Monday, 21 May 2018

Ken Livingstone's resignation was a classic act of positive political expediency

Ken Livingstone's resignation from the Labour Party to stop the story acting as yet another distraction was done for selfless reasons. Yet for some Jewish leaders, this is not enough. They wanted Corbyn to publicly expel Livingstone while eviscerating himself.

Livingstone was not the issue, he was not the prize. No, the real prize was, is, the toppling of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. 

So, with whispers of a possible General Election in the autumn, October, this is the best time for Ken Livingstone to disassociate himself from the Labour Party. To stop being the distraction.

Sadly, Ken's resignation will not stop anti-Corbyn elements within our Jewish communities from continuing to hound Jeremy Coryn out of the leadership. However, whereas Ken had a habit of allowing his opponents to light his fuse and watch as he did the rest, Corbyn is less likely to walk into a well-rehearsed right-wing-led frame-up.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Speech from Hyde Park on Saturday 12 May 2018

Hello Comrades, I’m Sean McGovern, Unite member and Chair of the TUC Disabled Workers Committee.
Comrades we march together today to demand a new deal and social justice for our class. 
Yet we are confronted by a government clinging onto a failed austerity programme. 
A government that stumbles and blunders through the Brexit negotiations while growth in the economy goes south.
We have a Prime Minister in May who has such a shaky control over her Jenga-like cabinet an edifice that would collapse if a vital piece was removed. 
Can Theresa May hang on to 2022 or will one of her cabinet or back-benchers make the challenge, thus putting her, and us, out of her misery.
Comrades, working people in the UK deserve a new deal from governments who have presided over the most draconian cuts to our public services, jobs and benefits for the past eight years. 
An austerity programme that has only succeeded in the growth of food banks, a disgraceful increase in child hunger and record levels of homelessness and rough sleeping. 
A government that with no hesitation reduces the income of disabled people by slashing their benefits. 
A government that has presided over and allows the continuation of the fatally flawed Work Capability Assessment. 
An assessment system that has led to the unnecessary deaths of thousands. 
An administration that has pushed social care and support into chaos; to the point of collapse. 
As we enjoy the freedom of today’s event there are hundreds of thousands of disabled and elderly people imprisoned in their own homes. 
Disabled people further punished when they are punitively hit by social care charges, an unfair taxation. 
Let us call for social care and support system free at the point of need and funded through general taxation. 
This Tory regime and its predecessor, the Coalition, despite insisting that work pays have done nothing to close the employment gap for disabled people who are still massively disadvantaged when seeking employment. 
And rather than promoting and extending Access to Work, instead they place greater barriers in front of disabled workers making our employment precarious and even putting us into debt. 
Comrades, we need change in the form of a government that looks to governing on behalf of the many, not pandering to the greed of the few. 
We need a government that will close the employment gap experienced by disabled people seeking work by placing severe sanctions on employers who discriminate against us; by extending Access to Work to more disabled people and scrapping financial capping of funding.
Let’s elect a government who replace a punitive welfare benefits system with real social security. 
A system that gives disabled people who cannot work the dignity of a decent income.
No more food banks. 
No more sanctioning of benefits. 
No more our children go to school hungry. 
Indeed, let’s demand the harmonisation of educational opportunities by properly funding schools to allow disabled children into mainstream schools.  
Comrades, let’s build a trade union movement that will fight for decent pay, terms and conditions in both the public and private sectors. 
A movement that works with its communities and strives for social justice for all our class.
Comrades, Solidarity. 

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Comrades, Happy May Day

Comrades, Happy May Day

I’m Sean McGovern here today from Unite’s London and Eastern Region and the TUC General Council to deliver a message of Solidarity to our class and to voice the concerns of millions of disabled people.

But first, I’d like you all to give a big May Day cheer to a group of Dial-a-Ride drivers, Unite members, from the Woodford and Orpington Depots who are out on strike today. 

This Conservative regime is imposing the most draconian of measures upon disabled people.

We are being attacked across all age groups.

Inclusive education is a far-off dream for lots of disabled children, as more and more are being home-schooled.

Indeed, we hear stories of parents threatening to take their children out of schools if disabled children are placed in the same classrooms.

Thus, a rise in the numbers of disabled children being segregated into ‘special needs’ schools.

Comrades, this kind of treatment often follows disabled people throughout their lives.

There are only 50% of disabled people of working age in employment.

This compared to around 75% amongst the rest of the working age population.

Even though this government has missed successive targets to get disabled people into employment they continue to hound disabled people who are unable to work.

The Work Capability Test continues to fail thousands and thousands of disabled people by assessing them as being able to work when the reality is different.

To further punish this group the government has stringently cut back Employment Support Allowance, forcing scores of thousands of disabled people into poverty.
Benefits sanctions are imposed on disabled people for being unable to climb the very barriers designed and built to criminal levels of inaccessibility.

And yet we’ve not felt the full force of cuts, as more are in the pipeline.

Universal Credit will find disabled people losing disability premiums and tax credits from their benefits.

Comrades, the social care and support sector is in a state of chaos.

This chaos spreads across all sections and players within the sector.

Care workers, carers, support workers and personal assistants are totally undervalued.

They are paid low wages, given bad terms and conditions and afforded poor job opportunities.

Care agencies are going out of business as Local Authority care funding evaporates.

Social workers, occupational therapists and care assessors are increasingly being bullied into cutting care and support packages.

Many are leaving the service rather than do disabled and elderly people a disservice.

And the service users, disabled and elderly people are seeing their care packages cut to criminally unsatisfactory levels. 

Disabled people are often left for hours at a time on their own increasing their isolation and social exclusion.

Living in such conditions have deleterious effects on both physical and mental health.

Therefore, we must fight for a National Care and Support Service free at the point of need and funded through general taxation. 

Comrades, what I have painted is a part of a landscape depicting some features of life for disabled people in a system that employs neoliberal policies.

Neoliberal policies that are contrary to affording people a decent standard of living.

But Comrades, the landscape is a work in progress. 

And while disabled people are on the receiving end of the most pernicious cuts in our benefits and services, we are fighting back.

Every day trade union workplace and equality reps are gaining reasonable adjustments for our disabled members. 
We are assisting with Access to Work claims.

We are defending our disabled comrades from unwarranted bullying and harassment by both bosses and co-workers.

Organisations such as Disabled People Against Cuts, Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance, Inclusion London and ALLFIE are defending disabled people.

By using Judicial Review, we are getting local authority policies turned over.

By lobbying our MPs, we are ensuring people get their benefits, services and housing issues dealt with.

And, by direct action we are sending a message to this government.

A message that we are willing to fight with any means to stop them consigning us to the shadows of social exclusion and to stop them killing our brothers and sisters with their inhumane social policies.

Comrades, any of us can be visited by disability at any time. 

Our struggle is your struggle; just as your fight is our fight.


Thank you for re-electing me to the Chair of the L&E DMC

I'd like to thank Unite the Union's London and Eastern Disabled Members' Committee for re-electing me as Chair for the next three years. 
Having put their trust in me again I pledge to push progressive policies through and to lead those campaigns we take on for the benefit of Unite members and the wider community.
In Solidarity

Monday, 23 April 2018

Travel Anxiety

Travelled to Birmingham on Saturday for Unite’s United Left’s AGM. That’s the three-hour meeting which if we’re lucky we’ll get to Agenda Item 2.1.1 out of 10 items on the bill. Walk away from it slapping each other on the back for another good day’s work done.

Anyway, I digress as this Blog is more to do with the journey than the dreaded destination. 

We boarded the 10-summink to New Street, Birmingham, stopping at what sounded like hghcjhjhjhgykhv and xeeawrkjiob, or it could have even been pjkjjtrgchfh or mpkjhfrehhuifd such was the lucidity of the Virgin PA system. 

Of course, this being a train journey that I was embarking upon we were confronted with the first obstruction. A buggy the size of a small tractor was occupying the space designated for wheelchair users. After traversing the carriage my PA confronted the owner of the four-wheel-drive all-terrain buggy and explained that her baby vehicle was incorrectly parked.

Down the aisle charges middle-class mummy. She looks at me, looks in at the tiny little baby occupying this monstrous truck of a buggy, and with all the grace of someone who’s not used to being questioned yet alone challenged, moves the buggy to the space by the door.

“Are you satisfied?” she asks barely able to contain her pissedoffedness. 

“Well, no I’m not actually.” I reply. “Look at the sign down there. It clearly states that the space you’re now occupying must be left clear to allow………”

“So, what do you expect me to do?” the mum haughtily challenges.

My PA, being her usual diplomatic calm-the-situation down type, suggested that the woman fold the vehicle, even offering to help. To which I, naturally, concurred.

“It doesn’t fold-up. It’s a such and such make,” (I failed to catch the name) obviously a luxury brand that went for style over practicality. 

“So why did you buy what is undoubtedly a top-of-the-range perambulator and expect to use it on public transport?” I asked her at the same time as I pressed the button to summon the train manager.

A minute or so later the manager came along, agreed with me and helped the woman into another carriage with her totally inappropriate child carrying conveyance.

You won’t believe this, but I had almost the same issue on the return journey. A parent boarded the carriage. Again, parked what looked like another complicated fixed-frame buggy blocking the space needed for me to manoeuvre in and out of the carriage. Once more I had to explain why she shouldn’t park her buggy in the space. And of course, she objected. Telling me that I could ask her to move the buggy if I needed to leave the carriage. 

By now seriously pissed-off I told her that I wasn’t willing to be put in a position where I needed her permission to leave the carriage…

Why can’t Virgin Trains use bigger signs? Why can’t people when somebody reasonably explains a situation have a bit of fucking respect for the position of others? 

Looks like it’s back to the car for me, at least until parents who use buggies on public transport can have the good sense to purchase a machine that collapses; or Virgin Trains begin making trains that can carry passengers with varied needs and understand that people when travelling often travel with luggage.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Let's kill more Syrians at our outrage of Syrian's killing other Syrians

That'll teach the bloody murderous regimes of Bashar al-Assad and its ally Putin. I'm guessing they're reflecting on their sinful pasts as the west rains more bombs on Syrian civilians. 

May has stated that her thoughts are for the safety of the British forces carrying out these attacks. 

Without in any way denigrating or criticising the British armed forces I'd take a stab in the dark and say that their safety isn't really in question, is it? Surely it's the safety of the innocent Syrian civilians at the receiving end of our bombers that we should consider? 

Just a thought...

Friday, 30 March 2018

Can we see the proof of widespread anti-Semitism that is pervasive through the Labour Party?

I don't for a minute doubt that anti-Semitism exists in the Labour Party, and shame on any organisation where it is condoned . However, as a cross-section of society I don't think the Labour Party is inherently anti-Semite. Sadly, as in most walks of life in the UK anti-Semitism can be found in the Labour Party.

What I disagree with is the accusation that AS is rife throughout the party as is being implied by the anti-Corbyn media and those elements within the LP itself who have tried their damnedest to undermine Corbyn since he became leader.

For the sake of balance, could someone put up links of this rife anti-Semitic behaviour in the Labour Party. As a CLP member and an active trade unionist I spend a lot of my life around LP members, yet I don't get a sense of this undercurrent of anti-Semitism that I'm told is almost the norm.

There is a lot of criticism of the State of Israel, particularly its excesses in Gaza. And on this count I'm also vehemently opposed to the actions of the Israeli government and its attack dogs the IDF. I'm guessing that my criticism of the way the State of Israel comports itself with its treatment of Gazan and West Bank Palestinians would in certain quarters be construed as anti-Semitic.

It saddens me when people, including Jews, use the anti-Semitic card against those who criticise and condemn the murderous actions of the Israeli government and IDF. We should all be able to condemn tyrants and hold them to account for their actions. I will continue to condemn and be critical of any State or arm of any state that is guilty of the deaths of countless thousands that is guilty of the oppression and suppression of another people.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Wheelchair users in Lambeth are treated with contempt.

In my attempt to expand my social life in Brixton I popped into a pub just off one of the main roads. From the exterior I could see this was a fairly large pub; and on entering my assessment of the pubs spaciousness was borne out.
This was a large old Victorian boozer that had dispensed with the segregated bars to leave a big open plan space. On returning the friendly barman's greeting I asked where the adapted toilet was, to be told there wasn't one.
The pub looked as though it had been refurbished in recent times, I'd say within the past five years. Refurbished within a time span that included both the DDA and the Equality Act, within a period that covered the inclusion of services complying with the law.
For years I've taken the "Oh sorry, we're not wheelchair accessible" excuse on the chin. Today's experience is the one that nobbled the camel, and I intend going to law against this company.
Now all I have to do is to is find out exactly how I go about bringing a discrimination case against this goods and service provider. All assistance gratefully heeded.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

May's Falklands Moment?

Last night, after the midnight ultimatum given to Russia by Theresa May had passed, I jokingly posted the following, a paraphrasing of Neville Chamberlain’s declaration of war with Germany in September 1939:

"NEWS BREAKNumber Ten has produced the following message from Prime Minister, Theresa May:

"Yesterday I gave Vladimir Putin until midnight today to explain the use of a Russian-made nerve agent in the Salisbury attack or face retaliation for "a brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil".

I have to tell you now that no such explanation has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Russia.""

In a different post another Facebook user suggested that this could be a party-political move by Theresa May in that it would be difficult to dislodge a wartime prime minister. Back in 1982 Thatcher’s standing in the polls was very poor. By April the country was at war with Argentina over the Falklands. By June, with the Falkland’s won back, Thatcher had called and won a general election.

Today's an opportunity for May’s government to impose a host of vicious policies on an unsuspecting public. It's a form of the three-card-trick - in that it's all about distraction.