Thursday, November 22, 2012

White Ribbon Day: A white ribbon rebellion

BENDIGO men are saying no to violence against women.

About 30 men stood on the steps of The Capital theatre yesterday morning, united in their stance against violence as part of Bendigo’s White Ribbon campaign.

The Bendigo Business Council hosted a White Ribbon breakfast yesterday and a free community event will be held in Hargreaves Mall tomorrow from noon.

Bendigo Police Inspector Mark Edwards spoke at the White Ribbon breakfast yesterday and said violence against 

women took up a lot of police time.

“Crime is broken into two categories,” he said. 

“We have crime against property and crime against a person. If you look at crime against person, which is stuff like assaults, robberies and all that sort of stuff, 80 per cent of that category is assaults.

“Of that 80 per cent, a third of it is family violence.”  Inspector Edwards said police had done a lot of work on repeat victims and offenders.

“We try to link our victims into the right services, try to give them the courage and the opportunity to make that break, and get out of the cycle that they’re stuck in...So we’ll do things like, rather than wait for a call-out to these addresses, we’ll go to these addresses to check up.

“We’ll just drop in to see how things are going and try to get a feel for the place.” 

Family violence adviser Sergeant Margaret Singe described the response to yesterday’s breakfast as “fantastic”.

“Particularly because probably 50 per cent of the participants were men,” she said. “And White Ribbon is all about men leading the charge. 

“The breakfast was really the starting point in our White Ribbon activities. 

“On Friday we’ve got the community lunch, which goes from noon until 2pm in the mall. And the yarn bombers have been down and decorated our area for us. They’ve got white all around the area.”

Sergeant Singe has her fingers crossed that as many people as possible will support the event.

“It’s free but there will be a cost for the barbecue lunch,” she said.

“We’ll also have some entertainment – performers who’ve both written songs specifically for Friday about White Ribbon.”

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Councillors urged to join rebellion against Pickles

Labour councillors up and down the country were called on to co-ordinate for a dramatic fightback against government-imposed cuts to local budgets today. 

Grassroots Labour Representation Committee (LRC) activists have vowed to bring together party-run councils to declare war against both Tory minister Eric Pickles and cuts hawks within Labour itself at their annual conference on Saturday.

Communities and Local Government Secretary Mr Pickles is presiding over massive cuts to council budgets, which the LRC warn disproportionately hit the working class and Labour councils that represent them.

A minority of Labour councillors who have refused to support cutbacks were praised, including Lambeth's Kingsley Abrams who was suspended in June for voting to oppose cuts to jobs and services.

LRC activists warned against a right-wing mentality within Labour that is helping to push through government-imposed cuts without a fight.

And they stressed that one or two councils refusing to make cuts will not be enough to defeat the government's ideologically-driven agenda, stating that there should be "no local cuts in the name of the Labour Party."

Hull Labour councillor Gary Wareing said: "We have been trying hard to develop a strategy to fight cuts imposed on the council by this Con-Dem government.

"We need an alternative. We need to bring together a coalition of councillors and local community groups to say that what the Tories are doing is not what we want in Hull."

Labour MP John McDonnell said a date for the meeting of Labour councillors and councils will be made as soon as possible.

It comes after three council leaders wrote to Mr Pickles on Friday demanding that he come clean over what their budgets will look like for 2013/14, not due to be revealed until December.

The leaders of Labour-run Southampton, Green controlled Brighton and Hove and Liberal Democrat Portsmouth demanded to be told now so they can budget properly.

It will not be the first time Labour councillors have stood up to Tory-imposed central government cuts.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Clay Cross dispute in 1972, when 11 Labour councillors stood up to Ted Heath's Housing Finance Act by refusing to implement increased council housing rents.