Sunday, 14 May 2017

Durham & Derby Teaching Assistants Campaigns – Please help deliver a Labour Government

The conduct of some in the Labour Party in the north east and Derby has been awful not just over the Durham & Derby Teaching Assistants campaigns but the fallout from Thatcher’s policies and successive governments which have decimated your communities.

What has happened over several decades is that working class areas have been treated as “voting fodder” that has enabled some Labour MPs to be parachuted into safe Labour Party seats and a long career in politics.

Nothing more best evidenced this practice than at the Durham Miners Gala last year when Davey said Tony Blair (Sedgefield MP) had never accepted to speak at the Gala.

For me it was shameful, an absolute disgrace, and is partly one the reasons the working class vote has declined in subsequent General Elections.

Yet knowing all of this I am campaigning to help elect Jeremy to win the General Election in 2017 and bring in Labour Policies the like of which we have never ever seen.

We have had two governments in 2010, 2015 and both have ripped up workers terms and conditions and escalated the brutality of austerity that now blemishes our communities everywhere.

Jeremy wants to offer something different a different world. No more tugging our forelocks for the scraps at the table but a world where we see the end of poverty, injustice and jobs, education and a fully funded NHS free for all of us that use it.

If you remember when the first Labour MPs coup started against Jeremy, Davey called them traitors.

and he banned them from the Gala. He pulled no punches about what he thought of them and I agreed with him.

I was having a drink with Davey and Graham before the Gala. He explained to me that this was the first time there had ever been a socialist leader of the Labour Party in his life time and he was 100% committed to helping Jeremy elected.

This is why I am going to do the best I can to play a small part to help put a Labour Government into power that will end misery, poverty and endless attacks on the disabled, workers and our communities.

I may be wrong, but I think that if Davey was still with us he would be out in Durham drumming up support for a Labour Vote in order to make sure that when Jeremy speaks at the Big Meeting this July, he will do so as Prime Minister.

What is clear that grassroots campaigns are showing time again they have a greater reach than the establishment and that includes the trade union movement.

My request.
Please turn your legendary social media skills in encouraging the young people you have taught to register to Vote by 22 May and then turning out the Labour vote in your communities.

The establishment with the support of the mainstream media say we can’t win.

Well B****x to them.

“Grassroots never give up and never give in until we win and that means with Jeremy as Prime Minister.”


Saturday, 13 May 2017

My take on “Mental Health Awareness week”


I’ve had a lot of that recently.

Last month was an anniversary I thought would never happen to me.

One year and counting I have been taking medication.

For someone who never even liked taking painkillers the idea that I would accept medication was just not something I thought would happen to me.

I don’t like it and I want to come off it, but I have this niggling feeling of the consequences if stop it. I keep saying to myself “let’s get the next few weeks away and then visit the GP and talk about coming off the medication.”

But of course there is no respite or end to stress for me and that of my members and friends and family.

We are all literally digesting the brutality of austerity and its impact on all of us is devastating.  

My plan is to see the GP after 8 June after Jeremy is elected Prime Minister, BUT, what if that doesn’t happen?

I try not to think about that.

I want an end to the pain and suffering that just seems to keep coming. Sometimes I feel like I am drowning. In the “coal face” austerity is literally killing people. The stress levels of those coming for support to our union office is off the scale. I try like all of you to be positive, offer support and solidarity. But the sheer volume is at times overwhelming.

It is at these times, ‘He returns’.

Always hanging in the background waiting for moments of weakness, whether it be tiredness or stress.

‘He’ is quick to wrap his arms around me and start pushing down on my shoulders, increasing the tension in my neck which travels quickly to the back of my eyes.

‘He’ senses an opportunity to drop in negative thoughts, at first they are like short subliminal messages, but each one increases in duration until I find myself stuck in a loop of negativity.

Who is ‘He?’

‘He’ is depression.

My instinct is always to fight, as many others do when facing depression. My past coping strategy has been to work until I drop with tiredness which brings me sleep and some respite.

But I know this coping strategy does not work and is destructive to me and to those around me.

Talking to others and listening to others has been a release.

One of my concerns about divulging my mental health issues was that it would make others wary of me, or that others would somehow think I am not able to cope or be able to support others.

I don’t think that is right.

So many people are talking to me about their experiences it has opened up another world for me.

For me if you are struggling find a support group or contact Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), they have so much knowledge and solidarity, I can find words that express my admiration for them. They take our pain straight into the back yard of the politicians and national media. For that I owe them a debt of gratitude.

That is why I am glad we have events like Mental Health Awareness week.

It isn’t a fix to the stigma and discrimination that people have to deal with, but it is an opportunity for us all to talk to others and that is not a bad thing in my book.

Solidarity to you all out there and good mental health.