We need to talk about Diane Abbott. Now. (EXPLICIT CONTENT)

Diane Abbott has been a topic of talk, chatter, discussion, criticism – mostly unfair – and, most recently, speculation.
I am very pleased to share this excellent, thoughtful perspective on the subject of Ms Abbott, her story and why she is deserving of respect.

gogwit.

COOKING ON A BOOTSTRAP

This is not a recipe. I wrote this as a series of tweets today and readers asked for it as a blog post, so here it is. Our politics may differ, so feel free to skip straight back to the recipes if that’s what you’re here for.

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT DIANE ABBOTT.

Right one of us political writer people needs to do this and it looks like it’s me. Grab a seat. I wanna talk about Diane.
Diane was first elected as an MP in 1987, the year before I was born. She has been dedicated to serving the British public for longer than I have even been alive. Hold that thought. Understand it.
Diane was the first black woman to have a seat in the House of Commons. She MADE HISTORY. Her father was welder, her mother a nurse. How many working class kids do we have…

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Cut Benefits to Stir Up the Skivers?

So will cutting benefits push the work shy into employment, as we are told by the UK Coalition government, or will the effect of doing this make life even more grim for hard-working employees whose meagre wages are subsidised currently by benefit payments?

Here is ‘Ripped-Off Britons’ analysis of how benefits subsidise the low wages of millions of working Britons and it is shocking to see how many in employment are paid at below the minimum wage.

It is also eye-opening to realise, as I did for the first time, that the assumption made in the living wage calculations is that the recipient is in receipt of benefits. This is not the case, universally and the shortfall for those on this minimum level but not in receipt of benefits is substantial.

Unemployment Figures vs Numbers Jobless.

I’m posting this link to evidenceuk.info to EvidenceUK.info’s blog which uses ONS data to show how the headline figures on unemployment in the UK do not, perhaps, tell the whole story and, indeed, may well under report significantly the true jobless numbers, with 47% of those not employed not receiving Job Seeker’s Allowance, hence not included in the headline stats.
There is a link to further info relating to zero hours contracts within the piece, or via this link to evidenceuk.info which suggests such contracts have tripled under the present government.
This piece also states that the number of JSA sanctions imposed during the first 3 years of the current government has doubled against the number imposed by the governments in the 10 years before the current Coalition was formed. A clear implication of this evidence is that the UK unemployment statistic is not a credible measure of unemployment. Equally clear is the implication that the headline statistic is being skewed downward by a policy of withdrawing JSA and pushing people into underemployment – example here being zero hours contracts.

Gogwit’s Pick of the #LoveTAs Timeline…

Various posts on this subject have appeared in Gogwit’s Blog since June of this year.
Here are a few of them…

Let’s stand up with UNISON to champion the unsung heroes of the schools system

Pride’s Purge

Teaching Assistants in Woolwich ask the Public to Support Them

Cheryl Drabble’s “Dear Mr Gove…”

If you Tweet, make Friday 29 November a day to praise Teaching Assistants – using #LoveTAs – they are not teachers but they are key to the consistent delivery of inclusive education – day in, day out – in UK schools.  Do not let the leaders of your local schools make the mistake of seeing them as a soft target for saving money: those savings will likely prove short-lived and, over time, costly.

Use the hashtag #LoveTAs on 29/11/13!

Let’s stand up with UNISON to champion the unsung heroes of the schools system

please read this; view the video and join the thunderclap.
support teaching assistants – help make the head and governors of your local school think twice about treating their TAs as a soft target for cutting costs.

 

Leftstream

This Friday, the UK’s largest education union, UNISON is planning a special day of celebration of teaching assistants (TAs) as the unsung heroes of education.

With tremendous changes within the schools system, teachers and support staff face increasing amount of pressures for the delivery of decent education to children. Earlier this year, it was reported that the government asked the teachers review body to look at teachers’ contracts – with a view to them taking on duties currently performed by teaching assistants. This summer, the value of teaching assistants came under sharp attack from the influential think tank, Reform.

Teaching assistants (TAs) carry out a huge variety of tasks, working with teachers to help children learn and develop to be the best they can be. 

They provide one-to-one support for children who need additional help. One-to-one support are often not provided by a teacher due to the importance of delivering lessons…

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Young People Respond to the Strike by Teachers in London, UK.

It is my pleasure, and privilege, to share the following link with you.
Islington Community Theatre – 17 October 2013
It is a different response to the strike by teachers in London which took place on 17 October 2013CE.
Please watch, please comment, please share.

Gogwit – The Gogwit.

Shout, shout, up with your song!

Shout, shout, up with your song!
Cry with the wind, for the dawn is breaking;
March, march, swing you along,
Wide blows our banner, and hope is waking.
Song with its story, dreams with their glory
Lo! they call, and glad is their word!
Loud and louder it swells,
Thunder of freedom, the voice of the Lord!

I reproduce the first verse of Ethel Smyth’s “The March of the Women” (1911) in honour of the Women Chainmakers’ Festival 2013 – Saturday 8 June in Bearmore Park, Cradley Heath, B64 4DU.

Mary MacArthur – the pioneering founder of the National Federation of Women Workers – organised and represented the poorly-paid and hitherto unorganised women chainmakers of Cradley Heath winning the right to a fair wage for them and many others on a pittance. The strike/lock-out lasted 10 weeks in 1910.

Mary was also an activist believer in universal suffrage, hence my reference to this contemporaneous song, Ethyl Smyth’s gift to the women’s suffrage movement and its anthem.

So here are some photographs taken on Saturday 8 June 2013, Cradley Heath High Street as the banner procession moved from the Mary MacArthur Memorial to Bearmore Park.

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The weather stayed fine. Gogwit was on duty as a TUC steward, closing off the High Street to allow safe passage to the procession, hence the sparse and relatively poor quality pictures from my iPhone.

A brass band – all the way from Durham – headed the parade made up of Trade Unions, Trades Councils, labour organisations and other activists, led by Mary MacArthur – actress, obviously!

I wonder what this dynamo of an organiser would think of the events that unfolded following her death, from cancer, in 1921: Of the great popular gains – she died before her ideal of universal suffrage was realised; Of the ‘Spirit of 1945’ and the Welfare State; Of a population who’d ‘never had it so good’ and the ‘white-heat of technology’ and ‘the-pound-in-your-pocket’ to Saltley Gates, The Three-Day Week, The Winter of Discontent and the conservative backlash – Thatcher to Cameron, Orgreave to the Riots.

Your guess is as good as mine but it is my guess is that she’d have been in the thick of it.