Friday, November 25, 2011

To Be a Pilgrim
Number of Taxpayer Funded Trade Unionists Goes Up

Last year the Taxpayers’ Alliance undertook their largest ever Freedom of Information request investigation to try to ascertain how many full-time taxpayer-funded trade union officials there were in the public sector. Guido has been at the forefront of the campaign against what he named Pilgrims. Today the Taxpayers’ Alliance have announced that this year, in a time of austerity, government bungs to trade unions, which takes money from your wallet to pay for their strikes, have increased.

There are now 2,840 of these non-workers, who instead of being paid to teach or nurse, or regulate the paperclips, are funded to do trade union activity, on office time, in the office. Guido would put the suggested total bill to the taxpayer of £113m down as a conservative estimate. Once the free office space which should be charged to an outside group at commercial rates is taken into consideration, along with the fact that many organisations masked how many “Pilgrims” they really have by not playing ball with the FoIs, the real cost is much, much higher. So when you see those workers on strike next week, remember that you have paid for the organisation, staffing and planning, that should have been covered by union subscriptions. Instead the union subs went to the Labour Party to the tune of over £13 million last year. And don’t forget that someone else has to be employed to cover the job the taxpayer-funded agitators should be doing. So we’re whacked twice…

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Union Funded Labour MPs Blocking Debate on Union Funding

The parliamentary campaign against Pilgrims is hotting up. After the bombastic adjournment debate two weeks ago, yesterday plans for full three-hour debate on the issue was put to the Backbench Business Committee. The proposal from Jesse Norman was rejected, despite support from the LibDems and the DUP. Funnily enough no Labour MP would support the idea of debate, which is hardly surprising given how their last attempt to defend the practice of taxpayer funding of trade unions went…

Instead of shouting “prick” and “twat” from the sidelines, if Labour MPs really feel that we should pick up the tab for the unions, then at least have the balls to say it…

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Labour MPs’ Pilgrim Fightback
Called Union-Busting Tory MP “Prick” and “Twat”

It’s taken Labour a week to come up with a semi-coherent defence of taxpayer funding for trade unions. John Healey has taken to LabourList, on behalf of their paymasters, to defend the practice. The gist of his argument is that union reps do good things therefore it is a good thing. It completely fails to take into account that regardless of what good they do, why should we pay for it rather than the unions: representation of the workers is the key reason people pay to join unions, and their union subscription fees should be used to cover it. Any work time spent on union activity should be invoiced back the union. Anything else is back door corruption and a multi-million pound political subsidy from the taxpayer to the Labour Party.

But at least some in Labour Party seem to be trying to engage properly, which is more than can be said of the union heavies on Labour benches. When Aidan Burley’s adjournment debate speech rattled them last Wednesday, instead of constructive arguement, the Tory backbencher was shouted down, heckled and jeered by amoungst others Tom Blenkinsop, Ian Lavery and Steve Rotheram. All MPs with strong union funding ties.

When the mace went up after the debate, the tension was not dispelled. Lavery, who is PPS to Harriet Harman, called Burley “a prick” – something he did not deny when Guido asked him about it, simply saying instead that “I’m not denying anything… I’ve got no comment to make.” Guido has four witnesses willing to go on the record saying that Steve Rotheram said “You just love winding people up, don’t you, you twat”. An allegation that Rotheram vehemently denies:

“…in fact I was the peacemaker on the night (Blessed are the Peacemakers eh!) I admit that when another Member made a disparaging comment about Mr Burley I did say sarcastically to him that there wasn’t a Court in the land that would find against the accusation . I also told him that he wasn’t going to wind me up when he was shouting towards me “what are you going to do about it” in an aggressive tone. … I have spoken with my legal representative and will defend myself against this accusation and will have more than 4 Members to support what I ‘actually’ said.”

Guido guesses he’ll have to see Steve in Court then…

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Video: Aidan Burley’s Pilgrim Bashing

Pilgrims Harangued

Guido is waiting for the video, but last night’s adjournment debate was certainly one of the more lively ones in recent history. Instead of a backbencher and a Minister discussing seagulls, Aidan Burley’s rampage against the “Spanish practices of taxpayer-funded trade union officials pulled a solid crowd and sent Labour’s union heavies off the scale. Eric Pickles appeared on the frontbench which is a good sign that he will keep his promises…

Burley’s whole speech is here and well worth a read, especially given that the term Pilgrim has now been cemented in official record:

By way of an example, the excellent, independent and non-taxpayer funded campaigning website order-order, or the Guido Fawkes blog, has been highlighting the practice of paying union officials out of the taxpayer purse. Following its campaign, full-time taxpayer-funded trade union officials have become known as “Pilgrims” in the media, after Guido Fawkes exposed one such full-time union rep named Jane Pilgrim as a full-time trade union organiser working in the NHS for Unison. She came to public attention in 2011 after criticising the Government’s health policies. Despite being billed as a nurse, she was found to be a full-time trade union official, being paid £40,000 by the hospital. She is now under investigation by both St George’s hospital and Unison for running a private health consultancy—called The Pilgrim Way—on the side, creating a conflict of interests. As the website states: “There is no justification for the taxpayer paying a lobbying organisation to fight for an unsustainable mess in the interests of a vocal minority group. We don’t pay the arms dealers and the tobacco lobbyists’ staffing bills”.

Guido is tempted to bike a copy of Hansard down to St Georges Tooting…

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pilgrims to be Debated In Parliament Tomorrow

Straight after the 7pm vote in the House tomorrow, surviving Tory PPS Aidan Burley will redeem himself for his voting behaviour yesterday. He has tabled an Adjournment Debate on a favourite subject:  “Funding from the public purse of trade union officials”.

Burley will get around fifteen minutes to speak and is guaranteed a Ministerial reply. Though the promise to end the practice of tax-payer funded officials was made at Tory conference, it’s not as if the government have had a good week for doing what they once said they would.

Good to see that the pressure is being kept on…

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mad Frankie Swings the Axe

Hot off the podium:

“…the support they get from the taxpayer has got way out of hand. Just in the Civil Service alone this so-called facility time is costing no less than £30 million a year. Can you believe that there are around 150 civil servants who are actually full time trade union officials, all on the public payroll? We can’t go on like this. That’s why I’m announcing today that we’re consulting on limiting the time civil servants can spend on trade union work, and on ending the employment of full time union officials at the taxpayer’s expense.”

Guido will be buying the champagne later…

How the New Weekly Bin Collection Policy Works

Pickles on Pilgrims

It’s down to Pickles and Maude to announce the end of trade union funded public sector officials – or as Guido christened them – Pilgrims. As revealed yesterday, after months of campaigning on the issue, Pickles will this afternoon say:

But in the game of Town Hall Top Trumps, there’s a non-job which beats even the Civic Sex Snooper.

Taxpayer-funded, full-time, trade union officials.

They cost the public sector – that’s taxpayers to me and you – £250 million a year. This is money taken away from frontline services. Guess what… You won’t find Labour criticising them. Silence from Ed Miliband. His Labour councillors voted to close libraries, but keep bankrolling union officials on the rates. And surprise, surprise. Not even a dicky bird from Labour’s local government spokesperson, Jack Dromey, No wonder. Because he knows the unions are still bankrolling Labour. In my book, that’s not All Right Jack. If unions want to raise money for Labour – do it in your own time, not on the rates. We’re going to call time on this last closed shop.

Maude will flesh out the nitty gritty. Interesting to note Caroline Flint has become irrelevent and it’s her deputy, Mr Harman, who is taking the flack.

Having so often set the news agenda, Guido could get used to setting the policy agenda too…

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Exclusive: Defunding Unions – Osborne To End “Pilgrims”

According to an internal CCHQ briefing, produced ahead of Frankie Maude’s speech, the government will announce a “consultation” aimed at bringing an end to full-time taxpayer-funded public-sector union officials. This is a culmination of a campaign started on this blog in April, which was taken up by backbench MP Aidan Burley with David Cameron at PMQs in May. It was then the subject of an EDM proposed by David Morris MP and highlighted at the Rally Against the Debt where speakers (pictured) spoke out against “Pilgrims”.  June saw public opinion swing behind the issue in the polls after the Taxpayers’ Alliance identified £67 million pounds wasted subsidising union activists. Eric Pickles and Frankie Maude soon got behind the issue. Last month saw the first breakthrough when the original “Pilgrim”, the full-time on-the-taxpayer Unison agitator Jane Pilgrim, was returned to front line nursing duties. She is the first of many union activists who will be put back to front line work.

Leaked CCHQ internal briefing:

The initial £30 million saving is more significant than it sounds, it strikes at the heart of the infrastructure of funding for union militancy, directly defunding the left and undermining their ability to muster state-subsidised agitators. The CCHQ briefing document ahead of the announcement refers to a term coined by this blog – “Pilgrims” - as well as crediting the research work of the Taxpayers’ Alliance. We’re celebrating this breakthrough as a huge policy victory, there is nothing we like more than bashing union militants…

UPDATE: Full story background to the anti-Pilgrims campaign here.


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Creeping Cultural Acceptance of Anti-Semitism | Eric Pickles
Time For Greece to Leave Eurozone | Allister Heath


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Boris on British Jihadis. Apparently based on MI5 intel:

“If you look at all the psychological profiling about bombers, they typically will look at porn. They are literally w***ers. Severe onanists. They are tortured. They will be very badly adjusted in their relations with women, and that is a symptom of their feeling of being failures and that the world is against them. They are not making it with girls, and so they turn to other forms of spiritual comfort — which of course is no comfort.”


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