Thursday, 29 July 2010

One year after the Vestas wind turbines occupation a new, unionised factory rises from the ashes

Sureblades has been driven by Sean McDonagh, an RMT member and one of the sacked Vestas workers involved in the occupation where he ran operations from outside the gates. With the assistance of RMT officials, Sean and his colleagues set up meetings with Government officials and development agencies to put together the Sureblades business plan in tandem with Keith Hounsell who already installs turbines across the south.

Sureblades aims to begin the manufacture of micro-turbine blades in Newport on the Isle of Wight by late September and the company expects to have capacity to mould blades up to 12m long. They will be using cutting edge technology which will mean that the blades are 100% recyclable unlike conventional blades which have to be burnt or dumped in landfill.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

"The former Vestas workers behind this imaginative new project have completely destroyed the argument put forward by the company at the time of closure that there was no market for UK manufactured turbine blades. Through their efforts to create jobs they have blown apart the bogus grounds put forward at the time for closure and redundancy of the workforce.

"RMT is very proud of what our former Vestas members have achieved so far and we are right behind them. They have also shown that it is far too easy for companies in the UK to soak up Government grants and then just cut and run when it suits them without any meaningful consultation, never mind a ballot of the workforce.

"We are also very pleased that the planned new operation will be RMT organised and that officials of this trade union have helped open the doors and make the contacts which have turned this project into a reality. But the real credit lies with the determination and solidarity of the workers who refused to accept that they were beaten. They are an inspiration."

Thursday, 22 July 2010

No prosecution for officer in Ian Tomlinson case

Reacting to the Crown Prosecution Service deciding that the police officer involved in the death of Ian Tomlinson will not face criminal charges, Jenny Jones, Green member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, said:

"This decision by the MPS won't please anyone. It won't satisfy the family, who don't have justice. It won't satisfy the officer, as he hasn't been officially cleared, just not prosecuted. And it won't satisfy the police as their reputation will be damaged yet again. "

"Time and again, the police appear to get away with serious assault or even manslaughter. From Blair Peach to Jean Charles de Menezes, they aren't being held to account for their crimes, and it's damaging to their public image."

"A trial for the officer would have tested the reputations of the medical experts involved. I am confident that a judge would come down on the right side of justice."


Ian Tomlinson, a newspaper seller, died following demonstrations around the G20 summit, on 1 April 2009 in central London. Video footage obtained by the Guardian showed a riot officer striking the 47-year-old with a police baton, and pushing him to the ground, shortly before he collapsed and died. The CPS today cited conflicting medical evidence from two post-mortems. The first post-mortem ruled that Tomlinson died from a heart attack, whilst a second, conducted on behalf of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, found Tomlinson died from internal bleeding.

* Rugby Green Party comment - This verdict was given just a day after a court employed private bailiff is seen kicking a peace protester on the ground a number of times in Parliament square - it seems civil liberties are not safe with Cameron and Clegg?

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

MI5 Chief confirms that protesters were right over Iraq war

Iraq inquiry: Ex-MI5 boss says war raised terror threat

Baroness Manningham-Buller said the Iraq war "undoubtedly increased" the level of terrorist threat.
The invasion of Iraq "substantially" increased the terrorist threat to the UK, the former head of MI5 has said.

Giving evidence to the Iraq inquiry, Baroness Manningham-Buller said the action had radicalised "a few among a generation".

As a result, she said she was not "surprised" that UK nationals were involved in the 7/7 bombings in London.

She said she believed the intelligence on Iraq's threat was not "substantial enough" to justify the action.

Baroness Manningham-Buller said she had advised officials a year before the war that the threat posed by Iraq to the UK was "very limited", and she believed that assessment had "turned out to be the right judgement".

News article from BBC

Friday, 16 July 2010

Rugby Greens write to Commonwealth to call on them to act over Rwandan Green Party election murder

Rugby Green Party members have joined together with other greens around the globe to urge action by the Commonwealth over the murder of the Rwandan Green Party deputy leader Andre Kagwa Rwisereka.

Caroline Lucas, with other Green Party leaders in the Commonwealth, is also urging action after the killing of the deputy leader of the Rwandan Green Party, Andre Kagwa Rwisereka.

In the lead-up to Rwanda's presidential vote on the 9th August, the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda has been subject to harassment, intimidation, and death threats. Police have broken up party meetings, and the party has been barred from registering or putting up candidates for the election.

A letter was sent yesterday to the Commonwealth's Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, co-signed by Green Party leader Caroline Lucas, Sen. Bob Brown (leader of the Australian Greens) and Russel Norman (leader, New Zealand Greens).

It calls on Sharma to take urgent steps to enforce the Commonwealth's standards of human rights and democracy in Rwanda.

In part, the joint-letter from Lucas, Brown and Norman reads:

"The death of Green Party Vice President, Mr. Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, who was found dead on 14th July 2010, is a tragic event and we are extremely concerned for the other members of the Rwandan Green Party.

"Mr. Rwisereka's death follows on from a series of events in the last few months that suggest that the Rwandan government is creating or allowing an extremely hostile environment for opposition political parties in the run up to Presidential elections on 9 August.

"Rwanda's membership of the Commonwealth requires that it honors and complies with the Commonwealth's fundamental political principles which include respect for civil society and human rights.

"We urge you to immediately send a team of Commonwealth representatives to Rwanda to ensure the Government is taking all steps possible to ensure respect for rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly of opposition parties."

Rugby Green Party would urge people to email Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma at

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Lobby Warwickshire Council over proposed fire cuts and other proposed cuts!


MEET OUTSIDE SHIRE HALL, WARWICK 9am TUESDAY JULY 20th (Free Parking at Warwick Racecourse)


FBU Assistant General Secretary Andy Dark to address the Lobby



Roy Sandison Rugby Green Party spokesperson says "The gloves are coming off in respect of the cuts and its important that the Trade Unions and Community come together as one - Don't let the Tories get away with it!"

Thursday, 8 July 2010


Soldier Joe Glenton, who was court martialled and imprisoned for refusing to fight in Afghanistan, will be released from military jail in Colchester on Monday 12 July and Stop the War supporters will be there to welcome him.

As well as refusing to return to fight a war he regarded as unjustified and unwinnable, Joe courageously spoke out publicly, giving his reasons at Stop the War demonstrations and meetings.

Thanks to Joseph Healy - GP rep on Stop The War Committee

Monday, 5 July 2010


As part of the deal for getting into the coalition bed with the Tories you would think surely the Lib Dems would demand PR - a long standing demand for the Lib Dems and their previous incarnations going back to at least the 1970's.

Instead Clegg and the 22 ministers in the CON DEM Government seemed to have been more swayed by a chance to have 22 proverbial pieces of silver in respect of Ministers Jobs then stand on a long standing committment to both their voters and also members of their own party!

As the Electoral Reform society indicates - AV can be EVEN less proportional then First Past The Post (FPTP)

How long before the split in the Lib Dems takes place over this core principle?

Friday, 2 July 2010


The gay liberation movement in the UK are celebrating 40 years of struggle this week – so I thought it might be worth casting the mind back to 1984. When homophobia almost became a policy of the local council

One of the proudest moments of my life in politics occurred back in 1984, when in reaction to the local Tory run Rugby Borough Council decision to ban gay people from employment. I participated in a campaign that brought together workers in the trade unions at the council (manual and white collar), the local Labour Party and the Labour Party Young Socialists of which I was the Secretary, and local people together in a campaign in the town to fight these homophobic attack on workers rights.

Our Tory Mayor was even applauded in a Sun editorial, for his sickening diatribe about the threat of gay staff assaulting members of the public in the workplace.

A demonstration was called (I was a steward as well as other local people – by the way most of us were straight) and it was heartening to see older labour councillors walking together with local people and local Trade Unionists (with banners) and also gay, lesbian and straight people throughout the country, joining the protest, repulsed by the bigoted comments and actions of the local Tories.

The demonstration also gave some confidence to local gay and lesbian people to identify themselves to friends and family and people from outside the town to do the same – not least a young Labour MP, Chris Smith who was the first MP to come out, which he did on the protest platform in the packed meeting room to cheering crowds.

At least 2000 people attended this demonstration (with tacit support across the community in Rugby) – and the protest led to the Tories backing down quickly afterwards!

It’s a shame, 26 years on that people still have to fight for equal right, but even today perhaps the struggle in Rugby still provides lessons.


Roy Sandison - Rugby Green Party

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Job cuts: Slasher Osborne drives us back into recession says top economist

This is not scaremongering but a realistic possibility – and the worry is that the government has no plan B if the data come in badly

So says top economist David Blanchflower writing in the Guardian today (Picture above).

The secret Treasury analysis reported by the Guardian today shows that Slasher Osborne's rash austerity budget will result in at least 500,000 public sector jobs and between 600,000 and 700,000 jobs in the private sector being lost by the end of this parliament. Sad but true.

The drop in the number of private sector jobs comes about because many private sector workers are dependent on the public sector for their livelihoods. Cuts in public spending put them out of work. And things may be even worse than that. Many self-employed obtain significant proportions of their work in the public sector, and even though this may not put them out of work it may seriously reduce their incomes.

So these numbers come as no surprise, and seem entirely plausible. The big question is why the government is not prepared to publish the details in full. It looks awfully like they have something to hide.

Rather than publishing the numbers at prime minister's questions, David Cameron cited a separate forecast that just happened to be published today by the Office for Budget Responsibility, the government's panel of outside experts. They immediately jumped to the piper's tune. So much for independence.

But let's look in detail at what the OBR is saying. First, in its own budget forecast it projected that unemployment would fall steadily each year from 2010, however it is measured. Second, despite the fact that they are planning on cutting 1.3 million jobs, overall employment will rise by about 1.2 million from 29.1 million in 2010 to 30.2 million in 2014, meaning that the private sector would have to create approximately 2.5 million jobs.

This is completely implausible. It is simply not credible to argue that suddenly the private sector will step into the hole created by Osborne's rash budget. And what if it doesn't?

According to the Office for National Statistics, between the first quarter of 2000 and the second quarter of 2008, the private sector created 1.6 million jobs at a time when the economy was booming. The vast majority of this job growth came from the financial and construction sectors – which seems unlikely to be repeated. So where exactly will these private sector jobs come from?

There is little evidence that the private sector has any plans to hire. According to the Bank of England's Agents (who report economic conditions from the regions), "private sector employment was expected to remain broadly stable over the next six months". Their evidence is consistent with the most recent EU surveys.

This unnecessary and dangerous budget will to push the economy back into recession, believe me. The big worry is that it will lead to what economist Paul Krugman has called the long depression– zero growth and high unemployment for years.

This is not scaremongering but a realistic possibility. The worry is that the government has no plan B for what will happen if the data come in badly, as it surely will. When that happens this government will have to change course and reinstate any public spending cuts and reinflate the economy. And that will surely spook the markets that Slasher places so much faith in.