Friday, 25 May 2012

Wow!!! In Days Over 500 Sign up to Suppport Radical Alternative

Within days of publishing the "Radical Alternative to Austerity" on my blog and twitter, over 500 people from all walks of life have emailed me to put their name in support of the statement.

The names have been coming in so thick and fast that I can't keep up with them.

There has been no publicity in any of the main stream media and yet by using the new media, twitter and simply word of mouth many, many people have become aware of the statement and it has been widely circulated and commented upon.

Thanks to everyone who has supported the statement and please keep circulating it.

John

Here are some of the signatories:

Name


Claire Wadey

Chris Sharp

Elizabeth Donnelly

Madhu Karia

Gemma Grubb

Jim Terry

George Gallaccio

Margaret Howard

Nick Heffernan

Robert Donald

Phil Butler

Dr Chris Shaw

Neil Howard

Eddie Dougall

Nigel Filer

Irene Green

joel lazarus

Dave Postles

Derek Kotz

James O'Nions

Annette Pearson

Dr Liza Griffin

Shelagh Simmons

Vivien Giladi

Norma Machen

Guy Williams

Douglas Coker

John Illingworth

Joy Green

Russell Bradshaw

Robin McAlpine

Finn Raven

Thomas Butler

Robin Jackson

Chris Drew

Alan Milne

Brendan Casey

Sarah Thornton

Matthew Kolakowski

Jane Booker

Pauline Worsnop

Brandon High

Robert Evans

Alex Bennett

John Stott

Andy Danford

Ian Williams

Angie Birtill

Deborah King

Michael Cullen

John Airs

Donald Simpson

Heather Wetzel

Anne Schuman

David Robertson

Eleanor Firman

Dave Wetzel

Bill Roberts

Morag Carmichael

Joe Gibbins

JOHN DREWERY

Prof. J. F. Dolecki

Jacqueline Noltingk

Richard Jones

Carol Wilcox

Alan Dent

Rachel Hardy

Christopher McQuiggin

Caroline Raine

Deborah Jones

Simon Streatfeild

John Barrowdale

Jon Woods

Helen Woodall

Daniel Sartin

Peter McDonald

Geoff Mason

Patricia Walker

Eileen Lewis

Andrew Duncan



Lucy Luton

Paul Morris

Richard Shrubb

Anne Edmonds

Mike Rowley

Mike Shaw

Dr John Bone

Glyn Tudor

Barry Ewart

sandy Vine

Michael Bradley

Stephen Thomas

Ian Manborde

James Doran

Andreas Bieler

Kate Ness

Tracy Harman

Gabriella Alberti

Jeffrey Boss

Nick Creaby-Attwood

Dave Spooner

Pilgrim Tucker

Alan Tuckman

Carol Stephenson

Philip Thomas

Richard Ross

Dr. Hazel Conley

Dr Peter Dwyer

Richard James

Professor Chris Knight

John Lipetz

Joan Watkins

Michael Cronogue

Michael Milton

Colin Adams

elizabeth charles

Tamara Carlson

Pragna Patel

Tanya Trappitt

Jenny McGhie

jay ginn

Felicity McDevitt

Paul Birkett

Denis Lenihan

John Hendy

David Morgan

Jennifer Hynes

Nigel Fox

Colin Burgess

Peter Brickley

Paul Nicolson

Bill Bowring

Richard Solly

Vin West

Ann Marie Wareham

Kay Murphy

Norman Wright

Catherine Tanner

Chris Benner

Nicola Nixon

GABRIEL PEPPER

Janet Ubido

Malcolm Wallace

Elaine Waldron

Aidrianne Sebastian-Scott

Eleanor Firman

Alan Milne,

Gaynor Underhill

julie McLaren

Patrick Lynch

Richard Kelham

Sid Baility

Julia Cameron

Pete McLaren

Thomas Butler

Linda Burnip

Nicola Field

Bill Wells

Jill Goble

Stephen Fawcus

Mark Morton

Jon Tiley

Gill Kennett

Brian Dooley

Cllr. Kevin Bennett

Jean Cozens

Rod Nicholl

Jackie Hawkins

Martin Fletcher

David Wheeler

Peter Watson

Linda Burnip

A Kennett

John collings

Nikki Osborne

Pam Wortley

Simon Wilkes

Debbie Jolly

Norman Fairclough

Sarah Evans

Steve Revins

ian.nelson

Kath Percival

Romayne Phoenix

Dawn Moulton

Ian Dicks

Bob Ellard

Robin Winfield

Barbara Humphries

Andrew Daggett

mark phoenix

Susan Jones

Jack Preston

Rosemary Sales

Susan Tabb

Steve Price

Joanne Lashmar

Charlotte Bates

Michael Connor

Kathy Hawes

Robbie Davison

john turner

Peter Madden

Jim Mortoza

Phil Rackley

Angie Joel

David Mitchell

Rosemary Bunting

Corinne Bunting

Andrea Campbell

arjan van heuckelum

Keith Louch

Leigh Fielding

Simon Crew

John Taylor

robert beckett

Patrick James Ward

Elspeth Knights

Claire Traynor

Lynn Flaws

Noel Hayes

JAYNE LINNEY

john McGhee

Andy Walker

Brian Caton

Neil Findlay

Jenny Lennox

nicola seyd

Helen Burke

Norrette Moore

Pamela Read

Jo Blick

Sheena McKerrell

Jago Parker

David Nicholson

David Drew

Cathy Watson

David Parkin

Joe Marino

John-Paul Moran

Mavis Cook

Sean Fox

Helen Skinner

Merry

Dave Dash

Morag Cumming

Simon Tyler-Murphy

Andrew Bunting.

Haydn Wheeler

paul barnard

Charles Brown

John Fox

Ann Whitehurst

Rev Hazel Barkham

Ian Massey

Jim Wolfe

Claire Price

Adam Pogonowski



JOHN FLYNN

Ross Allan.

Anne Jarvis

Paul Rooke

Louise Maurice

michelle maher

Richard Barbrook

Dr Michael Marten

Dr. Penny Mead

Diana Basterfield

Mike Black

Charles Holmes

Steve Birkin

Maureen Shram

Dawn Thorpe

Joan Keane

Oliver Jackson

mike lammiman

Terry Daniels

Rhiannon Lockley

Grahame Morris

John Clarke

Dr Brian Simmons

Kim Blake

Bev Skeggs

Jamie Cooper

Robert Thomas

mervyn hyde

simon tyszko

Terry Ryan

Margaret Rawsthorn

Michael Brett

Adrian Hart

Iestyn Evans

Gwen Crawford

Gary Beckwith

Kate Hardy

Mary Lloyd

Tricia Lowther

Lara Pawson

Stewart Smith

Phil Kemp

Neil Wilson

Cliff Babbs

Peter Rothwell

nicholas Ripley

Annette Lenton

Allan challenger

Kate Hardy

Ben Sellers

Rozh Ahmad

Leni Farrer.

Paul McLean

Ade Kennett

Mervyn Wilmington

Rebecca Carmichael

Mark Green

Keith Cain

Tom Senior

Ella Osborne

Harry Cross

Rob Evans

P McCormac

Chris Atkins

Hayley Goldsack

David Jobe

Diane Jones

Karl Thomas

Darren Burdon

John McMahon

Richard Liggins

Ben Sellers

Ian Woodland

Steve Smedley

Lesley Stewart

Tony Stradwick

Jan Jesson

Viv Willis.

Dick Bellringer.

Robyn Evans

Rosalinde Woodroffe

Manuel Cortes

Mark Chivers

Claire Stanbridge

Katy Clark

Don Griffith

Jennie Formby

Owen Green

Phil Roberts

Moira Houghton

Ellis Stacey

Austin Samson

Tobias Farlan

Shaun Williams

Ben Rogan

Pat Machin

John Wadsworth

Stephen Neale

Chris McQuiggin

Karl Robins

Jane Simpson

Danny Thomas

Siobhan Mooney

Joe Baxter

elizabeth REED

david nunn



Nerina Onion

Dave Ball

Josh Porter

Kevin Byers

John McKendrick

Claudia Roland

Anthony Binder

Sue Smith

matt charlton

Fiona Lawrence

Evelyn Mooney

Paul Mather

Ronnie Draper

Christopher Roscoe

Tony Dowling

Ian Hodson

Rigil Kent

Padiham Lancs

Michael and Eve Pritchard

Chris Mears

Liam McShane

Jonathan Maher

Steve Walker

Dorothy Ann Moore

Ron Mackie

Rachel Gordon-Smith

Sue & Peter Brock

John Webber

Robert Moore

David Simon Banbery

Sarandip Singh Batt AiDA

Kirsty Laws

Neil Holden

James Connell

Martin Fisher

James West

Maev McDaid

Sarah Krys

Ian Gilbert

Yvonne Parmenter

Sara Fitzgerald

Deb Hall

Charley Stone

Peter Greeves

Andrew Fisher

Will Rhodes

Rachel Hardy

Neil Young

Lindsay Rutland

Lynton North

Graham Burnby-Crouch

Mr Lynn Davies

James Heath

Jennifer Doveton

Neil McKenna

Janet Mobbs

Daniel Nichols

Colin Finch

Mary Stuart

David Evans

Paul Rutland

Dave Shaw

Christopher Larkin

Tom Walker

Paula Gouldbourn

John Sweeney

Lesley Doveton

Stephen Calder

Beth Aze

Paul Stygal

Paul McCrystal

Mick Tosh

Chris Carree

Alan Smith

Sheryl Odlum

Anya-Nicola Darr

Deborah King

Paul Flynn

Simon Hartley

Steve Budden

Nick James

Lee Moon

Don Urquhart

Trevor Langworth

Amy Williams

Louise Gibbard

Carolina Preo

Rob Morgan

Sandra Easton-Lawrence

Tony Martin

Julie Matthews

Rod Dixon

Suzy Fanklin

Danny Aldington

Andy Boylan

Ann Cattrall

Eileen Short

Robin Hanford

Alex McFadden

Paul Mackney

Paul Donovan

Stephen Cawkwell

Steve Gillan

Peter Tatchell

Christine Cooper

Mike Phipps

JUDITH ATKINSON

derek wall

Greg Philo

LIZZIE WOODS

Prem Sikka

ZITA HOLBOURNE

Gall Gregor

Sarah Evans

Hilda Palmer

Gordon Nardell

Rachael Payne

Andrew Fisher

Kathy Allen.

Lynn Evans

John Diamond

Linda Wright

Meg Taylor

Murad Banaji

Danny Speight

Jeremy Hawthorn

Anthea Hardy

Anne Barry

Dave Hookes

Derek Kotz

Bernard Weston

Anton van der Merwe

Jeremy Corbyn

Friday, 18 May 2012

The Radical Alternative to Austerity

Cameron and Osborne have repeated again throughout this week that there is no alternative to their failing austerity programme.
I feel that there needs to be a clear statement from the Left that there is an alternative to austerity and it goes beyond just cutting less deep and less fast.

I have set out below a brief statement of what that alternative could contain.

It is not meant as a definitive statement but at least a broad depiction of what a radical alternative would comprise.

I am asking people to consider putting their name to it so that we can continue to circulate it to the movement.

Please let me know if you are willing to put your name to the statement by emailing me on mcdonnellj@parliament.uk.

You can help greatly by circulating the statement as well and putting it up on your website or blog or tweeting it. 

Thanks

John


The Radical Alternative to Austerity.  

The austerity programme of the Coalition government is not just failing; it is prolonging and deepening the recession. Cuts in investment in public services, in jobs, wages, pensions and benefits are creating mass unemployment and mounting hardship.

Austerity is creating a spiral of economic decline as cuts produce high levels of unemployment which in turn reduces tax income and prompts another round of cuts and job losses.

The Government’s austerity measures are also unfair as the only people the Government seems intent on protecting from the recession are the rich.

There is an alternative to austerity.

There is no lack of wealth and resources in our country that we can draw upon to tackle this recession. The problem is that this wealth and these resources are held in the hands of too few people and are not being used productively to create the growth and jobs we need.

If we can release these resources, we can overcome the current recession and start to build a prosperous future for our country, linking with others across Europe and the United States to overcome this global economic gridlock.

Releasing the resources within our own country is not difficult.

It simply requires the introduction of a limited range of redistributive measures which will raise the funds we need from those most able to pay and who have profited most out of the boom years.

This redistribution can be achieved through;

a wealth tax on the richest 10%,

a Robin Hood tax on financial transactions,

a Land Value tax,

the restoration of progressive income tax of 60% on incomes above £100,000

and a clamp down on the tax evasion and avoidance that is costing us £95 billion a year.

Investing the resources released can halt the spiral of decline.

With unemployment rising month by month we urgently need to get people back to work and earning a decent living.

We can do this by investing the resources we have released through taxation in modernising our economy, its infrastructure and our public services to meet the needs of our community.

Instead of cutting and privatising our health, education and local services, this means:

Investing in a mass public housing building and renovation programme, in universal childcare, in the modernisation of our public services, in the NHS, in creating a national Caring Service, in our schools and colleges, in our transport infrastructure and in the extension of broadband.

Investing in alternative energy, combined heat and power and insulation to both tackle climate change and create one million climate change jobs.

Establishing a national investment bank with the resources levied from the banks so that there is no shortage of funds to lend for manufacturing growth and research and development.

To be successful the recovery programme has to be fair.

We will need the support of a significant majority of our people if we are to drive through this type of radical regeneration and redistribution programme.

To gain this level of support means the Radical Alternative must be seen to be fair. This means addressing many of the inequalities of our current system.

For those at the top it means ending the bonuses and limiting high salaries to no more than 20 times the lowest paid in any company or organisation.

For all others it means replacing the minimum wage with a living wage and a living pension and living welfare benefits, reducing the working week to 35 hours, closing the gender pay gap, controlling rents and energy prices, and restoring rights at work.

For young people it means a guaranteed job, apprenticeship, training or college place for every young person with the burden of fees abolished.

There is no shortage of resources to implement this programme of reform.

The problem is the distribution of these resources.

The Radical Alternative simply releases the resources we have to regain control of our economy and invest in our future.

Never again can we let them say that there is no alternative.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Police and Security Services Role in Blacklist Exposed

After the election of a Labour Government in 1997 there was real optimism that the use of blacklists by employers to discriminate against trade union reps would be outlawed once and for all.

As far back as the 1980s and the operation of an employers' organisation called the Economic League, it became obvious that companies, particularly in construction, were sharing information on trade union shop stewards and health and safety reps to ensure that they were denied work.

Labour included the outlawing of blacklisting in its early Employment Act. Detailed regulations were needed to implement the new law. However time dragged on and no regulations were forthcoming.

From 2000 I started asking questions and raising the issue in debates in Parliament simply asking when the regulations were to be published. It became clear the reason was that this issue was not seen to be a priority and I was told that there was no evidence to confirm that a blacklist was still in operation. The Government argued that it was awaiting evidence from the TUC.

This flew in the face of the hard experiences of trade union activists on sites across the country where shop stewards were losing their jobs and health and safety reps losing job offers.

Then the breakthrough came in 2009 when the Information Commissioner raided the offices of the Consulting Association and discovered a dossier containing a blacklist with 3,200names on it packed full of information supplied to employers on the trade union and political activities of these trade union reps.

At last we had hard and fast evidence that nobody could refute. The Government did then eventually act and before the last election the regulations were published. They were not all that we wanted but at least something was on the statute book.

Now we know from Dave Smith's case against Carillion that the Police and the Security Services were involved in supplying information on the blacklist. What we don't know is how the Police and Security Services provided the information, who provided the information, who knew about this and who authorised it?

Thanks to some excellent reporting by Daniel Boffey of the Observer this issue has now got some press coverage but most of the media have ignored the story.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/mar/03/police-blacklist-link-construction-workers

The phone hacking of 3000, largely,celebrities received wall to wall coverage and has resulted in the setting up of the Leveson inquiry.

3200 workers have been blacklisted and as a result have lost their livelihoods and in many instances had their lives severely damaged.

Doesn't this demand a public inquiry too so that we can discover just what went on and how we can prevent this happening ever again? Or don't workers' lives count as much as celebrities.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The War Drums are Beating Again.

The drums of war are beating again in Parliament and the talk of an attack on Iran is raising the temperature. This is either a cover to give tacit support for an Israeli strike or another dangerous bumbling venture down the path to military action. There was a little reported debate in the Commons on Iran on Monday. This is what I said. We need to be mobilising now to prevent the war hawks building up a head of steam for war.

John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington) (Lab): I join other Members in commending the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay (Mr Baron). I say to him that being in a minority does not necessarily mean that someone is not right, and that when the House is unanimous, it is invariably wrong. I will support his motion.

Like the hon. Gentleman, I find it important when we have these debates to have a prologue condemning the theocratic regime in Iran. I am one of the Members who consistently table motions supporting human rights campaigns in Iran, most recently on the Tehran bus workers and on the persecution of the film director Panahi, whose release we have been successful in securing. I agree with the right hon. Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd (Mr Llwyd). I am fearful of again treading down the path that starts with rumours of weapons of mass destruction, goes on to sanctions, sabre-rattling and covert operations, and then develops a momentum that carries us into military action, death and destruction, and increased terrorism and instability. My right hon. Friend the Member for Coventry North East (Mr Ainsworth) is not in his place, but I, too, worry about the approach whereby we try to negotiate peace by threatening war; it does not work that way.

Hon. Members need to be very clear about the decision that they take tonight. Those who vote against the motion and for the amendment will be sanctioning the threat of military action. In my view, if one threatens something. one has to ensure that one understands the full implications of acting on the threat, and I am not sure that there is clarity in the House about why this threat is being made. The notion of Iran being close to having nuclear weapons is open to doubt as there is no solid evidence, but as the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay said, the issue is really about nuclear capability. Nuclear capability is a threat only if one believes that nuclear weapons will be used. Even in Israel, people do not believe that there will be a nuclear strike, and that is true of wise heads around the world. I cannot find any advisers in the US who are recommending to the President that action should take place on the basis of a nuclear threat. Like the hon. Gentleman,I have listened to some of the spokespeople in Israel. I have also listened to a former head of Mossad, Efraim Halevy, who said that it is all about scaremongering and that there is no threat to the state of Israel as a result of this supposed escalation.

Why are we being implicated in the threat of military action? First, as the right hon. and learned Member for Kensington (Sir Malcolm Rifkind) said, the threat is based on the danger not of a military attack but of Iran becoming a regional superpower. At the moment, the implications of that are not, by any means, sufficient to justify the threat of military action. Secondly, there is the argument about nuclear proliferation. If we are anxious about nuclear proliferation, we have to start with the root cause, which is Israel illegally gaining nuclear weapons. Unless we attack that root cause, the issue will not go away. Thirdly, it is about Israel’s own domestic political agenda: the crisis atmosphere suits Netanyahu and the hawks who surround him.

Fourthly, as the right hon. and learned Member for Kensington said, we are being blackmailed by Israel to the effect that if we do not support military action, it will. After Iraq and Afghanistan, and in the midst of the global economic crisis, there is no appetite in the US for war. That is why the Americans sent General Martin Dempsey to Tel Aviv in January to let the Israelis know that there was no such appetite. It is now time for us to face down Israel and ask what sanctions we are willing to exercise against it if it seeks to threaten military action. I fear that the debate is gaining the momentum for a military strike, which will make matters worse, not better.

We are already at war by proxy in undermining the potential for peace and change in Iran. The sanctions are a siege of Iran. Its currency is collapsing, imports of grain staples are drying up, and people are becoming impoverished. That is not undermining the regime but hardening support for it by giving it the excuse that an external enemy is causing the impoverishment and hunger. The covert military actions carried out by organisations and individuals whom we now know, as a result of expos├ęs in Der Spiegel, were trained by Mossad, have prompted more terrorism around the world through Iran-sponsored attacks in India, Thailand and elsewhere. The cyber-war that was launched under Stuxnet, with the worm or bug that was put out to undermine Iran’s industrial complexes, has provoked even more retaliation, which has undermined some of the ability of Iran’s freedom movement to communicate with the outside world. I would welcome information on that extremely complicated cyber-attack. Did Israel sponsor it or its development? Was GCHQ alerted to it?

The actions that have taken place have escalated the potential for conflict, and they are strengthening the hard-liners in Iran and hurting the Iranian people, who are desperate to throw off the yoke of that theocracy. The way forward was spelt out by our former ambassador, Richard Dalton, who said that we needed multilateral negotiations to secure a nuclear-free zone across the middle east. Unless we tackle the issue of Israel holding nuclear weapons, we cannot confront Iran sensibly or creatively.

I reiterate that we cannot negotiate peace by threatening war, and I fear that we are again on a path that we have witnessed time and again in the House. We are threatening military action, which gains momentum that results in loss of life, including the loss of British soldiers and military personnel.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Generation Without A Future

I went to Brighton last night to speak to a meeting at Sussex University, convened by the Defend the Right to Protest campaign. There were 250 young people at the meeting.

One of the university's students, Zenon Mitchell-Kotsakis, was jailed last year for his part in the anti tuition fees demonstration in London. He threw a stick from a placard and was given 15 months in prison for the crime of violent disorder.

His mother, Maggie, came along to explain Zenon's case and his current plight. He is hoping to leave prison soon and go back to university to complete his degree. I filmed Maggie's extremely eloquent speech.




Zenon's sentence, like so many others handed out to protesting students, was disproportionate to his actions. At most he and his lawyers were expecting a community service order.

Why was the sentence so heavy?

Well it's fairly obvious that the courts, whipped up by the statements from politicians and the outrage in the right wing press, wanted to make an example of Zenon and the other students arrested in these demonstrations. The message from the courts to young people was pretty clear. Join in the protests and this is what you could get. Your future will be put at risk.

The problem for the Coalition Government and the whole of the establishment is that for many young people now, theirs is rapidly becoming a generation with no future.

Over a million young people are unemployed. For those coming out of universities or training there is nothing facing them but unemployment, cheap short term labour or forced work schemes.


The dreams and hopes of a generation are being destroyed.

With no future in prospect, many now have nothing to lose.

That is why research, like the recent study by Professor Peter Taylor-Gooby at Kent University, warns that further civil disorder in the form of strikes, demonstrations and riots are the likely product of the government's austerity programme of cuts and privatisation.

What will be the government's response?

Innevitably it will be further arrests and longer prison sentences and more attacks on civil liberties and in particular on the right to strike and the right to protest.

That's why we need to mobilise now to defend the right to protest and to support all those that have been victimised and imprisoned for protesting.

http://www.defendtherighttoprotest.org/