Sunday 23 September 2012

East Brighton by-election - vote for the only anti-cuts candidate

Brighton City Council Byelection: Jon Redford selected as TUSC candidate

At the meeting on Tuesday 18 Sept 2012, Brighton TUSC decided to contest the vacant Brighton Council seat of East Brighton ward. This ward is a heavily working classs and council estate ward, including the Whitehawk and Manor Hill estates. It is Labour held.
The byelection will be held on Thursday 18 October. Our candidate is Jon Redford of the Socialist Party. He was seleted unanimously. At the selection meeting there were 4 SP memebers, 3 Socialist Resistance, 1 ISN (Independent Socialist Network) and 1 non-aligned socialist.
Paul Moorhouse is acting as election agent. Nomination papers have been accepted by the council today.
The Election Campaign.
We will be canvassing regularly from next Tuesday. All offers of help welcome! The first canvas will be on Tuesday 25th September. We will be meeting at 6.00 pm outside the main entrance to the County Hospital on Eastern Road (by the bus stops). We hope to canvas two nights a week (normally on Tuesday and Thursday) and on Sunday afternoons. Leaflets are already being produced.
The three main issues we will be campaigning on are: 
1) The threatened closure of care homes for people with learning disabilities
2) The proposal by the Green council to cut council tax benefit for people of working age
3) The need to build a united resistance to cuts and austerity, in particular by building for the October 20th demonstration so as to build pressure on the TUC for a one day general strike, and buidling stronger links between TUSC and trade union branches in Brighton. 
Regular weekly campaign meetings will be held after the Tuesday canvas. PaulMoorhouse\'s phone number if anyone needs details is 07934-535-986

Toads Hole Valley...down the plughole?

Dave Bangs writes.....


A decade ago local residents and countryside activists - including Green Party activists - campaigned for the inclusion of Toads Hole Valley and the rest ofthe Brighton downland fringe in a new National Park of the South Downs.


Aided bGreen Party councillor Pete West, a coalition of all the Greeand Tory Party councillors, plus two pro-downland Labour councillors, won the full Council vote to recommend an inclusive boundary to the National Park right up to the edge of the built-up area, taking in Toads Hole Valley, Whitehawk Hill, Sheepcote Valley and much more...


Later, the National Park Public Inquiry Inspector included Toads Hole Valley in his recommended Park boundary, submitted to the secretary of state.


We thought we had succeeded...and so we should have...for the case was open-and-shut...


Toads Hole Valley is a ‘pinch point’ on the long chain of the South Downs...almost thenarrowest point on the whole open downland chain...which is here reduced to a mere 2.6 miles wide. It is the point at which the integrity of the down landscape is most threatened.


Toads Hole Valley is thoroughly inter-visible with the rest of the open 1.5 mile WestBlatchington Valle(of which it is a part) all the way up to the Dyke Golf Course. Development at Toads Hole will bring serious visual damage to the wider National Parkdowns at the point where they are most vulnerable.


The A27 bypass – remarkably - does NOT constitute a major visual intrusion to thisdownland valley...and the whole downland valley is protected from the visual intrusion of the built up area by the spur of Snakey Hill (King George V1 Avenue).


Toads Hole Valley had long been judged as of National Park quality, because it was part of the Sussex Downs AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) in which landscape standards are the same as National Parks.


HOWEVER, a second National Park Public Inquiry to re-address boundary issues (chiefly in the western Weald) reversed the decision to include Toads Hole Valley.


NOW the Valley landowners and Green Party developmentalist councillors are having a field day


Their mad plans make NO MENTION that Toads Hole Valley was judged to be of National Park standard and is a critical part of that wider, inter-visible National Park landscape.


The plans cram built development all up the most highly inter-visible parts of the valley...on the higher ground of the Snakey Hill spur and up by Court Farm.


They put new greenspace (in the school grounds and next to the SNCI slope) down in the most sheltered (visually and aurally) part of the valley...the reverse of any rational policy of amelioration of the wider landscape damage...which would keep all the higher groundopen.


They cram a major road along the bottom of the Toads Hole SNCI slope and shave off itssouthern tip to accommodate that road – and shove in a mess of cycle ways, zig-zagpaths, and a funicular railway.  


AND THEY CRAM, CRAM, CRAM !!!...700 houses, an industrial estate, a school, a community hub, and an even longer version of the busy Snakey Hill road,


Why all thimadness ?...What is the wider context ?


A hyper-developing south eastern region, where the best rural landscapes and the greatestnational biodiversity are threatened with destruction, PLUS a low wage economy, PLUSsevere housing stress exacerbated by inter-regional migration of the well-off  in search of pleasure and the poor in search of jobs...WHILST the peripheral regions and poorer countries suffer under-development and regression.


These patterns of uneven development are an inherent feature of capitalism, and bring with them misery and environmental destruction.


They must be challenged and not pandered to.


A sustainable future for both Brighton and the South Downs depends onredistribution and the strictest environmental protection, NOTdevelopmentalism and cosmetic environmentalism...


60% of this development’s housing is to be not affordable...and most affordable’ housing is not truly affordable.


Yet 100% of this development will be environmentally damaging.


Over twenty years ago Hove planners rejected the idea of housing on Old Shoreham Road at the bottom of Benfield Valley because of the road’s noise and air pollution...NOW the Green Party proposes housing next to the Brighton Bypass with much greater traffic levels, noise and fumes...


Organise the community take-over and clean-up of the neglected and abused Valley. Wefirst did that nine years ago...and were praised by the National Park Public Inquiry Inspector for our efforts.









Dave Bangs Tel: 01273 620 815 September 2012

Co-leader Brighton and Hove Community Wildlife Groups National Park Campaign 2002-4

Co-leader Brighton and Hove Defend Council Housing 2004-7




Wednesday 19 September 2012

Ruin the Lib Dems' weekend!

Sat 22nd September Meet 12 noon at the Level to march to Conference Centre
Just a few Lib Dem pre-election promises….
Scrapping tuition fees – TRIPLED TO £9000
No more top down NHS reorganisations – PASSED BILL TO PRIVATISE THE NHS


Keeping Education Maintenance Allowances - NOPE!

Cutting rail fares each year – EXPECTED TO BE 37% HIGHER IN 2015 THAN IN 2010
And UK national debt is up from 52% of GDP to 66% of GDP...
Join us on Saturday to say enough is enough. No to Austerity!
PCS DVLA strike
Support the picket from 8:30am on Trafalgar Street
No to Austerity Government! Lib Dem Conference Demonstration
Meet at the Level Midday then march to Conference Centre.
Mass Picket of local Workfare Exploiters
Following the march there will be a mass picket of organisations & business who are exploiting the forced labour of the unemployed.  Details will be given out at the LibDem demo.
organised by Brighton Benefits Campaign / Brighton Solidarity Federation / Brighton Uncut
Lobby Council over Care Home Closure
Organised by Unison Meet Hove Town Hall 3pm
Protest Sussex Uni Privatisation
1pm Library Square University of Sussex

Organising in your Union for Co-ordinated strike action
National Shop Stewards Network Meeting
7:30pm Caxton Pub, North Gardens

Stop the Cuts Public Meeting - What’s Wrong with Austerity?
7:30pm Friends Meeting House
Mass TUC Demo, London
A reserved train is being co-ordinated by the Trades Council
Contact your own union branch in the first instance to book a place.
If you are not a union member but would like to join us on the train

Thursday 13 September 2012

Hillsborough - a working class tragedy caused and covered up by a venal ruling class

I was driving (don't remember where) when news started filtering through the car radio about what became known as the Hillsborough Disaster on that April day in 1989.  In that pre-Internet age news travelled a little slower than it does now, but I remember sitting there aghast as each bulletin raised the death toll a little higher. Six....fifteen....twenty.....fifty. I remember wondering how horrendously high it would go.

What was almost surreal as I watched the TV pictures later, was the utter cluelessness of the police who seemed to neither know nor care about the carnage which was unfolding before everyone's eyes.  These were after all football hooligans. - scousers to boot - just out for trouble.  It was already known that the police regarded football fans as just about the lowest form of life, to be herded, corralled and battered at will.

But what followed the disaster itself was the perfect storm of all arms of the British state - media, security forces and Government - used to cover its own miserable failings on the day and then to smear and blame the victims for their own fate.

This one had everything - police briefing a compliant press with a story that today's report has shown to be manifestly false, the tabloids only too willing to paint the false picture in the most lurid manner.  The Police Federation even had a tame MP, Irvine Patnick, to feed the media with more lies about the Liverpool fans.   Until today I'd never heard of Patnick and I never want to again. Some are calling for his knighthood to be taken away, but isn't this what he got it for?

The whole State operation resembled nothing as much as that deployed against the miners and the News International workers only a few years before.  The Liverpool fans and their families had become just another working-class community to be slandered and demonised.

From the Hillsborough Panel report we now know for sure that the whole phoney narrative that was built up contained not one grain of truth.  There was no surge by drunken ticketless fans, no violence, no urinating on or robbing of the dead.  Shockingly it now appears that nearly half of the dead could have been saved if the police had got ambulance crews into the ground instead of leaving them parked up outside.

But the media did its work well.  The myths and the lies persisted and continued to be propagated by the media and willing politicians (including the affable bumbling Boris - see quote above).  Earlier today I was reading the comments on the Guardian live blog - the Guardian - and even on there were people only too ready to repeat the stories that the Panel had just demonstrated to be false.

There are lessons for us today in all of this.  Firstly, treat any police account of any event with extreme scepticism. Hillsborough and a host of other events have demonstrated that the police will lie without any compunction when it suits them. I have seen this locally in relation to anti-EDL mobilisations, where Sussex Police have knowingly and brazenly fabricated events to make themselves look good.

Ditto - of course - the media.  If Kelvin MacKenzie really is "sorry", he could start to atone by telling us exactly to which organ grinder he was playing monkey.  Who was giving the orders Kelvin?

Finally it is worth remembering that even as Cameron was offering his apology, he is planning a massive assault on "burdensome" health and safety regulations - despite the numerous safety failings at Hillsborough on that fateful day.

The Hillsborough cover-up was designed to protect the reputations of the powerful in society, but it was also about protecting their social order.  And in that enterprise, those working class football fans were totally expendable.