Tuesday, December 01, 2015

World AIDS Day - December 1

What is World AIDS Day?

World AIDS Day is held on the 1st December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, held for the first time in 1988.

Why is World AIDS Day important?

Over 100,000 people are living with HIV in the UK. Globally there are an estimated 34 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
Today, scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. Despite this, each year in the UK around 6,000 people are diagnosed with HIV, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition.
World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.

What should I do on World AIDS Day?

World AIDS Day is an opportunity to show support to and solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV. Wearing a red ribbon is one simple way to do this. Find out where you can get a red ribbon.
World AIDS Day is also a great opportunity to raise money for NAT (National AIDS Trust) and show your support for people living with HIV. If you feel inspired to hold an event, such as a bake sale, or simply sell red ribbons, visit our fundraising page. If you’d like to see events that others are holding please visit our events page.

But what about after World AIDS Day?

Although World AIDS Day is a great opportunity to talk about HIV, it is important to keep the momentum going all year round. Sign up to NAT's newsletter which will keep you up to date with all the new developments in HIV and the work of the National AIDS Trust, or visit our website, HIVaware, for more information.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Redbridge Mayor's Appeal - Fund raising meal Tuesday 1 December 2015

This is very last minute but tomorrow (Tuesday 1st December 2015) at the Adana Turkish Resturant in Ilford there will be a fund raising meal for the Mayor's Appeal.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Amazon is a corporate tax thief who steals from hospitals, schools, the disabled and the elderly

I have "bought" my first Crimbo present. Just donated £3 to"amazonanonymous". 

"Amazon like to hide behind their shiny website, and channel all the cash they make from us into offshore tax havens. Because you can’t find Amazon on the high street, its easy for them to get away without contributing to society.

But we’re onto them. Together, we can plaster their tax-dodging antics where they least want to see it – and in the process encourage thousands more people to join us in avoiding Amazon this Christmas.

Are you up for it? The van could get going, tomorrow. It just needs some cash to get the adverts printed, stuck on the van, and onto the street. Please can you donate a small amount today to unleash the van exposing Amazon?
Click the link below to chip in £3 to expose Amazon's massive tax dodge:

Thanks so much. It’ll be worth it just to see the look on the faces of Amazon’s UK bosses as the van drives past them on Monday morning!

Lots of love,

Amazon Anonymous x

PS.There’s still time to join thousands of us and pledge to avoid shopping at Amazon this Christmas. Just add your name here to get started, and we’ll share loads of tips about better places to get your prezzies :)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

West Hammers play away at Palace

Picture collage from last Thursday's meeting of the West Ham Labour Party General Committee, which courtesy of our MP, Lyn Brown, took place at the Jubilee Room in the Palace of Westminster. Beforehand we went on a guided tour of Parliament, led by our Vice Chair, Julianne Marriott, (who is a qualified Blue badge guide) and members of Lyn's team.  This included a visit to the Chamber of the Commons itself (which was obviously not in session).

Veteran Party member, Ted Nolan, was not impressed with Parliament at all and wanted to know how much it cost to run and maintain.  I thought it best not to mention the £5.7 billion estimate to refurbish it.

Next was drinks and nibbles in the Jubilee Room (which MPs can book if they are successful in a ballot).

Lyn spoke first and read out a message from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn MP to West Ham "home of the first ever Labour MP Keir Hardie ". Keynote speaker was Labour London Mayoral candidate, Sadiq Khan, who spoke about his plans if elected - living rent, 50% affordable housing for new developments, build on land owned by Transport for London (they have a land bank equivalent to 16 times the size of Hyde Park); cutting fares and zero tolerance of hate crimes.

The Q&A that followed was as usual dominated by housing issues, in particular affordability. I asked about what he could do to improve the governance of Housing Associations in London, many of which (not all) are seen as unaccountable and unresponsive (and even worse e.g. those that refuse to recognise trade unions). Sadiq made it very clear that as Mayor he will not work with Housing Associations that act badly, especially if they do not meet his affordability targets.

After the speeches, we hovered up the food and wine and then a group of us continued solving all the problems in the world in the nearby "Westminster Arms".    

Friday, November 27, 2015

One week left to Vote for Dave Prentis as UNISON General Secretary

Picture of long standing East End Housing Caretaker and UNISON Steward, Peter Sambrook (middle) with 2 colleagues reminding members that only a week left to vote for Dave Prentis as General Secretary.

The ballot closes next Friday 4 December 2015. "Dave will be campaigning right through to the end of the contest to make sure all UNISON members know about his pledges, his strong track record and his experience of delivering for UNISON members at such tough times.

Monday will mark the third and final “Vote Dave Day” – so do share your support for Dave on social media and encourage other UNISON members to back Dave too.

And if you haven’t voted yet, make sure you post your ballot paper soon – there’s now only a week to go!"

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Why union branches have to follow the money...

Picture from last weeks packed Greater London workshop on branch finance in the UNISON centre. NEC Chair of the Finance Committee, Josie Bird, led the training supported by National and Regional officers.

The aims of the training were:-
  • To understand the principles of activity-based budgeting (ABB) 
  • Discuss the benefits of activity-based budgeting to your branch
  • Consider how OLBA functions can help support the budgeting process
  • To identify the next steps for activity-based budgeting within your branch
It was an exceptional turnout for a training on branch finance. It used to be the case in some branches that financial planning and budgeting wasn't all that important. They would just role over the last years accounts and add a bit for inflation. Thankfully this is no longer the case in most branches (I hope). The entire union movement is under attack by this Government and we have to make sure that all our money is used effectively to defend us.

I was there as Regional Finance conveyor. I closed the training by thanking the all those who helped organise this meeting and especially my NEC comrade, Josie Bird. I am proud that my union grows its rank and file lay activists, so they can take on such positions of responsibility.

I also pointed out I used to be a treasurer of a branch that had hundreds of thousands of pounds in reserves, which was very scary for someone who didn't have a finance background. I wish then I had the kit and support that is now on offer.

At the best of times it is vital that we have sound financial governance, never mind nowadays, the worse of times, when we need to make sure that every penny we have is well spent.

We must never forget either that our funds do not belong to the "union" nor to the "branches" they belong to our members and it is our absolute duty to make sure that they are spend properly and solely in their interests.

Picture of  London Regional Secretary, Linda Perks, leading discussion on workshop outcomes.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sunday Night Live - 5.00pm, 29th November: The NHS - in a state of perpetual upheaval and crisis? Where now for the Health Service

"Whether they have billions to invest or need to dramatically cut budgets, few British governments have resisted imposing their own blueprint for reform on the NHS, with the consequence that in the past two decades health service staff have had to endure almost endless upheaval

With 98 percent of junior doctors voting for strike action; the Labour leader’s recent warnings of another NHS winter crisis; and hospital waiting lists and financial deficits rising, what guarantees will be unveiled in Osborne’s forthcoming Autumn Statement that the NHS will be protected?

This NHS special Sunday Night Live session will explore the challenges the health service is currently facing, including:

· The problems caused by various reformist agendas;

· Implications of nursing shortages, spiraling agency staff costs, strikes by junior doctors, pressures on A&E clinics and hospitals; and existing PFI commitments;

· The impact of an ageing population and increasing social care demands on hard-hit local authorities.

Join us over at the Stratford Picture House bar (Salway Rd, London E15 1BX: http://tinyurl.com/ntmwysz) to discuss these and other associated issues with our two guest speakers:

Jos Bell is the Chair of the London Branch of the Socialist Health Association. She is an author, NHS campaigner and disability spokesperson. She writes for a number of publications on health policy and the NHS, disability rights and welfare reform. For more see: https://www.opendemocracy.net/author/jos-bell

Nigel Keohane is the Deputy Director and Director of Research at the Social Market Foundation. Nigel oversees the SMF’s research programme and leads the work on public service reform and commissioning, welfare reform and low pay, and pensions and savings. Prior to the SMF, Nigel was Head of Research at the New Local Government Network think tank, worked in local government and taught history at Queen Mary College, University of London. He has a BA and MA in history from Exeter University, and a PhD in Political History from Queen Mary. For more see: http://www.smf.co.uk/publication-author/nigel-keohane/

IT'S FREE ENTRY - SIGN UP VIA EVENTBRITE: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/21st-century-nhs-in-a-state-of-perpetual-upheaval-and-crisis-tickets-19615446328.

("Sunday Night Live" is a series of friendly monthly conversations and debates for Labour Party members and supporters)

How incredible that any trade unionist believes anything in "The Sun"?

It is amazing that a small number of trade union activists have chosen to "believe" and publicise  a report from the "Sun on Sunday" that UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis, had given it an "exclusive interview" attacking the Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

This is of course a complete untruth. "The Sun" simply made up the "exclusive" tag and about Dave Prentis attacking Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

We all know that "The Sun" tells lies all the time and should not be trusted.

What had actually happened was that Dave Prentis had given an interview to the Press Association (PA) news agency, calling on Labour MPs at the eve of the Tory Government announcement of its comprehensive spending review (this Wednesday 25 November)  to stop squabbling amongst themselves and attack the Tories. He did not attack Jeremy.

To make matters worse "The Sun" lies have been deliberately repeated by supporters of other candidates standing against Dave Prentis to be the next General Secretary of UNISON.

At least two supporters has since had the grace to admit they were wrong and retract a comment. Others have not and are now deliberately repeating what they know to be lies and are supporting "The Sun" even though they now know the truth.