No dunce’s hat is big enough for ‘Labour’ negotiators

With John Tully

‘I negotiated the deal only the fat cats want’

Unite, the GMB and the PCS organised the rally attended by hundreds of workers in Williamson Square Liverpool to show their determination to continue to fight for decent wages for bus drivers, for safety on our trains, and to retain our job centres

RMT Regional Secretary John Tully berated Labour-backed Merseytravel for placing profit before safety. John’s speech brilliantly exposed the farce of a Tory government privatising Rail which is then nationalised by a foreign government who use the profits they make to subsidise the rail fares of their own people, and whose loss of income resulting from industrial action is bank-rolled by the local tax-payers.

There isn’t a dunce’s hat big enough for the genius who negotiated that deal.  As Merseytravel’s board has been controlled by people wearing the ‘Labour’ brand for years the identity of the negotiator should be revealed to an interested public.

John gave more examples of guards intervening in situations where first-aid was essential and protecting passengers from a knife-point incident. He told the rally that the determination of his members to continue the fight was undiminished. He finished by demanding to know why ‘Labour’ Mayors Rotheram and Anderson are on the bosses’ side and not the workers. A question which is resonating more widely as the dispute continues.

Unite and PCS speakers were equally determined to secure their just claims. Martin Cavanagh of the PCS EC pledged to intensify their campaign to defend services under threat and to support those taking strike action to defend the public.

John Tully reported he had heard no constructive proposals from Merseytravel and their fight for safety will continue unabated.

It’s time for Jeremy Corbyn to intervene and remind these Labour Mayors that it is Labour’s policy to oppose driver only trains and that their first responsibility is to support workers in struggle in defence of this important principle.

 

Bin the Birmingham Blairites!

 

United we can defeat the Tory/Blairites

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition salutes the hard fought victory of Birmingham’s bin workers.

Birmingham council have backed down on the eve of a High Court hearing to determine whether their 106 threatened redundancies were lawful.

Under pressure from Unite the Union’s bin workers the council have agreed to withdraw the redundancies and give the affected workers new job titles and duties while maintaining their current grade, pay and conditions.

It proves that if you fight you can win. If you don’t, defeat is guaranteed.

This dispute has exposed the sorry role of Blairite Labour councillors who, from day one of the banker-induced financial crisis, have slavishly carried out every cut demanded by the Tories.

With a handful of exceptions 6000 Labour Councillors have refused to fight Tory cuts, and instead have imposed draconic cuts on the very people who rely on Labour to protect them.

The question has to be posed: should right wing councillors who have hijacked the name ‘Labour’ and do the bidding of the Tories and who spent over £6million of public money to try and break the strike, be given a free ride in future elections?

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition says NO.

The battle to drive Blairite councillors from the Labour Party must continue. In the 2018 May elections many bin workers will be up for challenging Labour councillors whose strike-breaking tactics have dragged the term ‘Labour’ in the mud.

These councillors act as though Jeremy Corbyn ws never elected leader on an anti-austerity platform. Challenging them would be not be opposing Jeremy Corbyn. It is they who oppose everything Corbyn stands for.

It’s time they were held to account.

Merril Lynch – your sponging bank who sees big bucks in Trump and fears Jeremy Corbyn

While I denigrate the innocents I’ll increase your mega profits

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James Gorman. Worried about where his next million is coming from

The US investment bank Morgan Stanley has warned that Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister would be worse for British business than Brexit.

The bank said that nationalisation of industries, higher taxes on corporations and more spending on low-income household and the public sector could – horror of horrors – decrease the value of UK companies.

Morgan Stanley, the state-hating, socialist fearing, so-called creator of all wealth, went cap in hand for a $107.3 billion bail-out from the Fed during the 2008 crisis. This was more than any other bank.

In December 2015, it was reported that they intended to cut around 25 percent of its fixed income jobs.

The bank said this about Trump: ‘His anti-terrorism stance will also have positive implications for Defense stocks.’

As the bank’s stock surged on the back of Trump’s victory, chief executive James Gorman made a $2.9m profit in one day by exercising share options. This year Gorman will receive $22.5 million in total ‘compensation’.

Never mind Trump’s racist rants, his misogyny, his legitimising of fascist murderers, his pandering to the basest instincts of his electoral base, if his policies turn a quick buck, that sits OK with Morgan Stanley.

 

 

The cough drop kid strikes again

When I signal, pass me a cough drop and I’ll crack a gag

Hammond apes the antics of Bob Hope in an old movie called The Lemon Drop Kid in which Hope would put a lemon drop in ear which would attract race horses at the track who would nibble his ear.

He would kid his gullible audience that the horse was whispering him a tip, at which he would gather up their money on this ‘sure thing’ and then disappear with the loot.

Hammond and May seem to have adopted the same con trick with their cough lozenges.

They distract the audience while slippery Phil pulls his con. The difference between him and Hope is that he fools nobody.

Even former Conservative health secretary Stephen Dorrell, who is now the chair of the membership body for health service care providers (talk about putting Billy Bunter in charge of the tuck shop!) observed ‘It is extremely important that the two words “social care” didn’t pass the chancellor’s lips on budget day.’ It is clear that the Tories quaver at Hammond’s gaffes and utterances.

In any case the tax dodgers who bankroll the Tory Party can rest easy as long as Phil and Teresa stay in charge.

Universal Credit is still in place. Decent affordable housing won’t be available. The tops of HMRC advise the fat cats how to dodge their tax responsibilities. Public sector pay is still capped. What’s not to be content with?

They’d better make the best of it. A Corbyn-led government is waiting in the wings. With an almighty shove  organised Labour can and should organise to turf them into the dustbin of history.

 

The myopic thoughts of Philip Hammond

 

Philip Hammond’s demeanor as he intones on jobs, the NHS and unemployment reveal a man who lives not only in a bubble, but a bubble of such impenetrable density that it protects him from the reality of life outside that of the mega rich.

His pearls include ‘The economy is healing’, ‘There is no unemployment’, ‘There are no low paid jobs’

Not to mention the catastrophe of Universal Credit affecting the lives of thousands, he is unaware of the plight of the 1.5 million people unemployed, and at least a million people on zero-hours contracts.

He regurgitates the Tory claim about more people being employed than ever before. An estimated 3 million of these are in the gig economy without a future or basic security to plan a decent life.

Hammond says the budget would be ‘balanced’. That word used to imply fairness. In Hammond’s world it means balancing income in favour of the mega rich.

The chilling thing about him is that he really believes the claptrap he utters.

Like Colonel Dax in WWI film Paths of Glory who asks the corrupt French general who tries to justify the execution of three innocent foot soldiers sacrificed to protect a crazed commander from the failure of a suicide mission: ‘Excuse me sir, but do you really believe a single word of what you have just said.’

The French general didn’t, but Hammond does. That’s why any appeal to reason is wasted. What is required is a mass campaign to force a general election and rid the country of this government of the oligarchs.

 

Rail dispute: Mayors’ break cover – call for ‘mutually acceptable solution’. RMT suggested the solution months ago.

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THE MAYORS’ CALL FOR A SETTLEMENT OVER GUARDS ON TRAINS

In a master-class of fence sitting Mayors Anderson and Rotheram have issued a joint statement calling for both parties – the RMT and Merseyrail – to work out a ‘mutually acceptable solution’.  The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition – an anti-austerity, pro-Corbyn coalition – along with the 90% of the public who support the RMT, recognise this sentiment as representing  a great leap forward on Mayor Rotheram’s part as his hitherto silence on the matter had raised questions about his understanding of what was at stake, and Mayor Anderson’s open hostility to the Union’s stance.

TUSC believes that the RMT’s call to maintain safety on trains is a paramount condition of any settlement, and referring the matter to ACAS will not alter that.

TUSC will continue to support the RMT in its great campaign of meetings and industrial action. They have won the argument among the public hands down. It’s up to Merseyrail to recognise the validity of the RMT’s case and settle now.

Roger Bannister, TUSC candidate for city region mayor in May, said: “During the city regional Mayor election I was the only candidate who consistently supported the guards and opposed the introduction of Driver Only Trains. I urged Steve Rotheram to join me in that stance but received only silence. Now Steve has found his voice, he should come out clearly and instruct the Labour councillors on the Transport Committee to vote to keep the guards.”

It is incredible that Labour councillors have to be reminded that their responsibility is not to represent the few, but to represent the many. That is the reason for the Labour Party’s existence. Also that it is official Labour Party policy to support the RMT’s campaign.

The public and the RMT have spoken: put safety before profit by retaining the guards.

That the world’s super-rich own vast sums of wealth and squirrel it away in whatever ways they can find is nothing new. The revelations of the Paradise Papers confirmed their behaviour. But the news that Salvator Mundi, the long-lost Leonardo da Vinci painting of Jesus Christ commissioned by King Louis XII of France more than 500 years ago, has sold at Christie’s in New York for $450.3m, including auction house premium, shattering the world record for any work of art sold at auction takes capitalist chicanery to a whole new level.

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That the world’s super-rich own vast sums of wealth and squirrel it away in whatever ways they can find is nothing new. The revelations of the Paradise Papers confirmed their behaviour.

But the news that Salvator Mundi, the long-lost Leonardo da Vinci painting of Jesus Christ commissioned by King Louis XII of France more than 500 years ago, has sold at Christie’s in New York for $450.3m, including auction house premium, shattering the world record for any work of art sold at auction takes capitalist chicanery to a whole new level.

This obscene amount was paid on the same day that a letting agency in Grimsby issued hundreds of tenants with a pre-emptive eviction notice ahead of the rollout of universal credit.

And at a time of unrelenting austerity, justified by the mantra ‘we’ve got to live within our means’ still spewed out by a discredited, illegitimate Tory government and their bag carriers of the media, underlines the imperative of changing the whole system.

The painting was consigned to Christie’s by Russian fertiliser oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, who plundered the Russian state controlled facility when the wall came down.

This transaction is a method of the super-rich, with more wealth than they know what to do with, to feed their egos and to hedge their wealth against a possible economic collapse.

Ironically, this is the portrait of JC (not Jeremy). A man who organised the poor and downtrodden against the roman dictatorship, who drove the Thatcherite money-changers out of the temple, and who preached the brotherhood of man. This trouble-causer was, of course, crucified. I’m sure he would stand aghast at his pic being used to feed the greed of the oligarchs.

The remedy?

To give us a proper view of what wealth exists and the funds to invest in jobs and services we would require the nationalisation of the banks and finance companies under democratic workers’ control and management.

This would also allow the bank accounts of the rich to be frozen and transactions controlled to prevent them trying send their money abroad to protect their wealth from such progressive measures. I’m sure both JCs would approve.