UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

The Mean Society - support for benefit cap based on ignorance and malice

Next Tuesday Parliament will vote on the Con Dem Welfare Uprating Bill, which will scrap indexation and limit working age benefit and tax credit increases to 1% in 2014/15 and 2015/16. Almost £2bn will be removed from the incomes of the lowest paid and unemployed workers. A TUC poll published yesterday found hostile public attitudes to welfare benefits are based on ‘widespread ignorance about spending on welfare, the reality of unemployment, the generosity of benefits and the level of fraud’:

Everything Is Bare by Leonard J Cirino

Everything is bare: the pantry, the cupboards,

the freezer, the fridge. No papers in the desk,

only a family Bible. Where have they gone?

Friday, 4 January 2013

The Con Dem Addiction to Austerity

Jonathan White, writing on the Compass website, examines why - despite the overwhelming evidence that austerity measures are failing on their own terms - the UK Government persists with cuts to public spending and privatisation policies: 'austerity policies function as an ideological cover for a new wave of de-regulation, privatisation and outsourcing in favour of the public services industry...

Paranoia of the Tory Class Warriors

At the 2012 Tory Party Conference Local Government Minister Eric Pickles made a speech which verged on self-parody in its Cold War zeal: ‘...without constant vigilance - the cigar-chomping Commies will take over. Well, that isn't going to happen on my watch. After more than two years in government, I've learnt that cigar-chomping Commies come in many guises.’ It would be a mistake to consider Pickles as an isolated crank. Look no further than a Telegraph article yesterday titled ‘Fighting back against the Left-wing guerrillas’ by Sean Worth who until June was David Cameron’s special adviser, based in 10 Downing Street:

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Disabled seats tribute to John Ross

Disabled supporters at tonight’s Edinburgh derby will have the benefit of new seats thanks to a legacy donated by UNISON’s City of Edinburgh Branch in memory of activist John Ross who died in 2011.

The branch had been looking for a way to celebrate John’s lifelong commitment to the labour and trade union movement – and to his beloved Hearts football club. Monica Niven from UNISON and Keith Ferguson of the Heart of Midlothian Disabled Supporters Club came up with the idea of setting up a seated rest area for disabled Hearts fans at the back of the Gorgie Stand with a plaque in John's name.

New website for Durham Miners Gala

The Durham Miners Association has now set up a website to encourage financial support for the Durham Miners Gala. http://www.durhamminers.org The site says: "Our Gala which was first held 142 years ago is the biggest celebration of trade union and community values in Britain today. It is an inspiration to all who participate and I am sure you will agree it must continue. Since our coalfield was finally destroyed 20 years ago by a vengeful Tory government we have had no regular subscription to our funds from working miners."

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

UK locked into a vicious downward spiral of cuts – O’Grady

Incoming TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady has put an early marker down against the failing policies of the Con Dem Government: “We were told that short-term pain would deliver long-term gain, yet all we see are nasty side-effects with no sign of a cure. What is worse is that we now seem to be locked into a vicious downward spiral of cuts. They are not working so the government cuts even more. Reducing the living standards of some of the poorest and most vulnerable in society, while attempting to tar them all as scroungers, is perhaps the very definition of a party determined to be seen as nasty.”

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A Happy and Peaceful New Year

And what better way to start than with a selection of quotes from Nelson Mandela....
On Poverty: "Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.

Monday, 31 December 2012

Lessons of historic Skye PFI victory

The 2004 victory against the Skye Bridge tolls was “a genuine victory and if we are to profit from it we need to learn the lessons. The fight was part of our historic movement", writes Malcolm Burns in the Morning Star. But the unjust PFI system still saw a £20m PFI bridge cost the public up to four times that including polls, subsidies and buy out. Burns reviews the story as told in ‘An Drochaid’ (The Bridge Rising) on BBC Alba at 8.05pm tomorrow or on iplayer until Saturday. http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/12775

Sunday, 30 December 2012

The ‘Second Job’ Propaganda Trick

In a contribution to the Tory Plebgate fightback, the Mail on Sunday is runnng an article on the 'scandal of 23,000 police who have two jobs.' In doing so the newspaper is recycling its despicable attacks on firefighters during the 2002 national FBU pay dispute and more recently in the 2010 London FBU shifts dispute. The real scandal of course is that so many public service workers are being forced to take part time second jobs (and third jobs in some cases) to make ends meet in an era of protracted public sector pay freeze, pay/tax credit cuts and an ever rising cost of living:

Con Dem cuts bias widens North South divide

A letter in today's Observer by Labour leaders of Northern English councils about the 'unfairness of the government's cuts' is a belated but welcome protest about the shameless bias in favour of Conservative voting areas in local government grant reductions since 2010:

For Salvadore Allende And Pablo Neruda by Alan Britt

I crawled from a lily pad
ripped by the claw of a caiman
gliding Zen-like down the muddy Amazon.