Tag Archives: Trade Union Reform Campaign

The Tory Whitewash of Aidan ‘Nazi Boy’ Burley

I meant to write something about the long-delayed Tory report into Aidan Burley’s behaviour last week, but I was overwhelmed with other commitments.  Needless to say The Cat is not surprised that an internal inquiry (the Tories despise such things as evidence and believed every word Nazi Boy told them) has exonerated him with little more than a slap on the wrist. The internal Conservative party report into Burley’s role in the SS uniform scandal nearly two years ago concluded that he is “not anti-Semitic” and behaved in a “stupid and offensive way”. So it was all just youthful high jinks then? Not as far as The Cat is concerned. The Tories even refused to accept first hand evidence from The Mail on Sunday… The Mail on Sunday. A Tory paper!

Here are the facts as I see them:

1. Burley paid for the SS uniform, knowing that the stag party was to be held in France, a country that has outlawed Holocaust denial, the wearing of Nazi uniforms and yes, toasts to the Third Reich.

2. Burley’s letter of apology to The Jewish Chronicle was a lie from start to finish.

The Guardian says:

In an article for the Jewish Chronicle on 15 December 2011, four days after the revelations about the stag do were published in the Mail on Sunday, Burley issued a strong apology but disassociated himself from the “clearly inappropriate behaviour” of other guests.

He was given the exact words to use in his letter by someone in Tory Central Office. You can be certain of that.

Burley’s pal, Mark Fournier, was fined 1,500 Euros by a French court, yet Burley escaped punishment. The question here is: why?

There have been calls for the Tories to reopen the Burley case. In true fashion, they have refused. Anyone would think they had something to hide.

So what is so special about Burley that Cameron and the leadership of the party feel such a desperate need to protect him? Is he being groomed for the Home Office or Works and Pensions portfolio? We already know that when the Tories took office in 2010, Burley hit the ground running with his guaranteed-to-please-David Cameron venture, the Trade Union Reform Campaign. Like Burley, the Nazis didn’t care much for trade unions either and banned them outright. In their place, Hitler created the Deutsche Arbeitsfront (DAF), headed by Robert Ley, to organize workers along nationalist and militaristic lines.  DAF subgroups like Strength Through Joy and Beauty Through Work were also added to provide diversions.  The Reichsarbeitsdienst was created with the purpose of providing cheap (often forced) labour that exploited unemployed men, who were used for work on major infrastructure projects like the autobahn network. Is this what the Tories have in mind for trade unionists and the unemployed if they win the next General Election? There is already talk about creating work camps for the HS2 project.

Today, Political Scrapbook reports that Cannock Chase Conservative Association has been accusing Ian Austin (whose father escaped from Treblinka) of orchestrating a smear campaign against their beloved MP.

Nice people, these Tories.

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The Cat’s Preview of the Tory Party Conference

The Tory Party conference begins on Sunday and the Cat expects to hears the following words:

  • It’s Labour’s fault
  • We’re cleaning up the mess the Labour government left us
  • The Conservative Party stands up for hardworking families/taxpayers who do the right thing and who want to get on in life.

The last one is quite important to the Tories because, in their eyes, this slogan works as a substitute for real ideas and acts as a means to divide people along the usual lines of public/private, young/old, able-bodied/disabled, waged/unwaged and so on.

Patrick Wintour in The Guardian tells us that the Conservatives have produced a “6 point pledge card to win back working class voters”.

The card is due to be launched next Monday in a Manchester pub, and the idea likely to be examined carefully as Tories seek to fend off claims that their party is for the rich, or has become insensitive to the crisis in living standards. The Conservatives do not have a single councillor in Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield or Liverpool.

The pledge card, which mirrors New Labour’s initiative in 1997, will promise free party membership for trade unionists, the building of 1m new homes over the course of a parliament, an increase in the minimum wage funded by a cut in employers’ national insurance, a cost-of-living test for every policy item and a cabinet minister to “take action for the consumer against rip-off companies”.

The sense of desperation is palpable. But it should come as no surprise to readers that Policy Exchange was involved in this ruse. Remember them? They’re the ‘non-partisan’ think-tank that proposed the North of England should be abandoned and its denizens live in leafy Oxfordshire instead.

It has been founded by David Skelton, a former deputy director of the thinktank Policy Exchange. Born in Consett, Co Durham, he is a rare northern voice in the party and stood for North Durham at the last election.

Skelton believes the Conservatives can win in the long term as the new workers’ party. He said there were four overlapping groups to which the Tories have failed to appeal: working class voters, northern urban voters, ethnic minority voters and people outside the Tory heartlands

Excuse me while I split my sides. One of those who supports this idea is Matthew Hancock, who’s on TURC’s parliamentary council. Another supporter is Laura Sandys, daughter of Duncan Sandys, a former defence secretary and member of the Monday Club. Ms Sandys is a member of the Free Enterprise Group, which includes fellow headbangers, Dominic Raabid and Kwasi Kwarteng, whose views on British workers are well known.

Another laughable idea is Eric ‘Pie Man’ Pickles’s wonderfully barking idea of letting people park on double yellow lines. It hasn’t occurred to the Sontaran that double yellow lines are there for safety reasons.

The Tory Party conference, which is being held in the very northern city of Manchester, will be met by a massive protest of health service workers, the Socialist Party, the People’s Assembly, Left Unity, Unite the Union, the TUC and many more besides. If you’re in Manchester this weekend, give the chinless bastards hell from me.

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Aidan Burley, Nazi Uniforms and the French Prosecutor’s Report: the silence is deafening

Nearly two years ago, Aidan Burley, the Tory MP for Cannock Chase was recorded on video at a stag night in which his mates are caught on camera wearing Nazi uniforms. In one scene, his chum toasts the Third Reich. We know the uniforms were hired by Burley (has anyone checked his expenses record to see if he used public money to hire these costumes?).

We were told that the French prosecutor’s report would be released for public viewing. Nearly two years later and there’s no sign of it.

The Huffington Post carried this story in February of this year.

The results of a Conservative Party disciplinary inquiry into an MP who attended a Nazi-themed stag party will not be published until French prosecutors have completed their own criminal investigation into the incident, the party said.

However the probe by senior officials is not believed to have concluded that Aidan Burley, who represents Cannock Chase, should have the Tory whip withdrawn.

A party spokesman said the in-house inquiry into Mr Burley’s role, ordered by Prime Minister David Cameron, had been completed but that its report, originally scheduled for publication this month, had been postponed.

“It would be inappropriate to release the report’s findings while French police are continuing their own investigations,” he said.

Does it really take this long for the French police to investigate the matter? This doesn’t sound right. Does David Cameron have something to hide? I would say he does.

Burley will stand again for the Tories in the 2015 election.

UPDATE 9/9/13 @ 1231

Burley may have been reselected as his constituency’s candidate but his tendency to cock things up will probably be his undoing. I found this in The Independent from last October:

He chairs the Trade Union Reform Campaign (TURC), which has a list of things they want to stop unions from being able to do. TURC invited Halfon, a serious and thoughtful character, to speak at one of their meetings, and were a little taken aback when he told them that their campaign was “ethically and politically wrong”. They should recognise unions as valuable community institutions and encourage Conservatives to get involved, he suggested.

My bold. Yes, a Tory… Rob Halfon said that. It would seem that even some of his fellow Tories find his ideas a little nutty.

Burley also appears to have a lack of understanding when it comes to Kurdistan. The leader of the Kurdistan Regional Government commented on yet another Burley faux pas:

Aidan Burley’s reported remarks about the Kurdish genocide illustrate the need to amplify understanding of what happened to the Iraqi Kurds for so many years. Britain did so much to protect the Kurds in 1991 and in 2003 and is perfectly placed to help lead the way in recognising the brutal realities of genocide. This does so much to help the Kurds to continue to overcome the past and build a prosperous peaceful and pluralist Iraq with the help of deeper and broader political commercial and cultural links with the UK. Mr Burley would be wise to apologise for making light of a genocidal campaign waged by a fascist regime. He could also show contrition by committing himself to supporting the cross party campaign spearheaded by his colleagues Nadhim Zahawi and Robert Halfon.

Zahawi is an Iraqi Kurd. A fact that went seemingly unnoticed by Burley.

His Trade Union Reform Campaign has been quiet for a couple of months too. The last blog entry was 14 July, 2013. Their last event was on 24 January, 2012.

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Taking another look at TURC

The Trade Union Reform Campaign has been mentioned a few times on this blog, mainly for the fact that its chairman, Adrian Burley, has a Nazi fetish and some rather questionable attitudes to difference. The Nazis, need I remind anyone, were no friends of the trade unions or the working class.  Here at Nowhere Towers, we believe that not only is Burley a Nazi fetishist, he’s more than likely a racist too.

TURC was founded towards the tail-end of last year. It has the approval of Lord Snooty, who sent them a letter giving them the big ‘thumbs up’ in their quest to smash what’s left of the trade union movement.

But they’re operating in an already crowded market with rivals like the Taxpayers Alliance and The Freedom Association working to achieve the same ends.

One thing that I’ve noticed about TURC is that its parliamentary council (not a coven then?) is mainly drawn from the 2010 intake but with one exception: Liam ‘I did nothing wrong’ Fox is also part of this gang of thugs. No doubt he’s there to lend a sheen of gravitas to this inexperienced collection of young and not-so-young bloodsuckers.

TURC’s beef is with paid union facility time, which is, like it or not, essential to workplace relations. Such work cannot be done outside of work hours. TURC thinks that it can. Like TPA and TFA, TURC refers to union members who are paid for facility time “Pilgrims”.  The only problem is that this word is entirely unrelated to pilgrims and pilgrimages but to a woman called Jane Pilgrim, a full-time organizer with UNISON. TURC likes broad brush strokes. But it’s guilt by association. Nothing more, nothing less.

For all its hot air and bluster, Nowhere Towers thinks TURC has arrived late to Thatcher’s red-bashing party.  The punch has all been drunk and what remains of the drink is a lonely bottle of vermouth. The TURCs are envious that they weren’t there to put the boot into trade unions and working class communities in the name of ‘freedom’.

The language of the 1980s has also been resurrected. Phrases like “loony left” are routinely trotted out about by the likes of Toby Young.

TURC’s website doesn’t seem to have been updated much. The last post on the home page occurred on 13 July, 2012. Some spammers have also left comments, which I find particularly amusing. No quality control but then what did you expect?

Here’s a glimpse of their Twitter page

I’ve thought of starting a Tory Reform Campaign but the Tory Reform Group already exists. They don’t seem to do much either. How about The Campaign to Reform the Tory Party? It’s needed, that’s for sure.

I found this on the Cabinet Office’s website.

Facility time is paid time off during working hours for trade union representatives to carry out trade union duties and time off for representatives and members to undertake trade union activities.

The Government recognises that unions can play a constructive role in a modern workplace contributing to the effective and efficient operation of public services.

Many union representatives give their own time in addition to any facility time, to support their colleagues both individually and collectively through the industrial relations machinery. Where this operates well it serves the interest both of the union members and the employer well.

We are seeking to find a balance between supporting constructive engagement with employee representatives for the good of public services and providing better value for the taxpayer.

Formal consultation is between the Civil Service and its trade unions, however if you are a civil servant and would like to comment, please send us your thoughts to facilitytimeconsultation@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk or post to Civil Service Workforce Reform Team, Cabinet Office, 4th Floor – Red Zone – Bank 20, 1 Horse Guards Road, London SW1A 2HQ. 

“Consultation” is one of those words that says the opposite of what it means whenever politicians use it. This government is taking the ideas of Burley and his  chums seriously. But then, this government is also arriving late to the party because there’s barely anything left of the unions to smash. Maybe, the Toxics will turn one each other. I’m not a fan of bloodsports, by the way, but I can always make an exception as far as the Tories’ are concerned.

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Pickles plays the Hokey Cokey with the YBF

Eric Pickles talks rubbish

In a Guardian article from March 2010, Eric Pickles, then the Tory Party Chairman, said that he was “distancing the party from the Young Britons Foundation”.

If that’s the case, Nowhere Towers would like to know why he still turns up to address the young and not-so-young shock troops of the rabid right? Presumably, he’d tell us that he’s attending such meetings in a “personal capacity”. Yeah, okay, if you say so.

The Sontaran  also has close contact with the Trade Union Reform Campaign led by Young Turcs (geddit?) Aidan Burley and Mark Clarke, the YBF’s  “Outreach Officer. In fact, as Political Scrapbook tells us he’s attending this evening’s relaunch of TURC.

Burley was involved in an embarrassing Nazi incident just before Christmas that cost him his job as Justine Greening’s bag carrier. Oddly enough, Nazis didn’t like trade unions either.

So is Pickles in or is he out? Will he shake it all about? Ugh. That’s one mental picture  that I don’t want to see again.

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Beyond fetishes? Union-bashing, Tories, Nazis and Aidan Burley

When it comes to truly barking right wing politicians, Hammersmith & Fulham knows how to produce them. In recent years it has churned out quite a crop of nutty right wingers, whose ‘philosophies’  intersect rather neatly with those of the far right.  While making a casual online search for updates on Aidan Burley… you know, he of the embarrassing Nazi incident, I came across this website.

After last month’s massive strike, Burley got the notion into his wee noodle to set up his own think-tank dedicated to smearing the trade unions.  He’s done this with the apparent blessing of Lord Snooty. The site’s “About Us” page says,

We campaign for reform of the laws and funding arrangements relating to trade unions. We do not oppose trade unions right to exist and to campaign on issues which are important to them. However, we do not believe that the hard pressed tax payer should be forced to pay for their campaigns either directly or indirectly. Furthermore, we believe that when trade unions take action which affects the wider public it should have a greater element of democratic legitimacy.

Burley has deliberately failed to spot the glaringly obvious: his party is funded by unaccountable millionaires and billionaires, none of whom are elected or accountable to anyone but themselves. 22 millionaires currently sit at the cabinet table. On the other hand, union leaders are elected by their members  and are accountable to their electors. Naturally we cannot expect someone of Burley’s character to understand something so simple. Let’s read on,

We provide quality research into trade union related affairs which highlight these issues. We welcome engagement from trade unionists, taxpayers, users of public services and the media who wish to engage with us. We are happy to provide media spokesmen or speakers for debates and public fora on these issues.

So, this this is a think-tank that’s also a union-busting service? It sounds like it. I’m not taken in by this promise of “quality research” either but then, dear readers, you wouldn’t expect me to be.

This organisation is run on a voluntary basis by people who work in both the public and private sectors, outside of their normal work hours. Just as trade unions should be.

I wonder who these volunteers are? More importantly, his view of unions appears to be a little, er, lopsided. How many of his fellow MPs are engaged on private business when they should be working on Commons business? Hmmmm? What about those expenses? The moats, the duck houses?

Helping Burley in his quest to further smash what’s left of Britain’s trade union movement is Harry Cole, Guido’s ‘news editor’.

The Tories are often quick enough to tell us how they loathe Nazis and, more recently, have been equally as quick to claim that Nazis were “socialists” because the word “Socialist” forms part of their name. In their haste to rush to such an untidy conclusion, they have ignored one rather important fact: Germany’s conservative Centre Party handed Hitler power of their own volition. Indeed, the German conservatives had many things in common with the Nazis: nationalism, law and order, crushing workers movements. Far from being supportive of trade unions, the Nazis saw them as enemies and banned them. I would wager that if Burley and other Tories had their way, they would doubtlessly follow the same path. Of course I am not saying that the Conservative Party is a Nazi party or a Nazi sympathizing party. That would be puerile.  Eh, Dan? But clearly there are individual members of the party who venerate Hitler and his vile party and we shouldn’t ignore this. After all, how many Labourites fetishize Stalin or Ceaucescu?

So it comes as no surprise to me that a young Tory, who was once a H&F councillor, should be seen associating with Nazi fetishists. His predecessor at H&F Council, Donal Blaney, made clear his thoughts about access to social housing that could have, quite easily, been spoken by a Nazi.

The Guardian said,

Conservative Central Office confirmed yesterday that it has opened an inquiry following a complaint from the Commission for Racial Equality about the Fulham Homes for Fulham People campaign led by Tory councillors Donal Blaney and Greg Hands.

One leaflet accused the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham of denying a council house to a “local mum” whose place had been taken by “asylum seekers”.

The name Greg Hands should be familiar to most readers, he is now the MP for the newly created constituency of Fulham and Chelsea. Hands is an arch-Thatcherite, who was once the leader of the opposition Tory group before he was selected to stand for the old Hammersmith & Fulham constituency. He has also recently addressed the Young Britons Foundation.

In the week before Christmas, Burley apologised and was then promptly sacked from his position as Justine Greening’s PPS. According to the Daily Mail, Burley had even hired an SS uniform,

This veneration of the Nazis and their iconography is nothing new. Other Tories have been there before. The most notable example was the racist boor and self-styled rake, Alan Clark who, according to Socialist Unity, took the BNP’s John Tyndall out to lunch. That’s the same BNP that Hannan claims is “left-wing”.

Socialist Unity quoted this from one of Clark’s diaries,

‘Lunched with Frank Johnson [parliamentary sketch writer on The Times]. Frank pretended he wanted to talk about the Tory Party, but he really prefers to talk about the Nazis, concerning whom he is curious, but not, of course, sympathetic. Yes, I told him, I was a Nazi, I really believed it to be the ideal system, and that it was a disaster for the Anglo-Saxon races and for the world that it was extinguished. He both gulped and grinned, ‘But surely, er, you mean ideally in terms of administrative and economic policy you cannot really, er …’ Oh yes, I told him, I was completely committed to the whole philosophy. The blood and the violence was an essential ingredient of its strength, the heroic tradition of cruelty every bit as powerful and a thousand times more ancient than the Judaeo-Christian ethic.

The disgraced former MP, Neil Hamilton once made a Nazi salute while on a trip to Berlin in 1983.

The buffoonish image cultivated by Mr Hamilton in public has managed to gloss over his extreme views. Born in 1947 in a small Welsh mining town, he was a leading light in the Federation of Conservative Students and the ultra right at the university of Aberystwyth. A 1979 election flyer in Bradford, where Mr Hamilton was standing as Conservative candidate, espoused “coloured” repatriation, as did a speech to the Tory selection committee at the same time.

Oh yes, the FCS, I remember them and so does Craig Murray. The FCS is the predecessor of the YBF. Hamilton has recently joined UKIP.

I have previously quoted this blog from Dissembling Dan Hannan in which he claims that the BNP are a party of the “far left”.  His thesis looks even shakier now.

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