Posts in Opinion
As it happens, I've read several books about Russian history in recent months, including John Reed's account of the November 1917 Revolution, "Ten Days That Shook the World."
What was salutary was how passionately involved in political discourse and how idealistic most members of the Russian working class seem to have been at that time.
How ironic that less than 80 years later, with capitalism reintroduced, the former Soviet Union produced a new breed of oligarchs following the privatisation of state owned enterprises who acquired riches on a vaster scale than any Tsarist acolyte ever did.
THERE are probably very few people in Liverpool who would say their local councillor is 'one in a million' - and they'd be wrong to if they did, because they're actually one in five thousand.
Currently, 90 of the city's great and good represent between them around 450,000 city residents.
But some in political circles have argued for some time that having close to 100 councillors is a luxury the people of Liverpool can ill afford, and given how few people turn out to vote in certain wards come election time, the public don't exactly give a ringing endorsement of the worthiness of their elected representatives.
To mark International Women's Day, the excellent History of Parliament project (twitter: @HistParl) has been seeking examples of women in history whose political influence has gone unnoticed. Nobody who knows me will be surprised by my nominee: the Liverpool-born academic, politician and social reformer, Eleanor Rathbone. In the course of my exchange on twitter with @HistParl, I recalled a short piece I'd written about Rathbone and her political significance back in 2007. Having discovered that the website for which it was written no longer exists, I'm re-posting it here as a record of one of Liverpool's many remarkable female social reformers. Re-publishing the piece also seems timely in light of the recent reforms to Child Benefit, which mean that it is no longer a universal provision.
For once, Joe Anderson had positive words to say yesterday about Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Pickles' announcement that he will not be calling in the Liverpool Waters development scheme for public inquiry was welcomed by Liverpool's directly-elected mayor as "fantastic news for Liverpool". In addition to transforming acres of semi-derelict dockland, the development proposals, submitted by the Peel Group, are predicted to create 20,000 new jobs.
If ever there were an area in need of 20,000 jobs, it is north Liverpool. In Kirkdale, 48% of the 7,751 households in the ward have no adult in employment. In three neighbouring wards, all with similar numbers of households, the proportion with no employed adult is similar: 57% in Everton, 46% in Anfield and 45% in County. Worklessness in these neighbourhoods has been at this level for decades, following mass job loss in north Liverpool's docks and related manufacturing activity from the 1960s onwards (20,000 new jobs would be equivalent to about half the decline in the total number of Dock workers in Liverpool since 1945).
SOON enough Liverpool's central library will re-open following its £50m refurbishment.
And so many millions of pounds worth of treasures will return from their current sojourn deep underground in a Winsford salt mine to re-take pride of place on the shelves.
The most valuable item the council has (excluding the priceless 1207 city charter) is Audubon's Birds of America, which is valued at around £7m.
Some of the creatures beautifully hand-painted in the 19th century tome are extremely rare (indeed some now extinct).
This country has had successive governments for over 30 years which have advocated free market economics coupled with more lax regulation, resulting during that period, amongst other things, in the predictable gradual erosion of workers' rights, increasing centralisation of power in Whitehall and a widening gap between rich and poor.
I am old enough to remember the regular debates over several years of the mid-1970s about what the UK should do collectively with the once in a lifetime windfall of money from the (at that time) embryonic North Sea oil development, which it was posited, was going to enable the transformation of Britain.
Thousands of minimum wage earners around the UK are due to take to the streets in protest tomorrow, disgusted at the plight of their fellow low paid - and the derisory pay rises offered to them.
Common digestive ailment (and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions) IBS will today issue his New Year statement.
The word is, IBS is about to enforce an 'open curtains policy' to all Britons, anyone found with closed blinds after 6am in the morning will be put in the stocks. If your town or city has no stocks then the offending blinds owners will be required to build their own.
IBS will also say, '...and don't just get on your bike to look for work, build the bike from scratch first. Bear in mind if you refuse to use it to look for work, we will be forced to deduct the cost of materials and labour from your benefits. And none of this part-time nonsense, either.'
Cath Bore is an author, and gob for hire. You can follow her on Twitter here
Cath's website is here and blog Mersey Writer About Town here
I took part in a debate about benefits on City Talk this week, with a Tory activist.
She claimed - as many of them do - there are loads of people who are on benefits that shouldn't be.
Pigs with snouts in the public trough - not MP expenses style, though. OH NO. Those on Incapacity Benefit are on a different scale, apparently.
I argued that this Tory (Coalition, my sweet behind) government was set on demonising the unemployed, citing the 'closed curtains while everyone else goes to work' line the cabinet is currently obsessed by.
You better watch out, you better not cry, you better pay up I'm telling you why,
Mr Tory's coming to town.
He's making his cuts, checking them twice,he doesn't think that benefits are nice,
Mr Tory's coming to town.
He sees where you are sleeping.
He knows if a bedroom's spare, that empty bed cant hide from him, he can tell if no one's there.
And if you've any children, and they number more than two,
you'd better hide the others, or he'll tax you for them too!
He can't wait for April, he's planned who he will curse
With extra cuts so he can make next Christmas even worse!
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!