Archive for the ‘Ipswich’ Category
On Tuesday up to 60 people came to Ipswich Library Lecture room to the Suffolk People’s Assembly meeting, “Defend our Unions and Right to Resist Austerity.”
Speakers represented many different aspects of the Trade union and anti-cuts movement.
Dave Smith, a Founder Member of Blacklist Support Group, spoke on employers who witch-hunted activists out of jobs. Drawing on his experience in the building trade he outlined the long-standing campaign against the practice, and the recent actions against Crossrail and private contractors for public services.
Donna Guthrie of Joint Chair Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) talked of their grass-roots campaigning in London’s East End. In Newham they had struck deep roots in the community, from many different ethnic backgrounds. They were campaigning against cuts in social housing, and issues such as the abuse of police powers.
Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary, National Union of Teachers, said,
I’m Proud that NUT was in at the beginning of People’s Assembly and to share this platform today.
Why is the NUT is involved?
Well firstly because Teachers can’t separate themselves from the rest of working people. But perhaps more importantly because many of the children we teach see the worst effects of the austerity agenda. And it is the most vulnerable hit hardest.
Kevin described the attacks on the education system, spearheaded by Michael Gove.
How do we offer an alternative?
The Peoples Assembly shows the characteristics we need for the fight back – unity, broad base, looking for activity, something for everyone to do and contribute to And we do see very successful mobilisations all over the country – against cuts and closures in the health service, against the bedroom tax and evictions, against schools being forced into academy status.
Bill Bowring, the International Secretary of Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, and Colchester based, congratulated Suffolk People’s Assembly on its work. He listed more reasons to offer an alternative to the Liberal-Conservative government’s policies. He said that reducing legal aid, a pillar of the post-war settlement, was part of the same weakening of social rights as attacks on the NHS and education.
Roy Humphries FBU Secretary Suffolk Fire Brigades Union, spoke on the government’s plans to reduce their pension rights and raise the age of retirement to an unsustainable limit.
He described how their battles were far from over and thanked members of the local labour movement, in particular Ipswich Trades Council, who had supported their protests.
Jim Kelly, Chair of London & Eastern Region Unite the Union, spoke on his union’s base in the private sector. He outlined the decline in collective bargaining agreements – the UK is now apparently on a par with only one country, Lithuania, for its low level of these agreements. Jim cited how UNITE had successfully fought back against employers and had, for example, won bonus for London Bus drivers, and had defended their members. UNITE were beginning to tackle the problems created by the anti-union Gateway port employers. What was needed were changes to the anti-trade union laws that prevented workers form organising and only a Labour government, he suggested, could do that.
On the Grangemouth dispute Jim pointed out that it was the local membership who had decided on an agreement with a ruthless employers.
In the discussion that followed a member of the SWP attacked the Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey.
Others saw the trade unions in a positive light, as reaching out to people to defend social rights and as advocates of a better society.
The People’s Assembly was mentioned as a way people draw campaigns and unions together. The previous week Suffolk activists had supported the Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC) protest against ATOS. A campaign extending our work on the Living Wage, will be launched for Fast-Food workers.
At the People’s Assembly National Conference (15 March) Suffolk will be presenting two motions. One opposes the government’s policies against migrant workers. The other calls for a national campaign against Workfare and for Charities, social sector and local authorities to have nothing to do with forced labour.
Ipswich Postal workers mentioned their fight to defend their conditions, and the effects of the closure of the local sorting office.
In the pub afterwards activists considered that the meeting had been a success and a help in our efforts to campaign for progressive politics.
Sisters, Brothers! There’s a place for you – in the People’s Assembly!
Ben Gummer’s Political Programme.
Ipswich Tory MP Ben Gummer is famous for a number of things.
- He has ” suggested shaking up local government so that councillors solely representing local businesses could be elected to town halls.Mr Gummer acknowledged the idea “had no hope of getting into a manifesto” but pointed to the City of London, as a model for how his idea works in practice.The City is governed by the Corporation of London, which is the oldest local authority in England having been founded in medieval times.Elections there give votes to both firms and residents. (BBC 2012)
- For his book, The Scourging Angel: The Black Death in the British Isles. Gummer suggested that the Catholic Church played a noble role in comforting the sick and helping stem the worst effects of the plague. This may or may not be taken as seriously. We note that his Catholicism has not helped him take a stand against the misery that “welfare reform” has brought to many of his constituents. Or to help the present-day unwell fight off the ATOS pandemic.
- Being a Toady, a founder indeed, of the Royal Guild of Toadies. This has earned him the position of adviser to Michael Gove.
Today we learn this,
Ben Gummer, MP for Ipswich, is bringing forward a 10-minute rule bill this week that proposes changing the name as the first step towards merging it with income tax.
It is highly unlikely to make it into law through this route but George Osborne, the chancellor, is said to be attracted to the idea.
Gummer has been campaigning on tax transparency as a merger of income tax and NICs could make it clearer to people how much they are paying to the exchequer out of their earnings.
National insurance, first introduced in 1911, is levied on employers and employees to pay for certain benefits such as the state pension. It works out at around 12% per year, plus an extra 2% for earnings above £41,450.
Ipswich Spy notes that renaming National Insurance is a demand of the hard-right Tax Payers’ Alliance*.
Gummer states that “Taxpayers are consumers”, including no doubt employers.
Nobody should be in any doubt as to which ‘consumers’ he is most interested in.
A recent post (14th February) on his Blog shows where he stands, “ANGLIAN WATER SHOWS WHY PRIVATIZATION CAN WORK.”
Now he wants to get people aligned with the bosses to complain about the level of tax, that is the “earnings tax”.
Gummer’s support for the City of London and hard-right free-market ideas are no secret.
Perhaps Georgi Dimitrov was thinking of the likes of Gummer when he talked of “of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital.”
*The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has called for National Insurance (NI) to be scrapped to make the tax system simpler and more transparent. The need for tax reform has never been more pressing, particularly in light of this week’s revelations about HMRC errors.
The campaign group says National Insurance serves no purpose and has set out a package of measures to merge both employers’ and employees’ contributions with Income Tax. The call comes as part of the Treasury’s call for feedback as part of its consideration of the integration of the operation of the income tax and National Insurance contributions system……
The move could significantly reduce the burden on businesses of complying with these taxes, as well as making it easier for people to see exactly how much tax they are paying on their earnings. Here.
The Spectator underlines our point.
After describing the Ipswich Toad Eater’s proposal
That’s all very noble in itself. But there’s another point, which Gummer isn’t focusing on, but which is politically handy to his party. Labour wants a greater emphasis on raising taxes after 2015 than the Conservatives do. But because tax rises aren’t very popular, the best way to do this beyond some symbolic taxes such as raising the top rate back to 50p (if that raises anything more at all) and introducing a mansion tax would be to focus on the mysterious National Insurance. But if National Insurance became an Earnings Tax and it was clearer to the electorate what it is, then the Tories wouldn’t need to work quite so hard on their ‘stealth tax’/’jobs tax’ campaigns as they have before.
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So much for Suffolk Libraries’ response to the previous complaint about this censorship.
Unfortunately Suffolk Libraries are run by an unelected oligarchy that is not responsible to democratic control (a ‘Charity’ or Industrial and Provident Society), so you wonder what you can do about their censorship policies.
These are the images Suffolk Libraries forbids you from seeing (posted from Internet café).
Jimas and the EDL on Steps of Ipswich Town Hall.
The Huffington Post reports (yesterday),
Tommy Robinson, the ex-EDL leader was to be a key speaker at a Holocaust Memorial Day event at a college, until panicked trustees ordered local organisers to withdraw the invitation, The Huffington Post UK can reveal.
The event was organised by the Suffolk New College & University Campus Suffolk chaplaincy at the college in Ipswich next Monday, in conjunction with controversial Muslim charity JIMAS.
The event has now been pulled, according to Tell MAMA’s Fiyaz Mughal, who is one of the Holocaust Memorial Day trustees.
“We told the organisers that because of some of Tommy Robinson’s past actions, and many of his comments since he left the EDL which indicate he still holds questionable views, that we could not support an event with him,” Mughal told HuffPost UK.
“We said that if the event went ahead, it would not be with Holocaust Memorial Day approval. We were very concerned that we might be seen to be giving it approval.
“The organisers felt very strongly that Robinson should be there to speak but took the decision to cancel after out call. It’s dead in the water now.”
Unite Against Fascism said they had also lobbied the college to ban Robinson. “This is not a gathering to pay respect to the millions of Jews murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust instead it will be used to by Robinson and Jode to attack Islam,” a spokesman said.
“UAF has written to the college urging them to cancel the meeting and instead put on a more suitable event to mark the Holocaust.”
He said that the UAF had planned a picket of the event if it had gone ahead.
JIMAS, a Suffolk-based organisation, has previously marched with the English Defence League to pay tribute to murdered soldier Drummer Lee Rigby.
Several other prominent ex-extremists were set to be taking part in the event, including Pat Magee, who was given multiple life sentences for the IRA Brighton Bombing), and Nick Jode, another ex-EDL member.
The even was to be opened by Professor Dave Muller, principal of Suffolk New College.
Suffolk New College told HuffPost UK that they were not directly involved with the organisation of the event and did not take the decision to cancel. Neither Suffolk New College & University Campus Suffolk chaplaincy and JIMAS could be reached at their respective numbers.
On the Huffington Post site there is this public comment,
SUPER USER·745 Fans·Co-Director, Association of British MuslimsActually JIMAS is a Muslim organisation – and I and many others were invited and were looking forward to listening Tommys points of view in person and questioning him (and letting him question us). Its sad that its been cancelled
We however, until shown evidence to the contrary, believe that the event is still going ahead at another venue.
This is what Jimas say,
Date: Monday 27th January 2014
Venue: In Ipswich (To Be Confirmed)
Time: 5.30 p.m. – 6.15 p.m. Registration & Buffet
6.15 p.m. – 8.00 p.m. Actual programme
Please confirm your attendance with any guests by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is what a supporter of the Christian (Evangelical ‘Gospel’ Christian group to be exact) Ipswich Heart says,
I have no personal problem against Tommy Robinson, and I look forward to seeing him in a different setting where he is not in the spotlight. So I am attending with respect and have no problem with him, Mr Frank Bright is the focus and he has no problem with him.
Galloway Says Those who Tweet this are Cuckolds.
No Muslim will ever vote for the Liberal Democrats anywhere ever unless they ditch the provocateur Majid Nawaz, cuckold of the EDL.
Now we have little sympathy (in fact none whatsoever) for Liberal Democrats and not a great deal for Mawaz’s foundation, Quilliam (which is involved, we are pretty sure, in the Jimas Ipswich charade with Jimas and the ‘ex’ EDL Tommy Robinson).
But this is the reason for Galloway’s comments,
Prominent members of the Muslim community have written to the Liberal Democrats and their leader Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to ask them to reverse their decision to back Maajid Nawaz’s attempt to become an MP at the next election.
The campaign comes after Nawaz posted a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad (saw) and Prophet Isa (as) on his Twitter feed. Any depiction of the prophets is considered offensive to most Muslims and has traditionally been prohibited by the majority of scholars.
Nawaz, who’s the chairman of the anti-extremism think-tank the Quilliam Foundation, defended his decision to post the cartoon by saying that it was not offensive and that scholars were split over the depiction of the Prophet. He also accused others of inciting his murder by calling him “a defamer of the Prophet.” Here
“I have been discussing this matter since Friday night with a high profile Lib Dem who agrees people who attack religions with cartoons and other jokes are impolite and childish. Lets hope Nawaz can get this into his skull. Clegg must choose, lose hundreds of supporters by keeping Nawaz or sack Nawaz and rescue the Lib Dems which would fizzle out because of people like Nawaz.”
This is the background,
Two Muslim political commentators have clashed over a cartoon which was tweeted by one of them.
Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation tweeted a cartoon with featured ‘Jesus and Mo’.
He added, “This is not offensive & I’m sure God is greater than to feel threatened by it.”
It led to a backlash by some readers, none more than Mohammed Shafiq of the Ramadhan Foundation.
Shafiq said, “I intend to formally complain to the @libdems about @MaajidNawaz and his offensive tweet of a cartoon.”
Nawaz defended his tweet after being accused of being offensive, “My point is, that cartoon is not offensive. That’s my opinion. Don’t like it? Don’t read my tweets”.
Nawaz then accused Shafiq of inciting his murder. He said, “Using term “Defamer of Prophet” (Gustake Rasool) he knows gets people killed in #Pakistan,Mo Shafik incites my murder.”
To which Shafiq replied: “For the record I do not wish to see you murdered as you claim or wish you harm. But defend my right to challenge your tweets.”
Even political and social commentator, Mohammed Ansar added to the debate, “A parliamentary candidate has tweeted out something millions will find offensive. A very silly thing to do.” Here.
Maajid Nawaz (Urdu: ماجد نواز, born 1978), a British Pakistani, is Executive Director of Quilliam, a counter-extremism think tank. Himself a former member of the Islamist revolutionary group Hizb ut-Tahrir.
If this is the kind of thing “Muslim political commentators” row about then one can see why they have such universal respect.
You can see more sacrilegious Jesus and Mo cartoons here.
More information over at Shiraz.