Hate Crime – Why I reported it to the Police

1ji0bqReproduced from John Burgess’ blog.

Yesterday, I registered a hate crime directed at me.

I registered the hate crime because on Thursday 9 February, 2017 I received an unsolicited email from someone I do not know and who claimed to be supporting me.

It is a sickening email. I have shared it with some close friends.

Because of the serious nature of the allegations I have responded back to the sender asking for their contact details so that I can speak with them. In my opinion if the allegations were true there would be serious ramifications for the trade union movement.

Any reasonable person after receiving such a shocking email and having been unable to elicit a response from the sender could only come to one conclusion; that the sender was attempting to bully and intimidate me into silence.

Firstly, I want to reassure my friends that I am ok. If I had received this email a year ago I am not sure how I would have responded and it could have been very serious.

But I have been back at work for over five months. Life is never straightforward in Barnet, so I am having to operate with all the energy I have to keep my focus which is always to my members and the community we serve.

I sought the opinions of some close friends and the consensus was that the purpose of the email was to try and destabilise me, silence me and undermine my mental health so that I do not trust my comrades.

However, the sender and or the others behind this attack fail to recognise that I belong to a tight community and I also have friends outside of Barnet. I am also an organiser. It is in my blood and when someone picks on someone I can’t look away. I am not a spectator, I have to offer my help and dealing with bullies has for me been a fight that never goes away, no matter what it means to me personally.

Well, I thought about what I should do.

“Ignore it”, was a common response.

But, what about the others the sender also bullies, how can I just let this go?

I quickly decided I can’t and so I decided the first step was to register it as a hate crime with the police.

I have provided the police with the email and the email address.

I have tried to find the identity by looking up the IP address which led me to an address in California, it is an @icloud.com email address.

However, if you know someone who knows how to trace an email please let me know.

Here is an extract from the email:

“Attended the left mtg last night – debate about gen sec election where your so called comrades tore you apart

Comments like he’s a fucking liability,he s a total nut job and he’s lost the fucking plot with no one challenging them.they laughed at all your ranting a and postings ..and spoke about men in white coats appalling stuff

They said you were the worst candidate ever fielded and you are a spineless chicken especially writing grovelling apologies all the time.using words like nut case,loony etc

I have never heard such nasty language about a comrade esp their mental state.”

I don’t believe such a meeting took place. As I said earlier this was an attempt to try and bully someone who is known to have had a serious mental health breakdown.

Now it is true that I made a decision to go public about my own battle with my mental health, which I didn’t take lightly but I felt that it was one thing to tell others to share their experiences and another to keep mine to myself. It was scary decision, but I have had nothing but positive feedback from hundreds of people, some I know, our members and others who have just read some of my blog posts about my mental health issues.

This is not the first time I have been subject to threats and probably won’t be my last. I also had threatening emails and smears whilst I stood as a candidate in the UNISON General Secretary elections.

I have been the target of two hate crimes which resulted in damage to my car, one of the attacks took place less than 5 metres from my front door.

Back then I took a decision to go public, to say I would not be intimidated or bullied into silence.

Both the local press, my employer and other trade unionists rallied round by signing a message of solidarity. John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn along with a number of high profile trade union leaders added their names see link here:

Defend our UNISON rep – Letter to Editor

http://bit.ly/2kHwPTQ

Local press covered it here:

‘We won’t let the bullies intimidate us’ – union rep in hate attack

http://bit.ly/2lDLxJu

 “Union condemns hate crime as rep’s car is vandalised”

http://bit.ly/2l8wXwl

 “F*cking union faggot” – UNISON activist targeted in hate crime

http://bit.ly/2kzoeQQ

My message to the sender.

I will not be silenced I will not be bullied, I will not allow you to push me into the shadows.

I will not be backing down from standing up for what I believe in.

Whatever you thought you would achieve by sending that email has back-fired.

This matter is not at an end, it is only just beginning.

9th of March: Come to Barnet TUC’s Annual General Meeting!

Union-leadersIt’s that time again. Barnet TUC will be having its 2017 annual general meeting once again in Finchley’s own Safari Bar, 975 Finchley High Road N12 8QR, at 7pm this Thursday, March the 9th.

This year, we are welcoming a keynote speech from Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association general secretary, Manuel Cortes, who will be speaking to us the range of challenges that transport workers are taking on with our wider labour movement in Britain and internationally.

We also have guest speakers from:

The AGM is the event where we ratify our committee and structure for the coming year, so we can carry on the vital work of giving trade unions a voice in the community, and we want our friends from that community to come and participate. So come to the Safari Bar, take part in debate and stay for drinks (as well as some snacks that will be layed on!) with Barnet TUC.

Invite your friends to the Facebook event!

Report: Stand Up to Racism Trade Union Conference

944343_838222376289599_8345544089945264528_nLast weekend, we had the excellent initiative of having a specifically trade union and labour movement conference about anti-racism was held in London. Delegates from Barnet TUC went along.

The day itself, of course, also happened to be the day of further protests against the most racist (to say nothing of also sexist and authoritarian) president of recent American history, Donald Trump. SUtR organisers quite right cancelled the morning session to allow us all to join around 40,000 other people on this lively and important demonstration, and it put people into the right frame of mind for the day.

The opening session contained greetings and introductions from a range of trade union speakers. Ronnie Draper, general secretary of the of the Bakers’ Union, spoke about how his union was combating the myth that immigration, rather than employers, are the cause of low wages. Suzanne Matthews of Unite the Union spoke her work organising black workers with the TUC. Janet Maiden from Unison Health spoke about NHS workers defending the ideal of multiculturalism. The conference then split into three workshops: one on Brexit and Workers’ Rights, one on building solidarity with refugees and a third on the threat of the Prevent policy.

I went to the refugee solidarity session. It was kicked off by Sara Tomlinson of Lambeth TUC, who had been involved in the Care for Calais organisation. Teachers from Lambeth had been volunteering at a pop-up school at the refugee camp operated by a courageous refugee activist who has since received the NUT’s “Service to Education” award. The school served around 100 adults and dozens of children. The school provided a vital centre of normality and stability for the refugees and was more than just a place of education (in a sense, this is true of any functioning school!). It was destroyed when the camp was forcibly dispersed in November, and conditions for the refugees are now far worse, as they now live completely rough as fugitives, and risk death to sneak onto literally any vehicle they can. Care for Calais has continued distributing basic aid to refugees, even though this is now far harder, and continues to appeal for support. Trade unions are encouraged to help out by sending useful items like sleeping bags to Stand Up to Racism and to get trade unionists to the site to help, as Lambeth teachers have. A very good report from Mile End hospital followed about them organising their own-workplace based solidarity collection. Activists are strongly advised to reproduce these actions at their own work.

There was also some good information about things that have been done to help refugees inside Britain. Unite Community in the city of Chesterfield has managed to organise English for Speakers of Other Languages classes for refugees, based on its existing programme to help Eastern European workers learn English. This actually helped build solidarity between the communities and has also resulted in refugees and migrant workers joining the unions at work, which they might otherwise never have had the opportunity to do.

The other sessions also got very positive report backs. For people who do not know about Prevent, a very handy pamphlet has been produced to explain it. Essentially an institutionalised programme of getting education workers to report “potentially extremist” behaviour by students, who are almost exclusively Muslims, has created a surreal atmosphere of paranoia and discrimination that would be funny if weren’t so horrible. Young Muslims have been called in for questioning for wearing badges that say “Free Palestine” or mispronouncing words so someone else can think they heard the word “bomb”. Children growing up in such climate can scarcely be said to be free and enjoying their rights: our movement must oppose Prevent, and champion an education that is actively anti-racist. The session on Brexit was also useful, and contained a report back from the new Free Movement of Labour Campaign, which has been invited to send a speaker to Barnet TUC’s AGM next month.

Generally, this was a timely and very well organised conference that turned what could be a very bleak few hours into a useful organising event. I would support having another one in future.

Let’s stop CETA before it’s too late!

16-08-2016-protest-final-590x393From Phil Fletcher:

Please note that the Labour MEPs will be voting on the 14 of Febuary on whether to support oir not, and not on Feb 6th, as we had previously been informed.

So that gives us more time to do something against CETA! For example a quick phone call to your MEP.

Click here to make a quick, free call to Members of the European Parliament.

I’m sure you appreciate the significance of CETA by now, so here’s the last useful action you can take.  It will only take a few minutes, but might change your future drastically!

It is now 99% likely that the final vote to start Provisional Application of CETA will be on February 15th.  The Socialist and Democrat block (S&Ds) are wavering, and are going to vote on their agreed position next Monday, February 14th.  We need to lobby those that are still persuadable.

The Provisional Application will cover 90% of CETA, but will not  initially include the controversial Investor Court System ICS.  Our government is very keen to see CETA fully applied, with ICS, as a blueprint for all future trade deals outside the EU.  (Without the protection of the European Court of Justice as well of course ! ). It will be possible for the government to fully implement CETA, with ICS, by putting a notice in the House of Commons Library for a period of 18 days.  This will mean all public services (the NHS and education ) are included from now on, by default.

Copy the email below to your local Socialist and Democrat block (S&D) MEPs.  They can be found simply by typing your postcode into: https://www.writetothem.com/

If you could also resend this to any Labour party or Trade Union contacts, that would be great! After all, we only have until Monday at the latest!

In addition to this letter, if you’re in a rural constituency, you should probably mention that the Conservative government has chosen not to protect any geographical indicators, which will obscure the origins of our food, and could risk destroying local farming practices (see this UK parliamentary briefing)

Proposed Agenda for BTUC Meeting Tomorrow

Agenda for Meeting on 9th of February 2017, 7pm at Greek Cypriot Brotherhood, Finchley

06:30 PM

Meeting of Barnet Alliance for Public Services

07:00 PM

1

Attendance and apologies

07:05 PM

2

Review minutes of previous meeting

07:05 PM

3

Matters Arising from the Minutes

07:15 PM

4

Planning for the Annual General Meeting and Getting Affiliations

07:30 PM

5

Campaign for the NHS: Music Night and Demonstration on 4th March

07:45 PM

6

Anti-racism: Report from Stand Up to Racism and Demonstration on 18th March

08:00 PM

7

Industrial Reports

08:20 PM

8

Any Other Business and Delegates Motions

08:30 PM

9

Meeting Ends

Word copy of agenda:2017_02 Agenda

Minutes of January’s meeting:BTUC Jan 17

Solidarity with Migrant Workers: “One day without us”

purple_ribbon20TH FEBRUARY 2017

We want to demonstrate our solidarity for our migrant colleagues:

  • By wearing a purple or green ribbon. You can also just wear something green or purple.
  • By taking solidarity selfies of you and your workmates on 20th February
  • By holding team meetings or getting together at lunchtime to talk about the positive effects of migration and filming short interviews of colleagues about who you are, what you do, where you’re from and why this issue is important to you.
  • By making a cake and organising a tea and cake session at work…

The fate of thousands of EU migrant workers in Britain is still not resolved post referendum. This adds to the thousands of other migrant workers in Britain who are feeling particularly vulnerable and subject to vilification and hatred by sections of our society and this feeling has escalated in these last month’s especially with the election of Donald Trump as President of the USA. Many racists now feel their ideas are mainstream.

We want to show them they are wrong. Workers in Barnet are not immune to these discussions and the feeling of increased vulnerability.

On 20th February we want to kick start initiatives at work which say that here, in this workplace, our migrant colleagues are welcome no matter where they come from, whatever their religion. Without those colleagues we could not continue providing the services we do. Like John F Kennedy said as a show of solidarity to the people of Berlin in 1963: “Ich bin ein Berliner”; We will all say “Ich bin ein Migrant”!

Many British colleagues have had experience of living and working in other parts of the world and so we can all say we are all migrants or have the potential to become migrants. British people continue to migrate, benefit from that experience and also contribute positively to the countries they go to.

Let us know what you plan to do on the day and we can add to this list of events and supporters: contactus@barnetunison.org.ukbarnet-unison-logo-e1462368170626

❤UNIONS – The Big Workplace Meeting, 9 Feb 2017

heartunionsThe Big Workplace Meeting – Thursday 9 Feb

We’d love you to join Frances O’Grady and her special guest for “The Big Workplace Meeting” on Thursday 9 February, part of heartunions week. This was really popular last year and we want to get as many union branch meetings taking place simultaneously as possible on Thursday 9 February12.30pm, bringing members and potential members into workplace activities.

This is a great opportunity for union members to hear from Frances O’Grady talking about the importance of unions in the workplace and the vital role unions reps play.

What’s happening on the day?

The Big Workplace Meeting will be a short live event, broadcast to branch meetings at 12.30pm. The broadcast will answer questions about the role of unions in the modern workplace and highlight great stories from across our trade union movement.

You’ll be able to watch the live broadcast from the heartunions website

Ask Frances

This meeting is about how we build a stronger movement as well as showcase the great work of our union reps and members, so we want to hear from you.

  • Send in your own stories about how your union has helped members where you are, or how a union rep helped you. We want to hear about unions in action and any unsung union heroes out there.
  • Send in questions you have about the role of unions as our workplaces, our economy, and our changing working life.

Frances will try to include as many questions and stories as she can on the day.

If you have any questions or stories for Frances, send them into i@heartunions.org or tweet them to @iheartunions before the live event.

Let’s make this BIG

To make this a BIG workplace meeting we need you to encourage as many union members to participate on the day. Get the word out to your members by including it in your circulars, social media sites and pinning up posters on your noticeboards. To help, we have designed a publicity poster to advertise the meeting.
Download The Big Workplace Meeting poster (pdf).

Let us know

Please let us know by 7 February if your branch will be holding a workplace meeting and tuning in on 9 February so we can build up a rough idea of how many branches will be joining the Big Workplace Meeting.

You can also contact us if you’ve got any questions about the format of the event, or how to make sure your branch will be able to watch the live stream.

heartunions – i@heartunions.org

A victory for Parents and Residents over education in Barnet, a report from Jenny Brown

The pubic gadefendeducationllery was packed at Hendon Town Hall on the night of the 25th of January as residents, teachers, school governors and teaching assistants listened to the councillors question and discuss the issues.

Barnet council rejected the planning application for the Free School proposed by ARK PIONEER.

The EFA/ARK can appeal but the fact that Barnet council turned down the ARK PIONEER application for planning permission has particular reference toFree Schools in general.

The decision from Barnet shows how important it is to get involved at planning application stage and to have local councillors working with residents and resident associations.

The proposed site is in a labour ward with active hard working councillors. Conservative supporters lobbied their councillors too, so the conservative dominated planning committee was not prepared to pass this over development so near to other primary and secondary schools that have scope for expansion.

The message from Barnet is that we (parents, residents, governors and teachers) expect the recommendations and legal guidance for outside play space, safety and standards, to apply to Free Schools as they do to other buildings.

This stand from Barnet should be widely shared to empower other areas to defend themselves from Free Schools especially ARK PIONEER and their low level of education and building design.

Shortage of land for FREE SCHOOLS is no excuse for not planning additional housing along with school places and infrastructure.

Last night the EFA /applicant for ARK argued that lack of outside play space was acceptable since in some FREE SCHOOLS children play on roof tops. I think this one comment, tipped the balance against the whole project and the public were genuinely shocked.

Need for school places was especially relevant because the proposed site is green belt. The EFA and Tory councillors tried unsuccessfully to argue that although it is a site on green belt, there are officers, toilets and football stands built in the recent past. Even in leafy Barnet, air quality samples are too high and at the proposed site, Barnet Friends of the Earth found that it was high at the site.

Residents and councillors were unimpressed by the EFA offering to purchase roads, widen them and install traffic lights. which would increase air pollution from stationary vehicles at red lights.

Areas with unsound short term arrangements for schools, should let national education organisations such as CASE know.

CASE is aware of these issues for example at Kingston Community School children are in an unsafe building surrounded by main roads with no fire assembly point possible and no plan to get children to safety should there be any type of emergency. Buildings that are unsafe or unsuitable should not be accepted as schools. CASE would like to hear from anyone in the Kingston area who would like to help this particular school. Please visit the CASE website and consider joining.

Finally just to say that Barnet teachers and governors of local schools are shocked at the EFA’s proposal to miss use the education budget by spending on roads, especially at this time. Although this issue was not raised last night, as not relevant to a planning committee, nevertheless the waste of money by the Education Funding Agency is utterly unacceptable especially as the amount is enormous. CASE is working on the figures to be released soon but again please consider looking for info on CASE.

I Daniel Blake screening

16358539_10154765740641206_221928706_nBarnet UNISON is proud to be able to screen ‘I Daniel Blake’ in our local community cinema the Phoenix in East Finchley on Tuesday 28 February.

We are absolutely delighted that our long-time supporter Ken Loach has agreed to join a Q & A with DPAC’s Paula Peters, who will be interviewed by Aditya Chakraborrty senior economics commentator for the Guardian.

See flyer and poster for details.Flyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Useful links

Phoenix Cinema – East Finchley

https://phoenixcinema.co.uk/PhoenixCinema.dll/Home

Accessibility at Phoenix http://phoenixcinema.co.uk/PhoenixCinema.dll/Page?PageID=3&SubListID=1&SubPageID=1

I, Daniel Blake trailers

https://youtu.be/ahWgxw9E_h4

I, Daniel Blake – Official Trailer I HD I Sundance Selects

https://youtu.be/f4KbJLpu7yo

Ken Loach: life in austerity Britain is ‘consciously cruel’

https://youtu.be/-V7Iaycp5IU

barnet_idanielblake_28Feb2017_A5_2ppAditya Chakrabortty https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/19/lives-torn-apart-assets-labour-privatisation-north-london-haringey

Download our poster here

barnet_idanielblake_28Feb2017_A4_poster

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