Saturday, 22 December 2012

Post Office Cleaners Win Claim

CLEANERS and engineers who work on contracts at Royal Mail, and who were threatening walk out yesterday, have now called off their action after Royal Mail offered a significantly improved pay award.  The workers had voted 91 per cent for strike action in a secret ballot.  They had originally been offered a below inflation 1.5 per cent pay rise which, according to their union the CWU, would leave most of them below the level of the living wage.

The Communication Workers Union members are employed by facilities management company Romec - which is 50 per cent owned by Royal Mail. 

An eleventh hour proposal from their employer was good enough for the postal executive of the Communication Workers Union to call off the action.  The strike would have hit Romec – a facilities company jointly owned by Royal Mail and Balfour Beatty that supplies cleaners and engineers to post depots. The workers had been offered a rise of just 1.5 per cent over 27 months – but a revised offer of 3.1 per cent over 15 months will be put to union members for their consideration. 

Ray Ellis, CWU negotiator, said: 'These workers have stuck together and refused to be bullied into accepting an insulting pay offer. They were furious that Romec bosses had paid themselves bonuses of between 9 and 15 per cent. The new offer should take everyone over the living wage – it’s a great victory.’

Friday, 21 December 2012

No Room at the London Flat for Arthur Scargill!

ARTHUR Scargill today lost his long running fight in the High Court with the National Union of Mineworkers to look after him with his running costs for his London flat for the rest of his life.  He will also lose his claim to fuel allowance at his Barnsley home and the NUM successfully disputed that it should pay for the preparation of his annual tax return.

Arthur Scargill has occupied the Barbican apartment - rented from the Corporation of London - since June 1982.  The rent and other expenses were paid by the union until 2011, except for a period between 1985 and 1991 when Mr. Scargill paid for this upkeep.

Now the London appartment, described to me as 'Arthur's knocking shop' by one NUM miner, and valued at £1.5m, has become too much for the NUM to shoulder because it costs the union £34,000 a year. 

The judge rejected Scargill's claims that the union's payment of the rent on the flat was intended to replace the benefit his predecessors had enjoyed and was therefore a lifetime benefit.  The judge said the claim was not reflected in the original minutes of the NEC, was not backed up by the contract Scargill signed, and pointed out that the union had continued to subsidise the mortgage on his Yorkshire home.  Arthur, for his part, claimed the judgement was 'perverse', and contradicts the evidence in the case.  The judgement will come as a relief to the NUM and the working miners.

'Spanks for the Memory'! in Private Eye

THE current issue of Private Eye describes how former Labour councillor Eileen Kershaw - mother of DJs Andy and Liz -  'has shed new light on why investigations into her late friend Sir Cyril (Smith) were abandoned.  She tells the Rochdale Observer of Smith's alarm when he learned that Knacker was investigating him in the late 1960s.  According to Kershaw, "the worry caused him to forgo his usual supper of pie and chips ands start popping Valium".  She remembers a conversation between Smith and his parliamentary predecessor in Rochdale, the late Jack McCann, a Labour whip, who "declared that he would call on the director of public prosecutions to drop the case".  This contradicts the CPS's recent statement that a prosecution of Smith did not take place in 1970 because the DPP considered the charges "stale" and "without corroboration", rather than because of any political pressure.' 

The writer in the Eye also adds:  'Kershaw's testimony also contradicts a statement made a week earlier by a former Rochdale councillor who told journalists:  "I worked with him (Smith) at nearly every school governing body in Rochdale and never heard a whisper."  Her name?  Eileen Kershaw!'

Monday, 17 December 2012

Colin Blunstone at Saddleworth Civic Hall, Uppermill!

Colin Blunstone was due to appear at the Friezland Village Hall in Greenfield, Oldham, a number of weeks ago but had to cancel the concert due to what we understand was an attack of laryngitis.

The English pop singer-song writer is best known as the lead singer in the 1960s band the Zombies, which also included Rod Argent who went on to form his own band. The Zombies are still performing and earlier this year appeared at the Picturedrome in Holmfirth.

The cancelled concert at Friezland Village Hall has now been rescheduled and Colin Blunstone is due to perform at Saddleworth Civic Hall, Uppermill, on  Sunday 3rd February 2013. Tickets are available from the promoter Neil Williams at NEILBLUESNIGHT@HOTMAIL.COM  (07707 090108) or contact Saddleworth Civic Hall, Lee Street, Uppermill, on 01457 876665 for box office and enquiries.

Northern Anarchist Network Statement.

The Northern Anarchist Network Statement to the Movement passed in Burnley on December 8th re my removal from the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair has received widespread support across the UK.    We would welcome additional signatures   to the statement   which   can be found in the Tuesday December 11th posting on this blog.    There has been no response from either the bookfair organisers or the Anarchist Federation and it is awaited with interest.

The Blacklist Support Group comment on Kerr!

Ian Kerr, chief executive of the Consulting Association and full-time blacklister of trade unionists and environmental activists since 1969, when he started work for the infamous Economic League died on Tuesday.

His £50,000 a year salary + bonus + BUPA + Mercedes company car lifestyle, funded by the major UK construction firms including Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty, Skanska, Carillion, Kier, BAM, AMEC and AMEY came to a halt when the illegal conspiracy was closed down in 2009. 

At a recent appearance at the Scottish Affairs Select Committee investigation into blacklisting, he remained totally unrepentant about decades of victimising safety reps in the building industry. Kerr was supposed to have supplied an additional witness statement to the inquiry naming names of senior company Directors who were the ring leaders of the human rights abuse.

The Blacklist Support Group will not be donating to his collection. 

Friday, 14 December 2012

Rumour that the Blacklister Ian Kerr is Dead?

THE story on the street is that the blacklister Ian Kerr died yesterday of a heart attack.  Two weeks ago Kerr was subjected to a Parliamentary investigation.  His death has yet to be confirmed, but the source of the story is Colin Trousdale.  Colin is the electrician from up Bacup in Lancashire, who Private Eye yesterday said may have been blacklisted from a job on the Media City site.

Since this article was posted, we have received confirmation that Ian Kerr (pictured), died last Tuesday, 11th December 2012. NV Editor (16/12/12)

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Son of Tameside education boss convicted of drug offences!

Although he's only a council joiner and not the Queen, this year (2012), could turn out to be an annus horribilis for councillor Gerald (Ged) Cooney (pictured), the executive cabinet member for (Learning and Achievement) at Tameside Council, in Greater Manchester.

As the councillor with responsibility for both children's education and libraries in Tameside, it has been a difficult year for the Droylsden West Labour councillor. Cuts in library services that were implemented in October, have seen the closure of  five of the thirteen Tameside libraries, job losses, and a substantial reduction in library opening hours. Though many library staff  saw their hours and pay cut, eight senior library mangers, including library boss, Adam Allen (a Geordie with a background in sport), have received pay rises after cutting services, from a council supposedly strapped for cash.

While libraries closed and other public services got axed, the leader of  the council Kieran Quinn, told an incredulous public that services were not being closed but 'redesigned'.When mother's and  kids took to the streets in an attempt to keep their local libraries open, Cooney (who like Quinn always sticks to his press office script), told them in his oft-repeated mantra, that it was "important to remember that libraries were about services not buildings" and that the "new offer would provide a modern and comprehensive service that will meet people's needs." Few people were taken in with his claptrap.

Even though the Libraries and Museums Act 1964, requires council's to provide "an efficient and comprehensive library service", the library boss recently told a public meeting of Denton West-End library users, that the way things were going, there might not be any libraries in Tameside in the future.

More recently, the council's education boss has come under fire after the 'The Office for Standards in Education' (Ofsted) revealed that Tameside ranked as the worst local authority in Greater Manchester for education and the fifth worst nationally. The Ofsted report - that ranked every local council across England for the percentage of students attending schools which it rated good or outstanding - says that "Only a third of Tameside's secondary school children attend good or outstanding schools" and that this is one of the lowest figures in Britain. According to Ofsted, only 34% of secondary school pupils attend a Tameside school that is rated good or outstanding and only 57%, of Tameside's younger pupils, attend a good or outstanding primary school, which is the lowest figure in Greater Manchester.

The council have responded to the Oftsed findings by referring to exam tests results that they say show that Tameside school children are getting a good education. They also say that the opinion of Ofsted inspectors on the perfomance of schools, is a 'subjective measure of many factors such as leadership and capacity to improve'. But no matter how hard Tameside Council try to spin their way out of this, the Ofsted report is damning and must be deeply embarrassing for both the local authority and councillor Cooney, as the Executive Cabinet member responsible for education.

Last year, councillor Cooney claimed £31,998 in allowances from the taxpayer for running failing Tameside schools. Although he's listed has being employed as a joiner by Manchester City Council, it's doubtful that he spends much time in his overalls, given his many other positions that are connected with his political role. Apart from being a Tameside councillor, he's also a member of the Children and Young People's Strategic Partnership Trust and a Member of the Economic and Learning Partnership. He also lists membership of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund Panel and membership of AGMA's board of housing and planning.

There have been calls for Councillor Cooney to lose his executive cabinet post for (Learning and Achievement) because of the Ofsted criticism of Tameside schools. But as this is the season of goodwill, perhaps we should feel slightly sorry for him. Having taken flak during the year for library closures and failing schools, he now as pressing domestic concerns of his own.

Last month, councillor Cooney's son appeared in the dock charged with drug offences. Simon John Paul Cooney, of Parvet Ave, Droylsden, was fined £400 with £125 costs for possessing cocaine. Although his appearance in court received a brief mention in the local Tameside Advertiser, it failed to get any mention whatsoever in the local Tameside Reporter, that is now owned by New Charter Housing Trust Ltd. Whether this ommission by the newspaper had anything to do with the fact that Councillor Cooney is the Chairman of New Charter Housing, is debatable. However, some people might suggest that if Councillor Cooney cannot keep his own house and kids in order, then there is little hope for Tameside schools and the areas school children.

'Mangy Kerr', Colin Trousdale & 'Media City'

TODAY'S Private Eye reports on the 3,200 trade union activists in the British building trade who were on the blacklist of The Consulting Association run by Ian Kerr, and denied the ability to earn a living.  The Information Commissioner (ICO), who raided the offices of Mr. Kerr's Consulting Association three years ago, has informed MPs looking into the scandal that the files he took represented only about 10% of the stuff held by Kerr.  Mr. Kerr has now told the MPs that he has now destroyed everything that wasn't taken by the Information Commissioner.

It was admitted by Kerr that some 200 environmental activists were also on his books.  Private Eye says:  'He did not identify who had requested the information, but at the time the affair caused controversy, when it emerged that the Department for Transport was paying private detectives to spy on and serve writs on protesters.'

Private Eye concluded by asking if The Consulting Association 'provided information which led to workers being prohibited from working on the (construction of) BBC's new "Media City" in Salford, which opened last year, Kerr admitted to being consulted about unnamed "media centres" and Manchester electrician, Colin Trousdale, who had an extensive Consulting Association file, claims he was blacklisted from the project.'

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

5- years of Steven Acheson at Fiddlers

Dear Comrades, 
I would like to invite you to join me in going down to Fiddlers Ferry Power Station in Warrington on the morning of Wednesday 19th December to join other workers in marking the fifth anniversary since electrician and UNITE member Steve Acheson was sacked from a job on the site. For the last four years Steve has protested outside the gates of Fiddlers Ferry. Steve has campaigned against blacklisting in the construction industry for years and has fought alongside other workers in struggle. You might remember him from when he spoke at the Salford May Day Rally in 2011. 

Steve is a staunch trade unionist in every sense and I hope workers can get down and give him the support he needs. 
If you would like to give a Christmas donation to the Fiddlers Ferry appeal you can do so by giving it to Steve on the day or by giving me a call on 07817434240 and I will arrange to get it off you to take down. 

In solidarity, 
Steve North
President, Salford Trades Council 
Actionsnw nssn (
President, Salford Trades Council 

Crime Chief to act on Child Abuse

GREATER Manchester's new police and crime boss has called for a meeting of the area's ten town hall leaders to find ways to protect kids from sexual exploitation; such as the recently exposed offences of Cyril Smith, the former Rochdale MP, accused of abusing young boys, and the recent case of nine men convicted for grooming teenage lasses for sex in Heywood.  Tony Lloyd, elected as the first police and crime commisioner for Greater Manchester last month, gave the topic of sex abuse top priority for the coming 'first meeting of the police and crime panel,' according to tomorrow's Heywood Advertiser.

Elected to his post two weeks ago, Mr. Lloyd said:  'We know the events that took place in Rochdale shocked people across all the communities in Greater Manchester but we also know these aren't isolated cases.'  The meeting is expected to take place early next year.

It was well known in Rochdale that Smith had been accused of abusing young lads, and the police were convinced in the 1960s that the former Liberal MP for Rochdale, was an active paederast after they investigated claims he interfered with boys at Cambridge House hostel for lads.  Yet, the Director of Public Prosecutions dropped the case at that time.

Since then Rochdale Council has been seriously slagged-off for not following up of signs that teenage girls were the subject of sexual grooming by a ring of taxi operatives linked to two takeaways - the Balti and Tasty Bities -  in the Heywood area of Rochdale.  Both of these are now under new management. 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Northern Anarchist Statement to the Movement:

THE Northern Anarchist Network meeting in Burnley on the 8th, December, unreservedly condemns the treatment handed out to NAN supporter, Barry Woodling, at the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair on the 1st, December, 2012.  He was subjected to intimidation, threats, and verbal abuse at the hands of one of the organisers called 'Veg' assisted by Anarchist Federation members, including Nick Heath.  In addition to being harangued as an 'imbecile', a 'dullard', and a 'fucking disgrace', he was accused of being an 'anti-semite'.  Barry was subsequently thrown out of the bookfair.  Such a monstrous charge beggar's belief in view of his Jewish roots, and the murder of a member of his family in the Nazi Gas Chambers in the 1940s.

 We thus call upon the organisers of the bookfair, and the Anarchist Federation to unreservedly apologise for their authoritarian actions, and to offer a guarantee that there will be no repetition of this in future.  It seems that the Anarchist Federation and the Bookfair organisers are doing the State's work for them by attacking the NAN and its supporters.
The following 55 people have now agreed to have their names added to the
list supporting the above statement.  Not all of these are anarchists,
and most were not in attendance at the Northern Anarchist Network
meeting at which the decision was made to make this declaration
supporting Barry Woodling.  It is a declaration that any decent person
may sign.  These are the signatures so far:

Paul Arnold (Manchester); Kevin Brenan (Bristol), Stacy Bluer (Salford), Mariam Shaw (Longsight), Donavan Pedelty (Wales); Trevor Bark (Northumbria); Grace Bamford (West Yorkshire); Basil Landau (Manchester); Neel Tiwana (Manchester); Sheilia Simpson (Manchester); Neil Donaldson (Shropshire); Diana Garcia (Manchester); Johnathan Davis (Manchester); Dan Fernandez (Manchester); Mingus (Manchester), Sal Choudhry (Manchester); Martin Hopwood (Manchester); Martin Gilbert (Cumbria); Barry Woodling (Swinton); John Simkin (Lancashire); Eileen Hall (Burnley); Deon Bamford (West Yorkshire); Duncan Ball (Shropshire); Ilyan Thomas (Wales); Jim Petty (Burnley); Laurens Otter (Shropshire); Brian Bamford (Rochdale); Chris Draper (York); Derek Pattison (Dukinfield, Greater Manchester); Joe O'Neil (Swinton South, Salford); Bob Crane (Bury); Yvonne Dodge (Radcliffe); Camilo Melara (Manchester); Johnathan Simcock (Derbyshire); Denise Bamford (Todmorden); Anna Jeffery (North Yorkshire); Adele Dodge (Radcliffe); Patrick Finnerty (Rochdale); Sean Dempsey (Bury); Dave Douglass (South Sheilds); Rachel Whittaker (Republic of Ireland).

Martin Bashford (York), Dave Chapple (Bridgewater), Chris Chilton (Bolton), Susan Reddington (Bolton), Elaine Cross (Bolton), Denis Pye (Bolton), Dameon Bamford (Todmorden); Dave Fogg (Manchester), Lydia Morrel (Manchester), Heike Gabernowitz (Manchester), David Hernandez (Manchester).

CARLOS ANTONIO FIGUEROA LILLO (MADRID, Spain), John Lawrence (Oman), Seamus Cain (USA)

Donald Rooum, the veteran anarchist cartoonist long associated with Freedom Press in London, expressed his personal support for the spirit of the statement in so far as it represented a call for civil liberties and a more inclusive approach, but indicated that he wished to find out more.  Others, particularly some associated with Bristol Radical History Group have also expressed their concern  and offered to mediate.  Up until now mediation has proved impossible.

Cyril Smith: CPS sites Bribery & Obscenity

TODAY, new allegations emerge regarding historic documents and files relating to Cyril Smith, the former Rochdale Liberal Democrat MP.  The Crown Prosecution Service has now said that it has found that a file was received in the early 1970s, when Smith was then aged 42, regarding an allegation or allegations involving indecent and obscene publications.  Then in the early 1980s another file was submitted in which there was a claim involving the Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act of 1889:  this 19th Century law forbid the bribery of a member, officer or a servant of a public body.

These files would be left-over allegations held by the then Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) before it was subsequently forwarded to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), after it was set-up in 1986.  Some of these separate files, according the a report in tomorrow's Rochdale Observer, reached the DPP's office in March 1970, only to be forwarded to the CPS in the late 1990s.  The CPS has now revealed that there are three separate files on Cyril Smith.

Smith at present stands accused of abusing eight young lads at Cambridge House hostel on Castle Mere Street, Rochdale, in the early 1960s.  Northern Voices' first revealed this on the 13th, November, shortly before the Rochdale MP, Simon Danczuk, gave details in his speech to the House of Commons at around 4.30pm on the same day.  On that day Simon Danczuk told the House of Commons of 'young boys who were humiliated, terrified and reduced to quivering wrecks by 29 stone bully imposing himself on them' . 

Now, the CPS has dug these new/ old files up from out of what the police call the CPS's 'Salt Mines' believed to reside somewhere in Cheshire. Surprise, surprise, the CPS has said it cannot judge the degree of seriousness of the allegations or what, if any, action was taken.  The CPS just say that they are making this public now 'in the interests of openness and transparency', and to cover their own backsides, of course.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Tyne & Wear IWW: Condemn Bookfair Attack

LAST night, Dave Douglass told us at Northern Voices that the Tyne & Wear Branch of the IWW had this month moved a resolution condemning the attack by members of the Anarchist Federation on the Northern Voices' Bookstall and the editor of N.V. at the London Anarchist Bookfair on the 27th, October 2012. 

Alice-in-Wonderland 'Anti-semitism' Charge Against Nephew of Holocaust Victim at Manchester Anarchist Bookfair

'YOU'RE A f**king disgrace!,' yelled Londoner Nick Heath at the local Jewish anarchist Barry Woodling as he was escorted out of the Emergency Exit at the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair on December 1st, only to have to climb down a small fire escape. Mr. Heath is a prominent anarchist intellectual and member of the Anarchist Federation (A.F.) in London. At 3.30pm a week ago last Saturday, the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair decended into a scene from Alice-in-Wonderland, as Barry Woodling, with Jewish origins from Swinton in Salford, and a supporter of the Northern Anarchist Network, was accused of 'anti-Semitism', forced by Mr. Heath and others to leave the Bookfair.

Earlier in the day Barry Woodling had distributed a leaflet outside the bookfair at the Peoples History Museum, complaining about the Bookfair's organisers failure to allow the anarchist body - the Northern Anarchist Network - to have a stall at the Bookfair. This small protest had passed off without incident, and it ended at noon. Mr. Woodling then went in to enjoy the bookfair, and attended a workshop between 1pm and 2pm, dealing with the Mexican town Cherar's attempts to create a free community whose citizen's govern themselves. The rest of the day he spent wandering around the stalls at the Bookfair and talking to friends such as the people on Bob Jones' Northern Herald Bookstall

At around 3.30pm Mr Wooding was confronted by one of the Bookfair's organisers who goes by the pseudonym of 'Veg' (so-called because 'Veg' is believed to be a vegan or maybe because he is a bit of a vegetable?); 'Veg' accused Barry of being an 'anti-Semite' because, it was claimed, that he had distributed a leaflet with an 'anti-Semitic' reference in it, which the organisers had had complaints about during the day. 'Veg' refused to explain either who had complained or what precisely was 'anti-Semite' in the leaflet, but began pushing Barry and threatening to deal with him when he got him outside; 'Veg' is a man of slight build, but he behaved provocatively calling Barry an 'imbecile' and a 'dullard'. At one stage some other customers intervened to try to reason with 'Veg', but he was persistent and was soon joined by others, including Nick Heath from the Anarchist Federation and some of his London friends, and a man from Didsbury who has previously used the pseudonym'Iron Column', and has been close to Sally Hyman, who led the attack of the bookstall of Northern Voices at the London Anarchist Bookfair in October. 

Neither 'Veg' or 'Iron Column' are believed to be members of the Anarchist Federation, but 'Veg' is an AF groupie and attends their meetings; 'Iron Column' is close to Sally Hyman, and both have been involved in previous complaints against Northern Voices and the Northern Anarchist Network. Yet, the latest 'anti-Semite' charge against Barry Woodling now takes us into the realms of Alice-in-Wonderland and crackpot politics that has few rivals in a sane society. Mr.Woodling, besides being a supporter of the Northern Anarchist Network, is well known in left-wing politics in Manchester. His Jewish family connections are perhaps less well known, but his mother is Jewish and her sister, Elsa Greenman, died in Auschwitz; his uncle, Liam Greenman survived Auschwitz, lived into his 90s, and Barry lovingly wrote about him in Northern Voices No.5 in the Autumn of 2005. In the Spring/ Summer [2006] issue, Northern Voices No.6, Barry Woodling wrote a sympathetic review of Dave Chapple's booklet 'Henry Suss & the Jewish working-class in Manchester' published by the Somerset Socialist Library, and in Northern Voices No.9, Mr Suss's daughter, Sali Money from Stroud sent the following letter to Barry [published in Northern Voices No.9]:
'Very many thanks for the article [in Northern Voices No.6] on my father Henry Suss... We all really appreciated your [Barry Woodling's] presence at Dad's memorial do. It is a great comfort to know he's impacted so well on others! It makes it all worthwhile!' 

Seen in this context the 'anti-Semite' charge of 'Veg', the bookfair organisers and by implication, Nick Heath and Anarchist Fed., is daft.  Barry Woodling has been on many anti-racist demonstrations in Manchester, not to mention his presence at James Keogh's Blue Plaque inauguration in Ashton-under-Lyne Library in November 2011 [James Keogh died in the Spanish Civil War fighting Fascism in 1938], and then there is his involvement in the Manchester electrician's campaign against the blacklist in the British building trade, and he was on an electrician's protest at a full Council meeting at Ashton Town Hall only last December, and is currently a supporter of 'Manchester Occupy'.

Mr. Woodling is clearly a distinguished political activist, who has ethnic Jewish ancestors going back donkey's year. Why did the Anarchist Fed. and the bookfair organiser pick on Barry Woodling? Whatever we think about the politics, and most folk in this country rightly don't think very much, this kind of thing is political illiteracy of a very high order. It is a vivid example of what Ludwig Wittgenstein, another man of Jewish origins who studied at Manchester University, called 'aspect blindness'. Now perhaps we are wrong to say that these boneheaded blacklisters of Northern Voices, like the bookfair organisers and AF, who seek to gag and ban people and publications, are 'Nazis by nature'; we may be wrong because though they use the methods of the Nazi they profess to be libertarians. I would argue that it is by their actions and their methods that they should be judged, much more so than by their abstract theories. And yet, what kind of Nazis would have been so dumb as to pick on Barry Woodling of all people, and accuse him of 'anti-Semitism'?

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Simon Sucks-up to Main Stream Media

Rochdale MP, Simon Danczuk Snubs Alternative Press
SPEAKING this week in a debate in parliament on the regional media following the Leveson report, Rochdale MP, Simon Danczuk, praised both the Manchester Evening News (MEN) and the Rochdale Observer.  No doubt he thought such praise would help his future career and bring him more favourable coverage in the main stream regional press.  Refering to the MEN he said:  'While I am talking about journalists I will mention Jennifer Williams, who works for the Manchester Evening News, and the recent Cyril Smith scandal.  She has pursued that story and written well about it on several occasions.'  Of the Rochdale Observer he said 'It is the people's champion'.

 But in doing this he ignored the work done and the risks taken  by the regional alternative media, such as the Rochdale Alternative Paper who did most of the spade work and Northern Voices, in developing the Cyril Smith story and in making his speech in the House of Commons revelant by getting a new key witness in Eddie Shorrock.  The main stream media simply jumped on the bandwagon once Paul Waugh, with our help, had posted the Smith story on his Blog on the 6th, November.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Northern Anarchist Cookbook VIII:

A Quick Soup for Today -  Aubergine, Tomato, Garlic and Coconut Milk Soup
Lindsey Bareham in her book 'A Celebration of Soup' writes:  'This is an easy and delicious soup of no real origin but with South-east Asian overtones.'   She adds:  'The coconut milk, which is rich mild and nutrious, combined with the quickly cooked vegetables, and fire from the garlic and chilli, provide a good balance of textures and flavours.'

Serves 4-6.
400g/ 14 oz. aubergine.
225g/ 8 oz. tomatoes.
900ml/ 1.5 pints chicken or vegetable stock.
400ml/ 14 fl oz tinned coconut milk.
2 tbsp groundnut oil.
2 small onions, finely chopped.
1 fresh chilli pepper, cored, de-seeded and finely chopped.
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped.
1 tsp salt.
a big pinch of white pepper.
a pinch of sugar.

Peel and cut aubergine into 1-cm/ 0.5-inch cubes.  Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 60 seconds, peel and chop into small chunks.
Bring the stock and coconut milk to simmering point in a large pan.  While they are simmering, heat a wok or large frying-pan and add the oil.  When hot, stir-fry the onions, chilli, garlic and aubergine at high heat for 4 minutes until nicely browned.  Drain on absorbent paper, then add to the soup.  Add the seasoning, adjusting to taste.  If necessay add a bit of sugar.

Anarchist Shot in Parisian Revenge Attack

WE keep being told by the odd member of the Anarchist Federation that we should think ourselves lucky that we got away 'lightly' with the Salad Cream Queen's attack on the Northern Voices' bookstall at the London Anarchist Bookfair, last October.  'You got off lightly,' said one over-dressed AF member at the Bookfair and this seems to be the general attitude of the Anarchist Federation who also had a presence at the Manchester Bookfair last weekend.  This led to absurd charges of 'anti-semitism' against one supporter of the Northern Anarchist Network.  But when you read what happened a hundered years ago in Paris, you know how some of these people's minds work:

December 4th, 1912:  Anarchist Shot in Revenge
PARIS:  An attempt at murder, supposed to be an act of revenge on the part of the notorious Anarchist, Lacombe, was committed about six o'clock yesterday [Dec 4] morning in a small apartment in the passage de Clichy.  A man named Erisbach, better known as Ducret, also an Anarchist, had lived there with his wife for several years.  Aroused by a knock at the door yesterday, the wife, thinking it was a neighbour, who had called them as usual, got up, lit a lamp, unlocked the door, and went back to the bedroom.  A moment afterwards she was surprised to see a man enter, holding a revolver in each hand.  He advanced toward her husband, and said:  'You sold our comrades, now your turn has come,' whereupon he fired twice and severely wounded Erisbach.  (From the Herald Tribune 100 years ago)

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Pat King at Number Ten Gallery

23rd, November 2012-31st, January 2013.
Pat King  - Retrospective
Number Ten Gallery, 10, Bailey Street, Rochdale, OL16 1JG.
Open:  Mon. - Sat. 9am-5pm.  Tel.... 01706  354076.

This exhibition is to celebrate and remember the life and skills of one of our talented local artists.

Pat's students and friends will know of her enthusiasm for watercolours and many will still be using her advice and techniques in their work.

The work is priced so that students and friends are able to purchase a picture in her memory.

A percentage of sales will to Pat and Jack's favoutite charity - Smile Train.

Laurens Otter is well!

A WEEK ago Laurens Otter, the veteran anarchist from Wellington in Shropshire now well into his 80s, returned to his home after a triple-heart bypass.  His wife Celia contacted Northern Voices to say the Laurens is well and improving after his operation at the Wolvehampton hospital.  All his friends in the Northern Anarchist Network, at Northern Voices, in the Church of England and beyond will wish him and Celia well. 

Salud  compañeros y buen vida!

Northern Anarchist Cookbook VII:

Cyril Smith's a Pork Pie & Chips Man

LAST SATURDAY, in the Rochdale Observer, Eileen Kershaw, a former Lancashire County Councillor, told the journalist Katie Fitzpatrick that she recalled 'a conversation with Cyril Smith and his predecessor Jack McCann (the former Rochdale MP) about the abuse allegations, during which the late Labour MP declared that he would call on the Director of Public Prosecutions for them to drop the case "because this man is being persecuted".'  Soon after that the case was dropped.

Eileen Kershaw, who claimed that she was one of the last people to see Cyril Smith before he died two years ago, said the worry about the allegations put him off his 'usual supper of pie and chips' and he started taking pills to calm his nerves back in the 1960s.  Eileen said:  'He came to our house and had pie and chips but then he stopped (and) he wasn't himself...'  So we're dedicating today's dish to Sir Cyril Smith.

Pork Pie (6-8 portions) Cheshire:
This sweet and savoury pork pie from the early 18th century has hardly changed in concept since it was first published by Mrs. Glasse in Edinburgh in 1747.
2 lb. pork fillets.
1 oz. butter.
1 lb. peeled, cored and sliced cooking apples.
Salt and pepper.
2 oz. sugar.
1 pint of whote wine or cider.
8 oz. savoury shortcrust pastry.
1 egg.

Oven:  350 degrees F; gas mark 4; 1.5 hours.

Trim the pork fillets of membranes and sinews, and cut into 1 inch cubes.  Butter a 3.5 pint pie dish and arrange layers of pork with layers of sliced apples, sprinkling each layer with salt, pepper, nutmeg and sugar.  Pour over the wine and dot with the remaining butter.  Cover with the pastry, brush with beaten egg and bake until firm, and well brown.

Government work scheme described as 'worse than useless' in helping people back into work!

The government denies that its 'Mandatory Work Activity' (MWA) programme, amounts to forced labour even though it's mandatory and does force the unemployed to undertake 30 hours of unpaid work each week for up to four weeks at a time, if they want to retain their Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA).

Although research carried out by the government, indicates that the MWA  fails to help the unemployed to get back into work after completing the scheme and seems to do little to get the long-term unemployed back into work, it is nevertheless being hailed by government officials as a huge success in getting people to sign off the dole.

Figures recently released by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), show that two-thirds of benefit claimants referred to the MWA programme fail to turn up for their placement because they either take a job or stop claiming state benefits. The report says that since the scheme started last May (2011), more than 90,000 claimants have been referred to MWA by Jobcentre staff. Of the 33,000 who began work placements, the remaining 57,000 found some work while others ceased claiming benefits. Anyone who is referred to the scheme and does not complete an unpaid work placement, is liable to have their benefits stopped. The DWP have confirmed that 6,000 people were stripped of their benefits for refusing to participate in the scheme.

Although critics say the scheme is forced labour, government officials say that it helps the unemployed to "develop personal discipline and other habits required for employment." Under the rules, any unemployed person judged by jobcentre staff to lack personal skills required to find and keep a job, must do unpaid work placements in return for their benefits.

Despite the government's own research findings into the efficacy of MWA, Mark Hoban, the Employment Minister who published the figures for MWA, said that the figures confirmed that the MWA scheme was "helping to push people off benefits and into work." He added:

"Some people will go to great lengths to avoid having to get a job, but sitting at home on benefits doing nothing is not an option for those who are fit and capable of work..."

While MWA might be having some effect in driving people off the dole - who don't like undertaking unpaid forced labour - it is less clear whether these people are going into paid employment. At a time when Britain is in a double-dip recession and there is little economic growth and nationally, there are 34 people applying for each vacancy it takes more than a pristine CV to get a job. In some regions, there are many more people chasing each vacancy. In October, when Jaguar Land Rover advertised 1,100 jobs at its plant in Birmingham, over 20,000 people applied.

The latest figures released by the DWP into the government's 'Work Programme', the 'worse than useless' job scheme which has helped just 1 in 25 back into work since starting in June last year, show how mainly private contractors, are failing to hit their target of getting 5.5% back into work. Although the government says that they would expect at least 5% of people to get back into work without any sort of government help, none of the 18 Work Programme contractors managed to hit their target of getting 5.5% of the 878,000 people referred to the scheme into a job lasting 6 months during the 14 months that the Work Programme was in operation. The Work Programme did in fact get less than 3.5% of people into work which was  mainly short-term, part-time roles, at a cost according to the BBC 2 Newsnight programme, of £14,000 per job and not £2,100, as suggested by the government. Since the programme commenced in June last year, the government have spent in the region of £412 million on a scheme which has helped fewer people into work than would have got back into work, without any government intervention.

The government say that it is too early (14 months), to judge the Work Progamme on job outcome and 'sustainment payment alone' because the programme helps people into work for 2 years or more. But there is evidence that the official figures put out by the DWP are misleading and far worse than suggested. Had the evaluation been done in the regular way from June 2011 to May 2012, instead of June 2011 and July 2012, the figure would have dropped even lower to 2.5%.

Need less to say, it's not only by the use of statistics that government's seek to mislead the public. Disinformation and the 'scrounger' agenda have been used by the government to make the public more amenable to £18bn of cuts in welfare benefits which has been taken up and reported by some journalists, to create a stigma attached to claiming state benefits. The Chancellor George Osborne does not refer to the unemployed but the 'idlers' who are "sleeping off a life on benefits" and there is no mention of the millions of people who are desperately looking for a full-time job. On previous occasions, Osborne has claimed that some families are taking £100,000 a year in housing benefit when in fact this only applied to five families in Britain. His announcement that no one would get more state benefits than the £26,000 median wage, represented less than 1% of people on benefits who were living in high cost temporary accommodation in London. Yet this kind of strategy, which tries to portray people on benefits as living the high life at the taxpayers expense, as successfully hidden the plunge in living standards for million of others through housing benefit cuts. Today, only one-in-eight people claiming  housing benefit are not in work.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Northern Anarchist Cookbook VI:

 How to Kosher Meat & Poultry
Meat and poultry should be put in a bowl especially kept for this purpose, entirely covered with cold water and left to soak for 30 minutes.  Wash every bit of blood from the meat before removing from the water.  Then place it on a smooth wooden board with holes in it, lightly sprinkle with salt.  Let drain for 1 hour, then rinse thoroughly in cold water.

Poultry must be drawn before being koshered.  Liver must be cut through and washed thoroughly.  Sprinkle with salt, grill for a minute or two on each side, then use in any way required.

These instructions are according to ritual requirements and should be carried out independently of and before those given for preparation of individual meat recipes.

Barry Woodling was thrown out of the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair last Saturday, allegedly for being an 'anti-Semite'.  We dedicate the above ritual to Barry.

Shami Chakrabarti – raises blacklisting issue on BBC TV

'Phone hacking wasn’t the only privacy or information scandal of recent years and it’s very sad that the construction worker blacklist scandal has really not attracted the same attention.  One of the big things about phone hacking was that a private investigator was storing up all this personal information, people’s phone numbers and so on and that was used for phone hacking. Something similar happened with the Consulting Association that was storing up the names of people on a blacklist. They were blacklisted because they were trade unionists or they were raising concerns about health and safety; but health and safety on a building site is potentially a life and death matter. There were people whose lives were ruined; they found they couldn’t work in the construction industry for years and years and years.
'Interestingly, going back to Leveson, one of the things that hasn’t been touched on in all the coverage, is that Leveson is really concerned that the current Information Commissioner’s Office really didn’t do everything it could have done about phone hacking…. That would apply to this hideous blacklist that has been kept about construction workers.

'Now it seems, The Observer tells us that this has affected the Crossrail project and people have been blacklisted and not able to work on that.' 

Blacklist Support Group statement on Crossrail:

'It is a disgrace that public funds are being spent on blacklisting trade unionists on the Crossrail project. 
Workers have been dismissed from the largest construction project in Europe for raising safety concerns about high voltage cables and for joining the UNITE union. For nearly 3 months there have been daily protests about blacklisting on Crossrail and the firms involved have constantly denied that it is taking place.
On Tuesday Ian Kerr, chief officer of the Consulting Association blacklisting organisation told MPs that his members had talked at length about Crossrail during meetings to discuss the list: "An awful lot of discussion took place at Consulting Association meetings about the Crossrail project.'

In addition Ron Barron, the most senior industrial relations officer on the entire Crossrail project has lost his job last week after investigative journalists discovered that he was a proven blacklister having cross-checked job applicants against the secret blacklist of workers to be barred from the industry, a list that he helped to compile. An employment tribunal found that he introduced the use of the blacklist at his former employer, the construction firm CB&I, and referred to it more than 900 times in 2007 alone. 
The evidence of blacklisting on Crossrail is damning and overwhelming - none of the blacklisting firms are now even attempting to deny that these discussions took place.

This is a major systematic breach of human rights by big business subsidised by tax-payers money - when are they going to come clean?

Crossrail and the construction firms on Crossrail should make a public apology, pay compensation and reinstate all the UNITE members who have lost their jobs on the project. A union recognition agreement on the project is required as a matter of urgency for the public to have any trust in these people.