Hail Simmonds!

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Simmonds thinks he’s Caesar
he reminds me of Caligula
Fiddle as Northampton burns!

He’s a school builder
not a crime fighter
Simmonds school
he played us for fools

Blood stained legacy
long after he’s history
the truth will be a mystery
Corruption in Northampton
is a state of normality

Police force on all fours
you tell me the cause
Who needs officers
we have an academy!
Money making offers
enriching Tory coffers

Crime is on the rise
so lets go roundabout
Its time for your goodbyes!
Enough with the sell off
the great pcc rip off
Its time now mr.pcc
why don’t you f off

County Council: Death By A Thousand Cuts

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Lingchi was an an ancient Chinese torture method which is more widely known in the west as death by a thousand cuts, a torture method this council seems to have adopted as its model for local government policy.

Make no mistake that sooner or later people will die because of the butchering of our local services, make no mistake that people are already suffering under the brunt of the county councils new torture regime.

This is an ideological restructuring of local government, the Tories have already committed themselves to destroying the state on a national level, and now their cronies at a local level are going full steam ahead with this ideological mission in their destruction of local services.

Removing lifelines for some and completely changing the face of our local services, is of course spruced up with fancy words like “efficiency savings” but regardless of what words they use to make these cuts more palatable it will never disguise them from the cold hard reality, and when reality bites believe me people will be angry.

Earlier this year the County Council agreed to outsource all its services, and now it is going to be cutting a further £77 million from its budget, no doubt they love to gamble with the future of our town, sadly the only losers in this will be us, the people of Northampton.

As it was reported the budget “Proposals include a reduction in children’s centre services, a reduction in funds for the fire service and highways maintenance, a cut in the subsidies given to the bus services, the cessation of Nourish school meals service and decommissioning two care homes run by Olympus Care Services.”

Just how much more do they think the people can take? Just how much more of this burden do we have to shoulder? We were never responsible for the recession, yet time and again we are the ones footing the bill.

These cuts, like the cuts at national level are being billed as the only way, that there is no alternative, but this is pure political posturing, there is always an alternative. When these cuts continue to hammer home just keep one thing in mind, there is but one group of people to blame for them; The Conservative Party.

We are now locked into a race to the bottom, and who knows where it will end? No support for young people, no care for the elderly? Just how far are they willing to fall, and how much suffering are we going to have to endure?

Instead of a council with a commitment to slash and burn, how great would it be to have a council committed to helping the people? To homing the homeless, to protecting those that need it, to investing in the future of the town.

Because that is the alternative, investment, investing in the future instead of planting the seeds of this towns suffering, creating revenue outside of tax. We are expected to believe that outsourcing and businesses (which we will be paying to carry out these services), will be more efficient.

Well why is that the case? Instead of throwing money at private companies (making them very rich), surely the brilliant minds in government can operate these things as good, if not better. Instead of them being operated for the profit of private companies they should and could be operated for the improvement of the town, for the benefit of the people.

The governments in post war Britain recognised this, that is how they dug their way out of a 200% deficit, through investment, through public ownership, and ultimately through a commitment to helping people, instead of cutting them piece meal.

Just how much more can the council take? How much more can we take?

What are your views on the cuts? Are you afraid of the future? Let me know in the comments.

What are we hoping for?

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What are we building? What are we fighting for? I’m no longer sure. It seems to me that the left has become the most complex and convoluted system for lobbying the government that has ever existed.

While communities have come under prolonged and sustained attack, completely ripped apart for generations now, it looks to me that we are arguing over what kind of biscuits to bring to the revolution, and lets not get started on the tea, or we will be here till tea time.

Where is the vision? The ambition? The hope and the passion? Where is the strategy in acting as a glorified lobby group?

This week we witnessed the Greek people vote oxi (no to me and you) to austerity, and from the response you would think they had just smashed the capitalist hegemony of the globe. I think it is great that they did mind you but I don’t want to look for Greece to hope, I want to look to the left in the UK to provide my people with hope.

What are we doing? Arguing over austerity and like Canute trying to turn back the tide, or in our case convince the Tory party or the Labour party to change course? To take pity on us poor peasants and allow us to have a little bit more of the harvest next year? Or to find a heart and stop sending us to our deaths with a stroke of their pens?

In the meantime how insignificant are the left becoming? Take Left Unity for example, the party I am involved with – it is trying to emulate and act like a traditional party. Like it stands any chance of beating these guys at their own game, like it is in any position to even contemplate taking them on at their own game.

If Left Unity is to survive it needs to stop trying to be a traditional party, it needs to rip apart the rule book on what a political party is, and create something new, something new and inspiring that the people of the country can believe in and get behind!

All I am seeing is more of the same, and more of the same has got us into this mess in the first place. We know the fight to change society and the face of this country is a long one, but what are we doing to bring about that goal? A campaign here, a petition there and a march on the odd occasion.

Yes these things sometimes do have the desired effect, our masters change their course and we gain a small victory with which we may build something a little better or bigger in the future. Or people pack their things up and go home, it is all the same.

We have been operating that way for generations, and it clearly is not hitting the mark anymore. It may have had an effect in the 20th century, but we are not in the 20th century anymore. We need to adapt, we need to grow and we need to stop flogging a dead horse.

I do not have all the answers, I do not even know all the problems but please just try to think outside the box, stop trying to do what you’ve always done because it is what you’ve always done. We need to change, we need to stop pushing blame onto everything else and accept our responsibility in the downfall of the left.

We need to take stock of where we are, re-evaluate where we want to be and actually come up with something worth while. I don’t want to be in a focus group, I do not want to just be a lobbyist to whatever overlord we have that year. I want to be part of something fresh and new, new not just in name but in structure, outlook, strategy – something we can actually call revolutionary.

By revolutionary I am not saying we take out the pitch forks and storm Buckingham Palace, but something the left have completely lost the ability to do and that is talk to people on a level, talk with people, not down to them, not preaching to them but with them.

By revolutionary I’m talking about our outlook, how we conduct ourselves, what we consider to be political action. This linear form of politics is getting us no where, it isn’t even fit for this day and age.

We can hold a rally of 250,000 people and you can all pat yourselves on the back and say that it is a movement now, but rallies don’t make movements, at a rally what are you doing? Standing still listening to someone tell you something. Then you can go home, you may have learnt something but what has changed in your community? Unless you live in London, not a damn deal.

We need to be building up resistance, we need to be building up networks and be engaged in activities which are empowering to communities and empowering to ourselves, this has to be creative and it has to be local.

All political activity and the voice of opposition against these unjust, unfair and immoral acts are great but what purpose are they serving in the long run? What are we doing outside and around that which truly is creating a movement, truly is doing something beneficial to the cause?

There is this hollow shell in the place of communities up and down the country, what are we doing to solve that problem? The left is a husk, it must be great for academics that love boring meetings and arguing the finer points of the events of the Russian revolution, but what else?

Surely there has to be more to what we are doing than this? Surely there is something we are missing? Otherwise, if this is all there is, if this is as good as it gets? We may as well pack our bags and give the revolution a miss, the weather will be shit and it’s not like it’s going to be on the tele anyway.

How long are we going to be defined by which punches the government are throwing at us and which ones we are quick enough to dodge? These negative reactive campaigns which are ultimately not providing hope, not creating positivity, not rolling out change within communities. I do not want to survive anymore, where the best I can hope for is if we manage to bloody the governments nose once in a while.

We need to build something, we need to create something, we need to thrive.

Food Crime Today, Thought Crime Tomorrow.

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The rising tide of food theft in Northampton an ocean that is on the rise across this whole country, is something our leaders should be completely ashamed of and if they were acting for the benefit of the poor and needy, no doubt they would be.

The Chronicle and Echo (Northampton Local Paper) publishes the details of the court, in an effort to name and shame criminals, to bring some form of justice or maybe because we all just missed the good old fashion medieval stocks.

So I was surprised, saddened and shocked to see the developments of our times, a man fined £70 for stealing MILK and CEREAL.

If someone, a HUMAN BEING gets to the point that they are forced to steal to eat, the response of any civilised society and any decent human being would be to tackle the problems causing it in the first place, hunger, poverty and of course politicians.

Our response, and this tells any watching alien civilisation just how doomed we are, our response is to fine them and give them a criminal record. Would our government, our high towered overlords prefer that these people just starve to death or lie down and die?

This is appalling and disgusting and I have read similar reports across the whole country. We are criminalising the poor and those suffering the effects of poverty, while the causes are left to fester like a cancer at the centre of our society and ultimately while those responsible for that environment live in luxury, this is a gross injustice and one that should make you feel angry.

The one saving grace and I doubt something you will see reported in the Chron (Chronicle and Echo) was the response by the people of Northampton and beyond. On the same day this was reported Bianca Todd from CCY (Community Court Yard) put a shout out on Facebook to raise money to not only pay off the court fine but provide food for the individual, which was met with great kindness and empathy.

What logic leads our law makers to the conclusion that those struggling to survive and those struggling to make ends meet, even those that are homeless should be fined for acts which take place directly because of that poverty. If you have no money, how can you pay a fine? If you cannot afford basic essentials and basic human needs, then how is a fine going to help that situation?

We live in a society where the poor feel the full force of the law, yet the wealthy can use that wealth to not only influence the law but to hide from it as well. How many bankers have gone to jail for their part in destroying the UK economy in 2008? How many people suffering from poverty have gone to jail as a direct consequence of their actions?

This has to stop, we need to act.

Left Unity East Midlands: Where do we go from here?

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I would like to start by thanking everyone that voted for me in the elections, and I’m looking forward to building a vibrant Left Unity base within the East Midlands with you all. I would also like to congratulate Liz Silver, and I’m looking forward to working with her in representing the East Midlands on the national council.

So where do we go from here?
1. Skype e-conference
2. Arrange East Midlands Council
3. Arrange East Midlands day of action

We can and should look at how we can improve communications between East Midlands members and branches, so that we can keep each other up to date, share ideas and support one another where and when needed. If we can add each other on Skype, share our e-mails, and work towards getting a meeting organised for the East Midlands branches, that would be the first step in pooling our resources and sharing our experience. Until we have the right communications with one another, it will be hard for us to create an effective development strategy, with which to move forward together.

I feel in the immediate future these should be our five over-reaching objectives.

1. Establish a social media presence
2. Establish a media presence
3. Establish a structure (council,newsletter, communications, etc)
4. Establish a support network
5. Formulate a short term and long term development strategy

I have spoken to Simon and requested up to date information regarding membership within the East Midlands, and my next step will be e-mailing out to branches, so I can begin to get an accurate picture of where we are now, and what we can do to get to where we want to be. If you have any advice, want to get involved, have any feedback or are a member within LU:East Midlands, please feel free to contact me
My contact details:
Email: s-a-miller@live.co.uk
Phone: 07957917763
Facebook: http://www.facebook,com/comrademiller
Skype: s-a-miller@live.co.uk
Twitter: @Blogolution

Sally Keeble – Principles over Pounds

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This week we have heard how Sally Keeble turned down a nice little one thousand pound gift from ex-pm Tony Blair, though not the only one to turn down the money, we would be fooling ourselves if we thought this had anything to do with a principled stance of the ex-pm.

Sally Keeble was elected in 1997 alongside 101 women that were effectionally known as the Blair babes, and throughout Mr.Blairs government a staunch ally, as her voting record shows. She only voted against the Blair government a handful of times. You can find Sally’s voting record here: http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.php?mpn=Sally_Keeble&mpc=Northampton_North

Her Blairite credentials go even deeper than this, when she started throwing punches at the new PM Gordon Brown, sticking the knife into him only 18 months after he became PM. As we now know there was a legendary feud between Blair and Brown, so it doesn’t take genius to work out which side of the fence she sat on.

Sally voted for the war in Iraq, so it makes no sense for her turning the money down over that, so what other reasons does she have for saying no? Maybe, a political stunt in order to try and distance herself from a government she was in bed with.

It would be unfair of me to not say why Sally Keeble herself told us she turned down the money, it was because:“I actually believe that British Politics, and particularly at election time, should be funded very clearly by British money.”

Her refusal then serves two purposes, it is a rather obvious attempt to distance herself from brand Blair, and a more subtle attempt to appear nationalistic to try and poach some UKIP voters.

So there you have it according to Sally, British elections need to be fought with “British money”, we can assume she only wants British people being members of the Labour party in Northampton, not to mention the Trade Unions, hopefully she will vote against and fight against any donations from multinational corporations to the Labour party (like hell she will).

This is far from being some kind of grand gesture or some kind of principled stance, Tony Blair could keep his money because Sally already has his principles. Hopefully the people of Northampton won’t be fooled by this shameful and spineless ploy, Sally was at the time and still is a shameless Blairite.

[each week I will pick a local news story and cover it with my own opinion, the news article this blog is in relation to can be found here: http://www.northampton-news-hp.co.uk/8203-Northampton-Labour-candidate-rejects-1-000/story-26138966-detail/story.html ]

One member one vote – but please vote our way.

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Left Unity a party that was built with internal democracy in mind, with yearly elections a prominent feature of how we hold the party to account. We operate a one member, one vote system, where ideally members are free agents to choose who they want representing them.

How turned off I have been then to see key groups within LU (no groups are recognised as a subset of LU, so these operate within LU unofficially) releasing list after list of who their members should vote for. It makes a mockery of our democracy, and is completely alien to the principals LU is trying to further within the workers movement, and the wider community.

The kind of politics I’ve started to witness forming around and within Left Unity this past year, is exactly what I joined LU to get away from. It was a breath of fresh air away from the sectarian ramblings of madmen, cultist despots and thought police.

It will be a sad day for LU, for the left and also the masses of working people that have been alienated by the left if anyone of these outside factions assumes control through majority representation on the NC, as we already know they vote the same, free debate and thought within the party would be finished, and as a result the party would be finished also.

Vote however YOU want, vote for what YOU believe yourself, vote for what YOU believe in – I don’t know kind of left politics you’re trying to build or be part of, but I’ll tell you what we don’t want, uniformity of thought, uniformity of process, – centralised control over how we should act. We joined LU to get away from these failed past models of thought control, and alienation.

Down with this democratic deficit, this undemocratic beast we have nurtured within the party and allowed to grow unchallenged, enough with this shit! Normal people unaffiliated to any of these vultures, without some kind of sectarian loyalty to this brand of socialism or the next, are going to be left behind, they’re already being pushed out.

What is socialism? What is the workers movement, what does it mean to be involved with left politics? What does it mean to you to be a member of the working class? I don’t need to look to someone for the answer, I don’t need to report to someone for “suggestions” – neither do I need to think about it, because I feel it in my gut, it is in my heart.

Some of these positions are representative, and I find it extremely difficult to understand how someone can truly represent sections of the party, if they being forced (coerced/softpower) to vote in a way which has no direct link to the people they are representing.

This is a problem that Left Unity needs to face up to and address, otherwise democracy within the party is a mockery, a thinly veiled facade and LU will fall even quicker into the abyss of failure, a train wreck and a failed experiment. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want that to happen.

How angry we would of all been if the current EC or NC released a list telling people who they should vote for, what kind of party do we want to be involved with? Like the Grand Old Duke of York marching his men up and down the hill, how long are we going to be stuck doing the same things over and over again? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Lets face it the left has been a sinking ship for a long time now, with groups diminishing in size and capability, we can either bury our head in the sand and think everything is peachy fucking creamy, or we can look at ourselves, because we can spruce it up with fancy words and theories as to why the left is weakening, ultimately we are to blame for it, groups are to blame for it. We either change, adapt, advance and grow, or we are dead, and we have lost.

The most positive forces which have come to the fore in recent years haven’t come from the traditionally walked path, like the FocusE15 Mothers, there is a lot of hope and new ideas circulating not only in the UK but in the world, so lets end this stale politics of the past, it is time for a new kind of politics.

The path to unity is not paved with swords, the road to socialism is built upon the cooperation and friendship of the people.