Action for Rail protests tomorrow morning 4th January 2016

Millions of people, already feeling grim about returning to work after Christmas, will receive another blow tomorrow morning. As they queue up for their tickets they will be told that fares have gone up again. Although the increase is less steep than some years (we had double-digit rises in West Kent), in a period of stagnating incomes and rising rents any increase will not be welcome.

I will myself be assisting at Tonbridge Station, but others in the area which will have protests outside include Tunbridge Wells (Central), High Brooms, Paddock Wood, Edenbridge and even Wadhurst. Details of protests nationwide are below, though strangely enough Tonbridge seems to have been left off the list.

Aylesbury Central: 08:00

Axminster: 18:00

London King’s Cross Station: 07:30 – 09:30 and 13:00

London Paddington Station: 07:00 – 09:00

Belper: 08:00

Bexhill on Sea: 09:00

Baildon: 07:30

Barrhead: 11:00

Barnham Station, West Sussex: 8.00 (TBC – check website for updates – Action for Rail)

Barnsley Station, Yorkshire: 8.00 (TBC – check website for updates – Action for Rail)

Bath Spa: 17:00

Bath Station: 06:00 onwards

Birkenhead Hamilton Square Station, Wirral: 07:30 – 09:30 and 16:00 – 18:00

Birmingham stations – 8.00 (TBC – check website for updates – Action for Rail)

Blackpool North Station: 07:30 – 09:30 and 16:00 – 18:00

Bognor Regis Station: 17:30

Botley Road: 17:30

Bolton: 07:15

Bolton Railway Station: 17:30

Bournville Station: 16:30

Bow Road: 07:00

Burnage Station, Manchester: 08:00 – 09:30

Burnley Cental Station: 07:30 – 09:30 and 16:00 – 18:00

Bradford Interchange: 08:00

Bradford on Avon: 08:00

Brentford: 07:00

Brighton Central Station, Queens Road: 06:00 – 07:00 and 17:30

Brighton Station: 07:15 – 08:45

Brighton/Hove or Aldrington Station: 07:50

Bristol Parkway: 17:30

Bristol Temple Meads Station – 07:00 – 08:00 and 17:00 – 19:00

Bromley Cross Railway Station: 12:45

Bromsgrove Rail Station: 07:30

Burnley Manchester Road: 07:00 – 08:15 and 17:45 – 19:00

Burton-on-Trent Station: 07:00 – 09:00

Bury St Edmunds: 08:00

Cambridge/Ely: 06:00

Cardiff: 12:00

Cardiff Central, front entrance: 08:00 and 16:00

Canterbury West: 16:00

Cardiff Central: 16:30

Cardiff Station: 07:00 – 09:00

Carlisle Station: 07:30 – 09:00

Central Worthing Station: 18:00

Chandlers Ford: 08:00

Chelmsford Station: 07:30 – 08:30

Chesham Train Station: 08:50

Chester Station: 07:30 – 09:30 and 16:00 – 18:00

Chichester Station: 17:00 – 18:30

City Road Chester: 08:00

Colchester North: 8.00 (TBC – check website for updates – Action for Rail)

Crewe Station: 07:30 – 09:30 and 16:00 – 18:00

Denmark Hill Station, London: 07:00 – 08:30

Derby Rail Station (Railway Terrace/Victoria Inn entrance: 11:00

Derby Station: 07:30 – 09:00

Diss, Norfolk: 06:30

Doncaster Station: 07:00 – 09:00

Dorchester South Station, Dorset: 07:00 – 09:30

Downham Market Station, Norfolk: 07:00 – 09:00

Droitwich Spa Railway Station, Worcestershire: 17:00

Dunbar Station, East Lothian: 11:30 – 13:00

Edenbridge Town Station: 07:30

Ealing Broadway Station: 17:30 – 19:00

Europa Bus/train station, Belfast: 10:00

Falmouth Town: 07:45

Flixton Railway Station: 06:00

Folkestone Central: 06:00

Folkestone West: 18:00

Greenfield: 07:10

Glasgow/Edinburgh: 8.00 (TBC – check website for updates – Action for Rail)

Glossop: 09:00

Grantham/Bingham and/or Newark: 8.00 (TBC – check website for updates – Action for Rail)

Grateley, Hamshire: 06:00

Gravesend Station: 07:00

Halton Station, Lancashire: 07:30 – 09:30 and 16:00 – 18:00

Hartleypool Station: 10:00

Hastings Train Station and TBC Bexhill & Battle Stations: 8.00 (TBC – check website for updates – Action for Rail)

Havant: 07:00

High Brooms, Tunbridge Wells: 06:30 – 08:00

Haywards Heath, West Sussex: 08:00

Hitchin Station, Hertfordshire: 07:00 – 08:00 and 17:00 – 18:00

Horsham Station: 07:30

Hove Station: 06:45 – 09:00 and 18:00 – 19:00 and 17:00

Huddesfield Railway Station: 18:30

Hull Paragon Interchange: 08:00

Hull Train Station, Ferensway: 17:00

Ipswich Station, Suffolk: 06:30 – 08:00 and 17:00 onwards

Ilford Station: 17:00

Islip, Oxfordshire: 06:00

Kearsney Station, Dover: 09:30

Keighly Station: 08:00

Kettering Railway Station: 08:00

Kings Langley: 07:45

King’s Lynn Station: 07:00 – 09:00

Kingston-upon-Thames: 17:00

Ladbroke Grove Station: 07:30 – 09:30

Leeds Station: 07:30

Leeds Burley Park Station, Horsforth Station and Menston: 8.00 (TBC – check website for updates – Action for Rail)

Leeds Train Station: 17:00

Leicester: 08:00

Leicester: 07:00

Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire: 08:00 and 17:00 – 19:00

Levenshulme Station, Manchester: 08:00 – 10:00 and 16:30 – 18:30

Lincoln: 07:00 – 10:00

Liverpool Lime Street Station: 07:30 – 09:30 and 16:00 – 18:00

London Euston Station: From 07:45

London Road Station, Brighton: 07:00 – 09:00 and 16.30- 18.30

Longbridge, Birmingham: 07:30

Llanelli: 06:55

Maidenhead Train Station: 18:00

Malvern Link Station: 0730 – 0930

Manchester Piccadilly Station: 07:30 – 09:30, 11:00 – 14:00 and 16:00 – 18:30

Manningtree Station, Essex: 8.00 (TBC – check website for updates – Action for Rail)

March Railway Station: 06:30

Market Harborough and South Wigston Stations: 09:00

Marple Station: 13:00

Matlock (or Chesterfield): 08:00

Mauldeth Road Station, Manchester: 08:00 – 09:30

Merthyr Tydfil: 06:40

Montpelier: 07:15

Mossley Train Station: 06:40

Moulscoomb Station, Brighton: 07:45 – 09:30

New Brighton Station: 17:00

New Street Birmingham: 12:30

Newcastle Central: 12:00 and 16:30

Newport Train Station, South Wales: 18:00Newton for Hyde: 08:00

Northampton Station – 06:30 – 10:00

Nottingham: 13:00

Nottingham, Carrington Street: 07:30

Old Railway Yard (tesco) Merthyr Tydill: 11:00

Oxford Station: 11:00

Oxford Railway Station: 16:30

Oxford railway Station, Botley Road: 10:00

Oxford Road, Park End Street: 19:00

Paddock Wood, Tunbridge Wells: 07:00 – 08:00

Paragon Interchange, Ferensway, Hull: 11:00

Peckham Rye, Queens Road, Peckham and Denmark Hill Stations: 8.00 (TBC – check website for updates – Action for Rail)

Peterborough Station: 07:30 – 08:30 and 16:00 -1800

Piccadilly Station: 08:00

Piccadilly Station Information Booth: 06.40

Portslade Station, Brighton & Hove: 17:30 – 19:30

Portsmouth and Southsea: 06:00

Preston Station: 07:30 – 09:30 and 16:00 – 18:00

Preston Park Station, Brighton: 06:00 – 09:00 and 17:00 – 19:45

Queen Street, Glasgow: 17:00

Rainham Station, Kent: 07:00 and 18:30

Ramsgate: 09:15

Reading Station: 07:30

Redcar Central: 08:00

Salford Central Station: 07:30 – 09:30 and 16:00 – 18:00

Scarborough Station: 8.00 (TBC – check website for updates – Action for Rail)

Sheffield Station: 8.00 (TBC – check website for updates – Action for Rail)

Shettleston: 07:30

Shrewsbury: 09:00

Sittingbourne: 17:30 – 19:30

Sockton on tees: 08:00

Southampton Central: 07:00 – 08:00

Spital: 08:00

St Austell Station, Parr Station and Newquay: 8.00 (TBC – check website for updates – Action for Rail)

St Helen’s Central: 08:00

St Mary’s Road, Market Harborough: 11:30

St Mary’s Street, Lincoln: 08:00

Stafford Station: 07:30

Stalybridge Station: 07:00

Station Approach, Burley in Wharfedale, Ilkley: 06:30

Station Approach, Hastings: 07:00

Station Road, Cambridge: 06:00

Station Road, Chesterfield: 07:00

Station Road: Newport, Essex: 06:00

Station Street: Nottingham: 17:00

Stoke, Staffordshire: 17:00

Swalecliffe: 07:30

Swindon: 07:30

Sudbury Station, Suffolk: 06:30 – 08:00

Sydenham Station, London: 08:00 – 09:00

Tamworth Station, Staffordshire: 08:08 and 17:00

Temple Meads: Bristol:07:30 and 17:00

Three Bridges Station, Crawley: 06:30

Todmorden Railway Station: 06:30

Tooting Broadway: 16:30

Travel Interchange, Bournemouth: 17:00

Trent Valley Railway Station, Nuneaton: 11:30

Trinity Street, Bolton: 08:00

Truro Railway Station, Cornwall: 08:00

Tunbridge Wells: 06:30 – 08:00

Twyford Station: 07:30

Uckfield: 17:00

Upwey Station, Dorset: 07:00 – 09:00

Victoria Stration: 16:00

Wadhurst: 06:10

Warrington Central Station: 07:30 – 09:30 and 16:00 – 18:00

Waterside train Station Londonderry, NI: 09:00

West Bromwich, West Midlands: 07:30

West Byfleet Station: 08:00

Weymouth Station: 07:00 – 09:00

Whiston: 12:00

Whitehaven: 06:00

Whitlock’s End Station, Solihull: 07:00

Whitstable Rail Station: 06:30

Whittlesford Parkway Station, Cambridge: 07:00

Willesden Junction: 18:00

Winchester Railway Station: 07:00

Winchester, Hampshire: 07:30

Winnersh Railway Station, Berkshire: 15:00

Winsford Station: 10:00

Wivenhoe Station: 17:00

Wolverhampton Station: 07:00 – 09:00

Worcester Foregate Street Station: 07:30 – 09:30

Worcester Shrub Hill Station: 07:30 – 09:30

Worthing Station, West Sussex: 17:15 – 19:15

Wrexham General: 07:00

Wymondham Station, Norfolk: 07:30 – 09:00 and 17:00 – 18:30

Yeovil Junction Station: 8.00 (TBC – check website for updates – Action for Rail)

Yeovil Pen Mill Station, Somerset: 8.00 (TBC – check website for updates – Action for Rail)

York Station: 08:30 – 09:30



I wanna be the leader
I wanna be the leader
Can I be the leader?
Can I? I can?
Promise? Promise?
Yippee, I’m the leader
I’m the leader

OK what shall we do?

[CORBYN is unique in that he is the only candidate actually talking about POLICIES. At least he has some ideas. The others only seem to have one policy, namely: don't vote Corbyn.]

A Christmas Tale of two classes

Just over a week ago, Tunbridge Wells man Ricky Skilton was given thirty days in prison for the theft of alcohol and mince pies from the town’s Morrisons, total value £34.52. He had also stolen alcohol worth £8, £22 and £3 on previous occasions from shops in High Brooms and Rusthall. He will now be warehoused for several weeks in one of our grossly overcrowded prisons.

Unlike Santa, democratic socialism can deliver what we really need AND without taking out a payday loan!

Unlike Santa, democratic socialism can deliver what we really need AND without taking out a payday loan!


Meanwhile, in Tonbridge, every two days a new person at risk of becoming homeless arrives at the Bridge Trust for support. The organisers suggest this is only the tip of the iceberg, with 9 in 10 people at risk of homelessness believed to be sofa-surfing.

In the City of London, the ‘A Team’ and other groups of fraudsters who conspired to fix the LIBOR rate to make millions for their banks are due to receive huge bonuses. They are far from being of above-average intelligence, going so far as to send each other testosterone-fuelled emails setting out the details of their crimes, but there is no sign of police officers breaking down their doors.

Christmas will be followed soon by the dawn of 2015. Why not make a new year’s resolution - to fight to end the class-ridden nightmare in which we find ourselves and build a society based on the democratic socialist principles of equality and justice?

Rebels or just a prop for capitalism?

This article on Ron and Rand Paul from the Socialist Party of Great Britain’s ‘socialism or your money back’ site is very worth reading. Please leave comments to instigate a debate!

David Cameron’s Conference Speech

Meet the new public sector axeman in chief… he has blood on his hands

Yesterday John Manzoni was appointed as the ‘Chief Executive’ of the Civil Service. He will be paid £190,000 to do what he knows best – possibly the only thing he knows – to slash and burn previously functioning organisations.

He was formerly employed at BP. The Spectator summed up the prevailing management style there

Gulf Spill“Cutting costs became BP’s obsession. The philosophy was ‘More for less’ — 100 per cent of a task would be completed at a cost of only 90 per cent of the previous resources. Conscious of its Orwellian overtones, Tony Hayward condemned the penny-pinching approach in 2006 as ‘a management style that has made a virtue out of doing more for less’”

His fingers were all over the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, which killed 15 workers and led to one of the worst ecological disasters in history. “Among the protestors were the American engineers and managers of BP’s refineries. After nasty arguments with Browne, they resigned and were replaced by a Browne ‘turtle’, John Manzoni, an accountant who zealously pruned safety and maintenance costs. After 15 subcontractors died at an explosion in 2005 at BP’s Texas City refinery, a US government report blamed ‘systemic lapses’ by BP’s management and budget cuts that left the Texas City site with ‘unsafe and antiquated designs… in place; …unacceptable deficiencies in preventive maintenance were tolerated’”.

After leaving BP, he was employed by Talisman Energy, a US fracking firm with a long history of environmental and safety problems.

He is probably the perfect figure for the Tories to become the most powerful person in the UK public sector. But the only bright aspect of the appointment is that this parasite will start work on the first of three days of rolling industrial action in the NHS, local government, the civil service and beyond.

UKIP defector Mark Reckless shows his love for Thatcher

Mark Reckless shows his, and UKIP’s, true colours in this video. He even used to keep a Maggie Thatcher eggcup in his office to show his devotion. If you can judge a person by the company they keep, anyone spending time with Daniel Hannan stands damned…

Focus E15 – London women who are fighting the housing crisis themselves

Just occasionally a story emerges which gives you hope. The women of the Focus E15 Group in East London, who were evicted from their hostel accomodation and told to travel to towns or cities miles from their families, is one such.occupation

For months they had been campaigning in Stratford, London,  with a “Social Housing for All” stall and getting significant support. They were at the sharp end – in an area of London where rents have risen even more rapidly than elsewhere in that city, due to the Olympics and its attendant yuppification of the area. Finding a ‘market rent’ on the meagre housing, jobseekers and child benefits in the area was therefore impossible.

Self-confidence was enhanced through meeting members of the Revolutionary Communist Group. I would personally differ from their interpretation of Marxism on issues such as the role of the state, the party, on economics or on Cuba. However, the two groups seem to have worked together effectively and Focus E15 occupied empty flats in Stratford.

This act showed enormous courage. The only way in which the ConDem Government has sought to deal with the housing crisis is to make squatting a residential property a criminal offence and to try and extend this to commercial property in future. All three main parties, and UKIP even more, are entirely in hock to the idea that rising housing values will win elections and allow their supporters to feel better off despite dramatically falling incomes.

The best thing about acts of courage is that they often lead to emulation. Would it be possible to make a list of second homes and unoccupied flats and houses in the Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge area, I wonder?

Read more from the RCP site here

Scotland decides – everything changes?

Within a few hours the people of Scotland must decide whether their future lies within the UK or as an independent nation for the first time in over three centuries. As someone living in Kent I feel duty-bound to remain neutral, and would only ask the Scots to decide on the following basis – would a socialist Scotland be more or less achievable inside or outside the Union?

However, whatever the result, the referendum is a positive experience for all the people of Great Britain. After three and a half decades tied to government by fundamentalist capitalists and to US imperialism, for the first time in their lives about five million citizens have an opportunity to meaningfully decide the direction of their country. If this is the case in Scotland, why should the rest of Britain not be given a chance to decide questions such as whether they support the dominance of the City of London or the ongoing privatisation of our services? For the first time in decades, questions about the over-centralisation of powers at Westminster have been raised, and, if for example Scotland votes no but is granted greater autonomy, it would be hard to prevent towns, cities and counties also reclaiming powers, such as the right to run municipal services through direct labour or to build council houses. Making politics more relevant is in all our interests.

Over the next few days, the priority must to respect the Scottish decision and to work in a positive way for a mutually beneficial future. I have no doubt that the friendship between the working classes of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland will survive in any case.

Democracy ends as hypocrisy rules

Today it was revealed that Cameron wants to introduce a threshold which would effectively prevent many strikes from taking place. Details are sketchy, but it may even be that a majority of members of a union in a workplace would have to vote yes. This is an interesting approach to running what is, for the moment, still a democratic country.

Virtually all Conservative Members of Parliament were elected on less than 50% of the potential votes of their constituents. Apathy suggests that they may get even fewer next time around. In many cases they received a relatively small proportion of the votes cast. If Cameron wants consistency, he will order all Tory MPs who did not receive the backing of at least half their constituents to not take their seats. This is good – Britain would never again be afflicted by a Tory government. There is no problem in taking this stance – they would follow the precedent set over many years by Sinn Fein.

(PS. I would also expect the said Tories to not take any salary or expenses. In a period of austerity we cannot pay state funds to those not usefully employed).

Furthermore, the right to withdraw labour is recognised as a basic democratic right. The Tories seem mainly to be aiming at RMT members (excellently organised), and to a lesser extent fairly well organised unions such as UNITE, PCS and the NUT. For the Tories, however, only bankers are allowed to threaten to withdraw their labour, Osborne having handed them tax cuts and used our money to fight EU restrictions that threatened to reduce their bonuses.

No doubt the Conservatives still have the gall to say that we are a classless society!