Saturday, December 30, 2006

Cooking Brekky

If you're going to cook your husband breakfast of Ayrshire organic bacon and eggs, you may as well be wearing the apron he bought you for Christmas and a 50p charity shop vintage tiara.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Cute Pics

  • Kaytlin and the Christmas tree
  • Cameron and the Computer Game
  • Christopher and Michelle and their niece, baby Sophie. Unbeknown to Michelle, Christmas day was the 3rd last day of her pregnancy. Their baby boy got so excited over the talk of figgy pud, that he came 8 weeks early.
  • And finally, our niece Hayley....ahhhh...I'll just lie back here in my satin jammies!

Grannie and Whisky

I am lucky to have Grannie "Lottie" Sinclair as my gran, who likes a dram now and then. She's inclined to mix it with ginger beer or lemonade, so it was with this in mind that we bought her Sheep Dip, a blended whisky.

So here we are on Christmas Day 2006.
  • Pic 1 - Don't turn your nose up at a blended malt!
  • Pic 2 - It's all smiles at the old folk's home
  • Pic 3 - Did you really buy me Sheep Dip?
  • Pic 4 - Yes, we really did - and look what happens to you when you drink it!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Ali andJock's Holiday Message!

To see Ali & Jock's Christmas message, click here

Christmas Crackers

The UK is Christmas mad. More money is spent on buying cats and dogs presents than the entire GDP of **insert small African country here**.

What I find funny is the Christmas tunes pumped through the stores here. And that's every store. Not just your Marks and Sparks, but your Pakistani corner shoppe and your local hairdressing/tanning/stick-on nail salon.

To qualify for going onto high rotation on radio or into the CD player, all a song must do to achieve Christm-arse repetition overload is to have the word "Christmas" in it. Innit.

A point in case - I was in the famous toy store, Hamley's of Oxford St London, when I heard The Pogues Fairytale In New York come over the in-store muzac system. Now this is a toy store. There are small children around.

And this is what they heard:

A song primarily about being heroin junkie. If you would like to familiarise yourself with this little ditty, click here for a wee listen.... And meet Shane McGowan, their front man, pictured here on the left.

Now you may argue that the kids are too busy looking at toys. But I say - do you know all the words to Hotel California? Well do you? And did you ever own said Eagles song? No? Neither did I... but I know the words. That is because of the evils of commercial radio and high rotation.

In saying all of the above, I would much rather listen to The Pogues than "Do they know it's Christmas", Cliff Richard or that horrible boob tubette, Messiah Carey with her horrible horrible, evil song, All I Want for Christmas is You (to shut up). And here she is singing it live... uh! Just horrible!

John Howard Donkey Kong

I was always more of a Snoopy Tennis girl, but this reminds me of the eighties and just how slow computer games used to be. Bipp...bipp....bipp....move a bit to the right....bipp...bipp...bipp.....move a bit to the left....Deyooh!(Fire!)...Deyooh!... Deyooh!....bipp....bipp...move a bit to the centre.

So here's the game to play in those few days after Christmas when you've got nothing to do.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ali & Jock's Holiday Message!

Hello Family, Friends and Random Bloggers

It's been a fabulous year for us as we've settled into Glasgow, Scotland; caught up with old friends and made new ones, partied in the summer and got dreary in the winter as the darkness takes hold at 3pm :(

On the work front, I continue to have a love/hate relationship with the Transport and General Workers Union and Jock is settling in to his new job with the environmental carbon footprint software company IES.

More importantly, on the adventure front, we've caught up with friends, Cathy and Nick in Hong Kong, Jeremy and Neus in Catalonia Spain, Jamie and Jeannie in Belgium, Loree in Sweden and Ali's family in France. We've also welcomed lots of visitors to our little tenement flat.

Highlights of 2006 will include the many fantastic gigs we've been to, participating in the West End Festival dressed up as strawberries and sashaying down Byers Rd in front of 50,000 people, attending the Barcelona anti-war rally, falling in love with Provence, visiting old friends in London and relishing the Aberdeen snow.

Lowlights include having our stuff nicked at a music festival, the continuing war in Iraq, our local shop individually wrapping capsicums in plastic and missing our families.
Well be having Christmas with Grannie Sinclair and Aunty Hazel in Aberdeen but will be thinking of everyone back home.

Love to you all, and have a fabulous 2007 - we'll be seeing in the bells in St George's Square in Glasgow and to give you a little piece of Glaswegian Christmas cheer, check oot tha irn bru ad below! The end bit is where we'll be for new year! Cheerio!

Love Ali and Jock :)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

England Muppets

I have just watched Adam Gilchrist's superb knock at the WACA (..or the Gabba, it doesn't matta, where you are, this summa....because it's the number one team in commentary, it's me, Richie Benaud, and me, Tony Greig....and don't forget me (shut up Bill), Bill Lawry...),

What a stunning innings! And here is a picture of Animal, who for the purposes of this blog entry will represent Gilchrist.

And aren't England SHIT? After being in the UK and seeing/hearing all the hype about the defence of the Ashes, here is Beaker, who represents the English cricket team.

And finally, here are Statler and Waldorf, who represent cricket commentators Geoffrey Boycott and that posh bloke
on the BBC radio (Johnathan Agnew??). They aren't happy chappies...


I feel numb at the prospect of a citizenship test for migrants entering Australia. Worse, the proposed content of this test is making me feel sick. John Howard wants would be Aussies to know about Galipoli and mateship.

Gallipoli from who's perspective? As a defining moment in Australia's history, it was an abject failure on our part....

"The West Australians assumed that death was certain, and each in the secret places of his mind debated how he would go to it. Mate, having said goodbye to mate ... went forward to meet death instantly, running as straight and swiftly as they could at the Turkish rifles. With that regiment went the flower of the youth of Western Australia ..."

War Historian C. Bean, writing from Gallipoli, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 May 2002

Neatly, this quote combines both mateship and Gallipoli, but also it shows the absurdity of it all.

Don Watson has written a good summary on mateship - at its core, it's masculine. .. "we do need to recognise that the meaning of the word "mateship" is plainest when it describes the attachments and the needs of men struggling in a common cause".

There needs to be a new common cause - that of preventing this ridiculous, outmoded, outdated "test" for new Australians. I'm sure John Howard will say that it's not the same as the white Australia policy of a hundred years ago.

But it is.

This time though, the "white" in this policy is the crisp white linen sheet of history, hiding the many true histories of Australia - the Aborginal frontier, the women's struggle, the migrant struggle, the pioneer myth.

History is written by the winners. Let's make sure that the other histories that forge our identity are spoken about and learned - by all of us. And let's not put this in a test.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ali and Friends go to see Pendulum

Yup - we saw them again. Pendulum, our favourite drum n bass DJs from Scarborough Beach, Perth were playing in Aberdeen and then Glasgow.
Meet Avril, my work colleague, who boogied with us to the tunes of Pendulum at the Glasgow School of Art, a Rennie Mackintosh designed building.

The Aberdeen gig was way too crowded, and Paul the DJ from Pendulum, said his MC almost fainted in the heat. When trying to explain what we were going to see to my Grannie, we told her it was like poetry being spoken in a sing song voice to the music being spun on records in the background. Hmmmm....

The Glasgow gig was much more fun, and here are the pics to show you.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I'm in Sweden

Well, i can't say it any better than this.....

Sunday, December 03, 2006

49-39 The King is Dead, Long Live the Kevin

Well, I'm listening to News Radio on the net and it's just come in that Rudd is the new leader of the ALP.

  • Will Beazley stand at the next election, or will he retire?
  • Will the class of '93 move to the back - Albanese, Swan and Smith?
  • Will Gillard take Treasurer?
  • What impact did the media, the ALP membership or members of parliament have on forcing the ballot?
  • Will Howard stand at the next election and deny Costello the leadership?
  • If Howard does retire, will there be a challenge on Costello and will it be Turnbull?
  • And finally, will Howard call a snap election???????
It's time to go to bed.
Kim looks really prime ministerial in this photo. Have I spoken too soon? Will Rudd be another Latham? Will the ten caucus members who are undecided run to the devil they know? Will Beazley triumph? Should I have stayed faithful and gone all the way with Kim "LBJ" Beazley?

I'll tune into Fran on RN at 7pm (dinner time here - it's been dark for 4 hours...) and listen to the latest. It's like the Ashes - I'm gonna go to bed just when the fun is beginning and have to read about it on in the morning. Except the Federal ALP is more like saggyhasbeen.....

At this moment, I'm missing all my comrades to chew the fat over this current situation in the ALP.

And in unrelated news....I'm off to Sweden tomorrow to visit an old school friend, so it may be difficult to do blog entries between smorgasbords, looking for Stefan Edberg and visiting the IKEA store (click here to play the IKEA game). I'm thinking of bringing little stickers to put over the names of lamps, chairs and beds, so instead of saying "Nyklop" and "Semvik" they say "Narelle" and "Bruce".

Pissing Cousins

Ben's done it again....but this time he was arrested in Melbourne. That's a long way to run away from a Canning Hwy Booze Bus!

Saturday, December 02, 2006


This is actually on the website and recommended by my friend Mad.

It's always great to see grown men shitfaced at awards ceremonies...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Bring It On!

I'm supporting Julia and Kevin. That's it. That's all I have to say on the matter.

Go Bananas!
Okay, here's the thing....It's only going to work if:
  • Rudd and Gillard win and the Class of 93 go to the back - that's Smith, Swan et al, and they just accept that it's not their turn to govern
  • Everyone gets behind the dream team and we concentrate on the real enemy by coming up with an alternative vision for Australia which would include statements like - A world leader in new clean energies - to think of one....
  • Beazley and Macklin (who?) win and, well, would Rudd have to step down from foreign affairs? He'd have to go to the back bench. So too would Gillard, because if Beazley didn't punish them for disloyalty then he'd be seen as a weak leader who can't control his party let alone the country.
God, what a mess. I'm really disappointed in Jenny Macklin. She's a sista, but she was AWOL during the last election and I don't think she has a huge profile because she doesn't say that much.

God, what a mess. I think this is what happens when rather than have community people preselected for parliament, you have a succession of career politicians who started out as electoral officers from their days as student politicians.

I promise now to get behind whoever the leaders are and support them 100% so we can win the next election.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Get off the grass! The lawn's a YAWN

The poor turnout for the recent WorkChoices rallies across Australia is indicative of what I call "The Big Sleep". For the faithful who turn out, it's the same old, same old. The union leader compere, followed by a shop steward or a union member, preferably one who's got a story to tell, followed by a folk singer or union choir, and then maybe an international speaker and finally, some old union bloke who's turn it is. Yawn. Boring. Fists in the air, we will defeat you Howard.

For new comers, or first time marchers, it may be the inspiration needed to go forth and multiply the union membership. I doubt it. Rallies don't build union power. They may make us feel good, but they don't build union power when the strength of feeling is not there.

We need to be cleverer. We should be using micro-media like YouTube to get the message across, and do fun stunts like gathering people via sms and spontaneously doing something in busy shopping centres. We could get cool bands and get them to play for free, and have the Workers Beer Company sponsor the event. Or, we could organise around another issue, like the water crisis, to get people out.

Instead of having the impact it should have, the poorly-attended rallies will have Howard laughing all the way to the next election - particularly if the shenanigans don't stop in the ALP.

We need to rethink our strategy. This is a wake-up call.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tridenting your spirits....

It's still hard to believe that the country I'm from and the country I'm choosing to live in right now are both at war with Iraq.

We all knew it would be a disaster. Some of us tried to stop it, and I'm comforted in the knowledge that the greatest number of people in history marched against the war.

But it wasn't enough. And I don't know what to do now. I feel complicit for doing nothing. What would it have taken to prevent the war? Closing the ports? Withdrawing our labour? Who would give up a week's pay to stop the war when the credit card is maxed out to pay for the big fuck-off 45inch high definition digital TV? We weren't even ready to move people to the position of withdrawing their labour.

I feel sad :(

And now the UK Labour Government is thinking of renewing Trident, the Nuclear Submarine. What for? War's changed. Australia and the UK, as nation states, are at war with Iraq, a nation state, but a state divided. So we're not actually at war with Iraq. We're at war with insurgents. You can't nuke insurgents without nuking thousands of ordinary folk. And we're also at war with Terror. You can't nuke Terror. It's a noun.

Ooohh, excuse us Iran, but you're not allowed nukes. In the meantime though, we're going to spend a million squillion gadzillion pounds to build a nuclear sub that we'll never use, instead of spending the money on being clever about the ice caps melting.

And by the way, can you help us clean up the mess we've made in Iraq coz you're t
he closest.

The only Trident I want to see is the one on my stir fry.....

I commit to encouraging people to participate in democracy again.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

If you're for England, what would you rather be watching?

Would you rather watch the Ashes or......

Leonard Nimox singing!

Car CrAshes for England

What a crap start. The wide bowled by Harmison to second slip on the first ball of this much anticipated Ashes series was almost as good as the googlie bowled by Warne to Gatting on his first over. Except Warnie's hit the stumps....

My feeling is that England is so rubbish is because the Aussie crowd are chanting "Warnie's shagged your missus" whenever an Englishman goes near the boundary and it's quite possibly true.

It's just such a drubbing. It's not even close. It's like Australia Vs the Dumbleyung Und
er 12's. And Ponting not allowing the follow on, well, the English may as well just put paper cuts between their fingers and sprinkle with lemon juice.

Hope the next test is closer - for the good of the game and so I don't have to listen to the wingeing on BBC Radio 4.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Despatches in Despair

I am in despair over the latest performance by the Federal ALP. With 4 interest rate hikes in a row, the Iraq war and of course industrial relations, I can't believe that the ALP is so woeful. Kim Beazley and his frontbench class of '93 (a term I have pinched from a friend, who is important now, so shall remain nameless...) HAVE GOT TO GO.

I think we need Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd. I'm not saying Gillard and Rudd are perfect, but I think they could make a great team and get some spark happening in the Caucus.

Wayne Swan, Stephen Smith, Anthony Albanese, Jagga Jagga forgotten her name but she's the deputy leader which shows you how much of an impact she has on me...'s coming back.....Jenny.....fuck, I even did a fundraiser for her in '94 for the Dorothy Tangney Dinner, I can't remember her last name..... Macklin!!!! ...there it is.. Jenny Macklin. Right, well, all of them, including Beazley should move to the back and Peter Garrett and friends should shuffle down the front.

Imagine the team - Julia in Health, Kevin for Foreign Affairs and either of those two as leader (Kev speaks Mandarin which would be great for our relationship with the world's next super power), Garrett for Environment Minister, along with ministers such as Penny Wong, Jenni George and other talented younger potlicians - I don't know enough about Craig Emerson or Chris Bowen to comment....are they the next Labor factional warriors?

Swan, Smith and Beazley have to come to terms with the fact that it just wasn't their time to govern and for the good of the party, and the country, they should join Rogan Josh in a pasture in Capel.

It's tiring when you're an activist running around for months organising your polling booth and spreading the Labor message when in your heart of hearts, you just don't believe in the team.

I will always believe in the Labor Party. I am a true believer, but I also truly believe, that unless some miracle happens between now and the next election, we can't win under Beazley without the team united. And the reason for this is that the activists on the ground generally don't believe it. It all seems like a big boys school yard and it seems like it's been going on for years.

Either unify and sort it out or go to the back bench.

On another matter, David Cameron, Tory Leader here in the UK said "ladder of opportunity" the other day on radio. What a horrible bunch of memories that brought up!

(Pic: Remember to say "Rove McManus, Rove McManus, Rove McManus"....."Karl Rove")

Monday, November 20, 2006

Scissor Sisters Concert!

My uber fabul-arse mate Avril and I went to the Scissor Sisters concert in Glasgow. It was a classy honey kissy huggy lovey dovey brilliant concert!....and we were in fine form singing along to all our fave tunes. Jake and Ana Matronic were just amazing. It was a handbag house love fest. Kiss You Off, Take Your Mamma, Comfortably Numb, Don't Feel Like Dancin' and of course Filfthy Gorgeous, shook da house. I know this will offend Pink Floyd fans, but Comfortably Numb Scissor Sister style is so much betterer than the original. Jake and Ana lied and said they had haggis for dinner....
Let me tell you, anyone who ate offal for tea cannae dance like that! I mean... just look at it!

Cool Car Sticker!

This was in our favourite newspaper, The Guardian on the weekend.

It will eventually make its way onto our car the next time we drive it, which hasn't been since our trip to Loch Tay over a week and a half ago.....

I love the Guardian. It is a visual and cognitive feast.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Milton Friedman Dies aged 94

But seasonally adjusted, he died at 103.

Friedman's brand of "individual freedom above all else" in economics and monetary policy suits the rulers, the owners and the employers. His view that the State should not have control over wages equals a race to the bottom for low paid workers. No one has the "individual right" to decide someone else's economic fate in the name of freedom of choice.

Friedman may have been seen as a genius, and had influence over many a US president, but there was a major flaw in his economic argument regarding "if you allow the individual the freedom to have full responsibility for himself and his actions, this will lead to a higher moral climate in society." That flaw is the real world. In the real world, (most) economic power corrupts.

In fact, it's possible that Friedman's biggest influence has been the notion of "freedom loving nations" - a term that Bush likes to use regularly, and what "freedom loving" actually delivers, is an impingement on someone else's freedoms.... such as "free trade" actually meaning "farm subsidies".

If you want to find out more about freedom loving people and their economic viewpoints, click here.
I'm NOT being ironic this time......

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Support Getup and become a Mori Groupie!

I'm donating to Getup so that billboards can be made to lobby the Federal Government to either send Hicks home or send him to trial. This is an injustice - no one should be locked up indefinately without charge. And here is my friend Sue getting an autograph from Michael Mori - David Hicks' lawyer.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Taking on Tescos

The hallmarks of an ali b protest....giant dress-ups to make a point! We're protesting about Tesco selling strawberries from a supplier who exploits workers, particularly those from Eastern Europe. The security guard did not like it when I questioned the law regarding shopping with a giant strawberry when we went to Tesco's. These protests happened around the UK and I'm pleased to report that meetings have been ongoing with the suppliers and the supermarkets about ethical trading.

A Poem called Beryl Morgan

Beryl Morgan
Bury Mortgage
Boring Mileage
Born Martyr
Norm Marlborough

Mormon Mandurah
Moron Pandering
Morals Pending
Cornwall Pastie
Oral Pecks
Coral Packs
Carnal Pricks
Anal Crocks

Lame Crooks
Crime Books

Brine Lurks

Brian Burke

I don't think "Cornwall Pastie" should actually be there in the syntax of this poem, but I couldn't help it and it reminded me of the Miami Bakehouse.....the only reason one would stop in Mandurah. If only it was drive thru..... Oh how I miss the cajun chicken pies on the way to Bunghole.

For UK readers - Norm Marlborough..(pictured) was a Minister in the WA Carpenter Government but he and his mate Brian Burke, ex Premier, put Beryl Morgan, ex Busselton Shire Prez, (A Tory!) on the South West Development Commission Board and furthermore, it is alleged, possibly did something somewhat dodgy, it is alleged, with some Busselton Shire Councillors, allegedly, regarding a proposed development at Canal Rocks (pictured and lookin' bewdiful mate).

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Oor Wee Camper

This is our new camper - Ford Escort 55. It's been decked out inside with carpet, red curtains and a little stove. Here we are on the banks of Loch Tay in the north of Scotland on its maiden camping journey. It was fucken freezing....('scuse language, but sometimes, only fuck will do...)

I really love this pic of Jock too. He's eating home made bread for breakfast and wearing a beanie made out of possum fur. They're vermin in NZ you know....

And yes, they are fuzzy dice hanging from the mirror in the front.

The drive through Scotland's autumn scenery was divine.

Happy 60th Birthday Dad

To see Ali's "Haiku For Me Da" press play below!

New! and improved version!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Au Revoir Rumsfled (er.... Rumsfeld)

Answers to Spot the Difference:

Interestingly, there aren't that many differences. Both are martyrs because of an evil empire that stole from its people, but the main difference is that the one on the left came down as a staged media propaganda exercise, and the one on the right simply got rusty and fell over because people were too busy watching the opiate of the masses instead of going to the original opiate on a Sunday. The local townsfolk decided they'd moved on, and instead of fixing it, they spent the cash on a bit of a knees-up for the Belgian
Frère Grand TV show finale..... OR

And to be fair, there is another difference. If you look closely, you'll see that Saddam was pulled down by a large cable and pully system. Jesus, however, clearly got in the way of the mad professor, when in flying fox style, he knocked him over as the lightening bolt struck, so Micheal J. Fox had enough power to generate the flux capacitor in order to send him and the Delorean home to 1985.

Okay and now back to Rumsfeld....

From the Washington Post

Bush acknowledged that the election showed that many Americans are "frustrated" with the lack of progress in Iraq. "I am too," he said. "I wish this had gone faster. So does Secretary Rumsfeld. But the reality is that it's a tough fight. And we're going to win the fight. And I truly believe the only way we won't win is if we leave before the job is done."

See "You Idiot" in blog archives for more spin!

Happy Birthday to The Goodies

It was on this day, in 1970, that Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie's "The Goodies", went to air on BBC.

Bless the carrot underpants, giant kittens, dinosaurs, Rolf Harrises, Ecky Thumps and Loch Ness Monsters. And bless the speeded up footage - it's sooooo much funnier in double time....

An Od(di)e to the Goodies, By ali b

They're coming to get you!
Mum's coming to get you!
The dinner's ready!
But muuuuu-uuuumm
The Goodies are on
The Goodies are on
6 o'clock ABC
River Thames to
The Goodies are on!
Pleeee-ease can we watch
Just five more minutes
Baked Beans
Make you fart

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The House that Jock and Ali Built

Once Jock and Ali were home from their world adventure, this was the only house they could afford after Perth's housing market boom.

You Idiot

Vote the Republicans OUT on November 7!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Australia - Firmly on the Environmental Axis of Evil

I can't believe John Howard is not whole heartedly backing the Nicholas Stern report on global warming by signing the Kyoto Protocol and getting on with finding the solutions for a sustainable future.

When Howard says he's not going to sign an international protocol on climate change unless the same limits are put on China and India, Australians should say with loud voices and raised fists that we could and should be world leaders on the solutions for sustainable uses of our land by giving it the environmental protection it deserves.

Howard suggesting in Parliament that it's somehow unfair that China and India don't have the same environmental constraints can be likened to the school yard - I'm not gonna pick up my rubbish because I know that the younger kids chuck it on the ground so why should I put it in the bin?

And if Howard thinks he's winning votes from farmers he's wrong. My friend Jacquie who works for the Environment Protection Authority in NSW has been meeting with farmers who have over worked and over grazed land for years. Farmers are passionate about their land and are worried for the future. Stern makes a reference to Australia in his report, saying that if the global temperature rises by 4 degrees, large parts of Australia's farm land will become arid.

You suck John Howard. To campaign for the signing of the Kyoto Protocol, click here.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Mufti...Meet Meat Cyborg

An open letter to Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali regarding his comments about likening women to pieces of meat that cats eat in back alleys.....

Dear Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali

You are like, well out of order. So, given that you think women are pieces of meat and to be objectified, I'd like you to meet Meat Cyborg. She's right up your alley-cat.

Mufti - hide behind your closed doors in the safety of your house of prayer, just like that fat old magistrate hid behind his bench, to say that women who wear short skirts deserve to get raped.

This is not about what religion you are, this is about women being human beings first. Religious leaders of all flavours objectify and blame women.

And it doesn't make it any better by saying you were only referring to prostitutes either.

I'll leave you with this thought...

"In passing, also, I would like to say that the first time Adam had a chance he laid the blame on a woman."
—Nancy Astor
(the first MP in the House of Commons..)

Love ali b

Rise up women of Australia...Rise up! Let's put
Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali out to pasture along with Fred Nile and Alan Jones. They would love to play with Meat Cyborg in a paddock far away when no-one's looking.... She's got firm thighs and doesn't talk back.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Loreena McKennitt's "The Highway Man"

If you don't know Alfred Noyes' poem, this is the version by Canadian singer Loreena McKennet. Now you can read my version about the Iraq War further down the page...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Faithless No More

I want to believe Kim Beazley's comments to the ACTU congress that the Labor Party is the party of collective bargaining. After all the dithering, and so many in the party's bunker believing workers in unions are just another lobbying "interest" group, I really really want to believe he is genuine. For if behind closed doors, his inner circle is snickering and saying what a good job the unions are doing with the Your Rights At Work campaign, and that'll get us over the line at the next election, all he needs to do is blame a hostile Senate for not helping pass laws that protect workers rights.

The reality is, the only thing that will protect workers' rights, is workers standing together and collectively bargaining. It doesn't matter what the industrial instrument is. If workers collectively bargain, and collectively bargain across sectors, then that is what will even the balance between employer power and workers' power.

I've just been through an amazing four-week campaign for union recognition in a low cost airline company here in the UK. The company brought in the Burke Group - a US union-busting organisation that prides itself in a 96% success rate on winning a ballot in the employers' favour.

So it's the company and Burke Vs 350 mostly young cabin crew. The ballot is counted next week and it's been labour intensive, taking us away from other union campaigns. But this is about sewing up the sector and winning recognition for the right to bargain.

So Beazley's idea about a secret recognition vote is an interesting one. In the UK, if union members lose the ballot, you're union's out for three years. Nasty.

I'm interested to see what the response to Beazley's idea is about voting in a secret ballot if the employer refuses to bargain in good faith.

We now just need to openly have faith in Beazley that he seriously believes that the Labor Party is the party of collective bargaining and can take this as a major party platform to the next election.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Tash hangs up the doctor marten's, doctor marten's, doctor marten's boots!

"I want to be remembered for being honest, for sticking to my principles"

Um, here am I, giving a speech..... about politics and principle and philosophy and life, and my shoes got the headlines, which I always thought was a bit bizarre."

See you later Tasha...your doc martens will be missed, but you and your party gave us the GST and I'm still angry about it.

I know you threatened to cross the floor when it came to books but you still were part of the team that gave us GST on barbecue, that was only pieces of bbq chicken. A whole cooked bbq chook didn't attract the GST, likewise a whole uncooked chook. A piece of chicken, uncooked and bought at the butchers was GST free, a piece of cooked chook in a box bought at a drive thru was GST and a chicken Mrs Mac's attracted the tax. I think.....

I've got myelf in a pickle now trying to understand it. Lucky you stuck to your principles though. A tax on knowledge! Shame on you John Howard and Meg "but you promised you wouldn't fuck it up Mr Costello" Lees!

You were the youngest woman elected to the Senate at the age of 12 and a half, so you can still come back once the kids have grown up. Maybe by then, the Democrats will be totally dead and you can join the Labor Party. You can run on a ticket with your child while they're still guild president of Adelaide uni....

Good luck Tash. Just make sure your seat doesn't go to a Lib. To see an ode to Tash by Alexei Sayle, click here


The War on Terror

The War on Terror
They think of next
Which noun to get the red coats marching?
Marching, marching!
King George’s men come marching,
The War on Terror is here

Twot-twot had they heard it?
The suicide bombs ring clear
Twot-twot in their ivory distance
Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down through the ribbon of highways, and over on the Hill
The NeoCons came driving,
Driving, driving!
The NeoCons look to refining. The oil shall be theirs.

Twot-twot in the people’s silence! Twot-twot in the people’s rights.
Our global march comes nearer! We will organise in the night.
Our eyes grow wide for a moment, we click on one last link!
Our fingers move on the mouse pad
Click away on the notebook’s mouse pad
Click to the online protest
The War on Terror is fear.

by ali b

Apologies to Alfred Noyes

To join an online protest for the closure of Guantanamo Bay POW camp, click here.
(I'm being ironic...)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

iPod therfore iAm.....iRate!

I have joined the iPod generation. It really is an amazing machine.

But.... The cacophony of tinny sounds eminating from the earphones of fellow passengers on UK public transport was enough to turn me to tune in and get an iPod of my own. A fellow passenger's iPod blaring from their ears is still not enough to actually hear what they're listening to. I was going mad..So rather than go iRate, I went iPod....and I rate it.

I didn't go the whole hog with the 60 gig though - the nano does me fine and it still has more memory than the computer my dad bought in 1987.

Apple has just announced a new iPod with proceeds going to the Aids effort in Africa. Check out the tips below for listening to your iPod on public transport....

invisible inkblot tips for listening to your iPod...

You should always remove at least one earphone to fart.
Whilst you may not hear the outcome, other passengers will. Keeping tabs on your noise pollution is polite. There's nothing you can do about the nose pollution, but if you control it properly, others will think it was the old bloke sitting next to you.

Resist the urge to air guitar down the aisle of the train.
During morning peak hour, when everyone is silent and contemplating doing their bit to pay the tax man, I frequently feel the need to dance up and doon the aisle singing "do iiiiiit.....take your mama out all night" in a high pitched voice. One day I just might.

Don't download "learn to speak French in your car" and actually think you're gonna listen to it on the journey to and from work. Don't kid yourself. Why listen to educational stuff when you can listen to the post-millennium disco resurrgence. Est-ce que mon dieu, pourquoi je n'ai pas étudié le français à l'école?
Don't break your iPod They're really quite expensive
Be prepared incase a mugger spots your white earphones. Keep an old walkman in your pocket with a Culture Club tape in it and hand it over if ever the need arises.