Saturday, 18 May 2013
A video is in circulation that is alleged to show the mayor of the city of Toronto in Canada smoking crack cocaine. The video's owner refuses to release it unless he is paid a six figure salary, although he has showed it to journalists from Gawker and the Toronto Star. At this stage, there is no way of knowing whether Ford did smoke crack cocaine or not. If Ford is found guilty of this, will he have to resign? Given that Rob Ford is still in office despite skipped part of a committee meeting to coach football, claimed mainly people who are gay or inject drugs get AIDS, left a community council event to stick fridge magnets on cars in the parking lot, which may have violated a municipal bylaw, and has been accused of getting his to office aides help run his football teams, one does wonder. In the meantime, the allegations against Rob Ford need to be properly investigated by the police.
The Scottish Daily Record reports:
If this issue is more widespread, this could be a key reason why unemployment is so high. People want to work but will lose out financially as their redundancy money will be cut. take on other work. The Government needs to recognise this issue and come up with ways to ensure that Remploy workers and others who have been made redundant do not lose out financially if they take on a new job. take on other work. Most people on unemployment benefit want to work - being on JSA is tedious, bleak and limits your finances. take on other work. If the Government is serious about tackling unemployment, it should make up the redundancy pay lost when someone starts a new job with tax credits. take on other work. Or would they prefer to see people stuck on the dole?AXED Remploy workers are being held hostage in their jobs after being told their redundancies will be slashed if they take on other work. Several staff at a threatened textiles factory in Dundee – who were told to find new work – are now being warned if they take up other positions their severance pay will be halved. As a result, many have had to turn down job offers or face losing years’ worth of service money...
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
An information night including films and art of the Save Leyton Marsh camapign and a chance to meet people involved and discuss the issues will take place from 7:30pm on Monday May 20 at Pogo Cafe. The campaign aims to restore Leyton Marsh to "a completely open access, uncommercialised and unspoilt green field" following part of the marsh being turned into a temporary Olympic venue. There is a Facebook group for the event. Pogo Cafe is located on 76 Clarence Road, Hackney,E5 8HB. The nearest London Overground station is Hackney Central, which is 9 minutes walk, and the nearest National Rail station is Hackney Downs, which is 7 minutes walk. A number of buses also stop nearby, including the 38, 48 and 55.
Universities in Scotland are "hotbeds" of antisemitism Waltham Forest Council spends £250k on demolishing steps and bridges to make Marsh Lane Fields more visible. Citizens Advice Scotland survey finds 76% of current claimants would struggle to apply for benefits online Purchase price of New Bus For London was £354,500 per vehicle. Nick Cohen on Iain Duncan Smith.
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
My commute for work by train takes me about seventeen minutes and cost £6.60 return. For that price, you would expect a decent level of service. However, almost every day I use the service there are delays due to signal failures or "problems with line-side equipment". Clearly, many of these are the responsibility of Network Rail as train operating companies do not manage the track. However, there are also regular delays and cancellations due to faulty trains. Those who want to keep the current privatization of the railways need to campaign for franchisees that put more responsibility on franchise holders to keep their trains properly maintained. The disappointment does not end when you actually get on the train. It is somewhat ironic to end up in the quiet carriage (where I sit usually varies) and be bombarded by announcements. Why do we need to be told the next station twice in three minutes? Why do we need to be thanked for traveling with this train company at the end of the journey? And why do we need to be given a short speech about what is being served in the buffet car? Why not put up a menu in the corridor between each carriage or next to the safety card. People claim that the increased usage of trains is because more people are satisfied with them? This is not true in my case - I use trains because the Thames Travel bus service is too infrequent and I don't drive. There are some good things about traveling by train, even when you go via the overcrowded Oxford station. I always get a seat and generally the trains to work are on time - it is the trains from work which are usually delayed. And, as I'm more likely to buy a soft drink and newspaper if there is a fifteen minute delay, at least the economy is being helped by my time being wasted.
Saturday, 11 May 2013
The mental health charity Restore's Banbury recovery group will be exhibiting a variety of artwork between Monday 20th to Friday 24th May as part of Oxfordshire Artweeks. The exhibition is open on these days from 10am to 3:30pm. Tea and coffee, cold drinks and snacks are also available. Restore's Banbury recovery group is called the Orchard and is located at 28 Calthorpe Street, Banbury, OX16 5EX. The S4 bus runs from Oxford City Centre via Summertown and the main road in Kidlington to Banbury. There are also regular train services from Oxford to Banbury. Calthorpe Street is a twelve minute walk from Banbury rail station and a nine minute walk from Banbury bus station, where the S4 bus stops. Donate to Restore
Thursday, 9 May 2013
I haven't done a Freedom of Information request to find out what the "leadership team" on Brighton and Hove council are currently paid, but I do have figures for the 2012/3 financial year (PDF). In that year, five senior staff earned over £100k of public money, with the Chief Executive Penelope Thompson on £150k. If a £100k cap had been brought in, £105,000 a year would be saved. There are also another 17 staff on £70k or over. I have no objection to council staff earning good salaries, but if cuts were needed those who earn a lot of public money should be first to have a pay cut rather than those who earn very little public money. Why are refuse workers and lollipop persons in Brighton and Hove facing pay cuts while the leadership team are not? A 20% pay cut and a £100k cap for the leadership team may only save a few hundred thousand pounds, but that is a few hundred thousand pounds that does not have to be taken off the wages of low paid workers, while the leadership team will still receive a decent salary. Unlike the private sector, the public sector has a responsibility to avoid paying six figure sums as many low paid public sector workers are facing wage cuts and all salaries are paid with public money. Supporters of high wages for public sector heads say that they will move into the private sector if they do not get six figure salaries? Really? Firstly, how many six figure private sector roles are on offer in this recession? Secondly, many people choose to join the public sector because they believe in public services and like the cachet of being CEO of X council or MP for Y. Thirdly, just because a post is not attracting a £150k salary does not mean that people who are not highly capable will not go for it. If people want to make lots of money, they should join the private sector. We cannot pay council CEO's £150k while cutting the wages of refuse collectors and lollipop persons.
Another example of our soft justice system. This is Local London reports that Rebecca Michelle Schembri, 36, knocked a stroke victim she was meant to be caring for out of her chair and hurled disablist abuse at her.
After a phone call from her husband, Schembri became angry and grabbed the elderly woman’s stroke affected arm and asked if it hurt, the court was told. Magistrates heard Mrs Challis offered to get Schembri a taxi home, but she refused, called her a “spastic” and a “cripple” before saying: “Don’t hide in that wheelchair, fight you b****”. Schembri shouted “Don’t think I don’t know you are putting this on” before hitting the pensioner around the head and knocking her out of the wheelchair and on to the floor in the hallway. Police arrested Schembri shortly after the incident, when she kicked a policeman.What punishment did Schembri get for attacking someone she was meant to be caring for? A suspended 12-month prison sentence and 200 hours community service, as well as alcohol treatment for six months as well as paying costs of £85 and £300 compensation. What sort of message does that send to other abusive carers? I would have liked to have seen a jail sentence in this case, as well as more extensive alcohol treatment and education about her disablist views. Is there any way that care agencies can improve their recruitment process to ensure that people like Schembri are not recruited? Being drunk is hardly an excuse for what she did. Just as only racists hurl racist abuse while drunk, only disablist bigots attack and threaten disabled people while drunk.