Sunday, 1 April 2012

Support for legal Aid

P of M has been mostly busy writing more letters (and hopeing for a postive result) - this one is for my local MP... but dont hold out much hope, since he is a Tory (well what do you expect i live in kent) ;)

Dear Sir:

I am writing to you as a concerned local constitute and also as a volunteer for local community legal aid advice services. My concern is the current Legal Aid Bill and proposed budget cuts which are going through parliament at this present moment of time.

I enjoy my volunteer work because it allows me to put something of myself back into the community in which I live; but I also find myself frustrated when I come across members of the public and I cannot help them with their particular problem, because current funding does not exist beyond giving some basic initial advice from an unqualified volunteer such as myself.

Often, very basic advice is all a member of the public needs to resolve a particular issue such housing, debt, consumer, family welfare or perhaps employment problems; however sometimes, needs can be of a more extensive nature which goes beyond my knowledge and experience and indeed remit as an unpaid volunteer.

This is a problem because it creates a legal justice deficit that goes to the very core of living in a civil society with a strong rule of law. This evidently does create a bad undercurrent in our society which results in members of the public losing respect in the legal justice system, as a fair process of redress, and perhaps also goes half way to explain why so many people (especial young people) feel much disengagement and apathy towards politics in general.

As an extreme example, I would refer you to the independent report, by the Riots Communities and Victims Panel, into last summer’s disruptions.

What I am basically saying is that this government cannot continue to rely on the good will of people such as myself, if the government in turn, continues on its present course and cuts an estimated £350 million from the legal aid budget.
I volunteer approximately 10 hours of my free time every week, and I also hold down a busy full-time job as an NHS nurse – I can only perform well in my volunteer role because I fully rely upon people who are (not unpaid volunteers) and work full time as paid managers, case workers and legal aid lawyers.

I understand the current policy to make budget cuts, but the current proposed legislation is also poorly thought out using blanket measures to cut costs at the expense of something which corrodes the very fabric of our civil society – the real expense in legal aid is the vast and complex bureaucracy used to administer funding, this is totally inefficient for the tax payer and results in lower levels of good legal advice and advocacy reaching the people who need it most.

Finally, as a member of parliament who holds consultation with local constituents, I would strongly urge you to at least read the executive summery of this document written by the Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) – see document attached – since I feel the repercussions will directly effect you as a member of parliament.


kind regards

P of M

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

My New (ish) Guitar Faith Saturn

Seems to be a bit of fuzz with the sound recording (((((Click Link)))))), but I wanted to sit close, so the camera could get a good Lookey at my lovely new (ish) Guitar! Had absolutely no intention to get this guitar, I was just mucking around in the music shop as you do… then suddenly the clouds parted and I spied this beauty from afar shying behind a big old hunk of a Tanglewood; so I picked her up and my god! The tone !!… I could just feel its depth and we instantly bonded.

I would only expect this type of performance from a Taylor of a Martin guitar at three times the price! And even then you still cannot be certain.

I will have to make some more recordings with better equipment, so the sound can be fully appreciated – this recording is a slapped up number from Janis Joplin, going through a Blues thing at the moment, just got some Mr Scrapper Blackwell Blues recording from the 1960s… exquisite to say the least..

Thursday, 19 January 2012

And The Outcome…

No Unison did not do much to help me; they asked if I had a contract of employment and the answer was no… I have never formally been given a contract - and if I did, I would have no hesitation in striking out a clause that gave my employer the discretion to pay me what ever they wanted!

I wrote a letter back informing them that my employment rights were therefore implied under statute… I think the 1996 or 2006 Employment Act – under which an employer is not allowed to change an employees pay without informed consent (yes good old EU legislators again looking after the average Joe… since the Great English government is so very very piss poor on human rights)

Alas! the brain washed masses will still deplore the great institutions of the EU because they regulate bendy bananas?!?! (I am sure there is a culturally positive argument for closing down the Daily Mail and indenturing Richard Littlejon as an eastern European XXX gay porn star fluffier… ) our culture would be Greater.

Anyhow… so no further replies from Unison and a bigfat legal deficit in terms of accesses to legal justice… almost makes me want to smash in the windows of my local JD Sports!

P of M

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Anti-copyright music! copy left not right ;)

its a Sunday and i have (some)* time on my hands... so i decided to sing an old Dubliners number "whisky in a jar" you will have to excuse the forth verse as i lost the chord (i am far to slap dash to make a second recording) and my fake plastic irish accent! (my apologies to Irish speaking people) - and of course all the other excuses of bad workmanship... poor recording equipment, bad toothpaste and not much coffee... etc... etc... yadder yadder

*yes - what should have taken a few minutes actually took many hours - had to convert the audio back into video. Used every trick in the book and then some... not as easy as it sounds! in the end (2am Monday morning to be precise) had to splice with some video editing apps on my I phone! The lesson learnt - always record onto the right format to begin with ;)

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Let War Begin...

I have calmed down (a very small amount) and have decided that i am not taking this lying down like a Patsie! Step one: contact my trade union - i have written a letter see below (i doubt that there is a claim under public law, but it is worth mooting the point) - Step two: contact my work mates, see how far we can push the issue as a pressure group. Step three: might have to think about some direct action! DIY stylee ;)

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing to you as a member of Unison to ask you for some advice and help regarding a letter I received concerning a cut in my salary by my employer NHS Professionals (NHSP). I have included the letter NHSP sent me with this cover letter.

In essence the letter informs me that I am taking a pay cut from the 1st of August 2011, with no consultation and agreement on my behalf or indeed by any of my colleagues. The spurious reason being to save the East Kent NHS Hospitals Trust Budget; I have not been informed by any other employees (i.e. not NHSP) that they are also taking a wage cut in this NHS trust, indeed the received wisdom is that this Trust has a budget surplus.

Could it really be the case, that NHS management, are cynically using the media panic of public sector cuts to squeeze people on the lowest wages and in the most and insecure forms of public sector employment? If this is the case, then it is both despicable and morally wrong.

Legally I am not sure that they can do this? I consider myself a public sector worker; I pay into an NHS pension scheme and NHSP is a public sector organisation set up by the Department of Health – however they have tried to push their status as a private company, but as far as I know, they are not a private company with shareholders, so I don’t think that they can just make these types decisions using their own fettering discretion.

I would like to know if there is a case for judicial review? This pay cut would seem to be unlawful on the following grounds:

 The decision-maker does not have power to make that decision, or is using the power
they have for an improper purpose;
 the decision is irrational;
 the procedure followed by the decision-maker was unfair or biased;
 the decision was taken in breach of the Human Rights Act; or
 the decision breaches European Community (EC) law.

Would it be possible to forward this correspondence to a legal firm that works with Unison, such as Thomsons. And perhaps get a second opinion if there has been a breech of law and if this is the case, then should it be corrected? However, if this is not the case, then is there another option to appeal under employment legislation?

On a personal note, I think that this would be a good issue for Unison to get behind; this pay cut seems extremely cynical and unfair to me; this pay cut effects a significant number of hard working Health Care Assistance (HCAs) that work in the East Kent hospitals Trust (Some on full-time contracts with the Trust using NHSP to help supplement their low incomes). Perhaps next time when I discuss with colleagues the importance of joining a trade union I can cite this a positive reason for joining.

In the meantime, please contact me with any other ways in which this wrong can be corrected. I have not contacted the people from NHSP about this grievance, I would prefer to meet with yourselves (Unison) and discuss how best to bring this issue forward; and as it says in the letter, it would seem that NHSP and the East Kent Hospitals Trust have already made their decision regardless.

Kind regards


I will keep the blog updated on developments...

Friday, 24 June 2011

East Kent Hospitals Trusts and NHS Professionals are... C*nTs!

Excuse me ladies for using the ‘C' word! But I really don’t know how much more I can tolerate from my employers!

I have just received a letter from my employers informing me that “workforce efficiency group” which incidentally sounds like a made up title for a bunch of morons who earn far too much money making up farcical names to justify their own bloated existence to the tax payer! Have just decided in their infinite wisdom, that (me), earning Just above the minimum wage, needs to take a pay cut, to help East Kent Hospitals reduce their budget deficient. Is it possible to get much more blood from a stone? I can think of a few ways to save money and I would not start at the very bottom; I.e. the people who work in the same trust as myself, but get paid such hideous amounts of public money that the HR department thinks it is much wiser not to disclose the salary and benefits when vacancies get shuffled around at the top.

Really not good timing today! I have just awoken from a twelve-hour night shift on a heavy and busy orthopedic ward - I did not have time to take a break last night (that’s twelve hours on my feet, which is extremely illegal especially when looking after post-operative high dependency patients and major trauma cases.) The management response is to fill out a clinical incidence form when these occasions arise, which we all know is a load of old bollox because…

1) We don’t have time – not all of us can afford to employ a private secretary at work; (well thats not our problem you need to make the time sunny jim?) No, we really don’t have time you fecking twats, because we work like slaves for (feck all money) to make your budgets balance! As long as it all looks pretty and good on the surface? Yes, that’s what really matters.

2) We have it on very good authority that these forms just get chucked into the bin and so nothing ever gets done – so I have better things to do with my time at work… like (try) to care for patients. You know? Real Patient care (a novel concept) Not all of us in the NHS sit around board rooms and cynically put our snouts into the troft!

I doubt very much that the people in the ‘orwellian workforce efficiency group’ come to work on an average day and have to put up with disgusting and understaffed working conditions that exist in this farcical place that tries to pass as a hospital! I doubt very much that the ‘orwellian workforce efficiency group’ has to constantly apologise to patients and relatives (at the coalface) for a continually failing NHS trust, supporting a top-heavy bloated plutocracy. And no, I am not talking about the contrived statistics from an agreeable and clueless private sector marketing company such as ‘Dr Foster’, but the real angst and frustration of the people I work with everyday who just want to do their job well.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Rest in Peace Brian Haw

After a battle with lung cancer, a good man with a big heart has passed away - The UK Government and London Greater Authority should hold their heads in shame.