Monday, 20 August 2012

Facebook court ruling: What you share on Facebook is admissible as evidence

Remember when posting to Facebook, it is a public site read by other people, including the authorities!
Just a thought, but maybe circumspection is the best policy when posting across the ether. I love the way the piece opens in YTech:

"Did you know that what you say on Facebook can be used against you in a court of law? If you're sharing something with your friends, you may as well be sharing directly with the judge and jury:"

As though you're going to be dragged before the beak for LOLing at a mates dodgy photo; or have Lily law kicking your door down at dawn because you OMGed at a nasty story from the Daily Fail.

No, what has occurred here is an Internet eejit has threatened others online as well as boasting about violent acts he has committed. Jesus Christ, the man's a fucking moron, a liability to himself.

Keyboard heroes. Little people with egos the size of elephants who can't get it on in the real world think it is ok to act like gangsters on the internet.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Net the minnows: But also go after the whales

Oh dear, what a rogue's gallery of ne'er-do-wells, mountebanks, cutpurses, blaggards and rascals that the scum press have dug up for our delectation. 

Great, now they have identified these minnows why not seriously take on the big boys

Exchequer secretary David Gauke, said: "The government is absolutely committed to tackling tax evasion and fraud.

"These criminals have collectively cost the taxpayer over £765m and HMRC will pursue them relentlessly."

Quite right to set up a hue and cry against this assorted bunch of ciggy smugglers, illegal baccy producers, rum runners and allied trades. What sort of a country are we that allows such flagrant criminality to flourish without the full weight of the law to come crashing down to smash it from existence.

Well, we're the sort of hypercritical, two-faced, duplicitous, class-ridden shit house of a country where the scum press in connivance with a scummier government appoints itself judge, jury and executioner when dealing with common criminals such as the twenty exposed in papers today; yet, this same shower of self-important bumptious disgraces to the press fail to raise their voices with quite the same indignation when presented with the real tax cheats and frauds that cost this country not a poxy £¾ of a billion, but somewhere in the region of £120 billion every year.

So, scum press of the UK, fuck the small fry. Why don't you expose the big boys. The rats that deprive our kids of a decent education; the scum that cause our hospitals to close; the filth who are to blame for disabled and elderly people being denied proper care.

Why not shame:      

Philip Green for dodging personal tax bills of almost £300 million?

Vodaphone who were let off a whopping bill of £4.8 billion?

George Osborne who has the audacity to smash our Welfare State on the grounds of deficit while dodges £1.6 million in personal taxes?

Barclay's bank who were ordered to pay HMRC over £500 million in avoided taxes?

The PM himself, whose own father was one of the first to use 'off-shoring' to cheat on his taxes. Indeed that's where Cameron's own wealth stems from.

Sure, go after the 20 they have in their sights. But, don't take the piss and leave the big fish to swim safely to their off-shore tax havens.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Remploy's Final Chapter

Years ago I worked in the Remploy factory in Brixton. Tucked away off the main road a short distance from Brixton Town centre it stood in its own yard a 1960s build one-storey factory abutting a two-floor office building; much like any other light industrial unit in any of thousands of yards up and down the UK.

Indeed the similarity didn't end there; for once you pushed open the factory doors you entered into a veritable hive of industry. Casting an eye around the open-plan factory you'd have seen several production lines employing 30 or 40 people; while others sat or stood at individual workstations carrying out tasks such as soldering, complex wiring operations and testing of delicate computer boards and cards.

Bells would sound; signalling to small groups of workers break times. Off they'd traipse to a canteen at the far end of the shop floor, chatting to one and other; some engaging in horse-play, laughing and calling out to mates across the factory divide.

This toing and froing, hustle and bustle sound-tracked by the thrumming of tools, laughter and banter was the very theatre and music of industry.

However, this was a Remploy factory; and while replicating the average light-industrial workplace found in any city, town or edge of town industrial estate anywhere in the UK, there was one difference...all the shop floor staff and many of the white coats, indeed, were disabled.

In 1945 Britain had experienced six long and hard years in a state of war; now she was ready for a welfare state; and so Remploy was born. A company that employed disabled people giving them meaningful employment in a safe organised working environment.

From its first factory in 1945 at Bridgend, making violins, Remploy would over the years spread across Britain growing to over 10,000 factory employees in 84 sites.

So, what went wrong?

Thatcher and neo-liberalism is part of the problem; and, a lack of understanding of Remploy and disabled workers' choice, especially by the Left, and in particular by the purists within the disability movement, both contributed to the demise of Remploy factories.

Even six years ago when Europe eased public contract procurement regulations for supported employers, Remploy's board of directors sat on their hands. Instead of fighting for these contracts they made no effort; never bringing in more than around 20% of public contract work.

Then the axe came to drop; and 4½ years ago, to their everlasting shame, a Labour government began the mass closure of Remploy factories - 30 closed in March 2008.

A survey carried out, earlier this year, amongst the 2,500 Remploy workers who took redundancy in 2008 pointed to 85% of them no longer in full-time employment. The Class of 2012 can expect to fare far worse.

As an ex-Remploy worker and Branch Secretary (from 1996 to 2012) I have been involved with my Branch and membership in struggles to keep factories open since 1999. In that time my Comrades, from within and without Remploy, have tirelessly fought and supported the concept of disabled workers' choice.

In the last Campaign, beginning in 2007 and ending in 2008, the trade unions threw all their political and organisational weight behind the Remploy Campaign. Unite (still in its component Amicus and T&G state), the GMB and Community produced an alternative business plan; we embarked on a Remploy Crusade touring the country Remploy factory site by factory site.

I criss-crossed Britain with other Unite Branch activists attending rallies and demos in England, Scotland and Wales; yet, despite our efforts the factories closed.

Four years on the war recommenced. This time the government went right to the heart of the established disability movement and handed a purse of silver to Liz Sayce, then the CEO of RADAR (an organisation along with others that had helped stab us in the back in 2007), to supply them with a report on disability employment support.

Sayce played up to the gallery, just as her paymasters expected. She condemned both Remploy and residential training courses as too costly while recommending Access to Work to the government.

What you won't find within the pages of Sayce's partial findings is the true feelings of thousands of Remploy workers who she chose to ignore; instead she cited the views of the minority whose agenda chimed with her own.

Needless to say, Liz Sayce's reputation within the disability movement, as well as that of her new organisation (DRUK) who are still vociferously backing the government's closure programme, is much damaged. 

Fast forward to today. Despite a number of strikes across almost all Remploy factories; despite thousands of letters written to MPs, ministers, councillors and politicians of every stripe and stature by workers, their families, friends and supporters; despite bill-boards attacking this disgraceful action; despite a 100,000 signature petition handed into the PM; despite the double-dip recession with its attendant hardships of cuts and mass unemployment (most yet to happen); despite all these actions, this stony-hearted government, which seeks solace in its ideology, refuses to budge from destroying the jobs, hopes and aspirations of 1,518 disabled Remploy workers.

Comrades in Remploy, the fight goes on, as it must. Unite remains steadfastly behind your cause. If your factories close in the next few weeks it will not be from the want of effort from you and the trade unions, Unite, GMB and Community.    

Monday, 13 August 2012

"PLEDGE: Stop The Government From Taking Benefits From The Truly Disabled"

I have some very deep reservations with the above statement. While politically and morally supporting the fight against this government's onslaught on disabled people's benefits and rights, I take issue with the term 'The Truly Disabled'.

Here are the 'Truly' Disabled. Those 'Worthy' of our Respect.
Terms such as this only serve to bolster a view of deserving and undeserving disabled people; a view all too readily subscribed to by the right and, sadly, other working people looking for scapegoats.

A constant drip-feeding of stories in the Daily Fail, and other scum rags, about people fraudulently claiming disability benefits has captured the imaginations of all too many people who are willing to believe the worst in all of us. So much so that the incidence and reporting of disability hate crime is at an all time high.

People with visible disabilities are being challenged by strangers as to the veracity of their conditions. Strangers are shouting abuse at disabled in the street. Vision impaired men and women are being told that they are putting it on, that there is nothing wrong with their sight.

Very soon the distinctions between the worthy (or truly) disabled people will be brought into high relief through the Paralympics. Those doughty women and men giving it their all for Team GB will be applauded and lauded for bringing glory to the country - and good for all Paralympians from across the globe.

Disabled people fighting against ATOS will be compared with the brave disabled athletes who despite adversity are making a go at things instead of complaining about loss of benefits. Stories and issues will become conflated; and once again we'll hear of the truly disabled and the worthy disabled, as opposed to the rest of us benefits' claiming fripples.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Back of a Stamp or a Library...

A wag on Facebook posted the picture below, with the legend "Hey cool, the library on how to understand women"

Women are of such variety complexity and profundity of nature that it takes a library, as above to house the writings thereof

Preferable, I'd say to have enough depth and complexity of understanding to need a library of such proportions. Sadly, the type of men who post such things can probably have their personalities and characteristics outlined on the back of a stamp!

Sadly, the back of a stamp suffices for all too many of my own sex!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

ATOS Slogan...

During a tea break at work yesterday the subject of ATOS sponsoring the Paralympics was, again, raised. Of course the irony of this situation, given the widespread contempt for this company by many disabled people, excited a great deal of sarcasm.

Ideas for slogans bounced around, such as 'ATOS Kills all Known Scroungers', to paraphrase a famous advert for a loo cleaner.

Someone then decided to Google 'ATOS Slogan'; and the first thing that appeared was ATOS Stories: "ATOS Kills"


I rest my case...