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ROUND AND ABOUT
by Judas Iscariot - October 2013

In autumn rainfall turned the battlefields and low-lying trenches into mud baths. In some parts the water reached waist height. This could cause 'trench foot' where the feet would swell and in some cases turn gangrenous and need amputating.

Our Indian summer is over and now the leaves are falling all over the trenches. But what a summer it has been. War with Syria averted, blocked by Labour, Respect, the nationalists and nifty work by a trench-load of Eurosceptic Tories determined to put the knife into Cameron come what may. Fiery talk at TUC in Bournemouth in September over Miliband's plans to end the old "opt out" union affiliation fee and with a whole load of former Mendicants stepping in to cover for our great and glorious leader who was in hospital having his pace-maker replaced and the troops, once again, being put on stand-by for another Big Push, which will probably never take place unless we unwisely tack ourselves on to the Teachers. Consultation with PCS branches about further action dragged on throughout the summer and the NEC is due to meet on 22 nd October in a forlorn attempt to resuscitate the dispute which has remained comatose since last March.

Ed Miliband's constitutional reforms are, of course, of no direct relevance to PCS which is not an affiliate of the Labour Party. But they are important to the gaggle of gravy-trainers at Falconcrest who still live in hope of a Unite take-over that will guarantee their vast incomes and juicy pension packages for ever. But while some middle-ranking Unite officials are still talking about PCS falling like a rotten apple into their clutches the only take-over LEN McCLUSKEY is now focusing on is that of the Parliamentary Labour Party after the new structures are voted in next spring.

Despite the rants of the DAILY MAIL, which got its fingers burnt when in trying to smear RED ED's late father, there's nothing new in what McCLUSKEY is trying to do. It's, in fact, only a continuation of the old TGWU strategy on which LEN cut his teeth while he was climbing up the ladder in the T&G hierarchy.

Whether PCS is a "rotten apple" is a matter of opinion and even if it is, the union is not going anywhere in the near future. Little can be done to reduce the financial black-hole we're in as it's largely due the need to underwrite the full-time officers' pension schemes and partly because we are still in the biggest slump since the end of the Second World War. Cuts in the staff services at Falconcrest and a cut-price makeover of the Victoria building for a short lease to a charity will go some way to reducing the burden. But PCS remains a merger albatross until the next property boom - and when and if that comes PCS will have no need to look for bigger suitors as it will be able to mortgage itself out of trouble until the bubble bursts again. Meanwhile speculation grows about the succession following MARK SERWOTKA'S latest heart scare. LEON BAUGH is well placed but he's been off sick as well.

While Unite moves forward on its insane plan to take over the entire labour movement and Unison sits on its hands waiting for hand-outs from the next Labour government the only action on the public sector front has come from the teachers who shut thousands of schools in England and Wales in one day protest strike in October over pensions, pay and jobs.

PCS may not have missed the boat but they're certainly losing the plot if the last BIS members pay meeting is anything to go by.

The meeting was set for 1pm - 2pm with facility time granted of one hour. MARION LLOYD, the BIS Group President turned up late, to an over-packed conference room too small to swing a cat, on the Ministers floor in 1 Victoria Street. Members lined up the wall of the room and out of the door spilling into the foyer.... so clearly well organised as always.

MARION explained that this year's pay award was aimed at bringing into line the two pay scales from the ex-DIUS and BIS where staff transferred from DIUS into BIS, had been enjoying a much higher pay scale than existing BIS staff for a number of years, causing great frustration and anger to existing BIS staff. However, they were going to give BIS staff the choice of whether to join the "New BIS" pay-scale or whether to keep their contractual rights. The difference being that BIS has "annual increments" which is their contractual right, and the new BIS pay scale doesn't, (no surprises there!) however the maximum is higher and the minimum starting point is higher.

The "sweetie" being that all BIS staff going over to the new pay scale get not only two consolidated steps, but also a non-consolidated Bonus of the equivalent of 4 steps being equal to in many cases over £1,500...but only if staff accepted it this year. Staff who decided to stay on the old BIS pay scale would just get the flat cap of 1 per cent. MARION said everyone would have to make up their own mind what they wanted to do.

The room was so hot and overcrowded that members were beginning to leave even before a vote had been taken. A well-known TROT ploy to get the vote result they want. Come 2pm half the members had departed. Conscious of the 1 hour facility time, and no vote yet taken on the proposal. JOHN WARD, a RAMSBLADDER gofer in the good old days, called for a "Point of Order" stating that because of the time and members keen to leave, we "Moved to the Vote".

To his utter amazement Madame LLOYD just glared and interestingly said that she didn't know who WARD was despite the fact that they had been bitter rivals on the NEC some 10 years ago. She then accused WARD of being "aggressive" to which he replied perhaps members should see them at National Conference then!

She then completely ignored the call to "move to the vote" and took yet more questions for a further 5 minutes before calling a vote... Finally the vote was passed, which gave members the option whether to move onto the new pay scale or remain on their previous contractual terms.

Meanwhile in the Revenue and Customs group the VOAC stumbles along under the leadership of KEVIN WILLIAMS, the successor to GWENDA BINKS. WILLIAMS is very much following in her footsteps and is starting to get regarded by some of the PCS membership in the VALUATION OFFICE as big a chocolate teapot as BINKS was.

Recently VOA management announced massive downgrading which will see nearly 50 per cent of the PCS membership in the VOA go on to mark time pay. This was greeted by unprecedented spontaneous walkouts in some offices. What was the PCS HMRC VOAC response? Well, disappointingly no plan for industrial action. A rather mealy-mouthed response was issued which stated "Whilst PCS recognises that many members will take a positive view in respect of the long-overdue increases to pay rates, it is our view that there is no justification for the proposal to downgrade staff"

Worse still despite determined opposition from the activista in VOAC, the VOAC decided to go ahead with an utterly crass plan to invite senior VOA management to the PCS Valuation Vocational Forum. This got arch right-wing fishwife JEANNETTE BROOKE fired up. She stated that in the days of the old Inland Revenue Staff Federation management were invited all the time to conferences and that they had "better industrial relations" in those days. Sadly for Mme BROOKE the days of slap up lunches of gourmet food and drink in the Carey Street boardroom are gone forever .

"It's good to trust others but, not to do so is much better."

Benito Mussolini
1883-1945


OTHER NEWS
by AMPHIBALUS

British Gas ‘winning’ energy price increase race with 9.2% rise

British Gas surged into a comfortable lead in the race to raise energy prices by as much as possible after announcing a 9.2% increase today. This easily beat the early pace-setters SSE, who last week announced a paltry 8.2% rise in prices.

The company said that it 'understands the frustration' of prices rising faster than incomes but 'basically doesn’t give a shit, because we want to make more money'.

'I know these are difficult times for many customers but SSE started it, not us, and if you think that we were going to miss an opportunity like this then you are clearly some kind of moron.' said Ian Peters, managing director of British Gas Residential Energy.

While no official price-fixing takes place between energy companies, because that would be illegal, any one of the main suppliers can increase their prices at any time safe in the knowledge that the others will follow suit almost immediately, panic-stricken at the thought of missing out on extra profit.

'Increasing costs, increased demand, government levies, outside of our control, blah blah blah.' continued Mr Peters, 'You know what? You’re not really listening because you don’t believe a word I say, I’m lying through my teeth anyway, so let’s just say this; we’re putting prices up. Ok? Deal with it. And be thankful that it’s not by more. Although we will of course revise our figure upwards if anybody else increases their prices by more. We’ll probably mumble something about ‘further, unforeseen cost increases’ as we do it if that helps.'

British Gas are the UK’s biggest energy supplier and said in May that a profit boost would be used 'to effectively hold prices for as long as possible'.

'We did say that, but that was in May. That’s five months ago. That’s ‘as long as possible’.' explained Mr Peters, 'Have you ever smoked? You know when you decide to quit but then you go out with some friends and they’re all smoking, you can’t resist can you? You have to just have one cigarette. Well that’s what this is like. We promise to freeze prices from now until the next time we announce an increase though.'

Labour leader, Ed Miliband, responded to the news by saying 'Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! I said I’d freeze energy prices if elected. I did say that, it’s just that nobody was listening because I don’t realistically have the power to do that. Well I will. So vote for me.'
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Daily Mail and Guardian to merge

In a move that has surprised media experts, the Daily Mail and the Guardian are to join forces to create the Guardian Mail, a new paper that combines both moral outrage AND hummus recipes.

In their first edition they have an exclusive scoop about how Romanian immigrants are coming over here and bringing with them delicious new cuisine, how Brussels bureaucrats are forcing everyone to do mindfulness yoga, plus leaked photos from the NSA revealing that Edward Snowden may be suffering from cellulite.

The Mail’s ‘sidebar of shame’ will stay, although it will mainly consist of social workers in bikinis complaining about negative body stereotyping. Meanwhile, the Guardian’s dating site, Guardian Soulmates, will be updated to include a new influx of Mail readers looking for love but with an underlying sense of bitterness and fear.

The paper will be jointly edited by Alan Rusbridger and Paul Dacre who will combine their liberal and conservative values into every story. Editorial disagreements will be resolved by them wrestling naked in front of a circle of cheering journalists until one of them submits.

‘The Guardian Mail shows that press self-regulation can work,’ said Dacre. ‘Every time I produce a malicious hatchet job about someone’s dead dad, Alan comes along and makes it nice, fluffy and socially aware.’

Mail and Guardian columnists will also unite into one holistic whole. In future, Richard Littlejohn and Polly Toynbee will co-edit all their pieces to produce rabid, hateful polemics about the need for greater social justice, while Quentin Letts’ smug, smart-arsed sniping will be counter-balanced by a po-faced George Monbiot warning of imminent ecological disaster. Also, in a decision to be welcomed by all, Mail columnist Jan Moir will will be sent to South America to do a feature on peasant farming in Bolivia, and then completely forgotten about.

The first edition of The Guardian Mail will be published tomorrow and will include a free ‘Illegal Immigrant Wallchart: ‘How to identify them, where they might be hiding and why they might have some interesting cultural lessons to teach us.’

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Norwegian Terrorists are ‘the scariest of all’

Exhaustive studies, coupled with an allergic reaction to pickled herring, have enabled the world’s Press to conclude that there is nothing more chilling than a gun wielding maniac who can hum A-ha’s entire back catalogue. When not curing fish with detergent or showing Edward Munch their ‘happy face’, most Western Scandinavians are killers waiting to pounce.

A representative from INTERPOL said: ‘The evidence is clear, first Adam Lanza and now Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow. There’s only so much prosperity, universal health care and Ibsen you can take before going postal. As we know, acts of terrorism are nothing to do with an unscrupulous arms industry, poverty or a radicalized youth; its root cause is too much reindeer meat.’

As one BBC reporter explained: ‘It seems perfectly reasonable to conclude that 2 terrorists out of a population of 5,051,300 is an epidemic. And the nice thing about Norwegians is you can be as racist about them as you like and no one notices...which is why we recommend Roy Hodgson stick to motivational jokes involving three guys from Oslo.’

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Heroin to be ‘one of your five-a-day’, if Scots vote for independence

A vote for Scottish independence, in next year’s referendum, would bring many benefits, according to the deputy first minister of the Scottish National Party. Nicola Sturgeon vowed to lower energy bills, maximise oil revenue and re-classify deep-fried heroin as “one of your five-a-day”. “Broccoli”, she promised the bon viveurs of Cumbernault, “will have no place in an independent Scotland”

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Sudoku puzzle on husband's gravestone must be made trickier, grieving widow told

Angela Robinson, from Chester, has been ordered to make the Sudoku puzzle she had inscribed on her husband’s grave much more difficult. The puzzle, which is said to be ‘beginner to intermediate’ in difficulty, is said to have be okayed by the council, but when the local parish noticed it, there was uproar at the sheer simplicity.

“It’s just too easy” parish councillor Sue Rowlandson said, “I mean, what it is even supposed to express? That he was terrible at Sudoku? That his math’s was boarder-line remedial? I must say it seems in inappropriate and reflects poorly on Sudoku skills of other people buried here!”

She went on to complain that any family members who visited the grave would have cracked the puzzle within minutes, “and what are they supposed to do then? Humpf.”

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Verruca now more popular than vajazzle , say vashionistas.

Body adorners are flocking to acquire the newest retro feature – the verruca. Once associated with shallow pools of municipal disinfectant in chilly swimming baths, the new version verucca is more likely to be seen poolside in Bel Air or St Tropez. Among those “wearing the wart”, which is insider slang for having a new verruca, are Benedict Cumberbatch, Myley Cyrus, Jack Nicholson, Scarlett Johannsen and even Hazel Blears.

“I got mine on a whim,” Daniel Radcliffe wrote in Hogwarts, his new column for FHM magazine. “I saw it advertised in a magazine in LA and thought, I have to have one.” Rhianna has gone one better, with matching verrucas on both feet. “To be accurate, the plural is veruccae,” said Stephen Fry at an awards ceremony in New York. “I haven’t got a new one, but I have kept three from my time at Public School, and they will all go to auction for charity.”

Caitlin Moran remembers being forced as a teenager to go swimming in the early eighties, edging her way round the perimeter of council disinfectant, slipping and twisting her ankle and ending up having her temperature taken anally by a “rogue” school nurse. “I ended up with a fantastic verruca which I’d have to pay thousands for today, as well as an insight into the kind of abuse I plan to incorporate in my new novel,” she told the three readers behind the Times pay wall.

“The ultimate designer verruca will cost over $10,000”, said Luigi Versace, a junior member of the fashion dynasty that has propelled verruca plantaris (to give it its proper name) into the limelight. The Versacciuca® can be shaped into a flower, a heart, a star or a small vegetable marrow, and can be freeze dried and transplanted to the forehead or nose.

“People are now flocking to have their labial studs, tattoos, penile rings, botox bottoms and cranial axes removed,” said Jeremy Smith of Body Art magazine. “We’re saying arrivederci vajazzle in our hundreds as the verruca goes viral, and finally finds its feet among those who really know about fashion.”

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On other pages

"Muslim Free School Derby misled me" claims EDL parent

New series of 'Educating Yorkshire' to be sponsored by Benson & Hedges

Duke of Edinburgh "Losing his touch" after meeting with Malala goes well

Hedgehogs - why don't they share?