Cameron signals that “extremism” is to become catch-all term for dissent

I give you this (via Islamophobia Watch) from the Express:

In a speech to the Community Security Trust, which helps protect the Jewish community from anti-semitic attacks […] Mr Cameron said that extremism was not confined to any particular religious or ethnic group. “During protests against the conflict in Lebanon, we witnessed the nauseating sight of well-scrubbed, middle class English people marching through central London holding placards that read ‘We are all Hizbollah’. That is the extremist mindset in action.”

English people who marched in solidarity with the Lebanese people as they suffered a devastating full-scale assault on their country and recognised their right to defend themselves against invasion = extremists.

But English people who marched in solidarity with the people of Israel as their government bombed civilian infrastructure in Lebanon and invaded the country – not extremists.

In other words, if you give vocal support to those people resisting imperialism and colonialism you are an extremist…

I think Cameron is signalling the direction he would be willing to travel, namely: in future, if you oppose US/UK-backed wars you will be labelled an “extremist”…

And with Cameron, perhaps there will be more UK/US wars, like those in Iraq and Afghanistan. After all, this is a man who has already expressed tacitly his willingness to go along with bombing Iran if the US decides.

Dispute Mediation workers vote for strike action!

Does this not say something about New Labour?

PCS members working for conciliation service (ACAS), whose job it is to resolve industrial disputes, have voted for strike action in a dispute over their own pay.

61% of members voting backed a rolling programme of one hour strikes in response to ACAS’s failure to make a pay offer for 2007. The settlement date for 2007 pay was seven months ago in August of last year.

80% of those taking part in the ballot, who work across fifteen ACAS sites based in England, Scotland and Wales, also voted for industrial action short of strike.

Staff are angry over the continued refusal by the government body responsible for mediating in industrial disputes to hold substantive negotiations on the 2007 pay offer.

The ACAS ballot result follows Friday’s strongly supported strike over pay inequality and below inflation pay in the Department for Transport (DfT) and five of its agencies, which saw approximately 5,000 driving tests cancelled.

The ballot result also comes two days before members in the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) take part in their first ever one-day strike over pay levels that fall way behind those paid to other emergency services and below inflation cost of living increases.

Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “The failure of any pay offer and the lack of substantive negotiations have forced the very people who resolve industrial disputes into voting for strike action themselves. Pay across the civil service is creating anger and frustration as the government press ahead with its discredited policy of below inflation pay resulting in pay cuts in real terms. The government can avoid embarrassing and damaging strike action in ACAS and elsewhere in the civil service by addressing low pay and paying a fair wage. “

Solidarity with Shelter workers!

Staff at Shelter, the homelessness charity, are to take industrial action today in an attempt to hault management plans to force them to sign inferior contracts:

Their dispute arises directly from the government’s policy of commissioning out public services to the “Third” or voluntary sector – Shelter management says it has to cut staff wages and conditions in order to win government contracts for projects previously provided by public sector workers.

According to the UNITE union, “Shelter’s management has intentions not to work in partnership with other agencies in the voluntary sector such as advice agencies and Law centres, but to work in competition with these agencies.

“They intend to expand into other areas of law, with vastly lower pay and terms of service to win contracts and hence put competitors out of business where terms and conditions are higher and so far members have avoided changes.

“If Shelter’s management win this dispute and slash terms and conditions it will be a beachhead for other employers to attack terms and conditions in all voluntary sector bodies who are situated in much smaller workplace units than Shelter and less able to fight such cuts and an rely on other agencies to help defend themselves.”

This is a serious attack on the working conditions of workers at the sharp end of New Labour’s policies.

Ken Loach, a member of Respect’s National Council and director of the famous film “Cathy Come Home”, which highlighted the issue of homelessness, has said that people should stop donating money to Shelter until it stops its attacks on workers.

“I think Shelter’s behaviour is outrageous, telling workers to accept a deal or face redundancy,” he said. “I won’t be able to support Shelter and I don’t think others should. Shelter has always been campaigning and critical of government but it has become corporate and had its teeth drawn.”

The union got a 65.8 per cent turn out for the ballot, and a 76 per cent vote for industrial action — so they will be taking a series of strike days over the next few weeks.