Teaching and the BNP

Members of the BNP and Combat 18 may not serve in the police force or prison service, but it’s fine that they can teach our children. Or at least that is the view of the General Teaching Council for England.

The GTCE has refused to write a clause into its code for teachers barring BNP members from working in state schools.

Amazingly, you can be a priest in the Church of England and a member of the BNP, although the CofE is considering a ban.

What is needed is a code of ethics for all public services and servants that enshrines rights and duties so that gender, racial, ethnic and other discrimination is outlawed, and that breaches of the code should result in the individual being permanently disbarred from public service.

That would go some way in dealing with the BNP and, at the same time, Islamic extremists.

Green Shoots of Recovery?

Yesterday I criticised politicians who are raising hopes of an early recovery from recession, saying they were perpetrating a cruel hoax on the public.

Even if the economy begins to grow again, unemployment will continue to rise.

There are 890,000 people under the age of 25 now unemplyed, and likely to jump to over 1 million when the Class of ’09 join the dole queue later this month.

One of my favourite ecocomists, David Blanchflower, formerly a dissenting yet prophetic voice on the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, described this as “a tragedy for the nation”.

The Bank of England, in it’s latest quarterly bulletin, reported that more than a million households are now in negative equity, and house prices will probably fall a further 15%!

David Blanchflower, writing in Thursday’s Telegraph, said: “We are faced with a toxic cocktail: sliding house prices, rising negative equity, inadequate levels of credit” (needed for growth to sustain economic recovery) “soaring unemployment and zero, or even negative, wage growth.

“In such circumstances, it is almost academic to try to pinpoint whether economic growth is returning.

“The simple fact remains that we have yet to realise just how painful the coming years are likely to be”.

Unemployment

According to the Office of National Staristics, one job is being lost in Sussex every 80 minutes, or 18 each day. Manufacturing and construction industries have been particularly vary effected.

Certain politicians and economists are, wrongly in my opinion, saying we are coming out of recession. These economists, I fear, are offering false hope. Those politicians are promoting a cruel hoax.

The situation is going to get worse, much much worse, with unemployment increasing yet by more that a million.

In Brighton and Hove there has been a 64.8% increase in those out of work since May 2008, in East Sussex 98.2%, and in West Sussex 155%!

In Brighton these figures do not include the 80 staff who will be lising their jobs at Legal and General.

And worse is to come with substantial cuts anticipated in both the public and charitable sectors where funding will be cut over the next year and slashed after the general election.

MP’s Expenses

The ‘official’ details of MP’s expenses was published in the last hour. Brighton and Hove’ representatives are shown to have been amongst the most reasonable claimants, none seeking to maximise claims just because it was in the rules.

David Lepper and Des Turner claimed around just half of what others did for staying away from home, and Celia Barlow claimed nothing at all.

All three claimed towards the upper end for office costs and staff. That is something that the public should accept given that all three are diligent and hard working local MP’s. We are lucky to have all three.

A public inquiry is the honourable act, Gordon

I understand that Gordon Brown is coming under increasing pressure, not least from military chiefs(!), to hold in public at least part of the inquiry into the Iraq war.

Brown Error Number One was to announce a non-public inquiry

Brown Error Number Two will be to announce a half hearted, part public, part secret inquiry.

Brown could have been credited by holding a wide ranging, fully public inquiry. But his instincts to mistrust the public prevailed.

If he agrees a part public inquiry he will attract no plaudits. Supporters of Blair and Bush will be angry; those opposed to the war will remain outraged.

Do the honourable thing, Gordon. Allow a full public inquiry into whatwas done in our name.

No to Trident

Nick Clegg has become the first of the ‘big three’ party leaders to call for the scrapping of Trident.

Trident is both unaffordable and, as with all nuclear weapons, morally indefensible.

The Lib Dems will reap electoral rewards as disillusioned Labour supporters seek an alternative, and the party repositions itself to see off the growing strength of the Greens.

Celebrating 50 years of the Music of Leon Rosselson

Turning Silence into Song

Leon Rosselson with Frankie Armstrong, Rob Johnson, Sandra Kerr, Liz Mansfield, Janet Russell

Wednesday 1st July 7:30pm

The Komedia, Gardner Street, Brighton BN1 1UN

Tickets: £10/£7 concession

Probably the greatest left-wing songwriter of the last 50 yards

Brown lets us down on Iraq Inquiry

Gordon Brown had the perfect opportunity to put clear blue water between himself and Tony Blair. However, rather than announcing a free-ranging, public inquiry into the war in Iraq, he has chosen to conduct the enquiry behind closed doors.

This has already provoked outrage amongst both supporters and opponents of the war.

Brown himself had, until now, escaped largely untouched by the bitter recriminations of this ill-fated and illegal venture. Yet because of his lack of judgement he will be seen as a co-conspirator and apologist for the war.

What is more, if he bows to the intense pressure that he will no doubt come under, he will be seen as weak and will not benefit from what could otherwise have been seen as a positive and brave mood designed to draw a line under the worst decision of New Labour.

Oh dear, Gordon. You have really let us down.

Tactical Voting in Sussex

Following on from my call for tactical voting in Brighton Pavilion at the next General Election, here are my recommendations for tactical voting elsewhere in Sussex:

Crawley: Labour (Laura Moffatt – sitting MP, well-regarded locally, hard working, good record on expenses!)

Lewes: Lib Dem (Norman Baker – Stormin’ Norman, the sitting MP and persecutor of Mandleson. The most exceptional opposition MP)

Eastbourne: Lib Dem (Stephen Lloyd – a typically hard working Lib Dem, taking up grass routes issues and making a good name for himself))

Hastings & Rye: Labour (Michael Foster -sitting MP who has earned good reputation locally and can expect strong personal vote)

Brighton Kemp Town: Labour (Simon Burgess – hoping to replace Des Turner. Respected former leader of the City Council. A decent man)

Brighton Pavilion: Green (Carolline Lucas – Leader of the Green Party, MEP for the South East. Likely to become the Greens first ever MP)

Hove: Labour (Celia Barlow – sitting MP, surprise winner in 2005. Works hard but has expensive taste in bathroom furniture ….)

Shoreham and Worthing East: Lib Dem (no candidate selected yet, which is a weakness, but in Emily Benn Labour doesn’t have a particularly strong candidate)

There you have it. 4 recommendations for Labour, 3 for the Lib Dems, and 1 for the Greens. If the supporters of each of the non-recommended parties voted for the recommendations above, then 8 non-Conservatives could be returned from Sussex.

I will comment more on each constituency in the weeks to come. Please let me have your comments and views on the various campaigns – their strengths and weaknesses.

The Greens will never be a national force

In recent postings I have advocated voting Green in Brighton Pavilion at the general election, both as a positive vote and as a way of keeping out the Tories.

I am not a Green and Labour Party friends have been critical of my advocacy for tactical Green voting in the Goldsmit by-election. Let me explain my attitude towards the Greens.

Caroline Lucas is an impressive leader and a very credible candidate. Her honesty and candour contrasts very positively to the well drilled, spin machine of Labour.

Her weakness as a candidate in Brighton Pavilion is her poor record as a local campaigner. When compared to the current MP, David Lepper, who has been a community activist for over 30 years, Lucas comes over as remote and lacking local knowledge. She would struggle to make small talk with fellow passengers on the number 46 bus, if she was ever to catch it.

Being the leader of the Greens and an MEP will not help her overcome this deficit.

The Greens themselves, under Lucas’s leadership, have become a more credible electoral force. There are fewer eccentrics in their ranks and they have some very impressive Brighton and Hove Councillors including Bill Randall and Sven Rufus.

Ultimately, though, the Greens will remain a fringe party, incapable of making the breakthrough achieved in Germany and France because they are not of the left, nor do they present a coherent economic position.

Lucas as an MP will stir things up, but the Greens will never be a meaningful national political force.