While I’m a bigger fan of the Sheffield Utd dub myself this top rated youtube hit does make me smile, excuse the language and sorry to any Scots but the description of Glaswegians are uncannily close to our past Chair who shall remain nameless…
I’ve been meaning to put this up for a while, our friends at Cambridge have recently entered the blogosphere. Here’s a link to their site.
The fortunes of West Bromwich Albion are top priority for all BULS’ members as it determines the mood of their dictatorial chair, Tom Guise (46).
The home kit is, as all Birmingham Labour Students will know, are almost an exact replica of the strip worn in the 1985/86 season.
In an effort to scupper the outrageous decisions that West Brom have received from Premiership referees in the past, Baggies boss Tony Mowbray has come up with a cunning plan. The mighty black country boys will be disguised as official FA referees with the new yellow away kit.
So the question stands: how long has Graham Poll been a West Brom player?
As an atheist living in a predominantly non-Christian country wich happens to have a Christian heritage, I get incensed with the country shutting down on Sundays.
Needing to get to work early yesterday morning, I was unable to take the train as normal, as it was a Sunday; I was unable to take the bus, as it was a Sunday. Not fancy walking for an hour prior to the nine hour shift on my feet when I got there, I got a taxi to work- costing me an hour and a half’s wages. Finishing at 6, the shops were shut, and I was unable to do the shopping I needed until today, as it was a Sunday.
Back when I was at sixth-form college I did 9-5 days Monday to Friday, then worked 8-5 Saturdays. On my one day off, a Sunday, I was very limited in my leisure options because everywhere was bloody closed. The idea of the nation taking it easy for one day a week is all very nice, but if that’s you’re only day off then you are barred from living it normally. If you have to work that day, you can’t get to work as you normally would, and it negates the idea of a “day of rest” anyway- emergency services and essential services don’t have a designated down day every week, why should the rest of us be subjected to it? In any well managed workfoce the staff will be given sufficient days off to rest themselves, make that law instead of forcing it to be a Sunday. Not even the religious argument holds up any more, as less than 50% of the country call themselves Christian.
When will we end this bloody annoying hangover from yesteryear and start to have a fully functioning country?
At the end of last week, in the aftermath of a terrible by-election defeat in Glasgow East, I was about ready to call for Gordon Brown’s head. However, I’ve learned many times in the past never to write a blog when I’m angry.
The more I think of it, the more I realise just how good a PM Brown can be. As we look at an increasingly worrying economic outlook, it has become clear to me that Brown is the only possible candidate to steer the country through. A view that might seem as if I’m merely treading the party line, but so be it.
Now, to the main thrust of this particular rambling. I mentioned last week that I was waiting to find out what had happened at the National Policy Forum in Warwick this weekend. That is a meeting that involves constituency, union and parliamentary representatives who are charged with the task to formulate the next manifesto. It is part of the partnership in power process that ensures the voice of the grassroots members is aired whilst Labour remain in office.
The positive policy proposals from the NPF are promising. For instance, the next manifesto will back an extension of the franchise to include 16 and 17 year olds as well as a fully elected House of Lords. The Government has also backed a move to extend the full minimum wage to 21 year olds. However, BULS ofcourse would like to see this extended to all workers. The move will mean an extra £1 per hour for 50 000 workers.
The manifesto will also make a stronger committment to using in-house hospital cleaning services, whilst giving hospitals greater power to terminate contracts with inadequate private providers. Something the Guild has some experience in, with a charging cashpoint.
The press have it in for Gordon Brown and have done for months but it doesn’t render our party incapable to govern. As the NPF has shown, our party can still come up with good policies that capture the countries imagination. The challenge is putting our message across to voters.
So while it is tempting to call for Brown’s blood, it might not be the wisest thing to do. Changing a Prime Minister without a full democratic mandate might be justified by pointing to precedent, yet doing it twice would be wholly unjustifiable. The NPF proves that we can still keep in touch with core Labour values, without compromising economic prosperity. I say lets put our efforts into policy development ahead of, what will be, a close General Election.
The results of the recent NEC elections have just been announced, here are the winners;
Other elections held were for the Local Government Section and for representatives of the Association of Labour Councillors on the NEC and the NPF.
I highly recommend last night’s TV drama, Burn Up. It follows the story of a young oil tycoon, on his path through the murky surroundings of his industry. You can catch it on BBC Iplayer (the world’s most useful website) here.
The final episode is on tomorrow night at 9pm on BBC 2.
If anybody else is interested in possible veeps for both candidates, Time magazine has a good list of likely nominees for both along with mini bios.
Word on the Grapevine has it that McCain will pick his Veep this week with Mormon Mitt leading the way as likely nominee it looks like the Republicans will be going for the army/businessman tag team this coming November.
What’s the point of having a blog?
Our blog has been around for quite a while now, we’ve had highs and lows, but what is it actually worth? Should it over-reach and try and contribute to national debates? Should it be a point of contact for students and young people to the labour movement? Or perhaps it should be a place where contributors can highlight news stories that might be of interest from a variety of sources?
I personally think it should be all of these things and more, but I’d be interested to hear what other people think?
Journalists have a huge burden to carry. The overwhelming majority of people will have their views on current events shaped by the magnitude of news programmes, newspapers, magazines, websites and even some – more highbrow – blogs.
So I was particularly dissapointed to read Quentin Letts’ column in the Daily Mail yesterday. Anyone who listened to Wednesday’s debate on expense – of which I was one, due to the absence of cricket – will realise that Mr. Letts has brutally over-exagerated all the business surrounding expenses. He criticises Ann Widdecombe who only said that the media had been playing games with the public over the issue. That’s quite right. The John Lewis list does not exist, and never has, yet the media insist on reporting that MPs have all their furniture paid for from a selection at John Lewis. It’s simply untrue, as Lynne Jones MP (selly oak) pointed out, that she was reimbursed for a very cheap iron bought in Kings Heath. The only expense, in that category, she had asked for since her election in 1992.
If this is the quality of political journalism in our nation’s tabloids – no wonder turnouts are so low and no wonder voter confidence in politics is so strained. I expect the likes of BUCF and Praguetory will support Quentin, but I just think it’s such a shame that we thinks it justified to patronise normal hard-working people in this way.
We’ve all heard of this year’s SATs marking fiasco. We’re constantly told that students are over tested. We all know that schools put overemphasis on training students for the SATs rather than giving them a rounded education. And a lot of us hate league tables.
SATs were meant to be a test of schools, but have become a test of pupils too. Headlines report how students are without results, anxiously waiting; this is completely wrong, the point of SATs was to see how well the school had taught (whether it achieves this or not being dubious), not to be a level of achievement for each child to aspire to. Yes, they are useful for setting pupils, but schools can do that easily through their own tests with far less stress.
Please, please can we scrap the SATs?
Pat McFadden MP gloriously put Mad-Nadine Dorries in her rightful place, rejecting outright her wish to debate abortion and not the important matter of minimum wage enforcement. Here is the exchange:
Mrs. Nadine Dorries (Mid-Bedfordshire) (Con): I hope to be called to speak later as my interests are wide and varied, but for now I ask the Minister to inform me why he feels that this Bill is more important than the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, which we should have been debating today?
Mr. McFadden: The House discusses many important issues, and I disagree with the hon. Lady if she feels that it is not important that the House debates minimum wage enforcement and the other subjects the Employment Bill addresses. I am glad we have this opportunity to debate them today.
Mr. McFadden will recieve a BULS salute when we return from our summer hols in September.
In search of a scoop yesterday, BULS, ventured to Parliament Square after hearing rumours of yet another Boris blunder.
BULS exclusively interviewed a young mother with a crying baby who expressed concern that the new Mayor of London wants to kill her family by refusing to go ahead with plans to pedestranise Parliament Square.
Where Ken Livingstone succeeded Boris has failed. BULS ventured up Whitehall towards Trafalgar Square, a former London death trap, to find a cabbie who informed us that when Ken wanted to pedestranise the area, host to Nelson’s Column, he had complained loudly. However, our friendly cabbie told us, “now it’s quite nice, there aren’t pedestrians running out into the road every five minutes, so the risk of killing someone is rather low.”
The saga of the Parliament Square redevelopment proves Boris to be a ditherer, anti-environment and anti-pedestrian. Almost exactly the opposite of the platform he was elected on.
The Haltemprice and Howden by-election ballot paper makes interesting reading. In the absence of two big mainstream parties, a huge number of independent candidates stood; I wondered how women would fare outside of the normal election environment.
Sadly, only seven of the twenty-six candidates were female. Of these, five were aligned to parties (although these tended to be small and included the Miss Great Britain Party) and two were independent. Contrast this with the nineteen men who stood; fourteen were independent and five had parties, although again given the size of these parties they are probably best counted as independent.
What got me most about the results, however, was that of the seven women standing, six occupied the top positions 2-7 after David Davis. Whether this was due to their being women or that they represented some of the more significant of the small parties is also up for debate- I suspect the latter, but still find it interesting, and somewhat heartening.
Walking around the centre of my hometown yesterday, my friend points out to me two adjacent estate agents which have closed in the last few weeks. It’s all change in the Arndale Centre, too- gone not only is the independent bakery I used to work for, but also the art shop and the card shop. The independent record shop is under threat, and the independent bookshop is on its second “closing down” sale having twice survived the chop. New branches of Starbucks and HMV gleam in other units. Is this economy related?
Browsing the Guardian in the evening, it offers me tips on how to survive having a little less money in my pocket. Having been a student the last few years I suspect there is little they can teach me, and I appear to be right. “Food might still be ok to eat past its sell-by date”, it tells me. Other stating-the-bloody-obvious statements include the idea that I should buy in bulk to save. That’s all very nice, but I can’t afford a car, and don’t fancy carrying a three kilo bag of pasta home from the shops with the rest of my shopping.
This blog is really just a rant on all things loosely credit crunch related, so I’ll finish on to another Guardian publication that narked me off. A few weeks ago, they did a series of cut-out-and-keep guides to surviving the “crunch”- one was on raising children. They gave an astronomical figure for the cost of raising a child, followed by a break-down of what this included. It pointed out you could save money by switching to a state school. Was this really the Guardian I was reading? The grand total also included contributions to the child’s tuition fees at University, which is ridiculous as offspring are meant to pay them off themselves, and a full set of driving lessons with a first car thrown in for good measure. What the hell?! Easy way to survive the crunch- make your kids get a bloody part-time job to pay for lessons and cars themselves if they really want them, like most normal kids. Stop spoiling them.
End of rant. I’m off to the cinema to see Mama Mia. Wish me luck. :s
Yes, it’s that long awaited for by-election today in Haltemprice and Howden, and the nation is on the edge of its seat to see who will become their new MP. Will David Davis hold onto the post? Or will it go to one of the other 26 candidates vying for the role? In the absence of any main stream parties, I have gone looking for another candidate to back.
I am interested by Jill Saward, a rape victim and campaigner who has done marvellous work in the past and is against David Davis on the issue of a DNA database (it would undoubtedly drive up rape convictions), and David Bishop, from the Church of the Militant Elvis Party. The socialist in me admires his stance on todays capitalist society (It made Elvis a “fat media joke”). Not so keep on his plan to put cameras in Nick Clegg’s bedroom, though, or to imprison Cherie Blair, so I think he’ll have to come off the short list.
So, who are you backing?
Following on from our recent series on legendary MPs, in which we exposed Nick Palmer to be the comic genius he truly is, I wanted to turn BULS’ attention to Mr. David Clelland. The Labour MP for Tyne Bridge will recieve a full BULS salute when we return to Uni in the Autumn. You may have heard that Mr. Clelland recieved a rather rude letter from a constituent, informing him that he was actually a fascist and was always voting the wrong way, for his party. Mr. Clelland sent back this wonderfully crafted letter to his constituent. I for one know similar people I would like this letter to be sent to and I hope Mr. Clelland won’t mind if I do a little copy and paste job.
Local news has reported to me this lunch time that 16 MPs have signed an EDM calling for a new energy drink, named (but containing no) Cocaine, to be banned. The idea is that it may glamorise cocaine use with youngsters, something I am dubious about.
More importantly though, why won’t Coke, or Coca Cola, which one actually did contain Cocaine and is named after it, be included in this ban? And what about my year three class teacher, Mrs Cocaine?
A Tory peer has hit headlines recently, showing himself to be a racist. In the House of Lords the ignorant and repulsive frontbencher used the phrase; “nigger in the woodpile”. Defending himself he claims the phrase was in common everyday use when he was younger. A man of his age should know better.
Dave Cameron has said we won’t be sacking racists from the Tory benches. It would be good to see him act once in a while on his words of reform and party renewal. Oh well.
Nine intrepid BULS volunteers braved mud, rain, sun, portaloos and Jay-Z, for a second year running at Worthy Farm in Somerset to raise funds. Conditions were blissful compared to last year’s mudbath, and much jolity was had by all. Jay-Z was fricking awesome, his “Fuck Bush” rap raised a cheer amongst BULS volunteers and his glowing endorsement of Barack Obama would have brought a tear to Tom Guise’s eye. It’s a good job Gary Hughes was watching Massive Attack on the Other Stage at the time though…
Photos of the group will be provided as soon as I am reunited with my laptop and camera back in Brum! Until then you’ll have to make do with Amy Winehouse looking a bit drunk.
Like alot of people I’ve been a bit Wimbledon obsessed for the last fortnight, so I really enjoyed learning that John McEnroe – legendary player had a small knock-about with current legend Rafael Nadal. Here’s a good clip of McEnroe doing the second best thing he was good at:
Is it really harsh of someone to suggest that Brooke Kinsella might be using the situation for her own benefit? This wasn’t actually me, but someone on the train this morning sparked an outcry when she made the remark to a friend. Just wanted to throw it out there.
If what Brooke is doing, manages to stop some horrific stabbings in London then all power to her!
I think that campaign slogan is really silly. I don’t want a treasurer who counts (spending all their time looking at the accounts – that’s what auditors do) I want a treasurer who can put in place strong strategies to raise money for our party, that’s what’s vital.
Tom Marley’s special brand of democracy means that only one candidate has been displayed on these pages, that’s why I felt I had to write this post about the reasons I am support Jack Dromey. For those who don’t know anything, like BUCF, the Labour Party actually elects its treasurer, as well as its ruling body the NEC, and that is what we are doing this summer.
One of the reasons I am supporting Jack Dromey is because I don’t actually see what a Mark MacDonald victory would actually do to help the party. I’ve simply not been convinced, and I’ve thought long and hard about this decision – I’m not voting on a whim at all, as I’m sure comrades might try to suggest. Infact I only put my ballot in yesterday, after receiving it on Monday. My decision to support Jack over Mark is down to experience.
For me, it’s not about service to the party – both candidates have excellent Labour credentials and tick all the right boxes for me. It’s about experience. Jack has been involved in the finances of large scale organisations for a number of years now. As a trained barrister, I’m just not sure what Mark can give to the position. Jack, famously took his Union out of the red and made it profitable again. So we’ve seen him deliver, and yes maybe progress has been slow in the Labour Party, but we’ve had an easy ride so far. We’ve never had to worry about finances up until now, as donors leave our movement when the polls go bad – that’s not Jack’s fault at all. We need someone with a track record, experience and the ability to make tough decisions. I searched, but just could not get that from Mark at all.
In this rather crucical time, what is needed is staying on the straight and narrow and to ensure that we don’t do anything to further de-stabilise the situation. I’m sorry if this dissapoints some people, but the decision we are making will directly affect our party’s ability to fight a next general election, so I’ve chosen to stick with someone who knows the job. It’s not the time to ask questions and naval gaze, it’s the time to hunker down and fight for our lives!
For the NEC i supported: Ellie Reeves, Sonika Nirwal, Peter Wheeler, Peter Kenyon, Deborah Gardiner and Mohammad Ali.
The Guardian, helpfully, reports to us that a new ICM poll sees British people placing the environment above the economy as a national priority. Whilst I am naturally scepticle about polls, it makes for interesting reading.
As previously thought, it shows that more women, 55% believe the environment to be more important, with the male species at 49%.
Rather upsettingly, it says that only 19% of people would choose to spend more for an environmentally sound product.
Deco, one of the world’s greatest midfielders will be coming to the West Bromwich Albion ground next season. This is ofcourse, as a Chelsea player, and will surely feature in the squad that visits the blackcountry on November 15th. Did I nearly have you there?
In other news, Martin Albrecthsen has snubbed the Baggies to join Derby on a free-transfer. As the chair of BULS, I hope to make a small band of merry labour activists into hardcore Albion fans and so I will endeavour to keep readers of the blog up-to-date with news relating to the transfer market!!
My dissertation is going to be studying inequality in the workplace, and the nature of the modern day division of labour. So it was incredibly helpful to see that our Harriet has launched a scathing attack on working inequality by publishing the new Equality Bill.
There are currently nine major pieces of discrimination legislation and over 100 statutory instruments setting out connected rules and regulations. This amounts to more than 2500 pages of guidance and statutory codes of practice. The Equality Bill will replace all the tangled web of confusion, so that those who benefit from the law, and those who need to comply with it, can really see its meaning.
But, let’s look at what is really contained within the Bill. It will introduce a new Equality Duty upon the public sector. At present, there are three equality duties which have required public authorities to tackle discrimination and promote equality for race, disability and gender. The new duty will bring together those three and extend it to cover gender reassignment, age, sexual orientation and religion or belief. (So when my Sainsbury’s line-manager criticises my socialism, I’ll be able to cite the new equality duty!)
However, equality cannot be properly tackled if it remains hidden. Public bodies will comply with the equality duty by reporting on, gender pay, ethnic minority employment and disability employment. Secrecy clauses, banning people discussing their own pay, will be banned themselves. A new “kite-mark” will be introduced to demonstrate the effectiveness of equal pay audits in closing the gender pay gap.
What has hit the headlines recently, has been moves to further positive action. This means that employers will now be forced to take into account the under-representation of certain groups in their sector, when looking at like-for-like candidates. The use of all-women shortlists in Parliamentary selections is also being extended to 2030, something Brigid Jones may have something to say about.
What this Bill has done already is prove, once again, that Labour is the party of equality, from challenging disability discrimination and to tackling the pay gap, to fighting racism and introducing civil partnerships – Labour has always been at the forefront of progress. I for one, if you’ve not already guessed, am really excited about this particular piece of legislation.