Save Kensington and Chelsea College

Things are looking up in the campaign to Save Kensington and Chelsea College, as these two reports from FE Week show:

Milton promises to find ‘the right solution’ for ‘precious’ Kensington and Chelsea College

The furore surrounding the future of a west London college in the shadow of the Grenfell Tower has made it to the House of Commons, after the skills minister promised to find the “right solution” for a “precious” community asset today.

During the regularly scheduled education questions, Anne Milton discussed the doomed merger plans between Kensington and Chelsea College, and Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College, which the FE commissioner Richard Atkins has scrapped as exclusively revealed by FE Week on Saturday.… Read on ...

Bexley/Greenwich Against Road Crossings (BARC)

Campaign to oppose Thames bridges at Gallions Reach and Belvedere –we may just have a victory!
BARC is a local community group formed in opposition to the building of large ‘road’ bridges planned in South-East London. In 2015 Transport for London (TfL) and Bexley Council wanted to build new tolled road bridges across the Thames at Gallions Reach and Belvedere – two large residential areas in South-East London. These were not intended to be ‘cozy’ little crossings for local traffic: the Belvedere bridge was to be 4 lanes and more akin to an urban motorway than a picturesque route across the Thames.… Read on ...

Early Day Motion on Bahrain

SENTENCES HANDED DOWN TO RELATIVES OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER MR ALWADAEI AND SITUATION IN BAHRAIN

This is the title of Early Day Motion 509 that we would like to urge your MP to sign. It can be read here on the Parliament website…

And here is the page through which anyone who needs to can find their MP’s contact details https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

If you would like to have a model letter to send you MP, can we suggest the following:
I write to express concern for the treatment of prominent UK-based Bahraini activist and Director of Advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei and that of his family, and urge you to sign EDM 509 to draw the government’s attention to the matter.
Read on ...

Do Not Let Afrin Become Another Kobane

Urgent Statement by academics and activists

We, the undersigned academics and human rights activists, insist that the leaders of Russia, Iran, and the U.S. ensure that the sovereignty of Syrian borders is not breached by Turkey and that the people of Afrin in Syria, be allowed to live in peace.

Afrin, whose population is predominantly Kurdish, is one of the most stable and secure regions in Syria. With very little international aid, Afrin has taken in so many Syrian refugees in the last five years that its population has doubled to 400,000. Afrin is now surrounded by enemies: Turkish-supported jihadi groups, al Qaeda, and Turkey.… Read on ...

HAITI : Caribbean Dignity Unbowed.

Release from the University of the West Indies – Office of Professor Hilary Beckles – Historian – Vice Chancellor

The democratic, nation-building debt the American nation owes the Caribbean, and the Haitian nation in particular that resides at its core, is not expected to be repaid but must be respected. Any nation without a nominal notion of its own making can never comprehend the forces that fashion it origins.

Haiti’s Caribbean vision illuminated America’s way out of its colonial darkness. This is the debt President Trump’s America owes Toussaint L’Ouverture’s Haiti. It’s a debt of philosophical clarity and political maturity. It’s a debt of how to rise to its best human potential.… Read on ...

NHS IN CRISIS – FIX IT NOW

March and Demonstration
12pm, Saturday 3 February 
Assemble Gower Street Central London WC16

The NHS Winter Crisis has now descended into a perpetual year round  crisis. A crisis that has brought staff to their knees and patients languishing and even dying in overcrowded waiting rooms and hospital corridors.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

It is time this Government stops blaming patients, nurses, doctors, immigrants, flu and the elderly for their shortcomings. It’s time they start listening to the country who is sick of empty promises from the mouths of cowardly politicians. The Tories must heed the call of the public, staff and patients alike who demand that the NHS is not only funded properly but brought back into public hands away from the waste and demands of shareholders and bankers’ bonuses.… Read on ...

Cat-Gut Jim the Fiddler

Ned Corvan’s Life & Songs 
By Dave Harker 
Wisecrack Publications,
2017, £20.00
ISBN 978-0995741812

The mid-nineteenth century is both very near and very remote, as we realise in this study of Ned Corvan (sometimes spelt Corven). The society depicted here is only two lifespans away – my grandmother (who went into the mill aged eight – factory at 6.00 a.m., school in the afternoon) was born into the world of Corvan’s children. Yet the differences, in physical experience and in ways of thinking, are immense.

Dave Harker, who regrets that “today most north-east children have to follow the ‘National Curriculum’ and focus on the history and culture of London”, has rescued from oblivion a remarkable figure.… Read on ...

16 days in 16 ways

16 days of activism against gender based violence is an international campaign that organises at all levels, including the United Nations, Governments, NGOs and trade unions.

It’s initiated by The Centre for Women’s Global Leadership, a feminist human rights organisation. The activism period is 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) – 10 December (International Human Rights Day).

UCU is supporting this campaign and will be using this period to focus on our priorities and suggest 16 ways in which branches and members can get involved. We particularly want to encourage branches to raise the model policies on sexual harassment and domestic abuse.

Read on ...

Strike for USS

UCU’s higher education committee has agreed to launch an industrial action ballot in the dispute over the future of USS. They have said serious and sustained industrial action is required in the face of damaging proposals from the employers which would effectively destroy the pension scheme.

  • USS pensions already LOWER than school teachers and ‘new’ university academics
  • employers can afford to pay more but REFUSE
  • latest proposals end guaranteed pensions and REDUCE retirement income for all.

Message from UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt

Since the result of UCU’s ballot in which 86.6% of members said they would be prepared to take industrial action to defend pensions, I have been trying my best to reach agreement with your employers on a way forward for our University Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension fund.

Read on ...

‘Unfinished Portrait’ by Miriam Frank

Miriam Frank’s mother fled Germany to escape the Nazis. This is a story of how Miriam’s mother was forced to move from one country after another as fascism came biting at her heels; mother and daughter moved from Spain to France, finally ending up in New Zealand via Mexico. Miriam was born into exile. Even when theoretically settled in New Zealand, Miriam found an emotional chasm between her and the other girls, though many became her friends. Finally Miriam came to Britain where she worked as a doctor and anaesthetist.

In this book, Miriam is hunting memories, especially of her relationship with her mother, who had been deeply involved in the literary world as well as for a time being a Communist.Read on ...