Friday, 7 August 2015

Could it be a case of 'three strikes and you're out' for the railunions, as they risk losing Bermondsey goodwill?

Let's be frank about this: yesterday's 24-hour Tube strike, the second this year, was selfish and stupid. Selfish because we Londoners have once again been forced to make unreasonable adjustments to work and family life, so that a handful of union firebrands can upgrade their summer holiday destination from Ramsgate to Rio. And, stupid because their actions risk losing the masses of goodwill built up steadily over a decade by the late Bob Crow, the respected anti-EU leader of the RMT union. Carry on with this stupidity and they'll damage workers' rights in Britain for good.

Bob would have known when to stop. Bob would been able to read the signs: deepest recession in history; UK average wage of £26,000; and a public sector pay freeze - Bob would have accepted Transport for London's more than generous pay and conditions deal and made a run for it to Copacabana Beach. As it is, many Londoners, including Bermondsey folk bruised by yesterday's me-first shenanigans, are sick to the back teeth of the unrealistic demands of Aslef, the RMT and their pals, who seek to feather their own nests at the expense of the rest of us. 

Annual 2% pay rise? A £2,000 bonus for working on the new Night Tube? A 36-hour working week and 43 days annual paid holiday? "Sorry, mate - that ain't enough for us! We want pay increases in line with rising house prices!" Long live the revolution...

The truth is, Bermondsey suffered yesterday. Its main transport arteries around Jamaica Road and Southwark Park Road were bumper-to-bumper with traffic, causing untold hassle and problems for thousands. Queues and waiting times in shops were painfully long, as staff left early to avoid a nightmare journey home.

And, parents were forced to leave work earlier than usual to collect their children from childcare and after-school clubs. Any thanks from the unions for any of that? You must be joking! Not even a copper coin to compensate the estimated £300million cost to the economy.

With over 50% of the public supporting the Government's new laws on strike action, it's clear that something must be done. But what?

Mayor of London Boris Johnson needs to meet the unions to repeat the deal already on the table, and refuse their demands for more cash. He should begin making firm plans to introduce automated drivers on certain lines, sending out a clear message to the unions. Strike laws must be tightened further, preventing workers in key services, such as transport, from striking at all.  And, Tube drivers should spare a thought for the unseen and unheard London bus drivers who get by on a starting salary half that of these long-suffering button pushers.

Bringing the world's greatest Underground network and Europe's cultural and financial hub to a grinding halt, is not acceptable in the 21st century. It's not British and it certainly isn't Bermondsey. One more strike and they could lose our support forever. 

Saturday, 25 July 2015

We are far from an independent country - now the UN and the US are bullying us, too.

If you've spent any time down The Blue recently, you'll know that we Bermondsey folk are a pretty forthright and independent bunch.  You only need to pop into Duns' Deli for a fish pie special, or Sam's Barbers for a short-back-and-sides to hear what real Bermondsey thinks on a range of issues.  As with most working people (but not the usual suspects in the metropolitan-elite thought police), family, faith, flag and future provide a pretty accurate summary of what you'll hear.  So, just what are they saying about this week's unwanted interventions from across the Atlantic?
The Blue Market, SE16 - Image © Stephen Craven (via Geograph)

The UN Human Rights Committee recommended that the UK "put an end to corporal punishment in all settings". Apparently, these unelected bureaucrats prefer non-violent forms of discipline - never mind that the UK Government ruled on this in the 2004 Children Act.  Has anyone in the UNHRC asked South Bermondsey what it thinks on effective  behaviour management?  They might be in for a surprise...
A YouGov poll found 69% of people oppose the ban on parents smacking their children
Image © Daily Telegraph
As per usual, the UN is championing an issue that obsesses uber-liberals, while being at odds with most British people.  What about the human rights of victims of crime who suffer judges pronouncing insultingly short sentences for rapists and murderers?  Or the human rights of local people who long to stay in the area in which they were born, but stand little chance of being offered one of Southwark Council's much vaunted 11,000 new council homes?  Not a peep from UNHRC on those rights.

Then there's the ongoing threat of the EU exerting influence over the outcome of the forthcoming In/Out referendum.  It appears the Euro Machine is not bound by the UK's purdah rules designed to prevent political interference during a campaign.  Of this you can be sure: Juncker and his pals will go all out to bully Britain in to staying in the Club - remember Greece?
Image from
And to top it all, the President of the Free World has the cheek to tell the (still) sovereign United Kingdom to stay in the anti-democratic, uber-capitalist European Union.  Obamacare and a range of notable achievements notwithstanding, what the heck has it got to do with him?  Gun crime and Guantanamo should be enough for Mr O. to be getting on with.
Image © Wikipedia

To put it bluntly President Obama and the UNCHR: get your own houses in order before you meddle in Bermondsey's and Britain's affairs.  We're not the 51st state (or the Western Sector of the United States of Europe) - yet...

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Instead of listening to Bermondsey, Jeremy Corbyn is tearing Labour apart

And so Labour's Loony-left fringe is planning to launch a takeover bid.  But, of what?  Certainly not the country, as the people of the United Kingdom have rejected resoundingly the politics of extreme Left and Right at every General Election since the creation of the Universe.  In May's national poll, fewer than 100,000 people voted for a hard Left alternative - hardly a ringing endorsement for nationalisation, high taxes and more days lost to strike action. 

Yes, cuddly, fluffy, deluded Left-wing extremist MP Jeremy Corbyn wants to rule over Bermondsey.  His stock continued to rise inexorably today as his arch-nemesis former Prime Minister Tony Blair set out his stall: Labour cannot win from the Left.  But is anyone listening in or to the Labour Party? Bermondsey has switched off - it voted for Coyle, not Khrushchev. 

Weak on defence and friends of Hamas and Hezbollah, Corbyn and his Commie crew couldn't organise a booze up in a Bermondsey brewery (and thanks to Britain's competitive economy there are plenty to choose from).  But, who is speaking out against this lunacy?  Fellow leadership contenders Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper present predictably a complicit silence in the face of Corbyn's creed.  Why?  So they'll pick up his second preference votes.  It's a shame that our new MP Neil Coyle 'leant' his support to Corbyn - if he hadn't the Labour Party might stand a chance in 2020 or even 2025 for that matter.  As it stands, he and his fellow Corbynites have consigned the original workers' party to the sidelines for a decade or more.  Win or lose, Labour has been hypnotised once again by the well-worn anthem of, "We're not Left enough!"  Dream on comrades.

Still, they can all console themselves with a round or two in Bermondsey's Stanley Arms, an uber-liberal-chattering-classes-free-zone, where they'll hear what real people think on crime, taxation, immigration, the NHS and their beloved European Union.  The question is: will they listen?

Oh, and Jeremy, don't forget to turn out the Stanley's lights when you've destroyed everything we've spent decades building.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Are Arthur, Bob and Bermondsey mad swivel-eyed loons, too?

Express the wrong view on the European Union and you could be in trouble. Question its legitimacy as a democratic institution and you’re dismissed as a fruitcake and extremist.  Muted by mantras of racism on the Left and patriotism on the Right, the EU debate has been dogged by invectives for far too long.

An interpretation of the EU flag at exhibition at The Bermondsey Project (2014)

It seems in 21st century Britain it’s acceptable to break up the United Kingdom, but the height of irresponsible behaviour to critique or question whether our nation should continue to belong to the European Club, and if so in what form.

How times change: “I agree with Nick!’ morphed into “I’m with Nicola!” as thousands of English voters longed for an SNP candidate in their green and pleasant constituency.  However, triumphant though the SNP victory was in 2015, the Scottish people were far too shrewd to vote for the extremist dogma of withdrawal from the UK in the 2014 referendum.  But, Bermondsey may well vote for Brexit if politicians of all parties fail to agree a fair and democratic deal for us...
Brexit or a good deal for Bermondsey?

For decades, Bermondsey people have held strong views on their place in the EU, but their voices have been ignored and silenced by the metropolitan elite.  Thousands of working-class families from the Old Kent Road to Shad Thames cannot see the point of the EU, especially in its current form.  They question its very tenets, including free movement of people, and fail to see how its ideologically driven vision and policies benefit their lives.  
The Kirby Estate, Bermondsey SE16 (photo by @fbateallthepies)
It seems they are in very good company: Socialist Party leader Arthur Scargill, backed-up by the late great Bob Crow, favours an immediate withdrawal from the EU, a stance that makes the Conservative Party's current position  look positively inclusive!  Love Europe and Europeans, hate the European Union is a fair embodiment of the union firebrand's stance. 
Arthur Scargill, Leader of the Socialist Party (image from Press Asssociation)

This is a cross-party issue and all in Bermondsey must pray that the Prime Minister’s renegotiation succeeds. Some believe there’s nothing wrong with European judges having the final say on legal matters affecting Britain, prisoners having the vote, an open-door EU immigration policy  or Abu Qatada abusing the British legal system to protect his ‘family life’.  Some will commit to voting ‘yes’ regardless of the result of Cameron’s whistle stop Euro-tour.  But what really sticks in the gullet of true democrats and liberal thinkers in Bermondsey is that our national parliament often seems powerless in the face of EU bureaucracy and anti-democracy.  British laws should be decided upon by the people of Britain alone, not dropped from on high by the deus ex machina that is the EU.

Our new MP Neil Coyle - elected in a democracy not a Eurocracy (image from Southwark Labour)

The Left must stop tying itself in knots, trying desperately to please both the uber-liberal chattering classes and their core working-class vote: they cannot serve two masters.  The Right need to explain clearly what does and does not work in the EU, as well as what they propose to do about the broken bits.  Thatcher must talk to Scargill.  Bob must be turning in his grave…
The late Bob Crow, former leader of the RMT (image from Daily Telegraph)

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Election 2015: Vandals Never Win!

How best to sum up the unexpected UK general election result?  Bermondsey’s newest graffiti ‘artist’ did the job in six words: No More Homes For the Rich!  In vandalising the perimeter wall of a local churchyard containing arguably Bermondsey’s finest building, this local thug exemplified the politics of blame and envy that caused England to say ‘No’ to the ideological indulgences on offer from some political quarters.

St James' Church, Thurland Road, SE16 (Photo taken by @LondonAye)

Not content with defacing public property, Mr or Ms Graffiti-Artist also daubed their motto on a nearby residential property.  But, unbeknown to them, their six short words say so much about how not to win an election...

Webb Street, Bermondsey SE1
Let down working-class people at your peril

Class war does nothing for the poor.  It's failing schools, a welfare system that promotes dependence and a broken housing market that denies local-homes-for-local-people that harm the life-chances of people in Bermondsey.  Have the highest of expectations of ordinary people, and provide them with services and opportunities that transform families and create genuine social mobility.

Don’t be selfish by playing around at the fringes

Damaging other people’s property with spray-paint scrawl is extremely selfish.  So is indulging in far-Left or Right wing dogma, playing games with politics while poor and vulnerable people suffer - and you stay in opposition!

Include everyone

Our society works best when we value others – including the rich.  Aiming your political message at your core vote, alienates others.  Demonising others does nothing to foster community cohesion.  Build more homes for the rich, those in the middle and yes, for the poor.

Create an aspiration nation

Most Brits would love to be rich (or at least comfortable).  Failing to appeal to people’s aspirations, hopes and dreams is like denying our inbuilt desire to prosper and succeed.  Home-owning wins votes, as much as apprenticeships and training programmes.  Thankfully, the politics of envy and entitlement was given the heave-ho on May 7th.

Say it like it is - listen to what ordinary men and women think

Bland, autocue politicians appeal to no one – neither does ignoring the views of working-class people, whether on immigration, nationhood, the EU, housing or schooling.  Cutting tuition fees for the middle classes is not the top priority for most ordinary people in Bermondsey.  Taxing the rich into oblivion doesn’t help anyone either.

It’s the economy, stupid!

Earn the public’s trust on the economy.  If you’ve spent too much, say so before the election, not the day afterwards.  

Tank at Pages Walk, SE1
Are they learning?  It seems not.  For they’re still at it: sniping from the sidelines; excusing economic failure; refusing to accept responsibility for past mistakes; promoting policies that sound good but achieve little for those who really need it.  Bermondsey people need politicians who will call a spade a spade.

So, thank you Simon Hughes, for 32 years of dedication. 

And, congratulations to our new MP Neil Coyle -

stand up for everyone in Bermondsey, and you’ll do alright.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The Bermondsey Bomb: An expression of the Blitz spirit in Bermondsey

It's official: the Spirit of the Blitz is alive and well in 21st century Bermondsey.  Hundreds of residents were evacuated from their homes yesterday, due to the discovery on a building site in the Grange Road area of an unexploded World War Two 250kg German air dropped bomb (UXB).  A 200m radius around the bomb site has been cordoned off, from Jamaica Road to Abbey Street and Spa Road to Tower Bridge Road.
 Photo: Sgt Rupert Frere RLC/Crown Copyright
With lives at risk from the UXB, hundreds of residents have been forced to abandon their homes and stay with family or friends, in hotels and other local safe havens.  In fact, for over 36 hours the Seven Islands Leisure Centre and Canada Water Library have been home to hundreds of local people, with free hot meals and drinks reminiscent of the British Blitz Spirit - well done Southwark Council!
(Sgt Rupert Frere RLC/Crown Copyright)
The Police and Ministry of Defence have been working around the clock to put plans in place to remove the bomb safely.   Ordinary men, women and children have embodied the spirit of the Bermondsey Blitz in a new age, with neighbours and strangers talking to each other and providing help, compassion and support.

Predictably, Bermondsey families have pulled together and stayed strong.  Once again, our outstandingly professional British army have come up trumps - the disposal team plan to make the bomb safe to remove today.

As expected, our men and women in blue have kept our homes and streets safe, as the Metropolitan Police established quickly an exclusion zone and escorted older and vulnerable residents to safety.  

Emergency services on standby on Abbey Street
Our emergency services have been on hand, too, providing a sterling service to the community.  And then there's Southwark Council, who on this occasion have risen to the challenge and done the best for Bermondsey.

The Police cordon on the junction of Rouel Road and Spa Road
Thankfully, incidents like this are rare.  They bring out the best in all of us - people and services; they demonstrate the best of Bermondsey.  We can be proud of the this latest expression of the Bermondsey spirit - the evil of the Blitz didn't destroy us then and won't beat us now. 

No left turn from Jamaica Road onto Abbey Street