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ROUND AND ABOUT THE DWP
Sunning one's self in no-mans land this August one could be forgiven for thinking that the DWP War was over bar the shouting between the GRANDEES and the SOCIALIST CAUCUS in Leeds and London. But while the reps prepare for the ballot on the deal to settle the Jobs, Rights and Services Campaign the winged flight of a rumour not unfamiliar to us is spreading down the trenches: that the DWP Management is continuing to press charges against two reps for non-picket line related incidents (ie non-Caucus) and that if this victimisation is not dropped a new offensive begins next month. (See details later in the communiqué, as it's in chronological order - Barrabas).
The deal, which is, at best, a poor draw, has been endorsed by the DWP GEC as the most that can be obtained at this moment in time, and it was overwhelmingly endorsed by a margin of nearly three to one at a DWP reps meeting in Leeds on 11 th August, despite the best efforts of the CARCASE to derail it.
The CARCASE had called for a mass lobby to support the reps opposed to what they called the GRANDEE"sell-out". All they got was NICK GROVELMANTIS and LEE ROCK (newly the Cockney Voice of Sheffield) standing outside looking somewhat bemused.
The vote, 63 for and 23 against, was never in any doubt. CARCASE top guns who JOHN McINALLY called "the unscrupulous, cynical and dishonest opposition of those sectarian fringes of the movement" poured their venom on the GRANDEES. Somehow the 23 against seemed to speak for much longer than the 63 in support of the GEC, often without even including what was asked for like alternate proposals for action. An SWP woman from Oxford was the worst offender, closely followed by LEE ROCK.
DECLAN POWER demanded double time as he wanted to speak for Lambeth and Southwark as JACKIE DUTTON could not attend. After he had droned on for what seemed far longer than it probably was, Chair JANE AITCHINSON said "You're in Jackie's time now" and put a halt to it.
MARK SERWOTKA strongly rebuked ROCK for claiming that redundancy was not a real threat for DWP workers and for actually quoting Management propaganda claiming the strikes were ineffective and then calling for selective action on 85 per cent strike pay. ROCK'S ego plainly got the better of him, demanding a right of reply to the General Secretary's right of reply which was firmly put down by CHAIRMAN JANE, number two in JANICE'S Petticoat Cabinet.
London's Anti-Carcase Front (DAVE SPAGNOL and HOWARD FULLER) gave out their LONDON LEFT ALLIANCE missives that enraged the CARCASITES but the fun really started at the end of the meeting when the miraculously cured ROCK picked an argument with SERWOTKA at the top table. MAREK politely told him where to go and left ROCK fuming and searching for other victims.
Meanwhile, CARCASE rottweiler LYNN HOWS rushed to confront TOKS AINA about his contribution in the meeting where he made mild criticisms of those who saw race issues as having just propaganda value. After a rant and a hug, TOKS with FULLER now in tow rushed to the rescue of ROB BRYSON who had found himself surrounded by a baying crowd of dwarfish CARCASE members, led by ROCK and HULME.
BRYSON, visibly shaken, was being grilled amongst other things about his non existent membership of the PFL. ROCK then turned his attention to TOKS and FULLER berating them about their general uselessness before dispersing to their pre-planned celebration meeting (booked in the adjacent room) that now took the form of a wake. As they retreated ROCK shouted at people to observe the ultimate crime. SPAGNOL was talking to FULLER, the shame, the shame.
One reason given to members in DWP for settling the Jobs, Rights and Services Campaign is the prospect of re-opening discussions on Employee Relations to seek better industrial relations. Indeed they could hardly be worse.
Top of the agenda is the issue of 100 per cent facility time. Three years ago, almost to the day, DWP Management imposed a rule that most reps must spend at least two thirds of their time on official duties. Nobody could have 100 per cent facility time for more than three years at a stretch. For most of the GRANDEES in DWP their time is up. A three month extension has been granted, but now it all hangs on the dispute being settled. A meeting has already been arranged in keen expectation of a settlement. Unless an act of unparalleled generosity by KEVIN WHITE appears at this meeting it's back to the trenches for JOHN McINALLY, DAVE BURKE, ROB WILLIAMS, LAURA MARTIN, ROD BACON and a raft of others.
Despite this incentive to settle, ROD BACON aided by CHRISTINE HULME sought every possible avenue to get the GEC to reverse its decision on a technicality, suggesting that the dispute should continue if any reps were victimised in any way. Indeed at the reps meeting in Leeds ROD was the principal heckler of MAREK. SERWOTKA once was ROD's protégé and ROD had a look of a man who can't understand how it has all gone horribly wrong.
But what ROD didn't realise was that SERWOTKA hasn't forgotten DARREN SMITH or KATE BILES and if Management doesn't drop charges then the ballot is off and further action will be called.
An emergency GEC has been scheduled for next Friday (25th) with the intention of reversing the previous recommendation to settle. It was anticipated that MARK would receive news by Friday 18 th that management had dropped disciplinary action, but no such assurance had been received.
Some ballot papers have already gone out with the original recommendations (I've got one - Barrabas). There is an urgent message on the PCS website urging members NOT to use the papers yet. This type of cock-up and thinking in chimneys is par for the course now at HQ with one hand acting independently of the other and communications in utter chaos. But enough metaphors - the whole thing is in danger of going tits up unless someone gets a grip (is Janice on her hols, by any chance?).
Management are tying themselves in knots. They originally tried to get the pair for leaking sensitive information to MPs. The 2 MPs were furious enough to threaten them with raising in Parliament the right of a Civil Servant to consult his MP. Now they're going for bringing the Civil Service into disrepute after some of the documents seized from their desks and computers may appear to suggest that the Chief Operating Officer of Jobcentreplus and the Minister had lied to the Commons Select Committee over the CMS v1 & 2 fiasco. To remind you, the Select Committee was told that there had been some teething problems early in the programme, but everything was hunky dory now.
The CMS system (currently on version 4.x) remains one of the worst examples of a computer programme paid for by job cuts that actually creates extra work, often clerical. This adds unnecessary delay, so the frustrated punter comes into the local office to demand his dosh, to be met by an equally frustrated clerk unable to locate his details on the system because it's lost them, or the system's down. "Computer says.No" is a reality at your local Jobcentre.
Back in London on 18 th the Caucus easily held the London Regional Committee in elections fiercely contested by the new LONDON LEFT ALLIANCE, that the CARCASE dismiss as an unholy alliance between the Grandees, in the voluminous shape of DAVE SPAGNOL, and HOWARD FULLER, 4theMembers only minion in the whole of London DWP. JACKIE DUTTON in the chair was in no mood to brook discontent. She had opened the meeting after welcoming everyone (25) and advised that it was her birthday (38) and she had a bellyache. FULLERCRAP had given her a Doctor Who speaking birthday card with a DALEK on it intoning "EXTERMINATE" which she threatened to deploy.
The anticipated bloodbath failed to materialise, although BRYSON and DIAMANTIS fenced with each other with some acrimony over divvying up facility time. Happily this was not driven by sectarianism but greed, so everyone was able to enjoy the entertainment without having to take sides. The meeting lined up behind OLD NICK, much to the chagrin of ROB who flounced off saying he was going to ask for a presidential ruling. NICK's parting shot was "That's, right! Go crying to mummy Jane!". TOKS also got animated about something or other but that turned out to be a misunderstanding as he was a late joiner to the debate and had missed an earlier explanation.
The LONDON LEFT ALLIANCE, which includes ROB BRYSON, consoled themselves with the fact that they got a third of the branch vote in just 8 weeks and they've vowed to fight again next year. All agreed that the highlight of the campaign was the CARCASE response on hearing of the challenge. NEIL BRONKHORST, another failed ALLIANCE candidate described it as like driving through the monkey enclosure at LONGLEAT - you remain perfectly safe but the little buggers will try to tear off your windscreen wipers and poo on your roof. CHRIS HULME'S 8 page rant is still on their website entitled "In bed with the Moderates" http://www.pcssocialistcaucus.org.uk/. Take a look. It's pure REAMSBOTTOM "Trounce The Trots" in reverse with appropriate name changes. I wonder if BARRY has joined the AWL as a political advisor.
The CARCASE had planned to get SPAGGERS and BRYSON expelled from LEFT UNITY for running against the official LONDON LEFT UNITY slate when the BIG TENT holds its AGM at the end of the year. But they've already been snookered by the GRANDEES, who have decided to disband LONDON LEFT UNITY and re-organise it in more manageable chunks.
CHRISTINE HULME was furious to receive this news last Thursday evening (17 th) by text message. The GRANDEES are certainly embracing the corporate ideology of sacking people by SMS!
While this is a big setback, it will not necessarily cut the CARCASE down to size. It will make it easier for the Alliance to make inroads in the CAUCUS heartland, and it will, of course, rule out any move against SPAGGERS (a former Mendicant now in the Socialist Party) or BRYSON (who recently resigned from the SWP).
Watch out for the sectarian blood bath in December!
The most effective antidote for the poison of self-alienation is self-laughter.
New government terror threat levels leaked
The government is to publish details of the current threat level from terrorists, the Home Secretary has announced. In contrast to the American system's use of colours ranging from green to red, the UK system will use swear words to describe how serious the threat is - something which it is believed John Reid specifically suggested.
The lowest threat level. The security services have no evidence of a planned or imminent attack, but that doesn't mean there won't be one. In fact, there probably will be one.
The security services are pretty certain there is going to be an attack in the near future, but they don't know what, where or when.
Up shit creek
The security services know either what, where or when there will be an attack, but not all three or how.
The security services know everything about an attack but can't stop it, or John Prescott has been left in charge of the country while Tony Blair is away.
FUBARSomething's definitely happening. We might not know what, but it's big and it's bad.
Government advice: It's too late.
Government action: Spread disinformation. Blame the Tories. Pick a Country We Don't LikeT at random and invade it with what's left of the army cadets and traffic wardens. Ignore requests for an inquiry. Don't change anything and wait for the next attack. Ask Lord Hutton to blame the BBC.
Osama bin Laden was unavailable for comment.