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ROUND AND ABOUT
The success of the January Big Push was reflected in the cheery faces of the lads as they returned to their dugouts after an offensive that took place in temperatures so cold in some places that even the bullshit froze over.
The Geordie first wave set off before dawn on that bright, breezy and invigorating day. Led by KEVIN McHUGH, JOE "le Taxi" COX and ELAINE "Rottweiler" ANDERSON the Benton Park View picket kicked off at 0600 hrs with the In and Out gates covered by a division of labour to keep the LUNITY and 4TM partisans apart. WILLIE SAMUEL, however, arrived to do his duty at 0800 hrs just in time to spot a TV news van lurking near to the site entrance. Given the fact that some of his erstwhile colleagues had been on duty some two hours before his grand entrance, they had no chance of matching Oor Wullies' gazelle like leaps across the site gates to pitch up for the most photogenic spot in front of BBC's finest cameramen.
Subsequent TV shots had McWHO and LE TAXI doing live interviews valiantly explaining the reasons for the dispute. The same shots had the constant face of Oor Wullie trying to look interested whilst not looking star-struck into the camera.
Soon after, KEVIN had the dubious pleasure of seeing one-time 4TM confidante TED EUERS crawling into work. The former ME FIRST leader, tipped to take over from LES PRIESTLEY before he disgraced himself by backing BARRY when the MAD MONK was on holiday, chose to face the wrath of the left rather than the scorn of his old mates on the COX pitch. And JOE, who prefers to be known as BIG FAT GEORDIE BASTARD, had further cause for concern when he spotted a rival taxi firm from his home town of Cramlington delivering scabs onto site.
Back at HQ in Chateau Falconcrest the numbers who did not report for work were put at 200,000 but Management claims the number on strike was only 100,000 because they are not counting those who were on "leave" or those who slipped in sick notes to avoid losing pay. Hoping to minimise their losses they issued no blanket instruction to cancel all leave including all but urgent medical treatment (a routine procedure during the black days of the Thatcher era) nor did they send out the usual "breach of contract" threatening letters that used to precede all walk-outs in the late 70s and 80s.
Now an uneasy calm once again hovers over no mans land as the factions prepare for a blood-bath of their own in the run-up to the national elections. While another Lunity/Democrat victory is a foregone conclusion the betting is on how many seats 4TM can grab and whether the new breakaway SOCIALIST CAUCUS platform can survive as a national front.
It doesn't bode well for the new bloc that is apparently led by LEE ROCK. Though Carcase heavyweight RED BACON has given it some gravitas by deferring his early retirement to run again for the NEC only some 30 followers turned up to the national meeting in January to decide on the slate.
At London's Conway Hall they agreed to set up the "Independent Left" as an umbrella "Small Tent" organisation with the Caucus continuing in its own right within it. They hope to attract some disaffected Independents from the North West and in the long term have their eyes on a further "regroupment" of the left next year. They are also making overtures to the SOCIALIST WANKERS, though the chances of getting the SWP to leave the Grandees Big Tent is remote in the extreme.
The Steering Committee consists of Theresa Raftery, Lee Rock, Steve Lloyd, Gill Whittaker and Annette Wright and they've cobbled together a short list for the NEC while concentrating most of their efforts on trying to overthrow the Grandees on the DWP GEC. Annette Wright will go up against Jane Aitchison. The rest of their slate will be the "usual suspects". Their strategy includes giving limited support to certain LU candidates such as Burke and Hall and they seriously believe that victory is in their sights. CHARLIE McDONALD and his rabble have promised to "soften their image" and refrain from personal attacks (fat chance) by concentrating on policies and both ROCK and CHARLIE have shown remarkable restraint recently in their efforts to be voter-friendly.
But Rock appears to be under a cloud within his miniscule faction known as the CPGB (PCC). In the latest edition of their rag, the Weedy Wanker, the following complaint was made about their coverage of union affairs which:
" does not provide proper coverage of trade union matters, nor does it try to influence unions engaged in concrete struggles. For example, comrade Lee Rock recently wrote an interesting article on the situation in the Public and Commercial Services Union , but it was not developed further to give guidance on how to intervene in active struggles. Comrade Rock himself needs guidance on how to proceed, comrade Downing declared."
Whatever can that mean?
Meanwhile 4TM is hitting rough waters. At the Central London DWP Branch AGM on 16/2/07 , with only 9 members present, ROB BRYSON attempted to put the 4TM GEC & NEC slates through for nomination. Despite his frantic efforts to bully the chair and demanding recounts and revotes he had to settle for just himself being nominated to GEC & NEC!
ROB put forward the 4tm list and there were no others on the Agenda. CHRIS MORAN attacked 4tm as right wing and said he supported the Independent Left but couldn't nominate them as they were "a rabble"! RONNIE ST HILL (MR DISAPPEARING ACT) tried to get the meeting to nominate the LU list but had to be reminded by both Bryson and Moran that he couldn't do this as nominations had closed. The 4tm list was rejected 6 to 3 . An amendment from Chris Moron allowed the meeting to nominate Bryson (only) for the NEC and GEC. Bryson didn't liked this and sulked after the meeting. Laid back RONNIE didn't even get his own nomination in for Branch Chair in time, and he's none too pleased at getting the consolation prize of Branch Organiser.
Such is life.
For January's lobby of Parliament, FALCONCREST, led by our chums Martin BOYLE and John HICKEY, fuelled by brown lemonade, decided to lay on a coach to take HQ agitators all of 5 miles at the members expense. Par for the course, our chums hadn't checked the draconian "virtual ring of steel" to which the BATTLEBUS fell foul: Constable Plod deemed it a mobile demo and refused it access to Parliament Square. Undeterred, our heroes set off on foot, only to have their collars felt by Inspector Plod for daring to use a megaphone within 1 imperial mile of Parliament. Thankfully, Inspector Plod, no doubt swayed by the proffer of the hip flask, gave "words of advice and warning" and allowed our intrepid lobbyists to proceed, sans megaphone. Quite why BIG JAZZA needs a megaphone within a mile of anywhere remains a mystery.
Trahimur omnes laudis studio
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 - 43 BC)
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