Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Welfare Cuts Tsunami Arrives

To the accompaniment of criticism from the churches, disability groups, charities, voluntary organisations, political parties outside the coalition and decent fair minded folk everywhere, the Government's welfare cuts regime is upon us - arriving at the same time as the implementation of the "NHS dismemberment legislation" and attacks on legal aid.

The welfare cuts include the hated bedroom tax which will face many low income families with the choice of going without or moving (perhaps away from friends, family, jobs, schools etc) into more expensive private sector accommodation (that will also raise rather than decrease the government's required expenditure - so will not succeed even on those terms, though perhaps one government aim is to further enrich their friends in the Rachmanite community).  There simply is not enough smaller property available in the Social Housing Sector to accommodate all those affected that are being expected to move. This will cause widespread hardship and anguish.

At the same time there is a 1% cap being put on increases in benefits which will reduce the income of poorer people in real terms.

This is not to be confused with the cap in overall benefits which is encountering problems in roll out through pilot areas but the government is still determined to bring in.

There is also the farming out of Council Tax Benefit payments to Councils with a cut in their funding which will lead to people who have never had to pay Council Tax before having to fork out large sums from limited and fixed or decreasing (see above!) incomes.

There is also the moving of many disabled people from DLA into the new PIP regime, again likely to cause disruption and potential hardship. (Not to mention the ongoing war on the disabled being conducted by ATOS and their ilk.)

Taken as a whole this is a wide ranging and multi-faceted, disgusting attack on the most vulnerable in our society and should be opposed - it is all the more sickening when coming from a government of Millionaires, most of whom have never had to suffer any kind of deprivation.

Councils must be encouraged to follow the lead of those Green, SNP and (few) Labour councils that have said that they will not evict tenants who fall into arrears as a result of the Bedroom Tax.  Local campaigns must be built to resist bailiffs and fight people's corners.  The hypocrisy of the well heeled,  expenses- claiming, generously pensioned, extravagantly paid and often multiple job holding political classes must be exposed.

The People's Assembly Against Austerity gives an opportunity for uniting much of the rising tide of opposition to the Coalition's policies and both the local and National events should be supported and built.

The local elections in May will give an early opportunity to show the Coalition parties the contempt that millions of ordinary people now hold them in.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

This blog supports Scottish Independence!

This blog supports Scottish Independence!
A long haul to the vote, (Now scheduled for 18th September 2014) but the Scottish Greens are formally involved in the YES Campaign
A website is also set up to rally supporters of Scottish independence in England - Yes England.
There is also a Facebook Page for both these campaigns.

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Action For Rail Day of Action

Action on Wednesday 27th March :
Action for Rail campaigners will be meeting passengers at stations around the UK, to put the case against cutting vital staff roles at stations, on trains, and in maintenance and safety. Please join us at your local station on the day.

Its so important to get out there and let hard-pressed passengers know that we are there to speak up for an affordable, people-centred rail service that puts passengers before train company profits.
We will be handing out postcards to passengers, that they can send to their MP, demanding better services.

Find an event near you

In addition to this, there will also be strike action on Wednesday by workers employed by Churchills on the Arriva Trains Wales contract.

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Sunday, March 03, 2013

Brighton and Hove Green Party Draw Welcome Red Lines

Encouraging news from Brighton, where the local Green Party have passed a number of resolutions to guide their councillors in ongoing negotiations with staff, including this one:

*The Brighton and Hove Green Party wishes to make clear that under no
circumstances whatsoever will it agree with or support dismissing and
rehiring staff, who on the advice of their union negotiators, reject new
pay and conditions unilaterally imposed on staff by the Council
management side. The party therefore asks the Green Group to make it
unequivocally clear to the CE and other officers leading the
negotiations on "Pay Modernisation" that both the activation and/or the
threat of the activation to dismiss/rehire is completely unacceptable,
and should this  nevertheless proceed the party will publicly dissociate
itself from such an action and will actively campaign against it.

This is in relation to the argument over the ongoing "revenue neutral" pay modernisation negotiations in Brighton which had the potential to be very difficult, as "Single Status" agreements have been for many Labour Councils and Labour linked unions around the country.

It is very important that local Green Parties maintain strict scrutiny and regular contact with their elected Councillors to guard against the temptations and incentives to "go native" in the Council chamber.  The Green Party in England And Wales has a very good policy platform, and now, following last conference, a good Philosophical Basis statement favouring social justice.  Members should not allow the desires of individuals to appear "pragmatic" or "reasonable" to establishment politicians and media to damage our public image as a party firmly on the side of workers and their families.

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