Poems for Grenfell Tower: review

POETIC JUSTICE?

by Janine Booth

A wise person once said that when there is a tragedy, a lot of poetry is written. The Grenfell Tower fire is no exception, as the new anthology, 'Poems for Grenfell Tower’ illustrates.

But the Grenfell Tower fire was not just a ‘tragedy’: it was an entirely avoidable mass killing, in which people died because they were working-class, in a building that had been clad in flammable material to save money and improve the view for its rich Kensington neighbours. Many of the poems in this book reflect that truth. It is an angry book as well as a sad one.

Stop SEND cuts!

This is my proposing speech for TUC Disabled Workers’ Committee’s emergency motion calling for action to stop cuts to funding for kids with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Several trade unions’ delegates spoke in support of the motion, which was passed unanimously.

 

Conference, I am going to tell you:

Learning Disability: raising awareness and working with charities

The final motion at this year’s TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference was on Learning Disability. As this is an important and neglected issue, and the motion made some good points, it was clearly going to pass. However, I thought it important to point out some problems with it. Contributions to the debate were limited to three minutes, so this is probably more blunt and less nuanced than it might have been!

Revise the System

Work hard, be conscientious, be afraid
Your life won't be worth living if you fail
The only thing that matters is your grade

Feel guilty for each error you have made
Learn quotes by rote and don't stop to exhale
Work hard, be conscientious, be afraid

Of falling short of A-star accolade
Don't eat, don't sleep, travail your skin to pale
The only thing that matters is your grade

Report, TUC Disabled Workers’ Committee, 17 April 2018

1. TUC Disabled Workers' Conference, 24-25 May, Bournemouth

  • Motions - The Committee agreed to to support all motions and amendments, except:
    • Unison's amendment to Unite's motion on Universal Credit (oppose) - the motion opposes UC; the amendment wants to change this to reforming it
    • POA's motion on mental health discrimination (oppose) - the Committee can not support the Time To Change campaign, as it is run by Mind, which collaborates with the DWP
    • Community's motion on sustainable supported employment (decision deferred) - the motion proposes promoting a particular company as 'best practice' for the employment of disabled people - we need more information before endorsing this

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