Blog 32: BoJo No-No, and Bradford Health Workers Strike (08/08/19)

Blog 32 is here for August. Augmenting your holiday reading with this irrelevant and irresponsible blog. Irrepressibly, inspiring the proletariat of Leeds, and fulfilling my contractual obligations.

I hope some of you managed to get to Leeds Pride on Sunday (4/8/19)? Your UNISON Branch was represented and our brand new banner flown. I didn’t manage to get there until late on Sunday afternoon. The train station was packed with tipsy, colourful revellers. It was Absolutely fantastic. The battle for LGBT+ rights and equality is not won, but it is safe to say the generation behind my own is certainly embracing all our differences and wonderful diversity and celebrating them like never before. This is all thanks to all the brave activists in the generation before my own.

This month 0.1% of the population elected our new Prime Minister. It seems that the promises of 2016 and our country “taking back control” are not being met when only 90 thousand members of the Tory party can select our leader on our behalf. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is a lovely man. An innocent buffoon. An entertaining throw back to when England ruled the waves and WG Grace could win the ashes with one thwack of his cricket bat. WRONG. The man is an opportunistic scoundrel. A man, who like Trump, will use language in such a dangerous way to incite hatred of others, to strengthen his core supporters. If Alexander Boris de Pfeffel was a Health Care Professional it is highly likely he would have been struck off his professional register when organising for a Journalist to be beaten up in the 90’s. If he was an employee of our great hospital he would likely to have been sacked for his inflammatory racist language.

1. Calling women wearing the burqa “letter boxes” and “bank robbers”
Islamophobic incidents in which Muslim women have been called “letter boxes” have risen since Johnson described women wearing the burqa as “letter boxes” and “bank robbers” in a Telegraph column last year.

2. Palling around with Steve Bannon
Johnson has been in regular contact with far-right nationalist Steve Bannon – Donald Trump’s former chief strategist – who has publicly supported him and believes people should wear the terms “racist” and “xenophobe” as a “medal”.

3. Writing a poem about the Turkish President having sex with a goat
In May 2016, Johnson wrote a poem insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, suggesting he had sex with a goat.

4. Dismissing “part-Kenyan” Barack Obama’s views on Britain
In April 2016, during the Brexit referendum campaign, he dismissed former US president Barack Obama’s views on EU membership because of the “part-Kenyan President’s ancestral dislike of the British empire

5. Describing Commonwealth citizens as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles”
His 2002 Telegraph column included racist insults against black people, citing “regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies” in the Commonwealth and referring to “the tribal warriors… [who] all break out in watermelon smiles”.

These are turbulent times, and the UK is split terribly. However it is important to know your enemy and not allow others to split us as Trade Unionists. We cannot allow the rhetoric of blaming others in our working class continue, be that economic migrants, or the unemployed, or an under represented race, or any other persecuted group. The truth is we have our second old Etonian (in the last three) Prime Ministers in charge of a right wing capitalist government. This privileged mob defends their interests, and the interests of the 1 % at all times. They do not have your welfare at heart.

You will have seen in the news on Monday (5/9/19) that Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has said that he will commit to an extra £1.8bn on NHS infrastructure and equipment. How the nation rejoiced. However Tory ministers have also cut over £4bn from NHS investment budgets. There is a £6bn maintenance backlog in trusts alone, of which over £3bn is ‘high or significant risk’, meaning that it is likely to be causing major disruption to services and impacting significantly on patient care quality and safety……. Those sorts of facts put that “extra” £1.8 billion into context. They think we won’t read past the headlines!!

Bradford NHS Trust Estates and Facilities staff are again on strike in protest over their Trusts move to take them out of their NHS employment. Your Branch donated a fantastic £1000 pounds in a solidarity payment to their strike fund. If you would like to make a further individual contribution the link is here https://www.gofundme.com/unison-bradford-healthstop-the-wosstrike-fund

……Speak soon XXX