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ROUND AND ABOUT
A mood of grim optimism hovers over the DWP lines after the dawn offensive across the Western Front that sent Management reeling in the first days of May. But rumblings of discontent are now reaching Chateau Falconcrest. The DWP strike 'rally' in London was a shambles. Only 28 members turned up to hear ANDY "Lazarus" WARD ramble on though TONY REAY did make his most coherent speech in years to the surprise of anyone who bothered to listen to it.
The main debate focused on targeted action at 50 per cent strike-pay. In what was clearly a sign of desperation, ROB BRYSON demanded this be increased to 100 per cent. McDONALD and PRENDERGAST shook their heads in disgust leading an irate BRYSON to attack them for their lack of targeted action submission. BRYSON then told SERWOTKA that he could write off all selective action in Central London unless it's paid at the top whack. This failed to impress MOIRA NOLAN, the SOCIALIST WANKER National Industrial Organiser who had turned up to order BRYSON to call for an all out strike. SUE CATTEN made her first public appearance since the unfortunate episode with PARDOE who had wisely decided not to show his face.
But PARDOE is still working on his rehabilitation as a lowly branch assistant secretary through the launch of a new branch mag called appropriately enough RED RAG . He's urged the members to send in stories saying "I'll accept anything. Cartoons and jokes particularly welcome". Don't hesitate lads.
The DWP GEC have also managed to shoot themselves in the foot by not alerting reps to new draconian HR measures being launched by management, yet another attack on members rights. The wide ranging "changes" were not brought to reps attention in the build-up to the May strike, depriving the reps of a huge propaganda tool and managing to piss off reps across the political spectrum. A backlash of emergency motions censuring the GEC for its abject failure will no doubt be a big feature at its annual conference.
Meanwhile in Geordieland a complaint has been tabled against the DWP branch secretary at Benton Park View (Long Benton in old money) over actions on the picket line. A scab is moaning because ELAINE ANDERSON (who likes to be known as Mrs ROTTWEILLER) has taken the piss out of her as she strode boldly into work.
According to a missive to the Big Fat Geordie Bastard JOE (Le Taxi) COX, the Branch Chair, Rottweiller (a savage German sheep-dog much favoured by Geordies in the 1980s) tried to use sarcasm to 'intimidate' her and her Mam as they walked passed the pickets by telling them to "have a nice day" and adding "thanks for your support".
FATTY COX, who states he was 39 again last week, wrote back saying she'd been far too polite and could we offer her a cup of tea and a muffin next time.
On the same day, WILLIE SAMUEL arrived on the picket line splendidly dressed in his bicycle attire. Can't say much for his bike - he propped it up against a nearby lamp-post but chained his backpack to a railing.
Sadly, the May offensive coincided with the worst week so far for the Blair government with CHARLES CLARKE stumbling around trying to find his prisoners, TWO SHAGS PRESCOTT seeing his intimate secrets exposed in the DAILY MAIL and TESS JOWELL jeered off the stage at the nurse's conference. To cap it off it ended with the TORIES hammering Labour at the local elections throughout England .
STUART COLLINS bucked the trend in Croydon topping the poll for Labour in his Broad Green ward. But LAURENCE EVANS was toppled in Ealing with the Conservatives winning all three seats in his Acton Central ward. LAURENCE did particularly badly finishing in sixth place behind the other two Labour candidates. In Hackney Central Labour held all three seats and poor old CHARLIE McDONALD did as well as could be expected coming bottom of the poll with a magnificent 161 votes for his "Socialist Unity" slate. There is no truth in the rumour that he canvassed 160 proxy votes from inpatients at the local mental hospital.
But the fate of PCS Councillors notwithstanding, the focus of most of the activists' minds is the forthcoming NEC elections and the battle between LUNITY and 4TM to control the union. Though there is little doubt about the outcome the GRANDEES are worried about getting their vote out while JAKE and LES PRIESTLEY are scurrying around to rally all the former MODERATI to their banner.
Most of RAMSBLADDERS followers signed up with the MAD MONK when MOIRA CAMPBELL and her clique broke with STUART CURRIE two years ago. But FATBOY SLIM is still around and his tiny band of largely Scottish sycophants is again running a spoiler National Moderate list in this years races.
The new right wing bloc will be lucky if they win an extra two seats on the NEC but they are making efforts to build their power in the Groups and WILDE has set his sights on capturing the new HMRC GEC where the Mad Monk's old IR troops are facing the LUNITY and their PCS DEMOCRAT allies. There's a three-horse race for the presidency with MR BEAN facing PRIESTLEY and an independent called JOHN WALKINSHAW. Lunity's STEVE RYAN is facing GWENDA BINKS for the VP and hoping that third hopeful, ROGER HARRISON, will split the right-wing vote. BINKS hopes ROGER will also draw votes from the left and give her the prize.
Last year's AS elections could be taken as a 'tester' of this year's elections and non-LU candidates who were working together took all the positions except the split vote which allowed Mark Leopard through with a very poor vote of only 5970 compared with Lewis BEVAN (10532), Cath COLBECK (10066), Dave MATTHEWS (9693) and Sandra REFFOLD (9522).
In the DGS election we have a straight fight between BILL McCREATH and DOREEN McNEIL. Doreen has 'qualified support' from Left Unity but has done herself considerable damage throughout the IR branches for her poor handling of pretty much everything this year. Her main errors were on facilities time for AGM's, destroying Whitley and so forth...
The only downside is the complicated voting procedure which means that the ballot papers are sent to home addresses which the member then needs to carry into work, put in an envelope, tick their name off a list and post in a ballot box.
Behind the scenes two of the major players in LUNITY are moving to re-invent themselves in the light of current conditions. Most of the GRANDEES are former MENDICANTS in the Scottish Socialist Party and the Socialist Party (which operates in the rest of the UK ) and the SP'ers are working to re-label themselves to try and counter the challenge on the left fringe from George Galloway's Respect Coalition. The SP have held a conference calling for a "New Workers Party", largely so that they can drop the word "Socialist" from their title and go for the "broader" constituency they believe their Scottish cousins have tapped so well in recent years.
The SWP on the other hand is moving to re-christen their faction after the Respect bloc they embraced after Galloway left the Labour Party and won his seat in Bethnal Green in the 2005 general election. Respect won 15 seats in the local elections - chicken feed by anybody's standard apart from the SP, whose seats can be counted on one hand. But where this will lead Serwotka, who flirts with Respect from time to time, is anyone's guess.
Mark SERWOTKA's invite to UNISON GS DAVE PRENTIS to speak at Conference hasn't gone down very well with the Socialist Party who see PRENTIS, with some justification, as an apologist for GORDON BROWN, and argue that the leaders of RMT and the FBU, both mavericks who've broken with Labour, would have been much better choices.
Heard the other day that MARTIN CLEMENTS (Steve Cawkwell's ex-missus' new constant companion) has taken up Islam. Don't know how true it is but he apparently announced it at an LU meeting, they all started taking the piss out of him, and he stormed out. It took a load of calls to his mobile for him to calm down and come back. Still on the subject of CLEMENTS - if you check his NEC election address you'll find that he has stated he is 'mixed race'. There was an opinion that he had done this to secure one of the Black and Asian members reserved seats but his mother being Sri Lankan doesn't count. When this came out in the pub this week someone asked how he was mixed race? A half wit replied 'he's half English and half wanker' to which some quarter wit retorted 'no - he's 100% wanker'.
Dave Bean's had a bad week and has been censured for dabbling in the elections. He could have dealt with it easily but refused to allow questions at the GEC resulting in a motion being tabled from 11 GEC members condemning his actions. His answer to this was an outburst stating 'a motion has been put together by 11 members of 4 the members personally attacking me' - ahh, but there's only 5!
Jake's refused to go on the 'Working Together' leaflet for the GEC elections but Neil License has. Not really a 4TM slate but this year is the first non-constituency, national, first past the post election for the IR and C&E and usual 'independents' have seen that they will be cast adrift if they don't work with 4TM.
On the fringe of the fringe we are all pleased to note that LEE ROCK is giving another of his boring lectures at the Communist University of South London in August. The "university" - a pompous name for a summer school - is organised by his rag, the Weedy Wanker and LEE is debating "Respect - genuine left or popular front". Tickets are limited so book now!
And talking of bores friend of the Ukraine CHRIS FRAUD has written a new tome with the snappy title of Ukraine's orange revolution and the quest for omnilateral liberation in an obscure publication called Education and the Spirit of Time : Historical, Global and Critical Reflections in Rotterdam. He's clearly got plenty of time on his hands now he's joined the august ranks of WEA lecturers but it still beats working for a living.
The partisan, when he is engaged in a dispute, cares nothing about the rights of the question, but is anxious only to convince his hearers of his own assertions.