Posts Tagged ‘Ipswich’
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.
Suffolk New College
Monday 27th January 2014
JIMAS would like to invite you to the Holocaust Memorial Day event organised in association with the Suffolk New College & University Campus Suffolk chaplaincy.
This is a free event to be opened by Professor Dave Muller, Principal of Suffolk New College. The event will include a buffet, short presentations, panel discussion, and a question and answer session with a variety of participants.
Taking part in this event will be: Frank Bright (Holocaust survivor), Jo Berry (daughter of Sir Anthony Berry MP killed in the IRA Brighton Bombing), Pat Magee (given multiple life sentences for the Brighton Bombing), Tommy Robinson (Ex-EDL), Nick Jode (Ex-EDL), Umme Thara (ex-Al-Muhajiroun), Munir Zamir (Ex-Hizb-ut-Tahrir), Mubin Shaikh (former undercover counter terrorism operative for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service), Dr. Usama Hasan (ex-Jihadi). The event would be chaired by Ms Sara Khan of the women’s organisation Inspire.
Date: Monday 27th January 2014
Muhammad Manwar Ali (Abu Muntasir) of the extremely controversial Jimas is given on the printed leaflet as the main figure involved in the event.
This site leaves it to others to comment on this event, the involvement of people from an extreme Islamist background, now associated with the Quilliam think-tank, and its relevance to Holocaust Memorial Day.
But we note of Tommy Robinson that Wikipedia says,
“When Robinson was questioned by The Guardian about having in the past blamed “‘every single Muslim’ for ‘getting away’ with the 7 July bombings, and for calling Islam a fascist and violent religion, he held up his hands and said: ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’” Robinson also said he would now give evidence to the police to help their investigation of racists within the EDL. Robinson added that “his future work would involve taking on radicalism on all fronts, although he could not support anti-fascist groups because they also subscribed to ‘communism’ or were ‘anarchists’.
We also note that according to news today that,
Violent hooligan former leader of English Defence League Tommy Robinson to lecture children in schools on TOLERANCE
- The 30-year-old will speak to students about tolerance and extremism
- Parents are unhappy Robinson is being allowed allowed into classrooms
- Students will learn about ‘standing up for what you believe in’
- On school who invited him to speak have cancelled today
Comment: the role of JIMAS in the local community must be seriously questioned.
Dapper gent Ben Gummer (MP Ipswich) and special adviser to Michel Gove) says,
“Father Ted is unpatriotic and Catholicphobic’ .
I do not say this out of party interest.
On my annual pilgrimage to Lady Lane I have heard the taunts of guttersnipes against Our Blessed Lady.
Craggy, so-called Island, is clearly Ipswich in disguise.
Father Jack Hackett is an unwelcome caricature of respected local liberal Andrew Cann.
A ban is called for, forthwith!
John Lewis: Stalinist.
In the latest Revolutionary History (which cannot be too highly commended) there is a text in the section, “Christian Stalinism and Trotskyism.”
I shall later do a proper review of this bumper issue, Trotsky and his Critics, but there is one thing which deserves immediate signalling.
The second of these two articles, which the editors rightly describe as something truly extraordinary (hate filled drivel) is an attack on Trotsky by somebody the identity (from internal textual evidence) can be called John Lewis, a “Unitarian Minister of Ipswich”.
The text in question, informed by the deep knowledge of international affairs available to an Ipswich Minister of an obscure Christian sect, is a defence of the Moscow Trials.
On authority, no doubt impeccable, it informs us that Trotsky’s agents had gone directly to the Japanese and German Embassies, to offer their services.
There is more, a lot more, in the same vein.
Lewis went on to become a leading figure in the Communist Party of Great Britain, a leading light in the Left Book Club and editor of The Modern Quarterly (one of the CPGB’s fronts) from 1946-1953.
The Editors of Revolutionary History do not however inform us that John Lewis was the subject of a famous essay by Louis Althusser, Réponse à John Lewis (1973).
Lewis had reinvented himself as a ‘Humanist’ Marxist.
Althusser, correctly, attacked this stand – no doubt informed by the knowledge that Lewis’s mate in France, Roger Garaudy, who took the same ‘Christian-Marxist’ line, was another Stalinist liar.
Anyway Ipswich people will be interested in Lewis’s career in our town (Wikipedia),
By 1929, his left wing views were too strong for the church he was in and he moved to Ipswich as a Unitarian minister. Here, his leftist political sermons attracted a large youth following, but upset a group of older, more conservative members. Their complaints led Lewis to offer his resignation, to be put to a vote of the membership. In a packed and charged meeting, he received the support of the majority of church members.
Lewis participated in anti-war political activity starting in 1916. On one occasion, he had to be rescued from an angry crowd. He also became involved in work to support the unemployed, and served on the local Trades Union Council. On one occasion, at Christmas, he led a group of unemployed men who marched to the Town Hall, where the Mayor was holding his formal Christmas dinner. They walked in and sat down, demanding to join the feast.
He also was involved with the Boy Scout movement, running a Scout troop, and authoring training booklets. He acted as a guide for outdoor holidays organised by the Holiday Fellowship. He often went to Switzerland, and took parties up the Matterhorn.