Wednesday, 25 August 2010


Under the title 'Northern Region Public Service Alliance', Northern Region Trades Union Congress has held a series of meetings across the North East and Cumbria to decide how to respond to the Government's planned spending cuts.

Although union-led, it is hoped to involve members of social and community groups such as Pensioners' Associations, residents' groups and special area voluntary organisations (health, environment, nature conservation, etc) whose very existence is now under threat.

At a meeting held at the Castle Hotel, Bassenthwaite, Cumbria at 5.30pm on Friday 6th August, assembled members of various Cumbria Trades Unions agreed the county be divided up into three zones: Cumbria North to cover Carlisle and Penrith; Cumbria Central to cover the west coast (Workington down to Millom) and Cumbria South to cover Furness and Kendal.

North Cumbria has already announced campaign meetings to be held but all remains quiet in Cumbria Central and Cumbria South (with the exception that Barrow & Furness Pensioners' Association has agreed to hold a meeting to determine what direct action is possible to support the National Pensioners' Convention demonstration in the capital in October).

Very recently, 50 jobs were lost at the Telephone Directory Call Centre in Barrow. The pharmaceutical company, Welcome Glaxo Smith Klein, at Ulverston is to enforce 100 compulsory redundancies.  Job losses of this kind are not simply 'losses'.  The work these jobs did has been eliminated and they will never arise again to offer occupational opportunities.

And for the people of Furness, that distant thunder draws ever closer. They, like the rest of the population of Britain, freely vote for a barbaric system of 'Profit before people' then wonder why things get a bit tough for them.  They appear to be incapable of grasping the fundamental truth that history is made by the people, not by kings and queens or prime ministers and generals.  

A better society can only be established by the will and actions of masses of people united in their determination to strive for it - even willing to risk their lives for its achievement.  That level of political enlightenment and commitment does not yet exist in today's Britain; which is why we are now in such a hell of a mess.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010


It is three months since the election of the ConDem government, a coalition of Conservatives and LiberalDemocrats, in which the LibDems are definitely the junior partner.

Much is being written about how those who voted for the LibDems now feel betrayed by the leaders of their Party. Just what did these politically immature specimens think would happen once their leaders got a whiff of the front benches of the House of Commons? 

If they really believed an element of liberalism might temper the savagery of a Tory onslaught on the vital necessities of the working class - supportive public services, a living wage or salary, equal educational opportunities for all, compassionate benefits, life-saving health care, affordable housing and reasonable fuel charges, and pensions that allow the elderly to live out their remaining years with dignity - it is time for them to grow up (or grow another face on the backs of their heads, just like their leaders).

When Britain declared war on Nazi Germany in September 1939 there followed a period of calm inactivity that became known as the 'Phoney War'.  Interestingly, something similar appears to be happening again in Britain today: the multi-millionaire Boss Class has declared war on the working class yet, so far, nothing much seems to be happening to affect the lives of ordinary people here in Furness.  They blissfully go about their daily routines of  eating, working (or collecting their benefits), watching tele and finally going to bed as if this is how it will always be and become annoyed with anyone who asks them to listen to the sound of the distant thunder of the approaching storm.

And what of those who (it is assumed) are the most politically advanced sections of the working class and middle class - Trade Unionists and members of professional associations?

With some honourable exceptions, the leadership of the Trade Union and Labour Movement (not to be confused with the New Labour Boss Class Collaborators' Party) appears to be as transfixed by the coming assault on their class as hares caught in the glare of a car's headlights.  And which morons of the TUC national executive  agreed the mouth-piece of the Boss Class, David Cameron, should be invited to address the National Congress this year? (The lure of the Irmine Collar never loses its appeal to ten-a-penny class traitors, does it?)

So what preparations are workers' organisations making to defend ordinary people from the attacks that are to be made upon their income, welfare and quality of life? In Furness, three groups have for several years consistently attempted to raise public awareness of injustice.

Ulverston Peace Group and Barrow & District Peace Council have regularly campaigned against the loss of life caused by illegal wars  and the immorality of building submersible launch platforms for American Trident  nuclear missiles with street protests, letters to the local press and public meetings.  

On the matter of the local nuclear weapons industry, the groups have sought to promote the idea of alternative engineering work for 'Green Energy' projects, utilising the expertise and equipment that already exists here, that would provide long-term sustainable employment and ensure the economic survival of Furness. An influx of innovative manufacturing industries would bring wealth to the region, prosperity for local businesses and the creation of fulltime, well-paid employment for the population at large.

However, not one Trade Union, not one councillor, not any member of Barrow or Ulverston Trade Union Councils, not one local business person nor any member of the local clergy or their congregation has seen fit to lend support of any kind to this work.  It's not too difficult to see what position they will adopt when the class war really arrives here.

The third group is Barrow & Furness Pensioners' Association which campaigns on behalf of pensioners in this constituency.  A delegation attends the annual Pensioners' Parliament which is held at Blackpool and organised by the National Pensioner' Convention.  The apathy of local pensioners to the work of the Pensioners' Association matches exactly the apathy of the general public to matters that will directly affect their lives - witness the incredulity and wonderment of the general public to the People's Charter stall on Saturdays in Barrow town centre.

What will it take to wake them from their slumber?  Only the 'second coming' because that's the only thing, we are told, that will waken the dead.