No sell-out deal – stand in solidarity with the 472 teaching assistants, Durham, October 26

Latest update in the still on going Durham Teaching Assistants Dispute story! More from me on other matters soon!

Cautiously pessimistic

Now that Unison’s called off the Durham teaching assistants dispute by accepting a deal that means a pay cut for 472 TAs, (see here for more analysis from the Communist Workers’ Organisation), it’s hard to say what, if anything, comes next. But it does seem clear that some TAs are refusing to lie down and let the other 472 be sold out, and they’re calling for people to assemble in Durham on October 26th. If you’re anywhere in the North-East area, and free on that day, I’d really recommend trying to get down then, since this is a crucial turning point for one of the most inspirational and determined struggles happening in the UK right now, and those TAs who are resisting Unison’s attempt to demobilise them deserve our full support.

In the words of the TA who’s called the event:

“After a highly emotional week…

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The Durham Teaching Assistants deal: a critical perspective

Latest update on the Durham Teaching Assistants negotiations! More from me in a few weeks!

Cautiously pessimistic

A critical voice on the latest deal in the County Durham Teaching Assistants dispute, taken from the TAs’ facebook page:

“From a concerned supporter.

When the Lions voted no last time it was in complete solidarity with those losing out. No one was to be left behind. Then came a vague promise of a toothless “progression board”, a bunch of veiled threats from the union, the same old tiresome, repetitive bluster about the definitely final last offer ever, a scandalously worded ballot paper and suddenly 472 TAs have been lost to the whim of a council and union who have worked together to wear down, alarm and ultimately browbeat people into accepting their half-baked proposals.

And for what? Essentially for nothing more than the previous offer which was roundly rejected in solidarity with all those who were losing out.

I may be wrong and will hold my hands…

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Voting, abstaining, and opposing the tories: a quick reminder

Roberta Blackman-Woods’ name on the list of Labour MP’s who failed to vote against the Tories’ 2015 Welfare Cuts proposals comes as little surprise here, given last week’s revelations regarding Durham County Council.

Cautiously pessimistic

As things stand, I really can’t blame anyone for wanting to take a punt on Corbynism in the upcoming election. It’s not what I believe in; I can’t see how social democracy in one country could be workable, and I still believe that the only thing that’ll get us out of the mess we’re in would be ungovernable mass working-class movements. But the Jehovah’s Witnesses I walk past every day would tell you the same thing about Jesus, and in the UK in 2017 I recognise that my hopes don’t really look all that more plausible than theirs. So, in the absence of anything better, I can totally understand why people might want to vote to oppose the tories.

As a quick aside, I understand the Lib Dems are currently posing as the real alternative who can be trusted to oppose May’s Brexit plans all the way. I find it…

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Welcome to the lion’s den: Labour councils and the Durham teaching assistants

Some interesting revelations about the workings of Durham County Council.

Cautiously pessimistic

A lot of discussion about the Labour Party at the moment seems to focus on fairly abstract terrain: what the leadership are saying, what the rest of the Parliamentary party are saying, whether Corbyn could win a general election in 2020 – this last one feels like a particularly weird question for people to be talking about, as if anyone, having gone through the last few years, is thinking “ah yes, we are in a stable situation where I feel confident about making long-term predictions, because things generally seem to be playing out as I would expect them to”. But here we are.

What seems frustratingly absent, a lot of the time, is any consideration of the fact that, whoever might win a hypothetical general election in the future, huge areas of the country are ruled by Labour councils on the local level right now, which means that, when people…

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