You don’t feel anything till it’s over

2013
08.15

All Lattimer does competitively is bench, although he does it brilliantly – he’s one of only nine men to have benched more than 800 pounds. When he gets his groove on just so, the experience approaches Zen. “You go into a kind of zone, and you don’t feel anything till It’s over,” says the 27-year-old.

“I’m so concentrated on the technique that I don’t hear anybody or notice anything. You could set a bomb off next to me and I proba­bly wouldn’t flinch.” like a long-hanging chain – Miller would be easy to typecast as a roughneck on the lookout for a pencil-neck to squash under­foot. On the contrary: he was a police officer for eight years before he and his wife opened Nazareth Barbell, a concrete box situated in Pennsylvania’s otherwise serene Lehigh Valley. The locals may be nonplussed by the screams rising from within Nazbar, but Miller speaks rever­ently about his craft.You don't feel anything till It's over

“If I’m hitting a good bench in a competition, It’s almost magical,” he says. “If I take the bar out and I know it’s mine, It’s all over with ­I’ll crush It.” habits hearken back to his bodybuilding days, which is remarkable considering that he’s sponsored by a local McDonald’s franchise. He wisely eschews Big Macs in favour of the double Caesar salad with chicken and coconut oil. The latter is considered to be very healthy for weight loss and skin care. There are numerous facts showing why coconut oil is great for skin.

Whether Karisson Is being handed the key to the Golden Arches or lifting cars, his country-folk make sure his head doesn’t get as big as his mus­cles. “In Norway, nobody really wants to acknowledge anything. It’s like, ‘All right, you’re famous, so what?” he says, laughing. “Proba­bly the best place for a celebrity to live is in Norway, because people [there] don’t want to be impressed by anything. “the first event -and then proceeded to complete four more.deadlifting

Now he’s come full circle by simultane­ously resuming his power lifting career. Asked how he gets himself in the zone for those Herculean lifts, the self-effacing Swede says, “I psych myself up that I must succeed, so that I don’t embar­rass myself in front of the audience.”

Alas, Tibor Masaro of Hungary broke his dead lift record by 2,/2 kilos recently ­though Johansson has his sights set on getting It back. “Yes, I’ll try in the summer,” says Johansson, who consumes 10,000 calories a day. “I’m still young, so I’ll probably succeed.”

MUSCLE SORENESS

2013
07.24

Q: I’ve been lifting weights for a while with a controlled cadence. I take a 3-5 second break before each rep, but fail to feel any muscular discomfort. Is this As A break of 3-5 seconds before each rep is a lot unless you’re talking about squats or dead lifts, or a form of generalised rest-pause training.MUSCLE SORENESS I suggest you only have a pause for a second or two between reps — just enough to set yourself for the next rep. But rest-pause training can produce muscular soreness — e.g., hard, rest-pause 20-rep squats can produce a great deal of soreness. A more conventional training cadence may NOT lead to soreness; depending on how precisely the training is performed.

 

Whether you feel soreness is not the key issue. Whether or not you’re progressing towards your goals is what matters. If you’re progressing, keep doing what you’re doing. If you’re not progressing, then try changes — one at a time — to get progress moving again. I know nothing about the intensity of effort you use, the overall programme you use, the poundage progression scheme you use, how well you attend to the components of recovery or what you consider controlled form, etc.

MUSCLE SORENESS

A number of factors are involved in muscular soreness, and soreness isn’t necessarily an indication that you’ve stimulated progress, depending on how the soreness was produced. It’s possible to be sore and stimulate no progress, but of course it’s possible that soreness of the right kind is a marker of a terrific workout which, if accompanied by full satisfaction of the components of            recovery, will lead to progress. Other way to maintain lean muscles is taking gnc cla supplement. It won’t cause of muscle soreness.

Walking

2013
06.24

1 Noss Mayo, Devon

Part of the South West Coast Path, this circular walk not only takes in stunning scenery, but ends at a pub. It’s a fairly easy walk, and the one tough climb ends in amazing views towards Cornwall.

Distance: Six miles.

 

Rating: Easy.

 

Getting there: Easily accessible by road. Parking in Bridgend.

walking group

2 The Tennyson Trail, Isle of Wight

This well-trodden path begins at Caarisbrooke Castle and ends at the Needles. Along the way is the Tennyson Monument, where the coastal views make the leg-burning climb to the top of Tennyson Down well worth the effort.

 

Distance: 13 miles.

 

Rating: Medium. Some tough bits. Getting there: Ferries leave daily from Southampton. Call WIGHTlink on 08705827744 or Red Funnel on 023 80639438 for more details.

 

3 St. David’s, Pembrokeshire there are many walks along Wales’ magnificent coastline, but this one takes in the highlight: St David’s Head. It starts at White sands, a white, er, sandy beach. It’s a straightforward walk with a gentle climb.

 

Distance: 5.6 miles.

Rating: Moderate.

 

Getting there: The B4583 off the A487 runs straight to White sands.

 

4 West Dean, Seven Sisters, East bourne, East Sussex The West Dean walk starts in the Seven Sisters Country Park car park at Exceat and heads up through meadows and forest before bringing you to the cliff path, where you follow four of the Seven Sisters. Any walk along the South Downs involves a lot of ups and downs, but the views from the top are fantastic and it’ll do more for your calf muscles than an hour on the step machine.

 

Distance: Seven miles.

Rating: Quite hard.

 

Getting there: Exceat is off the A259 Seaford to Eastbourne road.

Walking

5 The Dolphin Inn, Kingston, Cornwall

This walk is only five miles, but its steep ascents mean it’s a real calorie burner. From the Inn you take a steep path to Wonwell Beach before climbing again to Beacon Point. From there to Westcombe Beach the path is pretty narrow and crumbly. The path rarely levels out so all that climbing up (and scrambling down) ensures maximum effort for leg and heart muscles. Distance: Five miles.

 

Rating: Strenuous.

 

Getting there: Public transport from the nearest town, Ivybridge is limited and on Friday leaves only from Plymouth. Park in Kingston.

 

6 Bristol Channel Coast, Portishead and Clevedon, Somerset

This walk is across undulating land, with one tough climb. Getting to the coast path itself involves a hike from Clevedon Pier down ‘Lovers Walk’, over a golf course, through a churchyard and Hacks Wood. Distance: 6 1/2 miles.

 

Rating: Moderate.

Getting There: Parking on the seafront at Cleveland. Buses run from Bristol to Cleveland.

 

7 Soar, South Devon

The coastline is wild but the walk itself is fairly gentle. Go downhill to the sea before heading straight up again just before the beach. The coast path takes in a couple of stiff climbs before descending into Stare hold Bay that brings you to Courtenay Walk. You then have to climb back up the cliff. Distance: 6 1/2 miles.

 

Rating: Moderate. Some steep bits. Getting there: Soar is just south of Salcombe. Park in the National Trust car park in the village.

 

8 Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire

This is a bracing, circular walk along the Cleveland Way to the tiny hamlet of Ravenscar. There’s a sheer descent from the car park and the walk continues via steps (up) to the cliffs of the Cleveland Way. You have to go down more steep steps into Boggle Hole (really) before climbing out the other side in an equally hard ascent. Distance: Eight miles.

Robin Hood's Bay, North Yorkshire

Rating: Moderate to hard. Getting there: Robin Hood Bay is just south of Whitby.

 

9 Cromer to Sheringham, Norfolk

The first part of the walk takes you to the A149, but from here you follow the footpath to the cliff edge and climb to Beeston Hill. From there it’s an easy descent towards Sheringham. At the bottom you have a choice — go home or keep going along the beach. Distance: Three to nine miles. Rating: Easy. A few steep climbs. Getting there: Buses and trains run from Norwich.

 

10 Leven Links to Elie,

Fife Coastal Path

An exhilarating hike along the spectacular Fife Coastal Path, this walk takes in the challenging Chain Walk. Head for Shell bay, where you’ll have to scramble around Kincraig Point with nothing but a chain to hold on to. Only do this during low tide.

 

Distance: Seven miles.

Rating: Moderate to hard. Getting there: Accessible by rail and bus. Car park at Leven Links.

 

No matter which distance your choose, long or short, walking will help for your weight loss. And if you want to make the burning fat faster, use saffron extract satiereal.

 

Pull Day

2013
06.13

This focuses on your back and biceps. Warm up with an easy set of each exercise before moving on. Choose a weight you can lift for eight to so reps, and rest 3o-6o seconds between sets and 9o-120 seconds between exercises. Buy green coffee bean extract as a recovery drink. Check out the green coffee bean extract side effects, benefits and uses.Back-exercises

Stand straight holding dumbbells at your sides, palms facing in, head up and your back in its natural alignment (a). Slowly lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor (b). Pause and drive yourself back up to the starting position and repeat.

Stand straight with a dumb­bell in each hand so that the weights are hanging in front of you and resting against your thighs (a), then shift your weight back towards your heels by sticking out your rear. With your lower back contracted and your knees slightly bent, slide the dumbbells down your thighs until they are at the midpoint of your shins (b). Return to the starting position and repeat the move.

Gym training

Position yourself on a leg-extension machine with your knees bent coo degrees and the rollers resting against the lower front part of your ankles (a). Straighten your legs (b), pause, slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

Position yourself on the seated calf-raise machine, pads resting on your thighs and your toes resting on the platform (a). Lift the weight by pushing downwards with your toes and raising your heels as high as possible (b). Pause, slowly lower and repeat.

Stand in the calf-raise machine with your shoulders and body under the pad and the balls of your feet resting on the platform (a). Rise up on your toes as high as you can (b). Pause, slowly lower yourself until your heels are below the platform and repeat.

Lie on an incline bench that’s set at a 15-3o degree incline. Hold a pair of dumbbells over your chest, palms forward, knuckles aimed at the ceiling (a). Lower the dumbbells to the sides of your chest until you feel a slight stretch in your pets (b). Pause, drive the dumbbells directly upwards until your arms are almost locked out, and repeat the move.Hold a pair of dumbbells over your chest

Attach a horseshoe handle to each side of the high-cable pulleys. Grasp a handle in each hand, palms facing front, elbows slightly bent, and step forward a couple of steps (a). Keeping the slight bend in your elbows, bring your hands together in front of you in a sweeping motion — er, imagine hugging a tree (b). Pause, slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

Stand straight with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in (a). With your arms almost straight, raise the dumbbells sideways to just slightly above shoulder level (b). Pause, slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

THE NEXT ENERGY CRISIS

2012
12.22

Will we have enough electricity?

 

With our economy growing again, the demand for electricity is increasing rapidly. Unless plans are made now to sat­isfy this growing demand, we could have electricity shortages—certainly shortages of reasonably priced electricity—in the early 1990s.

It’s hard to imagine shortВ­ages of electricity since it’s always there when we need it. Recently some regions of our country have had more than the minimum 20 percent reserve generating capacity needed to assure reliable serВ­vice. But these reserves are shrinking, and they could become inadequate as our demand for electricity grows faster than the utilities’ ability to provide it.

 

Economic growth increases electricity use. For decades, our use of electricity has grown along with our economy. In 1983, both the GNP and electricity use grew over 3 percent. So far this year, they’re growing at about 8 percent. Our homes, businesses, and espeВ­cially our industries are turnВ­ing increasingly to electricity. Especially increased is the electricity in the health care buildings, where it is used for lighting, medical equipment. In the health care buildings there are medicines like q10, resveratrol supplements which don’t need any specific electricity, but other medical supplies need to be stored in medical refrigerators and freezers.

 

Most estimates of future electricity growth range from 2 to 4 percent per year, even with conservation. At just 3 percent growth per year, we’ll need 50 percent more electricВ­ity by the year 2000. Even if all the plants now under conВ­struction are completed, that’s only about half of what we’ll need.

 

How to avoid costly shortages

 

Electricity shortages would hurt our lifestyles and our economy, reducing industrial output, driving industries to other countries, putting people out of work, and limiting our ability to compete worldwide.

Some measures can postВ­pone shortages, but they are costly:

 

  • Delaying the retirement of older, less efficient power plants, some of which use expensive oil.
  • Building new oil- and gas-fired turbines, but this would boost the cost to customers and increase our dependence on foreign suppliers.
  • Importing more electricВ­ity from Canada and Mexico, which sends billions of dollars and thousands of jobs out of our country.

 

To avoid shortages of reasonably priced electricity, we need to finish the plants now under construction and plan for more new plants—primarily coal and nuclear plants since these use econom­ical domestic fuels that pro­vide the capacity, economy, and security we need.

We can’t count on a major additional contribution from hydropower. And the U.S. Department of Energy estiВ­mates that the other renewВ­able energy resources, including solar power, will meet only about 3 percent of our electricity needs by the year 2000.

We’re in a planning crisis

 

Because it takes 6-12 years to build coal and nuclear plants in the U.S., they must be ordered long before they’re actually needed. But no new major plants have been ordered for several years and few are being planned.

 

Due to energy crises, recesВ­sions and inflation since 1973, scores of coal and nuclear plants were canceled in the planning stage. Financial problems caused many utiliВ­ties to cancel partially comВ­pleted plants.

 

Our industrial output, economic growth and way of life are dependent on a growing supply of electricity This electric subway whisks workers to and from work quickly, quietly, inexpenВ­sively, and in air conditioned comfort.

 

These plants and more will likely be needed to avoid elecВ­tricity shortages in the 1990s. Yet utilities are faced with many obstacles and uncertainties.

 

Borrowing money for plant

 

If demand for electricity continues growing at an average 3% per year (so far this year it’s around 8%), in the 1990s the utilities’ reserve margin could drop below the 20% necessary to assure a reliable electricity supply.

 

Construction is increasingly difficult; state rate-setting procedures often discourage new capacity; opposition groups are continuing to block construction; Federal regulaВ­tions continue to change and multiply, often causing the repeated tearing down and rebuilding of plant systems; and high interest rates and prolonged construction periВ­ods force electricity bills up.

 

These problems need to be solved through the underВ­standing and cooperation of the industry, government, and the public. Only then will the utilities be able to take the steps needed to prevent elecВ­tricity shortages and sustain a growing economy.

Master Class

2012
10.04

A new exhibition of Yohji Yamamoto’s work is a poetic dialogue between fashion’s history and its present

“I have always thought that fashion is about the here and now, not the past. I did not even want my press people to keep things in storage. But after 25 years in my career I started to think maybe it is interesting to look back.” Yohji Yamamoto, the tireless aesthetician, architect of some of the most poetic clothes of the modern era and forceful influence on a generation, glances wistfully out over the Arno river from his hotel, The Lugarno.

exhibition of Yohji Yamamoto

Yohji is in Florence for the opening of a very special exhibition of his work, being held at the sixteenth-century Pitti Palace’s Galleria d’Arte Moderna. “I have such a bad memory, but when I walked around the exhibition this morning looking at these clothes, I noticed something. I noticed that he is a great designer,” he chuckles.

The exhibition is full of subtleties and charm. Yohji’s curator Olivier Saillard has positioned pieces in front of or in contrast to the gallery’s artworks, many of which date from the Renaissance. The headless mannequins appear to be in conversation with the subjects of the numerous canvases, or interacting with the buildings. A figure in an asymmetric silk slip dress gazes wistfully out of an open window on to the Boboli Gardens. “The paintings are light in feel,” says Yohji, “so it’s interesting that my clothes sometimes look older than the paintings.”

Yohji Yamamoto

The designer, who has to date resisted a retrospective of his work, cinnamon was attracted to the open brief from the sponsors, the cultural arm of the Pitti Uomo trade show. The exhibition will move on to Paris, opening at the MusГ©e de la Mode et du Textile during fashion week.

Here, to suit the different space, Yamamoto and Saillard have devised a very different format. Yohji’s atelier will be reconstructed (“very expensive!” he jokes) and will lead into a series of rooms showcasing 100 outfits. In the final room, dramatic designs from greats such as Dior, Gres and Chanel will be displayed with six of Yohji’s designs inspired by them. In an age of constant referencing, Yohji’s wink to Paris’ great couturiers is frank and fresh. “When I first arrived in Paris as student on a European tour, I felt it was my city. It suited me.” Although his visits to the city are now reserved for the business of catwalk shows, there’s still an allure.

exhibition of Yohji Yamamoto

“When I look at my designs, I think that if I were forced to attempt them again, I couldn’t. The pieces have the energy of the moment and my emotion of the time. I could not put the same in again — you cannot replicate emotion. But it is interesting,” notes Yohji, now in his sixties, “that I have felt so many things.”

House of Snow

2012
09.20

False Impression. Cocooned in

the machine age, we smugly assume that because these people live unВ­armoured by our technology they must lead a marginal kind of existВ­ence, faced with so fierce a battle to survive that they have no chance to realize the “human potential.” Hard as it may strike into our dogВ­matic belief that technology offers the only valid way of life, the fact is that this assumption is wrong. They lived good lives, before our greed and arrogance impelled us to meddle in their affairs.

Snow was these people’s ally. ForВ it was their protection and their shelter from abysmal cold. Eskimos built complete houses of snow blocks. When heated only with simВ­ple animal-oil lamps, these had comВ­fortable interior temperatures, while outside the wind screamed unheard and the mercury dropped to 5o degВ­rees or more below freezing.

igloo

Compacted snow provides nearly

perfect insulation. It can be cut and shaped much more easily than wood. It is light to handle and strong, if properly used. A snow-house with an inner diameter of 20 feet and a height of ten feet can be built by two men in two hours.

Snow also makes possible the far-north transport system. With dog sleds and reindeer sleds, in snowВ­mobiles, or afoot on snowshoes or skis, they can go almost anywhere. The whole of the snow world beВ­comes a highway. They can travel at speed, too. A dog or reindeer team can move at 20 mph and easily cover too miles a day.

igloo

The northern people are happy when snow lies heavy on the land. They welcome the first snow in au­tumn, and often regret its passing in the spring. Snow is their friend. Without it they would have -perished or—almost worse from their point of view — they would long since have been driven south to join us in our frenetic rush to wherever it is that we are bound.

SOMEWHERE, on this day, the snow is falling. It may be sifting thinly on the cold sands of a desert, flecking the dark, upturned faces of a hand of Semitic nomads. For them it is in the nature of a miracle; and it is cerВ­tainly an omen and they are filled with awe and apprehension.

It may be whirling fiercely over the naked sweep of frozen plain in the Siberian steppes, or on the CanaВ­dian prairies, obliterating summer landmarks, climbing in scimitar drifts to wall up doors and windows of farmhouses. Inside, the people wait in patience. While the blizzard blows, they rest; when it is over, work will begin again. And in the spring the melted snows will water the new growth springing out of the black earth.

igloo

Blanket Coverage. It may be settВ­ling in great flakes over a city; spinning cones of distorted vision in the headlights of creeping cars, and covering the wounds, softening the suppurating ugliness inflicted on the earth by modern man. Children hope it will continue all night long so that no buses or family cars will be able to carry the victims off to school in the morning. But adult men and women wait impatiently, for if it does not stop soon the snow will smother the intricate designs that have been ordained for the next day’s pattern of existence.

Or the snow may be slanting swiftly down across a cluster of tents huddled below a rock ridge on the arctic tundra. Gradually it enfolds a pack of dogs who lie, noses thrust under bushy tails, until the snow covers them completely and they sleep warm. Inside the tents, men and women smile.

Somewhere, the snow is falling.

In silent drifts, it softens winter’s edge

2012
09.20

How do we envisage snow?В В В В В  It is the fragility of Christmas dreams filtering through azure darkness to the acВ­companying sound of sleigh bells. It is the bleak reality of a stalled car and spinning wheels impinging on the neat timetable of our self-importance.

It is the resignation of suburban housewives as they skin wet clothes from runny-nosed progeny.

It is the sweet gloss of memory in the failing eyes of the old as they reВ­call the white days of childhood.

snow

It is the gentility of utter silence in the muffled heart of a snow-clad forest.

Snow is these things to us, toВ­gether with many related images; yet all deal only with obvious aspects of a multi-faceted kaleidoscopic and protean element. Each single snowВ­flake that has fallen throughout all of time, and that will fall through what remains of time, has been– and will be a unique creation in symmetry and form.

I know of one man in Canada who has devoted most of his life to the study of this transient miracle. He has built a special house fitted w ith a freezing system, instead of heating equipment. It is a house with a gaping hole in its roof. On snowy days and nights he sits in icy solitude catching the falling flakes on plates of pre-chilled glass and hurriedly photographing them through an enlarging lens. For him, the fifth elemental in its infiВ­nite diversity and singularity is beauty incarnate.

snow

В Few of us would be of a mind to share his almost medieval passion. In truth, modern man has insenВ­sibly begun to think of snow with enmity. We cannot control snow, nor bend it to our will. The snow that fell harmlessly and beneficentВ­ly upon the natural world our foreВ­fathers lived in has the power to inflict chaos on the mechanical new world we have been building. A heavy snowfall in a modern city produces a paralytic stroke. Beyond the congealed cities it chokes roads, blocks trains, grounds aircraft, fells power and telephone cables.

We will probably come to like snow even less. Stories about the winters when snow mounted to the eaves of houses, and sleighs were galloped over drifts at treetop level arc not just old wives’ tales. A hunВ­dred years ago such happenings were commonplace. However, durВ­ing the past century our climate has experienced a warming trend, and an upswing in the erratic variations of the weather.

snow

В It has probably been a short-term swing, and the downswing mayВ  soon be upon us. And where will we be then, poor things, in our delicately structured artificial world? Will we still admire snow ? More likely we will curse the very word.

However, when that time comes there may still be men alive who will be unperturbed by the gentle implacable downward drift. They are the true people of the snows :the Aleuts, Eskimos and AthapasВ­can Indians of North America; the Greenlanders; the Lapps, NentВ­sy, Yakuts, Yukaghirs and related peoples of Eurasia and Siberia.

My Open Letter to Trade Unionists

2012
09.20

Equally serious, our outdated and ill-defined electoral procedures are open to abuse. In one blue-collar union, there have recently been allegations that branch chairmen have invalidated the votes of entire branches by “forgetting” to sign voting returns or dispatching them late to head office.

In one election in Manchester, disВ­trict officials called at members’ homes and asked them to sign a slip of paper in what should have been a secret vote. Sometimes union zealots spare members even that effort—and simply cast votes in their absence. Not long ago, twoВ members of the engineering union were sent to prison for deciding all the votes in a non-existent branch ballot.

 votВ­ing fraud

Possibly the most notorious votВ­ing fraud took place in my own union in the days when it was called the Electrical Trades Union. For several years, communists mainВ­tained an iron grip on key union posts, in the end through assiduous ballot-box stuffing, falsification of voting figures and arbitrary disВ­qualification of votes. They were finally dislodged in 1961 only when a union colleague, Jock Byrne, and myself obtained a High Court inВ­junction to set aside one particular election on the grounds of ballot-rigging.

Since then, my union has adopted one of the best mechanisms of dem­ocratic control : the postal ballot. Every member can now take part in elections—without trouble or cost to himself—simply by filling up the ballot form sent to his home. The ballot is also used for the periodic re-election of national officers and since its introduction in 1965, voting has increased from roughly five to 35 per cent of membership. Like those of a handful of other unions, our elections are supervised by the Electoral Reform Society. Once trade unionists are confident their votes will not be tampered with, they are demonstrably more likely to take part in other union affairs.

 votВ­ing fraud

The ballot can extend union demВ­ocracy in many areas. In my own union, for example, we have held ballots to find out members’ views on such issues as rule changes, the abolition of certain union posts, amalgamation with other unions, the acceptance of wage agreements.

Indeed, I am convinced that secret ballots could often help avoid the more damaging or unnecessary strikes. Trade unionists should never give up the right to withdraw their labour. But the strike should be a weapon of last resort and be seen for what it is : a sign of failure. For Marxists and militants, every strike is a success as one more blow in the battle to destroy the market system and with it political democracy.

 votВ­ing fraud

Our trade union movement should now take stock of its present power and future ambitions. The charge that “Unions want to run the country” is patently absurd—and I believe could only have been made because others have at times been reluctant to “run the country.” Nevertheless, there have been disВ­turbing signs that some trade unionВ­ists are developing an appetite for power and privileges not available to others in the community.

Our movement has grown strong and proved a massive force for good only through the loyalty of its memВ­bers. But such loyalty has been too often abused by unrepresentative militants elected by a tiny fraction of the rank and file. Members’ automatic, unthinking support canВ­not guarantee that our trade union movement will remain strong and responsible. Instead, it is likely to return us to the days of unbridled self-interest in which our unions had their painful beginnings.

Faced by the twin disasters of inВ­flation and unemployment, our country desperately needs a trade union movement that is more genuinely democratic and responВ­sive to majority opinion. The average working man is weary of discord and of futile, endless disputes. He wants a reasonable opportunity to work, to secure justice and to earn money that does not steadily diminish in value.

And so, Brothers, I call on you my fellow trade unionists to play your part in securing these goals. Attend branch meetings, speak out, stand for election to branch office, refuse to be intimidated, campaign for overdue reforms and above all vote. The jobs we are saving, the movement we are defending and the future we are enriching are all yours.

 

Our trade union movement

2012
09.20

Over the years, our trade union movement has become an essential pillar of British democracy. We have made a massive contribution towards the improvement of workВ­ing conditions, the redistribution of wealth and the maintenance of inВ­dustrial peace. Indeed, the fact that the overwhelming majority of BritВ­ish workers have never been on strike is mainly due to the efforts of trade unions.

trade union movement

How is it that an idealist moveВ­ment with such a solid record of social achievement has become what it is today : one of Britain’s most feared and distrusted institutions? Last year, a national poll revealed that more than a third of trade unionists believe, “Unions are the main cause of the country’s ecoВ­nomic problems”; more than half think, “Most unions are controlled by a few extremists and militants”; two-thirds of trade unionists feel, “Unions have too much power in Britain today.” There is no doubt that such attitudes underlie much of the hostility to the Bullock comВ­mittee’s recommendations that trade unions should appoint worker directors to company boards.

trade union movement

To a large extent, our unions havebeen left stranded by the receding tide of history. The movement had its real beginnings early in the nineВ­teenth century in the face of strong opposition from the law and the employers. Trade unionists were frequently locked out, sacked, gaoled or even deported. The first union rule books were thus written at a time when unions were forced to operate as semi-secret societies.

Many unions have failed to bring their attitudes, rule books and adВ­ministrative machinery into the 19705. Few issue minutes of execuВ­tive meetings, meaningful financial accounts or even maintain complete membership records. To have done so in their early days would have simplified the task of their persecutors.

The most disastrous consequence of this siege mentality has been to make your unions sitting targets for those communist and Trotskyist militants who remain hell-bent on fulfilling Lenin’s injunction to

. . resort to all sorts of stratagems, artifices and illegal methods, to evaВ­sions and subterfuges, so as to peneВ­trate the trade unions . . . and to carry on communist work within them at all costs.”

Marxists achieve these aims by exploiting trade unionists’ loyalty to their fellows and with blatantly disВ­torted appeals at mass meetings, where action is decided on a show of hands. Indeed, despite the pubВ­lic image of powerful, monolithic unions, we have often been at our most ineffectual on those occasions when we have tried to protect the mass of workers from the activities of the trigger-happy minority.

Roughly 95 per cent of British strikes are unofficial and the DonoВ­van Commission on industrial reВ­lations cited one large car plant where in the course of 12 months . . 256 out of 297 stoppages of work occurred before the senior shop steward had even had a chance to put the grievance into the agreed conciliation procedure.”

With increasing nationalization and injection of public funds into British companies, many strikes are not even attacks on “the bosses”—but almost purely self-inflicted wounds. Recently, for example, many of my members at British Leyland plants wondered how much sense it made for their fellow-workers to be holding five separate strikes at a time when the Government had already invested ВЈ246.5 million of public money to save 170,000 jobs in the company.

trade union movement

Marxists on the make have exВ­ploited the decline of traditional union branch life to promote their policies. They take advantage of the fact that meetings are held after work, often in places many miles from members’ homes. According to existing practice in most unions, the majority of those present scoop up the votes of the entire branch, so that it is not difficult for a handful of energetic activists to seize control. It is a matter of record that at one recent annual general meeting of a union branch in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, just over zoo members were able to take vital decisions on behalf of nearly io,000 of their colleagues.

The British trade unions have long enjoyed legal immunity for many of their actions, and recent legislation has given the movement unparalleled privileges. If we are to live up to this new status we must work for a corresponding increase in democratic responsibility. Yet while parliamentary democracy has developed scrupulously regulated machinery for electing and remov­ing MPs, unions have clung to anti­quated or rudimentary electoral pro­cedures that bear little relation to twentieth century thinking. Many union leaders are nominated and even elected by only five per cent of union membership—often on a show of hands—at poorly attended branch meetings.

Once elected, many senior union officers remain in office until retireВ­ment age. Of the 113 unions affiliaВ­ted to the Trades Union Congress, only three have general secretaries subject to periodic re-election. In the biggest unions most senior full-time officials are not even directly elected by union membership—but are appointed by executive memВ­bers. An estimated 40 per cent of the general secretaries of TUC-affiliated unions reach office in this way. Many of the country’s most powerful and militant union leaders have thus reached the top without the direct vote of their members.