gold eagle













 WW1 – The Germans - “In fact, one of our class was reluctant, and didn’t really want to go with us. That was Josef Behm, a tubby, cheerful chap. But in the end he let himself be persuaded, because he would have made things impossible for himself by not going. Maybe others felt the same way as he did; but it wasn’t easy to stay out of it because at that time even our parents used the word ‘coward’ at the drop of a hat. People simply didn’t have the slightest idea of what was coming.  Oddly enough, Behm was one of the first to be killed.”

Gloom over the trenches after two burial services in one week for labour movement leaders that many of us had met over the years. TONY BENN’s passing may not have been unexpected and at 88 no one could deny that he’d had a good innings. But coming so soon after the sudden and fatal heart attack that cut down of BOB CROW has given everyone in the trenches pause to reflect on the fickleness and transience of life. And while we hunker down in our dug-outs trying to fend off the relentless attacks on our pay, pensions and conditions our great and glorious leader is marching us like lemmings towards the cliff that is called UNITE.

At the same time the grandee position in DWP is beginning to crumble. Loads of current DWP GEC members are taking an exit package including three Assistant Secretaries possibly because of rumours that the dreaded JANE AITCHISON is making a come-back. Meanwhile relations between FRAN HEATHCOTE and STEVE FARLEY have cooled following a blazing row over policy.

No one doubts that this year’s Conference will be the last we will ever see. The grandees have prepared a motion setting out a plan for a special conference later this year followed by a members’ ballot to rubber-stamp the Unite takeover by the beginning of 2015. It will inevitably be pushed through by a poorly attended Conference (due to facilities cuts) at Brighton in May and the outcome of the “special conference” is a foregone conclusion. There will be insufficient numbers of turkeys to vote against Christmas. For some, this will be a bonus. For local reps, it will be a disaster.

The grandees have held a series of meetings with senior Unite officials including LEN McCLUSKEY to finalise the details of the "merger" while MARK SERWOTKA’s spin merchants are preparing the ground with talk about “creating a powerful new union” to mask the fact that we are about to be gobbled up by Unite. SERWOTKA and the other senior elected officers will all be found equivalent posts in the Unite structure – though Marek’s chances of becoming McCLUSKEY’s anointed successor is now in considerable doubt. But the full-timers can sleep safely in the beds, assured that whatever  happens, the gravy train will continue unabated when they join the ranks of Unite next year. With the upswing in the stock exchange and property values increasing, the hole in the PCS pension fund is diminishing and is no longer considered an insurmountable barrier by Unite bean-counters.

There’s no organised opposition to the deal and apart from a handful of dissident TROTS in the two rival wings of the INDEPENDENT LEFT. And the only detailed critique of the merger is that which the PFL published last year. Most lay officers will go along with whatever their faction leaders tell them – after all it’s what they've done for years – while the rank-and-file will view the passing from a weak and useless union to becoming just another brick in the Unite wall with complete indifference.

It’s no wonder that the AGS “election” attracted so little interest from anyone apart from the incumbent himself. CHRIS BAUGH did make an effort to secure the legion of nominations for his re-election. Swathes of grandees stood sweatily and individually before a video camera (in a location believed to be in Falconcrest, judging from the background), giving their own positive views as to BOFF’s ability to walk on water, turn water into orange juice, and fishes into loaves, etc. Topped and tailed with post-production imagery of the “LU Special One” and some ghastly stock music (free) only served to illuminate their desperation, rather than embracing new technology.

The only threat came from 4TM’s LYNDA PRIESTLEY. But she failed to cross the 15 branch nominations needed to get her name on the ballot paper and BOFF was re-elected unopposed.  Some of the 4TMers are bleating about dirty tricks in two or three branches to rule Mme PRIESTLEY’s nomination out of order. But on closer examination it appears that where this did occur it was simply down to the incompetence of local officers rather than some Machiavellian plot by JOHN McINALLY to guarantee a shoo-in for LEON BOFF.

What did LYNDA expect? 4TM barely exists outside of the imagination of the two nonentities who claim run it. Their website has gone. They publish nothing and their followers have to rely on what they hear on the grapevine to find out what’s going on. It would have taken a miracle for Mme PRIESTLEY to get 15 nominations and even if she had the grandee machine would have still have won the day for their own chosen son.

In any case, how many would have bothered to vote? Frankly no-one gives a toss about BOFF or LES PRIESTLEY’s missus these days.

But a very low poll wouldn’t do BOFF’s standing any good in UNITE, the union he seeks to join before taking his well-earned rest in Spain or wherever he plans to spend his twilight years. What the grandees really feared wasn’t the contest but the turn-out.

Anybody remember LANNING? He hasn't yet learned the lesson that he has never won a contested election. But up he pops again, determined to continue his losing streak as Parliamentary candidate for Canterbury and Whitstable.

As we know, HUGO has an eye for getting his snout in a trough, and what bigger trough is there than the Houses of Parliament? Theoretically he could win - if the entire Lib Dem vote collapses completely and transfers to Labour, and UKIP don't take too many votes from the incumbent MP of 27 years who will be standing again next year.

General Election 2010: Canterbury[13][14]







Julian Brazier




Liberal Democrat

Guy Voizey





Jean Samuel





Howard Farmer





Geoff Meaden




Money Reform

Anne Belsey











Conservative hold



A LANNING victory in a contested election? I laughed so much I don't think my trousers will ever dry. The smart money is that Brazier will win, with UKIP second. Labour might have a tussle with the Lib Dems for 3rd place and be pushed into 4th.

If the leaders of INDEPENDENT LEFT are ever in need of spiritual guidance they should look no further than ST JUDE, the patron saint of lost causes and desperate cases. LEE ROCK, still battling against his dismissal on sickness grounds, is one of them (see PFL passim) his ET will be heard on 28th April. JOHN PEARSON is fast becoming another.

PEARSON was the HEWLETT PACKARD North West Branch Secretary until he was sacked last year.

PCS members in the PCS HP Group commenced official industrial action against the job cuts on 26th April 2013. A work to rule had been continuous since that date and is currently focused on banning knowledge transfer and work migration activities, where these activities would enable redundancies to be implemented. Discontinuous strike action had also taken place in April and July 2013.

In May 2013, HP supplied PCS with the statutorily specified details of proposals to make redundant a further 584 workers on 31 July. When PEARSON circulated those details to branch members, he was suspended and later dismissed on a charge of breaching company confidentiality. JOHN was also charged with talking to a journalist about the industrial action without obtaining HP’s prior permission.

But a few months later, whilst mass sackings were still taking place; the work to rule was ongoing; and the branch was conducting a consultative ballot on escalation of action, PEARSON was told that PCS was no longer taking action to seek a remedy for him. JOHN  was also informed that he was now unable to continue to hold office as Branch Secretary and that his membership of PCS was at an end forthwith.

MAREK wrote to John on 10th January 2014 reaffirming the ending of union support, on the grounds that FALCONCREST’s lawyers had advised that “we could not support any Employment Tribunal claim as there was no realistic prospect of securing your reinstatement” and that “neither the group nor the branch are in a position to take industrial action aimed at your reinstatement”.

Why? We can only guess at why our great and glorious leader has washed his hands on another victimised activist. But it may have something to do with JOHN’s nature. Though he’s pushing sixty he’s still as argumentative as he was years ago and this possibly explains why he’s been kicked out of virtually every TROT movement he’s ever been in during his union career which has covered NALGO, UNISON and the AEEU before joining PCS.

When your personal politics veer wildly to the left of Mr.Trotsky, and you hurl written abuse at our General Secretary, the grandees will notice that the faint traces of their line in the sand have been kicked in their faces. You can find out more by checking his website.

So, what do you do when your MoJ facility time gets cut from 100% after 7 years? Well, you could go long-term sick, allege racism, bullying, harrassment, Trade Union detriment, disability discrimination (on grounds of physical and psychiatric problems caused by obesity), and take your employer AND your union (PCS) to an ET. You could throw such a hissy fit if your name happens to be LEN "thin skinned" CAMPLING of The Independent Left.

Having alienated just about everyone and become Billy No-mates, our modern day Don Quixote set out to tilt at the various windmills in his mind without a Sancho Panza at his side, hence the rambling ET submission (click here). If that's representative of the support he provided to members in 7 years of 100%, I'd have to say "fetch me a properly trained rep, please!".

And the ET? "Surprise, Surprise" as Cilla used to say. CAMPLING lost. Another fine use of members subs. We will generously assume that the complaint about the Kronstadt Bungle in 2013 was vicarious, as LEN was on sick leave at the time, so would not have been present in Brighton.

C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre: c'est de la folie.
It’s magnificent but it’s not war: its madness

General Pierre Bosquet after witnessing the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava during the Crimean War in 1854.


Black Box from Gordon Brown’s Government believed to have been located

After years of intensive searching, a team of scientists believe that they have located the ‘black box’ at the heart of the Labour government during Gordon Brown’s premiership from 2007 to 2010.

Recovering the black box will finally give important clues as to how the government crashed so spectacularly after years of economic prudence while Brown was chancellor, and ten years of steady and mostly popular Blair leadership with only a small amount of turbulence in the final months.

How the country derailed so suddenly and so severely from the predetermined course has been a mystery for years. The crash investigation team has previously established from the available information only that there was a perilous ascent in government borrowing, a sudden sharp turn to the left after years of veering rightward, and then no further evidence of piloting of the country. At around the same time all communications were cut off, with the final words captured on the pilot’s microphone being “She was just a bigoted woman who said she used to be Labour”.

The research team have been searching constituencies up and down the country – previously without success – in a bid to find out what happened to the Labour voters formerly thought to be aboard. Many of those lost are still missing, with increasingly desperate pleas for information about their whereabouts being heard, occasionally from relatives, but mostly from Ed Miliband.

Energy boss claims poking him in belly 'will make lights go out'.

Sam Laidlaw, head of energy giants Centrica has claimed that 'the lights will go out' if he is caused any personal discomfort whatsoever. Having initially claimed that there would be energy shortages if a cap was put on energy prices or pitiful competition conditions were investigated, Laidlaw has said that if he is 'jostled in the street, poked in the belly or ridiculed by small children for looking a bit like Rupert Murdoch, except with no chin, all electric supplies will fail, the world will descend into chaos as people fight over what few remaining resources there are and an apocalyptic, Max-Max 2 style scenario will probably ensue. So don't touch me'.

When asked at a press conference for his reasons for such an claim, he responded 'Well, obviously, if the markets were to get wind of my own personal discomfort, there would likely be concern about my ability to run a successful and thriving business, so share prices would fall and investment will suffer, leading to the breakdown of society as we know it. The entire energy infrastructure is dependent on me being cosseted, and if it doesn't happen then, believe me, you'll be fucked up good and proper'.

The government have responded by withdrawing calls for an enquiry, and have instead gifted him with a golden stick with which to beat off poor people, lest they get too close to him. Said a spokesman, 'We feel it's our duty. We've got a few spares anyway'.

Kate Bush Tour forces all other female singers into early retirement

Through a combination of George Osborne’s generous pension provision in his budget and the surprise tour of the UK’s ‘last spark of originality’, many of the world’s leading musicians plan to now ‘pack up their crotch-less panties’. News that Kate Bush is returning to the stage has resulted in an ‘exodus’ from Simon Cowell’s harem, Madonna ‘cashing in’ on her bus pass and the disbandment of the ‘twelfth version’ of the Sugarbabes.

While Bush (55) is the first to acknowledge that her high-octane dance routines may be a thing of the past, she is still fairly confident that even if she were ‘to fart Wuthering Heights through a sousaphone, while dressed in a conch shell’ it would still be better than Lady Gaga. Bush’s 79 tour is now widely acknowledged as the most influential rock performance of the twentieth century; whereas Miley Cyrus lip syncing astride a flying hotdog, is not even regarded as the most embarrassing five minutes of a Miley Cyrus tour.

Unlike the singer-songwriter, her fan base may have aged less well. Hammersmith Apollo is set to be filled to capacity with middle-aged poets, earth-mothers and ‘guys who still jerk off to Babooshka’. Long-time collaborator, Rolf Harris, is still to confirm (due to Court commitments) if he will be joining her on stage with his own brand of didgeridoo manipulation. An online petition to have Lenny Henry removed as a backing singer has now reached over 100,000 signatures.

Naturally, music fans will need to temper their optimism as Bush is unlikely to instantly provide a ‘cure for cancer’, ‘a definitive answer to the existence of God’ or ‘stop One Direction from producing more albums’. However, the fifteen London shows will be followed by Kate solving the ‘tensions in the Middle East’, ‘liberating Crimea’ and the recording of a four-hour pan-psychedelic concept album inspired by ‘Listen with Mother’ - including Peter Gabriel, reprising his role of one of the ‘Flower Pot Men’.

Godwin's Law 'the sort of thing the nazis would come up with' declares web forum

Walkers unveil emotion-flavoured crisps

Having exhausted almost every food flavour combination Walkers have now moved on to more esoteric varieties.

‘It was easy in the early days’, explained head of R & D, Mitch Rutland, ‘Things like Cheese n Onion and Salt n Vinegar could be easily replicated with chemicals. Beef just needed a dollop of Bovril and Horse extract…anyway the least said about that…’

A public campaign for new flavours came up with increasingly difficult flavours to reproduce in the laboratory. Slug Porridge was a challenge but the turning point came with an attempt to make Norwegian Lutefisk flavoured ridged crisps.

‘It was a real light bulb moment’ says Rutland. “After days trying to find a combination of additives that made our crisps taste like rancid ling I suddenly realised that no-one eating crisps in England would have a clue what Lutefisk tasted like; I could dig out an old canister of “Prawn Cock” and no-one would be any wiser. I don’t know why we didn’t twig that when we did the Hedgehog flavour. It would have saved us all a lot of sleepless nights – the spiky bastards are nowhere to be seen in daylight’.

It was only after the success of Lutefisk that Rutland realised that the flavour didn’t have to be food related at all. ‘That was the real game changer. We  immediately released a Happiness flavour followed quickly by our much more popular new flavours Disappointment, Resentment, and as part of our launch promotion with the Daily Mail, new Spite ‘n’ paranoia.’

Iain Duncan Smith to simplify all his cock-ups into one Universal Cock-Up

Big Cock

‘The current system of cock-ups is complicated and confusing,’ said the Work and Pensions Secretary. ‘Even I have trouble keeping track of them all. That’s why I have decided to create a new system to unify all my cock-ups into one monumental cock-up – something that everyone can understand’.

The Universal Cock-Up will cost an estimated £2bn to implement and is due to be rolled out next year. However, given that it is being organised by Mr Duncan Smith, experts say it is more likely to cost £200bn and never happen at all.

The new system will create an extensive database of all Iain Duncan Smith’s failures: departmental mismanagement, making up statistics, cruel treatment of benefit claimants with disabilities, illegally forcing people to work in Poundland, a jobs website that hosts fake jobs, and once writing a really terrible novel.

‘I have every confidence that the Universal Cock-Up will be delivered on time and on budget,’ said Mr Duncan Smith. ‘I have already commissioned the very latest state-of-the-art IT system to run it: a Sinclair ZX 81. Nothing can possibly go wrong, although admittedly we are having some teething troubles getting the cassette player to load the software.’

Mr Duncan Smith has also arranged for himself to be constantly monitored by Atos, who will conduct a continuous assessment of his inability to do the job properly and ensure that he is always doing everything he possibly can to do everything possibly wrong.

The Universal Cock-Up is already being heralded as one of the government’s flagship policies. If the scheme is a success, it may be extended to all government departments, although Michael Gove has insisted on keeping his pet project of taxpayer funded ‘free cock-ups’.

Mr Duncan Smith rejected claims that the whole thing was yet another failure waiting to happen for which he would refuse to accept responsibility. ‘I am sick and tired of this constant culture of blame,’ he told reporters, ‘and it’s all YOUR fault.’