Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Bridgwater MP under attack from Trades Unionists over Flooding, Fracking and Under-Funding

ILG gets down and damp amongst his people

Delegates to Bridgwater & District Trades Union Council reacted angrily to the sight of local MP Ian Liddell-Grainger joining flood victims protesting outside the Environment Agency in Bridgwater on Friday. Said a spokesperson:  “Liddell-Grainger would be better off protesting against his own Government which has helped to cause this devastation. How dare he focus the blame on Environment Agency workers, who have struggled to carry out their duties in the face of Government cuts? The Tories have slashed £800 million from the country’s flood defence budget. Why doesn’t Liddell-Grainger protest about that?"
A recent appeal from Somerset County Council for more funding to deal with the devastation to flood-hit communities has been refused by the Government. Why doesn’t Liddell-Grainger sort that out first?”
Proposals recently announced to cut Environment Agency staff levels by a further 15% will mean the Environment Agency will be even less able to protect the public from flooding and pollution risks.

'Crazy Short term thinking'
These cuts follow 20% cuts to flood defence staff between 2010-2013, and come despite growing evidence of the impact of climate change, and the fact that Environment Agency staff dealing with pollution risks are now faced with the challenges of climate change, fracking and new nuclear build. A spokesperson said: "This is crazy, short term thinking."
Across the country, these cuts could end up costing £7.88 billion in flood-related damage.
Instead, Liddell-Grainger reserves his ire for Environment Agency flood defence staff, many of whom have been called out to help flood victims for the second Christmas running. Despite years’ worth of real-term pay cuts, Liddell-Grainger, a direct descendant of Queen Victoria, who owns his own castle and has in the past been criticised for claiming over £100 000 in expenses, calls Environment Agency staff “feather-bedded” on his personal web-site!
The targets of Mr Liddell-Grainger’s action are ordinary workers, many his own constituents.

Public Apology demanded
Bridgwater & District Trades Union Council request that Mr Liddell Grainger issues a public apology for his attack on the staff of the Environment Agency.  Furthermore, we fully support Environment Agency workers in their campaign to stop the cuts, draw attention to the way these cuts may endanger the public and call upon anyone concerned to write to their MP, or email via http// expressing their worries.
A public meeting is being arranged in Bridgwater on 27th February. For details contact Secretary D Chapple 01278 450562

Tuesday, 28 January 2014


A day of action against racism has been called for across Europe on Saturday March 22nd to coincide with the marking of UN Anti-Racism Day in 2014, with eyes on the European elections in May.
Across Europe the fascist and populist racist right are on the rise. From the violent Golden Dawn in Greece, the anti-Roma Jobbik in Hungary, the Islamophobic Freedom Party of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands to the success of the Front National in France, these currents are encouraging hatred, fear and prejudice in a frightening wave across the continent.
In Britain the far right is hoping for gains in the Euro elections. The British National Party (BNP) is seeking the re-election of Nick Griffin in the North West and Andrew Brons is seeking re-election in Yorkshire and the Humber. The mainstream political parties look set to capitulate to UKIP in their calls for draconian ‘anti-immigration’ policies and promoting a ‘Little Englander’ anti-foreign, anti-Europe mentality.
This all encourages currents like the English Defence League, which turn their Islamophobic prejudices into real attempts to terrorise the Muslim population – attacking Mosques, assaulting veiled women, insulting religious sensitivities with vile slogans and throwing pigs’ heads, and organising intimidating marches into Muslim communities.
Following the rising violence of Golden Dawn and the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, (also known as Killah P), the Greek anti-fascist and anti-racist movement has proposed that next year’s UN Day Against Race Discrimination on March 21/22 should be the focus for actions against racism and fascism across Europe.
Unite Against Fascism has therefore initiated this call for a demonstration and rally to Stand Up to Racism in London on Saturday 22nd March. The event has been backed by the TUC and most trade unions in the UK.
WE appeal to local trade unions in Bristol to support this rally. In particular we would like to co-ordinate transport from Bristol to London for the day, and to raise money from unions to pay for coach(es). If your union wishes to book a coach please let us know so that we can co-ordinate. Alternatively, if your branch wishes to donate money towards a coach, please forward a cheque made payable to ‘Unite Against Fascism’ and send to PO Box 68229 l London SW1P 9WZ
*Note this account is managed by the CWU HQ (HSBC Bank plc, King’s Cross, 31 Euston Road, London NW1 2ST, account name Unite Against Fascism. Sort code: 40-04-07 account number: 51336460, for the credit of Unite Against Fascism.
Yours fraternally,
Martin Upchurch (Convener, Bristol Unite Against Fascism)

Tuesday, 7 January 2014


You are invited to Bridgwater Trades Union Council's screening of "The War on Democracy" on Thursday 30th January ( this is rescheduled from 12th December)

As part of its "Cinema of Dissent" series, Bridgwater Trades Union Council will show John Pilger's film: " The War on Democracy" on Thursday 30th January, at the Engine Room, High Street, Bridgwater.

In this powerful documentary, Pilger travels Latin America to uncover the consequences of the United States' greed and exploitation there. For decades, the US installed presidents in South and Central America who kept the rich in palaces and the poor in slums. Through interviews with former CIA chiefs, and people from Latin America, including the late president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, Pilger sets out to prove that you can never believe anything until it's officially denied!

Doors open at 7pm,  and the film starts at 7.30pm. Admission is free. Refreshments will be on sale. Seating is limited, so please let me know if you will be coming.

Glen Burrows 01278 450562/ 07813 562 869