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ROUND AND ABOUT
by JUDAS ISCARIOT - January 2009

As the world totters into the biggest slump since 1929 a cold Icelandic wind blows across the front-line reminding us of the shape of things to come …relocation, repossession and recession. All along the front-line the truce is holding but nobody believes we’re going to get anything out of the “deal” that led to the abandonment of the Poppy Day offensive. Nor is there much talk about another Big Push as we huddle around the braziers in our dugouts pinning our hopes on the National Lottery and Premium Bonds to get us out of the financial crisis.

But at Chateau Falconcrest it's business as usual as the Grandees prepare for the national elections and another year of power on the NEC. LEON BAUGH and IAN ALBERT have once again drawn up the list of the chosen few and the usual slate of  “Democracy Alliance” placemen and time-servers they’ve cobbled together will undoubtedly sweep the board again. The SOCIALIST WANKERS have kept their noses clean, more or less, to continue to serve as the loyal leftist opposition within the Big Tent, so they’ve retained their quota. The PCS Democrats remain junior partners on the platform despite the fact that their entire active membership consists solely of those on the “Democracy” slate. 

ALBERT’S bloc has been left in a strong position vis-a-vis the elections. They’ve wound the members up towards strike action (good brownie points with the Grandees), but then got a “deal” through negotiation (thus stealing the 4TM thunder – strike as a very last resort). The deal pushed the problem back to the 200 or so pay negotiating bodies, and since it’s not retrospective, they’ll be talking about pay 2009 which isn’t due yet in most departments.

 In DWP, where ALBERT lives, talks will be scheduled from April, possibly May at which time we’ll be told that the Government is a little bit skint at the moment  and while there is no 2 per cent cap, inflation is well down and, why,  even the Bank of England has reduced the base rate to 1.5 per cent. So be grateful for any crumbs and don’t forget there’s all those unemployed. None of this will happen before the PCS elections, or even before Conference, so LU won’t have to bat away speculative motions on the subject of DUSTY AMROLIWALA (Head of Civil Service HR) saying GUS is talking bollocks and the deal is worthless - which is what he told PROSPECT - Google for it. 

The Grandees have little to fear from 4themembers, the main opposition bloc if you can call it that. The old-time Revenue and Moderati big guns have faded away into the sunset homes apart from MOIRA CAMPBELL leaving all the strategic planning to the dynamic due of HOWARD FULLERSHIT and ROB BRYSON who are clearly playing it for laughs. No-hoper RACHEL BARROWCLOUGH will challenge JANICE for the presidency on the principle that she’s a patron of all lost causes. Her major claim to fame, apart from tap-dancing, is that she’s joined every faction when it was on its last legs starting with the old COMMISSARS and then BL'84 in CPSA. Still, she’s used to losing. BRYSON is heads-up against BOFF for the AGS post and while he hasn’t got a prayer he might, at least, enliven what would otherwise be another boring Grandee shoe-in. JAKE is keeping his powder dry, looking to tilt at the GS election which will be called early next year, before the NEC and GEC elections.

Finally there’s the vocal “left opposition” led by CHARLIE MACDONALD and LEE ROCK. Most of the INDEPENDENT LEFT’S forty-odd members are in DWP and 24 of them are running for the DWP executive. NICK DIAMANTIS frankly admits that he wouldn’t be standing if he thought he would actually be elected as he’s got enough on his plate dealing with Branch and Fraud member's personal cases. Punting Motormouth Charlie as the  National Presidential candidate is somewhat surreal --  unlikely to do any damage to the Left vote, but guaranteed to get under the skin of the Grandees.

Still at least some have got their priorities right. The delightful GLENYS MORRIS (eye candy to the blind) struck the right chord at the  January NEC. In an afternoon where Gaza and Expenses were the main issues discussed, she raised the question of PCS paying for her excess luggage when she is flying…

…and CHRIS FRAUD, the Independent Left guru and Friend of the Ukraine who took his thirty pieces of silver following the Pathfinder dispute to become a “lecturer” (see pfl’s passim) is now in a new Trot group called the Commune which is holding a series of boring forums under the banner of “UNCAPTIVE MINDS”. If any “uncaptive minds” out there are seeking the ultimate cure for insomnia why not creep down to one. The first, on the subject of “resisting the recession” included a report of the impact of the recession on Eastern Europe by a member of the Kiev New Left, Ukraine.  I can’t wait...

This week's postbag:

Dear PFLCPSA

Your website has been drawn to my attention and I wish to make known that my officials will be monitoring its content. Whilst purporting to be a website for PCS members, it is noted that comments are being made about public and government policy issues.

In particular I am advised that the meaning to be attached to a letter I sent to Mark Serwotka of your Union is being queried. Mark and his staff are now addressing meetings around the country trying to explain it.

Could I have made it any clearer? You are not getting anything more than you would otherwise have got. You will be paid what the Government decides is right and that is not much at all.

It is right that we have made statements about public service pay policy which are new; we have made encouraging noises to you about talking about the generality of public service pay. We are pleased you like this, but don't mislead yourselves into thinking this translates into any more money.

It is also true that we confirmed that there wasn't a 2% ceiling, and that was true. The ceiling isn't a percentage, it's simply government public service pay policy, which amounts to the same thing.

Now that we have talked you out of the threat of strike action, we plan to string out pay talks in the various departments at least until the summer. In one of the months this summer that coincides with the petrol price hike last year, RPI inflation is then expected to be less than 0% and we confidently expect to be able to make a generous pay offer of that sort.

As a sign of our generosity, and commitment to progression, only members on the max will be asked to take a pay cut.

And as the sun sets, the bugler plays  the LAST POST over those who have fallen. In the past few weeks we've lost DAVE ROBSON, one of the Mendicant’s NEWCASTLE 8 martyrs (now down to 7), RONNIE St HILL (DWP London Region) and our own LES MORGAN (obit to follow), a veteran PFL agent who will be sadly missed.

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OTHER PAGES

BBC to start shipping forecasts for crowd surfers

Radio 1 and BBC 6 music are to start issuing shipping forecasts aimed at people who plan to crowd surf at gigs. Crowd surfing can be a fun and exhilarating activity when audiences are calm but far too often it can end in tragedy when conditions become stormy and volatile.

From next month regular crowd surfing forecasts will be broadcast on the radio stations to warn gig goers of the dangers of surfing at certain concerts. The broadcasts will be very short and along similar lines to the shipping forecast but it is hoped that it will make many music fans think twice before plunging into what can be at times treacherous conditions.

A test forecast has already been recorded and includes the following useful advice:

Oasis; slight or moderate swearing, danger of having shoes stolen, increasingly rough later. Coldplay; Drizzle then fair, beware middle class people who don’t like crowd surfers, poor becoming good. Morrissey; Rain or wintery showers from crying fanboys, moderate or poor becoming good for a time. AC/DC; Rough or very rough, occasional raining beer, cyclonic guitar solos, moderate to good.

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