Sunday, 20 December 2009
Monday, 23 November 2009
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Respect also held its conference in Birmingham on the 14th November and from the reports I have read it appears to have taken a rightward turn away from seeking to link with the wider forces of the left seeking to build a new broad party. Respect is increasingly becoming seen as a communalist Muslim party. Its level of support outside of a very few areas of the country is no greater than the rest of the far left. It membership appears to have collapsed to only around 500 and is heavily concentrated in only 12 functioning branches.
Locally the developments on the left are much more interesting. A broad coalition of activists and campaigners from those calling for a progressive new secondary school for the north of the borough, tenant and leaseholders activists, trade unionists, and socialists have come to together and adopted a constitition and formed a political party which will soon be registered with the Election Commission. Two council wards in Deptford will be targetted and as many candidates as possible will be standing for "People Before Profit"
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
Monday, 24 August 2009
Monday, 17 August 2009
Hot on the heels of developments in Wigan, it appears that across the country progressives, community activists and leftists are having discussions and coming together. I have read reports that across many towns & cities in Lancashire, the example being set by comrades in Wigan is being followed. Locally Cllr Chris Flood from the Socialist Party has taken the initiative and invited a wide collection of community campaigners and leftists to a meeting last Saturday that has explored the possibility of standing candidates in not only the local elections, the pending parliamentary elections but also Mayoral election. A web site is being established and a further, hopefully, a larger meeting is planned for September.
Friday, 14 August 2009
The launch meeting is being held on 22nd August -importantly and significantly in the Central Labour Club, Pemberton. I hope to be able to get along and will be looking to network with others locally to suggest that this could be the way forward.
This political approach is very much in line with the thinking of the Socialist Party, No2EU, Respect and many independents. this ground upwards approach is very much in contrast to the previous 'top down' approach of the Socialist Labour Party and others.
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
Monday, 20 July 2009
I attended the annual gathering of trade unionists and socialists, this year with my daughter and her boy friend. The festival gets bigger each year. In 2005, when I last went with my son, we were able to get the pick of the pitches in the camp site on the Friday night. This time we only just managed to get onto the site! The parade through the village on the Sunday took almost an hour!Last year I am told they introduced for the first time an additional over-spill car park. The meeting is an important celebration of the guiding principles of trade unionism -solidarity and unity in struggle. Interestingly the presence of Labour MP's, CLP's and rank and file Labour party members appears to be less and less. The numbers of those in political organisations to the left of Labour seems to have grown each year. The Communist Party of Britain had considerable numbers. Clearly some unions give the event a real focus of importance -the RMT for example had a real presence. I had a brief conversation with Bob Crow, the leader of the RMT who informed me he was meeting that evening to discuss proposals to take forward the RMT initiated 'No2EU' coalition. In talking with other trade union activists I gained a clear sense that the demise of the Labour Party was going to herald the formation of a new party of Labour.
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Tuesday, 30 June 2009
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
Monday, 22 June 2009
The notorious anti union employers in the construction industry seem to be flexing their muscles in the current 'down turn'. People may recall that recently many of the companies in the building and construction industry were unmasked at buying into a comprehensive "listing" of activists and trade unionists -denying employment to trade unionist or workers who simply raised concerns of heath and safety in a highly dangerous industry. The sacking of hundreds of skilled construction workers at the Lindsey Total oil refinery in Lincolnshire is a throw back to the lock outs of the 1930's and 1980's. The earlier successful action to defend trade union agreements on employment conditions and organisation was a set back for the employers to 'hire and fire' whoever they like. A former Sydenham resident, Eleanor Marx, of Jews Walk, was in the forefront of the defence of workers rights. Active in the many dockers actions and gas workers strikes. A wave of sympathetic walk-outs and solidarity actions have speard through the industry -it is likely that some of the large contruction projects in London could be affected. If any action breaks out locally I will seek to show solidarity by joining workers on the picket lines.
Friday, 19 June 2009
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Sunday, 14 June 2009
Apparently Lady Thatcher had a nasty fall over the weekend and broke her arm. (What a shame!) She is being detained in hospital for observations. The State is deterimed to give Thatcher the full honour of a state funeral. Those on left should aim to distrupt any such planned event. I have some very large bully beef tomatoes growing on my allotment. I only hope they are going to be ripe in time for when she finally pops her clogs. Another right winger has taken a tumbel, Boris, when doing some river cleaning in the Ravensbourne river in Ladywell, Lewisham -things are looking up
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
The implication for next year's Mayorial vote, under a limited transferable voting system, if the Greens again win second place, could result in the Greens running Labour very close. Labour are unlikely to pick up may second preference votes from Tory or UKIP voters. Many Lib/Dems are likely to place the Greens second.
The implications for the Council elections would also suggest the Greens are likely to pick up additional wards in the borough. If significant numbers of Labour voters are deserting then Perry Vale and Crofton Park could join Ladywell and Brockley in turning Green.
Details were:-Labour 13,927 26.07%
Green 9,435 17.66%
Tories 8,440 15.80%
Lib/Dem 7,197 13.47 %
Socialist vote 1460 2.725
Monday, 8 June 2009
Those calling for the formation of a new left party have been reading the ruins of the Euro election results for the very small left parties and groupings. No2EU, with its terrible position on Europe, little different from the BNP, UKIP -even the English Democrats. No2EU was competing in a very crowded appeal for anti Euro vote and with Scargill's SLP. The 1 % gained by both was poor. The reality is that the left in Britain are incapable themselves, even with the biggest left organisation the SWP, of establishing and maintaining a new Left party. They just don't have the critical mass and social weight of forces, unlike in Germany and France. A new sustainable left party is only going to arise when the leading left wing trade unions, like the RMT, the postal workers and Fire Fighters decide enough is enough, bash heads together and establish a new party of Labour.
Thursday, 28 May 2009
Day 22 of the 'Torygraph's publication of the MP expenses scandal has taken down even more MP's and the firestorm of MP's details shows no sign of stopping. We even have the information relating to MP's outside interests to come!
We really are entering dangerous times. Over the weekend, the forces of the right in Luton marched through the town, smashing windows and assaulting Asian shop keepers. Clearly the forces of the right are seeking to whip up hostility and anger in the face of rising job losses hitting the area and anger with elected representatives.
The hard working Labour MP for East Lewisham, Bridget Prentice, has taken many by surprise by announcing recently her intention not to stand again. Is this an indication of more expense scandal that may unfold for Lewisham's MP's ?
Saturday, 23 May 2009
Harvested the first crop of radish and lettuce today. What is great about the allotment is its collective and community basis. It is rented from the LA, nobody owns their plot or would ever think of seeking to purchase it. The site is run and managed by a collective of allotment holders. People are allocated a plot from a waiting list. If people are on income support or on a low wage they pay a discount amount. All plots are of equal size, although if people can't manage a whole one they can share it with friend. If people need help they can request assistance from the committee or more likely a neighbour would most likely help. The allotment committee and officers are drawn from the plot holders and are elected, not appointed and subject to recall and answerable to the allotment holders. An urgent meeting can be called to discuss important issues. Minutes are published and are open. The tasks undertaken by the committee members are not done for any reward, simply there are tasks that need doing. Many tools are collectively owned, often left by previous plot holders. Specialist tools can be borrowed or hired when needed. Volunteers are sort for help in cutting communal areas. Knowledge and information is shared and exchanged on tips and what grows well. Manure can be purchased collectively and composting can also be done collectively, along with the purchase of seeds at discount. Surplus produce can be exchanged and traded.
The re-birth of interest in allotments, I am sure is not just people keen to grow food more cheaply and get good exercise and fresh air, but the attractiveness of its democracy and socialism!
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
Many of my political friends are however hard at work in the No2EU slate standing in every region. A quickly assembled lash up between the leadership of the RMT, who are funding the campaign, The Morning Star / CPB and the Socialist Party who are providing the bulk of foot solders. Mistakenly the Alliance for Green Socialism has decided to participate in this nationalistic anti European 'little Englander' formation. A far better bet is a vote for the Green Party, especially in London. Jean Lambert has been in the forefront of defending public services and the union campaign against the opt -out of the working time directive. Their is a real danger that No2EU could help the BNP gain seats and loose the Green Party its representation in Europe.
Sunday, 17 May 2009
I have also worked as a housing officer for a housing co-operative and worked on the Pepys estate in Deptford. I have also worked in the Homeless Persons Unit and managed a small leasing team acquiring property for homeless people. I have also jointly managed a project to support asylum seekers and managed the Council's hostels in the borough.
I have lived in Lewisham since 1981. I live in Catford in a terraced house (not a bungalow) with my wife who is a social worker, son and daughter. My lad attends Crofton School -sorry Penderghast Ladywell Fields! My adult daughter attends South Bank University.
If elected as the MP for West Lewisham & Penge I would only accept the pay of an average worker in London and would only claim for public transport used on official business. I would publish a regular and detailed record of any expenses claimed.
I own £15 of shares in the Peoples Press Friendship Society -the publishers of the Morning Star
I am an active member of the Unite union and was the union convenor in the Council representing some of the lowest paid Council workers -road sweepers. I am a supporter of the Alliance for Green Socialism.
I am a green socialist and would seek to argue for policies which defend the interests of ordinary working people but also seek to protect and sustain the environment.
Saturday, 16 May 2009
Friday, 15 May 2009
The list is not only scandalous but demonstrates the vast disparity of wealth and income in our society between those who have been elected and ordinary working people. If 'flipping homes' and claiming £400 per month for food was not enough, even some members of parliament have been found to be accepting financial reward to influence legislation! A special panel is now being established by the Police to determine if any criminal charges are warranted -it is likely that few if any will end up facing charges as the MP's make up their own rules! When so many people are loosing their jobs and struggling to pay their rent and mortgages no wonder people are angry.
This however is very damaging for democracy. We may see the prospect of mass absenteeism or people voting for reactionary and racist parties of the right. We could be entering uncharted waters with the collapse of the existing established political parties and the birth of new parties. It is therefore vital that people who hold progressive and socialist views have candidates to vote for in the next election.
Disappointingly it would appear that the Green Party is only gaining limited increased support -indicating that a broad layer of people could be won to a radical agenda of not just a concern for the environment but a criticism of the way society is organised in the interest of rich and powerful. I have therefore decided to stand again for the re-drawn seat of Lewisham West & Penge.
I would welcome help and support from anyone who holds a similar view on the current political situation. Feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org