Thursday, 30 December 2010


Despite enormous pressure placed upon pupils of Parkview school, the majority defied their teachers and walked out onto the playing fields to express their opposition to the formation of an academy that would absorb their school and two other schools in the town

Concerned parents formed a committee to organise a campaign to oppose the proposed amalgamation of three local secondary schools to form an academy.  It was a carefully organised campaign and public meetings were well attended.  

Several local people were elected to the local borough council on an 'anti-academy' ticket and there was much coverage in the local press.  

The campaigners, of course, could not compete with the financial and material resources of those in favour of the academy - especially when the government of the day (New Labour) had promised to hand over 40 million pounds for the scheme if it was accepted....but NOTHING to upgrade the existing schools if the academy offer was refused. 

Borough and county councillors of all political hue drooled at the mouth and local school governors dribbled wetly at such a prospect for here was prime building-site land being offered up for the taking.  Not only that, but think of the highly lucrative contracts for supplying and maintaining the equipment of the new school......whilst the dumb local tax payers paid to run it without having any say in the matter!

And what of the teachers' unions?  Well, they were opposed to the formation of an academy and would have supported any teachers taking 'industrial action' against the scheme - but no Barrow teachers chose to do so.  Their pupils showed them the way but they did not follow.

The campaign 'fizzled out'  and Furness Academy came in to being because local people could not, or would not, continue to support the campaign opposing it.  The adults of Barrow sold out the future democratic education of their children because doing nothing was easier than resisting the plans of the profiteers.  

If nothing else, these blogs depict the genuine level of moral integrity of the local - adult - population and this probably explains why locals will willingly support building the new submersible launch platforms for American weapons of mass destruction, accept the transportation of nuclear material through their town and, in the region, condone the burial of highly radio-active nuclear waste in the countryside. Wage slaves take what they are given and are grateful for what they receive.  


Friday, 17 December 2010


Northern Region Trades Union Congress invited trade unionists and members of community organisations to attend a meeting at the Crown Hotel, Bassenthwaite last August.  Plans to resist  government- proposed cuts to Public Services would begin by dividing the county into three areas: North, Central and South.

Cumbria South, incorporating Barrow, Ulverston and Kendal, would have as its co-ordinator Deborah Hamilton, fulltime Unison officer for Cumbria.  No representatives of the shipbuilding trade unions or of Barrow Trades Union Council attended.  

Shamefully, apart from a single, very wet,  one-hour leaflet distribution in Barrow (see posting 1st Oct "Unions and Pensioners Unite Against Cuts") there has been no co-ordination in any part of the South since then.  

In November, a group of concerned people in the Kendal area decided they could no longer tolerate the absence of any trade union initiative and held a meeting of their own at the Shakespeare Centre on the evening of Wednesday 17th. (A similar meeting was held at Lancaster the following evening)  Both meetings were well-attended and Steering Committees were established.

AntiCuts campaigns are now being conducted in Carlisle, Workington, Kendal and Lancaster but here, in Furness, there is no activity because not a single organisation or group of people is prepared to call a meeting to plan action against the cuts.  There had been some expectation that Barrow & Furness Pensioners' Association, following months of campaigning on behalf of the People's Charter, might do so but this proved to be one step too far; the proposal was met with resigned defeatism and dismissed as 'impractical for Barrow' by its secretary.

Thus, in Furness, the way is now clear for any opportunist group (which has never expressed any interest or made any effort in the past eight months) to seize the moment and pour forth shouting against the cuts as if this is something recently announced. 

Two such groups spring to mind:  the egotistical councillor Hamezeian could declare himself 'The People's Hero' and with the assistance of the 'little helpers' of his local Socialist People's Party (he's got more 'little helpers' than Santa) and a very supportive spread in the local (capitalist) press, mount a self-promotional campaign dressed up as concern for the local community.  And guess who would be Chairman of any subsequent action committee........

Or the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) might call a public meeting.  The author of this blog is not anti-SWP.  The local SWP group actively campaigns on behalf of Unite Against Fascism (UAF).  Indeed, many of the aims of that organisation are shared here - it's just SWP strategies that can be a bit of a problem.

The SWP has called upon councillors to ignore the government and allow a budget deficit to be run up.  All very good revolutionary stuff, you might think.  Until you realise that  councillors would be held personally liable for payment of the debt and that failure to cough up would result in a term of imprisonment.  And the SWP response?  Then councillors should be prepared to go to prison!

Morecambe Bay & Lancaster Communist Party Of Britain (CPB) does not call for any councillors to be political martyrs but suggests that if councillors really have no desire to be held responsible for implementing savage cuts on their community then they should resign.
This would have two interesting outcomes: it would free them from unpopularity or risk of imprisonment and it would create a local political crisis, placing it straight into the lap of the government. And if the majority of councillors throughout the land did that same thing then it would become a national political crisis and, probably, the end of this slimey coalition gang now occupying the Houses of Parliament. They would be 'unable to govern in the same old way' and the Boss Class would be presented with a genuine crisis of democracy.  (See the posting  'What is a revolutionary situation?')

Perhaps the difference in strategy between the SWP and the CPB is now understood.