May 30 BARF meeting
Jun 10 Bath Animal Action meeting
After months of planning, Visions for Change 2013 will open its doors to the public at 11am Saturday 27th April. More than just groups with stalls, this year’s event features talks and short films, as well as the opportunity to engage with various groups active in the Bath area, find out what they are doing to make the world a better place and to get involved.
Yesterday, 12 activists from B.A.R.F., alongside supporters from Bristol Anarchist Federation, Bath People’s Assembly and elsewhere, picketed W.H. Smiths on Union Street in Bath, due to the company’s inclusion in the Con-Dem government’s controversial Workfare scheme.
Workfare means unemployed people being sent to do up to six months’ full-time work for one of many ‘Workfare Provider’ high street companies signed up to the scheme, such as Argos, Asda, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Superdrug, and Tesco, to name a few. Even though we already have an agreed minimum wage in this country, somehow these workers – unpaid and involuntarily – aren’t worth such a wage; instead, they are in apparently apprenticeships, even though the retail outlets they may be lucky enough to end up in after they’ve done their time require no more aptitude than that of your average school-student.
But no, Workfare isn’t about providing skills or opportunities – the vast majority of Workfare placements do not lead to paid positions. It’s about providing labour to big companies on the cheap, and undermining existing workers’ hard-won wages; why pay someone a proper wage when you press-gang someone else for free? It’s also about the taxpayer subsidising multi-million pound businesses; more than they already do, that is. But mainly it’s about easy money for those who’ve already got lots: after all, Holland & Barrett (who have only just publicly dropped the scheme) netted an unexpected pre-tax profit 19.4% due to Workfare, and Poundland’s profits shot up 27%.
And so, Bathonians were outside their local Smiths yesterday afternoon, handing out literature and holding a banner spelling out ‘Workfare is Slavery’, turning away would-be customers at the door and receiving passersby’s support, who already know that Workfare is plain dirty. On the same day, people took action elsewhere in the U.K., such as Brighton, Hastings, Liverpool, London, Oxford, Poole and York.
Revolution it was not, but, hyperbole aside, the Workfare program is yet another Tory wet dream doomed to failure – it’s been slow-going, but Holland & Barrett have just taken their place as another high-profile company keen to distance themselves from it, as did Maplin, Burger King, Sainsburys, Waterstones, Boots and others before them. Soon it will be Smiths, and then another, and then another.
This is the nature of people power: it’s often hard-going, it’s often dull and undramatic, it requires commitment and patience, but we can and will win.
The evening started well if quietly, the police were in the most part bemused and despite rumours otherwise had a great sense of humour about the situation. Being outnumbered by coppers approximately 8 to 1 we took our positions to maximise the illusion of our numbers should a nice chap from the Chron come to photograph us. As opposed to causing tension and bad vibes reminiscent of the battle of the beanfields, the sheer number of riot vans and police officers left us feeling safe and protected from the poisonous Clegg and the Bath Lib Dem Councillors.
A short time was spent pondering with our new constabulary friends where on earth our students could have got to in this great University City? It was after all Friday night and would have been the perfect excuse for post protest shandy and philosophical discussion in the pub. We had supported them not so long ago, where could they be? Would they turn up en masse waving banners and chanting slogans dramatically last minute? Were they in the Guildhall awaiting the Clegg? Were they in the Cells already? Did the serial protester, the man with the megaphone frighten them away with his dull monotone and frightfully upper crust voice? Or was it that they simply didn't care?
Suddenly, a car pulled up infront of us. The Liar Clegg had arrived and either foolishly or bravely chose to enter the Guildhall via the front entrance!! The 50 or so brave protesters raised their voices in unison.. "CLEGG, CLEGG, SHAME ON YOU. SHAME ON YOU FOR TURNING BLUE"! The sheepish and pale one scurried, head down through our corridor of coppers, up the steps and through the hastily closed doors. Alas too late! He was in
Full Story | Hands Off Our Forest CD | Anti-Cuts Demo in Swindon this Thursday | Demonstration and Rally Against the Cuts (Bristol) Feb 19th
How much expenses does an MP need to run his constituency office?Bob writes; In light of your recent revelations regarding MP's expenses claims I thought I would check out my local MP Don Foster and was surprised to come across the following information. “Declarations of interest: August 2007 - Support for the running of my office received from Paul Strasburger, of Bath, 24th January 2008; Contribution to salary of a member of staff in my constituency office from Mr Paul Strasburger of Bath, Feb 11 2009 - Contribution to salary of a member of staff in my constituency office from Mr Paul Strasburger of Bath.”
As you will be aware Mr Strasburger funded the cost of Mr Michael Browns defence team (as Mr Browns assets had been frozen by the Courts), put up his bail money and provided his home address in Bath as a bail address before Mr Brown absconded abroad on a false passport facing 18 charges of theft, money laundering, perjury etc., What concerns me is that Dons declarations of interests outlined above do not appear to include the following very large amounts donated to Dons constituency office by Mr Strasburger in 2007-2008 Full Article.
| DON FOSTER MP AND THE £99,000 DONATION | Election News: BNP blocked in Bath | Your planet, your rights! | BNP Exposed - antifa election leaflet | BNP: When We Get Power, We Will Execute Our Opponents |
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