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ROUND AND ABOUT
BY JUDAS ISCARIOT - Ides of March 2007

If you can overcome the ennui, attending an AGM is an arcane experience that every member should do at least once in their life-time. Sadly, few bother. So little counts at branch level these days that any old half-wit willing to do the job can get elected and as the factions need only to get their full slate passed by one branch there is no serious battle over nominations. Still, the factions are going through the motions but they know the real battle will be to get those magic crosses on the ballot papers when the time comes.

Back in the kennel of the underdogs, the SOCIALIST CAUCUS is scrabbling round for all the help it can get. While they'll be lucky to keep one seat on the new NEC they've high hopes in DWP. Some of their more gullible dupes think they can actually win control of the biggest department in the service. Others are simply banking on winning enough votes to deny the Grandees victory even though this might let 4TM in through the back door, provided the JAKE vote holds up.

 It's by no means a foregone conclusion. The CARCASE have made loads of new enemies over their decision to split. Though they believe they can still rely on their loyalists in what they call their London DWP "heartlands" they have failed to pick up support they were counting on in the DWP North East. In fact their only gain has been to win over LIZ HALE, a former Moderati who was BARRY'S gopher in the Met Police.

But the Grandees have heartlands of their own like Glasgow DWP where Trotsky's Independent Traders couldn't even get one vote and 4TM could only muster two for their slate. Likewise 4TM IR leader GWENDA BINKS, failed to get nominated by her own branch - Westminster VOA.

In Sheffield DWP, LEE ROCK and SUE LLOYD'S flagship branch, the meeting started off with 60 members present, but it lasted so long and got so boring that most fucked off before the vote. When the "Independent Left" slate was eventually tabled it was passed with a vote of just 13 to 5. Hardly an overwhelming endorsement!

At the NEC and DWP GEC the Caucus are arguing for selective action.still! However it has not gone unnoticed that they are not volunteering their own branches, mainly because the CAUCUS know they can't deliver. The only submission to arrive from London is over Acton and Harrow, but that was written by PHIL PARDOE, who leads what's left of the SOCIALIST WANKERS in LONDON and is allied to LUNITY. Mr PUNCH called for negotiations with Management to be followed by strike action. The Caucus remained silent.

As does JAMES UNDY MBE, the former leader of ME FIRST who is now Team Leader in the Regional Architecture Division of the Department for Communities and Local Government . Grade 7 (Principal) UNDY is covering the structure of regional government while the rest of the teams in the division deal with regional assemblies sponsorship and Audit Commission sponsorship. As the total complement is only 12 the Government's regional agenda is looking decidedly shaky.

LORD UNDY isn't active in the branch, though to be fair it does tend to focus on AO/EO issues far beneath him. But JAMES will put in an appearance at meetings or indeed any other event where he can be opinionated.

He was a participant in the short lived 'G7/G6 Discussion Forum'. This was set up because some rampant self publicist G6 & G7s felt they didn't have enough influence with senior management. To be fair the vast majority of G7s were embarrassed by this and only turned up for the food and booze, and were miffed when the booze went missing from inaugural event. And JAMES manages to cause both offence and amusement by opining that in DCLG G7s were now the 'working grade'. You can imagine how this went down with SEOs and below.

Needless to say UNDY jumped at the chance of a regular column in the DCLG's staff magazine, which has now been imaginatively named The Staff Magazine (or TSM) after 16 other alternatives were rejected.

His opinion column is called Personally Speaking . His remit appears to be to act as a (very) loyal opposition to management and his mission is called "Building a 'will do properly' culture". This largely consists of HERR FLICK harping on about collective wisdom and accumulated experience.

Ah for the happy days of the first PCS Conference in 1998 (The Year The Hotel Burnt Down) when UNDY happily tried to buy Reamsbladder off with a Peerage.  No nonsense about accumulated experience then.

Bene, cum Latine nescias, nolo manus meas in te maculare



WAR NEWS

Swiss Army demand better weapons

Soldiers in the Swiss army are demanding more effective weaponry after centuries of being armed only with handy little penknives.

Switzerland has been forced to remain neutral in successive European conflicts including World War Two, when it was feared that a small national force armed only with pocket knives featuring corkscrews and toothpicks might prove ineffective against the Hitler's massed panzer divisions.

But now the soldiers in Switzerland's armed forces are protesting at the humiliation of training and parading armed only with little red penknives. 'Training is rubbish.' said Karl-Heinz Schmidt of the 4th Mountain Tweezers Division. 'Last week had to crawl on our bellies towards a stable, then storm inside and get a stone out of a horse's hoof. Later, we were shown how to use our weapons to keep our toenails short and open a bottle of lemonade.'

The Swiss Defence Minister defended their army's traditional weaponry pointing out that their elite special forces also have a little cuticle pusher and letter opener. However after much debate the country is resolved to embark upon major modernization of its armaments programme that will make Switzerland one of the world's major military powers. Airports have been warned to be extra vigilant towards travellers carrying penknives with pull-out tactical nuclear weapons.