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Round & About
Everybody is cleaning their rifles ready for the Big Push at the end of the month and feedback from around the country is good.except in the remoter parts of Wales. A lunch-time meeting in late November organised by STEVE LAZENBY (HMRC/PCS South West Wales) could only muster some 25 members out of a potential 12,000-plus in Swansea despite the added attraction of two Welsh Assembly members who turned up to give moral support. The Wales FTO and LU attendees from DWP said let's not be disheartened as the fight begins now, while the rest crept down to the pub as was expected.
It seems BIG JOHN McINALLY has been found not guilty of misconduct on the picket line during the 2006 strikes despite being represented by the totally useless DAVE RICHARDS. However since his other option was STEVE (How to lose an Employment Tribunal) LLOYD, he can be thankful.
And apparently the BIG MAC himself was incensed at SUE CATTENS contribution at the London Reps meeting where he had to deny that her branch has had five strike submissions rejected by the NDC. STEVE LLOYD not wanting to be left out is also rampaging around Sheffield making similar claims to anyone sober enough to listen. If the CAUCUS stand against the Grandees there will be no road back to the main circus in town.
All is not well in the DWP. The thorny problem of the vacant Treasurer post (call up or new election) has been overcome by simply appointing former Treasurer ALISON CARASS to the post. Poor ALISON is moaning to any one who will listen that she is not getting one minute more facility time to do the extra work. She could make a start though by cracking down on "expenses" like those of STEVE LLOYD, a man with little in the way of GEC responsibilities who submitted a £60 mobile phone bill for a period of a month
Nor is it harmony and light in HMRC. Both the 4TM and LUNITY biggies are spending as much time trying to weld the troublesome personalities that dominated the two sections of the amalgamated section as they are fighting each other. The Revenue Grandees are pretty miffed with their old Customs comrades. McFADDEN, STEVE ION and SIMON BONIFACE (all ex C&E) are turning up to HMRC LU meetings and basically dominating proceedings by talking at great length until their comrades just give up the will to live. This also seems to be ION and BONIFACE's chosen method at HMRC GEC meetings as well.
Ambitious LUNITY star RYAN wants to get on the NEC and thinks that winning the group presidency will help him on his way. The only obstacle is that the post is held by MR BEAN who is still of some use to the Revenue Grandees.
PRICE on the other hand has already achieved more than he ever thought he would and he was surprised to get Assistant Secretary. Price famously said, but hates to be reminded of it, that 'he wouldn't take Compliance as it was a heart attack waiting to happen'.
This is because his role back at the bench is in Compliance, but Compliance members are notoriously hard to please but always turn out the vote.
Price had spent the whole of 2005 trying to undermine DAVE MATTHEWS as Compliance AS, and following his election, and Dave's defeat, Dave approached him at Conference expecting him to take on the subject to which he replied 'no chance, that's a heart attack waiting to happen' thus turning his back on his own Compliance colleagues and handing it over to MARTIN MENEAR (ex C&E, non aligned) who is making a complete mess of a subject he knows nothing about. He faces certain defeat this year if he stands - which is also in doubt.
Rumour has it that GEOFF LEWTAS is in line to take over from FRANK CAMPBELL as the SNO for HMRC. This has been further compounded by the bad management of IAN LAWRENCE who left HMRC HQ last month only for CAMPBELL to temporarily hand over the job to MARK LEOPARD, HMRC Assistant Sec and LU non-entity, without any kind of application process. Some say Frank has done this to get at the Grandees as LEOPARD is pretty useless and has been applying for loads of PCS jobs unsuccessfully.
FRANK has also angered those in opposition to LU as Leopard's position as AS will become free allowing BIFFA BRYANT a comeback as runner up. To rub even more salt in the wounds Campbell was the one who ran Priestley's failed bid for National Prez and he HATES Bryant.
And there's some unhappy bunnies in DTI. It's taken the General Secretary over 6 months to reply to an election query concerning two right wing candidates that were put in the wrong category (Executive instead of Admin) on the election material including the ballot forms. Though MAREK concedes a mistake has been made and he's apologised for the delay due partly because legal advise was sought he was not prepared to spend £8,000 on a re-run on the grounds of cost and because the mistake would not have affected the outcome of the poll although conveniently given the length of time taken to reply it's far too late now anyway. What the right find most galling is that when a similar mistake occurred in 2003, with just one on the left slate, a re-run was ordered, without seeking legal advice.
ab uno disce omnes
A DVD containing previously unseen footage of Saddam's execution will be given away for free with every copy of tomorrow's Sun. The DVD includes behind the scenes video of the former leader's final moments, as well as interviews with the hangman himself and possible future dictator Muqtada al-Sadr. There is also a chance to win the actual noose which was used, complete with bone fragments and blood stains. A bonus disc contains a rap written by inventive Sun journalists entitled "G-G-Go to Hell", which contains real sounds from the death room, with the crack of Saddam's neck breaking played on a continual loop in the background.
Meanwhile Thomas Cook are arranging package holidays to the actual site of the execution and offering people the chance to "be the hangman" by pulling the lever to open the trapdoor beneath a plastic Saddam dummy. The travel operator's founder, Mr Thomas Cook, has already tried it out for himself; "it's a fantastic experience; the dummy is so life-like, you really feel like you are hanging an actual man".
Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights organisation Liberty, has launched an attack on The Sun's DVD offer and has called Saddam's hanging "an appalling act representing everything the Western world claims to stand against". The Sun responded by claiming Chakrabarti was a treacherous asylum-seeking lefty paedophile prostitute who wasn't supporting Our Troops enough. "Send her to Guantanamo" read The Sun's editorial.
Saddam's hanging has broken all internet records across the civilised world and become the most watched video in history, even managing to appear on YouTube two hours before the execution had taken place.