You need a union

When you want to talk about pay,
You go to a union.
When you need legal rights
Or you want a voice,
You want to stand together
And express your common interests,
You need a union.

When you need better wages,
A pension to help you through old age
Or somebody to stick up for you
When you’re treated worse than a dog,
When you need sick pay
Or you think the hours are just too much,
You need a union.

When you’ve got a grievance
Or you’re sorely used,
When you or your friends
Are roundly abused,
When the way you’re worked
Just is not safe,
You know what you need,
Let’s say it again,
You need a union.

Don’t trust Tories with our libraries

Last week, The Bookseller reported that the number of libraries in Great Britain fell by 1.7% in a single year to 3,850 in the year to April 2016. This means that a total of 478 libraries have closed across England, Scotland and Wales on this government’s watch.

This week, the same publication reveals research by former Waterstones managing director Tim Coates that book spend for libraries in England has fallen by £35m since 2005, while book lending to adults and children has declined by 36.5% and 21% respectively in the last five years.

Poem: Risk

The war was a problem,

A big problem.

People were dying

In their tens of thousands.

People were fleeing

In their millions

Because the war was a problem.


Politicians some distance across the world

Thought it might be a good idea

To drop bombs

On the problem

To stop people dying and fleeing

Because that’s what bombs do,

Our bombs,

Soft bombs,

Good bombs.


Yes, they thought they could risk

Pilots to drop bombs,

Soft bombs,

Good bombs,

But when somebody suggested

Dropping food,

They said we can’t risk our pilots.

Liverpool Echo letter: Austerity

Dear Editor,
Mayor Joe Anderson protests a little too much. Yes, I remember one demonstration in 2011, but we are six years into Tory austerity and it has given us both an ever-growing national debt, now at £1.6 trillion, and massive cuts to services.
On Mayor Anderson’s own admission, the Tories just keep coming back for more and we could lose all our libraries, sports centres, street cleansing and more. The very fabric of this city is under threat. This is not a sign of success for a strategy of ‘realism.’ It is a sign that it has failed.
There are 6,980 Labour councillors. Imagine if even half that number put themselves at the head of a huge protest march outside 10, Downing Street. The political impact would be huge.
It is no time to talk about what he has done, but what he will do. Tory austerity is a busted flush. At the very least, we should be launching huge protests at the damage it is doing.
Yours faithfully,
Alan Gibbons
Libraries campaigner

Remembering Charles Wootton, 1919

Remembering Charles Wootton, 1919


A young man, twenty-four, Bermudan, ship’s fireman

Runs from a house, flees from a mob

And the mob pursues him, hunts him down.

They want to drown him in hate.


A young man, twenty-four, Bermudan, ship’s fireman

Winds up by the water, chill water,

Unwarmed by the June sunlight and cold hearts

Want to drown him in hate.


This young man, twenty-four, Bermudan, ship’s fireman

Is pushed or driven by the press of the mob,

Winds up in the water, chill water.

Drown him, drown him, they chant.


There’s no justice for this young man, twenty-four

Who has drowned in the dock.

The inquest opens, closes, minds stay closed.

They drown him with their injustice.


As a young man, twenty-eight, white, British,

I witnessed the rising, uprising

On Liverpool’s streets drowning

The city in rage and revolt.


As an older man, sixty-three, white, British

I have never changed my view

That Liverpool needs drowning

In love and respect, unity, hope.


I urge you to remember a man, twenty-four,

Bermudan, ship’s fireman who came for work,

Found hate and found death,

And drown racism in love, respect, unity, hope.