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Pendle Labour Party Blog
The EMA PDF Print E-mail
Written by Gordon Prentice   
Monday, 27 June 2011 22:19

I see the East Lancashire Colleges have come up with a package to support struggling students who are losing their EMA.

Last November, Pendle’s MP, Andrew Stephenson, famously declared he was a great fan of the EMA. 

I am a fan of EMA; 65% of students in my constituency going to Nelson and Colne College receive EMA. The Government are not scrapping EMA; they are simply replacing it with more targeted support.

We wait to hear how many (and what percentage) of students at Nelson and Colne College who used to get EMA will qualify for its replacement.

The College will have the thankless task of deciding who gets help and who doesn’t.


Read the original article on Gordon's Blog.

Hats off to the Tories – but don’t doff the cap! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Julian Jordan   
Thursday, 23 June 2011 16:07

You’ll be hard pressed to find a Labour supporter who admires the Tories. But in one crucial area I take my hat off to them – they are an election-winning machine. On polling day, their activists are out in force, ferrying people to polling stations and ensuring they get their vote out.

It doesn’t stop there though – because every week of the year local Tory associations do their Jam and Jerusalem style events, firing up the Blue-rinse brigade and seeing to it that come the day an election is called, the whole of the local membership is motivated and ready to go.

In winning elections they do also have some other crucial advantages. They have the massive financial support of ultra-rich backers (non-doms etc), they have the overt support of broad sections of national media and they have the confidence born of a misplaced arrogance that they are somehow the natural party of government. In short, they think they are born to rule. It’s possibly a delusional throw back to the aristocratic roots of their party, but there you have it.

The problem with this for us as Labour supporters is that we – conversely – have a slight deference.  After all, nineteen of the current Tory MPs were schooled at Eton and two thirds of them were privately educated – I’m pretty sure that there aren’t any MPs who went to Edge End in Nelson, like I did!

So their elitist education and rich backgrounds mean that the Tories see themselves in power as the natural order of things. Conversely, we don’t perceive ourselves as the natural inheritors of power – but then, nor should we!

My view is that it’s time we turned this to our advantage. The Tories will do anything for power – good grief, they even got the Lib Dems involved, so desperate was their clamour! Our road back to power should be one that is informed by something more enlightened.

We don’t want power for power’s sake – we want power because we share fundamental principles. The core principles of seeking a freer, fairer, more equal society, and an end to want and ignorance should be sufficient to motivate us to fight for victory.

Acting upon those principles will make a better society, give us better government and hopefully, finally put an end to Labour deference and Tory arrogance. In practice, the delivery of these principles sees us working positively for a National Health Service free at the point of need. Our principles mean that as a party we are uniquely committed to a world-class education system that is a right, not a privilege. And our principles see us committed to the extension of opportunity to all, rather than the imposition of the glass ceiling we’re seeing from this Tory-led government.

In Pendle, the application of these principles is even more urgent than in many other places. Whilst living here in such a beautiful part of the country and amongst so many fantastic people should never be underestimated, we can’t overlook some of the unique challenges we face. Our traditional industries have all but gone and we need to address how we redefine Pendle. My view is that this process is best served by a Labour government nationally, as well as a Labour MP and a Labour council for Pendle.

So come on – let’s beat the Tories at their own game and build our own election winning machine in Pendle!  By all means you can take your hat off to their election winning machine, but don’t doff the cap, eh?

The £260m cost of the war undermines Osborne's claim that "the cupboard is bare" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Keir Hardie's Cat   
Thursday, 23 June 2011 14:17

If the cupboard is so bare that Slasher needs to burn the state to the ground, how come there's £260M++ for a little adventure in Libya?  Go figure!

'Gardening leave' for surgeon who railed at Clegg and Cameron PDF Print E-mail
Written by Julian Jordan   
Thursday, 23 June 2011 13:30

It was a vintage piece of political theatre when a photocall by David Cameron and Nick Clegg at Guy's Hospital was disrupted last week by a disgruntled surgeon objecting to the poor compliance of the camera crew with hygiene regulations.  A clip of the incident went viral on Youtube.

Lone mothers 'worst hit by cuts' PDF Print E-mail
Written by Julian Jordan   
Thursday, 23 June 2011 13:28

Same old Tories...

Single mothers will be hardest hit by the government's programme of benefit cuts and tax rises, says the Fawcett Society. Blog PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tim Ellis   
Wednesday, 22 June 2011 11:01

There is a brilliant blog on the ongoing saga of this governments treatment of the NHS and Social Care.

The blog combines both being witty, very witty and profound at the same time.

The blog is here

Happy reading, be informed and enjoy!.


Pension Strikes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tim Ellis   
Wednesday, 22 June 2011 10:55

On June 30th 750, 000 public sector workers will go on strike over pensions.

In the Autumn it is likely that 3 million public sector workers (including the NHS and Local Government, as well as Schools, Universities Civil Service etc) will go on strike. And I will be one of them.

We will be going on strike because the government is proposing to massively cut our pensions. To be more precise the government is saying we have to pay higher pension contribution, work longer and get a 30% average reduction in pension.

The government says the public sector pensions are not affordable and cost the country £3 billion a year to support. And this is after the government fiddled the rules in the last budget and decided to take a special £5 billion per year out of the public sector pension pot, So it is now making a loss.

Is it true that the 6th richest country in the world cant afford public sector pension?. Well it can there is huge tax avoidance by the very wealthy in the UK which can be used to plug any created pension gap. Tax avoidance runs at £120 billion a year. According to the National Audit Office 220 of the top 700 companies in the UK avoid paying corporation tax. As an example Vodaphone UK avoids paying tax to the tune of £3.2 billion annually (but is bidding for the next round of mobile phone contracts).

So should 3 million public sector workers have their and their families pensions cut or should Vodaphone UK continue to be allowed to tax avoid? I think I know the answer to that.

I also know that the government will say that Public workers should not have half ecent pensions when the private sector have poor and sometimes no pension, Well I agree with that. The private sector indeed all working people should have decent final salary full pensions. It will cost of course and is estimated to cost £20 billion a year. We should do it. Should private sector workers and their families get full decent final year salary pensions or should 5 other companies like Vodaphone continue to tax avoid every year. I think I know the answer to that.

I encourage all ordinary working people of Pendle to support the Pension disputes.

We and our families need full pensions.

The Cuts are hurting but not working PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tim Ellis   
Wednesday, 22 June 2011 10:50

Its encouraging that a major group of economists have written to The Observer calling on the Government to move to a Plan B and abandon its cuts in public services and welfare.

Its discouraging but all too predictable that this Government has said that it is 'steady as she goes' with the cuts as our country's economy continues in stagnation.

We know the cuts are hurting but we also know they are not working.

Our country's problem is that we have two and a half million unemployed since the bankers collapsed the economy in 2008. The unemployed, and its not their fault, damage our tax base and cause our country to lose billions in tax and national insurance income, as well as cost billions in benefits. This problem is exacerbated by the billions (£120 billion to be precise) lost by tax avoidance by the very rich, including shamefully by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

We should be investing to get people back to work as in the 1930's (remember Keynes?) and as after the second world war, and as in Japan (after a decade of cuts and stagnation) in the late 1990's.

Our country can, indeed must afford it. The UK's debt ratio indeed is the lowest of the advanced economies. You won't hear the Government say this, they will say that the country has 'maxed out' its credit card and is near bankrupt. That's a big spin to justify their small state approach, but the UK's debt ratio is 76%, Germany's is 79%, France's is 83%, Italy's is 118% and Japan's is 226% (source CIA Factbook)

So we must invest to get people back to work (one in five young people are unemployed).

In mid 2010 before the cuts the UK economy was recovering and growth was 2.5%, now as the cuts bite growth is down, and ongoing stagnation looms.

It quite simple and basic, people in work are productive economically, socially and morally.

If the Government won't go for Plan B, then this Government must go.

Plead Not-Guilty, Get Good Health-Care PDF Print E-mail
Written by Keir Hardie's Cat   
Tuesday, 21 June 2011 17:27

In the USA there is no NHS and the anti-Obama camp and other tea-leaves are fighting tooth and nail to prevent one being created.  So how does one get health care when you have no money?  Well unemployed Richard James Verone decided that the only logical thing to do was to get himself put in jail.  He went into a bank, handed a note to the teller saying he had a gun and that the teller should hand over $1.  He then went and sat down and wait to be arrested.  They get free health care in jail.  Good job Ken Clarke's reforms never got passed - when Lansley sells off the NHS folks would have had to plead not-guilty to get health-care!

‘Any Questions’ comes to Pendle PDF Print E-mail
Written by Keir Hardie's Cat   
Tuesday, 21 June 2011 11:10

Anyone fancy asking the distinguished, yet currently unknown, panel of question answerers anything about political, moral and social issues which are of national interest?  The long-running Radio 4 programme, "Any Questions" is being broadcast from Nelson on 19 August 2011.  Run on down to the ACE Centre in Nelson, or give them a call on 01282 661080 and they will reserve you free tickets to be picked up on the day - numbers are limited; 1st come, 1st served!

Maybe someone can ask pertinent questions about the "maxed-out credit card" or the "brink of bankruptcy" and why Slasher is so keen to subject the UK to scorched-earth policies.

Exiled for stealing bread... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Keir Hardie's Cat   
Saturday, 18 June 2011 16:47

Is this the modern day equivalent of shipping someone off to a foreign land on the allegation of a trivial crime?  Whether Sheffield Hallam University student, Richard O'Dwyer, 23, is guilty or not of maintaining a website that tells people where they can download copyrighted material, should we really be extraditing him to the USA to be tried there?  Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield, and shadow education minister, Toby Perkins also thinks this is an over-the-top action.  Who runs this country, the government or big-media?  We have sufficient legal process in the UK to deal with this, we don't need US involvement.

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The articles are written by individual members so do not necessarily represent the view of Pendle Labour Party.