Archive for the ‘Ipswich’ Category
Comrade Ratty Comes to Ipswich in Anti-Austerity Protest.
Yesterday there were protests across the country, organised by the People’s Assembly.
In Ipswich the day began at 7.00 at Ipswich Station.
Around 7 people gave out leaflets by Action for Rail - to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Rail Privatisation and support public ownership of rail. The rain was heavy but they got a good reception from rail users.
At 11.30 am Silent Street, Ipswich there was a vigil outside ATOS and Job Centre.
This was the first demonstration in the town against the hated ATOS and Liberal-Tory Workfare plans
Around thirty people came, in the drizzle.
They heard an impassioned speech by a representative of Suffolk Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC).
We demand the Coalition Government:
· Scraps the Work Capability Assessment
· Scraps the wasteful and punitive Work Programme which also pays millions to private companies.
· Stops unpaid work for benefit claimants – if work needs doing, people should be paid for doing it. Unpaid work takes away work from workers and undermines wages.
· Stops unjustified, deliberate sanctioning of benefit claimants.
· Stops further cuts in benefits.
· Benefit claimants did not cause the financial crisis or the public spending deficit.
Radio Suffolk interviewed Martin.
It was intensely moving.
We then moved off, at around 1.00 pm, to near Boots in Tavern St, behind the proud banner of DPAC, to begin the Living Wage Activity.
Leaflets were given out by our large crowd to the public on the Suffolk Living Wage campaign.
As we had decided, ”“The first aim of the Suffolk People’s Assembly will be to make Ipswich a ‘living wage’ zone where all employers pay the ‘living wage’ which is currently £7.45 an hour outside London, compared with the national minimum wage of £6.19.”
We had a very good reaction from passers by.
One young woman remarked, “I don’t get as much as that!”
At 6.30 pm there was the Bonfire of Austerity, at Felaw Maltings”Consign Austerity to the Bonfire on the Green”.
Over 60 people came, in the cold damp evening, assembling around a brazier.
Comrade Ratty was at the corner of the Green.
Votes were taken as to which effigy, of David Cameron, George Osborne, Michael Gove, and a picture of Ian Duncan Smith would be flung on the flames.
There were simple, but to the point, speeches, on our fight for social justice against the Liberal-Tory Coalition.
A speaker from the National Association of Probation Officers (Napo) explained why they were on strike that day.
We then went to the pub where hot dogs (veggie or meat) and soup were on offer.
It was a real people’s Assembly.
Disabled Campaigners, Trade Unionists, School students, Feminists, Labour Party activists, Socialists from various parties, Greens, Anarchists, and simply the ordinary people of Ipswich took part,
On the same day, the Guardian reports,
Protesters gather around the world for Million Mask March.
“In Parliament Square, protesters burned energy bills to oppose the rising cost of fuel and there were minor clashes with police in riot gear as protesters also gathered near Buckingham Palace, where a fire was started yards away from its gates. No arrests took place, according to the Metropolitan police.
The numbers of those protesting in central London were swelled by a gathering on Westminster Bridge organised by the People’s Assembly, an anti-cuts umbrella group whose “Bonfire of Austerity” was addressed by the Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Jon McDonnell.”
Sisters! Brothers! There’s a place for you, in the People’s Assembly!
Major Ipswich Tory Donor
Education secretary Michael Gove has chosen Ipswich MP Ben Gummer as his parliamentary aide.
In an unusual guest post a Mr Cthulhu comments,
““Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”
Which roughly translated means, “The mussel crop in Ipswich Docks promises to be rich this year”.
Mr Cthulhu adds, “An excellent choice. That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.”
Ben says, “I have perter bum than Coatesey”.
Tendance Coatesy presents the ‘Alternative View’ by Ipswich MP Ben Gummer.
“I would like to thank my good friend Andrew Coates for giving me this space to express myself.
God (and he alone) knows it’s hard to get an airing in the Bolshevik local press.
Well there’s been a lot of controversy in Ipswich about Zionism.
Plucky leading local Conservative Kevin Kevin Algar has rightly brought the ‘Zionist domination of the media’ to our attention.
His views on the ‘Zionist’ threat are not alone!
On another side we are pleased to announce that, as part of our equal opportunities programme, that we now employ a Mz Toolidays as our charlady.
She has an excellent background, Green Party, Labour Party and the Sparticist League.
And , forgive me for mentioning this Andy, my bottom is a lot perter than yours!”
Important Update: I am offended. I am offended that Comrade Coates didn’t have the courtesy to give me a ping back like this one. If he’s going to insult me, he can at least draw the insult to my attention.
Thursday Lower Brook Street Ipswich. (Photo JB)
Members of the National Association of Probation Officers are joined by trade unionists and supporters of the Suffolk People’s Assembly.
Probation workers across the eastern region have taken to the streets today in protest at the government’s decision to privatise the service.
Across the country members of union Unison, along with colleagues from the GMB and National Association of Probation Officers (NAPO), held their joint protest to coincide with advertisements being placed by the Ministry of Justice in OJEU – the Official Journal of the European Union – inviting private sector bids.
Norfolk and Suffolk Probation Trust workers outside the offices in Palace Plain, Norwich said privatisation would axe services designed to keep communities safe, as well as introduce potentially dangerous cost cutting measures in the relentless pursuit of profit.
They also warned that among the list of likely bidders were Serco and G4S, both currently under investigation for alleged fraud in the running of previous MoJ contracts. EDP 24
Thousands of probation workers will join nationwide protests today to claim that public safety will be jeopardised by the Government’s plans to transfer the community supervision of most former offenders to private companies.
Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, is to signal his determination to push ahead with the £800m privatisation of the bulk of the National Probation Service, which traces its roots back to 1907. He will publish advertisements today inviting bids to take over around three-quarters of the service’s current workload.
Under the moves, the 35 existing regional probation trusts will be replaced by 21 government companies which will tender out the work of supervising more than 200,000 offenders each year considered to present low or medium risk. Those regarded as high risk will continue to be monitored by a slimmed-down national probation service.
Ministers insist their plans are essential to drive up standards in probation and to reduce reoffending levels. Six out of 10 people who leave prison are reconvicted within two years.
Potential bidders include such firms as G4S and Serco, which are both being investigated over alleged fraud in Ministry of Justice contracts. The sums paid to the successful companies or voluntary-sector organisations will be linked to their success in reducing offending rates.
Bidding has begun for probation service contracts worth £450m across England and Wales, the Ministry of Justice has announced.
Payment-by-results contracts are to be split between private companies and charities in 20 English regions and one Welsh region, officials said.
They will supervise 225,000 low and medium-risk offenders each year.
Senior probation officers have condemned the plans as “a disgrace and total failure”.
The competition will continue through 2014, with contracts awarded by 2015.
Under a system of 21 contracts, the voluntary groups, charities and private companies will only be paid in full if a certain proportion of offenders do not commit further crimes.
The Suffolk People’s Assembly held a very successful meeting on Tuesday night.
Around 150 people crammed into the Co-op Education Centre in Fore Street to hear speakers on “It’s Time to Fight Back’.
People came from Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds, Saxmundham, and Hadleigh as well as Ipswich and its surroundings.
As the trade union UNITE noted, “The assembly intends to act as a focal point for a general campaign against the tide of austerity that is hitting the 728,000 people living in this predominately rural county. “
The meeting was organised by trade unionists, and a range of campaigners from across the county. Many had been active in the Suffolk Coalition for Public Services which had held large demonstrations against the cuts in the region.
There were banners from Ipswich and District Trades Council, UNITE, the NUT, the GMB and Disabled People Against Cuts.
Graham White, Suffolk county secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) led off the meeting. he talked of the privatisation of education and the attacks by the Education Minister, Michael Gove, on teachers Graham called for support for the coming joint NUT/NASUWT strike action.
Teresa McKay, Secretary of Ipswich Trades Council, talked of the way austerity and poverty hit us, particularly women. She backed the Living Wage campaign, and a one-day national protest general strike to oppose government policies.
David Ellesemere, Leader of Ipswich Council Labour Group, began by dissecting the disaster created by the Liberal-Conservative Coalition’s economic policies. He cited, Winston Churchill to back the argument that low wages ended up by making everybody worse off.
David made the Living Wage,calculated as the salary needed for a decent standard of living without tax credits, * the centrepiece of his speech.
He observed that the state was now subsidising bad employers by refusing to introduce this standard. He said that Ipswich Borough Council had brought the Living Wage, and banned zero hour contracts for their employees. A Suffolk Living Wage Campaign would bring pressure on those companies which refused “A fair day’s pay for a fair day;s work”.
Ipswich Borough Council was proud to announce that it had begun building Council Houses, for the first time in many years.
The Council had, so far, resisted cuts – though the Coalition was now set to introduce centrally imposed reductions in Ipswich spending.
David’s speech, which took a clear anti-austerity stand, was well received.
Dianne Holland, Assistant General Secretary of UNITE, spoke of the broader effects of austerity. We needed an alternative that could grip people’s imaginations and inspire opposition, Unity, People sticking together, was what we need.
Owen Jones, the keynote speaker, made just such an inspiring speech.
He talked of the politics of hope, opposed to the Government’s efforts to create fear and envy, setting the working poor against the unemployed, the healthy against the disabled, and the stigmatising of migrant workers.
Owen slammed the disability ’testing’ firm, ATOS, one of many of the government’s welfare ‘reforms’, the bedroom tax, and the fact that people now had to be fed by Food Banks.
Many people react to the decline in living standards and policies designed to foment division, with frustration and anger.
Hope, he said, was as essential to life.
In place of the Government’s politics of hatred Owen offered plans for public housing, for decent wages not tax credits, and for welfare. It was a scandal that rents were so high that the Housing Benefits were going into landlords’ pockets, without helping solve the housing crisis. In their place rent controls and a massive programme of public sector housing were needed instead. Banks, bailed out during the financial disasters of the last few years, should be brought under public control and used to promote investment. tax avoidance should be stemmed.
The movement, he observed, had a knack for division, into rival Judean Fronts.
But now we were working together towards common goals.
Owen’s speech ended with a standing ovation from the audience.
There was ample time for debate.
There was concern that over the weekend a ‘Love Music, Hate Racism’ live music charity event at The Steamboat Tavern on the Waterfront had cancelled by organisers after threats from the English Defence League. Around 11 members of the EDL had turned up. **
Members of the audience raised issues such the cuts in education locally, Labour Party Policy, the NHS’s use of agency workers. Concerns about the Labour Party’s policies in these areas, and over squatting, were raised. Women from the National Association of Probation Officers (NAPO) called for people to support their campaign against the service’s sell-off.
One speaker, indicating how the politics of division could be fought, said that the local UNITE had recently recruited a substantial number of Eastern European Haulage drivers.
Sandy Martin Leader of the Labour Group on Suffolk County Council noted that unlike Ipswich Borough, the Tory-run County employed people on zero-hour contracts. Its privatised services, such as Home-care service exploited workers still further.
After the Assembly people remarked on how heartening they had found the meeting.
Serious follow ups are planned.
The Suffolk Living Wage Campaign will be organised in the coming weeks.
People will be out on the September the 29th NHS demo outside the Tory Conference in Manchester, and the November the 5th Day of Action.
Tuesday was a springboard for a much wider campaign against austerity in Suffolk.
Suffolk People’s Assembly meeting at the Coop Education Centre Ipswich, on September 17th 2003 resolves to:-
* Oppose the Austerity policies being carried out by the Coalition government and develop political and economic alternatives to them. Read the rest of this entry »