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ROUND AND ABOUT
by Judas Iscariot - Late February 2002

The Pathfinders are fighting on in a bitter war of attrition. Behind the lines the generals in Falconcrest argue amongst themselves over tactics and strategy. But all would have breathed a sigh of relief at the DWP vote in favour of a work-to-rule and overtime ban and all of them are working for the success of the March offensive…with one exception.

Back in his bunker, STUART CURRIE, the "Leader" of the Moderate Group, is bitterly disappointed. His efforts, or rather those of his minions as FATTY'S are usually confined to the dinner table, have been to try and get the dispute called off, starting with an unconditional surrender motion defeated on the NEC last week by 16 to 14 (full-line Moderati whip versus everyone else). This was rapidly followed by a propaganda campaign on his mediocre web site calling for a sell-out and blaming the dispute largely on the Me Fisters and the Trots - they certainly get more mention than Management in his ravings.

BUNTER, of course, doesn't give a toss about the Pathfinder workers one way or the other. What FATMAN does care about is winning the NEC elections and he has correctly seen that the 65,000 votes in the DWP are the key to victory. What he hasn't realised, never being well-endowed with the old grey matter, is that this is seen by everyone else including Madame GODRICH, Lord UNDY and MAREK SERWOTKA himself.

BUNTER has staked all his chips on the mythical scab vote in DWP. Whether the Moderati will even keep their traditional share in the new department is now arguable. The UNDERLINGS are cock-a-hoop. ME FIRST never had much of a presence amongst the lower castes in the old BA and DE offices. Now they've got a good chance of picking up the very real Pathfinder vote - from members who have backed the Moderates in the past. Many of them have been sickened by the FAT OWL'S attempts to undermine the action but few are prepared to swing the other way and throw their lot into the LUNITY camp.

The UNDYMEN are playing a cool hand wooing the left by supporting the action though still calling for it to be scaled down to keep the support of the indifferent high-castes and the troops serving well away from the front-line. They'll support largely symbolic work-to-rules and overtime bans and they'll go along with protest actions but they are wary of the tradition war of attrition tactics favoured by the old BA veterans because it's a very long haul indeed that way.

LUNITY, the CAUCUS and the distinct SOCIALIST WANKERS brigade are also pleased, as they all believe they can only improve on their share of the vote when it comes to election time. Unfortunately, they too cannot agree amongst themselves on how to proceed beyond the next two-day offensive. As for UNITY, the secretive group of mainly high-caste former communists, nobody knows, though they will probably endorse whatever Me First propose. The Communist Party of Britain (CPB) Civil Service Advisory (their secret committee) met on 20th February in a seedy bar called the Lucas Arms, Grays Inn Road, London, so we will soon know.

The SWP's universal demand for an all-out strike or NOTHING has few takers beyond their own infantile ranks. But there are very serious disagreements over tactics amongst the big-guns of the left largely reflecting the departments they come from and their own past experience - which has equally largely been that of past defeats. This is clearly encouraging to a Management, which long ago determined to fight a war of attrition of its own. Buoyed by BUNTER'S NEC manoeuvres they clearly will not budge until after the May elections unless equal or greater steadfastness is shown by the members in dispute.

The NEC meets on Wednesday 27th February and will be lobbied to support the line hammered out at a packed Pathfinder Reps meeting held in Leeds on 23rd February.

At the end of the Pathfinder Reps meeting an indicative show of hands was taken on the main questions that came out of the debate:

  • Should we accept the Peterborough proposals? [Unanimously rejected]
  • Should we ballot on the Peterborough proposals? [Overwhelmingly rejected]
  • Should the Pathfinders remain on strike? [Overwhelmingly supported]
  • Should we suspend the national strike action? [Overwhelmingly rejected]
  • Should we move to regional strikes? [Close vote, approx 50-50]
  • Should we continue the national 2-day strikes? [Close vote, approx 50-50]
  • Should the NEC start a national levy? [Overwhelmingly supported]

The Peterborough proposals are the notorious "No screens for you" proposals put forward by Leigh Lewis last October.

It will be intriguing to see how the two Dinosaur factions align themselves on the NEC to jockey for votes in the upcoming NEC elections, given that the GREYFRIARS OPTION of all-out or call it off does not appear to curry much favour with the horny handed clerks except a small handful of SWPers, BUNTERLADIES and others equally stupid. Expect to be balloted again soon - if it then goes pear-shaped, the members and local reps can take the blame.

Back at Falconcrest command the rumble of the guns is scarcely heard and the only HQ casualty so far has been HANSON, who has been relieved of his duties in charge of communications - though he is still unaware of it. A barrage of protests over the lack of communications from communications - it takes over five days to get even an urgent circular out - has led to a reshuffle. Unfortunately, he's been replaced by the equally useless SKIPPY so its SNAFU* again.

Keen-eyed couch potatoes will have recognised THE WEAKEST LINK 9/1/02 contestant, "Ricky, 43, currently unemployed" as none other than former ODA CPSA activist and one-time BL'84 stooge RICKY ESTWICK. Though renowned for his natural wit and brilliant mimicry - DE Conference veterans recall how the Jamaican-English RICARDO had them convinced for a whole Conference that he was born and bred in the GORBALS - we regret to report that RICKY's funniest moment with ANNE ROBINSON -

ANNE: "Ricky, have you always been that good-looking"?;
RICKY:"Are you trying to seduce me, MRS ROBINSON?"

- was scripted.

*ask your Grandpa