Saturday, January 26, 2013

A close-run thing - Teachers' Union leaders want your views

How the NUT Executive voted on strike action. It was a close run thing! They would like to hear from rank and file NUT members about whether to call strike action in the summer term.

22 Against

1. CUMBRIA:
ALAN RUTTER a.rutter@executive.nut.org.uk

2. NORTH-EAST:
IAN GRAYSON i.grayson@executive.nut.org.uk

3. NORTH YORKS:
ANNE SWIFT a.swift@executive.nut.org.uk

4. BRADFORD/LEEDS:
HAZEL DANSON h.danson@executive.nut.org.uk

5. LANCASHIRE:
SIMON JONES s.jones@executive.nut.org.uk

6. and 7. MANCHESTER/ ROCHDALE/WIGAN:
JAY BARRY j.barry@executive.nut.org.uk
and
NICK WIGMORE n.wigmore@executive.nut.org.uk

8. CHESHIRE/MERSEYSIDE:
EDDIE RITSON e.ritson@executive.nut.org.uk

9. DERBYSHIRE:
JOHN HOLMES j.holmes@executive.nut.org.uk

10. SHROPS/STAFFS:
LINDA GOODWIN l.goodwin@executive.nut.org.uk

11. GLOUCS/WARKS:
JOHN PEMBERTHY j.pemberthy@executive.nut.org.uk

12. CAMBS/SUFFOLK:
GRAHAM WHITE g.white@executive.nut.org.uk

13. ESSEX:
JERRY GLAZIER j.glazier@executive.nut.org.uk

14. HANTS:
AMANDA MARTIN a.martin@executive.nut.org.uk

15. WEST SUSSEX/SURREY:
VERONICA PEPPIATT v.peppiatt@executive.nut.org.uk

16. EAST SUSSEX/KENT:
DAVE BRINSON d.brinson@executive.nut.org.uk

17. DORSET/SOMERSET:
ROBIN HEAD r.head@executive.nut.org.uk

18, 19, 20. WALES:
ANGELA JARDINE a.jardine@executive.nut.org.uk
NEIL FODEN n.foden@executive.nut.org.uk
CLARE JONES c.jones@executive.nut.org.uk

21. TREASURER:
IAN MURCH i.murch@executive.nut.org.uk

22. VICE-PRESIDENT:
BETH DAVIES b.davies@executive.nut.org.uk

20 FOR:

1. BRADFORD/LEEDS:
PATRICK MURPHY p.murphy@executive.nut.org.uk

2. BARNSLEY/SHEFFIELD:
ROY BOWSER r.bowser@executive.nut.org.uk

3. LEIECSTERSHIRE:
IAN LEAVER i.leaver@executive.nut.org.uk

4. and 5. WEST MIDLANDS:
TONY TONKS t.tonks@executive.nut.org.uk
ROGER KING r.king@executive.nut.org.uk

6. HERTS/BEDS:
HEATHER MCKENZIE h.mckenzie@executive.nut.org.uk

7. BUCKS/OXFORDSHIRE:
GAWAIN LITTLE g.little@executive.nut.org.uk

8. BRISTOL/WILTS:
ANNE LEMON a.lemon@executive.nut.org.uk

9. CORNWALL/DEVON:
BARRIE FROST b.frost@executive.nut.org.uk

10, 11. INNER LONDON:
MARTIN POWELL-DAVIES m.powell-davies@executive.nut.org.uk
ALEX KENNY a.kenny@executive.nut.org.uk

12,13,14,15 OUTER LONDON
DAVE HARVEY d.harvey@executive.nut.org.uk
DOMINIC BYRNE d.byrne@executive.nut.org.uk
NICK GRANT n.grant@executive.nut.org.uk
MARILYN BATER m.bater@executive.nut.org.uk

16,17,18 EQUALITIES SEATS:
MANDY HUDSON m.hudson@executive.nut.org.uk
ANNETTE PRYCE a.pryce@executive.nut.org.uk
BETTY JOSEPH b.joseph@executive.nut.org.uk

19. VICE-PRESIDENT:
MAX HYDE m.hyde@executive.nut.org.uk

20. EX-PRESIDENT:
JULIE LYON-TAYLOR j.lyon-taylor@executive.nut.org.uk

NOT VOTING as PRESIDENT:
MARILYN HARROP m.harrop@executive.nut.org.uk

Teachers' Union leaders want your views.

How the NUT Executive voted on strike action. It was a close run thing! They would like to hear from rank and file NUT members about whether to call strike action in the summer term.

22 Against

1. CUMBRIA:
ALAN RUTTER a.rutter@executive.nut.org.uk

2. NORTH-EAST:
IAN GRAYSON i.grayson@executive.nut.org.uk

3. NORTH YORKS:
ANNE SWIFT a.swift@executive.nut.org.uk

4. BRADFORD/LEEDS:
HAZEL DANSON h.danson@executive.nut.org.uk

5. LANCASHIRE:
SIMON JONES s.jones@executive.nut.org.uk

6. and 7. MANCHESTER/ ROCHDALE/WIGAN:
JAY BARRY j.barry@executive.nut.org.uk
and
NICK WIGMORE n.wigmore@executive.nut.org.uk

8. CHESHIRE/MERSEYSIDE:
EDDIE RITSON e.ritson@executive.nut.org.uk

9. DERBYSHIRE:
JOHN HOLMES j.holmes@executive.nut.org.uk

10. SHROPS/STAFFS:
LINDA GOODWIN l.goodwin@executive.nut.org.uk

11. GLOUCS/WARKS:
JOHN PEMBERTHY j.pemberthy@executive.nut.org.uk

12. CAMBS/SUFFOLK:
GRAHAM WHITE g.white@executive.nut.org.uk

13. ESSEX:
JERRY GLAZIER j.glazier@executive.nut.org.uk

14. HANTS:
AMANDA MARTIN a.martin@executive.nut.org.uk

15. WEST SUSSEX/SURREY:
VERONICA PEPPIATT v.peppiatt@executive.nut.org.uk

16. EAST SUSSEX/KENT:
DAVE BRINSON d.brinson@executive.nut.org.uk

17. DORSET/SOMERSET:
ROBIN HEAD r.head@executive.nut.org.uk

18, 19, 20. WALES:
ANGELA JARDINE a.jardine@executive.nut.org.uk
NEIL FODEN n.foden@executive.nut.org.uk
CLARE JONES c.jones@executive.nut.org.uk

21. TREASURER:
IAN MURCH i.murch@executive.nut.org.uk

22. VICE-PRESIDENT:
BETH DAVIES b.davies@executive.nut.org.uk

20 FOR:

1. BRADFORD/LEEDS:
PATRICK MURPHY p.murphy@executive.nut.org.uk

2. BARNSLEY/SHEFFIELD:
ROY BOWSER r.bowser@executive.nut.org.uk

3. LEIECSTERSHIRE:
IAN LEAVER i.leaver@executive.nut.org.uk

4. and 5. WEST MIDLANDS:
TONY TONKS t.tonks@executive.nut.org.uk
ROGER KING r.king@executive.nut.org.uk

6. HERTS/BEDS:
HEATHER MCKENZIE h.mckenzie@executive.nut.org.uk

7. BUCKS/OXFORDSHIRE:
GAWAIN LITTLE g.little@executive.nut.org.uk

8. BRISTOL/WILTS:
ANNE LEMON a.lemon@executive.nut.org.uk

9. CORNWALL/DEVON:
BARRIE FROST b.frost@executive.nut.org.uk

10, 11. INNER LONDON:
MARTIN POWELL-DAVIES m.powell-davies@executive.nut.org.uk
ALEX KENNY a.kenny@executive.nut.org.uk

12,13,14,15 OUTER LONDON
DAVE HARVEY d.harvey@executive.nut.org.uk
DOMINIC BYRNE d.byrne@executive.nut.org.uk
NICK GRANT n.grant@executive.nut.org.uk
MARILYN BATER m.bater@executive.nut.org.uk

16,17,18 EQUALITIES SEATS:
MANDY HUDSON m.hudson@executive.nut.org.uk
ANNETTE PRYCE a.pryce@executive.nut.org.uk
BETTY JOSEPH b.joseph@executive.nut.org.uk

19. VICE-PRESIDENT:
MAX HYDE m.hyde@executive.nut.org.uk

20. EX-PRESIDENT:
JULIE LYON-TAYLOR j.lyon-taylor@executive.nut.org.uk

NOT VOTING as PRESIDENT:
MARILYN HARROP m.harrop@executive.nut.org.uk

Friday, January 25, 2013

Goldman Sachs of cash - don't you dare tax us!

Goldman Sachs made up to an estimated quarter of a billion pounds from speculating on food prices including wheat, maize and soy. The bank is accused of contributing to a growing global food crisis.

Goldman Sachs created the first commodity index funds which allow huge amounts of money to be gambled on prices.

Anti-poverty campaign group the World Development Movement released the estimate following the publication of Goldman Sachs' 2012 results. The group is calling for tough rules to curb financial speculation on food, to prevent banks and hedge funds driving up prices.

The US has passed legislation to limit speculation, but the controls have not been implemented due to a legal challenge from Wall Street spearheaded by an organisation calling itself "The International Swaps and Derivatives Association" Readers will be amazed to learn that Goldman Sachs is a leading member of this Association. Similar legislation is on the table at the EU, but the UK government has so far opposed effective controls. Unsurprisingly Goldman Sachs has lobbied against controls in both the US and the EU and they carry a lot more clout than the starving millions.

With the cheek of the devil, Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein denounced Cameron's purely verbal attack on tax dodgers, saying that holding people up for criticism for their tax arrangements risked "criminalising every right-thinking person who organises his or her affairs in a sensible way.

They make money. People starve because they cannot afford food. But God forbid that anyone should suggest they pay tax!




Derek McMillan

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Beyond the barricade, is there a world you want to see?












This is a first class film. We were surprised to come out of the cinema and find out it had been three hours since we went in. The momentum of the film never stops and there are some fantastic performances by Hugh Jackman as the convict, Jean Valjean, Anne Hathaway as the sacked factory worker, Fantine and Russell Crowe as police officer, Javert, . The comic talents of Helena Bonham Carter and Sasha Baron Cohen provide a counterpoint to the serious side of the story.

“Les miserables” (powerful words inadequately translated as “the poor”) are the focus of the original story. It is not a narrative Hollywood was likely to like. Tom Hooper concentrates on the romance at the expense of the social message. Nevertheless they have not succeeded in emasculating the story.

The story, based on a two-volume 19th Century novel by Victor Hugo, is not miserable at all because it contains within it a message of hope that things can be changed.

It is worth comparing the revolutionaries in Les Miserables with those other revolutionaries in a 19th Century novel – the bloodstained monsters depicted in Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities.” Although the revolution of 1830 was defeated, Victor Hugo sees the revolutionaries as human beings and evokes sympathy for the cause for which they are fighting.

To say it is a revolutionary film would be pushing it. It is a film about revolution and about the appalling injustices of society but the message is about individual salvation through love.

The central character, Jean Valjean, is imprisoned for five years for stealing a loaf of bread, then another 14 for trying to escape (not an exaggeration of the penal code of the period). On release he is condemned to carry a yellow passport – an ID card which is as effective as a brand. Even outside the prison he is not free.

A priest  seeks to redeem him with an act of kindness and (without retelling the whole story) the narrative rests on the consequences of that act of kindness.

Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the original story is the casting of a policeman, a perfectly respectable upholder of the law with no sympathy for the poor, as a villain. We are accustomed to seeing “crooked cops” but Javert isn’t crooked; he is as straight as he can be according to his lights. He simply enforces an unjust law because it is not his place to change it.

The most powerful scenes involve the street fighting in Paris during the 1830 revolution and the idealism of students and young people who are depicted as simply and selflessly fighting for the poor of their own city.

“Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!”

Without the music the words give you some idea of the emotions stirred by the powerful song. I am aware that people talk cynically about “not a dry eye in the house” but it really is an accurate description of how people in the audience respond to this.

In the final scene the selflessness is rewarded when, with Les Miserables, they ascend to heaven. Dickens, for all his compassion, would have had them going to the other place!

The same songs are repeated with a different emphasis at different times in the film but the message of what happens when society offers no future to the poorest members of the community could not be clearer. We really will all be in it together!

“At the end of the day there's another day dawning
And the sun in the morning is waiting to rise
Like the waves crash on the sand
Like a storm that'll break any second
There's a hunger in the land
There's a reckoning still to be reckoned and
There's gonna be hell to pay
At the end of the day!” 

Derek McMillan
January 2013


hen provide a counterpoint to the serious side of the story.

“Les miserables” (powerful words inadequately translated as “the poor”) are the focus of the original story. It is not a narrative Hollywood was likely to like. Hollywood concentrates on the romance at the expense of the social message. Nevertheless they have not succeeded in emasculating the story.

The story, based on a two-volume 19th Century novel by Victor Hugo, is not miserable at all because it contains within it a message of hope that things can be changed.

It is worth comparing the revolutionaries in Les Miserables with those other revolutionaries in a 19th Century novel – the bloodstained monsters depicted in Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities.” Although the revolution of 1830 was defeated, Victor Hugo sees the revolutionaries as human beings and evokes sympathy for the cause for which they are fighting.

To say it is a revolutionary film would be pushing it. It is a film about revolution and about the appalling injustices of society but the message is about individual salvation through love.

The central character, Jean Valjean, is imprisoned for five years for stealing a loaf of bread, then another 14 for trying to escape (not an exaggeration of the penal code of the period). On release he is condemned to carry a yellow passport – an ID card which is as effective as a brand – even outside the prison he is not free.

A priest who takes the message of Christianity seriously seeks to redeem him with an act of kindness and (without retelling the whole story) the narrative rests on the consequences of that act of kindness.

Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the original story is the casting of a policeman, a perfectly respectable upholder of the law with no sympathy for the poor, as a villain. We are accustomed to seeing “crooked cops” but Javert isn’t crooked; he is as straight as he can be according to his lights. He simply enforces an unjust law because it is not his place to change it.

The most powerful scenes involve the street fighting in Paris during the 1830 revolution and the idealism of students and young people who are depicted as simply and selflessly fighting for the poor of their own city.

“Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!”

Without the music the words give you some idea of the emotions stirred by the powerful song. I am aware that people talk cynically about “not a dry eye in the house” but it really is an accurate description of how people in the audience respond to this.

In the final scene the selflessness is rewarded when with Les Miserables they ascend to heaven. Dickens, for all his compassion, would have had them going to the other place!


“At the end of the day there's another day dawning
And the sun in the morning is waiting to rise
Like the waves crash on the sand
Like a storm that'll break any second
There's a hunger in the land
There's a reckoning still to be reckoned and
There's gonna be hell to pay
At the end of the day!” 

Derek McMillan
January 2013

Monday, January 07, 2013

Archbishop of Westminster

Once again the newspapers refer to the Archbishop of Westminster as "the leader of Britain's Catholics." According to the catechism, the leader of Catholics everywhere is Jesus Christ. He instructed us to 'love one another as I have loved you' and made no exceptions. 

Blessed are the peacemakers (unless they're gay?)

Blessed are the poor (unless they're gay?)

Blessed are the meek (unless they're gay?)

Forgive those who trespass against you (unless they're gay?)

etc.

The situation in the church is in transition. Priests may not marry but there are half a dozen married priests in Arundel and Brighton. There are female chaplains and altar servers but not deacons and priests.

And one could say that Anglicans have problems of their own with gay priests required to be celebate whereas those who are straight are not. I couldn't possibly comment.

 

 

 

Friday, January 04, 2013

Lies, damned lies and benefit cuts!



The TUC has published research which shows government and media attacks on scroungers are based on lies.

On average members of the public think 41 percent of the welfare budget goes to the unemployed. This “fact” is used to justify attacking the unemployed as scroungers. In fact the figure is 3 percent. And any of the “hard-working taxpayers” of today could be denounced as the  “workshy scroungers” of  tomorrow if the recession throws them out of work.

Alongside the massive tax dodging of firms like Vodafone and Starbucks, the amount of benefit fraud is minuscule. The public are led to believe it is 27 percent of the welfare budget. The figure is actually less than one percent.

Alongside the legal and illegal expenses claims of MPs most fraud is tiny. This has not stopped the Tories of Westminster City Council from floating the idea of cutting benefit for people they deem too fat. And next week people they deem too thin or too tall no doubt. And what are these people supposed to do without benefits? “Die and reduce the surplus population” to quote that model of fiscal responsibility, Ebenezer Scrooge.

People in work are being asked to approve attacks on the unemployed because they get too much money. An example is an unemployed couple with two school-aged children. The approval is based on an imagined figure of £147. And what would people like to cut it to? Perhaps £111.45 which is the real figure.

The old adage would seem to be true. Figures can’t lie but liars can figure.

The Daily Express headlined “a new ice age”, “a cure for cancer” and “the economy is booming” in the same month. Why on earth believe it when they tell you 80 percent of benefit claimants are frauds?
The TUC has done a good job in commissioning this research. Public policy decisions should be based on the truth not convenient lies.
Tories wish to punish obesity