Sunday, 24 February 2013

NHS, Workfare and Tesco in line for Fightback activity,

Torbay Fightback held a productive planning meeting on the 23rd February, with a number of activities discussed for the coming months.

The first of these takes place on Saturday 23rd March at 12noon in Victoria Street in Paignton, when Fightback activists will be calling for the NHS to be reclaimed from privatisation. The event will revolve around a Fightback stall and a petition to Torbay’s two M.P’s asking them to help block further privatisation, and for a reversal of current policy. Further details will appear on the Activists Diary page of this site.

Other plans include support for ‘Boycott Workfare Week’ on the 18th -24th March. Activists can be supplied with leaflets which they can take and place in stores which currently use workfare staff. This includes the supermarket giant Tesco. Supermarket businesses will also see further Fightback activity in April, when we shall be opposing further unfair competition for independent traders in the form of a supermarket being proposed for the Town Hall car park in Torquay.

The meeting also endorsed Fightback’s commitment to support those in nearby towns outside Torbay. Discussions have already taken place between Fightback activists and members of the Totnes & South Devon Claimants Union (TCU).

Claimants' unions can enable people to support each other through mutual aid and solidarity in dealing with the benefit and tax credit bureaucracies. They can campaign against injustices such as the flawed Work Capability Assessment (WCA) done by profiteering DWP contractors (ATOS). Torbay Fightback plans to assist the TCU in their work and boost their street presence.

The TCU can be contacted at

Fightback welcomes ideas from activists and supporters on future activity. Please contact us at or join conversations on our facebook page.

Torbay Fightback call for balloon owners to 'Pay Up'

Torbay Fightback activists say 'Pay Up'
Torbay Fightback staged a successful protest in Torquay on the 16th February to highlight the issue of unpaid rent on the Hi-Flyer balloon.  Activists gathered at the Town Hall on the surprisingly quiet Saturday and distributed hundreds of leaflets and symbolic red balloons. Later in the day activists moved  to the bottom of Union Street where further leaflets were distributed.

Although legal proceedings are under way, because of the financial predicament of balloon operators Lindstrand, and the way they are allegedly dragging the heals in the leagl negotiations, it is very unlikely the people of Torbay will receive the missing £50k.
In he light of this Torbay Fightback ask two questions:
Firstly why did Torbay Council enter into a business partnership with such a dodgy operator in the first place, and secondly , is this just the tip of a very financially messy iceberg with other money owed to the council (or perhaps we should say the people of Torbay) from other business partnerships.

This is why Torbay Fightback is calling for a full public enquiry, as we feel the people who pay their council tax along with the rates some small independent businesses struggle to find, have every right to know. Let us be honest about this, a small corner shop would not have been given the grace period the balloon operators have, and when that shop owner faces hardship he or she is likely to find themselves almost penniless. We very much doubt the balloon operators owners will face such hardship – especially with friends such as Richard Branson.

Torbay Fightback will maintain the pressure in a bid to bring about a public enquiry and request the money is paid back.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

They say 'Blow Up' we say 'Pay Up'

£50,000 in unpaid rent is what Torquay’s Hi-Flyer balloon has cost Torbay’s Tax Payers.

This is £50,000 which could have been spent tackling child poverty (Which amounts to 24% in Torbay) or catering for other vulnerable parts of society such as the homeless, disabled or elderly.

Yet when challenged with a petition asking for a full inquiry into how this happened, Mayor Gordon Oliver denied the need for one. In fact he is more than happy to waste yet more of the tax payers’ money on a £7000 palm tree at the Kerswell Gardens roundabout.

Lindstrandt who operated the balloon are not exactly short of money either. Founder and 33% owner Per Lindstrandt is chums with Richard Branson.

Therefore today we will be outside Torquay Town Hall with 100 balloons each worth £500 of the tax payers’money. To signify the disappearance of £50,000 into thin air and to symbolise how much love and thought Mr. Oliver has for the people he “represents”.

We also ask the question, is this just the tip of the iceberg and has other money slipped through the council's fingers?

Call for a full inquiry and join us at Torquay Town Hall at 1.00p.m on the 16th February

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Is cameron acting queer?

From 'The Haunting Spectre', the blog of Rhys Lowther

There has been much fuss made over gay marriage in the UK & Europe recently. Apart from feeling disgusted that I agree with David Cameron (bleh I need a shower) over something and enjoying ensuing strife within the Tory party I am naturally very suspicious of what is currently happening.

Firstly the Conservative party does exactly what it says on the tin. They are a party that supports the established status quo and traditionalist values. So therefore why would their leader promote gay rights in an anti-progressive party?

Throughout the last almost 3 years the Tories and their Lib Dem chums have being playing a constant game of divide and rule that only the Miliband brothers could dream off. They have attacked every section of society. They have then played off these so called sections against each other. They have branded the unemployed as shirkers, the disabled of having  little value to society and blamed the so called "failings" (I.E. not elitist enough) of our education system on militant teachers who value our childrens' education very little. Diversion after diversion has been created while right after right, liberty after liberty has been stolen from us.

Therefore it's surprising that the old homophobia card has not been played in this game of rule and divide. I can imagine now the Daily Mail coming up with the headline "Homosexuality Caused the Recession". At the same time it is a testament to society as a whole and also to progressive organisations who have helped make inroads into making homophobia unacceptable. I say inroads as many organisations are still institutionally homophobic.

The Church springs to mind. Cameron has exempted the Church from having to perform gay marriage ceremonies. This is all well and good apart from the Church of England has a say in how society is ran. Up to 26 peerages in House of Lords are occupied by high up religious personnel (bishops, archbishops etc.). Not only is this a gross misconduct of democracy as Lords are not elected but it is long outdated. The Church of England's following is vastly eroding (Just 59% of people in the England and Wales identify themselves as Christian with under half of those saying they had a belief in God and an afterlife) their views are becoming more and more outdated on subjects such as homosexuality. If the Church refuses to acknowledge the decision of the of the system of which it is part of, then to protect the views of the Church and the interests of society as a whole I would strongly recommend disestablishment of the Church.

Gay marriage shows that love between two people of the same sex is equal to that of heterosexuals. This symbolic statement shows that society as a whole is willing to move forward on the subject. However it is being trivialised by Cameron using the subject as a ploy distract the public from the goings on of the coalition. There has been no mention of Tory support for gay marriage in previous manifestos and pledges, a coincidence or is this Cameron trying to appeal to another set of voters in the wake of his plummeting popularity? I also feel this is a crumb thrown down from the Tory's table to keep the subservient Lib Dems as a part of the coalition.

I am a strong supporter of gay rights. Over the years this has led to obnoxious and ignorant comments such as assuming I am homosexual for this reason. Statements such as that and humour in some aspects of society still says there is much work to be done for equality. However two thirds of the population support gay marriage therefore if there is any credibility in this so-called  "democracy" then the voice of the population needs to be acknowledged regardless of Cameron's or the coalition's agenda.

Rhys Lowther is a member of Torbay Fightback

Mayor and MP equally to blame for austerity driven budget

Article from Rick Heyse's blog.

Torbay Mayor Gordon Oliver
So the Mayoral budget has been and gone and now we pay for the consequences. We cannot hold the Mayor totally responsible, even though the budget is by and large his responsibility with Torbay being a unitary authority. Make no mistake, the opposition Lib–Dems on the council would also have introduced savage cuts, just as Lib Dem, Labour and even Green councils are doing up and down the country. If anything, Lib-Dem condemnation is very hypercritical, being that they sit alongside their capitalist chums in the Tory Party at Westminster as part of the coalition government, and are equally responsible for slashing services, increasing privatisation and making working class people pay for the mistakes of the bankers.
I also find it hard to stomach that Adrian Sanders also fails to recognise the Lib-Dems (HIS party) have to share responsibility for the cutbacks. His words to a supporter of local anti-capitalist group Torbay Fightback were along the lines of that if we were passionate about fighting cutbacks we should aim our attacks at the Mayor and the money he has in the council’s reserves.
Torbay MP Adrian Sanders
Okay, he has a point; a local authority has to use its ‘rainy day’ money in times of necessity. But what Sanders was trying to do was shift the blame from HIS Liberal Democrats role in Government and instead divert attention to the Tory Mayor. As has been previously stated ALL are capitalists, and ALL are to blame. As for the Lib-Dem MP for Torbay, thousands of people voted for him simply to keep the Tories out, only for HIS party to snuggle beside them when an offer of power came along. The Lib-Dems have sold out on many of the principles they ‘declare’ to value. I say declare as if they really held these values close to their heart they would never have jumped into bed with the right wing Conservative Party. If any of them truly held such principles (Sanders included) they would surrender their membership of a Lib-Dem party which has lurched to the right and join the Liberal Party, which still maintains the vast majority of its original values.
Even though we are in harsh times there is an opportunity for people to organise and oppose the cutbacks, economic exploitation and social cleansing that is going on in society. This will mean taking control of the councils and defying the government when it comes to introducing budgets and cutbacks. We need a ‘United Anti Cuts Alliance’ to take control of Town, City and County Halls and actually take on the Coalition. Liverpool was virtually isolated when it tried to do this before, but imagine if there was 50 or more local authorities all defying the government, all instigating anti-austerity action by introducing budgets based on people’s needs. Imagine support coming from industrial and Trade Unions and community groups in a common alliance to bring the age of austerity to an end. Imagine occupation of strategic sites and buildings across the country. Such opposition would virtually be unstoppable. One event which could help forge such opposition is the People's Assembly Against Austerity in central London on Saturday 22nd June. I is one we all need to support.
Rick Heyse is a member of Torbay Fightback