It’s been obvious to us for a long long time that New Labour’s officers have been running out of control. Ian Reilly, West Midlands Regional Organizer and co. have been indulging themselves with all sorts of scams which always come to grief. They at the very least turned a blind eye to postal vote fraud – they’re still in denial – and lost 6 councillors from Birmingham’s then ruling Labour group, so they have a lot to answer for Labour losing control. The guy they let into the new Handsworth Wood Ward they quickly found was as bad as we had been saying he was, so when they told him he couldn’t stand again he promptly decamped to the Tories. So the safest Labour seat in Birmingham had a Tory councillor thanks to Mr Reilly. And he’s still there. Of course he’ll remain there ‘cos New Labour’s got bigger fish to fry. Ian you’re bloody useless, but carry on. I don’t care any longer because I’m out of New Labour.
But oh dear me, Gordon Brown is finding Tony’s legacy the hard way. Perhaps he (Blair) set the time bombs purposely so they’d be going off like unexploded cluster bombs in the Lebanon for some time to come. Nice one Tony.
To witness the scene in parliament yesterday was not to feel pity for Brown and his appointees as some commentators appear to have done, it’s something that is the outcome of the stubborn stupidity that marks out the whole New Labour project.
Alright Labour was never anti-capitalist but its origins were to create a just and inclusive society. New Labour became infatuated with the false god money and forever become entangled with its impossible demands. You name it Northern Rock, privatization of public services, party funding – every project has fallen apart, gone rotten in their hands, and all this could have been avoided. There have been a few moments when I thought that Brown isn’t Blair – his stance on casinos for instance – but together they stand as authors of New Labour. Mandelson keeps popping up as a reminder of the early days which said loud and clear that what New Labour was about was not going to be sustainable. Problem is they never learn.
The campaign in Iowa appears to have been enlivened since Michelle Obama has taken the stage endorsing her husband, Barack. Her way of taking him apart recalling her reaction when they first met. “I mean we had nothing in common. He was born in Hawaii. Who is born in Hawaii?” and “Barack Obama, what kind-a-name is that?”
Iowa is the first state to nominate for the Democrats so it has its own importance, and Barack Obama has faded since is dramatic entry into US politics. The common sentiment is that “America isn’t ready for a black president”. Is it ready for a woman president? Is it ready for any kind of progressive president given the succession of dubious men on the far right?
It seems that Barack Obama has moved up a gear overtaking Hilary Clinton in Iowa. Iowa is the first to vote in the Democratic nominations so has importance to the campaign.
Obama has attacked Clinton on a wide range of issues relating to both domestic and foreign policy and accused her for “thinking like a Republican”. In particular her record of supporting the invasion of Iraq is still an issue.
The problem of one party thinking like another is not peculiar to the U.S. with New Labour attempting to forge ahead with Tory policies on education and crime and punishment. As Ian Johnson, my SLP comrade, pointed out “they’re all driving the same bus”. That’s true of Obama too. His politics are recognisable as more of the same in a number of statements he has made. His views on the “war on terror” are not notably different even if he didn’t back Iraq. He has made comments on Pakistan, for example, where he peddled the same basic thinking.
The general feeling about much effort to offset climate change seems “too little, too late” while we continue to extract and burn fossil fuels. In Guyana the leadership is making a request for help in preserving its rain forest. Elsewhere around the globe timber continues to be a huge commercial operation ignoring any consequences.
Good to see that in Australia the population has exercised its collective muscle and mafe clear the widespread dislike of continuing pollution and war supported by the Conservative government. The US has lost an ally, but what is the UK’s attitude? At the moment the fight is on to see who can be more Tory with Cameron reclaiming the Thatcherite policies for education by promising more academies. These look suspiciously like the CTCs.
I spent a short time on the Management Committee of the Solihull CTC. I liked the fact that it brought in the International Baccalaureate which includes students doing field work projects in addition to academic work. A level diets of unrelieved study is bad for the young and extremely exclusive. The problem is that many schools will continue to struggle on low funding. The primary school where I’m a governor is in a deprived area of Birmingham, Winson Green, in the shadow of the prison. It has acquired a huge deficit, largely due to long term absences. I know we are not alone. The fact that the academies are able to introduce what their funders want on the curriculum is also hugely dangerous. We have seen some academies in the North East introduce creationism. That’s the kind of thinking the Neocons behind Bush display and which Blair seemed to relish.
I attended a public meeting at teh Shaheed Udham Singh Centre in Handsworth last Wednesday 21st Nov 2007 “Pakistan In Crisis”. It demanded an end to the state of emergency,
the release the political prisoners and the reinstatement of the constitution. Speakers were Sukhdev Bhomra, President Birmingham Law Society, Cllr Hassan Ahmed, President Pakistan Peoples Party UK who had just returned from Pakistan, Avtar Jouhl, General Secretary of the Indian Workers Association (GB) and Michael Lavalette, a Preston Respect Councillor. The meeting was chaired by Raghib Ahsan.
The meeting began by congratulating Raghib on his victory in the House of Lords declaration that New Labour was guilty of racism in denying an opportunity to stand for re-election as a Birmingham councillor. Avtar Jouhl then recalled the broad front campaign when the Indian government had declared as state of emergency in 1976 suspending democratic processes. The resulting demonstrations made their point.
Michael Lavalette said that American imperialism under the “war on terror” banner was responsible for the predicament that Pakistan faced. This has followed on from British imperial rule under which Pakistan had been created. He couldn’t see a difference in others contending for power who were similarly linked in with the U.S.
Councillor Ahmed has been on the plane with Benazir Bhutto on her recent return to Pakistan. While he had been handling security up to the arrival, he had handed over responsibility prior to the devastating bombing which had narrowly missed killing her. He disagreed with Michael Lavalette but said that this was a meeting to inform people of the current situation rather than a political rally.
The Pakistan army had always held power in Pakistan, and early on British officers were involved. This is something India had avoided. Throughout its history there had been assassinations of leaders which had never been solved. It was still unclear who was responsible for the attempt on Benazir Bhutto’s life. While the finger was pointed at Al Quaeda it was felt that suspicion could fall elsewhere, including General Musharaf himself.
Sukhdev Bomra described how the Birmingham Law Society stood by the
judiciary in Pakistan who have taken a stand against the imposition of martial law. While Musharaf’s act had been described as a declaration of a state of emergency the constitution had been suspended and the country was under military rule entirely. While lawyers were frequently accused of fleecing the people, in this case they were acting on their behalf.
Those running the Labour Party in the West Midlands have been ducking and diving for years. They were so sure of themselves they ran their appeal against earlier judgement to the House of Lords. M’ Lords have passed judgement today (21/11/2007). The person who has taken them on is Raghib Ahsan. Congratulations Raghib! Justice has been done and seen to be done so the petty officials who have taken the law into their own corrupt hands are exposed. Not that there are likely to be changes. They have presided over postal voting fraud – a case is still pending.
This year the wheeling and dealing continues as the sitting councillor for Handsworth Wood is imposed as a candidate. As last year the Regional Office came up with the offer that if 20% of the eligible membership of the ward wanted a selection then that would happen. The difference this year is that the offer came from the reconstituted Birmingham Labour Party and its secretary Keith Hanson. Yes, but just remember who Keith Hanson is. He’s a West Midlands Labour Party paid official, side kick to Ian Reilly. I have told Mr Reilly he should go before for his incompetence. The loss of 6 councillors at one fell swoop, his role in the selection procedures for the Perry Barr MP when postal voting was an issue. Yes Ian knows how it’s done and he failed to check it when it went for real in the local elections. But he’s still there in his bunker. No one ever sees him, it’s Keith who is the fall guy in the front line!
Still it’s not my problem now, I’m just sorry for old comrades in the Labour Party who choose to continue to endure their officers’ bizarre behaviour promoting the halt, the lame, the no-hopers and worse, the corrupt and crooked.
Raghib hasn’t finished with them yet so watch this space.
As journalism goes this appears informative. The revelation of Iraq “as it is” was something he tried to reveal with the young marine he recorded becoming a national symbol of all that’s good about America under pressure. Now the sequel. There’s so much about the subject but I found I wanted to read this. Not clear why. It’s another example of PTSD, it’s effects on the individual (my question: who wouldn’t suffer from it given the experience if they admitted to being half-human or less). Still it goes on at the behest of Bush, Blair now Brown. The great neo-con lie has taken hold. Image is everything. Miller the Great Warrior has been dismissed from the army. Thanks a bundle. At the Cenotaph ceremony this year severely injured young men wanted to try to dispel the nightmare of their encounters with the unimaginable, their own suffering and loss. Sorry guys you can’t come to the party. There’s a rule see, you’re still a serving soldier. Anyway we don’t want people to see the consequences of what we’re doing for no reason (well you all know the reason). Memories are of the “glorious dead”, continuing empire and world power are our delusions.
from Sundeep Singh, SCYS UK:
More than 200,000 Sikh veterans of World War I and II have been officially recognised by members of the Handsworth community.
The special event was organised by the Sikh Community & Youth Service UK to pay tribute to all the Sikhs involved in world war I and II.
The Sikh Community and Youth Service UK organised the event in Handsworth, Birmingham to coincide with the Sikh-Diwali celebrations.
The ceremony was attended by leading figures from the local Sikh community including,
Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Midlands – Dr Jagjit Singh Taunque MBE DL, Lord Tarsem Singh King, Magistrate – Satnam Singh Poonia (Sikh Parents Association), Cllr Chaman Lal, Cllr Mohinder Singh Tagger, Honorary Alderman – Gurdev Singh Manku, Barrister – Charnjit Singh Jutla, Raghbir Singh Mangat – Akali Dal Party, Former Cllr John Tyrrell – Socialist Labour Party, Mick Archer – Secretary Handsworth Wood Ward Labour Party, Ranjit Singh Randhawa – General Secretary Akali Dal Jalandhar, Bhupinder Singh Reyat, Gurdeep Singh Mann, Harjit Singh, Balbir Singh Dhesi – Former Magistrate, Chan Boparai – Ravidass Gurdwara, Inder Singh Sohal – Dasmesh Sikh Temple, Major Khella, Mrs Virdi, Mrs Matharu, Mrs Khella and Amardeep Kaur. Members of the West Midlands Co-operative society, Members of the West Midlands Labour Party and Members of the Ramgarhia Gurdwara.
Acclaimed poets and singers from the Punjabi Sikh Community also present at the event included, Ranjit Singh Rana – Sahib Magazine, Tarlochan Singh Chan Jandalvi – Poet, Nirmal Singh Khandalwi, Surinder Singh Shinda, Dev Raj Jassal.
Councillor Surinder Kaur Dhesi – Former Mayor of Banbury, Rajinder Singh Pardesi from Ludhiana Punjab – World Reknowned Poet were presented with a plaque by Dal Singh Dhesy Chairman of Sikh Community & Youth Service UK and prominent figure from the Sikh community in recognition of their contribution to the Punjabi-Sikh community.
Sikh Community and Youth Service UK Chairman Dal Singh Dhesy said: “The Sikh contribution and involvement in the war is often overlooked. “This event will serve as an important and poignant reminder to today’s generation of the sacrifice our forefathers made while fighting for Britain. The contribution of over 200,000 Sikh Servicemen in World War 1 and 2 and the various other wars that the Sikh servicemen have served in should be covered in the National curriculum to ensure that the younger generations both Sikh and wider communities are aware of the sacrifices made by the Sikh people”
Sikh Community & Youth Service UK is a ‘one stop’ advice, training and development centre which has been established for over 30 years and been providing specialist support to the local community. The project is presently funded to provide a number of key services linked to employment, housing, welfare, education and health.
No the government are planning to scrap the academies, but questions are being asked. They’ve discovered the not targeting those most in need.
Last night I attended the annual incantation to Birmingham governors on what good things were on offer. Academies were among them. Outside teacher unions had joined forces with an alliance to stop their advance. Inside the assembled governors admitted their unfamiliarity with what was going on. Well there’s The Forum – haven’t you heard about the forum which tells you everything you’ll ever need to know. Deathly hush. Well the chair of the Forum is here to tell you alla about it.
One governor said he been a governor of a prison which had been privatized and now they were trying to claw these back realizing the terrible mistake. Wouldn’t this be the same again? Another sprang to the defence of the “inspiring” words of the Director. “We in Birmingham have to support these magnificent academies”. I don’t think so. Nothing should be accepted uncritically, certainly not from New Labour who continue to privatize even when successive ventures have come to grief. Railways, London Underground, prisons, you name it.
Academies? Well up north a company that has got its hands on some schools has dictated the curriculum and put, yes creationism on the menu. Just what has been going on in the neocon agenda in America responsible for the morass that is Iraq today.