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ROUND AND ABOUT
by Judas Iscariot - November 2008

It's all quiet on the Western front. Down in the trenches the men have been stood down following the dramatic postponement of the Poppy Day Offensive on 10 th November. The gas masks are hanging on the racks, the guns have been muzzled and the word's out that we'll see no further action, apart from hanging up the decorations this side of Christmas.

The big push was called off by a hastily convened NEC on Friday 7 th November that followed a secret meeting between MAREK SERWOTKA and GORDON BROWN. No one knows what passed between the Prime Minister and our great and glorious leader but some Grandees are saying off the record that the Government may be ready to concede some improvement in pay for those on their max as part of an overall self-funded agreement within the parameters of the existing pay offer. But officially all they are claiming is that Management has agreed to hold "meaningful talks" in return for the suspension of the strike.

On that fateful day the NEC was shown the letter from Sir GUS O'DONELL, the head of the home civil service, which agreed that discussions should take place to address the concerns that form the basis of the dispute and agreeing that the period during which the union could legally take industrial action would be extended by 28 days.

It was clear that many of the Grandees had no idea this was on the cards. MAREK cut to the chase very quickly to ask the Executive to support the suspension of the strike pending talks. SERWOTKA said he had held detailed discussions with management which had gone late into the night on 6 th November but he did not wish to pre-empt any decisions before the NEC met. It was clear though that the communications to members had already been prepared.

MAREK said that we would not be in the position we were today if it wasn't for the threat of strike action and stressed that the strike would only be suspended and if no concessions come out of negotiations then the NEC would be asked to call for a day of action before Christmas. He was adamant that the strike would have been well supported and "we were engendering confidence within the membership".

MAREK went on to say that there was a battle royal going on between the doves and hawks, i.e. Ministers versus Perm Secs, within the Establishment. SIR LEIGH LEWIS was said to have argued that the Government should take on PCS and smash the union. SERWOTKA gave no indication of what was on the table apart from negotiations over the reduction in bargaining units. Talks will probably concentrate around recycling monies by reducing outside contractors and a reduction in consultants. This could give access to significant sums of money. He gave an example of the Home Office where some £80m would be available for redistribution. We would also be talking around revisiting the imposed 3 year deals. But there was no new money on offer.

HUGH LANNING then somewhat pompously did a resume of all the current actions and disputes that are taking place to argue that our negotiators should advise Departmental Managements to hold their fire on any further negotiations regarding pay until the national talks conclude. He went onto say there would be no Sectoral action this year. The other unions (FDA and Prospect) would not be allowed into talks until PCS was happy with what was on the table. The NEC then adjourned for about 40 minutes to allow the Grandees to hold a caucus meeting in the reading room. This was the first time they've openly done this in the middle of a NEC meeting.

The ensuing debate was pretty cordial until the three SOCIALIST WANKERS showed their hand. They argued that the strike should not be called off until we had something on the table which provoked an angry response from Marion Lloyd who came in and said she was very disappointed in the response from her colleagues and was quite savage towards SWP. Naturally enough high-caste Democrats and the lone 4TMer who turned up supported the recommendation to call off the strike. The high-caste Democrats have no taste for cold steel because they want to preserve their cosy relationship with their Management colleagues while 4TM, whose policy begins and ends with the white flag had been arguing that the strike should be called off for weeks.

A football match in no mans land has been scheduled for 25th December. The increased food parcels are yet to materialise.

But there's other reasons to be jolly and the first is that ROSIE EAGLESON is retiring in December and wants all her friends to join her for a pre-Christmas bash at FALCONCREST in December. If you want to wish her well as she prepares for her permanent retreat to her mansion in France chez NICK SHITE, come to Rooms 4.3 and 4.4 from about 4 to 8 pm on Friday 5 th December. DOZY was the great hope of the SECRET LEFT, who believed she would restore the fortunes of their high-caste cabal when she got a top job in the merger agreement with the magistrates' association. Alas, she was just like all the rest and jumped at the chance of getting what has become the traditional juicy PCS full-timers farewell package.

And rumour has it that HUGH LANNING will also be soon out to grass. MARION LLOYD is already being touted for the DGS job in Grandee circles when it comes up for grabs next year. Or so say agents of 4TM who are putting it around that MARION has trumped JANICE for the nomination and that LANNING has been betrayed. The problem is that LEON BAUGH wants the DGS so MARION can only be considered for his vacancy and that in any case the Grandees will sort out consolation prizes for HUGO's Democrats if the great man goes (not to mention the sweetener to see that he goes quietly to his place in the sun).

We can also put the flags out at the news that LEE ROCK will be returning to front-line duty now that Management has dropped all disciplinary charges against him. ROCK , a pillar of an obscure sect which publishes a journal called the WEEDY WANKER, was accused of breaching "standards of behaviour" when he was interviewed by the BBC over the current dispute (see PFLs passim). This nonsensical charge has now been dropped following a successful appeal and the written warning has been overturned.

Tempora mutantur nos et mutamur in illis
Times change and we change with them
John Owen (died 1622)

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NEW 'JOBLESS' CIVIL SERVICE POST CREATED TO REDUCE UNEMPLOYMENT

The government announced today that it is creating the civil service post of "jobless" in a bid to dramatically reduce the number of people out of work and the amount of taxpayer money spent on unemployment benefit.

The announcement came after official figures revealed that the number of people unemployed in the UK in the three months up to September rose by 140,000 to 1.82 million, the highest in 11 years, and the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance increased by 36,500 to 980,900, the highest it has been since 1992.

Responding to the figures, Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform Tony McNulty told a press conference at the Department for Work and Pensions that the government would, in effect, nationalise the role of being unemployed and create a new civil service grade in order to take people off the jobless register.

He said: "Jobseeker's Allowance is no longer going to be a benefit handed out to people who are out of work. Instead, it is going to be classified as a wage and those drawing it will be deemed part of the civil service."

Describing the role in more detail, Mr McNulty said that the Jobless grade will lie just between Administrative Officer and Executive Officer on the grading scale. "The thing is, the Jobless grade is, essentially, a self-directed post in which the employee is required to take charge of their own time and devise tasks that will contribute to the development of their own particular skills set," he explained.

When asked what sort of skills the Jobless civil servant might be expected to develop, Mr McNulty added: "Well, playing on an Xbox, kicking a ball around in a park, rolling joints for kids in the park, placing bets on the horses. You know the sort of thing.

"Think of it as the outdoors version of what most civil servants get up to everyday."

The minister confessed that he had initially been sceptical of the plan to absorb the unemployed into the civil service. However, when was mentioned to Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister "leapt at the plan", saying that he had read about something similar in the Little Book of Political Wheezes, which someone had bought him for his birthday.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber welcomed the announcement. He said: "We are delighted that unemployed people are going to be recognised for the contribution that they make to society. I just hope that the government offers them the same rights as any other civil service employee receives, with a state-backed pension and full holiday entitlement."

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Ayatollah downgrades U.S. to 'Quite Large Demon'

In another clear sign of how Barack Obama's victory in the presidential election is changing foreign perceptions of the United States, Iran's spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei yesterday decreed that the term 'The Great Satan' be replaced by 'The Quite Large Demon'.

Though opposing the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Tehran and Washington in the short term, Khamenei said that 'regarding the degree to which America embodies the primordial source of evil in the universe, it's time to think outside the box'.

The mood of partial reconciliation was also obvious before Friday prayers at the University of Tehran Central Mosque, where there were chants of 'Nasty Cold to America'. One worshipper said, 'It doesn't trip off the tongue quite as well as "Death", but is more in tune with the times'. In front of cheering bystanders he then severely crumpled an American flag, explaining that 'since Obama's victory, burning it seems a bit over the top'.

Earlier in the week, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had surprisingly been one of the first world leaders to send a letter of congratulations to Obama. In it he praised Obama for 'demonstrating clear vision', 'offering the hope of greater peace and understanding between peoples', and 'not being a Jew'.

In Related News...
Flag Sellers in Tehran are worried about their continued business selling flammable American Flags for demonstrations. It is felt that their only hope of survival in a changing world will be to relocate to such places as Texas, Arizona & Alaska where the burning of American Flags has suddenly become much more fashionable.

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Lancashire Man arrested for Leaning on a lampost of the corner of the street

He was just waiting for a certain little lady to pass by, he said to police. He was arrested as a suspect in a stalking case as he had also been recently observed cleaning said lady's windows.

He was later charged with loitering with intent, misusing council property, playing an ukulele in public without an entertainment license, and in possession of an offensive weapon, although the last charge was dropped when forensic scientists reported that the weapon was a little stick of Blackpool rock.

Social Services were fully aware of this persons penchant for loitering and had visited him at various times over an eighteen month period. However senior caseworkers deemed it unnecessary to inform HM Constabulary. When asked for comment, a Social Services spokesperson said "Hee, Hee....turned out nice again!"