Gogwit is sorry to have missed the launch of this new party but is willing to offer practical support in your campaigning. Good luck and best wishes, Lynne and Christopher. I only wish that Labour had some good ideas in respect of academies and free schools. Sadly I think their offer is more of the same!

Hands Off Our School

A New Party is Born!   Communities Against The Cuts (CATC)

Launch this Saturday 12 noon at No 1 Bournville Lane.  Everyone is welcome.

Communities Against the Cuts will be receiving the keys to No 1 Bournville Lane at 12 noon this Saturday, 31 March 2012.   Its shop front position in Stirchley will offer local residents the opportunity to pop in for a chat and discuss the issues that really matter to them with those who have been involved in local campaigning against the cuts since May 2010.

Christopher Hughes, CATC candidate for Kings Norton Ward in the local council elections to be held on 3 May 2012 said:

 ‘Birmingham City Council is the flagship Council for the CONDEM Government’s ideological policies which are allowing tax breaks for millionaires of over £40,000 whilst at the same time creating an unfair Granny tax.  

Birmingham City Council has been all too eager to impose vicious…

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This event, as featured previously in Gogwit’s Blog, is excellently evidenced in Geoff Dexter’s photos and this footage.

Birmingham Against The Cuts

Last Wednesday, workers, students and claimants formed a mock dole queue outside the Council House in Birmingham in protest at this governments austerity policies that are failing this country. Watch the video of the protest:

The protest was called by PCS Midlands, and supported by Birmingham Against the Cuts, Unison and Right To Work.

You can see more photos from the event, taken by Geoff, at his Flickr Page here.

Spread the video, get the message out – Austerity Isn’t Working, Britain’s Better Off With The Alternatives.
You can find out more about the alternatives to the cuts and austerity at these places:
False Economy – Cuts are Not The Cure
Birmingham Against The Cuts – Alternatives
PCS – Alternative To The Cuts

And get involved with anti-cuts and anti-austerity actions.
If you’re in or around Birmingham, look at our Upcoming Events page or see if there is a

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Birmingham Against The Cuts

The Gender and Feminist Theory Research Group at the University of Birmingham are holding a half day Symposium on the Impact of UK Austerity Measures on Gender Equality and Citizenship on the 27th April 2012, 1pm-5.30pm at The European Research Institute, University of Birmingham

UPDATE: This event is now fully booked. A post-conference report will be produced, which the group will make available online for people to see, and we will post it here or link to it once it is done.

The UK Coalition Government’s current austerity programme is presented as a necessary and ‘fair’ response to a crisis in which the British people are ‘all in it together.’ Is it? Or are there winners and losers? Will the consequence be a ‘roll back’ of many of the substantive gains in gender equality in the UK since 1945? This symposium brings together academics, policymakers, third sector organizations and advocates…

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“That this conference, in respect of Work Capability Assessments (WCA) as performed by ATOS Healthcare, believes that: i. the inadequate computer-based assessments that are used have little regard to the nature or complexity of the needs of long term sick and disabled persons ii. the WCA should end with immediate effect and be replaced with a rigorous and safe system that does not cause avoidable harm to some of the weakest and most vulnerable in society”

That is what Scottish doctors think, as expressed through the BMA.

Birmingham Against The Cuts

Tomorrow, Saturday 24th March, at 10:45am, there will be a protest outside the constituency office of Yardley MP John Hemming. The protest will oppose the coalition government’s plans to privatise the NHS contained in the Health and Social Care Bill, which was passed this week.

The government’s plans will open the door to a private healthcare system like the one used in the USA. 49% of hospital beds will be handed over to the private sector and campaigners anticipate the introduction of charges and the deterioration of services over time.

There has been massive opposition to the plans from health workers, patients and trade unions. 70,000 people watched the trade union rally opposing the Bill last week, and thousands more have signed petitions to save the NHS.

Local activist Ben Rubery said: ‘Working class people will not sit back and watch as our NHS is carved up and handed over…

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And I’d love to know who will run the school when the shit hits the fan (sorry – but I don’t know how else to put it.) Who will own the land, the buildings, the fixtures and fittings when (presumably) the toxic mess is dumped on the doorstep of the LA?

Hands Off Our School

Just one year ago Caistor Yarborough School in Lincolnshire was found to be a good school with outstanding features. Then in August last year it converted to academy status. Now, as Caistor Yarborough Academy, it has just been put on ‘notice to improve’. The academy is disputing OFSTED’s judgement – you can read the story here.

What I suspect we are seeing here is not the rapid decline of a good school following academy conversion, it is simply the next step in Michael Gove’s plan for privatising education; stand-alone converter academies will be handed over to the big academy chains. Chains like Harris or Ark. These chains present as ‘charities’ but they all have profit-making arms. Even without the go-ahead yet to run their schools for profit (this will be the next step), there are plenty of opportunities for these organisations to benefit from ‘efficiencies’ they make in their…

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Budget Day ‘Dole Queue’ Demo

Assembling in Victoria Square, Birmingham, outside the Council House with its Pre-Raphaelite frieze and classical columns from 4pm were a group of people coming together to demonstrate against public sector cuts. The idea, replicated across the country today, kicked off by the event adjacent to Downing Street, London, in the morning was to form up as a ‘dole queue’ to signify the public sector job losses already signed and sealed, and in anticipation of the continuing attack on health, fire, police, armed forces, civil service, education and local government leaked in advance of the budget of March 21.
In Birmingham, this is what we did.
We had support from the PCS union, who supplied placards and organising skills. Banners in support of Columbian trade unionists, Moseley Baths, Birmingham Against The Cuts and Birmingham Uni students were in evidence and with various chant-leaders we started to make some noise.
At 4pm we were about 50 strong. At maximum the numbers swelled to around 75. Not a torrent but ideally located to be noticed. The event drew a crowd, and provided a training ground for aspiring chant-meisters. Believe me, ranting into a loud-hailer is far more difficult than it appears. If you don’t believe me, you try it sometime!
By 5pm, our peaceful, very British demo dispersed.
As with the candlelit vigil outside the Birmingham Children’s Hospital on Monday (19/3/12) evening there was no visible police presence, no sub-machine guns, no kettling, no aggro and no arrests.

event FB page link

Midlands PCS FB link

Birmingham Against The Cuts link




Candlelit Vigil for NHS

Following a flurry of micro blogging over the weekend a candlelit vigil in protest against the NHS Reform Bill began to form in Steelhouse Lane in Birmingham, outside the Children’s Hospital (formerly the General) and opposite the police station.
At 7.45pm when I arrived there were about half a dozen of us. Numbers started to increase. At around 8pm candles were lit and a number of speakers shared their experiences. The mood was calm, dignified, good-natured yet concerned.
By 9pm, when our hour was passed, we started to disperse. The numbers had swollen to around 70, bathed in candlelight, from different walks of life. Health service employees, users, teachers, seasoned campaigners, people making the first protest of their lives, male, female, young and not-so-young, ambulatory and those mobile thanks to sticks or wheelchair. The usual suspects were there but so too those for whom the Health Reform Bill has pushed, shyly, into direct action. Their first experience of exercising the right to make their opinions known will be positive. New friends, new alliances, new perspectives.
For those politicians and trade unionists who didn’t come – you missed an opportunity to network with your electors, members and potential members. Your absence was noticed. If you miss opportunities like this do not be surprised when people of this century treat you as an irrelevance. If you are seen to decline the initiative too often, the new activists will stop giving you that option.
They are perfectly able to organise themselves. An evening of protest repeated all over the country passed off without vandalism, kettling, riot-police and lawlessness. It arose not through weeks of planning but by a weekend of social networking.

link to the FB event page





“He (Cllr Dawkins) was then at pains to say that with coming investment it (Sirchley Library) would re-open for five days several years into the future…”

At a time, presumably, when the decision is not only out of his hands but also out of the hands of the ‘flagship’ Coalition council.

Birmingham Against The Cuts

The Coalition that runs Birmingham City Council (or rather, is running it into the ground), has decided to slash the library service opening hours. One of the libraries affected is in Stirchley. It is now proposed to close it on Fridays as well as on Wednesdays.
So, Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts turned up on Thursday evening to let the staff, library users and local people know that there are people around who do not think that nothing can be done to stop such “cultural vandalism” (to use Councillor Dawkin’s description of the decision to move the Bournville School of Art out of Bournville).
As usual, people were keen to sign the petition and passing motorists were keen to honk in support.

Then, lo and behold, who should turn up but Councillor Dawkins himself! He announced that the decision to close it for an extra day was his, and…

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