No2EU – Yes to Democracy

May 19, 2009

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The ‘No2EU Yes to Democracy’ campaign
No2EU Yes to Democracy is an electoral platform. It is a trade union-backed alliance of political parties and campaigning groups. We believe the time is right to offer the peoples of Britain an alternative view of Europe.

The recent referendum in Ireland clearly demonstrates that the working people of Europe are not happy with the direction the EU is taking. The failure of the mainstream parties to represent this feeling has led to a political vacuum.

We will not sit in the European parliament in the event of winning any seats. Our candidates will only nominally hold the title MEP and will not board the notorious EU gravy train.

We want to see a Europe of independent, democratic states that value its public services and does not offer them to profiteers; a Europe that guarantees the rights of workers and does not put the interests of big business above that of ordinary people. We believe the current structures of the EU makes this impossible.

We say…

  • Reject the Lisbon Treaty
  • No to EU directives that privatise our public services
  • Defend and develop manufacturing, agriculture and fishing industries in Britain
  • Repeal anti-trade union ECJ rulings and EU rules promoting social dumping
  • No to racism and fascism, Yes to international solidarity of working people
  • No to EU militarisation
  • Repatriate democratic powers to EU member states
  • Replace unequal EU trade deals with fair trade that benefits developing nations
  • Scrap EU rules designed to stop member states from implementing independent economic policies
  • Keep Britain out of the eurozone

Our candidates

South East – Ten candidates
Professor Dave Hill – Former East Sussex Labour Group leader
Garry Hassell – RMT executive committee
Kevin Hayes – Ford worker
Owen Morris –Construction worker and supporter of Lindsey and Olympic site protests
Gawain Little – Teacher and CND National Council member
Robert Wilkinson – NUT Wokingham and District Secretary
Jacqui Berry – Medway trades council president
Nick Wright – Graphic designer and teacher
Nick Chaffey – Youth worker
Sarah Wrack – Student Sussex University

Read more at the No2EU Web Site

Read Nick Wracks Southwark Respect article on No2EU

Israel’s onslaught on Gaza is a crime that cannot succeed

December 30, 2008

palestineflagIsrael’s onslaught on Gaza is a crime that cannot succeed by Seumas Milne.

Israel’s decision to launch its devastating attack on Gaza on a Saturday was a “stroke of brilliance”, the country’s biggest selling paper Yediot Aharonot crowed: “the element of surprise increased the number of people who were killed”. The daily Ma’ariv agreed: “We left them in shock and awe”.

Of the ferocity of the assault on one of the most overcrowded and destitute corners of the earth, there is at least no question. In the bloodiest onslaught on blockaded Gaza since it was captured and occupied by Israel 41 years ago, at least 310 people were killed and more than a thousand reported injured in the first 48 hours alone.

As well as scores of ordinary police officers incinerated in a passing-out parade, at least 56 civilians were said by the UN to have died as Israel used American-supplied F-16s and Apache helicopters to attack a string of civilian targets it linked to Hamas, including a mosque, private homes and the Islamic university. Hamas military and political facilities were mostly deserted, while police stations in residential areas were teeming as they were pulverised.

As Israeli journalist Amos Harel wrote in Ha’aretz at the weekend, “little or no weight was apparently devoted to the question of harming innocent civilians”, as in US operations in Iraq. Among those killed in the first wave of strikes were eight teenage students waiting for a bus and four girls from the same family in Jabaliya, aged one to 12 years old.

Anyone who doubts the impact of these atrocities among Arabs and Muslims worldwide should switch on the satellite television stations that are watched avidly across the Middle East and which – unlike their western counterparts – do not habitually sanitise the barbarity meted out in the name of multiple wars on terror.

Then, having seen a child dying in her parent’s arms live on TV, consider what sort of western response there would have been to an attack on Israel, or the US or Britain for that matter, which left more than 300 dead in a couple of days.

You can be certain it would be met with the most sweeping condemnation, that the US president-elect would do a great deal more than “monitor” the situation and the British prime minister go much further than simply call for “restraint” on both sides.

But that is in fact all they did do, though the British government has since joined the call for a ceasefire. There has, of course, been no western denunciation of the Israeli slaughter – such aerial destruction is, after all, routinely called in by the US and Britain in occupied Iraq and Afghanistan.

Instead, Hamas and the Palestinians of Gaza are held responsible for what has been visited upon them. How could any government not respond with overwhelming force to the constant firing of rockets into its territory, the Israelis demand, echoed by western governments and media.

But that is to turn reality on its head. Like the West Bank, the Gaza Strip has been – and continues to be – illegally occupied by Israel since 1967. Despite the withdrawal of troops and settlements three years ago, Israel maintains complete control of the territory by sea, air and land. And since Hamas won the Palestinian elections in 2006, Israel has punished its 1.5 million people with an inhuman blockade of essential supplies, backed by the US and the European Union.

Like any occupied people, the Palestinians have the right to resist, whether they choose to exercise it or not. But there is no right of defence for an illegal occupation – there is an obligation to withdraw comprehensively. During the last seven years, 14 Israelis have been killed by mostly homemade rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, while more than 5,000 Palestinians were killed by Israel with some of the most advanced US-supplied armaments in the world. And while no rockets are fired from the West Bank, 45 Palestinians have died there at Israel’s hands this year alone. The issue is of course not just the vast disparity in weapons and power, but that one side is the occupier, the other the occupied. Continued …………….. (see link at the top of the side column under “Pages”)

Milton Keynes Respect Stall

November 24, 2008

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Note: The next Respect stall in 2009 will be in late May (on a Saturday same place and time) – date to be arranged. A new notice will be placed on this site.

Join us at the Respect stall Saturday in Bletchley

Respect members and supporters will be meeting late May details to be confirmed – watch this site) from 11.30am to 1.30pm outside the Coop, Bletchley, Milton Keynes at our monthly Respect stall.

This is an opportunity for anyone interested in Respect to turn up for a chat for five minutes (and collect your free Respect newspaper) or to help out with the stall for a short if you want – its up to you.

The Respect stall in very popular in Bletchley and lots of fun, we have loads of leaflets and Respect newspapers for the last few months to give away. If you think left ideas are not popular just come along for a few minutes and see for yourself that many working people in Milton Keynes are looking for a progressive alternative to New Labour.

Why not join us? – all welcome for any amount of time.

Our last stall Report: Once gain a lively stall with lots of support from the people of Bletchley and Milton Keynes. Lots of Respect newspapers given out and many people signed the STWC  “Troops Out” petition.

Support Milton Keynes Postal Workers

November 24, 2008

mk-march-dsc-0023Respect supports Milton Keynes Postal Workers (CWU members)

Milton Keynes March and Rally a Great Success (from the CWU web site)

CWU Eastern Region secretary Paul Moffatt has hailed Saturday’s march and rally to save Milton Keynes Mail Centre as “a great success that we have to build on.”
Around 500 people gathered at the closure-threatened Milton Keynes Mail Centre and marched to a town-centre rally, where CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward, the union’s Midlands Region secretary Lee Barron and local MP Phylliss Starkey also spelled out the need to keep up the fight to save local jobs and services.

And, as was evident at a similar protest in Crewe just a couple of weeks ago, determination to fight for this crucial public service is shared right across communities, both marches attracting a wide range of political support and backing from local business leaders as well as the general public.

“I was delighted with the turnout,” said Paul, “we focussed on the key themes of: ‘Save Milton Keynes Mail Centre, Our Jobs, Our Community, Your Service, Everyone’s Future’.”

With crucial national negotiations over the future of the company’s mail centre network set to take place this week, against the backdrop of preparations for official strike ballots at each of 14 closure-threatened mail centres across the country, a strong turnout at Saturday’s march was critical, Paul explained.

“The march and rally was a great success in galvanising all of us to step up our campaign to save our mail centre, but we have got a lot of work to do to build on this.”

“It’s not only an issue for our members, but for the whole of Milton Keynes, the general public and, importantly, the local business community,” he stressed, adding that, if this week’s talks do not result in an acceptable solution, Paul expects Milton Keynes members to strongly back the call for action in the forthcoming ballot.

Although the union has stressed that it will make every effort to reach a new national agreement on the future of the network, and will approach this week’s talks in a positive manner, the CWU insists that it is ready for industrial action if necessary.
CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward has pledged repeatedly that the union will “fight every inch of the way” against Royal Mail’s closure programme, arguing that the company’s “piecemeal” approach is extremely damaging, not only to members’ livelihoods, but also to the future viability of the company itself.
And Dave has also warned the company that, unless it changes course, and negotiates an acceptable new national agreement with the union, the odds are that the mail centres dispute could lead to a full national industrial action ballot.
Photo Credits: FILMAR Photography is happy for CWU branches to download the pictures but on the express condition that due credit is given along similar lines to: Pic(s) by FILMAR Photography.
More pictures at CWU web site HERE

Respect members supported this demonstration (the biggest trade union demo in Milton Keynes for years) by CWU members and displayed our new Respect banner for the first time (sorry no pictures).  Respect would urge all members of the public and trade union members to support our Postal Workers in defence of their jobs and the carving up and deregulation of the postal services as a direct result of “New Labour” free market policies. NO JOB CUTS – DEFEND THE POSTAL SERVICE AND WORKERS


Defend Council Housing

November 24, 2008

defendcouncilhousingRespect calls for an emergency programme of Council House building in Milton Keynes and the UK

Defend Council Housing conference by Glyn Robbins

On 25th November Defend Council Housing (DCH) is holding a one-day conference in central London. On the agenda is nothing less than the survival of council housing. Yet again, the government is attacking the fundamental rights of council tenants, for who Secure Tenancies have provided legal protection for a hundred years. At the very moment that a real Labour government should be investing in council housing, New Labour is trying to destroy it.

The economic crisis has proved, to anyone with eyes to see, that housing can’t be left to the whims of market speculation. New Labour’s housing policy is in tatters and all the arguments that DCH has been making for the last decade are being born out. Private developers and housing associations have utterly failed to build the homes we need. While house prices were rising, they were far more interested in making money than building genuinely affordable homes, leaving up to 4 million people stranded on council waiting lists. Now the Local Government Association say this could rise to 5 million as the result of repossessions. Despite this, there are thousands of homes standing empty in our cities, a monument to the folly of building for greed, not need. Meanwhile, as DCH always predicted, housing associations are struggling to stay afloat and are resorting to mergers, rent rises and – ironically – asking for more government subsidy!

For a fraction of the cost of the corporate bailouts, the government could invest in a new generation of council housing that would not only reduce waiting lists, but inject some sanity into the housing market. Local councils and other public bodies own thousands of acres of land that could be used to build top quality, environmentally sustainable homes, while giving work to thousands of unemployed builders who have been victims of the recession. Public money should also be used to invert in existing council housing. The cost of poor housing conditions are enormous, leading to poor health, impaired education and a range of other problems in working class communities.

When Margaret Becket became housing minister, there were raised eyebrows, but now it’s clear why she’s there. She’ll be the hatchet woman who tries to scrap Secure Tenancies. Council tenants won’t allow this and the whole of the labour movement needs to stand up for council housing, one of the pillars of our welfare state. Come to the DCH conference on 25th and join the fightback.

More details and reports HERE

People ‘crying out for an alternative’

November 24, 2008

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Respect Conference October 25th 2008 – a great success

Adrian Roberts at the Respect conference in central London

This article appeared in the Morning Star of 27 October 2008

RESPECT national secretary Nick Wrack opened his party’s conference on Saturday with a message to delegates that people are “crying out” for an alternative to new Labour and the Tories.

Mr Wrack, who was joined on the platform by socialist film director Ken Loach, left comedian Mark Steel, Communist Party general secretary Robert Griffiths and the party’s MP George Galloway, said that the people at the top were still raking in rewards despite the financial crisis.

“We won’t pay for their crisis,” he told delegates at the Bishopsgate Institute in central London.

“Ordinary people are expected to pay, but the bosses walk off with a pay-off.”

Mr Galloway thanked those who stayed loyal to Respect after last year’s acrimonious split.

“You can be satisfied that we have emerged as the most electable part of the British left,” he said.

Following Mr Galloway, Mr Griffiths pointed out that there was now a crisis of political representation of the working class.

“We no longer have a mass party of Labour and that is a problem for everybody on the left,” he said.

“Significant sections of the Labour movement are not yet convinced that there is a crisis of representation, but this crisis can only be resolved by the organised labour movement and we have to confront the weaknesses and divisions on the left.”

Mr Steel recalled that he had been listening to the “pretty posh” cricket commentary recently and the commentators were talking about how long it took to get into the ground.

“Then, out of nowhere, came the booming Yorkshire voice of Geoff Boycott, who said that Tony Blair was to blame because he was warned that if he took us into illegal wars there would be a security risk – ‘now, it takes us 45 minutes to get into the ground.’

“Chastised on Test Match Special – that’s the nature of the government we have,” Mr Steel said.

Mr Loach said: “I think there is a great sense of frustration and anger at what has happened with war and the financial crisis.

“The left have always said that this day will come because the system is built on a pack of cards.”

More reports from 2008 Respect conference HERE

Videos from the 2008 Respect Conference HERE Nick Wrack, George Galloway, Mark Steel and Rob Griffiths

Photos of the conference

Casi-NO! Campaign

March 5, 2008

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Milton Keynes “Casi-NO!” Campaign

You can now sign the petition at 10 Downing Street E-Petition HERE (or go to: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/MKCasiNO/)

It reads: “We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stop Milton Keynes Council in their senseless plan to develop a casino in Milton Keynes”.

Background Information: 
Milton Keynes has been granted a license for a Casino. Despite the substantial evidence that shows the significant economic and social problems that occur when Casinos are built in areas, the powers that be in Milton Keynes remain keen that this should take place. The promise of a few jobs and a small amount of planning gain are used to justify the development, which will take money from the hands of those who most need it and put it in the pockets of the Casino owners.

Milton Keynes does not have a Casino, and does not need one. There are plenty of existing gambling options in the town. Milton Keynes needs more public facilities that can inspire people and that can be accessed without costing a fortune.

Milton Keynes Council should a) hold a referendum to gauge public opinion on the subject and b) have the sense to not develop a facility that will have little benefit to anyone except the people that own it. They should consider the public health of the residents as a priority and not be blinded by the dazzling lights of such a development.

We ask the Prime Minister to support this campaign and, in doing so, protect the interests of the people of Milton Keynes.

You can now contact the Milton Keynes “Casi-NO!” Campaign at its own E-Mail address at: MKCasiNo@hotmail.com

Respect says “Casi-NO!”

March 4, 2008

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 Respect says “Casi-NO!”

PRESS RELEASE

From: Respect-The Unity Coalition Milton Keynes (represented by George Galloway MP in the UK parliament).

Respect says “Casi-NO!”

The decision to allow Milton Keynes a license for a regional casino has been welcomed by local Councillors and MP’s alike. The promise of up to 250 new jobs is heralded as a perfect reason for the development to take place, adding to the entertainment mix of Milton Keynes, the “city that thinks differently”.

Respect: Milton Keynes is launching a campaign to oppose this development.

Jamie Chalmers, branch chair, thinks that the Casino will not benefit the town. “Recent research carried out by the Government has shown that significant social problems arise when Casinos open in new areas. Issues like problem gambling are the tip of the iceberg; the only winners at Casinos are the Casino owners, and everyone else loses in the long term. The creation of a few jobs does not justify the lasting damage that will be caused by a Casino being opened in Milton Keynes.”

Respect: Milton Keynes believes the people of Milton Keynes should be consulted on the possibility of a Casino in the town and call for a referendum on the subject: “Milton Keynes Council did initial research into a Casino in 2006 and nearly fifty percent of the 2000 people they asked were opposed to the idea. We want a proper debate on the subject and proper consultation. It is not acceptable for the democratically elected members of the Council and our MP’s to think that a Casino is right for Milton Keynes without actively asking the people of Milton Keynes.”

The opposition to any future Casino in Milton Keynes is reinforced by a call for more investment in public services that benefit families in the town. Jamie Chalmers stated “Milton Keynes has a serious lack of facilities that families can use for little or no cost. The attractions at the City Centre come with a high price tag, and we are calling for the Council to use taxpayers’ money to invest in Family Centres and Youth Clubs, providing safe and positive places for families and children to spend time together. We don’t want Casinos that take money out of the pockets of those who need it – we want public facilities that encourage families to spend time with one another participating in positive activities.”

For more information on the Respect says Casi-NO campaign, or for media interviews contact Jamie Chalmers on Tel: 07940973677 or 01908 221161

or

Visit our web sites at:

Milton Keynes: https://respectrenewalmk.wordpress.com/

National Respect web site: http://www.respectrenewal.org/

Update:Milton Keynes Respect has now started a petition to stop the proposed Casino. On Saturday in Bletchley we collected many dozens of signatures from local people. We will continue to collect signatures and  present the petition to Milton Keynes Council when the Casino planning application comes up for approval.

Ten positive alternatives to the Milton Keynes Casino

1. A beach and ‘sea front’ for families – a joint private/public investment

2. A new regional athletics track with seating

3. Youth Club Centre and Training Centre for Youth Leaders / Club Leaders

4. Family Centre / Meeting Place

5. An Adventure Training Centre for MK kids and local Youth clubs

6. A diving pool with aqua lung centre for diving instruction

7. A new water sports centre

8. A Milton Keynes Archaeology/History Museum (its all stuck in a warehouse!)

9. A new modern, multi-media library (the main library is SO dated!)

10. A new Environmental  Park (learning about our parks and MK environment with a resource/learning centre, family cafe) with a City Farm / Zoo (run as a  charity for all MK citizens).

Milton Keynes RESPECT – Welcome

December 4, 2007

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Thank you for visiting the Milton Keynes RESPECT web site.

On this site you will be able to find out all about Respect – The Unity Coalition in Milton Keynes. Respect is represented by George Galloway MP in the UK parliament.

You can contact National RESPECT now on E-Mail at: office@respectrenewal.org

The new National RESPECT web site is available HERE

You can join RESPECT  HERE or call Rob on 07507 600 561

The Respect Supporters Blog can be found HERE

You can also contact Milton Keynes RESPECT on E-Mail at: neilwilliams1952@gmail.com (more details on our branch page – see index in the side column).