Well I’d better reblog this!

Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Ipswich Unemployed Action can reveal A4e’s performance on the Work Programme.

Despite clear instructions not to reveal ANY information on the scheme, A4e decided to publish the statistics on its website. I assume they don’t understand the clear instruction of not to defraud the taxpayer either!

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Birmingham Against The Cuts

Activists from Handsworth Against The Cuts (HATC) lobbied MP Khalid Mahmood’s constituency surgery about the the council’s attempt to privatise the leisure centres. Concern was expressed by the MP’s
representatives and also a willingness to have attend/ hold a public meeting. We were also told that the councillors in the ward were against the privatisation. Other HATC activists had attended a Handsworth community conference and had raised the issue there that morning as well, so the pressure is being applied.

On the same day a stall was done at the Leisure Centre, we now have 489 signatures opposing privatisation, not including the petitions that people have taken away to get friends, neighbours and family to sign. There is a great depth of feeling on the subject…

Saturday 10th March is a day of action on Leisure Centre privatisation with stalls being held around Birmingham – see here for details

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The usual mealy-mouthed excuses and evasions from the increasingly tattered ConDem flagship. Guess they plan to flog Millmead off in the next lot of redundant council buildings?
If they carry on cutting jobs and services the largest local authority in Europe will take on the appearance of the ‘Marie Celeste.’

Birmingham Against The Cuts

Millmead children’s home was opened in 2004 to help young people to prepare for life after care. In the home, young people aged 15½ – 17 can learn the skills they need to live on their own.

Young people leaving care are some of the most disadvantaged in the city. They are over-represented in the prison population and among the homeless and more likely to be unemployed.

Yet despite this, the council are determined to push on with their program of cuts. They want to shut the doors by March 31st.

We know that with the support of local people, staff and residents we can win a campaign to save the home, just like staff and parents at Charles House respite centre who won their recent campaign to stay open.

The council have given two reasons they want to close the home:

Under capacity?

The council says the home is…

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Birmingham Against The Cuts

Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts work on local issues around the south and south west of Birmingham. They have been involved in the campaigns that stopped the closure of Charles House, and saw Bournville School reject academy status. Never content to rest on their laurels, the group have a busy March planned:

1) Protest outside Kings Norton Library. (against cutting opening hours from 5 days to 4) Meet at 5pm, Thursday March 8th. Pershore Road South (near the Green).
We will go on to the ward committee at 7pm.

2) Protest at Ward Committee of Bartley Green about closure of Millmeads Childrens home. (details later)

3) Protest outside Northfield Sports and Leisure Centre over its proposed privatisation. Saturday 10th March. 11am outside the baths.

4) Protest outside Stirchley Library 15th March.

5) Weoley Castle Circle protest over Millmeads. Sat 17th March

We will update…

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Plenty to campaign on then. I’ll say ‘Roll on May’ in the hope of a change of control in the Council, in the fond hope of a change of direction and priorities. What you say about pushing changes through – a scorched earth policy? – is a worrying situation. Maybe they won’t joke about having spent all the money!

Birmingham Against The Cuts

Today from 2pm, Birmingham City Council meet to debate and vote on the budget for 2012/13. Over the last 6 months, consultations have been ignored or sidelined by the ConDem coalition locally, in favour of rushing through as many cuts as possible before they lose control of the council at the local elections in May.
With over 200 pages and £100m of cuts being made, we’re not going to list everything here. The complete budget is available here. If anyone wants to tell us about a particular cut that is going to affect you, or that you are aware of, please do so, either by email (BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com or by commenting on this post.
Many of the cuts announced still have consultation processes to go through or complete. Through the consultation process and alongside lobbying, demonstrations and where applicable strikes, with the support of the people who need the…

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On Class

MY VIRTUAL DAUGHTER recently posted on Facebook a definition of the word ‘snob’ and this set my mind racing to the sketch originally broadcast on ‘The Frost Report’ (but since rebroadcast many times) featuring John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett.
The three men talking about class has bubbled to the surface of my consciousness on a number of occasions as a result of conversations in which I have been involved recently, snippets of the satire suggesting themselves as exemplars and descriptors of current issues.
We do appear to be living in one of those periods where the British obsession with class, status and socio-economic labels are under discussion, undergoing analysis and are being heavily employed, by some, as explanators of the ills, misfortunes and injustices perceived in ‘society’ – by many as the reason for those negativities, while others will insist they describe much that is good in society and reflect qualities which will be our salvation.

People can – will – argue until the cows come home about this, there is nothing new in that activity. The British class system proves remarkably resistant to change, although I feel we may be near to a tipping point where, not for the first time in British history, the zeitgeist for those who are well-off tends to call time on some of the more blatantly unfair and exploitative practices of certain of their more embarrassing peers.
Look back in 10 years’ time and see if I am right.

For those who like British social satire at its best, I reproduce below the text of the sketch, with acknowledgement to the estates of the late John Law, the late Marty Feldman, and to the late Ronnie Barker, John Cleese and Ronnie Corbett.


(image reproduced with acknowledgement to the BBC.)

Class Sketch (The Frost Report, 1966)


(In bowler hat, black jacket and pinstriped trousers)
I look down on him (Indicates Barker) because I am upper-class.


(Pork-pie hat and raincoat) I look up to him (Cleese) because he is upper-class; but I look down on him (Corbett) because he is lower-class. I am middle-class.


(Cloth cap and muffler) I know my place. I look up to them both. But I don’t look up to him (Barker) as much as I look up to him (Cleese), because he has got innate breeding.


I have got innate breeding, but I have not got any money. So sometimes I look up (bends knees, does so) to him (Barker).


I still look up to him (Cleese) because although I have money, I am vulgar. But I am not as vulgar as him (Corbett) so I still look down on him (Corbett).


I know my place. I look up to them both; but while I am poor, I am honest, industrious and trustworthy. Had I the inclination, I could look down on them. But I don’t.


We all know our place, but what do we get out of it?


I get a feeling of superiority over them.


I get a feeling of inferiority from him, (Cleese), but a feeling of superiority over him (Corbett).


I get a pain in the back of my neck.

I sourced the script from http://www.epicure.demon.co.uk/3men.html to whom I am grateful.

A raft of BBC comedy sketches on the subject of class, including the above, may be viewed here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/collections/p00gs4vy#p00hhrwl