Posts Tagged ‘Suffolk’
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!
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”.
Tory Judy Terry is Out: The Heavens Cry their Joy!
Suffolk Election Results leave the Tories in Charge.
Labour and Co-operative 3
Liberal Democrat 7
UK Independence Party 9
This is a good result for Labour and their candidates who have worked really hard, year in and year out, on the County Council (where they were only 4 till today) and have fought against austerity and privatisation tooth-and-nail.
It is a good result for the labour movement more widely as Suffolk Labour Parties have worked closely with the union and left campaigners against the Tory-led Council cutters and floggers-off.
One result brought great joy to the progressive Suffolk masses: the defeat of Judy Terry in Rushmere (figures and intro from Ipswich Spy).
“The Conservatives have LOST the Rushmere Division, previously held by Cabinet Member Judy Terry, to Labour’s Sandra Gage.
Ellis, Peter (UKIP) 401
Gage, Sandra (Labour) 1117
Jackson, Dale (Ind) 34
Jones, Garath (Lib Dem) 90
Terry, Judy (Con) 628
Wilmot, Kirsty (Green) 94″
As a County Council Cabinet member she has pushed through the privatisation agenda, notably creating a so-called Industrial and Provident Society (private ‘charity’) for the Library service. This has caused great damage.
Overall Labour made gains in urban districts, notably Ipswich, which has more in common with parts of London (including the ‘inner city’) than rural Suffolk.
In my own ward there was a very a good result (I campaigned for Mandy – Labour),
Labour have GAINED the St Helen’s Division from the Liberal Democrats, who were pushed into last place, with UKIP second, two votes ahead of the Tories, and the Green’s in fourth.
Gaylard, Mandy (Labour) 900
Lockington, Tim (Lib Dem) 155
Parkinson, Katherine (Con) 359
Tinney, Mark (UKIP) 361
Wilmot, Tom (Green) 201
There was also a by-election,
Labour have taken the Borough Council by election in Alexandra, a gain from the Liberal Democrats. Turnout was 27.6%.
Cook, John (Labour) 772
Cotterell, Stephen (UKIP) 279
Phillips, Edward (Con) 274
Toye, Kenneth (Lib Dem) 126
Wilmot, Thomas (Green) 193
“So the Liberal Democrats have gone from first to last in what was a bastion of Liberal Democrat power in the town – just three years ago they held all three Borough Council seats, plus the County Council seat. It means the Liberal Democrats are reduced to just three councillors on Ipswich Borough Council.” So says the Spy.
In fact it was not so much as a Liberal Bastion but a freak base, created by boundary changes, and a protest vote against the Labour government, which was always going to go back to Labour when real politics kicked in.
The worst result is in Whitehouse and Whitton where UKIP slipped in.
9 UKIP councillors on the County Council is a disaster.
They did well elsewhere though not enough to win.
Note that in the area I live (St Helen’s/Alexandra, which cover the town centre and is largely working class or employee, and highly ‘mixed’, including a substantial migrant worker population) UKIP came above the Liberals and even the Tories with hardly any local activists whatsoever.
Or indeed none...
Their vote comes from a ‘virtual’ campaign of leafleting, and the full-time agitation of the far-right daily press, the Mail, the Express and the Sun.
They beat poor old Kevin in his vain attempt to win Chantry for the Tory (Holy Roller) Party.
UKIP put the Tories into 4th and 5th (no guessing which Tory came 5th) and the Liberals, way out on the margins at Monster Raving levels of support. (Algar, Kevin (Con) 1043 Armitage, Helen (Labour) 2169 Broom, Barry (Green) 404 Cenci, Nadia (Con) 1096 Fletcher, Julie (Lib Dem) 243 Gardiner, Peter (Labour) 2051 McHardy, Stuart (Lib Dem) 146
Newton, Robert (UKIP) 1301)
Across the County UKIP have pushed the Liberals out to the fringes (7 seats) and are not far behind Labour.
Campaigning on an openly racist basis, against the threat of Romanian and Bulgarian migrants, they join a sorry list of European far-right populist parties.
The left has long shouted about the menace of the tiny and irrelevant English Defence League.
Dealing with UKIP is going to be a lot harder than shouting ‘nasty Nazis’ at them.
But this is a start,