Archive for the ‘Suffolk’ Category
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 »
The East Anglian Daily Press reports that “hundreds” attended the annual Burtson Strike Rally yesterday.
Throughout the day people heard influential speeches from Bob Crow RMT General Secretary and Richard Howitt MEP and music from the RMT Brass Band, Red Flags and Leon Rosselson.
The strike started after local teachers Annie and Tom Higdon were sacked following a dispute with the area’s school management committee after they refused to let children leave school to help with the harvest.
Children went on strike in support of their teachers and the couple started a school on the village green which was attended by 66 of their 72 former pupils.
A new school, financed by donations, was built 1917 and in The Burston Strike School continued until shortly after Tom’s death in 1939. Since its closure, the Burston Strike School has been developed into a museum.
Mike Copperwheat, trustee of the Burston Strike School, said the day had gone well.
“About 1,000 people joined in the march which was headed up by the RMT brass band which was very good.
“It’s important that we remember this event as it is a part of local history and it is a community event.
“We are looking forward to celebrating our centenary next year. We will be putting on an event at the school.”
Villagers also used the area to host a community event on Saturday night.
Campaigners meet on the first Sunday in September where they march the same route the children would have walked.
Photos (with permisison to reproduce) from Ann Nicholls
Burston Facebook Page - here.
The Tendance helped out on the joint Norfolk and Suffolk People’s Assembly Stall.
Sarah sold her famous jam.
The day was a great success.
A high-point was seeing Leon Rosselson.
He did a good song attacking Welfare ‘reform’.
This is my current favourite Rosselson,
Ben Gummer MP faces divisions in local Conservative Party.
Kevin Algar writes,
the Tory ‘opposition’ which is allowing Labour to wreck the town by being utterly shambolic and pathetically weak. One of the reasons Ipswich Conservatives abstain in votes so often is the fact that they have no policies and don’t believe there is a need for any. As a matter of fact one of the growing minions of former local Conservative activists, and believe me there’s lots of them, suggested holding a policy forum to come up with some policies for a manifesto and the suggestion was responded with incredulity.
The situation is made worse by the fact that certain local Tories are in the pocket of Ben Redsell. You see, as the former local Tory agent, Mr Redsell knows where all the metaphorical bodies are buried. So certain Ipswich Tories leak stuff to him to stop him from dishing the dirt on his blog. Though the likelihood of Mr Redsell actually dishing it is improbable.
Both local Tory Activists were in Holywells Ward today delivering a leaflet about the planned traffic lights at the top of Bishops Hill. I have been informed that it was a survey asking people for their opinions. Naturally on the whole, Ipswich Tories haven’t got any opinions about the traffic lights themselves as opinions could lead to policy decisions which they don’t want to have.
One idea for fighting next May’s elections that has been suggested is obviously continuing with no policies and also not mentioning Labour. That should make the literature very interesting.
Kevin Algar is a Conservative Party activist who stood – unsuccessfully – in the County elections (Chantry) this year.
It is interesting that he attacks Ipswich Spy, Redsell’s Blog
This web site modestly claims to publish, “Ipswich’s premier political commentators”.
11 out of the last 12 posts are by Redsell.
No doubt some are more premier than others.
Who is Ben Redsell?
The East Anglian Daily Times (July 1, 2008) supplies some details,
A SUFFOLK county councillor’s career has been left in tatters after he pleaded guilty to a sex assault and a string of child pornography offences – despite previously maintaining his innocence.
Ben Redsell, 28, of Melton, near Woodbridge, admitted sexual assaulting a 19-year-old woman, seven counts of making indecent pictures of children and three counts of possessing indecent pictures of children.
The town, district and county councillor for Woodbridge had previously pleaded not guilty to the offences and in November said: “I maintain my innocence and I will be fighting all these charges.”
But standing in the dock at Norwich Crown Court yesterday,Redsell pleaded guilty to each of the 11 counts read out to him.
He admitted sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at her home on August 24 last year following a night out at The Hippodrome in Colchester.
Following his arrest, police searched Redsell’s home in Melton Meadow Road, where he lives with his mother.
Officers found indecent images of children on his computer and yesterday he pleaded guilty to seven counts of making indecent pictures of children dating from January 1, 2000, to August 26, 2007.
He also pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing indecent images of children, which police found in his bedroom, for the same period.
Judge Simon Barham told Redsell, who was elected as a Conservative county councillor, that he would be sentenced on August 1 – the day after his 29th birthday – and ordered him to sign the sex offenders’ register.
Judge Barham added: “Do not assume that because you are on bail now you will not get a custodial sentence later.”
Before attending court yesterday Redsell resigned from his positions at Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Coastal District Council and Woodbridge Town Council.
The newspaper adds,
Suffolk police’s Detective Inspector Steve Clabburn said: “These are serious offences and we are pleased he has pleaded guilty, which has spared the victim the ordeal of having to face him in court.
“The guilty plea was made in light of the evidence gathered by officers and we will await the sentencing.”
A Suffolk County Council spokesman would only comment by confirming that Redsell resigned from the council at 2pm yesterday.
There will now be two by-elections to fill his seat for the county council and district council, although it is not yet known when these will take place.
Redsell declined to comment yesterday.
The BBC said,
Until his appearance in court he had pledged to fight the charges against him.
He stood down from his party membership after his arrest but stayed on as an independent councillor.
A Suffolk Police spokesman said: “These are serious offences and we are pleased he has pleaded guilty, which has spared the victim the ordeal of having to face him in court.”
In a resignation letter to Suffolk Coastal District Council Redsell said: “It has been an honour to serve the people of Woodbridge as their councillor for the last year and I am very sorry to be leaving in this way.”
In other words the victim spent some months thinking she would have to face the “ordeal in Court”.
Redsell let her wait until the very last minute.
Many people noticed this.
The Daily Mirror concludes,
Child porn councillor spared jail 4 Aug 2008 00:00
tory ex-deputy mayor who sexually assaulted a teenage girl and kept child porn while a member of police authority was spared jail.
Ben Redsell, 29, admitted assaulting the 19-year-old at her home after a night out in Colchester, Essex, last August and also 10 child offences.
Police had found indecent images of children, which dated from 2000, at his home in Melton, Suffolk.
Redsell, who quit as deputy mayor of nearby Woodbridge and Suffolk Police Authority when he was charged, got a three-year community order at Norwich crown court and put on the sex offenders’ register. He is also banned from working with children.
Claude Knights at charity Kidscape said he did not get the term “he deserved”.
Mizuma: Hit Salad of 2013.
In the middle of the heat-wave it is overcast this morning.
There is a fine haze of rain soon lost in the air.
After a late start the good weather (if you have the time to water every day) this year has helped produce bumper crops for most growers.
In 2012 soft fruit was a disaster for most people I know.
2013 by contrast began with a full heads of rhubarb, then strawberries, and now, gluts of gooseberries and raspberries. There are plenty of red and black currents as well.
In 2012 the first salad plants (cut-and-cut again lettuce, radish, and rocket) took time to germinate and then were rapidly attacked by the forces of darkness - slugs, snails and who knows what other beasties.
By May 2013 the early radishes (white, French breakfast, red, and violet) were as crisp as my shirt is not.
Mizuma (a Japanese mustard green) is turning out to be firm favourite. Like cut-and-cut again lettuce you can use it for some time before it flowers.
Rocket is best when young and has flourished and now still flourishes.
That is alongside leaf lettuces (which crop early), and traditional head lettuce (all the year round), Merveille de quatre saisons, and, last the coz or romaine varieties, such as little gem.
Herbs, such as Lovage, Chives, Mint, and Sorel are an interesting addition to salads.
In 2012 many people lost some potatoes, even my crop was blemished and meagre .
In 2013 the ‘first early’ spuds (Arran Pilot) are without blemish - too many to eat up quickly.
There is something poetic about freshly picked and cooked peas. 2012 – there were around only 4 pods (no exaggeration). 2013 – bowl after bowl of technicolour taste.
Courgettes, beet spinach, and now we are at the point of broad bean time.
The runner and climbing French beans are flowering.
Not everything has done well – not a single salsify germinated.
But as it stands the Front of Progressive Ipswich Allotment Holders and Small Peasants (Tendency 3, majority), is spending a lot of time making jam, fruit vinegar, and… guzzling.
We particularly appreciate gooseberries lightly cooked with elderberry flowers.
All surplus has been distributed to the popular masses.