoid tax to the tune of £80 million a year, using an EU loan for the purchase.
JDS Uniphase run by two Dutch men, bought up companies in the UK with £20 million in EU 'regeneration' grants, created a pollution nightmare and just closed it all down leaving 1,200 out of work and an environmental clean-up paid for by the UK tax-payer. They also raided the pension fund and drained it dry.
UK airports are owned by a Spanish company.  Scottish Power is owned by a Spanish company.
Most London buses are run by Spanish and German companies.  The Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to be built by French company EDF, part owned by the French government, using cheap Chinese steel that has catastrophically failed in other nuclear installations. Now EDF say the
costs will be double or more and it will be very late even if it does come online. 
Swindon was once our producer of rail locomotives and rolling stock. Not any more, it's Bombardier in Derby and due to their losses in the aviation market, that could see the end of the British railways manufacturing altogether even though Bombardier had EU grants to keep Derby going which
they diverted to their loss-making aviation side in Canada.  39% of British invention patents have been passed to foreign companies, many of them in the EU The Mini cars that Cameron stood in front of as an example of British engineering, are built by BMW mostly in Holland and Austria. His campaign bus was made in Germany even though we have Plaxton, Optare, Bluebird, Dennis etc., in the UK. The bicycle for the Greens was made in the far east, not by Raleigh UK but then they are probably going to move to the Netherlands too as they have said recently.

The EU was designed and exists to coordinate STATE legal power to compel with the predatory power of corporations to exploit. The varied court-jesters (Union Bosses, Labour Politicians, Green Apologists etc) who take money from the EU and see a good career in toadying are predicatbly lining up to sing the praises of their erstwhile masters.  I would expect anarchists to look beneath such exhortations and examine the underlying power relationships. The EU is fundamentally designed to oil the wheels of globalisation, why on earth do you think it is so keen to covertly tie up TTIP?
Of course there is a window dressing of concern for the environment, workers rights etc but if you were mugged and your assailant handed you back a tanner for a cup of tea would you be grateful?
Don't vote for any politicians ever and for anarchy's sake don't endorse the EURO SUPER STATE but DO VOTE "LEAVE"!

What has the EU ever done for Manchester?

Ali A. has created a new post:
Hi all,
I thought you might be interested in this event on Thursday evening to discuss what the European Union has done for our environment, featuring an excellent line-up of speakers including:
* Lisa Nandy MP - Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
* Lord Deben (John Gummer) - Chair of the Committee on Climate Change
* Dr Charlotte Burns - University of York
* Sam Lowe - Friends of the Earth EU referendum campaigner
* Anne Selby - CEO of Lancashire Wildlife Trust
The event starts at 6.30pm on Thursday 16th June at the St Thomas Centre (home of GMCVO, 10 minutes walk from Piccadilly train station) on Ardwick Green North, M12 6FZ.
Tickets are free and can be booked online at:
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