Tuesday 31 August 2010

Brighton and Hove City Council pours money down the drain while cutting jobs and services

It was quite a revelation in the Argus that the process of recruiting the four "strategic directors" cost £120,000, very nearly the salary for each of the posts.  Most council workers will not be surprised at this kind of profligacy coming, as it does, hard on the heels of the news that the Council has spent £300,000 on consultants to tell it how to save money (I am not making this up). 

Why are we paying councillors and senior managers to.....er......pay consultants to tell them what to do?

Of course, government-by-management-consultant in local government is nothing new - it was a trend very much pioneered by New Labour, enthusiastically carried on by the Tories.

A few questions which you might put want to put to your local councillor
  • How did it cost £120,000 for an outside firm to fill four posts?
  • How does this represent a good use of public money?
  • How did it cost £14,000 to put together a website a sixth-former could have put together?
  • Was a comparison done for the cost of filling the posts using in-house HR skills?
  • How much is it costing to fire the directors who are being replaced by the new ones?
  • How many care assistants, social workers, youth workers, streetcleaners, teaching assistants could be employed for all the money spent?

Monday 30 August 2010

EDL humiliated in Brighton

A rabble of just 30-40 EDL/ENA members were effectively run out of town by hundreds of anti-fascists, assembled at short notice to demonstrate the city of Brighton and Hove want nothing to do with their message of hatred and division.

I doubt we'll be seeing them again anytime soon.

The fascists arrived at Brighton station and many of them seemed more intent on drinking than marching.

The anti-fascists kept them penned at the station before reluctantly agreeing to march away after the police threatened mass arrests if we didn't go to our "designated protest point" at Victoria Gardens.

The police played their "usual" role in situations like this.  The EDL march was only possible under their protection, and they "kettled" the anti-fascists in a cordoned area - even though there were soon just as many anti-fascists outside the "kettle" as were in it.  Many local people who had not been part of the anti-fascist march nevertheless stopped by the EDL "rally" to offer a rich variety of verbal abuse.  Just for an encore the police arrested a number of anti-fascists - one for possession of an airhorn, and the other for talking to the demonstration!  They also stole a quantity of video film from a photographer - way to go!

A number of speakers at the anti-fascist gathering drew links between the economic crisis and the cuts, and the superficial appeal of groups such as the EDL, who try to make scapegoats to blame for inadequate services and lack of jobs.

Below, some brief video from the day.

Saturday 28 August 2010

Build opposition to the "slash and burn" coalition

Alan Thornett of Socialist Resistance writes....

Britain’s first coalition government since the war has completed its first Parliamentary session. Coalition, however, is something of a sick misnomer. What we have is a right-wing Thatcherite, small state, slash and burn, Tory Government, propped up by the cringing Lib Dems, with a cuts and privatisation agenda which goes well beyond anything Thatcher herself was able to envisage.

Cameron has emerged as the most ideologically driven Tory leader of modern times.

The Tories took all the key ministerial positions in the ‘coalition’, and even now, with Parliament in recess, hardly a day goes by without the thud of axes and the chopping of services without the slightest concern, or even knowledge of the consequences for those affected . It is put forwards under the fraudulent smokescreen of the ‘big society’ and the gut retching mantra that we are ‘all in this together’.

Cameron’s latest ‘announcement’ is that the crisis in social housing is to be met by the introduction of short term tenancy agreements for social housing tenants so that they can be evicted at the end of an agreement if they do not fit a set of new criteria.

In the budget the ‘coalition’ proposed £40 billion of spending cuts beyond the unacceptable cuts planned by new Labour, to start immediately. The Lib Dems — whose manifesto promised not to accelerate the cuts —justified their capitulation on the basis of the “firestorm” in Greece — which had been raging long before the coalition discussions and was in full force whilst they were still campaigning on their now discarded manifesto.

The result is a massive cuts agenda will hit the poorest and most vulnerable in society hardest — and is deliberately designed to do so. This will also have a sharply disproportional impact on women. The Fawcett Society is considering taking the Government to court for failing to carry out an assessment of the impact of the Emergency budget on women.

There is a bonfire of regulations and regulatory bodies from the Food Safety Agency, to health and safety regulations, ambulance response times, A&E completion times and NHS treatment targets — with total disregard to the circumstances. Even speed cameras at accident black spots are being switched off.

The coalition plans to get their whole programme out in the first few sessions of parliament and hope that they can then spin their way through the next election arguing that some of it has worked.

Neither the Tories or the Lib Dems had a mandate for the onslaught they are rushing out. They both talked about cuts before the election in order to prepare the ground for them, but didn’t specify either their extent or their targets.

In fact they systematically lied through their teeth. Neither suggested that the NHS would be a target, quite the reverse. Cameron cynically cultivated his social concerns image and talked about how much he loved the NHS whilst he was busy endorsing plans which will take it apart at the seams.

He was just as cynical over the environment, talking about taking the Tory Party in an environmentally friendly direction. Now he is reversing even what little New Labour had begun to do on climate change - while floods devastate Pakistan and fires rage in Russia.

That the miserable Lib Dems have become human shields for such a right wing agenda is remarkable — even in their own terms. They have been comprehensively taken over by their neoliberal wing led by Nick Clegg and David Laws in the course of the coalition negotiations. They have now swallowed everything the Tories rammed down their throats —from a racist cap on immigration to the expansion of nuclear power.

They supported the odious Michael Gove’s slashing the Building Schools for the Future Programme — which is already hitting the building industry as well as children’s education. They loyally voted for an increase in VAT having campaigned against it in the election?

Their most dramatic capitulation was probably over proportional representation (PR) — their flagship policy — in return for a referendum on AV, which is only marginally better than the corrupt first-past-the-post (FPTP) system.

The Tories have now linked the referendum in May to a reduction of the number MPs (by 50) and the ‘equalization of the constituencies’. This is a serious threat to the Labour vote in England since it will wipe out the advantage they have enjoyed in the electoral system, give the Tories the chance to gerrymander the system in the reorganization and reduction, and make it very much more difficult to win future elections. Maybe this will convince some of Labour’s FPTP diehards to support a fair voting system.

There is a more liberal civil rights/law and order agenda on the fringes of the coalition policy, which, to Labour’s shame, is well to the left of what the Blair and Brown governments did. It is, however, little more than a crude attempt to keep the coalition together while its core agenda is carried through. Whether many of these liberal measures end up on the statute book we will have to see. The pledge not to lock up the children of asylum seekers has already been broken.

George Osborne’s mantra is that he had no alternative than to introduce draconian cuts because of the level of debt left by new Labour. This is rubbish. The idea of tackling an economic crisis through massive cuts is economically illiterate. It is pushing Britain towards a double-dip recession, which will make the debt even bigger.

New Labour’s crime was not that they spent too much but too little. They were right to stimulate the economy and to nationalise banks in the face of the banking crisis – though it should have been all of them and under democratic control. They should have created a million green jobs by spending more on public projects in order to deal with the climate crisis and lay the basis for a sustainable society.

Osborne has made a deliberate ideological choice, designed both to make the working class pay for the crisis of the capitalist system and to facilitate a once-in-a-lifetime reorganisation of society along neoliberal lines. They are not going to miss their chance.

Cameron made this clear when asked whether he would restore any of the cuts being made if economic conditions improve he said that this was the wrong way to look at it. The issue was not restoring the cuts but were making the cuts work and thinking about what further cuts could be made.

Ex-Tory Minister Edwina Curry has been even blunter, saying on Any Questions that tackling Labour’s bloated public sector was long overdue and she enjoys every minute of it.

Remarkably even as they swing the axe the Tory dominated coalition is currently winning the ideological argument on this. A majority of the population still think that the coalition have ‘got it about right’ on the cuts! This is partly because the augment the coalition are putting forward is extremely simple (or simplistic): if you have a debt you have to pay it and if you don’t you will be in trouble: though the comparison between public debt and personal debt is patently ridiculous. This and blaming Labour for the entire crisis has been very effective.

The real problem in combating this has been the virtual absence of any coherent counter-argument in general discourse. New Labour doesn’t argue its own case effectively and is hampered by its dismal record. The coalition are quick to point out that Labour were not only planning cuts but cutting when they were in office.

The media, which bought ‘the deficit must be reduced’ argument immediately after the election and has never faltered since. This has allowed the coalition to roll out its measures with little criticism in the media.

The argument against cuts is not very complicated. It is clearly better to create debt than mass unemployment. There has been no clamour from the markets to repay the debt other than that generated by George Osborne himself for political reasons. In fact Britain’s debt is neither unprecedented nor unique.

If there was a need to repay the debt, that wouldn’t be difficult. Cancelling Trident, scrapping nuclear weapons and slashing the defence budget would be a good start. Raising taxation on the rich — who were responsible for the crisis in the first place — and collecting the taxes they are currently avoiding would also raise very large sums. But these arguments need to be got out far and wide

The virtual absence of the trade unions is a huge difficulty. Most did nothing to oppose new Labour cuts and have done nothing yet about the coalition cuts other than wring their hands. Remarkably as the coalition was rolling out its plans the TUC General Council invited Cameron to address Congress in September, though he declined the invitation!

The issue now for the whole movement is building the fight back and maximizing resistance. Activity is beginning at local level to organise against the cuts. Many are already backed by local trades councils and trade union branches. This is very important and should be continued with the greatest possible unity. But maximum pressure has to be mounted on the TUC to decide at Congress in September to call a national demonstration before the end of the year around which the whole of the movement can unite.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday 24 August 2010

No to hatred and bigotry

The statement below has been signed by number of groups. There is a demonstration against this unwelcome outfit at Brighton Station, midday, on Monday 30th August.

English Nationalist Alliance Statement

We deplore the plans of extremist group the English Nationalist Alliance (ENA) to march through Brighton.

We believe this is a crank organisation established by a group of people on the fringes of the far right. However the hate filled views it expresses are so extreme and unpleasant it would be impossible to ignore this march and see it pass through our city unopposed.

The Islamaphobia of this group is typified by verses of doggerel that feature on its website, these refer to mosques of ‘terror and doom’
and call to ‘force out these bastards coz we aint got the room’ before telling readers to pick up arms and fight. Of the many intolerant and bigoted views posted by the ENA on its facebook page is one saying that Israel should ‘nuke’ Iran.

The far right politics of the group do not stop at this violently racist rhetoric, it also targets trades unionists. The website attacks Bob Crow, of the RMT, Brian Caton of the POA and Chris Baugh of PCS, describing them as being ‘anti-English’, ‘Sharia Advocate’ and a ‘shower of shite’. It also says that Members of the NUJ should be identified, photographed, challenged and ‘sent packing’ from its marches.

Students, socialists and Palestine solidarity groups are also targets for the groups prejudice.

This political combination of hard-line racism and anti-left extremism has been a defining feature of the far right since Mussolini created his Fascists in Italy in the 20’s.

The drastic cuts that the ConDem government is forcing on ordinary people to solve a crisis caused by some of the richest creates an atmosphere of insecurity ripe for exploitation by far right groups, just as they have done in economic slumps in the past.

But the cause of our problems are not immigrants, unions, multiculturalism of any of the scapegoats right wing groups want us to blame. When the ENA claims it is coming to Brighton to ‘defend the English people’ here they are really hoping to turn people against each other.

Our city is one that has always stood against extremism, intolerance and hatred. People choose to live here because of its culture of mutual respect.

We will not let anyone destroy that, for whatever reason.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday 21 August 2010

The strange case of the "unproductive workers"........

This morning, BBC News and a number of newspapers carried a report about a study by a firm of consultants called Knox D'arcy, which purported to show that local government staff were only "productive" for 32% of working time. The same study apparently showed that private sector workers were only productive for 44% of the time, although this latter finding got quickly forgotten in the mini-tabloid frenzy which ensued.  Obviously those who buy into the notion of lazy, feather-bedded public sector workers needed no convincing, but there are few questions which arise for the more sceptical.......
  • No-one, it appears, commissioned this work from Knox D'arcy.  For some reason they seem to have taken it upon themselves.
  • There is no mention of it at all on their very sparse and apparently rarely updated website - although no doubt it got plenty of hits after today's coverage.
  • Little is said in any of the reports about the precise methodology used by the firm, but it seems they "surveyed" around 1800 workers.  Where these workers were from and what form this survey took is not mentioned.  What we do know is that just 173 of them actually worked in local government.
  • We have no idea how the "productivity" of different workers has actually been compared.
What we do know is that, based upon this research, Knox D'arcy has plucked out of the air a figure of 500,000 jobs which it says could be done away with in local government, without affecting "productivity" at all.

How very convenient!

At a time when the ConDems are looking to make massive cuts and are trying to scapegoat public sector workers, along comes a firm of consultants with the perfect recipe!  And they've done a nice bit of self-promotion along the way.  "Hey look! We're the people who can save you 500,000 jobs!"

You won't get any of this from the papers - and not even the BBC seems to have done any real investigation.

Another day - a bit more softening up of public opinion for the cuts they have planned.

Thursday 19 August 2010

City Council makes an ass of itself...again

Hard on the heels of the vindictive pursuit
of Green councillor Jason Kitcat for....err...putting some videos on YouTube, comes the collapse of an attempt to prevent campaign groups having collection tins on publicity stalls - something which they have done for years.

For sheer pointless stupidity, the prosecution of Tony Greenstein will surely take some beating.

The stall which was carrying the offending tin was Palestine Solidarity Campaign, a group which runs regular stalls with said tin on display. This is in common with a number of campaign groups. As Tony explains,

"The Defence argued strongly that the effect of making stalls apply for a collection permit, when permits are only for one off events or at most a series of events, would be to make it more difficult to run campaigns such as Palestine Solidarity Campaign, No War/Solidarity Groups as well as the many ad-hoc groups who spring up over the building of a new supermarket etc.

"It was abundantly clear that the reason for the Police action, when Brighton PSC has run a stall a stall without police objecting to a collection tin for a decade, was that Brighton PSC had set up their stall alongside EDO-MBM, the group 8 of whose activists were recently acquitted of criminal damage for decomissioning an arms factory.

"The Police believed that both stalls were one and the same. PC Dodd, who carried out the confiscation, and the undercover officer in charge, Police Sergeant Baker, had at best a hazy knowledge of the law in question or even the existence of implementing regulations having only been briefed that same morning. PSC was caught in the middle of an undercover operation the Police had mounted against Smash EDO.

The case of course sets no precedent other than in Brighton & Hove itself. What it does mean is that the Police will now think twice about harassing stalls using their collection box as a pretext."

So it appears that the Council allowed itself to be caught up in Sussex Police's political vendetta against Smash EDO.

Most laughable of all, having ripped open this legal can of worms, the Council is now worried about having opened the floodgates to unlicensed street collections!

Serious questions need to be asked about this Tory council's attitude to political dissent, and the amount of public money they are spending on trying to close it down.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday 15 August 2010

Some pertinent questions......

These actually come from Greg Palast but I am happy to reproduce them.

  • As Lanape Indians died at Ground Zero when attacked by Chistian colonists, shouldn't we ban Christian churches from this sacred ground?

  • If it's an insult to have a Muslim House of Worship @Ground O shouldn't we also remove names of Muslim victims from World Trade memorial?

  • New tower @Ground O will have upscale stores, so it's OK for Muslims to shop @Ground O as long as they don't pray there.

  • Since white Christian suprematist Tim McVeigh bombed Oklahoma Federal Building,shouldn't we ban white churches from sacred ground of Oklahoma City?

Friday 13 August 2010

Do you want Pickles with that pork pie?

Eric Pickles

Today the expenditure of the Department for Communities and Local Government was "laid bare" in what was basically a manuevre to give the appearance of "transparency", whilst in essence being an exercise in political point-scoring.  Details here

There's nothing wrong, of course, with opening the books.  Nor is there anything wrong in principle with showing up New Labour allowing the frittering away of sums (however small) on senior management ego-trips and flights of fancy.

But the trouble with printing items of expenditure of £500 or more, without any detail or context provided, is that you can make it tell any story you want it to.  The ConDems. led in this case by Eric Pickles, want to use it as a handy distraction from the massive cuts they want to make in all areas of public spending.  So the story is "Labour's 12 months of excess".

While Pickles is attacking the "profligacy" of others, it also takes the focus off his own grossly inflated expenses claims, and his chauffeur-driven ministerial jag.

All in all, a rather desperate attempt to soften us up for what he's got planned for the public sector.

Don't be fooled.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

South of the Border

I went to see Oliver Stone's new film at the Duke of York this weekend. It is a documentary about the burgeoning leftist governments of South America.

The publicity for the film mainly refers to Stone's meetings with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela but in fact Stone has unprecedented access to a whole range of leaders - Evo Morales of Bolivia, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Lula in Brazil, the Kirchners of Argentina, as well as Raul Castro of Cuba.

Much of the film counterposes these leaders speaking with right-wing TV stations such as Fox denouncing them in the US.

Stone reels off a list of progressive achievements in these countries compared to when leaders more friendly to US interests were in power.

Fox routinely refers to these leaders as "dictators", despite the fact that they have all been democratically elected, and despite the fact that US has for generations supported actual dictators in these places.

The film has already been attacked as a "hagiography" of Chavez - in the Western media anything short of a complete hatchet job is a "hagiography".

But what is striking about this film is that these leaders actually get the chance to speak for themselves, rather than appearing as the usual media caricatures we get over here.

If you get the chance, South of the Border is well worth a look.
Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday 6 August 2010

Coward Cameron sneaks in round the back........

What do these two heads of state have in common?

A marked reluctance to spend too much time with their people......

When David Cameron arrived in Hove on Thursday afternoon, he decided that he would rather not spend any time talking to the public sector workers who had waited to challenge him on cuts.  Rather he sneaked in by the back entrance to get to his invited audience.

A pity really.  He could have spoken to the Connexions workers who do vital work with the city's young people, and who face unemployment as a direct result of these cuts.  But instead he took the coward's way out.

Alex Knutsen, UNISON Branch Secretary, said
"The "Big Society" turns out to be the "Big Lie". Children and Young People are having one of their most valued services taken away - it will not, as the Prime Minister stated in Birmingham earlier this week, be reinstated when times get better. It will be gone forever.
"I invite Mr Cameron to meet with me, at a time and place of his choosing, to discuss this matter. Much more importantly, I invite him to meet with the young people who use the service, some of whom have disabilities, and their parents, to explain why he is the cause of the slashing of Connexions. Will he have the guts to speak to them face to face, or is he going to sit in a "cosy" room in Hove, with a selected audience, sheltered from the harsh wind outside?"

We soon got our answer!

Short video of the protest outside Hove Town Hall

Wednesday 4 August 2010

A secure affordable home really isn't for the likes of you......

Cameron's declaration that people "shouldn't expect a council home for life" really gets to the heart of what this government is really about.  And it is no surprise that the Lib Dem "left" is showing clear signs of discontent.

Cameron's insulting dismissiveness of the principle of decent affordable housing really shone through in his speech. There is an assumption that council housing should be nothing more than a short-term privilege until people are ready to be moved on to the next poorly paid, insecure job in some other part of the country.

He was clearly astonished at the idea that "some of these people even pass these homes down to their children".  Shock, horror!

In fact, alongside the NHS, the provision of thousands of homes for affordable rents was arguably the greatest achievement  of post-war social democracy.  An achievement the ConDems want to destroy.

Part of the plan for doing this is to try to sow divisions between those in a council dwelling and those waiting for one - as though the real problem wasn't the lack of a proper housebuilding programme.

Housing minister Grant Shapps characterises security of tenure as "an inefficient use of resources" - though strangely he doesn't seem to see Thatcher's systematic flogging off of thousands of council homes as "an inefficient use of resources".  One might have expected a word of apology for this act of municipal asset-stripping, but no such luck.

Incredibly, Cameron and Shapps want to try and persuade us that mortgaged ownership is the only valid form of long-term tenure, despite the crash in the housing market and the banking crisis largely caused by toxic debt.

They have to be stopped.

...and a local Stop the Cuts Coalition is also formed

Trade unions, parties, community campaigners and volunteer groups formed an anti-cuts coalition yesterday to organise a united campaign against job losses and services cuts.

At the meeting called by Brighton, Hove and District Trades Union Council, held on Monday August 2, delegates from across the city came together to create the Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition in response to the devastating public sector spending cuts that are already beginning to hit local people.

Representatives from 16 local union branches, health service, benefit, anti-war, anti-racism, unemployed campaigns, voluntary organisations, pensioner associations and student unions were joined by Labour, Green and local Socialist parties to set up the coalition.

The group will be holding a public launch meeting in September to argue the overwhelming case against the cuts agenda and will be actively supporting any union action in defence of their members’ jobs and conditions.

Throughout September the coalition will also be helping to build for a Brighton Benefits Campaign public meeting, attending a lobby of the TUC conference in Manchester calling for a national demonstration against cuts, and organising locally around the trade union called European Day of Action against cuts on September 29.

Phil Clarke, a member of the Trades Council executive said: “Public sector spending did not cause the recession and the workers and users of public services should not be made to pay for an economic crisis they did not create. Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition has made a very promising start as a local campaign to protect those services, and we urge local people to join with us.”

Contact: Phil Clarke



Join the Coalition of Resistance

The time to organise resistance is now
We reject these cuts as simply malicious ideological vandalism, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. Join us in the fight

Tony Benn and 73 others

It is time to organise a broad movement of active resistance to the Con-Dem government's budget intentions. They plan the most savage spending cuts since the 1930s, which will wreck the lives of millions by devastating our jobs, pay, pensions, NHS, education, transport, postal and other services.

The government claims the cuts are unavoidable because the welfare state has been too generous. This is nonsense. Ordinary people are being forced to pay for the bankers' profligacy.

The £11bn welfare cuts, rise in VAT to 20%, and 25% reductions across government departments target the most vulnerable – disabled people, single parents, those on housing benefit, black and other ethnic minority communities, students, migrant workers, LGBT people and pensioners.

Women are expected to bear 75% of the burden. The poorest will be hit six times harder than the richest. Internal Treasury documents estimate 1.3 million job losses in public and private sectors.

We reject this malicious vandalism and resolve to campaign for a radical alternative, with the level of determination shown by trade unionists and social movements in Greece and other European countries.

This government of millionaires says "we're all in it together" and "there is no alternative". But, for the wealthy, corporation tax is being cut, the bank levy is a pittance, and top salaries and bonuses have already been restored to pre-crash levels.

An alternative budget would place the banks under democratic control, and raise revenue by increasing tax for the rich, plugging tax loopholes, withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, abolishing the nuclear "deterrent" by cancelling the Trident replacement.

An alternative strategy could use these resources to: support welfare; develop homes, schools, and hospitals; and foster a green approach to public spending – investing in renewable energy and public transport, thereby creating a million jobs.

We commit ourselves to:
• Oppose cuts and privatisation in our workplaces, community and welfare services

• Fight rising unemployment and support organisations of unemployed people.

• Develop and support an alternative programme for economic and social recovery.

• Oppose all proposals to "solve" the crisis through racism and other forms of scapegoating.

• Liaise closely with similar opposition movements in other countries.

• Organise information, meetings, conferences, marches and demonstrations.

• Support the development of a national co-ordinating coalition of resistance.

We urge those who support this statement to attend the Organising Conference on 27 November 2010 (10am-5pm), at Camden Centre, Town Hall, London, WC1H 9JE.

Tony Benn
Caroline Lucas MP
John McDonnell MP
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Mark Serwotka, general secretary PCS
Bob Crow, general secretary RMT
Jeremy Dear, general secretary NUJ
Michelle Stanistreet, deputy general secretary, NUJ
Frank Cooper, president of the National Pensioners Convention
Dot Gibson, general secretary of the National Pensioners Convention
Ken Loach
John Pilger
John Hendy QC
Mark Steel
Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary NUT
Cllr Salma Yaqoob
Lee Jasper, joint co-ordinator of Black Activists Rise Against Cuts (Barac)
Zita Holbourne, joint co-ordinator of Barac campaign and PCS national executive
Ashok Kumar, VP education and welfare, LSE student union
Hilary Wainwright, Red Pepper
Francis Beckett, author
David Weaver, chair, 1990 Trust
Viv Ahmun, director Equanomics UK
Paul Mackney, former general secretary NATFHE/UCU
Clare Solomon, president ULU student union
Lindsey German, convenor, Stop the War Coalition (personal capacity)
Andrew Burgin, archivist
John Rees, Counterfire
Romayne Phoenix, Green party
Joseph Healy, secretary Green Left
Fred Leplat, Islington Unison
Jane Shallice
Neil Faulkner, archaeologist and historian
Alf Filer, Socialist Resistance
Chris Nineham
James Meadway, economist
Cherry Sewell, UCU
Alan Thornett, Socialist Resistance
Peter Hallward, professor of modern European philosophy
Matteo Mandarini, Historical Materialism editorial board
John Nicholson, secretary Convention of the Left
Michael Chessum, UCL union education and campaigns officer
Mark Curtis, writer
Nick Broomfield
Sean Rillo Raczka, chair, Birkbeck College student union, and mature students' representative, NUS national executive
Robyn Minogue, UoArts NUS officer
Prince Johnson, NUS president Institute of Education
Roy Bailey, Fuse Records
Doug Nicholls
Granville Williams
Gary Herman (CPBF national council member, in personal capacity)
Louis Hartnoll, president UoArts student union
Sarah Ruiz, former Respect councillor and community activist in Newham
Michael Gavan
Mary Pearson, National Union of Teachers, vice president Birmingham Trades Union Council
Joe Glenholmes, Unison, life member Birmingham Trades Union Council
Baljeet Ghale, NUT past president
Jane Holgate, chair of Hackney Unite and secretary of Hackney TUC
Marshajane Thompson, Labour Representation Committee NC
Richard Kuper
Chris Baugh, PCS assistant general secretary
Trevor Phillips, campaigner
Stathis Kouvelakis, UCU, King's College London
Carole Regan
Bernard Regan
Roger Kline
Hugh Kerr, former MEP
Nina Power, senior lecturer in philosophy Roehampton University
Norman Jemmison, NATFHE past president, NPC
Kitty Fitzgerald, poet and novelist
Iain Banks, author
Arthur Smith, comedian
David Landau
Anne Orwin, actor