Saturday 31 December 2016

A Lesson Learned

People are saying that this has been a bad year. But today is the day on which Durham County Council would have sacked its 2700 Teaching Assistants, in order to reappoint them on a 23 per cent pay cut. It is not, however, doing any such thing.

Happy New Year.

Tuesday 20 December 2016

And Mercy Mild

On the first day of Christmas, the Council gave to me
A pay cut, percentage twenty-three.

The Teaching Assistants will be singing carols outside County Hall from 3:45 until five o'clock on Thursday afternoon.

All welcome.

Things Can Only Get Better

It may have appeared elsewhere, but The Guardian has refused to print this, on the grounds that it is more than 250 words long. Have a check:

“We want Tony” chanted Labour MPs at Jeremy Corbyn in the Westminster Kitchen. They should put Blair up at the next by-election, no matter where it was. After all, he is supposed to have a unique appeal to the entire country. Why, under him, Labour would have won Richmond Park. And Labour would have won Sleaford and North Hykeham. No matter that it never won either of those under his previous Leadership, not even before the Iraq War cost Labour a hundred seats.

Unless George Galloway had already been returned at Glasgow East, then he has promised to contest any by-election at which Blair was a candidate. But what is to stop Blair from also contesting Glasgow East, which, the Grim Reaper’s interventions notwithstanding, is the seat most likely to become vacant in the near future?

If he were still unseated by 2020, then a return to County Durham would beckon right here in the new seat of Durham West and Teesdale. The MP for the predominant part of this intended constituency is retiring, and she looks likely to be succeeded by some girl out of whatever typing pool serves the Westminster Kitchen Chorus.

With no party affiliation, but with a consistent anti-austerity and anti-war record, and able to give a Yes-No answer to the question of whether Corbyn should become Prime Minister, I shall also be contesting this seat. But I cannot imagine that that would be of the slightest interest to Blair. Things Can Only Get Better, indeed.

To which I must add that Neil Fleming claims on social media that he still lives in Lanchester. Yet he is so frightened to put up against me at the local elections in May that he is leaving it to a man who will by then be 71 and who has just had a pulmonary embolism. I have had one of those, and it very nearly killed me (that was the closest to death that I have ever been), even though I was only in my early thirties at the time.

Oh, well, a photograph of Fleming giving whatever was then his current Labour Party job title might very well appear on my leaflets, with the purely factual statement that he had chickened out of a confrontation with me at the ballot box, preferring to burden a seriously ill, elderly person instead. Indicate your opinion of such elder abuse here, or via the PayPal button on this site.

Assuming that Blair is still out of Parliament three years later, then it will also be be a matter of “Tony Blair Didn’t Dare” as I fight and win this open seat here in what was once his political home county.

Friday 9 December 2016

Fake News

As seen here:

Fake news is of very real concern. There have been seven recessions in the United Kingdom since the Second World War. Five of them have been under Conservative Governments. That party has also presided over all four separate periods of Quarter on Quarter fall in growth during the 2010s. By contrast, there was no recession on the day of the 2010 General Election. And now, the Conservatives have more than doubled the National Debt. The Major Government also doubled the National Debt. Yet the Conservatives’ undeserved reputation for economic competence endures. They are subjected to absolutely no scrutiny by the fake news detractors of their opponents.

Other examples of fake news include the official versions of events in relation to Orgreave, Westland, and Hillsborough. All manner of claims made by, or in support of, the Clintons. The alleged murder of 100,000 military age males in Kosovo. The existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and their capacity for deployment within 45 minutes. Saddam Hussein’s feeding of people into a giant paper shredder, and his attempt to obtain uranium from Niger. An imminent genocide in Benghazi, Gaddafi’s feeding of Viagra to his soldiers in order to encourage mass rape, and his intention to flee to Venezuela. An Iranian nuclear weapons programme. And Assad’s gassing of Ghouta, as if that were an undisputed fact. In every case, that was fake news. Or, in plain English, lies. 

David Lindsay, 2017 council candidate and 2020 parliamentary candidate, Lanchester, County Durham; @davidaslindsay
George Galloway, former Member of Parliament for Glasgow Hillhead (1987-1997), Glasgow Kelvin (1997-2005), Bethnal Green and Bow (2005-2010), Bradford West (2012-2015); @georgegalloway
Alex Carre, South Wales; @alexcarre567
Neil Clark, journalist and broadcaster; @NeilClark66
Ronan Dodds, Newcastle upon Tyne; @RonanDodds
James Draper, Lanchester, County Durham
Krystyna Koseda, Essex; @kossy65
John Mooney, Lurgan, County Armagh; @FitzjamesHorse
Mietek Padowicz, Newcastle upon Tyne; @scurvytoon
Aren Pym, West Cornforth, County Durham; @arenpym
Adam Young, Burnopfield, County Durham; @JustALocalSerf

Thursday 8 December 2016

The Coming War on China

Along with I, Daniel Blake and The Killing$ of Tony Blair, this is one of the three most important films of 2016. It is John Pilger's sixtieth film for the much-mocked ITV. And yes, it certainly does criticise China, too.

Tuesday 6 December 2016

David Lindsay for Durham County Council 2017

“I have been brought back into active politics as a campaigner for justice for Durham County Council’s Teaching Assistants, as a campaigner against the proposed drastic cuts to hospital services in County Durham, and as a campaigner against the cuts to the public transport on which, as a disabled person, I am reliant.

“I was a member of Lanchester Parish Council from 1999 until I stood down voluntarily in 2013. I was a governor of Lanchester Endowed Parochial Primary School from 1999 to 2007. I was a governor of St Bede’s from 2000 to 2008.”

We need £1200. Please give whatever you can afford here.

Monday 5 December 2016

The People's Organiser

Tony Blair is planning "more than a think tank, but less than a political party".

And the traditional right-wingers of Labour First are crowdfunding £40,000 for an organiser to fight against Jeremy Corbyn.

But we are also crowdfunding £40,000 for an organiser, the People's Organiser:

One organiser for every £40,000 raised will provide platforms for those who:

- understand the lesson of the EU referendum result in the United Kingdom, and of the election of Donald Trump in the United Kingdom, which is that the workers, and not the liberal bourgeoisie, are the key swing voters;

- locate identity issues within the overarching and undergirding context of the struggle against economic inequality and in favour of international peace;

- welcome the fact that the EU referendum was decided by those areas which voted Leave while voting Labour, Liberal Democrat or Plaid Cymru for other purposes, and which have thus made themselves the centre of political attention;

- celebrate the leading role in the defence of universal public services of those who would otherwise lack basic amenities, and the leading role in the promotion of peace of those who would be the first to be called upon to die in wars;

- have opposed from the start the failed programme of economic austerity;

- have opposed every British military intervention since 1997; 

- opposed Tony Blair's privatisation of the NHS and other public services, his persecution of the disabled, and his assault on civil liberties, all of which have continued under every subsequent Government;

- oppose Britain's immoral and one-sided relationship with Saudi Arabia, and reject the demonisation of Russia;

- have the real eyes to realise real lies, seeing the truly fake news as propagated in support of the economic policies of neoliberal austerity and the foreign policies of neoconservative war;

- reject any approach to climate change which would threaten jobs, workers' rights, travel opportunities, or universal access to a full diet;

- seek to rescue issues such as male suicide, men's health, and fathers' rights from those whose economic and other policies caused the problems; and

- refuse to recognise racists, Fascists or opportunists as the authentic voices of the accepted need to control immigration.

Please give generously.

Thursday 1 December 2016

May To September

The next school year will start after the local elections in May. The only way to protect the Teaching Assistants is to take Durham County Council to No Overall Control.

Very large numbers of Labour Councillors have absented themselves from the votes on this issue. But enough of them have attended to ensure that the Teaching Assistants have been betrayed. The Councillors, all of them Labour, who have thus voted ought all to lose their seats to whoever was best placed to remove them, very preferably activists in the Teaching Assistants’ remarkable campaign.

The Liberal Democrats and the Independents have been, and remain, stalwart supporters of the Teaching Assistants. Therefore, they deserve to be re-elected. That leaves only the Labour absentees, plus a mere four Conservatives who all sit for two adjacent wards.

Whoever the new Leader and Deputy Leader of Durham County Council were to be, they must not be members of the Labour Party. The Teaching Assistants’ flag, which is now ubiquitous in County Durham, must remain so and it must fly from County Hall every day for the following four years, at least.

Strength and Solidarity

Statement by the County Durham Teaching Assistants' Action Committee (CDTAAC), posted on Facebook:  

We understand that people are disappointed with the wording of the Council's letter, but those are just words. They are not going to admit, in writing, that they were wrong and we were right however much we know that to be the case. But let's just ignore the words for a moment, and look at the facts.

We are NOT going to be sacked on New Year's Eve. We are NOT going to have a new contract imposed on us on New Year's Day. We are NOT going to have to work 37 hours a week from January.  We are NOT going to take a pay cut. We are NOT going to have to accept 'compensation'. We ARE going to have all of our roles and responsibilities reviewed and have new job descriptions drawn up that reflect the realities of our jobs (and TAs will be involved in that process).

Whichever way you look at the facts, that is a HUGE victory for us and a MASSIVE climbdown by Durham County Council. Is it over? Not by a long way. There are a lot of negotiations to come to ensure that there is a positive outcome for all TAs, and there is a lot of fighting still to do. Is our campaign over? Absolutely not. We will continue to keep public and political pressure on the Council through social media, events and PR. We will not be quiet and we will not go away until we have a permanent solution. 

But we are now in a position of strength. The Council knows that if we are not happy, or if it is stalling or delaying negotiations, then we will strike. Simple. It knows that that is not an idle threat, and it knows that we can absolutely deliver a rock solid strike with the backing of parents, the public and the Labour Party. 

So tonight, please celebrate knowing that it is your strength and solidarity that have achieved this, and we will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder until this is sorted.