Saturday, 25 September 2010


What is the Coalition of Resistance and what does it do?
The Coalition of Resistance …
1. is a broad united national campaign against cuts and privatisation in our workplaces, community and welfare services, based on general agreement with the Founding Statement issued by Tony Benn in August 2010.
2. is linked to no particular political party, but committed to open working in a non-sectarian way with all organisations seeking to co-ordinate resistance; and is dedicated to supplementing, rather than supplanting, trade union, student, pensioner and community opposition to austerity measures.
3. is based on thousands of individual supporters, together with national unions, union branches, anti-cuts campaigns, student, pensioner, unemployed, youth and other organisations which affiliate.
4. seeks to provide a national umbrella for a network of local and sectoral campaigns; and aspires to support, encourage, coordinate, and facilitate a transfer of experience rather than to command.
5. invites affiliation from functioning local campaigns championing public services or fighting the cuts; encourages the establishment of new local campaigns where there are none; and offers local campaigns the opportunity to call themselves local Coalitions of Resistance if they wish.
6. organises newsletters, a website , meetings, conferences, lobbies, rallies, marches, demonstrations and other events.
7. vehemently opposes all proposals to “solve” the crisis by discrimination or scapegoating on the grounds of disability, race, religion, ethnic origin, gender, age, sexual orientation or identity.
8. liaises closely with similar opposition movements in other countries and has issued a call for international resistance to austerity measures.
9. encourages a wide debate on how to protect the welfare state and develop an alternative programme for economic and social recovery in line with its founding statement.
10. is run by a steering committee meeting on a weekly basis and advised by periodic meetings of activist supporters of the founding statement until the Founding National Conference on 27th November 2010.

GPEX Campaigns Coordinator, Romayne Phoenix and Joseph Healy are on the steering committee.
I attended an anti-cuts meeting in Barnet on Thursday night. We were the only party with a stall there. Over 200 people attended. There was an even bigger meeting in Tower Hamlets a few night previously.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

The Queen and dependency culture.

Paul Flynn MP:
"The Royal family is part of the dependency culture of Britain in the same way that Mr Cameron spoke about people living in a council house accommodation for life."

Thursday, 16 September 2010


Take the Joseph Rowntree Poverty Quiz. The answers may surprise you.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Nearly one million for GMO ban.

From Avaaz:

Wow - nearly 800,000 EU citizens have signed - let's hit 1 million! Forward this email to everyone -- and if you've already signed, click to make sure your signature is valid!

Dear friends,

The European Commission has recently approved growing genetically modified crops in the European Union for the first time in 12 years!

Caving to the GM lobby, the commission has ignored 60% of Europeans who feel we have to get the facts first before growing foods that could pose a threat to our health and environment.

A new initiative allows 1 million EU citizens to make official legal requests of the European Commission. Let's build a million voices for a ban on GM foods until the research is done; they will be delivered to the President Barroso of the European Commission. Sign the petition and forward this email to friends and family:

Consumers, public health, environmental and farmers groups have long rallied against a few international GM companies having such significant influence over European agriculture. Concerns about growing GM crops include: contamination of organic crops and the environment; their impact on climate due to the excessive need for pesticides; the destruction of biodiversity and local agriculture; and the effects of GM food on public health.

EU member states have voiced strong opposition to last week's decision to authorise BASF's potato and Monsanto's maize -- Italy and Austria are opposed, and France said it would ask for further scientific research.

There is still no consensus on the long-term effects of GM crops. And it is the GM industry, pursuing profits not public well being, that is funding the science and driving the regulatory environment. That is why European citizens are calling for more independent research, testing and precaution before crops are unleashed onto our land.

Now, the "European Citizens' Initiative" gives 1 million EU citizens the opportunity to submit policy proposals to the European Commission and offers us a unique chance to drown out lobbyists' influence.

Let's raise 1 million voices to put a moratorium on the introduction of GM crops into Europe and set up an independent, ethical and scientific body to research and determine the strong regulation of GM crops. Sign the petition now and then forward it widely:

With determination,

Alice, Benjamin, Ricken, Luis, Graziela and the entire Avaaz team.

More information:

Last Eurobameter Survey 2008 'Attitudes of European citizens towards the environment', page 66:

The Independent, Fury as Brussels authorises GM potatoes:

Reuters, France blasts GM crop approvals by EU agency:

New Report: GMOs Causing Massive Pesticide Pollution:

Summary of the International Assessment on Agricultural Science and Technology for Development, including critics of GMOs use in agriculture:

Friday, 10 September 2010

The Strange Case of Popular Austerity

Guest blog from Mike Shaugnessy of Haringey Green Party

A recent poll commissioned by the BBC showed that 60% of British voters are in favour of severe cuts to public spending now, to reduce the country’s budget deficit.

It does amaze me that the ConDem government, has managed so easily to focus public attention away from the causes of the budget deficit and onto public spending and general belt tightening. The Labour government did contribute to unnecessary public spending such as, PFI’s and PPP’s, but this was pioneered by John Major’s last Conservative government in the 1990’s. And, the huge sums spent on military adventures and retaining an out of proportion nuclear arms capability, were both supported by the Conservatives. The main reason that the public finances are so in the red though, is because the banks were, well bankrupt, and this debt fell onto the taxpayer. The Conservatives were advocating even greater liberalisation of the financial services industry than the then Labour government, so I can’t see how a Tory government would have avoided this recession, and the resultant loss of tax revenues that this caused. Nevertheless, the tactic of putting all of the blame on Labour seems to have worked so far.

But there you go, they appear to have convinced the public that this recession was all the fault of too much government, when in reality it was caused by too little government intervention in the private sector, which is now envisaged as rising phoenix like from the ashes to save the nation in its time of need. A strange kind of logic indeed.

Interestingly, the same opinion poll registers public hostility to cuts in public services, particularly health, education and defence, at the same time as approving of sharp reductions in spending. This hostility will surely grow as the actual cuts are made, because 25% spending reductions in services cannot be made by cutting ‘waste’. Frontline services will suffer severe cut backs, and when people feel these, in their day to day lives, I think the mood will change.

These cuts will be extremely damaging to our public services and to service users, but perhaps even more importantly, spending cuts at the pace advocated by the coalition government, endanger the fragile recovery in the economy. It has come to something, when the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has questioned the fairness of these cuts, with the heaviest burden for budget deficit reduction falling on those least able to shoulder it, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggesting that spending reductions should not be implemented too quickly, as they might throw us back into recession. These organisations are hardly bastions of left wing thinking, and I read today that even Boris Johnson, Tory mayor of London, is quoted as saying the government should be careful not to make spending cuts at the speed the coalition government is demanding.

I expect this return to the Thatcherism of the 1980’s will lead to exactly the same outcome. That is, underfunded and extremely poor public services, which in turn will lead to wide scale social unrest. At least Thatcher had the foresight to increase police numbers and pay, in readiness for the unrest, but this government wants to cut the police force too. Turbulent times ahead, I think.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


The Greens won 6 senators (one in every state), meaning they will have 9 senators, and balance of power in the new Senate

· Our first Green member of the House of Representatives – Adam Bandt from the seat of Melbourne

· Over 1.7 million people voted 1 for the Greens in the Senate

· Over 1.5 million people voted 1 for the Greens in the House of Representatives
The Senate elections were under STV while the House of reps vote was by AV.

· Greens 2010 result of 11.76% in House of Reps: the highest vote ever for a third party

· Greens national Senate vote was just over 13%: again, the highest vote ever for a third party

· The largest swing was to the Greens – 4.0% nationally.

· In 7 seats (out of 150) the Greens polled over 20%

· In 34 seats the Greens polled over 15%

· In 82 seats the Greens polled over 10%

· Rural and regional seats had an average swing to Greens of 3%

· There was an Average vote of 10% in rural and regional seats

· 3 seats (Melbourne, Grayndler, Batman) are Greens versus Labor – i.e. the Greens have overtaken the Liberals.

· Greens have been in the top 3 candidates in 136 out of 150 seats.

· By electing a Senator in each state, the Greens are likely to be in balance of power until 2017.

The Senate elections were under STV while the House of reps vote was by AV.

Thanks to Mat Hines, who led a great campaign here for the London Green Party

Sensible points from Ken Livingstone on Tube strike

Dear colleague

Today’s transport chaos following strike action by Underground workers raises the question: where is the mayor and why did he break his promise to protect tube ticket office opening hours, particularly in outer London?

Yesterday morning I urged Boris Johnson to meet the unions to try to get this strike called off and help Londoners get to work. After today’s disruption it is clear that Boris Johnson now needs to meet the two unions involved in the dispute in order to avoid any more days lost due to strike action.

You can email Boris Johnson on to urge him to start direct talks to ensure London does not face any more disruption; or send him a message via Twitter @MayorOfLondon.

Millions of Londoners have experienced disruption in getting to and from work in the last 24 hours, yet the mayor refuses to meet the two unions involved in this dispute, which arises in part from Boris Johnson breaking an election manifesto commitment to protect tube ticket office opening hours.

Boris Johnson’s promise to negotiate a no-strike agreement for the tube has been shown to be completely hollow. He made a meal of that idea in the election but has never met any trade union to discuss it.

I met residents and commuters at Rayners Lane tube yesterday morning, a station where Boris Johnson is cutting the opening hours by over 35 per cent, from 72.5 hours a week to 42 hours a week.

Local people told me they want a clear assurance that their stations will be adequately staffed and made as safe as possible.

Contrary to the way this issue has been reported in some parts of the media half of the jobs to be cut are not ticket office staff at all but staff who work on ticket barriers and other station staff.

Throughout today the Mayor’s representatives have claimed that the disruption on the Tube was motivated by making a political point at the expense of the coalition government. Yet Boris Johnson announced this programme of reduced ticket office opening hours and cuts to jobs himself before the government was elected. The mayor needs to concentrate on his day job and start talks to remove the possibility of any more disruption

It can be done. Between 2003 to 2008 I cut the number of shifts lost to industrial action by 98 per cent by engaging with the unions and putting the interests of Londoners first. Pippa Crerar, the Evening Standard’s City Hall editor, wrote today:

I can think of one recent mayor who managed to hold face-to-face talks on potential flash points (most recently, the collapse of Metronet) but still left all of the day-to-day negotiations to TfL. Boris is supposed to be our representative.

The Mayor can find the time to write a £250,000 a year Telegraph column but not to resolve disputes inconveniencing millions of Londoners.

Running London's transport system is one of the most important responsibilities of the Mayor. It is time for a Mayor who will act to keep London moving.

Yours sincerely

Ken Livingstone

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Famous duckhouse makes £1,700 in auction.

From today's Independent

An MP who was forced to stand down after claiming £1,645 on expenses for a floating duck house has now sold it for charity, it was confirmed today.

Former Conservative MP for Gosport Sir Peter Viggers, 72, was criticised for his expenses claims which totalled £30,000 for gardening costs.

These included the 5ft duck house which acts as a floating island to protect ducks from being attacked by foxes.

Now Sir Peter, who quit his seat at the General Election on the orders of David Cameron, has sold the Stockholm duck house at auction.

It sold to a business centre in Wolverhampton for £1,700 and Sir Peter donated the proceeds to Macmillan Cancer Support.

A spokesman for the charity said: "Macmillan Cancer Support relies entirely on public donations to provide practical, emotional and financial support to the two million people currently living with cancer.

"We are really delighted that some good has come out of the whole expenses scandal and are grateful for the donation from Sir Peter.

"This money is enough for us to provide a Macmillan nurse for two weeks."

Sunday, 5 September 2010

How can I recycle this? is an excellent blog that has featured here in the past. It is well worth including in your 'favourites'

Some posts this week:

o How can I reuse or recycle VHS video tapes?
o How can I reuse or recycle old house keys?
o How can I reuse or recycle old compact discs?
o How can I reuse or recycle audio cassette tapes?
o How can I reuse or recycle mobile phone chargers?
o How can I reuse or recycle old spectacles?

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Lib Dems MPs discovered to be still alive.

This is what the current edition of 'Private Eye' has to say about the plight of the Lib Dems:


There were scenes of jubiliation last night in London after contact was finally made with 57 Liberal Democrat MPs buried under a Conservative government over 100 days ago.

"As we'd heard nothing from them in weeks we'd naturally assumed they'd all perished," said a jubilant Liberal Democrat councillor.

Despite the initial euphoria, rescue workers were more downbeat about the long term prospects for the trapped Liberal Democrat MPs, saying few are expected to emerge from underneath Kenneth Clarke alive. Said one, "I'm doing every thing I can to save them from being shafted."

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Which Prime Minister was known as 'Pretty Fanny'

Why did John Major fail to get a job as a bus conducter?

Which political party was formed after the founders read an article in Playboy magazine?

Who said "Give my people beer, good beer, cheap beer and there wil be no revolution in this country"?

Who invented the hole in the donut?

Do you know the answers or even if you don't, come along to the Lambeth Green Party Quiz to-morrow night for an inexpensive fun night out.

Priory Arms Stockwell, 83 Lansdowne Way London SW8 2PB - Five minutes from Stockwell Tube Station


Friday 3rd September from 7.30pm.

Quiz and Poetry Reading plus raffle - All proceeds to Lambeth Green Party

Friends, acquaintances and family welcome. Bring a team or come along and join a group on the night.